James Bond 007 is a fictional British agent  created in 1952 by writer Ian Fleming, featured in several novels and short stories. After Fleming’s death in 1964, subsequent James Bond novels were written by Kingsley Amis (as Robert Markham), John Pearson, John Gardner, Raymond Benson and Charlie Higson. Moreover, Christopher Wood novelised two screenplays, while other writers have authored unofficial versions of the secret agent character.
Initially famed through the novels, James Bond is best known from the Eon Productions film series, twenty-one of which have been made as of 2007. He is well-known for his intellect and ability to seduce women. In addition there are two independent productions and one Fleming-licenced American television adaptation of the first novel. The Eon Productions films are generally described as the “official” films and, although its origin is unclear, this term is used throughout this article. Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman co-produced the official films until 1975, when Broccoli remained the sole producer. Since 1995, Broccoli’s daughter Barbara and stepson Michael G. Wilson have co-produced them.
From 1962 through 2007, six actors have portrayed James Bond in “official” films:
Sir Sean Connery (1962–1967; 1971)
George Lazenby (1969)
Sir Roger Moore (1973–1985)
Timothy Dalton (1987–1989)
Pierce Brosnan (1995–2002)
Daniel Craig (2006–present)
The “unofficial” (that is non-Eon) versions were subject to separate licensing from Fleming. In the first version, Barry Nelson straight-forwardly portrayed James Bond in an Americanised 1954 television episode adaptation of Casino Royale. In the second unofficial version, David Niven was James Bond in the Columbia Pictures spy spoof Casino Royale, in 1967. Moreover, Sean Connery reprised James Bond in the non-Eon film Never Say Never Again (1983), an updating of his own, fourth series film, Thunderball (1965).
The twenty-first official film, Casino Royale, with Daniel Craig as James Bond, premiered on 14 November 2006, with the film going on general release in Asia and the Middle East the following day. Notably it is the first Bond film to be released in China.
Broccoli’s and Saltzman’s family company, Danjaq, LLC has held ownership of the James Bond film series (through Eon), and maintained co-ownership with United Artists Corporation since the mid-1970s, when Saltzman sold his share of Danjaq to United Artists. As of 2007, Columbia Pictures and MGM/United Artists co-distribute the franchise.
In addition to the novels and films, James Bond is a prominent character in many computer and video games, comic strips and comic books, and has been subjected to many parodies.
Ian Fleming’s creation and inspiration
Commander James Bond, CMG, RNVR is an agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) (more commonly, MI6). He was created in February 1952, by British journalist Ian Fleming while on holiday at his Jamaican estate, Goldeneye. The hero, ‘James Bond’, was named after an American ornithologist, a Caribbean bird expert and author of the definitive field guide book Birds of the West Indies; keen birdwatcher Fleming had a copy of Bond’s field guide at Goldeneye. Of the name, Fleming once said,in a Readers Digest interview “I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, ‘James Bond’ was much better than something more interesting, like ‘Peregrine Carruthers’. Exotic things would happen to and around him, but he would be a neutral figure – an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a Government Department.”
Nevertheless, news sources speculated about real spies or other covert agents after whom James Bond might have been named. Although they are similar to Bond, Fleming confirmed none as the source figure, nor did Ian Fleming Publications nor any of Fleming’s biographers, such as John Pearson or Andrew Lycett.
It has also been suggested that the name ‘James Bond’ originated in Toronto, Ontario, when British Naval Intelligence Commander Ian Fleming was invited by Sir William Stephenson (codename ‘Intrepid’), to participate in the SOE subversive warfare training Syllabus at STS-103. Fleming had a private residence in Avenue Road, Toronto, Canada, because the training camp barracks was full. On Avenue Road, there was the St. James-Bond Church (Toronto), its address was 1066 Avenue Road, and the military building address was 1107 Avenue Road (Double ones 0 and 7, thus number 007). The building does not exist, but in its place is Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School — erected by Bondfield Construction in 2001.
James Bond’s parents are Andrew Bond, a Scotsman and Monique Delacroix, from Canton de Vaud, Switzerland. Their nationalities were established in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Fleming emphasised Bond’s Scottish heritage in admiration of Sean Connery’s cinematic portrayal, whereas Bond’s mother is named after a Swiss fiancée of Fleming’s; a planned, but unwritten, novel would have portrayed Bond’s mother as a Scot. Ian Fleming was a member of a prominent Scottish banking family.  In his fictional biography of secret agent 007, John Pearson gave Bond’s birthdate as 11 November (Armistice Day) 1920; however, there is no evidence of it in Fleming’s novels. Fleming was inspired by the playboy and real secret agent Dušan Popov, a Serb double agent for the British and the Germans.
After completing the manuscript for Casino Royale, Fleming allowed his friend, the poet William Plomer (later his editor), to read it, who liked it and submitted it to Jonathan Cape, who did not like it as much. Cape finally published it in 1953 on the recommendation of Fleming’s older brother Peter, an established travel writer.
Most researchers agree that the James Bond is a romanticised version of Ian Fleming, himself a jet-setting womaniser. Both Fleming and Bond attended the same schools, preferred the same foods (scrambled eggs, pork), maintained the same habits (drinking, smoking, wearing short-sleeve shirts), shared the same notions of the perfect woman (in terms of looks and style), and had similar naval career paths (both rising to the rank of naval Commander). They also shared similar height, hairstyle and eye colour. Bond’s suave and sophisticated persona is based on that of a young Hoagy Carmichael. In Casino Royale, the anti-heroine Vesper Lynd remarks, “[Bond] reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless”. Fleming did admit to being partly inspired by his service in the Naval Intelligence Division of the Admiralty, most notably an incident depicted in Casino Royale, when Fleming and Naval Intelligence Director Admiral Godfrey went on a mission to Lisbon en route to the United States during World War II. At the Estoril Casino (which harboured spies of warring regimes due to Portugal’s neutrality), Fleming was ‘cleaned out’ by a “chief German agent” in a game of Chemin de Fer. Admiral Godfrey’s account differs in that Fleming played Portuguese businessmen, whom Ian fantasised as German agents he defeated at cards. Moreover, references to ‘Red Indians’ in Casino Royale, (four times, twice in the final page) are to his own 30 Assault Unit.
