35 Declassified Facts About The ‘James Bond’ Films - too cool 2 be true

35 Declassified Facts About The ‘James Bond’ Films

“Bond. James Bond.” Those three simple words introduced film audiences to one of the most famous secret agents of all time. If you’re a Bond fan, you might remember that it was Sean Connery who said those words at the beginning of the first James Bond film: Dr. No. From that 1962 version to 2021’s No Time To Die, there have been at least 27 films that show the secret missions of that suave MI6 agent. 

Bond is revered by many movie fans for having a refined taste (Rolexes, tuxedos, and Aston Martins), being surrounded by beautiful women (the so-called “Bond girls”), and always getting the job done.  No matter how dire the situation may look, he always manages to complete the mission – usually with his tuxedo intact! This might be the case on-screen, but off-screen things were a little more out of control. Here are 35 little-known facts about the Bond films – declassified just for you!

Official recognition of MI6

MI6 – or Military Intelligence, Section 6 – is the United Kingdom’s foreign intelligence service. They send intelligence officers overseas to various countries to gather intelligence that they can use to further the national security of the United Kingdom.

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James Bond is a member of MI6 and has been ever since Ian Fleming created the character in his 1953 book Casino Royale. Yet despite the popularity of Fleming’s MI6 character, the UK waited until 1994 – over 40 years after James Bond was created – to officially recognize that MI6 exists. Top secret! 

The licorice wire

Jaws, the infamous henchman and skilled assassin, was played by actor Richard Kiel in the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me and the 1979 film Moonraker. This was a relatively rare occurrence because many other Bond villains faded away after a few scenes in a single movie.

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If you remember Jaws, you probably remember his famous metal teeth. In a famous scene in Moonraker, he used them to bite through a thick piece of gondola wire. Yikes! Luckily for actor Richard Kiel, the wire was made of licorice! 

Suffocating through your skin

In the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, Auric Goldfinger had a notorious method of murder: skin suffocation. He would cut off their ability to breathe by painting their entire body in gold. In the film it worked, but could it happen in real life?

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Very unlikely because, unlike frogs, people don’t breathe through their skin. However, the Goldfinger crew didn’t want to take chances. Instead of painting Bond girl Jill Masterson’s whole body, they left a small patch blank – just in case! 

The Chevrolet

James Bond is well known for his love of the finer things in life. This includes a variety of luxury watches, the Vesper Martini cocktail, and of course, cars. The 007 agent is famously known for his love of Aston Martins.

But the famous Aston Martin DB5 didn’t appear on screen until the 1964 Bond film Goldfinger. It’s so iconic that it seems it should have been there forever, so what came before? The answer: a Chevrolet Bel-Air. Still fancy, but not as expensive as the Aston Martin! 

License to (nearly) fall of a cliff

James Bond films are famous for their car chases, but filming them can get a bit dangerous! Actor Timothy Dalton knows this first-hand. Although he only appeared in two Bond films, one of those films nearly cost him his life.

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In License to Kill, Dalton was filmed speeding around a mountain road. It was supposed to be closed off, but somehow another driver came passing through the set and nearly caused a fatal accident. Luckily, Dalton swerved away – but he nearly drove off a cliff while doing so! 

The spinoff that was jinxed

Halle Berry played Jinx, an NSA agent and Bond girl, in the 2002 film Die Another Day. Both Jinx and James Bond were after Zao, a rogue agent from North Korea. Berry’s portrayal of Jinx was meant to lead to a spinoff movie.

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However, it didn’t end up working. Despite Jinx being a popular character for audiences, the film itself got some pretty poor reviews. Mix that with the fact that the budget was enormous and MGM studios decided against the spinoff. The script got ripped up instead!

Connery’s age

After playing James Bond a total of six times, the actor Sean Connery decided to quit the role… for the second time. The first time was after the release of 1967’s You Only Live Twice. The second time was after the 1971 release of Diamonds Are Forever. Why did he quit?

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The 40-year-old actor felt a bit too old to be playing James Bond. After he quit, the role of Bond was played by Roger Moore. The odd part? Moore was three years older than Connery and ended up playing the lead role from 1973 up to 1985! 

