This article was originally published on the now defunct “talkbacker.com” (tb).
“ (…) There is beauty… there is ugliness… and there is death.” – Stromberg
Since its inception, the foundation of the Bond franchise has been successfully relying on its main pillar that is the unbeatable combination of “Sex and Violence”.
Not that that was anything new, as about roughly 80% of all entertainment is motivated by the interplay of Eros and Thanatos, or simply put,voyeurism, but 007 took it to hitherto unknown creative heights, especially the violence.
Wasn’t it this film series that established the trope of the “creative killing”?
The message is: Killing dozens of people is okay, as long as you do it in an original way and follow it with a whimsy pun, otherwise you are just a ordinary serial killer. And you have to be paid by the Queen, which excludes Freddy Krueger. It’s all good, clean fun.
He sucks at coming up with puns though.
No, moral values have never been the strength of the Bond movies, which is one of the main reasons why we love them.
For this article, a bunch of fellow agents from tb and my humble self listed their favourite kills and death scenes from the spy saga. Let us rejoice in laughing in Death’s face to make us feel better about our own mortality.
(who is still seeking revenge for the spy who loved him):
I love the opening sequences of Bond films as they are usually mini-movies; self-contained adventures. Raiders of the Lost Ark stole this gag as Spielberg wanted to direct a Bond flick after Jaws.
Bond’s best kills better have a solid pay-off either in joke form or narrative and I think the following do one of each or both at the same time.
Connery offing Dr Dent – “You’ve had your six…”
Bond slips a detonator onto a terrorist’s belt. Craig has the coolest, meanest look on his face; a great reminder Bond is not always a killing machine, but enjoys sometimes taking down the bad guys…
The World is Not Enough
Brosnan’s best performance as Bond is capped off with a rather cold murder of his flirtation with Electra King, who double-crosses him and shoots her in the heart. Even M was shocked by this kill.
Diamonds Are Forever
Bond movies, especially lately, have always been great of having nasty brutal fights in small spaces. The elevator fight with Bond and Peter Franks is genius in its brutality and sheer aggression. For the first time in years Connery seemed happy to be Bond and he really gives it his all in this bit of physical workout. Bond straps a bomb to one of the hitman, Mr Wint’s pants and sends him over board to explode.
[FUN FACT] The actor who portrays “Mr. Wint” is Bruce Glover, Crispin Glover’s dad.
For Your Eyes Only
Has two of my favorites and one of the best in all of the series.
- The Opening Sequence – Bond dumps Blofeld.
This is a great sequence as it shows Bond’s ingenuity and his wit, even in the most stressful times, he’s always prepared with the perfect one-liner. It also was great big middle finger to former producer Kevin McClory who had sued Ian Fleming and the studios over some ownership of Bond. It was EON production’s way of dumping on McClory and saying they don’t need anything of his to succeed.
- Roger Moore’s defining moment as Bond.
So often accused of camping it up, a charge that is mostly exaggerated, feels more at home in a Craig film, but Moore pulls it off perfectly as FYEO was about resetting Bond and took up that challenge when he confronts one of the film’s main baddies, Emile Locque. He shoots him down as his car tries to run Bond over. He ends up on the side of a cliff. Bond, after witnessing him kill a female friend, has no sympathy as he approaches his car, Locque pleads for help. Bond gives him a cold stare and kicks the car off the side of the cliff, he quips, “He had no head for heights.”
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Blofeld and Irma Bunt kill Tracy.
My favourite Bond moment of all time; the franchises most shocking kill ever still has the most weight. A real, human moment that reduced Bond and the audience to tears; an impactful event that would resonate for many years still, felt all the way into Brosnan’s run.
[FUN FACT] The actor who plays Blofeld is John Hollis, who also portrayed “Lobot” in “The Empire Strikes Back”.
(who secretly wishes to date Moneypenny)
- Man in snowblower from OHMSS. Because, well, red snow! Loved that as a kid.
- Blofeld clone drowning in mud in Diamonds Are Forever. Always thought that was a terrible way to go as a kid.
- Death by decompression chamber from License To Kill. Always loved the line about having to wash his money after.
- And I guess Mrs Bond dying in OHMSS. “We have all the time in the world!”. Much feels! Very sadness!
- Another good one is Roger Moore holding a man by his tie off a ledge in The Spy Who Loved Me. Gets his answers then still drops the man to his death. Cold as fuck!
(biggest cat-lover since Blofeld)
Mine is a bit unexpected, I think. The scene is in Moonraker. Bond is invited by Drax to do some Bird hunting. Meanwhile, a Drax’ henchman is climbing into a tree with a sniper rifle, intent on gunning Bond down. As some birds flip up from the bushes, Bond fires his shotgun but the birds keep flying. “You missed, Mr. Bond”, says Drax. Sound of cracking branches. The sniper falls to the ground, dead. “Did I…?”, quips Bond. Classic! The timing and the delivery by Moore is just PERFECT.
