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Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

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James Bond Movie Trivia—Guns, Gals, Gadgets Galore

 James Bond—known to friend and foe alike as “007”—has remained a timeless action hero. Unlike a superhero, he had no special powers, yet could defeat the greatest villain and save the world while wearing a tuxedo, reminding us that he’s still a man of culture and sophistication. The British superspy certainly appreciated the finer things in life, including luxury cars, tailored suits, quality drink, and gourmet food.

He was a jet setter back when people dressed up to board an airplane, while he continued to travel to destinations not completely overrun by tourists. Bond might find himself in a compromising situation from time to time, but he’ll never be caught dead flying coach, eating a meal that came in a wrapper, and he’ll always dress for success. Those facts could explain why he’s always been quite the lady’s man.

James Bond Origin Story—A Cold War Spy Born Out of World War II

As the series “reboot” film Casino Royale makes clear, Double-0 agents aren’t born, they’re carefully recruited, and trained—while having to have at least two notches (kills) on their pistol grip. Over the years Bond’s notches have increased, and not just in kills!

Commander James Bond was created by author Ian Fleming appearing in a dozen novels, along with two short story collections as well as 25 official films and a few “unofficial” offerings. The fictional character was based on a number of British commandos and other special operators that Fleming knew during his service in the Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War. Bond was further rounded out with his style and tastes—and was arguably an idealized and highly fictionalized take on Fleming’s own wartime service.

the first bond girl sylvia trench
Gayson. Eunice Gayson. Eunice Gayson stared as the first Bond Girl appearing in both Dr. No and From Russia With Love.

The name may have been appropriated from an American ornithologist, who wrote the book Birds of the West Indies, or it could have been from the Welsh agent James C. Bond, who crossed paths with Fleming. Regardless of the origin, it is impossible to think that it could have been anything but “Bond, James Bond.”

Yet, while that has become Bond’s tagline in the movies, it is used less frequently in the books—and was Bond’s playful retort to Sylvia Trench (played by Eunice Gayson), the original “Bond girl.” The suave spy first encounters her in the film Dr. No in Le Cercle casino at Les Ambassadeurs in London as she is making a risky bet.

Bond (played by the late Sean Connery) says, “I admire your courage, Miss…?”

She responds, “Trench. Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mr…?”

The rest is cinematic history as he replies mimicking her, “Bond. James Bond.”

James Bond Martinis & The Vesper

There have been jokes made about Bond’s liver over the years, and for good reason. In the books and films, he was known to indulge a bit, but he’s never really seen “over-indulging,” and 007 can handle his drink and still get the job done.

He was known to favor Pouilly-Fuissé, Riquewihr and Marsala wines, Château Mouton Rothschild claret, Taittinger and Krug champagnes, and Babycham. He is also famous in the films for his “vodka martinis, shaken not stirred,” but like his catchphrase, it was first employed by another character—in this case by Dr. Julius in Dr. No (1962) and wasn’t uttered by Bond until Goldfinger (1964).

Though Fleming was a fan of shaken martinis, some connoisseurs disagreed with Bond’s choice. It was even mocked in an episode of The West Wing, where President Barlet (Martin Sheen) suggested, “Shaken, not stirred, will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth… James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it.”

james bond martini

However, that could be the point. Bond may want his martini to be weak to maintain his senses. Fun fact: 007 is rarely seen finishing the drinks he orders.

Bond’s other now-famous drink is “The Vesper,” which was created for the book Casino Royale and seen in the film. As noted in the film, he orders it in part to stall the poker game much to the displeasure of villain Le Chiffre. The Vesper, which by the way was named after the seductive double agent Vesper Lynd, consists of three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet, shaken very well until it is ice-cold, and then served with a large thin slice of lemon peel. While Bond found it tasty, and it has earned respect among martini fans, Fleming later admitted it was “unpalatable!”

James Bond Behind The Wheel

In addition to his love of drink and women, everyone knows Bond loved his Aston Martin sportscar. However, in 1962’s Dr. No, Bond was actually behind the wheel of English-made Sunbeam Alpine Series II during the first car chase sequence in the franchise’s history and was seen with a Bentley Mark IV in the follow-up film From Russia with Love, where he is seen enjoying a picnic with Miss Trench.

