With the recent 50th anniversary of James Bond spy 007 films, I’ve reflected on what they’ve taught me. Bond films have it all: the cool cars, the gadgets, the ingenious villain, the uncompromising style, and of course the Bond Girls. Add these all up, and here are the lessons I’ve learned:
1.Shaken, Not Stirred! If there’s anything that James Bond has taught me, it’s that every classic cocktail tastes better when shaken, never stirred! This includes a vesper or vodka martini, scotch and soda, vodka and tonic, Americano, Old-Fashioned, Stinger and Mojito! So please make mine shaken, not stirred!
2. Spot the Villain! Contrary to my politically correct upbringing, James Bond films have taught me that you can always spot the bad guys just by looking at physical attributes. To uncover a villain, look for bleeding tear ducts and heterochromia iridis—eyes of two different colours (Casino Royale’s Le Chiffre), a face full of embedded diamonds (Die Another Day’s Zao), or a bald guy in an oversized leather, chair stroking a fluffy white cat (You Only Live Twice’s Ernst Stavro Blofeld)!
3. Well-Dressed! James Bond has taught me to always be well-dressed, whether driving a motorcycle across rooftops, clocking a bad guy on top of a moving train, or plunging to my near death in a river below (Skyfall). Of course, a dinner jacket and bowtie are à propos for gentlemen at the casino, or as a prelude to a love scene!
4. Cool Cars! I owe my cool car vocabulary to every James Bond film I ever saw: Alfa Romeo GTV6 (Octopussy), Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger), Bentley Mark IV (From Russia with Love), BMW Z8 (The World is Not Enough), Jaguar XJ (Skyfall) and Lotus Formula 3 (Casino Royale). Of course my own car does not turn invisible or shoot rockets like Bond’s Aston Martin V12 Vanquish (Die Another Day), but hey, I drive a minivan!
5. Gadgets! Without James Bond films, I would’ve never heard about a garrotte wristwatch that can strangle villains (From Russia With Love), or a Walther PPK 7.65mm gun for personal protection (Dr. No). Needless to say, I’d rather take an AMC Matador flying car any day, than wait an hour to go through airport security (The Man With the Golden Gun)! Okay, I could’ve used a pair of Jaws’ metal teeth to bite through our overcooked Thanksgiving Turkey (The Spy Who Loved Me)!
6. Bond Girls Are Expendable! I’ve learned that bodacious Bond Girls have the survival rate of say, a mouse inside a boa constrictor’s mouth! And if you sleep with James Bond, or cross one of his enemies, you’re going to end up dead and naked, sprayed from head-to-toe in gold paint (Goldfinger); get shot in the head before your honeymoon (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service); be dead on a bed covered in an oil slick (Skyfall); or be found dead and strangled in a beach hammock (Skyfall). For Bond Girls, the prospects are kind of slim!
7. Sometimes Hydrogen Cyanide Doesn’t Work! I recently learned from Skyfall, that if MI6 sends you on a dangerous mission and it gets ugly, you’d better be certain that your secret tooth filled with Hydrogen Cyanide works. Otherwise, you might end up like Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), and have a face that looks like it’s melting.
8. Never Use a Flashlight at Night (when pursued by bad guys)! Okay, here’s another lesson taken from the recent Bond film, Skyfall. What child hasn’t been busted by a parent, when the telling glare of the flashlight gives away nighttime reading? Same concept here when villains with crazy weapons are pursuing you: remember to turn the flashlight OFF, even if you’re in a Scottish moor at night! Duh!
9. MI6! Okay, the James Bond series have taught me all about MI6, Britain’s top secret spy agency. Which brought me to do a search of MI6, and by the way they’re hiring! If you’re a British citizen, you actually can get a gig as an “Intelligence Officer”, and it pays about $100,000 per year! Try this quiz to see if you’re well-suited to be a MI6 spy!
10. Laugh in the Face of Adversity! One of the greatest things I’ve learned from James Bond films is to laugh in the face of adversity! In Casino Royale (2006 version), James Bond is tortured by Le Chiffre. He has been stripped naked and is strapped to a seatless chair. Le Chiffre is using a thick rope to whip Bond’s, uh…boys. Regardless of the discomfort that ensues, Bond manages to make light and instruct the villain how to whip him properly! Laughter is the best medicine!
Do you have a favourite James Bond film? What's the most memorable scene?