You know the number. You know the name. It’s 007. It’s Bond.
Who does not know James Bond? He is the suave spy who goes on secret missions, use high-tech gadgets, uncover elaborate conspiracies, and still find time to chase after beautiful women.
Ian Fleming’s fictional British Secret Service agent, James Bond, is not just a movie character. He has become an institution, an icon of spy movies and spy cams. Over the years, 21 Bond films have been produced by EON Productions. This makes the Bond franchise the most successful film series in the spy film genre.
Acting before Spy Cams and Movie Cams
From 1962 to 1967, Sean Connery played the role of Bond. Connery’s first film in the 007 series was Dr. No, which was released in 1962. This was followed in succession by From Russia with Love in 1963, Goldfinger in 1964, Thunderball in 1965, and You only Live Twice in 1967.
George Lazenby was cast in the role of the British spy for the 1969 release of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Lazenby’s stint as James Bond was cut short when Connery returned for the next film, which was released in 1971. This film is the now legendary Diamonds Are Forever.
In 1973, Roger Moore debuted as the new Bond in the film, Live and Let Die. Moore would go on to make six other 007 films. This makes him the actor with the longest run in a single role. His last Bond film, a View to a Kill, was released in 1985.
After Moore, Welsh actor Timothy Dalton took on the role for the Bond films The Living Daylights, released in 1987, and License to Kill, shown in 1989.
In 1995, Pierce Brosnan played Bond in GoldenEye. This film became the highest-grossing movie of the 007 series at that time. Brosnan proceeded to star in three more 007 movies, the last one being Die Another Day in 2002.
The latest actor to play James Bond is Daniel Craig. His portrayal in Casino Royale earned the Bond franchise its first Best Actor nomination from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. A 22nd 007 film is slated for a tentative 2008 release.
Q and the Real Secret Service
Q is responsible for outfitting 007 with the latest in spy gadgetry. Even with the fictional quality of the equipment developed by the Secret Service’s Quartermaster, Q, most of the movie’s gadgets parallel those used by secret agents in real life.
Examples of gadgetry used both in the 007 films and in real-life espionage are spy cams. Q disguises spy cams as mundane, everyday items. These spy cams can be as small as a coin, yet still be very useful in retrieving information from high-security and restricted areas. In real life, a similar spy cam is used by agents. This spy cam is in the form of a Latvian-manufactured Minox camera. Because it is very small, agents can easily conceal it in the palm of one hand.
Besides spy cams disguised as non-essential objects, weapons concealed in ordinary things such as a pack of cigarettes, an umbrella, or a pen are also used by real-life agents.
The heavy parallelism between real-life use of spy cams and those manifested in Bond films prove that our technology is fast catching up with the imagination of writers and filmmakers. Who knows? Perhaps one day, James Bond, too, would make the leap from fiction to reality.