When a movie franchise has been around as long as James Bond has, the majority of viewers going to see ‘Spectre’ this weekend weren’t even born when the first film, ‘Dr. No‘, was released to theaters back in 1962. I certainly wasn’t. When were you first introduced to Agent 007?
This week’s topic has a few parts:
- What’s the first James Bond movie you remember watching? How did you see it (theater, TV, VHS, etc.)?
- What’s the first Bond movie you saw in the theater?
- Since you’ve been of moviegoing age, have you seen all the subsequent Bond movies in a theater, or did you miss some?
- Which actor do you consider your James Bond (i.e. not necessarily the best, but the one that you most associate with the role)?
If you have any special (good or bad) memories associated with the franchise (time bonding with Dad, etc.), share those as well.
The first Bond movie I remember watching was ‘Moonraker‘, and it was one of those ABC Movie of the Week deals that probably aired on a Sunday night.
I fully remember that the first Bond movie I saw in a theater was actually the “unofficial” Bond film, ‘Never Say Never Again‘. My first official Bond experience in the theater was the rather lackluster ‘A View to a Kill’, and I’ve seen every Bond title after that in the theater.
Although he’s not my favorite in the role, I must confess that Roger Moore was my Bond for the longest period of time, having grown up in the 1970s and ’80s. Timothy Dalton was my favorite in the role for the longest time, although Daniel Craig impressed me so much in ‘Skyfall‘ that I changed my allegiance in the last few years.
My first Bond film was ‘A View to a Kill’, which I saw in the theater in 1985. After that, my dad and I watched every Bond film we could catch on TV. (Then I eventually realized the bookshelf on his side of the bed was filled with Bond paperbacks, which I devoured in my teens.)
Since my first Bond film, I’ve seen every subsequent release in the theater. I can’t imagine missing one.
My Bond? That’s a hard one, since the actors playing the role have had unusual turnover since I’ve been a fan. I liked Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton, and for a long time Pierce Brosnan seemed the ideal Bond, but Daniel Craig has made the character his own, so these days I’d say he’s my Bond.
Bond movies are so integrated into the culture that there’s no pre-Bond watching that I can recall. (If there was, TBS obliterated it ages ago.) I can remember being a kid and attending an ’80s movie VHS marathon that featured ‘Predator’, ‘Aliens’, ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Licence to Kill‘, which is pretty funny since that’s one of my least favorite Bond movies.
More recently, screening ‘Skyfall’ early was big deal for me. I’ve seen the last six movies in theaters. As the years and the Bonds go by, I fixate on Sean Connery in ‘Goldfinger’ as the coalescence of on-screen Bond. (I enjoy the less superpowered WWII vet of the books as well.) In ‘Goldfinger’, Bond gets himself repeatedly in and out of trouble, usually by mixing worldliness and personal manipulation but somehow without ever losing the moral high ground. It’s better to be lucky than good, but Bond is both. Just don’t stand too close.
I’ve had countless copies of the movies, books, CDs, and so on (even a trivia CD-ROM!). I’ve played a dozen Bond videogames (mostly bad), but a decade ago I got some friends together to play the first 007 Scene It? board game. What a disappointment! I recall one of the questions involved showing a car chase from the Roger Moore era and then asking the name of the casting director’s sister.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
As far back as I can remember, my grandfather has been a frothing-at-the-mouth fanatic of James Bond. (He actually burst into tears when I gave him a framed poster of ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ one Christmas, and I love the puzzling juxtaposition of that really sweet moment with how completely ridiculous the poster actually is.) During family get-togethers during the holidays, he’d always, always, always have the TV tuned to a Bond marathon. The first one I have vivid memories of seeing from start to finish is ‘You Only Live Twice‘, and I’d even do impressions of Sean Connery’s “Why do Chinese girls taste different from all other girls?” to anyone who’d listen… or to no one at all, completely by myself. I don’t know why.
For the longest time, Bond was just something to watch on television during certain times of the year, and I somehow made it through the entire DVD era without owning a single one of these movies. I don’t think I even saw a Bond film theatrically until ‘Quantum of Solace‘, which is a sad statement for a great many reasons. In the years since, I’ve made it a point to pick up the Blu-ray releases of all the Connery-era movies – minus the unsanctioned ‘Never Say Never Again’, anyway — as he always has been and always will be my Bond.
