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Arts & Entertainment Entertainment James Bond  Connery Niven Lazenby Moore Dalton Brosnan Craig

James Bond: books and films

When I was a schoolboy, in the 1960s, our English teacher used the James Bond novels as an illustration to explain what made a book a "classic" – or, more precisely, as an example of a book that would never become a classic. "No one will be reading James Bond in twenty years' time," he said.

Well, he was right, wasn't he? ... but what he failed to foresee was that fifty years later, never mind twenty, people would be flocking in ever-increasing numbers to see the films. First editions of the books change hands for thousands of pounds; so in their own way they have indeed become classics.

We start with a few questions that refer to Bond (and other characters) in general terms, without reference to any individual book or film.

Bond's rank (in the Royal Naval Reserve) Click to show or hide the answer
Make of car that Bond drove in the books Click to show or hide the answer
Name of Bond's Swiss mother (according to a Times obituary in You Only Live Twice, the penultimate novel) Click to show or hide the answer
Bond's favourite drink Click to show or hide the answer
Miss Moneypenny's first name (revealed in 2005 in The Moneypenny Diaries, written by Samantha Weinberg and officially sanctioned by the Fleming estate) Click to show or hide the answer
Villain named after an Eton school contemporary of Ian Fleming – whose son became a cricket commentator Click to show or hide the answer
Q stands for Click to show or hide the answer
The Bond family motto (in Latin; its English translation was used as the title of one of the films starring Pierce Brosnan as Bond) Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
Author of the first series of five Young Bond novels for children (2005–8), featuring James Bond as a teenager at Eton Click to show or hide the answer
Author of the James Bond novel Trigger Mortis (2015) Click to show or hide the answer

The first actor to play James Bond was arguably Barry Nelson, who played a US agent known as Jimmy Bond in a US TV adaptation of Casino Royale in 1954. It was part of a series entitled Climax Mystery Theater. The villain, Le Chiffre, was played by Peter Lorre.

However ... if you're asked who was the first actor to play Bond, the answer required is usually Bob Holness, who did so in a South African radio adaptation of Moonraker (the second Bond novel) in 1956.  Bob Holness is best known as the avuncular host of the teenagers' television quiz show Blockbusters, on ITV from 1983 to 1993 and on Sky One from 1994 to 1995. He died in 2012 aged 83.

Sean Connery

 TitleBookFilm Title song SingerNotes
Click to show or hide the title 1958 1962 None The first Saltzman/Broccoli Bond film
Joseph Wiseman plays the title character – the first Bond villain – whose first name is Julius
Ursula Andress stars as Honey Rider – the first Bond Girl
The one where the spider (tarantula) walks across Bond's chest as he lies in bed
Major Boothroyd (later referred to as Q) makes his first appearance – played by Peter Burton
Click to show or hide the title 1957 1963 Matt Monro Robert Shaw played SPECTRE assassin Red Grant
Desmond Llewellyn's first appearance as Q
Click to show or hide the title 1959 1964 Shirley Bassey Title role, played by Gert Frobe, named after a Hungarian architect and furniture designer
Title character's first name Auric, car registration AU 1
Bond's Aston Martin DB5 introduced
Scary henchman Oddjob, played by American Olympic weightlifter Harold Sakata
Honor Blackman stars as Pussy Galore (leader of an all–female flying circus, in the film)
Bond girl Gill Masterson (played by Shirley Eaton) painted gold
Click to show or hide the title 19611965 Tom Jones The one with the underwater sequences, as SPECTRE agents remove two atomic bombs from an Avro Vulcan bomber which they have sabotaged and ditched off the Bahamas
Click to show or hide the title 19641967 Nancy SinatraDonald Pleasence plays Blofeld
Click to show or hide the title 1956 1971 Shirley Bassey Lana Wood plays Plenty O'Toole
Jill St. John plays diamond smuggler Tiffany Case – the first American Bond girl
Charles Gray plays Blofeld
Bambi and Thumper are Blofeld's female bodyguards; Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd are implied to be Blofeld's henchmen
The one with the Moon buggy ride
Click to show or hide the title 1983 Lani Hall Not an 'official' Bond film (produced by Warner Bros, not by EON / United Artists)
Remake of Thunderball
Edward Fox plays M
Max von Sydow plays Blofeld
Kim Basinger plays Bond girl Domino Petachi
Rowan Atkinson (prior to Blackadder and Bean fame) plays bumbling British agent Nigel Small–Fawcett

David Niven

 TitleBookFilm Title song SingerNotes
Click to show or hide the title 1953 1967 Woody Allen plays Bond's nephew Jimmy Bond
Peter Sellers plays baccarat expert Evelyn Tremble
Ursula Andress returns in a different role – Vesper Lynd

George Lazenby

 TitleBookFilm Title song SingerNotes
Click to show or hide the title 1963 1969 We Have All the Time in the World Louis Armstrong Bond marries (Tracy Daco, played by Diana Rigg – a part that Brigitte Bardot turned down), but the film ends with him cradling his murdered wife in his arms
Telly Savalas plays Blofeld
Blofeld's 'Angels of Death' include Joanna Lumley, Catherina von Schell, Anouska Hempel, Julie Ege, Jenny Hanley

(We Have All the Time in the World was not actually the title song – it was played during the wedding sequence. The title track was instrumental)

