We’re about to go James Bond mad here at THN. Firstly, it’s 50 years since Her Majesty’s finest debuted on the silver screen, and secondly, his 23rd movie, SKYFALL, is only weeks away from UK cinemas. And with the news that Adele will be providing the all-new theme tune, we’ve decided to take a look back at the very best Bond intros and songs. Altogether now: clang, clang-a-lang, lang-a-lang-a-lang…
DR. NO (1962)
The first attempt. Initially making you believe you were about to watch a Tom & Jerry cartoon, however the now infamous gun barrel pops up (what a fucking amazing idea that was by the way) and informs us that we are in safe hands. We are next greeted with what now seems like a bizarre collection of a few different songs and the whole thing feels disjointed, but this was their first attempt at inventing the wheel. Maurice Binder was yet to find the naked lady formula, instead this time opting for the three blokes with guide sticks. Whatever floats your boat.
The first title sequence where all the familiar elements came together to blow us all away. The stunning Binder titles and the electrifying Barry theme are a perfect marriage and serve perfectly to prepare us for the even better movie that follows. Lightning in a bottle. Binder had discovered the secrets of naked women, but he had only dipped a toe. It wouldn’t be long before they danced around a bit.
ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE (1969)
Groovy! Far out! A bizarre opening sequence that is more revealing of the producers horrible fear of change than anything else. Not only do we have Lazenby make a reference to Connery to camera pre-credits. we also get a credit sequence that features clips from previous Connery films. You do see boobs though. Binder well and truly finding his feet now.
LIVE AND LET DIE (1973)
Voodoo!!! Binder at this point is thinking “Wait…you’re seriously paying me to film naked birds jump about? Ok. Time to get creative with some voodoo shit too”. A really great opening sequence that is accompanied by perhaps the strongest Bond song. This really is a perfect storm of Bond intros.
THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977)
It truly would be impossible to go on with this list without mentioning this intro. If only for the incredible Alan Partridge description of it. However it is also the first intro to actively feature Bond taking part, something that we are all too used to now with the Craig films. Try and watch this clip without thinking “completely billy bollocks” or “what was that? A bit of bush? Too late” if you can.
FOR YOU EYES ONLY (1981)
Not only do we have Bond taking part in the titles again, but we also have the singer of the theme (Sheena Easton). That is really the only thing that sets this sequence apart. I suspect Binder was getting wank-blind by this point.
A VIEW TO A KILL (1985)
The only Bond opening title sequence that actively looks like one of my migraines.
The first Bond film for six years and the first sequence not directed by Maurice Binder (as he had died just after LICENCE TO KILL). Daniel Kleinman took over and delivered one of the most memorable sequences in a long time. While still keeping with the previous attempts, this one felt so very new and fresh. The song, while pretty poor, seems to marry perfectly with the post-cold war feel being that it sounds like it was recorded on a Russian made keyboard circa 1983.
DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002)
Fucking terrible song. That needs to be said first. Absolute disgrace of a Bond theme. This is a shame as the title sequence is fantastic. Not only is it visually interesting, but it also tells the story of Bond’s torture. Perhaps he was being played the song too? Poor bastard.
CASINO ROYALE (2006)
A new Bond and a another great sequence by Daniel Kleinman. This time however we have Daniel Craig appearing and looking at us. Judging us. Don’t look, maybe he’ll go away. We also get a nice little story of Bond achieving his “00” status.
QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008)
An interesting sequence as in some ways it is a total departure from the norm. In font and style it is more befitting a non-Bond 1960s spy movie. Daniel Kleinman was ditched for QUANTUM OF SOLACE in favour of a company called MK12. We also have the issue of Bond being in it a lot and the theme itself which is pretty terrible. Saved on this instance by some clever editing.
For SKYFALL, Daniel Klienman is onboard to create the title sequence and you can be sure it will be brilliant. As for the theme, I am suggesting this:
The Bond 50 Blu-ray collection is available on Blu-ray from September 24th 2012 (pre-order now).
SKYFALL is directed by Sam Mendes and stars Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Helen McCrory, and Ben Wishaw. It arrives in UK cinemas 26th October.
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