Sean Connery’s Bond is a lot of things to a lot of people. For some he is Bond, and everyone else is just imitating. For others he is overrated, merely lucky enough to have been the first out of the gate. He is the one who first said “Bond, James Bond” and “shaken, not stirred.” He is the first one we saw in a tux, the first one with a Walther, the first one doing the gun barrel sequence. He definitely set the tone, for good or ill, and is the first image a lot of people have in mind when they think Bond. Sean Connery starred in six official Bond films, and one unofficial feature which we haven’t included here. He was in five, took a break, and then returned for a final go around the track. He definitely defined some of the cooler parts of the character, but did he also help shape the idea of Bond as a silly cartoon? Audiences Everywhere has gone through each Bond one by one and studied, prodded, analysed and examined to try and present an argument as to which Bond is best, beginning with the first Bond himself, Mr Sean Connery:

Dr. No

United Artists

Dr. No (1962)

First Time: Dr No, the first Bond outing, is a simple story about a man who wants to make rockets crash. Oh, and he has metal hands. Bond is sent to Jamaica to look for a missing MI6 agent who was investigating the mysterious Dr No. Can he stop the bad guy, get the girl, and be effortlessly cool while doing it? Yes. Obviously.

Same But Different: Bond films have survived for so long because they have a tried and tested formula that people seem to really like. What’s fascinating about watching Dr. No is how much of that formula is present straightaway. There are Bond girls, un-stirred vodka martinis, a villain in a secret base, “Bond, James Bond”, M, Moneypenny, and an exotic locale. There are also differences that stand out. Modern Bond films are usually announced with a cast list followed closely by a list of the countries the movie will be filmed in. Each film will usually have four or five filming locations all over the world, and this is the norm with most Bond films. So it’s interesting that Dr No only takes place in England and Jamaica. Consider Skyfall which takes place in England, Scotland, Turkey, and China. Another deviation from the usual formula is the lack of gadgets. Q, or Major Boothroyd as he is called in this movie, only appears briefly and the gadget he gives Bond is not an exploding pen, laser watch, or invisible car. No, it’s a gun. Just a gun.

Baddies!: Another weird element of the movie is that nowadays the casting of a Bond villain is usually big news. The only time is it upstaged is when they need to cast a new Bond (#IdrisElbaforBond). In recent years, a lot of Oscar-nominated/winning actors have become Bond villains and. Looking through the years at actors who have tried to kill Bond, it is a murderer’s row of talent and eccentricity. For most of the movies, the villain’s plot is the driving element of the story, so a charismatic actor/character is a must-have for such an important role. What is strange about Dr No is that even though Dr No’s name is bandied about and is the title of the movie, the bad doctor only appears in two scenes of the film: a dinner scene and a scene that ends in his death. This does not detract from the quality of the movie as they do well to build a mythos around him before he appears so the viewer can feel his presence even when he’s not on screen.

Overall: First time’s the charm. A very good Bond film, which keeps it simple. It is tight, action-packed, full of beautiful women, nice locations, and, most of all, Bond is cool as ice. The first time we see him on screen he is playing cards and we are shown everyone else at the table before we are shown Sean Connery at peak nonchalant cool, lighting a cigarette in a tux and introducing himself as “Bond, James Bond.” It is a fantastic introduction to this new character which sets the tone for the next fifty years of movies.

 

Dr. No | From Russia With Love | Goldfinger | Thunderball | You Only Live Twice | Diamonds Are Forever