With 26 films and grossing over $7 billion, James Bond is one of the biggest franchises in box office history. It’s rare to find a person who has never seen a James Bond movie and while some want to date 007, others want to be him.
You might consider yourself a Bond enthusiast, knowing all about the action-packed movies, beautiful Bond girls and the great villains, but we reveal the unknown secrets of the popular films.
Initially, producers had to pay for the Aston Martins
What is a good Bond movie without a thrilling car chase? Aston Martin became the official car of James Bond with all the gadgets a spy could ever need, but the car company wasn’t eager to give the cars to the films at first.
In Goldfinger, producers had to pay for two Aston Martins in the film but after seeing the box office results and a spike in their own sales, Bond productions never had to spend a penny on the sports cars again.
Pierce Brosnan had to give up tuxedos
Pierce Brosnan was one of the favorite Bonds and starred in four James Bond films including GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day from 1995 until 2002.
In all films, Brosnan was regularly seen fighting villains in a tuxedo and this became his signature. From this, while the actor was under contract as Bond, he wasn’t allowed to wear a tuxedo in any other films he starred in during this time.
Skyfall takes all
The highest-grossing James Bond film to date was the 2012 movie Skyfall starring Daniel Craig. It raked in over $1.1 billion ticket sales worldwide, more than any other in the franchise and was Daniel Craig’s first time taking on the role of James Bond.
The process of choosing an actor for the role of Bond is not taken lightly so producers were thrilled when they saw the mass success of their new choice for James Bond.
The boys club
To date, there have only been seven actors playing James Bond over 26 films. Sean Connery starred in seven movies, David Niven only one, Roger Moore took on seven, Timothy Dalton took two, Pierce Brosnan starred in four and Daniel Craig also four with one more in the works.
Interestingly, all of the James Bond actors stand between 6 foot 1 and 6 foot 2 with the exception of Daniel Craig who is shorter at 5 foot 10.
The real MI6
James Bond’s employer as a British spy is the Secret Intelligence Service. Originally, the name was MI6, which stood for Military Intelligence, Section 6 and it wasn’t officially recognized by the British government until 1994.
While a job that mirrors the one of James Bond isn’t exactly listed in their career opportunities section, similar positions in the field include operational data analyst among other security careers. However, you have to be a British citizen to apply for them.
Sean Connery’s accident
While on a press tour, promoting his film The Rock, Sean Connery explained how he got a bad injury whilst playing around on the Bond set. He explained that he was due to star in a movie with Steven Seagal who later became incredibly famous and the two had a training session together.
He added “he was really very, very good and everything, and I got a little cocky because I thought I knew what I was doing… and he broke my wrist.”
President John F. Kennedy turned out to be a big fan of the James Bond novels. In an interview in 1961, the President revealed that From Russia With Love was one of his favorite books.
After giving this information, sales for the novel boomed and the next James Bond book announced to be adapted into a movie was, of course, From Russia With Love. Kennedy ended up viewing the film at The White House on Nov. 21, 1963, just the night before he was shot.
Oddjobs odd line
Oddjob is the main henchman in Goldfinger but the character doesn’t really speak at all while doing his dangerous job. The only words he spoke were on the golf course when he muttered “Aha!” and then “Ah” when ordering men to collect Tilly after knocking her out with his tophat.
His other dialogue included a scream when fighting with Bond and a couple of grunts. The Bond novels explains his lack of speech was due to a cleft palate.
Perks of the job
Being cast a James Bond is an honor in itself, but it also comes with some greater perks. Since Aston Martin became the official car of the franchise, lending their DB9, DB10 coupe in Spectre and some vintage models, the car company offered Daniel Craig something he couldn’t refuse.
The actor was given access to any Aston Martin car of his choice to take for a spin at any time he wanted. It was great advertising for the company and great fun for Craig!
