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A Brief History of James Bond

A Brief History of James Bond

By Becky Ferreira

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Next Friday, November 9th, James Bond, M, and even Q will be back for the latest 007 film, Skyfall. Obviously, there's no better time to brush up on the career of the world's most famous secret agent, so we present to you A Bullet-Point (GET IT?) History of James Bond:

-February 17th, 1952: Ian Fleming begins writing the self-described "spy story to end all spy stories," Casino Royale. Over the next decade, he would follow it with 8 more novels, inspiring the longest-running film franchise of all time.

-1962-1967: The fabled Sean Connery Era. Giving the world its first look at "Bond... James Bond," Connery takes on the iron-fisted Dr. No, prevents Goldfinger from irradiating Fort Knox, and meets his iconic arch nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Connery brings a dash of humor and likability to the character and the public becomes captivated by his world of gadgets, guns, and girls. 22 other spy-centric films were released in 1966, attempting to recreate Bond's success.

-April 13th, 1967: The oddest of all Bond films, Casino Royale, is a satire of espionage films (unlike the original novel). Half a dozen actors play James Bond in this spoof that stars Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, and Orson Welles.

-December 18th, 1969: On Her Majesty's Secret Service is released starring George Lazenby as 007. Lazenby ended his contract before the film's release because he thought James Bond would grow outdated and archaic in the liberated 1970s. Fun fact: while searching for the new Bond, the studio offered the part to Timothy Dalton, who declined, believing he was too young for the role. Dalton would go on to play Bond almost 20 years later.

-December 14th, 1971: Sean Connery returns for his last official stint as 007 in Diamonds Are Forever. While a commercial success, critics panned it for its campy humor, convoluted plot, and weak secondary characters.

-1973-1985: The Roger Moore Era. The longest serving Bond in history with (00)7 films, Moore brought a more relaxed, debonair approach to MI6's top agent. Scaling down from the global super villains, Bond took on drug trafficking, voodoo, and personal vendettas. Never without a one-liner or an all-too-convenient gadget, Moore is typically described as "the funny Bond."

-October 7th, 1983: Near the end of the Roger Moore Era, an independent studio gained the rights to remake Thunderball, once again starring Sean Connery in his final Bond appearance. The story goes that after completing Diamonds Are Forever, Connery said he "would never again play Bond," prompting them to change the title to Never Say Never Again.

-1987-1989: The Timothy Dalton Era. While he only starred in two films, Dalton is remembered for bringing a gritty realism back to the franchise. His portrayal of 007 has been described as that of "a burned out killer who may have the energy left for one final mission... A Bond of suffering."

-1995-2002: The Pierce Brosnan Era. Playing Bond with a natural charm, Brosnan won the praise of critics and audiences alike in GoldenEye. The series was revitalized for the modern age, featuring Dame Judi Dench as M while taking Bond back to his thuggish roots. In the film, M describes Bond as "a blunt instrument wielded by the government," exactly as Fleming had described him in 1962.

-2006-2012: The Daniel Craig Era. Fans weren't shy about expressing their skepticism on the casting choice, but in a move of pure class, Connery, Moore, Dalton, and Brosnan all came to Craig's defense. They must have been right because Casino Royale is the highest grossing Bond film yet. Craig describes his portrayal as a bad guy who just happens to be working for the good guys.

Which Bond is your favorite?

Tags: history, movies, james bond, spies, casino royale, sean connery, daniel craig

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About the Author
Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

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