In wake of the recent announcement that Javier Bardem will be the villain in the upcoming 23rd installment of the Bond franchise, I have decided to create a new series for the blog here detailing reviews of all, yes all, 22 previous installments of the British super spy. Yes, I have seen all 22 previous movies, I can name all 22 movies in chronological order and tell you all six actors who played Bond and the years they played him off the top of my head. In short, I am a huge James Bond fan, so this will be a fun series to work through. To start it off? Well, let’s just go in order shall we.
★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2
This is the first entry into the official canon of Bond films produced by Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, based on the novels of Ian Fleming. Nearly everything we have come to know and love with the series began in this film: first introduction to 007, first appearance of SPECTRE, first Bond Girl, exotic locations, Aston Martins and even CIA pal Felix Leiter. Outside of missing the lovable Q, everything else is in place for the perfect mix of espionage and action.
Directed by multiple Bond director Terrence Young, this film stars Sean Connery as Bond, who still to this day many consider the best interpretation of the role. I love Connery in the role, but we will find further as we move through the series who my favorite Bond actor was. Following British Station Chief John Strangway’s death in Jamaica, 007 is sent to investigate. After several run ins with mysterious persons on the island, 007 find out that CIA operative, Felix Leiter (Jack Lord of later Hawaii Five-o fame) is on the same mission regarding radio jamming of American rockets. Quarrel (John Kitzmiller), a boatman, is working with Leiter and reveals that Strangway had requested several trips from him to nearby islands for mineral samples. He also reveals a little about reclusive Dr. No, who owns the island of Crab Key. Finding some radioactive traces in Quarrel’s boat from Strangway’s samples, Bond insists he be taken to Crab Key. Once there, Bond and Quarrel meet the beautiful Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), a beachcomber who collects and sells shells. Ryder leads Bond and Quarrel up the swamp, further into the compound. Further inland, the group is attacked, resulting in the death of Quarrel, and Bond and his new found beauty are taken captive. Without detailing too much to spoil the excitement, Bond and Honey Ryder are escorted into dining with SPECTRE operative and first nemesis Dr. Julius No (iconically portrayed by Joseph Wiseman).
If Bond is your cup of tea, then what more could you ask for? Everything that came to make the series beloved is in place; Ursula Andress is smoking hot in her white bikini, the gadgets and cars are awesome, Connery is suave and daring as Bond and Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No is a perfect, eccentric villain. Though not my favorite Connery-era bond film, you can’t argue with how essential it was to defining the rest of the series.