55 Years of James Bond: A Look Back at the History of the Charming Special Agent 007 on the Big Screen!

by Waleed Babar

Fifty-five years ago on this day, Oct. 5, the first film based on Ian Fleming’s “James Bond” character was released: Dr. No. It featured Sean Connery as James Bond!

Half a century later, we’ve seen six different actors portraying the legendary character in 25 films — Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig. Craig’s latest turn as Bond, Spectre was released in November 2015.

James Bond

A scene from the James Bond film ‘Thunderball’ with Sean Connery, Claudine Auger and Adolfo Celi. (Source: Getty Images)

In 1962 the movie-going world was introduced to James Bond, a British secret agent with a devil-may-care attitude and license to kill, and with it the success of the spy movie in the 1960s was born.

Made on a low budget, Dr. No was a big box office hit and laid the cornerstone for what would become the most successful film franchise in history.

After that, Sean Connery went on to star in 4 consecutive James Bond movies! However, in 1969, George Lazenby took over the role of James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service directed by Peter Hunt. The movie was well received. Having an estimated budget of US $7 million, it grossed US $ 22.8 million on the Box Office.

James Bond

Australian actor George Lazenby offers co-star Helena Ronee a light, whilst filming the new James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ in the Swiss Alps. (Source: Getty Images)

Connery came back for Diamonds are Forever in 1971 which wasn’t much of a success. And it was deemed an unworthy exit for Connery. In 1973, Roger Moore took up the mantle of the British spy agent in Live and Let Die directed by Guy Hamilton.

Moore appeared in 6 consecutive Bond movies from 1973 to 1983. His 1977 The Spy Who Loved Me ended up being his most successful James Bond movie having been nominated for 3 Oscars! It won 3 awards and 8 further nominations. 1979’s Moonraker was quite memorable for being Bond’s adventure in space.

However, the big surprise was also in 1983. Connery made his final appearance as James Bond in Never Say Never Again. This actually turned out to be better than his previous outing as the 007 spy agent.

Roger Moore (James Bond) and the Bond Girls from the film ‘View to a Kill’ directed by John Glen. (Source: Getty Images)

In 1985, Roger Moore reappeared as Bond in A View to a Kill which was directed by John Glen. This was Roger’s final movie as the 007 agent. He had received great acclaim for his work in the James Bond franchise. But his farewell movie got mixed reactions from the fans.

In 1987, Timothy Dalton was cast as James Bond in John Glen’s The Living Daylights. It turned out to be one of the best Bond movies released so far! Termed as a classic spy thriller, it was loved by the fans. It won 3 awards and 4 nominations! Dalton also appeared as 007 in 1989’s License to Kill.

James Bond

Pierce Brosnan attends a photo shoot during Spanish promotions for the latest 007 movie, 20th James Bond film, “Die Another Day”. (Source: Getty Images)

It took 6 years before another James Bond movie was to be added to the franchise. This time Pierce Brosnan played the role of the famous spy in GoldenEye, directed by Martin Campbell. It was a new take on the character and loved by a lot of fans.

Brosnan went on to star in 3 more Bond movies, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is not Enough and Die Another Day. The former two went well on the box office while Die Another Day failed to send Brosnan off on a high.

James Bond

Lea Seydoux, Daniel Craig and Monica Bellucci attend the Royal Film Performance of “Spectre”. (Source: Getty Images)

It was 2006 when Daniel Craig took over as James Bond in Casino Royale. Craig was hailed as the best Bond since the 60’s. So far he has appeared in Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and most recently Spectre. All of his outings have performed well at the box office.

Over the years, James Bond has set a high standard for all the spy movies. It defined the genre! The character itself is unique in its own way. The charm, the Bond girls, the hi-tech gadgets and the Aston Martins loaded with weaponry.

So far, there have been 25 adventures with 007 spy agent while there may be many more on the way in the future. One can say that James Bond is one of the strongest franchises of all-time!

The man in the suit with the license to kill… Even after 55 years, the James Bond franchise is still as interesting as ever!


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