The worst moments in James Bond cinema


James Bond is awesome, but he hasn’t always been at his best. Here are some of the 007 moments we’d like to forget.

No ongoing franchise has lasted like James Bond, with five decades of films to its name. There were a lot of ups and downs around this time, and while the franchise produced its fair share of classic movies and memorable moments, not all were worthy of immortality. Some were stupid, others just didn’t work and the worst was rife with the misogyny and racism that took decades for the franchise to dissipate.

007 evolves with the times, and luckily Daniel Craig’s iteration avoided overtaking one of the franchise’s weak spots. That being said, there are still more than a few Bond moments that are best forgotten.

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Tatiana Romanova (From Russia with love)

Creeping sexism in the James bond franchising is serious business. Sean Connery’s run on the character is full of it, and even Goldfinger Pussy Galore had to endure an infamous “seduction” that was far too close to the non-consensual for comfort. Corn From Russia with love Tatiana may have struggled with the worst. The film portrays her as passive and childish, laughing at Bond like a schoolgirl as he harshly lectures her and literally drags her from scene to scene. The franchise has more than its share of flaws on this front, but From Russia with love perpetuates it for most of the duration of its execution.

The Jet Pack (Thunderball)

007’s gadgets can often be a double-edged sword, as high tech from one era becomes junk in the next. Corn Thunder clap presented a particularly bad example – a bulky, hard-to-conceal jetpack that Bond uses to evade his pursuers, essentially by leaping over a building and landing in the nearby street. From its conception, the sequence felt awkward, and while the rocket pack itself was quite real, its practical uses seemed far too limited for its bulk, even then. In the space-mad ’60s it might have looked impressive, but for today’s standards it just looks silly.

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Baron Samedi (Live and Let Die)

Live and Let Die is problematic, being adapted from a work rooted in racism. At its beginnings, the James bond the franchise tended to follow dominant trends in the movies, who, in the case of Live and Let Die, meant to mimic the blaxploitation movement of the early 1970s. Obviously, this was a bad fit, portraying Harlem’s black community as a near-secret society of criminals and cultists, followed by a shift to Haiti, where cultural appropriation begins in earnest. This includes a voodoo ceremony in a Haitian cemetery and the appearance of Baron Samedi, a traditional figure in Caribbean folklore, who is presented as a stereotype.

The Slide Whistle Jump

The man with the golden gun features one of the most spectacular stunts ever to be filmed – a corkscrew jump in which a vehicle spins through the air before landing perfectly on the other side. It’s an incredibly impressive moment, which is why the inclusion of a slide whistle on the soundtrack remains so indescribably baffling. Bond’s Roger Moore era was marked by an excessive breeze and an upbeat tone, but the sound so clashes with what’s happening onscreen that the whole moment is marred by one misguided gesture.

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Falling Airship (A View to a Kill)

Moore’s exit before A sight to kill – the years 1983 Octopus – garners mixed reviews from Bond fans, but it ended in spectacular fashion, with Bond (played by a stuntman) hanging from the top of a real plane in mid-flight. It’s exactly the kind of white punch that the franchise has traditionally thrived on. However, the follow-up, A sight to kill, featured a decidedly less impressive waterfall in the sky. Grace Jones’ henchman gets rid of a reluctant investor by dropping him from his employer’s airship, and the scene culminates with a photo of what is clearly a dummy diving in the San Francisco Bay Area. For a franchise that has made a name for itself on incredible stunts, the faux pas is embarrassing.

The invisible car (Die another day)

The Pierce Brosnan era has often been rocky, despite the work of its leader and the presence of some strong points like Michelle Yeoh. And the unfortunate cycle that began with 007 trading his Aston-Marton for a BMW and identifying Jon Don Baker with the tattoo on his rump ended in ignominious ways with a car that pushed the boundaries in all likelihood. An attempt to wring out another rigged vehicle produced one that actually became invisible. It was a sign that the character’s current iteration was running out of ideas – a failure that ultimately led to the successful reboot, Casino Royale.

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