Moore feeling a bit old

As we saw in the previous post, Roger Moore took over the lead role of James Bond because Sean Connery felt too old to play the 007 agent. When Moore’s first film, Live and Let Die, came out in 1973, he was already 46 years old.

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Despite that, Moore kept on playing James Bond. From the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, he played the secret agent in a total of seven films. In the last one, A View to a Kill, he was 57 years old. That made him older than the mother of the female lead!

A free ride for life

When Daniel Craig signed on to be the new James Bond in the 2006 film Casino Royale, a few rumors began to circulate. Chief among them was that Craig would be given free Aston Martin’s for the rest of his life! Really?

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Turns out the rumors were false. Although Daniel Craig won’t get free Astin Martins for life, he’s earned enough from the five Bond movies he’s done so far to buy a few himself. Also, as he’s pointed out, London isn’t a great city for a sports car. 

Where the name “James Bond” comes from

The author Ian Fleming spent quite a while trying to think up a name for his secret agent character. He wanted something a bit boring, not too snazzy or over the top. Eventually, he decided on the name “James Bond”, but where did he get it from?

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It turns out that James Bond wasn’t some real-life agent of MI6. Rather, he was a famous ornithologist who wrote a definitive book on the birds of the Caribbean. Fleming, who had a house in Jamaica, was familiar with Bond’s book and decided he liked the name.

Neeson says “no” to James Bond

Actor Liam Neeson is well-known for his role in the action film Taken. It rocketed him into action hero stardom. Now his name is almost synonymous with that style of film and its famous line, “but what I do have is a very particular set of skills.”


However, a lesser-known fact is that he turned down another action film with equally famous quotes – the James Bond films. In the early 1990s, Liam Neeson turned it down because he wasn’t interested in action films. Oh, how things change.

An expensive bikini

In the 1962 James Bond film Dr. No, actress Ursula Andress played the role of the shell diver Honey Ryder. During a particularly famous scene, Andress strolled out onto the beach in a white bikini. This helped boost sales of the two-piece swimsuit.

Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images) (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Nearly 40 years later, in 2001, Andress’s iconic bikini went up for sale at Christie’s in London. What price did this piece of film history get? The owner of the Planet Hollywood restaurants bought it for $60,000! Unfortunately, the conch shell wasn’t included in the price tag.

Controversial ancestry

When James Bond was dreamed up in the mind of author Ian Fleming, he was meant to be a secret agent of British ancestry. However, in the early 1960s, when the first film was being made, Sean Connery was cast as James Bond. Controversy ensued.

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Connery is of Scottish ancestry, not British ancestry. Some James Bond enthusiasts and purists were upset by this. However, after the filming was done, many had a change of heart. Fleming admired it so much that he rewrote Bond’s backstory to be Scottish. 

The laser’s first appearance

Are you a fan of the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger? If so, you probably remember the infamous scene with the laser. “Do you expect me to talk?” Bond asks. “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die,” Goldfinger answers.

It turns out that this scene was the first in film history to use a laser! Although Ian Fleming wrote it with a buzzsaw in mind rather than a laser, the filmmakers thought a laser would be more visually appealing! If you haven’t seen the film, don’t worry, Bond gets away. 

Connery’s secret hair

Sean Conner played James Bond in a total of seven films – from Dr. No in 1962 to Never Say Never Again in 1983. During that time there have been quite a few scenes of Connery with his shirt off. He’s quite a hairy guy.

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It turns out that some of the hair is real and some of it isn’t. The curly hair on his chest is real, but the hair on his head isn’t. Connery’s hair thinned out at a young age, so he relied on hairpieces to play James Bond. 

Where Goldeneye comes from

Have you seen the 1995 film Goldeneye? If so, have you ever thought about where the name comes from? It sounds mysterious – is it related to one of the villains or heroes? Perhaps a nickname for a special weapon?  

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It turns out none of the above. The name Goldeneye comes from an estate in Jamaica. Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond, bought the estate, named it, and would often spend long periods there as he wrote his books. Nowadays it functions as a luxury resort. 

