Reviewing The James Bond Series (And Related Cold War Literature)

Inspired by tales of Cold War espionage, along with his own experiences as a commanding British Naval Officer, Ian Fleming retired to his estate along the north coast of Jamaica dubbed “Goldeneye” in order to write a series of spy thrillers while also working as a foreign manager of the Sunday Times. The Goldeneye estate was partly named for its proximity to a famous nearby ocean-front estate called Golden Clouds, and in honor of a Carson McCullers novel, Reflections in a Golden Eye, as well as a World War II Allied contingency plan called “Operation Goldeneye” drafted in order to deal with Franco’s Spain in the event that it formed an alliance with the Axis powers –the covert plan was created by Fleming himself.

At any rate from his Goldeneye estate, Ian Fleming quickly typed up a novel about a sleek and suave British secret agent who was an amalgamation of Fleming’s own experiences, true spies in the field, and characters from Somerset Maugham and Dennis Wheatley stories. Like Fleming, the character chain-smoked dozens of Morland cigarettes everyday, and he had a love of golf and gambling. Fleming came up with the name “James Bond” because it sounded ordinary and was derived from an American ornithologist who published a notable book on the birds of Jamaica (Fleming was an avid birdwatcher). The symbol “007” came from a variety of historical references, as well. James Bond was originally devised as a dull guy (“a blunt instrument” per Fleming, a phrase which later appears in Skyfall).

The concept for James Bond inspired a total of twelve novels and two short story collections, beginning with Casino Royale in 1952. He also wrote a story about a magical car for his only son, Caspar, which later became the basis for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Fleming, a lifelong drinker and smoker, died of heart issues in 1964. Shortly before his death in 1961 two producers, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman acquired the film rights to James Bond and formed a production company called Eon, or “Every or Nothing,” in order to begin work on the first James Bond film Dr. No.

Ian Fleming’s James Bond Novels:

  1. Casino Royale (1953)
  2. Live and Let Die (1954)
  3. Moonraker (1955)
  4. Diamonds Are Forever (1956)
  5. From Russia, with Love (1957)
  6. Dr. No (1958)
  7. Goldfinger (1959)
  8. For Your Eyes Only (1960) [short story collection]
  9. Thunderball (1961)
  10. The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)
  11. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963)
  12. You Only Live Twice (1964)
  13. The Man with the Golden Gun (1965)
  14. Octopussy and The Living Daylights (1966) [short story collection]

John le Carre’s George Smiley Series

  • Call for the Dead (1961) –George Smiley #1 by John le Carre
  • A Murder of Quality (1962) –George Smiley #2 by John le Carre
  • The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1963) –George Smiley #3 by John le Carre
  • The Looking Glass War (1965) –George Smiley #4 by John le Carre
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974) –George Smiley #5 by John le Carre
  • The Honourable Schoolboy (1977) –George Smiley #6 by John le Carre
  • Smiley’s People (1979) –George Smiley #7 by John le Carre
  • The Secret Pilgrim (1990) –George Smiley #8 by John le Carre
  • A Legacy of Spies (2017) –George Smiley #9 by John le Carre

Other Notable Cold War Literature:

  • The Quiet American (1956) by Graham Greene
  • Our Man In Havana (1958) by Graham Greene
  • Cat’s Cradle (1963) by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Hunt For Red October (1984) by Tom Clancy

James Bond Films:

In the foreground, Bond wears a suit and is holding a gun; four female characters from the film are next to him.

James Bond #1: Dr. No (1962)
Starring: Sean Connery
Theme Song: (None)
Director: Terence Young

The upper centre of the poster reads "Meet James Bond, secret agent 007. His new incredible women ... His new incredible enemies ... His new incredible adventures ..." To the right is Bond holding a gun, to the left a montage of women, fights, and an explosion. On the bottom of the poster are the credits.

James Bond #2: From Russia With Love (1963)
Starring: Sean Connery
Theme Song: Matt Monro “From Russia With Love”
Director: Terence Young

Image result for goldfinger

James Bond #3: Goldfinger (1964)
Starring: Sean Connery
Theme Song: Shirley Bassey “Goldfinger”
Director: Guy Hamilton

Thunderball - UK cinema poster.jpg

James Bond #4: Thunderball (1965)
Starring: Sean Connery
Theme Song: Tom Jones “Thunderball”
Director: Terence Young

Cinema poster showing Sean Connery as James Bond sitting in a pool of water and being attended to by eight black-haired Japanese women

James Bond #5: You Only Live Twice (1967)
Starring: Sean Connery
Theme Song: Nancy Sinatra “You Only Live Twice”
Director: Lewis Gilbert

A man in a dinner jacket on skis, holding a gun. Next to him is a red-headed woman, also on skis and with a gun. They are being pursued by men on skis and a bobsleigh, all with guns. In the top left of the picture are the words FAR UP! FAR OUT! FAR MORE! James Bond 007 is back!