Roger Moore

 TitleBookFilm Title song SingerNotes
Click to show or hide the title 1954 1973 Paul McCartney & Wings Title song Oscar nominated
The one with the Bayou boat chase
Principal villain is Dr. Kananga (a.k.a. Mr. Big), played by Yaphet Kotto
Tee Hee Johnson (pincer for a hand) and Whisper are Mr. Big's henchmen
Jane Seymour plays Solitaire, psychic love interest
Click to show or hide the title 1965 1974 LuluEponymous villain: Scaramanga (Christopher Lee)
Scaramanga's diminutive henchman: Nick Nack (Herve Villechaize)
Britt Ekland plays Mary Goodnight
Click to show or hide the title 1962 1977 Nobody Does it BetterCarly Simon Richard Kiel plays Jaws for the first time
Barbara Bach plays Anya Amasova
Click to show or hide the title 1955 1979 Shirley Bassey Villain Hugo Drax (played in the film by Michael Lonsdale)
Richard Kiel returns as Jaws, and speaks his only line: "Well ... here's to us!"
Bernard Lee (the original M) appears for the last time
Lois Chiles plays Holly Goodhead
Click to show or hide the title (1960) 1981 Sheena EastonTitle comes from a 1960 Bond short story collection; film based on the eponymous story from the collection and one other (Risico). See also A View to a Kill
First time the singer appeared in the title sequence
The only one that didn't feature M
Topol plays Columbo
Janet Brown plays Margaret Thatcher
Bond commandeers a yellow Citroën 2CV, from Bond girl Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) after his Lotus blows itself up – as part of the strategy to return Bond to reality, after the excesses of Moonraker
Click to show or hide the title 1983 All Time HighRita Coolidge Lyrics by Tim Rice
Robert Brown is M for the first time
Title character played by Maud Adams (who also appeared in The Man with the Golden Gun and was an extra in A View to a Kill)
Plot involves a stolen Fabergé egg
Click to show or hide the title (1960) 1985 Duran DuranTitle is from one of the For Your Eyes Only stories (With a View to a Kill)
Patrick MacNee plays Bond's sidekick Sir Godfrey Tibbett
The last to feature Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny

Timothy Dalton

 TitleBookFilm Title song SingerNotes
Click to show or hide the title (1962) 1987 A–haThe last Fleming title used for a movie; short story first published in the Sunday Times colour section
The last one that John Barry worked on
Click to show or hide the title 1989 Gladys KnightBond's personal vendetta with drug baron Franz Sanchez

Pierce Brosnan

 TitleBookFilm Title song SingerNotes
Click to show or hide the title 1995 Written by Bono (Paul Hewson) and The Edge (Dave Evans) of U2Tina Turner Named after Fleming's mountain retreat in Jamaica
Judi Dench plays M for the first time
Sean Bean plays agent 006 (code name Janus, real name Alec Trevelyan)
Robbie Coltrane plays Valentin Zukovsky, a former Russian Mafia boss and Baku casino owner
Famke Janssen (later to play Jean Grey / Phoenix in the X-Men series) plays Bond girl (supporting villain) Xenia Onatopp
Click to show or hide the title 1997 Sheryl Crow Teri Hatch plays Paris Carver –wife of the principal villain and an ex-girlfriend of Bond
Tomorrow was a newspaper (owned by the principal villain, media mogul Eliot Carver); the original title was Tomorrow Never Lies, but was changed after a misprint
Click to show or hide the title 1999 Garbage Desmond Llewellyn's last appearance as Q – he died in a car accident shortly before the Premiere
John Cleese plays Q's assistant (nicknamed R by Bond)
Robert Carlyle plays Renard, a former KGB agent who is impervious to pain because of a bullet lodged in his brain which is killing off his senses
Sophie Marceau plays oil heiress and Bond girl Electra King
Robbie Coltrane returns as Valentin Zukovsky
Click to show or hide the title 2002 Madonna Q played by John Cleese
Halle Berry plays Giacinta Johnson, known as Jinx
Madonna makes a cameo appearance as fencing instructor Verity – becoming the first person to appear in a Bond movie and sing the theme song

Daniel Craig

 TitleBookFilm Title song SingerNotes
Click to show or hide the title 2006You Know My NameChris Cornell Includes a cameo appearance by Richard Branson, as a passenger being frisked at Miami Airport
Click to show or hide the title 2008 Another Way to DieJack White and Alicia Keys Bond saves Bolivia from a coup staged by an organisation posing as environmentalists
Gemma Arterton plays Bond girl Strawberry Fields
Click to show or hide the title   2012  AdeleBen Whishaw plays the new Q
Albert Finney playes Kincade, the gamekeeper of Skyfall, which is Bond's ancestral and childhood home
Ralph Fiennes plays Gareth Mallory, who takes over as M after Judi Dench's character dies
Naomie Harris plays the new Miss Moneypenny, a failed agent who is not named until the end of the film
First Bond theme to win the Best Original Song Oscar
Click to show or hide the title   2015 Writing's On the WallSam Smith Christoph Waltz plays Franz Oberhauser, a mysterious figure within SPECTRE who claims a personal connection to Bond (and – spoiler alert – turns out to be none other than Ersnt Stavro Blofeld)

© Haydn Thompson 2017