(who desperately waits for Emma Watson being cast as a Bond girl)
Okay, if there is like the best kill ever in a Bond movie, in my opinion, it has to be during the climax of Skyfall, as the mooks lay siege to the mansion. One of the mooks is clearing the room and he walks straight into the blast of a sawed-off shotgun, knocking him the hell back. The camera reveals it’s the groundskeeper (played with scene stealing charm by Albert Finney). What makes this kill so awesome is that it’s so unexpected and out of the blue that it makes it so hilarious at the same time. And to top it off, the guy utters those three words. “Welcome to Scotland.” Heightening what is an already funny scene into an absurdly awesome one. That is my favorite kill of the whole franchise.
(who wants to be killed by Bond in the most creative way one day)
1. Bond killing Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye
Bond and his companion Natalya just survived a plane crash in the middle of the Cuban jungle. As Bond awakes from his unconsciousness, a helicopter is hovering right above him. A rope comes down and before James has time to react, Xenia abseils down on him and squeezes him with her thighs, her legendary preferred method of killing. Bond though connects her with the rope, grabs the Kalashnikov which she carries on her back with a rifle sling and shoots at the helicopter. The pilot is hit and as the helicopter is plummeting, the rope conveniently falls over a branch fork, pulling Xenia back as the crashing helicopter serves as a kind of counterweight. Death by physics!
Slamming her back at the trunk of the forked tree, Xenia dies in an almost crucifixion-like scenario, which makes for one of the most powerful shots of the whole movie. Unsurprisingly, Bond destroys any moments of mythical gravitas brought on to the screen with a shallow quip. “She always did enjoy a good squeeze.” Killing is just an everyday annoyance for him, time to move on. The Martini is waiting.
2. Bond killing Kananga/Mr. Big in Live And Let Die
During the dramatic showdown, Bond (Roger Moore) is wrestling Kananga/Mr:Big under water in a pool filled with sharks. Finally Bond manages to force a “shark-gun” pellet filled with highly pressured CO2 gas into his adversary’s mouth (guess the shark-repellent spray was not handy). As a result, Mr. Big truly lives up to his name and turns into a human blowfish, expands like a balloon and rises up from the water to the ceiling where he explodes like a fragile soap bubble. Again, impeccable physics at display.
The fact that the villain makes a fart like noise while rising and bursts without spraying his surrounding with blood and innards, emphasizes the “Loony tunes”-like character of the scene. It’s true that, Kananga’s death probably has the same emotional impact as a random scene of Wile E.Coyote using firecrackers incorrectly, but it’s also as delightfully funny in its absurdity. Bond pun: “He always did have an inflated opinion of himself.”
Are you secretly alluding to your predecessor with that quote, Roger?
3. Bond killing Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me
In the movie’s finale, Bond confronts his adversary, the megalomaniac Stromfeld (Curd Jürgens) in his nifty underwater office. Stromberg is sitting at the end of a long table and unbeknownst to Bond, a hidden harpoon gun loaded with explosive bolts is attached under the table top, whose barrel is extended over the whole table length, a bit like a maritime version of Joker’s gun from the showdown of Burton’s first Batman movie.
Thanks to his superspy intuition that has just bewared him from a death by falling into a shark pool (again) through a trap door in the elevator, Bond detects Stromberg’s intention in his eyes and instinctively steps aside as the villain pulls the trigger and releases a powerful projectile that blows away a chair. With the words “You shot your bolt, Stromberg, now it’s my turn.”, 007 shoots Stromberg with his -much smaller- gun right through the barrel of the harpoon. Freudian subtext, much.
Special guest author KILLIK
(alleged double agent)
License to Kill
Benicio Del Toro falling in the shredder.
Truly gruesome deaths
Unusually disturbing deaths in the Bond franchise – sometimes the laughter sticks in your throat.
1) Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) drowning hundreds of innocent mine workers by flooding the mine and gunning down the survivors, while sporting a demented grin. Yuck. (A View To A Kill)
2) Bond (Timothy Dalton) kills fuel drenched drug lord Sanchez by setting him on fire. A deserved death (well, it’s a movie) and a great stunt, but still a horrific moment. (Licence To Kill)
3) Bond pushes “Baron Samedi” (Geoffrey Holder) into a coffin filled with snakes. OH MY GOD; THIS IS HORRIBLE!!! SNAKESSSSSS…. (Live And Let Die)
4) Corrine Dufour (Corrine Clery), a female employee of Drax gets “punished” for her treason by being hunted down in the forest by Drax’ dogs. While the carnage happens offscreen, this still remains as one of the most disturbing death scenes in Bond history to date. (Moonraker)
Homer is unknowingly responsible for Bond’s death in the “The Simpsons” episode “You Only Move Twice” (Season Eight, Episode Two) as he wrestles him down at the behest of his new boss, Hank Scorpio (voiced by Albert Brooks). Seemingly, you only live once after all. D’oh!
So which essential scenes did we miss? We must have missed a lot, because let’s not kid ourselves, Bond must have killed hundreds of people in all his incarnations.
Let us know which favourite kills you have on your sick sadistic minds!
I-am-Better and Dan-Tee are regulars on and co-founders of the “Breakfast on Planet X” podcast. All other contributors were authors on the now defunct “talkbacker.com” and are hopefully soon readers of TheSupernaughts.com!