James Bond #6: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Starring: George Lazenby
Theme Song (Secondary Song): Louis Armstrong “We Have All The Time In The World”
Director: Peter R. Hunt

Diamonds_Are_Forever_-_UK_cinema_poster

James Bond #7: Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Starring: Sean Connery
Theme Song: Shirley Bassey “Diamonds Are Forever”
Director: Guy Hamilton

Live_and_Let_Die-_UK_cinema_poster

James Bond #8: Live and Let Die (1973)
Starring: Roger Moore
Theme Song: Paul McCartney & Wings “Live and Let Die”
Director: Guy Hamilton

The_Man_with_the_Golden_Gun_-_UK_cinema_poster

James Bond #9: The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
Starring: Roger Moore
Theme Song: Lulu “The Man With The Golden Gun”
Director: Guy Hamilton

The_Spy_Who_Loved_Me_(UK_cinema_poster)

James Bond #10: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Starring: Roger Moore
Theme Song: Carly Simon “Nobody Does It Better”
Director: Lewis Gilbert

Moonraker_(UK_cinema_poster)

James Bond #11: Moonraker (1979)
Starring: Roger Moore
Theme Song: Shirley Bassey “Moonraker”
Director: Lewis Gilbert

For_Your_Eyes_Only_-_UK_cinema_poster

James Bond #12: For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Starring: Roger Moore
Theme Song: Sheena Easton “For Your Eyes Only”
Director: John Glen

octopussy

James Bond #13: Octopussy (1983)
Starring: Roger Moore
Theme Song: Rita Coolidge “All Time High”
Director: John Glen

a_view_to_a_kill_-_uk_cinema_poster

James Bond #14: A View To A Kill (1985)
Starring: Roger Moore
Theme Song: Duran Duran “A View To A Kill”
Director: John Glen

the_living_daylights_-_uk_cinema_poster

James Bond #15: The Living Daylights (1987)
Starring: Timothy Dalton
Theme Song: A-ha “The Living Daylights”

licence to kill

James Bond #16: License To Kill (1989)
Starring: Timothy Dalton
Theme Song: Gladys Knight “License To Kill”
Director: John Glen

GoldenEye - UK cinema poster.jpg

James Bond #17: GoldenEye (1995)
Starring: Pierce Brosnan
Theme Song: Tina Turner “GoldenEye”
Director: Martin Campbell

A man wearing an evening dress holds a gun. On his sides are a white woman in a white dress and an Asian woman in a red, sparkling dress holding a gun. On the background are monitors with scenes of the film, with two at the top showing a man wearing glasses holding a baton. On the bottom of the screen are two images of the 007 logo under the title "Tomorrow Never Dies" and the film credits.

James Bond #18: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Starring: Pierce Brosnan
Theme Song: Sheryl Crow “Tomorrow Never Dies”
Director: Roger Spottiswoode

Poster shows a circle with Bond flanked by two women at the centre. Globs of fire and action shots from the film are below. The film's name is at the bottom.

James Bond #19: The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Starring: Pierce Brosnan
Theme Song: Garbarge “The World Is Not Enough”
Director: Michael Apted

Die another Day - UK cinema poster.jpg

James Bond #20: Die Another Day (2002)
Starring: Pierce Brosnan
Theme Song: Madonna “Die Another Day”
Director: Lee Tamahori

Casino_Royale_2_-_UK_cinema_poster

James Bond #21: Casino Royale (2006)
Starring: Daniel Craig
Theme Song: Chris Cornell “You Know My Name”
Director: Martin Campbell

UK Final Quad

James Bond #22: Quantum of Solace (2008)
Starring: Daniel Craig
Theme Song: Jack White “Another Way To Die”
Director: Marc Foster

Skyfall_poster

James Bond #23: Skyfall (2012)
Starring: Daniel Craig
Theme Song: Adele “Skyfall”
Director: Sam Mendes

Spectre_poster

James Bond #24: Spectre (2015)
Starring: Daniel Craig
Theme Song: Sam Smith “Writing’s On The Wall”
Director: Sam Mendes

no-time-to-die

James Bond #25: No Time To Die (2021)
Starring: Daniel Craig
Theme Song: Billie Eilish
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga


Non-Canonical James Bond Films:

casino-royale

Casino Royale (1967)
Release Date: April 13, 1967
Directors: John Huston, Ken Hughes, Robert Parrish, Joseph McGrath, Val Guest
Studio: Columbia

Never Say Never Again (1983)
Director: Irvin Kershner
Studio: Warner Bros.


My Top James Bond Films

#1 Skyfall (2012)

#2 From Russia With Love (1963)

#3 Goldfinger (1964)

#4 Dr. No (1962)

#5 Casino Royale (2006)

#6 The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)


My Top James Bond Actors:

#1 Sean Connery

#2 Daniel Craig

#3 George Lazenby

#4 Pierce Brosnan

#5 Timothy Dalton

#6 Roger Moore


My Top James Bond Theme Songs

#1 Shirley Bassey “Goldfinger”

#2 Paul McCartney & Wings “Live and Let Die”

#4 Tom Munro “From Russia With Love”

#5 Adele “Skyfall”

#6 Carly Simon “Nobody Does It Better”

#7 Chris Cornell “You Know My Name”

#8 Shirley Bassey “Diamonds Are Forever”

#9 (Secondary Song) Louis Armstrong “We Have All The Time In The World”


Influenced by James Bond:

Reviewing The Pink Panther Series (1963-Present)

Reviewing The Jack Ryan Series (1990-Present)

Reviewing the Mission Impossible Series (1996-Present)

Reviewing The Austin Powers Series (1997-2002)

Reviewing the Jason Bourne Series (2002-Present)