Sean Connery the first to bring the character of James Bond to life on the big screen with roguish charm and cool sophistication has his version of “Bond” in at number six on my movie franchise countdown.
Author Ian Fleming the author and creator of James Bond originally disagreed and criticized at the choice of Sean Connery in the role of Bond. Fleming thought Connery was nothing more than a overgrown stuntman, but would later change his mind after seeing Dr. No and would even add Scottish heritage to Bond’s background in future novels.
Sean Connery portrayal of the now famous British spy would be the start of the long running franchise that would see the foundation of the franchise laid with elaborate stunts, high-tech gadgets, exotic locales, catchy one-liners not to mention sexy and often outrageously named Bond Girls.
As much as the audience has come to love everything that makes Bond, James Bond, it would be Sean Connery who would actually define the character and set the standard for all who’s followed in his footsteps.
Connery would go on to play “Bond” in six of the first seven films between 1962 and 1971. After “You Only Live Twice” in 1967, Connery announced he was turning in his Walter PPK only to come back in 1971 for “Diamonds Are Forever”. After which Connery pledged to “never” return to the role of Bond again.
Skip ahead twelve years to 1983 where the second film adaptation of “Thunderball” would see Connery age 52 at the time of filming portray “Bond” yet one more time. The original working title of the film had been “James Bond of the Secret Service”, but thanks to Connery’s wife who suggested the film be renamed to “Never Say Never Again” in response to her husband’s vow after “Diamonds Are Forever”. The end credits acknowledge Micheline Connery for her contribution.
Sean Connery will always be “James Bond” even if the franchise goes another fifty years. Connery embodied “Bond” or at least that’s what all of us Bond fans would like to believe.
The Bond films with Connery will always be looked at as the holy grail of the franchise, much like Star Wars fans might look at the original trilogy, the original will always be the best, the one that started it all.
Like any movie franchise the Bond films with Connery during the 1960’s and early 1970’s have there high and low points. “Goldfinger” in my opinion represents the high point’s while “Diamond Are Forever” would fall at the opposite end and while it may not the be worst Bond movie ever made it would be the worst with Connery.
Technically “Never Say Never Again” has never been considered an official “Bond” movie, but in my mind it has Sean Connery playing the character he originally help bring to life and therefore it should be even if the producers or movie studio won’t.
We would all like to think that Connery’s “Bond” is the Bond of all Bond’s, but just because Connery was the first doesn’t make it so. The five actors who have followed Connery have each brought there own flare and unique quality to the role of “Bond”. Those qualities along with others have helped keep James Bond fresh and keeping the fans coming back film after film.
Connery’s portrayal put “Bond” on the movie map and set the bar for future actors to strive for and for that Sean Connery’s legacy as well as James Bond will live on for as long as James Bond is apart of our movie culture.
The movie that introduced the world to James Bond. A British spy with a devil-may-care attitude and a license to kill. Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the death of a fellow British agent, only to encounter deadly assassins, a sexy femme fatale and even a poisonous tarantula. With the help of CIA agent Felix Leiter and the bikini-clad Honey Rider – who makes an unforgettable entrance – Bond searches for the headquarters of the fanatical Dr. No, a Chinese scientist bent on world domination.
Bond is tasked with reclaiming a decoder device stolen by the evil SPECTRE organization, which contains Russian state secrets and threatens to unbalance to world order. He travels to Istanbul, where he confronts the cunning assassin Red Grant, whose preferred method of killing is a wire hidden inside his wristwatch, and Rosa Klebb, who wears deadly poisoned-tipped shoes.
Goldfinger set the template for all other 007 movies. Theme song sung by a popular artist, a focus on high-tech gadgets – in this case an Aston Martin complete with ejector seat and a maniacal arch-villain who spouts campy one-liners while trying to kill Bond. Goldfinger is an entertaining movie that introduced a lethal hat-throwing henchman called Oddjob and the sultry villainess Pussy Galore.
Bond investigates the hijacking of an Avro Vulcan loaded with two atomic bombs, which had been taken by SPECTRE. The organisation demands a ransom for the return of the bombs. Bond follows a lead to the Bahamas, where he meets up with his CIA counterpart and friend Felix Leiter. The pair suspect a rich playboy, Emilio Largo, and search the area around his yacht and then the area where they think the yacht may have travelled. After finding the plane—but without the nuclear devices on board—the two agents arrange for Largo’s yacht to be tracked and ambushed once the bombs are being moved by Largo.
007 is sent to Japan to investigate the hijacking of an American spacecraft by an unidentified spacecraft. Upon his arrival, Bond is contacted by Aki, assistant to the Japanese secret service leader Tiger Tanaka. Bond established that the mastermind behind the hijacking is Ernst Stavro Blofeld and SPECTRE, in conjunction with Osato, a local industrialist. Bond follows the trail to Blofeld’s island headquarters.
Tanaka’s ninja troops attack the island, while Bond manages to distract Blofeld and create a diversion which allows him to open the hatch, letting in the ninjas. During the battle, Osato is killed by Blofeld, who activates the base’s self-destruct system and escapes. Bond, Kissy, Tanaka, and the surviving ninjas escape through the cave tunnel before it explodes, and are rescued by submarine.
Bond is tasked with investigating a major diamond smuggling ring which begins in Africa and runs through Holland and the UK to the United States. Disguised as professional smuggler and murderer Peter Franks, Bond travels to Amsterdam to meet contact Tiffany Case: he is given the diamonds and travels on to the U.S., where he is met by Felix Leiter. Bond moves through the chain, which leads to the Whyte House, a casino-hotel owned by the reclusive billionaire Willard Whyte.
Bond follows the diamonds to a pick-up by Bert Saxby, Whyte’s head of security, and then onto a research laboratory owned by Whyte, where he finds that a satellite is being built by a laser refraction specialist, Professor Dr. Metz. Suspecting Whyte, Bond tries to confront him, but instead meets Blofeld, who captures the agent and explains to him that the satellite can blow up nuclear missiles.
Blofeld admits that he intends to auction it to the highest bidder. Bond escapes and frees the captive Whyte and they establish that Blofeld is using an offshore oil rig as his base. Bond attacks the rig, stopping Blofeld’s operation and dispersing his organisation.
An aging James Bond makes an uncharacteristic mistake during a routine training mission, leading M to believe that the legendary British spy is now past his prime. M indefinitely suspends Bond from active duty. However, when SPECTRE member Fatima Bush and her fellow terrorists successfully steal two nuclear missiles from the U.S. military, M must reinstate Bond, as he is the only agent who can beat SPECTRE at their own game of espionage.
Categories: Movie Franchise Countdown