Well, Ian Fleming’s novels have been around since 1953, but Bond’s screen persona began in 1962, so let’s loosen our black tie, sip a vodka martini (shaken, not stirred, of course) and dive into the most successful franchise in Hollywood history…
Everyone has their favorite Bond. For many it was Sean Connery – an unknown Scottish actor that producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman took a chance on and cast as 007 – who then became an international superstar. Others love Roger Moore for his campier approach throughout the 70s and 80s. Irish actor Pierce Brosnan, who starred in four Bond films, was immensely popular and George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton – who did one and two Bond films respectively, have very enthusiastic fans. Of course, the most modern Bond, Daniel Craig, was a huge hit in his five Bonds, with his 2012 film, SKYFALL, crushing the $1 billion box office barrier…
The Bond films not only revolutionized cinema, they also influenced pop culture in a way few other literary figures ever have. To give us some perspective on all this, TiVo reached out to Bond continuation author Raymond Benson, who penned six Bond novels from 1997 to 2002.
“The original Ian Fleming novels gave Britain an antihero who represented a rise from the postwar malaise,” Benson began, adding, “the films have succeeded due to diligent quality control … capturing our imaginations and entertaining us with images, action, music and pizazz.”
Six decades after the first Bond film, DR. NO, hit theaters, Benson says its influence can’t be underestimated – “DR. NO was such a groundbreaker at the time. It introduced a character who was an antihero – a guy who has vices, questionable morals but unquestionable patriotism, style and sophistication, sex appeal, and a license to kill.”
DR. NO was, in fact, a modest little action/thriller, made for around $1 million, that spawned a franchise that has grossed $7 billion worldwide. And the actors lucky enough to have portrayed 007 belong to an elite group – more people have walked on the surface of the moon than have slipped on 007’s shoulder holster.
In summing up, Benson adds, “One can get a pop culture history lesson of the last 60 years simply by watching the movies in chronological order.”
Now, that’s a weekend well spent!
If you want to catch up on all the Bond movies, they’re streaming on Prime Video.