James Bond: Top 20 Action Sequences

In anticipation of SPECTRE, FilmDungeon.com editor Jeppe Kleyngeld lists his favourite things about the James Bond series in 12 unique features. Enjoy!

20. Space Invaders
Film: MOONRAKER
Space Invaders (Moonraker)
Clearly inspired by the massive box office hit STAR WARS that came out two years before MOONRAKER. Although nowhere near the amazing Death Star climax of A NEW HOPE, it is a spectacular space battle in which military style astronauts help Bond to take out the space station of uber villain Hugo Drax.

19. Slippery Slope
Film: THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS
Slippery Slope (The Living Daylights)
Long and exciting chase sequence in which Bond and the attractive cellist Kara have to outrun the Russian army. They start out in a laser and rocket charged Aston Martin, and later switch to a cello case. According to IMDb, the cello was specially made of fibreglass, and fitted with control handles on the sides and skis underneath. During filming, the case would tend to topple over as Timothy Dalton was heavier than actress Maryam d’Abo who plays Kara.

18. Saigon Chase
Film: TOMORROW NEVER DIES
Saigon Chase (Tomorrow Never Dies)
Crowded markets are always fun for fast pursuits. Bond takes fellow agent Lin on a motor bike and they drive through the streets of Saigon, while being chased by trucks and a helicopter. Very fast and furious.

17. Swiss Course
Film: FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
Swiss Course (For Your Eyes Only)
Bond goes skiing along the scenic Swiss route and takes some palls along with him. Eric Krieger is one of them, a German skiing champion who also happens to work for the KGB. James proves again to be the best skier around. During the pursuit, he navigates a bobsledding track and a massive ski jump.

16. Delhi Chase
Film: OCTOPUSSY
Delhi Chase (Octopussy)
When filming a Bond-movie in India, a tuk-tuk pursuit through the crowded streets of New Delhi is a must. The result is an exciting and especially funny action scene filled with stunts (the tuk-tuk is a well-equipped company car). Features many bad guys with knives and throwing stars, and also camels, beggars and elephants. Lots of roepies save the day eventually.

15. Carmageddon
Film: DIE ANOTHER DAY
Carmageddon (Die Another Day)
Bond drives against the Korean terrorist Zao on the icy slopes of Iceland. Both their cars are equipped with more guns and explosive toys than even the most high-tech videogame can come up with, so that ensures entertaining combat. Ends with a spectacular chase through the ice palace. Bond eventually wins due to the adaptive camouflage feature of his Aston Martin.

14. Swamp Run
Film: LIVE AND LET DIE
Swamp Run (Live and Let Die)
A long chase by speedboat through the New Orleans bayou is one hell of a chase. Bond steers his boat through land, roadblocks, water blocks and wedding buffets. The chase was originally written in the script as just ‘Scene 156 – The most terrific boat chase you’ve ever seen’. Bond’s speedboat jump made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for its distance of 110 feet, a record that stood for three years. Sheriff J.W. Pepper makes his debut as the purchaser (he returns in the following Bond-film THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN).

13. Downhill Racer
Film: THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH
Downhill Racer (The World is Not Enough)
While skiing, Bond and oil magnate Elektra King are attacked by four parahawks. Armed with machine guns, grenades and rocket launchers, they make it pretty difficult for James. However, since he is the best skier in the world, he outsmarts them. But then they have to survive an avalanche…

12. Battle of Scotland
Film: SKYFALL
Battle of Scotland (Skyfall)
This climatic battle takes place at James’ parents old country house in Scotland, where Albert Finney helps Bond and M dispose of dozens of bad guys using old hunting rifles and explosives. One can’t help to think about HOME ALONE during this scene, but it’s an impressive work of destruction nonetheless with quite some humour adding to the enjoyment.

11. The Italian Game
Film: THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
The Italian Game (The Spy Who Loved Me)
After a visit to bad guy Stromberg in Sardinia, Bond and love interest Major Anya Amasova get chased by a collection of baddies; cars (with Jaws among the passengers), motorcycles and a helicopter. After getting rid of several of them, including pushing Jaws’ car down a cliff which he survives, Bond and Amasova take the car for a dive underwater. There they blow the chopper out of the sky and deal with several enemy underwater vehicles. The sequence ends with them going back ashore at a beach to the astonishment of the beach guests.

