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Dry as a martini


The defining wit of James Bond:

Ian Fleming's James Bond novels were not just spy thrillers, but minor classics of literature, with Bond portrayed as a dark, taciturn Hemingwayesque hero. Terence Young, the first director of the Bond films, however, thought that the character was too one-dimensional for the films, so he gave the cinematic avatar his own dry sense of humour and gift for repartee - which Sean Connery delivered to perfection. In an early Bond film, for example, a girl emerges from the bathroom, wearing just a skimpy towel, and says to Bond, "Will you give me something appropriate to wear?" And Bond pauses for a moment, smiles and hands her a pair of sandals.

That dry wit, unfortunately, deteriorated over the years, with Roger Moore and his increasingly horrible puns. In one particularly groan-worthy moment in Moonraker, for example, Bond and Holly Goodhead are in the spacecraft, having just made love, after killing the villain. The Minister of Defence, at the satellite tracking station below, asks, "What is Bond doing?" And 'Q' replies, "I think he's attempting re-entry, sir. " Bond was in serious danger of becoming a parody of himself, and was ultimately rescued with the help of a serious re-look at the scripts, and the introduction of actors like Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan, which put him back on track. Here are, arguably, the 10 best Bond-isms over the years:


(having electrocuted villain's henchman in the bathtub): Shocking. Positively shocking.

- Goldfinger

(having just speared villain's henchman with a speargun ): I think he got the point.

- Thunderball

Bond enters Paula's room and nudges the bathroom door open with his foot.




: Hello.


: Aren't you in the wrong room, Mr Bond?


Not from where I'm standing. -Thunderball

(Tiffany Case opens the door, almost nude) BOND: That's quite a nice little nothing you're almost wearing....


. . . I'll finish dressing.


Oh, please don't. Not on my account.

- Diamonds Are Forever

VILLAIN'S MOLL IN BIKINI: Is there something I can do for you? BOND: Yes, as a matter of fact there is. There's something I'd like you to get off your chest. (Starts strangling her with her bikini top) Where is Ernst Stavro Blofeld? - Diamonds Are Forever

Felix Leiter's bloody, sharkravaged body is returned by the villain with a note saying, "He disagreed with something that ate him". - Live and Let Die


Look after Mr Bond. See that some harm comes to him.

- Moonraker

(shoving villain Hugo Drax out of spacecraft): Take a Giant Step for Man... - Moonraker


(in bed with Christmas Jones): I was wrong about you.


Yeah, how so?


I thought Christmas only comes once a year. - The World is Not Enough


(on phone): Hello?


Mr White. We need to talk.


Who is this? (Bond shoots him in the leg)


The name's Bond, James Bond. - Casino Royale

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