007 Reasons To Appreciate A “Bond Girl!”
It sounds very “retro” and “demeaning” in today’s world to describe any female character as a “girl”, but the role of a “Bond Girl” in the 007 film series was so much more in the earlier films…these were in many cases strong, empowered female characters – and it was also a career-making opportunity for the Actress cast in the role. These roles gave Actresses a chance to showcase brains as well as beauty!
Lea Seydoux was the most recent “Bond Girl” in “Spectre”, but didn’t really resonate much for me – these latter roles have been woefully underwritten. In the early days of the Bond series, it was something special to be a Bond girl…and here they all are – on one great graphic:
The Important Cinematic Role Of A “Bond Girl”!
While the sexual chemistry between James Bond and his female co-stars was blatant and obvious in the series, these roles also gave the women a chance to be brash, brave and kick some ass of their own as well.
These women all share on thing in common: they all had the chance to put a strong female character into a male, action-fueled cinema franchise!
Here’s how Maxim magazine accurately described them:
“The term “Bond girl” has long been both an honor and a burden — an amalgam of old-school plaything and career-boosting star turn — but let’s face it: the 007 canon would be far less interesting without James Bond’s bevy of babes.”
The more recent Bond films used recognizable stars, which got away from the original concept…
Denise Richards in “The World Is Not Enough” and Halle Berry in “Die Another Day” felt like stunt casting…the original Bond girls felt more organic to the story, with a much stronger and more intelligent role to play, like the first “Bond Girl” ever:
Meet Ursula “Undress!”
The first-ever Bond Girl stepped out of the ocean and became one of the 60’s most famous stars…Ursula Andress in “Dr. No” became an instant “pinup queen” because of this outfit…and she was a strong, independent woman who could stand up to the world’s greatest secret agent with brains and brawn.
Her nickname was Ursula “Undress”…becasue she had a history in Europe of doing movies without many clothes…click here to see why!
Next up was one of the most exotic – Diana Bianchi in “From Russia With Love”:
She was sexy and smart – and had plenty of action in the film.
One of the most unique characters was next up: Pussy Galore from “Goldfinger”:
Honor Blackman played Pussy Galore, who first appears as a pilot aboard Goldfinger’s private jet. James Bond, unconscious after being shot with a tranquilizer gun, wakes up to see Pussy standing over him. James asks “Who are you?”, and in one of the most famous introductions of the Bond series, Pussy replies “My Name is Pussy Galore”, to which Bond retorts “I must be dreaming”.
The series had a few other provocative Actresses over the years, like when Lana Wood showed off her star-making power in “Diamonds Are Forever”:
Yes, she was Natalie Wood’s sister! At the time, Lana was far less known than her sister, and the role in “Diamonds” garnered her a ton of attention, including the memorable “toss into the pool” scene. See that clip here:
For many of the early Bond films, the female co-star was European. Corinne Clery was one of the sexiest co-stars in the series when she appeared with Roger Moore:
Clery made this appearance AFTER starring in one of the most controversial films of the 70’s, “The Story Of ‘O'” – see more here:
America got into the “Bond girl” game in 1971, when Jill St. John was the first US star to play with Bond:
Here’s great trivia: she also starred in the “Seinfeld” yada yada episode with her husband, Robert Wagner, who was previously Lana Wood’s Brother-In-Law! See it here:
As I said, many of the early stars were accomplished Actresses in Europe:
Caroline Munro shared her “Bond girl” status with Barbara Bach – the wife of Ringo Starr, but she also starred in a number of other big hits! See more here:
Finally, you can be a Bond girl without even being in an official Bond film!
Barbara Bouchet starred in Woddy Allen’s Bond spoof “Casino Royale” in the late 60’s – this is a forgotten movie that made fun of Bond in a very 60’s way…see that wacky trailer here:
My favorite “Bond Girl” will always be Claudine Auger, from “Thunderball”:
Auger stood up to Bond and was an integral part of the film’s plot.
See some of her greatest performances here:
That’s a look at some of the more interesting women to take on this part, I left out many Bond girls, let me know your favorite!