The first Bond movie that I recall seeing was ‘The Living Daylights‘. My parents were watching it at home, likely on VHS, and I remember watching the opening sequence and thinking that it was pretty cool stuff. Aside from that, I don’t remember much.
You’re going to laugh, but the first entry that I saw in theaters was ‘Casino Royale‘. I personally got into Bond as a teenager with ‘GoldenEye’ (thanks to the Nintendo 64 game) around the time that ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ came out on video.
‘GoldenEye’ rocked, but ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ was so bad that I had no desire to see the other Brosnan movies on the big screen. When ‘Casino Royale’ opened, I was working as a critic at the time, but the trailers were so good that I’d have seen it even if it wasn’t my job. Since then, I’ve caught each of the Daniel Craig entries at press screenings. I loved the first two of his entries and consider Craig to be my Bond, but ‘Skyfall’ turned me off so much that I might not have seen ‘Spectre’ if it wasn’t screened for press.
Although I don’t particularly care for the goofy gadgets, the one-liners and the silliness of the old Bond entries, one of my favorite Bond memories goes back to the mid-’90s when my old man came home with his favorite Bond title on VHS. I hadn’t seen it, so we sat together one lazy afternoon and watched ‘Goldfinger‘. It’s not my favorite Bond entry, but it was a good time with my Pops.
Chris Chiarella (Sound & Vision)
I guess I’m fortunate in that my parents appreciated the charm of James Bond, and so they didn’t hesitate to take us along to big-screen showings of his latest adventures… or classic adventures for that matter. The first time I recall seeing 007 on the big screen – or possibly on any screen –was during an early ’70s revival double feature of ‘Thunderball‘ and ‘You Only Live Twice’. I definitely recall seeing ‘Live and Let Die‘ in the theater (and loving the music) as well as ‘The Man with the Golden Gun‘ (and loving Christopher Lee’s weapon of choice).
I had to wait for ABC to air ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ (long a favorite) and ‘Moonraker’ before I could catch up, then ‘Octopussy’, ‘A View to a Kill’ and ‘The Living Daylights’ back in the local cineplex. I saw ‘Licence to Kill’ on VHS and then all of the Brosnans in the theater.
Although I came of age during the Roger Moore era, I think I need to pick Sean Connery as my Bond, probably because of the frequent TV airings of his tenure, or just as probably because he originated the role. Plus he’s Sean Connery, dammit. (I even caught the out-of-canon ‘Never Say Never Again’ theatrically when a friend scored me a free ticket.) I will say this, though: This Daniel Craig is the real deal.
My earliest James Bond memory is watching ‘Moonraker’ on cable while at day care. I’m not sure I even understood who or what James Bond was at the time. As far as I knew, it was just a sci-fi movie with space shuttles and lasers and people floating around in zero-gravity. Having no sense of taste or discernment at that age, I thought it was pretty cool. Later, my first recollection of understanding that I was watching a James Bond movie came with ‘A View to a Kill’. That one was likely on VHS. I was very familiar with the theme song, which had received endless radio play since the film’s theatrical run, and really looked forward to finally seeing the movie itself. About all I remember from that viewing was thinking that Bond parachuting off the Eiffel Tower and driving half a Fiat around Paris was really neat. Oh, and it had a blimp, which was quite exciting! Again, no taste at that age.
The first Bond movie I saw theatrically was ‘Licence to Kill’, and I’ve made it a point to see everything afterwards in a theater. I almost missed ‘The World Is Not Enough’, but managed to catch it in a second-run cinema while a couple of morons behind me talked through the whole movie.
Even though I didn’t grow up with him, Sean Connery is still the definitive James Bond in my eyes. I appreciate that each of the other actors has brought his own personality and flair to the role, but Connery (at least in the early pictures) embodies the perfect combination of cultured sophistication, unflappable determination, and athletic physicality. Nobody does it better.
Tell us about your first experiences with James Bond in the Comments below.