Fleming’s children’s book

Where did Ian Fleming get the idea and material for writing spy novels? It turns out that Fleming worked in naval intelligence during World War II. Although it wasn’t for MI6, it gave him enough exposure to know a bit about the inner workings of intelligence services.

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That makes sense for an author of James Bond. However, he also wrote another book, a children’s book called Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. It’s about a magical car and he wrote it for his son. What would James Bond think?

The famous tuxedo

The James Bond 007 look is world-famous. All the leading actors who play James Bond wear his signature tuxedo. In fact, the tuxedo is such an integral part of the Bond character that actors are forbidden to wear tuxedos in other films.

United Artists

The rule has stuck, for the most part. However, Pierce Brosnan got pretty close to breaking it in his 1999 film The Thomas Crown Affair. Playing a similarly suave character (this time an art dealer), he wore a loose bow tie and unbuttoned shirt – very close to a tuxedo!

Tom Jones sings the Bond theme

The James Bond theme has become popular worldwide. First recorded in 1962, it has since been played by many artists in a variety of styles. This iconic piece of music can sometimes take a lot out of the performers though. Just ask Tom Jones.

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The singer Tom Jones performed the James Bond theme for the 1965 film Thunderball. Apparently, he passed out while singing the last note! Luckily, he was in the studio rather than fighting a villain and it made it into the film. 

Real-life spy gadgets

James Bond is infamous for having all the latest and greatest spy gadgets. These range from a Geiger counter to a jetpack to a wheelchair that shoots out rockets! Although these might look good for the screen, do real MI6 agents use them as well?

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It turns out that MI6 agents do have some impressive spy gear that helps them get the job done. However, the gadgets aren’t perfect – far from it actually! Reports show that many of their spy gadgets end up malfunctioning a lot more than they’d like to admit.

The Forgotten Bond

Many famous actors have played James Bond throughout the years. The list includes Sean Connery in the 1960s, Pierce Brosnan in the 1990s, and Daniel Craig in the 2000s. However, considering that there have been 27 movies, not all of the actors are well known.

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After Sean Connery stepped down from the role, filmmakers needed a James Bond for the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. They found one in George Lazenby. Who? A relatively unknown guy who happened to meet the producer in a barbershop – great day for a haircut!

The leading actor who had no acting experience

When James Bond producer Albert Broccoli met George Lazenby at the barbershop, he remembered that the man was very confident. He tucked him away in his references for a future date. Later on, he called him again and offered the job. Lazenby became James Bond.

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The problem was Lazenby had no real acting experience. He had done some commercial and advertising gigs, but nothing approaching a lead role in a major film production. Somehow he managed to do it though – well enough that, according to legend, Sean Connery even congratulated him at a restaurant. 

Lazenby’s real-life skills

Although George Lazenby might have been an unskilled actor at the time he landed the biggest acting role of his life, he was quite talented in other ways. This helped to make it seem like he had the right stuff to play James Bond on the big screen.

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For example, Lazenby was an accomplished skier who had quite a few skiing trophies from Australia, his home country. Alongside that, he was formally trained in martial arts and had been a member of the Australian army. Not a bad combo for a secret agent! 

An Aussie moves to London

After the martial arts training, skiing competitions, and time in the Australian army, George Lazenby decided to give a go at fixing and selling cars. He got a job at Volkswagen and, in order to pursue a love interest, ended up moving to London.

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Lazenby had a comfortable life in the city and he was happy. Lucky for him, he was making decent money by selling cars to the wealthy citizens of London. It was during this time that he met a talent scout who convinced him to try another career. 

A career in modeling

Instead of being a car salesman, this talent scout convinced Lazenby to give modeling a try. It worked out well for him. The fact that he fit the bill of being “tall and handsome” meant that he ended up getting a lot of modeling gigs.

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As these modeling gigs became more and more consistent, the salary he was earning got better and better. Although he was already earning quite a hefty sum by selling cars to wealthy Londoners, his modeling pay soon surpassed it. 

A famous advertising

The jobs kept coming in for George Lazenby and soon he was offered a major advertising gig: Fry’s chocolate candy. This beloved chocolate candy was a big hit and the advertising was all over the place. Lazenby’s face became a common sight.

