comprehensive history of 007, james bond

History of James Bond

In this article, we discover the history of James Bond. With twenty-four James Bond movies and twelve novels released through five decades, we have seen James Bond sometimes depicted differently in Ian Flemings’ novel to his on-screen persona. Find out what and who Ian Fleming perceived as his ideal James Bond and the basis of the character.

Want to find an article quickly? Just click the link below:
Creation of Bond, James Bond
Family History
Ian Fleming Novels


CREATING THE CHARACTER

It has been suggested that a number of real-life inspirations were used when British author, journalist and Naval Intelligence officer Ian Fleming first created the fictional character, James Bond. A former Commander in the Royal Navy who subsequently became a spy working for Her Majesty’s Secret Service, MI6, and armed with his Licence to Kill.

History of James Bond Ian Fleming

He first appeared in Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel Casino Royale and went on to appear in further twelve novels and nine short stories by Ian Fleming, as well as a number of continuation novels and twenty-six films, with seven actors playing Bond.

When I wrote the first one in 1953, I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument … when I was casting around for a name for my protagonist I thought by God, [James Bond] is the dullest name I ever heard.”
– Ian Fleming, The New Yorker, 21 April 1962

History of James Bond - Ian Fleming Writing at Goldeneye Estate

 Of James Bond, Ian Fleming said he “was a compound of all the secret agents and commando types I met during the war” Although the actual stories and characters portrayed in the James Bond series are fictional, a number of key elements had a real-life background. During World War II, Ian Fleming was the personal assistant to the director of the Naval Intelligence Division, Admiral John Godfrey where he reached the rank of commander and inspired by a number of individuals he came across during his time in intelligence, he said that Bond “was a compound of all the secret agents and commando types I met during the war”. Throughout his writings, he included names of school friends, acquaintances, relatives and lovers throughout his books.

History of James Bond Ian Fleming at his Desk, Goldeneye

“He added the three gold bands on the filter during the war to mirror his naval Commander rank”However, many of James Bond’s habits, traits, preferences, vices and even his physical description suggest the character was most heavily based on Ian Fleming himself, such as sharing the same golf handicap, the taste for scrambled eggs, using the same brand of toiletries, his love of golf and gambling mirroring his creator’s. James Bond’s cigarettes were also the same as Ian Fleming’s, who had been buying his custom-made by Morland since the 1930s; He added the three gold bands on the filter during the war to mirror his naval Commander rank.

History of James Bond

“It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born”

When selecting a name for his protagonist, was inspired to use the name of American ornithologist James Bond. He was a bird expert and author of the field guide Birds of the West Indies; Ian Fleming, a keen birdwatcher himself, had a copy of James Bond’s guide lying on his coffee table and he later explained to the ornithologist’s wife that “It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born”. He was obliquely referred to in the film adaptation Die Another Day where James Bond picked up a copy of Birds of the West Indies whilst posing as an ornithologist.


FAMILY HISTORY

There was little information given about James Bond’s past until the release of You Only Live Twice, where M wrote an obituary shedding some light on his background. The age of James Bond was always inconsistent as Ian Fleming did not provide a date of birth, however, it’s clear that he is in his mid to late 30’s throughout the majority of the original series.

History of James Bond Ian Fleming Commissioned Drawing
Ian Fleming’s sketched concept image of James Bond; commissioned to aid the Daily Express comic strip artists

James Bond was born to a Scottish father called Andrew Bond and a Swiss mother Monique Delacroix. He was orphaned at 11 years old when his parents were killed in a mountain climbing accident. When Skyfall was released in 2006, we discovered more about his family history. James Bond takes M to Skyfall, his family estate and childhood home in the Scottish Highlands. This is the second time James Bond discusses the death of his parents in the series, the first was in Goldeneye.

Ian Fleming gave Bond both a sense of humour and a Scottish heritage reportedly based on Sean Connery’s performance in Dr No and was further influenced by his approach to the character in his later novels particularly with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1963.

History of James Bond, James Bond Family Coat of Arms
James Bond family coat of arms.
Motto: Orbis Non Sufficit (The World Is Not Enough”).

Following the death of his parents’, he went to live with his aunt, Miss Charmain where he attended Eton College. He was expelled from Eton after hooking up with a maid. Following this, he spent the next few years playing golf and skiing before joining the Royal Navy where he was promoted to the rank of Commander. After the war, he joined MI6 headed by M where to earn his 00 statuses was tasked with killing two enemy agents, a Japanese cypher clerk and a Norwegian double agent. This scenario was adapted, albeit with a few changes, in the officially sanctioned adaptation of Casino Royale (1967).

History of James Bond Hoagy Carmichael

“certainly good-looking… Rather like Hoagy Carmichael in a way. That black hair falling down over the right eyebrow. Much the same bones. But there was something a bit cruel in the mouth, and the eyes were cold”.

James Bond’s physical description is similar to that of Ian Fleming himself, however, there are other details throughout the book that provide further insight into his description. He decided that Bond should also resemble American singer Hoagy Carmichael and in Casino Royale, Vesper Lynd comments, “Bond reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless”. Reference is also made in Moonraker when Special Branch Officer Gala Brand thinks that Bond is “certainly good-looking … Rather like Hoagy Carmichael in a way. That black hair falling down over the right eyebrow. Much the same bones. But there was something a bit cruel in the mouth, and the eyes were cold”.