License to kill
You know when you sit down to watch a Bond movie, you’re going to get plenty of fights and deaths of the bad guys. Each Bond star killed their fair share of villains but who got the highest numbers?
Pierce Brosnan racked up the largest kill count with a total of 135 with Goldeneye alone having 47 people killed on-screen by James Bond. Nonetheless, Bond has been shot more than 5,000 times throughout his time as 007.
$37 million in car damage
After Aston Martin saw the success their cars were having in the James Bond movies, they wanted to up their game each year and create the most amazing model possible.
In 2015, Aston Martin went all out and designed 10 DB10s for Spectre, customized exactly to the production’s specifications. During filming, seven out of the 10 DB10s were absolutely destroyed in the car chases and crazy stunts put into the movie. It accumulated a total of $37 million in damage.
Bassey busts it out
Shirley Bassey’s hit Goldfinger became one of the most popular songs from the James Bond franchise soundtrack. When she recorded the song, the credits were running on a screen in front of her so that she could match the vocals.
When it came to the belting final note, the titles on the screen kept running and Bassey was forced to hold that note until it ended. She may have almost passed out but it made for a smash hit song.
The real location of Goldfinger
Despite Goldfinger being set in the United States, the entire film was actually shot in London. All of the external scenes were shot on a greenscreen in Pinewood studios just outside of the U.K capital.
The only giveaway for this was when Bond flips a light switch to discover Jill’s golden corpse. When he flicks the switch, he flicks it downwards instead of upwards to turn it on as is done in the states.
The only villain who returned
Bond villains usually last one movie, but the only exception to this was “Jaws” played by Richard Kiel. Standing at 7 foot two, it is evident why they wanted to bring back the intimidating villain. He first starred in The Spy Who Loved Me and later returned in Moonraker.
As for his metal teeth, they were so painful he could only keep them in his mouth for a minute at a time and the chain he bit through in The Spy Who Loved Me was actually made out of licorice.
M’s secret man
M was always seen as a serious boss and never really had a man around her, other than Bond of course. When there was a scene in Casino Royale of M sleeping in bed, Michael Wilson and director Martin Campbell debated for a long time whether to have her sleeping alone or next to a man.
When they decided on having a man in the bed with her, it was the production’s transportation coordinator who got the lucky job. Her husband was later mentioned in Skyfall.
A huge production
In Spectre, the scene where the plane hurtles down the mountain was not created by CGI and was one of the greatest stunts ever pulled off in a James Bond movie.
The plane was built on skidoos so it was actually being driven and eight planes were involved in the sequence. During the filming in Austria, the production team had to go up against unseasonal weather in Austria which forced them to make 400 tonnes of artificial snow to cover a whole section of the mountainside.
Will the real M please stand up
M had been in multiple Bond movies before her name was ever revealed. It wasn’t until Skyfall that M’s real name was revealed and if you blinked, you’d have missed it.
At the bottom of a box that M sends to Bond, there is an inscription at the bottom that read “Olivia Mansfield”. While other Bond novels have given M different names, the current set of Bond movies was rebooted with Casino Royale and Olivia Mansfield was the current one given to her.
A villain succeeds
In all of the James Bond movies, the villains never succeed in their goals, until one did in Skyfall. Instead of Raoul Silva going after Bond, it was actually M that he wanted dead.
Silva was an ex-MI6 agent and wanted revenge on M after being betrayed when she turned him over to the Chinese people during his mission at Hong Kong. In the end of Skyfall, he jeopardized her just before killing her and she died in the arms of James Bond.
Domino in demand
With so many roles in Bond you would think that they are all equally auditioned for. Think again. It turns out that the role of Bond girl Domino in Thunderball was one of the most auditioned for in James Bond history.
Hundreds of actresses auditioned for the coveted role and it ended up going to Claudine Auger, a former Miss France. Other actresses who were considered for the role were Julie Christie, Raquel Welch, and Faye Dunaway.
Read more: iconic movie secrets you needed to know