10. Showdown at Scaramanga’s Maze
Film: THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
Showdown at Scaramanga's Maze (The Man with the Golden Gun)
At the start of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, villain Scaramanga demonstrated how well he knows his way around in his fun palace. And he can shoot too. Bond’s Walther PPK (6 shots) versus Scaramanga’s golden gun (1 bullet): an exciting duel. 007 is supposed to be Scaramanga’s masterpiece, but after a suspenseful cat and mouse game, Bond defeats him by pretending to be his own wax image.

9. Vertigo
Film: A VIEW TO A KILL
Vertigo (A View to a Kill)
Spectacular climatic action scene of A VIEW TO A KILL. Bond fights psychopathic villain Max Zorin and a zeppelin on top of the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco. Lot’s of thrills and heart stopping moments in this one.

8. Liparus Shootout
Film: THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
Liparus Shootout (The Spy Who Loved Me)
Bond and several submarine crews are held prisoner on supertanker Liparus. Bond manages to break free the crew and a massive shootout erupts with villain Stromberg’s men. Director Lewis Gilbert likes to end Bond films in this fashion, since he did so in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, and would do so again in MOONRAKER (see 20). This one is the best though. It is a very exciting action scene with loads of explosions and bullet riddled baddies.

7. Flying High
Film: THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS
Flying High (The Living Daylights)
While his girlfriend Kara is at the wheel of a transport plane, Bond is fighting baddie Necros while hanging out of the back of the plane. Oh, then there is also a bomb about to go off. Suspense filled flight that ends beautifully with Bond using the bomb to help out a group of Afghan freedom fighters.

6. Madagascar Foot Chase
Film: CASINO ROYALE
Madagascar Foot Chase (Casino Royale)
This must be the best purchase on foot ever committed to celluloid. In Uganda, Bond chases a terrorist through jungle and a construction site. The suspect moves like a tiger, but Bond – on his first mission ever – earns his stripes here as a true action hero. The literal highlight is a showdown on a huge crane, in which Bond keeps his head way cooler than his audience.

5. Tank Escape
Film: GOLDENEYE
Tank Escape (GoldenEye)
To hell with subtlety. Bond steals a T-55 tank and chases down Russian baddie Ouromov through the streets of St. Petersburg. There is plenty of damage done. This sequence took around six weeks to film, partly on location in St. Petersburg and partly at Leavesden Studio in London. It is still regarded as one of the most iconic action scenes in the James Bond legacy.

4. Mountain Pursuit
Film: ON YOUR MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE
Mountain Pursuit (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
The James Bond legacy brought us the finest skiing action in cinema history, period. The sequence in which 007 and his fiancée Tracy are chased by Blofeld and his Austrian thugs in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE is a prime example. Two highlights: The first one happens when one of Blofeld’s men falls into a snow machine and he gets sprayed all over the slope. Bond remarks: ‘He had a lot of guts’. Classic Bond! The second highlight is Blofeld causing a massive avalanche that fails to kill Bond and Tracy, but does kill three of own men.

3. Train Fight
Film: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
Train Fight (From Russia with Love)
007 takes on killer Donald Grant in a moving train. This is a very exciting struggle in the narrowest of settings. Filmed in 1963, but still looks quite realistic. As often, Bond wins due to a gadget from Q; a knife hidden in his suitcase. Grant makes a formidable enemy though.

2. Sky Battle
Film: YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
Sky Battle (You Only Live Twice)
Bond is flying his ‘Little Nellie’ over a volcanic area in rural Japan, looking for clues of a secret hidden base. Out of nowhere, four hostile helicopters appear. Bond has to use every available weapon on board to fight them off, including heat seeking missiles, aerial mines and flame guns. ‘Little Nellie got a hot reception’, Bond comments. ‘Four big-shots made improper advances, but she defended her honour with great success.’ Beautifully photographed action sequence that still stands tall decades after it was filmed.

1. Highway to Hell
Film: LICENCE TO KILL
Highway to Hell (Licence to Kill)
Now this is one chase you’ll never forget. 4 trucks filled with highly explosive kerosene, truckloads full of baddies, 4 stinger missiles and a small airplane. Those are the ingredients of this highly ambitious and explosive sequence. Bond performing a wheelie to avoid a missile is just one of the amazing stunts featured in this scene. Action cinema doesn’t get any better than this.

Read also:

Top 10 Vehicles
James Bond: Top 10 Vehicles

10 Greatest Villains
James Bond: 10 Greatest Villains

10 Greatest Henchmen
James Bond: 10 Greatest Henchmen

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