In the novel From Russia with Love, we found out that James Bond is 6 feet tall and of a slim build, weights 76 kilograms, has a scar on his right cheek and black hair. This information was found in a file kept by the KGB.

History of James Bond Ian Fleming reading Casino Royale

James Bond, 007, the chain smoking, heavy drinking, womanising cold war hero who indulges in his vices to silence the demons brought on by his work as a government sanctioned killer. His attitudes and prejudices are very much a product of their time, as well as reflective of Ian Fleming’s smug aristocratic viewpoints. While much darker and aggressive than his cinematic counterpart, he is also given much more humanity in the novels. He is a man who gets tired, burned out and discouraged, yet always makes the effort to ensure the job is done effectively while protecting his friends and country. He is, without question, the best that Her Majesty’s Secret Service has to offer.


NOVELS

Ian Fleming wrote all his novels at his estate in Jamaica called, Goldeneye and only wrote during the months January and February each year.

History of James Bond Ian Fleming Goldeneye Estate

When Ian Fleming had completed the manuscript for Casino Royale he gave it to his friends, who later became the editor, William Plomer to read. He liked the manuscript and submitted it to publishers, Jonathon Cape but they were not keen. They finally published the novel in 1953 on the recommendation of Ian Fleming’s older brother Peter whom himself was an established travel writer. Between 1953 and 1966, two years after his death, twelve novel and two short-story collections were published. His last two books, the Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy and The Living Daylights were published posthumously.

History of James Bond Ian Fleming Novels

1953 Casino Royale
1954 Live and Let Die
1955 Moonraker
1956 Diamonds Are Forever
1957 From Russia, with Love
1958 Dr. No
1959 Goldfinger
1960 For Your Eyes Only (Short Stories)
1961 Thunderball
1962 The Spy Who Loved Me
1963 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
1964 You Only Live Twice
1965 The Man with the Golden Gun
1966 Octopussy and The Living Daylights (Short Stories; “The Property of a Lady” added to subsequent editions)


OTHER ARTICLES OF IN THE SERIES

James Bond Actors Through The Years

James Bond Actors Through The Years

James Bond a pop culture icon born out of Ian Fleming’s spy novels and introduced to movie fans in 1962 with the release of the first 007 film, Dr No. Sean Connery, the first actor to play James Bond, embodied the role of the spy who thwarts international b...
Sean Connery Biography

Sean Connery Biography

Sean Connery's humble beginnings, growing up in a working class neighborhood in Edinburgh, gave no indication of the achievements that were destined to come. Sean was born into a working class family in August of 1930. The oldest of two boys, he spent...
George Lazenby Biography

George Lazenby Biography

Born September 5th 1939 in Goulburn, Australia. A model turned actor who will forever be a question mark in the James Bond series, a trivia answer on Jeaporady! and an enigma and controversial topic of conversation for diehard Bond fans.
Roger Moore Biography

Roger Moore Biography

Roger Moore was born on October 14th, 1927, in London. Growing up in a middle class family did not keep him from following his dreams of sketching and art. At the age of 15, Moore was offered a job in an animated film business. Even though he was fired...
Timothy Dalton Biography

Timothy Dalton Biography

At a consistently lean 6'2," green-eyed Timothy Dalton may very well be one of the last of the dying breed of swashbuckling, classically trained Shakespearean actors who have simultaneously forged successful careers in theatre, television and film. He...
Pierce Brosnan Biography

Pierce Brosnan Biography

Pierce Brosnan entered show business as a teen runaway, working with the circus as a fire eater. He gained somewhat more conventional experience as a member of an experimental London theater workshop before making his stage debut in a 1976 production...
Daniel Craig Biography

Daniel Craig Biography

Like fellow Bond star, Sean Connery, Daniel Craig was brought up reasonably modestly, however in neighbouring country, England, rather more precisely, Prescot, near Liverpool. The son of a steel erector and an art teacher, Craig soon became known for...
The Complete James Bond Filmography

The Complete James Bond Filmography

In 1962, a production company owned by Harry Saltzman and American Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli, called Eon Productions released the first movie adaption of an Ian Fleming novel, Dr. No which starred Sean Connery as 007.To find out more about the actors...
Iconic James Bond Villains

Iconic James Bond Villains

In this article, we will discover the best James Bond Villains. With twenty-four James Bond movies released through five decades, Bond has met his fair share of villains. Who are the most memorable and iconic villains of the series, here are my favourite,...
Glamorous and Iconic World of James Bond Girls

Glamorous and Iconic World of James Bond Girls

In this article, we will discover the best, most glamorous and iconic world of Bond girls. With twenty-four James Bond movies released through five decades, Bond has met his fair share of glamorous ladies. It all started with Ursula Andress in a white...
Iconic, Stylish and Expensive James Bond Cars

Iconic, Stylish and Expensive James Bond Cars

In this article, we will discover the most iconic, stylish and expensive cars of James Bond series. With twenty-four James Bond movies released through five decades, Bond has driven his fair share of exotic cars. It all started with the Sunbeam Alpine...
James Bond Gadgets from Inside Q Branch

James Bond Gadgets from Inside Q Branch

In this article, we will discover the most memorable, iconic and sometimes crazy world of James Bond gadgets to from inside Q Branch. With twenty-four James Bond movies released through five decades, Bond has seen and used his fair share of incredible...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *