License to Thrill: The Bond Movies Turn 50
Friday, October 5th has been dubbed Global James Bond Day, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of the first James Bond film, Dr. No. James Bond Day will be celebrated with special retrospectives, auctions, and charity events the world over.
That first 1962 film took author Ian Fleming's suave secret agent from the page to the big screen, launched the longest-running franchise in film history which has raked in billions of dollars at the box office, and made a household name out of a Scotsman named Sean Connery.
The series' 23rd installment, Skyfall, hits U.S. theaters November 9 -- with IMAX theaters offering a one-day sneak peek on November 8.
The movies were an immediate hit, thanks to the British secret agent's playboy lifestyle, his arsenal of cutting-edge gadgets, his flashy cars, and of course, his women -- "Bond girls" as they came to be known.
Barbara Broccoli, who produces the films now, having taken over for her late father Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, credits Connery and the fans with the series' longevity. "If it were not for Sean Connery we wouldn't be here," she told ABC News Radio. "He started the franchise, he was the first person to play the role in the cinema, he is an icon." As for the fans, Broccoli says the love of the spy, "goes from parents to child to grandparents."
Seven-foot-two actor Richard Kiel played metal-mouthed meanie Jaws in two Bond films, 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me and 1979's Moonraker. To him, the appeal of the Bond films was, "The women, of course, but besides that, for the price of a movie ticket you would go to several exotic, wonderful places."
On the men who wore the tux:
- Skyfall represents Daniel Craig's third go 'round as 007.
- Connery played the role in seven films -- though six officially, as 1983's Never Say Never Again is a remake of Thunderball and for legal reasons not part of the official Bond canon.
- Connery was succeeded in 1969 by George Lazenby for just one film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
- Roger Moore played Bond seven times, from 1973's Live and Let Die through 1985's A View to a Kill.
- Timothy Dalton played 007 twice, in 1987's The Living Daylights and 1989's Licence to Kill.
- Pierce Brosnan -- who was to take over the role in the early '80s, but was forbidden from doing so because of his Remington Steele contract -- reinvigorated the role in 1995 with GoldenEye, and played 007 four times, until 2002's Die Another Day.
- Craig, who is the first blonde haired actor to play the part, was chosen to reboot the franchise for 2006's Casino Royale.