The Aston Martin DB5 made its debut in 1964’s Goldfinger, where its colorful accessories including an ejection seat and machine guns are seen in use. The car appeared again in the pre-credit sequences of Thunderball the following year, where in the latter film it was seen with a rear-facing water cannon that wasn’t referenced when the car was introduced.

james bond cars

The DB5 wasn’t seen at all during the Roger Moore era and only made its return in the Timothy Dalton outing The Living Daylights, while Pierce Brosnan’s Bond was behind the wheel during the engaging race sequence at the beginning of Goldeneye.

Interestingly, Daniel Craig’s 007 won a DB5 from a villain during a card game in Casino Royale, but he later could be seen behind the wheel of an Aston Martin DBS V12 in the film. The DB5, seemingly outfitted with gadgets, was seen in both Skyfall, Spectre, and most recently in No Time To Die.

At other points in the film series, the MI6 agent can be seen driving such cars as a Mercury Cougar, Ford Mustang, AMC Hornet, Lotus Esprit (which could drive underwater), Citroën 2CV, and a BMW Z3. Bond did have an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish that was fitted with an invisibility cloak in the film Die Another Day—a low point in the film series to say the least!

The Walther PPK: Bond’s Go-To Gun

Along with Bond’s drink of choice of drink and cars, most fans know the super spy carried a Walther PPK. However, in the original novels by British author Ian Fleming, Bond didn’t start with a Walther. Rather he carried a Beretta 418 until a reader contacted the author, suggesting that the sidearm was a “lady’s gun” and recommended that the spy might carry the German-made PPK instead.

The first film outing, 1962’s Dr. No addresses this in a way where Bond is forced to trade in his Beretta, which M said “jammed” during an off-screen mission, for a Walther PP chambered in .380 ACP.

walther ppk james bond

The actual PPK didn’t make its debut until the second Bond film, From Russia With Love.

The PPK was retired for the first time in the 1983 film Octopussy and Bond carried the more modern Walther P5 instead, while in three of his outings, Pierce Brosnan carried a Walther P99, which does seem to be a far more suitable firearm for a post-Cold War agent. Then the Daniel Craig films saw a return of the PPK, likely to connect the latest movies to the past. 

As a side note: Fleming acknowledged the keen-eyed reader who suggested the PPK by naming MI-6’s armorer after him, and while the character is acknowledged as “Major Boothroyd” twice in the films, viewers know him simply as “Q.”

James Bond’s Gear, Gadgets & Gizmos

When the James Bond character was first being dreamed up, television was the hot new technology and few travelers had ever been in a jet! Thus in the early days of the books and then film franchise, Bond was outfitted with seemingly high-tech “spy gadgets,” but the fact remains that most of us now carry devices that would have amazed Q back in the 1960s and been the envy of any supervillain.

sean connery james bond
Let’s face it, the Bond Girls always dug James Bonds’ gadgets.

Our smartphones, GPS devices, and wireless cameras surpass the technology Bond once carried, and that is why in more recent films Bond has more off-the-shelf than outlandish gizmos. Thanks to partnerships with Sony, in the most recent films Bond can be spotted with the latest smartphone of the day, while he was also seen sporting an Omega Seamaster Wristwatch (the real version probably doesn’t have a built-in explosive charger, however).

James Bond The Sharp-Dressed Man

Bond doesn’t buy off-the-shelf when it comes to suits, and throughout the franchise (as well as unofficial Bond movies), he always is dressed to the nines. It began with his midnight blue dinner suit tailored by Anthony Sinclar in Dr. No, and the designer continued to dress Bond for several films, while Cyril Castle stepped in during the early Roger Moore era with Douglas Hayward later dressing 007.

Pierce Brosnan evoked a timeless look with his Italian Brioni coats and Turnbull & Asser tie seen in Die Another Day, but Daniel Craig brought Bond into the modern era, beginning with a Brioni three-piece suit and then later with his Tom Ford ensembles.

james bond

Tom Cruise may still be able to run and gun even in his early 60s, but he continues to look a bit slobbish—proving that only Bond can rock a suit in any action sequence.

Shape Up Before You Ship Out!

Editor’s Note: Long-time Hook & Barrel readers know we like to cover the fitness aspect to live your best “Modern Outdoorsman” lifestyle. We found the following James Bond Workout quite useful when researching for this article. Hat tip to ArtOfManliness.com.

Back And Better Than Ever: The Walther PPK Series
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