In February 1952, Ian Fleming began writing his first James Bond novel. At the time, Fleming was the foreign manager for Kemsley Newspapers, owners of The Sunday Times in London. Upon accepting the job, Fleming asked for two months yearly vacation in his contract; time spent writing in Jamaica. Between 1953 and his death in 1964, Fleming published twelve novels and one short-story collection (a second collection was published posthumously). Later, continuation novels were written by Kingsley Amis (as Robert Markham), John Gardner, and Raymond Benson, the last published in 2002. The Young Bond series of novels was begun in 2005, they are written by Charlie Higson.
In the late 1950’s, Eon Productions guaranteed the film adaptation rights for every 007 novel except for Casino Royale (those rights were recovered in the 1990’s ) So in 1962, the first adaptation was made in Dr. No, that starred Sean Connery as 007. Connery starred in 5 more films, and after his initial portrayal, he was followed by George Lazenby (1 film), Roger Moore (7 films), Timothy Dalton (2 films), Pierce Brosnan (4 films) and Daniel Craig (currently 1 film). There have been currently 21 films, the latest one with a reboot in the series. The 22nd film is currently in production.
The twenty-one Bond films have grossed over $4 billion worldwide, being the second most succesful film series ever (behind Star Wars).
James Bond’s influence on movies and television
James Bond has long been a household name and remains a huge influence within the spy genre. The Austin Powers series by writer and actor Mike Myers and other parodies such as Johnny English (2003), OK Connery, the “Flint” series starring James Coburn as Derek Flint, the “Matt Helm” movies starring Dean Martin, and Casino Royale (1967) are testaments to Bond’s prominence in popular culture.
1960s TV imitations of James Bond such as I Spy, Get Smart, The Wild Wild West, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. went on to become popular successes in their own right, the latter having enjoyed contributions by Fleming towards its creation: the show’s lead character, “Napoleon Solo,” was named after a character in Fleming’s novel Goldfinger; Fleming also suggested the character name April Dancer, which was later used in the spin-off series The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. A reunion television movie, The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1983), is notable for featuring a cameo by George Lazenby as James Bond in tribute to Fleming (for legal reasons, the character was credited as “JB”).
The animated series US Acres (which aired with the Garfield cartoons) featured a “secret agent” episode with many Bond references. For instance, the one-letter names used to apply to the high-ranking MI6 individuals were parodied.
The Nickelodeon animated series Doug had a secret agent character named Smash Adams, who was obviously inspired by Bond. The character’s theme music even resembled Monty Norman’s classic 007 theme.
Nickelodeon’s sketch comedy series All That once did a James Bond parody called Jimmy Bond.
In The Avengers, some time after the departure of the character Cathy Gale (played by actress Honor Blackman), the character of John Steed (played by Patrick Macnee) receives a Christmas card from her. He comments, “It’s from Mrs Gale! I wonder what she’s doing in Fort Knox?” – the intended destination for Honor Blackman’s Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. In further coincidence, this comment is made to Emma Peel – played by Diana Rigg who would later appear as Tracy Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Macnee himself, a friend of Roger Moore, would later appear as Sir Godfrey Tibbett in A View to a Kill. Joanna Lumley (Purdey in the late Avengers serie) can also be seen in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in a little role with only one or two words.
A story line in The Beverly Hillbillies has Jethro (Max Baer, Jr.) forsaking his lifelong ambition to become a brain surgeon in favour of “double-naught spy.” He outfits the Clampetts’ truck with various Q-inspired gadgetry, none of which work according to plan.
In an apparent homage to the ‘James Bond will return in…’ credits, each of the season-ending episodes to date in the new (2005-present) series of Doctor Who has featured the ending credit, ‘Doctor Who will return in…’ followed by the title of the next episode (in each case, a Christmas special).
Similarly, four episodes of the TV series Arrested Development (For British Eyes Only, Forget-Me-Now, Notapusy and Mr. F) referenced the James Bond films. The spoofing of the Bond films is evident in the episode titles, vocal and instrumental music cues, and the gun barrel shot at the end of the episode accompanied by the subtitle “Michael Bluth will return in…”
George Lucas has said on various occasions that Sean Connery’s portrayal of Bond was one of the primary inspirations for the Indiana Jones character, a reason Connery was chosen for the role of Indiana’s father in the third film of that series.
In the episode “A Head in the Polls” of the animated television show Futurama, the robot Bender asks for a martini from a bartender, who pours the ingredients directly into a hole in the top of Bender’s head. Bender then says, “Shaken, not stirred.”
More of an imitation or homage (or possibly an unintentional parody), at the start of the French film “Taxi 3”, after a Bond-style opening stunt sequence that end when a spy (played by Sylvester Stallone) is taken away by helicopter, a Bond-style theme music / opening credits sequence is performed before the main story proceeds.
On the popular Internet series, Red vs Blue, the character Donut is sent on a spy mission in the season 2 episode “Nut. Doonut.,” and for around a quarter of the episode he makes references to James Bond and parodies some of the movie titles. The episode also has alternative titles based on Bond film titles.