Reporting for Duty
Created by Ian Fleming in 1953, James Bond has gone on to become one of the most enduring fictional characters in the history of cinema and literature. Since his creation, Bond has appeared in countless other forms of media, but he remains most recognized in his cinematic and literary interpretations. Fleming wrote a total of 12 novels and several short stories which were eventually collected in two separate compilations. Bond has also appeared in 23 official film adaptations, with the 24th scheduled to release in the fall of 2015. In 2012, the franchise celebrated its 50th anniversary in film.
"Everything I write has a precedent in truth." -Ian Fleming
The Untold Story of James Bond
This documentary, released in 2012, follows author Ian Fleming and producers Albert "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman through the trials and tribulations they experienced as they attempted to bring James Bond from the written page to the big screen.
The documentary can be viewed at the following link, but for a fee.
"The name's Bond. James Bond."
The Man. The Myth. The Legend.
So just who is James Bond? Read the following list to get a better idea:
1. James Bond was born to Andrew Bond and Monique Delacroix-Bond on, depending on the source, either November 11th, 1920 or November 11th, 1921. Ian Fleming never gave Bond an official birthdate.
2. Contrary to popular belief, James Bond is not actually British. His father, Andrew Bond, was Scottish, and his mother, Monique Delacroix-Bond, was Swiss. After initially being hesitant about Sean Connery portraying the character in the film adaptation of Dr. No, Fleming was impressed enough with Connery's performance that Fleming decided to give the literary Bond a Scottish heritage, as well. This was first revealed in the novel "You Only Live Twice," which Fleming wrote after Connery had appeared in Dr. No.
3. Much like Fleming himself, Bond holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the British Royal Navy.
4. While the character has not been seen smoking in the more recent films, Bond was noted to have smoked approximately 60 cigarettes a day in the novels. Much like Fleming's own favored cigarettes, Bond smoked custome-made cigarettes from Morland of Grosvenor Street that mixed Balkan and Turkish tobacco with a higher than average nicotine content. By comparison, Fleming is reported to have smoked up to 80 cigarettes a day.
5. The phrase vodka martini has become ubiquitous with James Bond, but despite what the movies would have you believe, Bond's preferred drink of choice is actually the "Vesper," named after the woman with whom he fell in love in "Casino Royale." The concoction consists of three measures of Gordon's gin, one measure of vodka, a half measure of Kina Lillet Blanc wine, and a thin slice of lemon peel, all shaken over ice.
6. The code number "007" was inspired by one John Dee, a 16th-Century English genius who would sign his letters to Queen Elizabeth I with "007" to signify that the letter was intended for her eyes only.
7. Similarly, Fleming named Bond after an American ornithologist named, you guessed it, James Bond. The real James Bond wrote a field guide entitled "Birds of the West Indies," which Fleming kept in his personal library.
8. In the novels, Bond is described as having a 3-inch vertical scar on his right cheek, though this has never been recreated by any of the actors who have portrayed Bond in the films.
9. Bond's weapon of choice is a Walther PPK chambered in 7.65mm, though this is not the only gun Bond has carried throughout his storied career. Originally, Bond was equipped with a Beretta 418 chambered in 6.35mm (or .25 ACP). It was not until Bond fan and gun enthusiast Geoffrey Boothroyd wrote to Fleming suggesting that Bond instead carry the PPK that Fleming changed Bond's weapon when he wrote "Dr. No." The armorer who provided Bond with the PPK in "Dr. No" was named Major Boothroyd as a nod to Geoffrey Boothroyd.
10. In both the film version of "Octopussy" and the unofficial Bond film "Never Say Never Again," Bond carried a Walther P5 in the hopes that this exposure would aid Walther in marketing its newest product to German police agencies. Bond carried a Walther P99 through "Tomorrow Never Dies" to "Casino Royale" (2006). The classic Walther PPK made its return in "Quantum of Solace" (2008), and Bond carried a modified version with an encoded palm reader in "Skyfall."
11. As of "Quantum of Solace" (2008), and not counting "Never Say Never Again," Bond has had 52 sexual conquests and taken 352 lives in the service of his country. Notably, Bond killed 47 people in "Goldeneye" alone.
12. There are 23 official James Bond films, with the 24th currently in production. However, there have also been three "unofficial" adaptations, including the 1983 film, "Never Say Never Again," which is briefly mentioned above and served as a pseudo-remake of "Thunderball." In 1954, the very first on-screen appearance of James Bond occurred in the made-for-television adaptation of "Casino Royale," which starred American actor Barry Nelson as "Jimmy" Bond. "Casino Royale" would be adapted yet again in 1967 as a satire, starring David Niven as "Sir" James Bond. Though Sean Connery reprised his role in "Never Say Never Again," the film is nevertheless considered not part of the official James Bond movie canon, because like the 1954 and 1967 adaptations of "Casino Royale," "Never Say Never Again" was not produced and released through Eon/MGM/United Artists.
To learn more about how there came to be two competing Bond films ("Octopussy" and "Never Say Never Again") from two different studios in the same year, click here.
Fleming. Ian Fleming.
The "father" of James Bond, Ian Fleming was born on May 28th, 1908 in London. Fleming attended Eton College before studying abroad in Germany and Austria. During World War II, Fleming was commissioned as a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in the Naval Intelligence Divisio. Serving as the Personal Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence, it was Fleming's experiences during the war that ultimately inspired him to write the first James Bond novel, "Casino Royale." Though Fleming apparently boasted that all of his works had a basis in fact, it is disputed just how much his experiences during the war informed his novels. What is not disputed, however, is that both Fleming and Bond shared the same tastes for alcohol, cigarettes, and women, among other vices. Fleming passed away at the age of 56 on August 12th, 1964.
To read more about Ian Fleming's life, click here.
"Do you expect me to talk?"
"No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to read more!"
MI6-HQ - Arguably the best and most comprehensive resource for James Bond on the Internet. It was instrumental in the creation of this LibGuide.
James Bond Lifestyle - Ever wanted to live like James Bond? This website will show you how, with detailed descriptions and inventories of everything from clothing to diet to cars and beyond.
25 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About James Bond - Want to read more interesting facts about James Bond not covered here? Multimedia site IGN has put together a list of, as the title says, 25 things you may not have known about James Bond.
The Official James Bond 007 Website - This list would not be complete without the official website for all things James Bond. Keep up-to-date on the latest news regarding everything James Bond.
Ian Fleming Publications - The official website for James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming. It also includes information on books that were not written by Ian Fleming, but are based on his creations.