- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 13, 2013

April 13 marks the 60th anniversary of the release of Ian Fleming’s “Casino Royale,” the novel that introduced British secret agent James Bond to the world. The book was an instant success, leading Fleming to write 12 more novels and two short stories featuring 007. Hollywood soon adapted the novels leading to one of the most profitable franchises in movie history. The List this week gives 10 reasons why James Bond continues to have worldwide appeal as he hits 60.

  • 10. The Outside the Box Factor — The fact that James Bond does not have a normal 9-to-5 desk job but must be on-call at anytime to save the world appeals to our sense of imagination. While our lives may be filled with ennui, Bond’s is not. Thus we can live vicariously through his adventures.
  • 9. The Duty Factor — James Bond pursues his tasks out of a deep sense of duty to “God, Queen and Country.” Bond has a purpose in life, and he follows it.  Our lives have a similar purpose — duty to one’s family, friends, religion, employer and country.
  • 8. The Exotic Locales — Whether its Jamaica, the Bahamas, Paris, Cairo, Venice, Rio, Tokyo, the Swiss Alps, San Francisco, New Orleans, or some other exotic locale, James Bond gets to experience the great cities of the world — albeit while people are trying to kill him. Once again, we can live vicariously through him and enjoy the great sights and sounds of these cities, particularly when seen on the big screen.
  • 7. The Nefarious Plots — No matter whether in print or in films, James Bond has to stop bad things from occurring. This can range from stopping a rocket attack on London (the Bond novel “Moonraker”), to stopping a plot to nerve gas earth (“Moonraker”), to stopping a nuclear attack on Miami Beach (“Thunderball”), to averting a nuclear attack on New York and Moscow (“The Spy Who Loved Me”).  These are not petty misdeeds, but mayhem on a grand scale, and as such we need a person equal to the task of preventing this.  We realize 007 is capable of doing the job.
  • 6. The Danger — Danger is no stranger for 007. In fact, danger is a part of the job. Whether facing sharks, crocodiles, snakes, lasers, or assassins, danger is always lurking around the corner. Danger keeps 007 — and us — on our toes.
  • 5. The License to Kill — What separates Bond from other secret agents is his “00” status - that is, he is “licensed to kill whom he pleases, where he pleases, when he pleases,” and he is frequently identified by both friend and foe alike with this distinction —“James Bond, 007 — License to Kill.” However because Bond does not kill indiscriminately and takes no joy in killing — he tells Scaramanga in “The Man With The Golden Gun” that he kills upon the specific orders of his government and those that he kills are themselves killers — we do not get upset when he has to kill.
  • 4. The Bad Guys — James Bond has to deal with a variety of villains, most of whom are wealthy, well-respected, well-connected members of society, who nevertheless are downright evil — Le Chiffre  (“Casino Royale”), Auric Goldfinger (“Goldfinger”), Hugo Drax,(“Moonraker”), Emilio Largo (“Thunderball”), and Karl Stromberg (“The Spy Who Loved Me”) to name a few. Since these individuals are more than worthy adversaries for 007, it gives us great satisfaction when at the end of the adventure, Bond finally vanquishes them.
  • 3. The Gadgets — Whether its an Aston Martin or Lotus Esprit equipped with an ejector seat or missiles, a magnetic wrist watch equipped with a cutting blade, a Walther PPK, or an exploding briefcase with a knife, gold sovereigns, and a rifle inside it, 007 definitely possesses a wide array of cool cars, guns and accessories. These items, given to him by Q branch to be used and (rarely) returned intact from the field, are lifesavers for him, but make us secretly envious.
  • 2. The Style and Class — James Bond is definitely a man of sophistication. He buys his suits from Savile Row, plays baccarat and, of course, enjoys a vodka martini, shaken, not stirred. By accompanying him on his adventures, we too get to experience the finer things in life.
  • 1. The Sex Appeal — Whether it be the novels or films, James Bond definitely enjoys the opposite sex, and the opposite sex definitely enjoys James Bond. While these intelligent, independent, strong-minded women may be reluctant at first to deepen their interaction with 007, we enjoy watching as his charms, style and manner eventually win them over. By the end of the adventure, as Bond and his female companions ultimately get better acquainted, we can continue to marvel and enjoy 007. Happy 60th!

By John Sopko
Sources: imdb.com; Time Magazine; Wikipedia; Popular Mechanics; mi-6-hq.com