In anticipation of SPECTRE, FilmDungeon.com editor Jeppe Kleyngeld lists his favourite things about the James Bond series in 12 unique features. Enjoy!
The 10 Best Pre-Credit Scenes
10. Die Another Day
Multi-dollar action sequence in North Korea, featuring terrific hovercrafts and high-tech weaponry. In his last performance as Bond, Brosnan comes surfing in on this high stakes assassination mission. The images have a very bleak colour, fitting and stylish for the North Korean setting. Most of the action consists of a hovercraft chase through a damp North Korean forest.
9. Licence to Kill
Felix Leiter’s wedding is rudely interrupted by the DEA. They are after a South American drug lord who is currently on the Bahamas’ and they enlist CIA-agent Leiter to catch him. Bond goes along for the ride, but ‘strictly as an observer’. Yeah right. It is too much to explain all that happens next, but it’s very good stuff. It ends in a brilliant stunt, namely a DEA helicopter that plucks Sanchez’s plane straight out of the sky. Leiter and Bond still make it to the wedding in time by parachute.
007 becomes a one man army in this adrenaline fuelled start of OCTOPUSSY. He pretends to be Colonel Luis Toro in order to enter a heavily armed enemy base in Cuba to place a bomb. But he is caught, so he has to go with Plan B. That involves attacking the base with a micro airplane, being chased by a heat seeking missile and using that to blow up the main hangar (where the enemy’s secret weapons are stored). Off course he also snugs a girl during all of this. That is how you fulfil your objectives in style.
James attends the funeral of Colonel Jacques Bouvar, an operative from SPECTRE (Number 6). On his coffin are the initials JB and Bond remarks that he would have liked killing Bouvar himself for murdering two of his colleagues. Later, Bond goes to the château of Bouvar where he identifies his foe disguised as his own widow. A spectacular fight ensues in which no piece of furniture is left unused. After Bond killed Bouvar with a fire poke, he makes a spectacular escape using a jetpack and his Aston Martin DB5. Very cool sequence that sucks you right into the movie.
6. For Your Eyes Only
It took a while, but James finally gets his revenge on his arch enemy Ernst Stravro Blofeld for murdering his wife Teresa in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE. This credit sequence has no direct link with the story in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, but does fit the central ‘revenge’ theme. Bond is called away while visiting his deceased wife’s grave. As he approaches Blofeld’s hide-out, the controls of his chopper are taken over by the old SPECTRE leader. After Blofeld has toyed with him for a while, Bond manages to take back control of the chopper again, scoops up Blofeld and drops him in a factory chimney. ‘Mr. Bond’, he pleads, ‘We can do a deal. I’ll buy you a delicatessen. In stainless steal.’
5. Casino Royale
This back-to-the-beginning entry in the series opens with a grainy black and white sequence in which Bond earns his Double 0-status. We learn it takes two kills to become a Double 0. The first one is a real die hard kill in a men’s room. But the second one is considerably easier. Nice to meet you, Mr. Bond.
SKYFALL opens with a massive pursuit through Turkey. Bond needs to get his hands on a stolen list with identities of secret agents. He chases the bad guy on foot, by car, by bike and by train. With trademark humour (‘just changing carriages’) and plenty of demolition. The perfect opening for Bond’s 50th anniversary movie.
3. You Only Live Twice
It begins with the brutal space jacking of Jupiter 16, an American spacecraft. With the cold war going on, the Americans are quick to accuse the Russians, but her Majesty’s government does not agree. Their sources say the enemy’s spacecraft has landed in Japan, so all secret intelligence should look in that direction. ‘Our man in Hong Kong is on it right now’, says a British official. Cut to James Bond making love to a Chinese girl. Soon after, Bond is executed off screen and the police finds his dead body. Surely, James can not be dead? Very suspenseful opening of the fifth official Bond movie.
2. The Spy Who Loved Me
A submarine hijacking, a terrific skiing purchase, the classic British flag escape… This is how you start a Bond movie. The action is also a set-up for the plot, unlike the usual standalone pre-credit scenes. Bond kills a Russian agent who happens to be the lover of a female Russian spy (the gorgeous Triple X) who James will very soon meet…
It is a breath-taking moment, when James bungee jumps of a massive dam in Russia. After that comes the toilet joke (‘beg your pardon, forgot to knock’), the first we see of Pierce Brosnan’s humorous take on 007. After that it is action time with Bond and colleague 006, who are assigned to destroy a chemical weapons factory. After 006 gets killed by General Ouromov, Bond makes a very narrow escape by pulling an unbelievable airplane stunt. Spectacular opening in every way.
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Good list. The Spy Who Loved me is frequently put at #1 in such lists and although it is a great stunt, I suspect the iconography of the English flag plays a huge part in this. As does the Nobody Does it Better theme kicking in at just the right moment. Goldeneye at #1? I always felt that movie has some dodgy miniature work. Case in point when Bond flies away and the base blows up, but it’s a strong opening. Surprised to not see Godfinger here although it’s true that one is merely cool and funny rather than spectacular and explosive. The one that has made the biggest impression on me has to be You Only Live Twice and I mean the one where a spacecraft gobbles up another one. I probably saw this movie the first time when I was 10 years old and what really blew my mind, and still does, is John Barry’s music here. Perhaps his best Bond piece ever. The track is called “Capsule in Space” if you wanna look for it. Alex R.
Ah yes, Goldfinger, it is a great opening, but you’ll find that Goldfinger will pop up in many lists to come, so if I was gonna leave it out somewhere, this list makes most sense.
There are two criteria for these lists;
1. My pure subjective experience of the scene (that’s why GoldenEye is nr. uno, that scene blew me out of my seat despite the dodgy miniatures, ha ha, you’re right about those).
2. How memorable is the scene? Those ten come to mind easily when thinking about Bond openings.
Next: 10 Best Title Sequences. Wanna guess the number one?
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