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.

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James Bond: 10 Best Title Sequences

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

10. The Man with the Golden Gun
Song: ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’
Artist: Lulu (performer) and John Barry (composer)The Man with the Golden Gun 1
Golden guns and bullets and beautiful (naked) dames make for a very cool opening sequence, even though the opening song by Scottish singer Lulu is somewhat forgettable. The theme tune is considered by critics to be among the weakest of Barry’s contributions to the series. He agrees himself. ‘It’s the one I hate most… it just never happened for me.’

9. Tomorrow Never Dies
Song: ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’
Artist: Sheryl Crow (writer and performer) and Mitchell Froom (writer and producer)
Tomorrow Never Dies 1
Bond really enters the digital age with TOMORROW NEVER DIES. The title scene represents that transition perfectly with the usual images of guns and girls morphed into digital transformations. It has a relaxed pace, features a melodic song by Sheryl Crow and perfectly fits the media theme of the instalment.

8. Moonraker
Song: ‘Moonraker’
Artist: Shirley Bassey (performer) and John Barry (composer)Moonraker 1
High velocity, blue moons, the earth seen from space, lunar experience, dames flying… The Moonraker title sequence features the third and final Bond-song performed by Shirley Bassey (following GOLDFINGER and DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER). Very pleasant title sequence that feels a bit like floating in outer space…

7. Licence to Kill
Song: ‘Licence to Kill’
Artist: Gladys Knight (performer) and Michael Kamen (composer)Licence to Kill 1
John Barry was not available at the time of production for LICENCE TO KILL, so Michael Kamen (LETHAL WEAPON, DIE HARD) got the composing job. The song, performed by Gladys Knight, became one of the finest and most popular title songs of the series. It remains a classic song to this day, really beautiful. The title design is the last one by Maurice Binder. He died in 1991.

6. Dr. No
Song: ‘The James Bond Theme’
Artist: Monty Norman (writer) and John Barry (composer)Dr. No 1
The first ever title sequence is a pretty basic, but colourful and atmospheric animation sequence. What really makes it work is the exciting and cool surf rock style guitar riff. This ‘James Bond theme’ would return in every Bond flick. Since this is the first time the theme music is used, a position in this list is obligatory.

5. Casino Royale
Song: ‘You Know My Name’
Artist: Chris Cornell (writer and performer) and David Arnold (writer and composer)Casino Royale 1
‘You know my name.’
Yes, we do. The CASINO ROYALE animation is a stunning piece of art work. In designing the credit sequence, designer Daniel Kleinman was inspired by the cover of the 1953 British first edition of CASINO ROYALE, which featured Ian Fleming’s original design of a playing card bordered by eight red hearts dripping with blood. The scene ends with Bond’s double 0 status being confirmed. New Bond Daniel Craig walks up to the camera, slowly revealing his face. Yes, this is Bond allright.

4. GoldenEye
Song: ‘GoldenEye’
Artist: Tina Turner (performer), Bono & The Edge (writers) and Nellee Hooper (composer)GoldenEye 1
Tina Turner’s GoldenEye is one of the coolest opening songs ever. It rightly became one of the highest-charting hit singles of Turner’s career in the UK and Europe. The images of the credit sequence mostly revolve around the destruction of the old USSR, one of the main themes of GOLDENEYE. It also has a gun popping out of a girl’s mouth; a combination of the two most frequently used elements in Bond title sequences. Fantastic first design job by Daniel Kleinman, who succeeded Maurice Binder who had died in 1991.

3. You Only Live Twice
Song: ‘You Only Live Twice’
Artist: Nancy Sinatra (performer) and John Barry (composer)You Only Live Twice 1
Bitter sweet Asian style credit sequence featuring one of the most beautiful James Bond title songs. Nancy Sinatra sings a song that could easily be her fathers; romantic and spellbinding. Maurice Binder created another visually impressive intro featuring volcanos, Japanese hand fans and off course pretty Asian girls. We like.

2. Goldfinger
Song: ‘Goldfinger’
Artist: Shirley Bassey (performer) and John Barry (composer)Goldfinger 2
Beautiful golden images combines with the greatest James Bond title song hands down. Shirley Bassey’s vocals give us goose bumps every time. Interestingly, the theme was almost taken out of the film because of its producer’s (Harry Saltzman) opinion. He hated it, saying ‘That’s the worst fucking song I’ve ever heard in my fucking life’. Luckily, there was no time to record another song, so the theme song stayed. During the opening, we get to see many clips of the movie we are about to see moulded in golden shapes. It has the same effect gold does; it makes us greedy for more. Great job!

1. Skyfall
Song: ‘Skyfall’
Artist: Adele (writer and performer) and Paul Epworth (writer and producer)Skyfall 1
‘This is the end…’
A fascinating play of shadows and dark underwater worlds, and tokens of death… Designer Daniel Kleinman’s best so far. And Adele’s title song really has the classic sound to it. An unparalleled beauty of a credit sequence.

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James Bond: 10 Best Pre-Credit Scenes

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
Die Another Day 1
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
License 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.

8. Octopussy
Octopussy 1
Octopussy 2
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.

7. Thunderball
Thunderball 3
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
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
Casino Royale 1
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.

4. Skyfall
Skyfall 1
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
You Only Live Twice 1
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
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…

1. GoldenEye
GoldenEye 2
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.

007

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