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Around this time, Lazenby met the film producer Albert Broccoli at a barbershop. They parted ways but Broccoli remembered being struck by the way Lazenby carried himself. After seeing the Fry’s chocolate ad, Broccoli gave Lazenby a call and asked him to come audition.

Preparing for the role

George Lazenby was stunned that the film producer for James Bond had asked him to come audition for the role. Could I be Agent 007 he must have thought. Although it might have been a joke, he decided to take it seriously and prepare for the role.

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To prepare for the audition, Lazenby took some of the money he made from advertisements and selling cars and spent it on a few key items. In particular, the famous Rolex watch and a suit from Sean Connery’s tailor.

Audition Day for Lazenby

When George Lazenby came to audition for the part of James Bond in the upcoming 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he pulled out all the punches – both literally and figuratively! He was ready to make a big impression and show what he could do.

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A professional stunt coordinator was working with Lazenby in order to show off Lazenby’s fighting skills. During that sparring session, Lazenby got a bit too into it and ended up (accidentally) punching him in the face! Whoops. Luckily for Lazenby, the producers were impressed by his aggression. 

The Paris bluff

Although the producers said to come back for another audition, Lazenby wasn’t sure if they were serious or not. He told them he couldn’t make it because he’d be on set for another film in Paris. They asked how much he was being paid. He made up a number: £500.

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Lazenby was told to go meet their accountant. Although actors aren’t normally paid for auditioning, Lazenby’s fib was convincing enough that the producers paid £500 and told him to come back the next day. Now that’s some James Bond-level skills!

007 Starring Role

When he came back the next day for an audition, it turned out well. Lazenby met with Peter Hunt, the director of the upcoming On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Rather than being annoyed by Lazenby fib, Hunt was impressed and thought Lazenby was perfect for the role of James Bond.

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Lazenby couldn’t believe it at first but soon got into the whole Bond persona. However, playing James Bond in a massive film wasn’t as easy as it sounded. He was expected to dress like James Bond, do advertisements for the film, and do any press interviews required. 

Acting his heart out

Despite his lack of formal training, Lazenby conjured up a remarkable amount of emotion for his leading role. This included a famous scene of crying real tears over his love interest. This Bond film became a huge hit in 1969 – managing to pull in $82 million in profit!

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Since it was such a highly successful film, the film producers saw a bright future for Lazenby. This newbie actor was suddenly offered a huge opportunity: play James Bond in the next seven films and become a world-famous action star! 

Lazenby’s critical life choice

While that offer might sound like a dream to many aspiring actors – especially those in their early career – Lazenby didn’t make a decision right away. This was in the late 1960s and early 1970s as the hippie culture became more and more popular.

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Eventually, Lazerby decided against the offer. He didn’t want to keep up with all the demands of being a Bond character and wanted to focus on smaller films instead. Also, he thought the demand for violent action films with gunslinging secret agents wasn’t going to be popular for much longer. 

Lazenby’s career after James Bond

After George Lazenby turned down the offer to play James Bond for the foreseeable future, he decided to try out his luck in other movies. Since this was during the counterculture era of the 1960s and 1970s, he decided to grow out his hair and let his beard grow shaggy.

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However, the hippie roles never really came – at least not with the same success as James Bond. Perhaps this was due to the fact that his name and face were forever tied to a clean-shaven and short-haired 007 agent. 

What if?

Although George Lazenby didn’t have a terrible life, as the years went by, he began to regret his decision of turning down the Bond films. How different would the Bond franchise be if Lazenby, instead of Roger Moore, played the secret agent during the 1970s and 80s?

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Despite being a veteran actor, Roger Moore’s portrayal of James Bond hasn’t been a favorite of movie critics. In contrast, modern critics have looked back at Lazenby’s film with some admiration. How can that be? 

The moral of Lazenby’s story

Unfortunately for George Lazenby, he made the mistake of walking away from one opportunity because he assumed that many others would come. Others did come, but they were mostly smaller-scale productions like The Man from Hong Kong and A Queen’s Ransom.

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Granted, he still lived a pretty interesting life. Lazenby made some money through real estate and moved to Hollywood where he started getting some smaller roles. He’s still alive today and remains hopeful that he will get another big break.