History of Bondiana
October 19, 2021
Today we'd like to explore the world of Bond films and see how his image has changed over the years. So, let's start!
The newest James Bond film "No Time To Die" came out on the big screens. It is, officially, the longest series of movies ever, the first part of which was released in 1962. During the 59 years of its history cumulatively 8 actors has put on a role of the most well-known agent in cinematography.

James Bond came into the world in 1953 when a former journalist Ian Fleming published a book "Casino Royale" about the adventures of British Secret Service agent. In total Fleming wrote twelve novels and two short-story collections which formed the basis for establishing the series of films.

The character of James Bond is collective image inspired by many real people who worked in British intelligence, including Robert Bruce Lockhart, Paul Dukes, George A. Hill, etc. Some people even believe that Bond is a romanticized image of the author.
The first attempt to adapt the James Bond books was a 1-hour episode in American TV-series "Climax!" in 1954. The main role was played by British actor Barry Nelson. In 1959 Fleming wrote an original scenario for the new film, but it wasn't released because of the lack of finance. This is not the end of the story. In 1961 a producer Albert R. Broccoli bought back film rights to the all James Bond Novels.

In 1962 the first film of the Bond series "Dr. No" directed by Terence Young and featuring former bodybuilder Sean Connery as 007 was released. In this film for the first time appeared title sequence with elements of animation, which became a calling card of all Bond films.

Connery starred in a further six films. After him, 5 actors appeared on the screens in the role of the most recognized super-agent. Let's find out what the differences between the first and the latest James Bond are.
Creators shown Connery's Bond as a deadpan killer and playboy with a haughty smile. He was versed in vine, always wore fashionable clothes and smoked a lot. This Bond didn't forgive anything and anyone and always was ready to take a revenge upon betrayers. For him meant nothing to cut the throat of an opponent. But even this, at the first sight fearless man had his weakness, he couldn't pass by alcohol which his enemies tended to use. At some point screenwriters started make fun of Connery's character and put him in absolutely awkward situations.

First films of the Bond saga are full of sexism and contempt of female. 007 agent didn't fell like they are equal him, although in "From Russia with Love" (1963) and "Thunderball" (1965) exactly did female characters kill villains and save the life of Bond.
The role of James Bond brought Sean Connery many Nominations and awards and made him a real sex symbol of his time. But to play in a new film Connery flatly refused. The role of 007 was taken up by Australian actor George Lazenby for "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969), who earlier appeared only in chocolate adverts. In this film the authors started to experiment with the Bond character. He was freer in joking and choosing clothes. It was difficult to imagine Connery would do such things.

Rocky relationship with director and the other cast was the reason why Lazenby left the role after just one appearance and Connery was brought back for his last Eon-produced film "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971).
Here we met the third Bond played by charismatic Roger Moore, who appeared in in 7 films of the series starting with "Live and Let Die" (1973). He was less cruel and vain than Connery and definitely treated more courteous with women in contrast with the first Bond. Moore brought in franchise light humor and incredible tricks, which became main accent. Killings were getting more and more ridiculous and stopped scaring. Gradually, James Bond became more a comic than a hero.

Fourth 007 player Timothy Dalton saved Bond films from descending into parody. On the contrary, having an experience as a professional theater actor, he returned drama into films. Dalton's Bond wasn't obsessed with women, but on his professional duty and work, which helped him to become again a serious ranger. On Dalton, screenwriters finally abandon femme fatale images. Anyway, films of this Bond period were lost among all the other action movies of 80s. Dalton wasn't as charismatic as movie stars of that time (Schwarzenegger, Gibson and the others). And although Timothy got a good retainer for his work, he is the only one Bond player who has never been nominated for a single award. In total he appeared in 2 films.
Dalton was waiting for 5 years to star in the next film, but when he was finally proposed to appear in it, refused. He was sick of waiting which didn't let him to move forward.

The role was offered to Pierce Brosnan who agreed without thinking. Firstly, he appeared in "GoldenEye" (1995). Brosnan returned Bond the special charm Connery had, but without making sexist jokes. New 007 was extremely worried when in "Tomorrow Never Dies" his girlfriend died because of him. Exactly did he bring back the status of cult franchise to "James Bond". In films of this period, women were finally equal to men, which illustrated movement of changes in society and inside the production company Eon (the place of Albert R. Broccoli was taken by his children Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson).
After September 11 Attacks creators of "James Bond" decided that they needed fresh momentum and completely reboot. The audience longed for a new, modern hero who could represented problems of our time.

When producers announced that the next Bond would be Daniel Craig, fans were upset seeing a low blond guy, which was completely different from the previous actors. Although Craig found an unexpectable approach to his character. For the first time, 007 was not a flawless hero and invincible killer, but a real human with his real problems. James Bond came alive and made fans feel his mental and physical health and sympathize. Throughout 5 films, we knew more and more about him, his biography, friends and trauma.
By renouncing formulaic portliness and making Bond more emotional, creators, finally, took the next step in their films. Parts with featuring Craig even were nominated for BAFTA and drew attention such professionals as Roger Deakins, Sam Mendes, etc.

"No Time To Die" (2021) answers to the all questions the audience could have and leads to a metaphoric end.

Ironically, Daniel Craig, who originally wasn't warmly received by the audience became the most long-playing actor performing Bond. Under his belt 15 years of playing 007.

Yes, James Bond is a controversial character, especially in first parts, but despite this, creators of him could build a recognized franchise and made him the most well-known story of all-time.
Authors: Arina Bokack and Olga Kyvliuk