IT WASN’T NECESSARY for me to rewatch the entire Bond series, in order, with my girlfriend, to recognise that the series is heavily reliant on an established formula, but it didn’t stop me. Indeed, what’s remarkable is not how formulaic the films are, but how successfully a 54-years-24-films-long series has been built where other, equally formulaic, series seem to have stalled (for reference, see the Carry Ons, the Rockys, the Karate Kids, the Friday the 13ths, the Nightmare on Elm Streets, the Halloweens or, really, any other film franchise at all). Another, perhaps related, peculiarity of the Bonds is that no-one really tends to see them as a series, with the possible exception of the more continuity-heavy post-reboot films; they’re more like this year’s model than sequels, which can be tracked in the trends they embrace: blaxploitation in 1973’s Live and Let Die; Kung Fu in 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun; disco in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me; Star Wars in 1979’s Moonraker.
So successful & so enduring is the Bond formula that, aside from its imitations in many other works, even within the franchise it has frequently proven possible to deconstruct & reconstruct it however the creators see fit. Like a game of Madlibs, the same elements show up in new combinations across the series, & what that’s given rise to in my household at least, is the 007 drinking game: take a sip of vodka martini each time one of these elements show up.
1. Film ends with Bond & Bond girl on raft
Appears in: Dr. No; From Russia with Love; Goldfinger (a parachute is the aerial version of a raft); Thunderball; You Only Live Twice; Diamonds Are Forever (a yacht is just a really fancy raft); The Man with the Golden Gun (a junk is just a big raft); The Spy Who Loved Me (a miniature submarine is the…well, submarine version of a raft); Moonraker (an escape pod is the space version of a raft); For Your Eyes Only (again, a yacht is a fancy raft); Octopussy; Tomorrow Never Dies
Drink twice if: Bond is actively avoiding a rescue effort in order to get off with the Bond girl (Dr. No, Goldfinger, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, Tomorrow Never Dies)
2. Film ends with Bond & Bond girl hilariously interrupted mid-coitus by an attempt at rescue or communication
His superiors will act shocked at his promiscuity, every time. Appears in: The Spy Who Loved Me; Moonraker; For Your Eyes Only; A View to a Kill; GoldenEye; The World is Not Enough
Drink twice if: Bond is on some sort of raft or other craft when it occurs (see above).
3. Shark tanks!
Appears in: Thunderball; You Only Live Twice (a piranha tank is just a modest version of a shark tank); Live and Let Die (which features a functionally similar alligator farm in addition to the real deal); The Spy Who Loved Me; Licence to Kill (which also features a revolting maggot tank)
4. Assassination attempt by deadly (sometimes, not-so-deadly) animal
Due to the prevalence of tanks full of sharks or other aquatic creatures, they’ve been given their own section. Appears in: Dr. No (tarantula); Live and Let Die (snake); Moonraker (another snake); Skyfall (komodo dragon)
5. Villain wears a Nehru jacket
Appearances: Dr. No in Dr. No; Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice; Ernst Stavro Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever; Hugo Drax in Moonraker; Ernst Stavro Blofeld in For Your Eyes Only; Kamal Khan in Octopussy; Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies; Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Spectre
6. Villain bearing some sort of physical deformity or disfigurement
Appearances: Dr. No in Dr. No (metal hands); Emilio Largo in Thunderball (missing left eye); Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice (baldness; scar over right eye); Ernst Stavro Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (baldness); Tee Hee in Live and Let Die (missing right hand, replaced with hook); Whisper in Live and Let Die (obesity); Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (superfluous third nipple); Nick Nack in The Man with the Golden Gun (dwarfism); Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (acromegaly; metal teeth); Jaws in Moonraker (acromegaly; metal teeth); Ernst Stavro Blofeld in For Your Eyes Only (baldness; paralysis); Alec Trevelyan 006 in GoldenEye (burns across right side of face); Valentin Zukovsky in GoldenEye (limp due to bullet wound in knee); Renard in The World is Not Enough (baldness; forehead scar from bullet wound, also causing inability to feel pain); Elektra King in The World is Not Enough (missing lobe of right ear); Mister Bullion in The World is Not Enough (gold teeth); Zao in Die Another Day (diamonds embedded in face due to explosion; later, bald, blue-eyed & pale while retaining Asiatic facial structure due to interrupted Caucasiplasty); Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (scar over left eye; cries blood); Adolph Gettler in Casino Royale (missing right eye); Raoul Silva in Skyfall (deformed jaw due to cyanide incident); Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Spectre (scar over right eye due to an explosion, also causing blindness in right eye)
Drink twice if: they bear their disfigurement as a direct result of Bond’s actions (Ernst Stavro Blofeld in For Your Eyes Only; Alec Trevelyan 006 in GoldenEye; Valentin Zukovsky in GoldenEye; Zao in Die Another Day (twice over!); Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Spectre)
8. Villain hoist with his own petard
This might be a physical feature, a personality quirk, some sort of weapon or item, or a feature of the villain’s plan, just as long as it causes his downfall. Appearances: Dr. No in Dr. No (unable to climb slippery pole due to own metal hands); Oddjob in Goldfinger (electrocuted via own razor bowler hat); Mr. Kidd in Diamonds Are Forever (set alight with own burning shishkabob); Mr. Wint in Diamonds Are Forever (blown up with own bomb); Mr. Big in Live and Let Die (shot with own compressed-air pistol); Tee Hee in Live and Let Die (wrenched out of train due to inability to free own hook-hand); Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (fooled by own mannequin of Bond); Karl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me (shot through own gun-pipe in table); Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (attracted to electromagnet via own metal teeth); Dr. Carl Mortner in A View to a Kill (blown up by own dynamite); Brad Whitaker in The Living Daylights (crushed by own Waterloo diorama); Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies (killed by own sea drill); Colonel Tan-Sun Moon in Die Another Day (sucked into jet intake by own parachute; also electrocuted by own power suit)
9. A villain the audience had forgotten about appears to attack Bond & Bond girl aboard moving vehicle
A final, post-climactic action scene particularly beloved by director Guy Hamilton, who used it in each of his Bond films: Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger (aboard aeroplane); Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd in Diamonds Are Forever (aboard yacht); Tee Hee in Live and Let Die (aboard train); Nick Nack in The Man with the Golden Gun (aboard junk)
10. Bond challenges the villain, early on in his investigation, in a sport or game
He always wins, too. Appears in: Goldfinger (golf); Thunderball (clay pigeon shooting); Moonraker (pheasant shooting); Octopussy (backgammon); A View to a Kill (steeplechase); GoldenEye (impromptu motor racing; Baccarat) Die Another Day (fencing). This also supplies about half of the plot of Casino Royale (Texas Hold ’em poker).
Drink twice if: the villain cheats, but Bond wins anyway (Goldfinger, Moonraker, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, arguably Die Another Day)
11. Henchman with a bizarre method of assassination
Appearances: Rosa Klebb in From Russia with Love (concealed blade in shoe); Oddjob in Goldfinger (razor bowler hat); Bambi & Thumper in Diamonds Are Forever (tag-team gymnastics); Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (firing golden bullets from Golden Gun); Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (biting with metal teeth); Jaws in Moonraker (biting with metal teeth); Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye (crushing with thighs); Mr. Hinx in Spectre (pushing thumbs through eyeballs)
Drink twice if: the henchman is hoist with his own petard (see above)
12. Ski scene
The best ones are choreographed by Willy Bogner. Appears in: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; The Spy Who Loved Me; For Your Eyes Only; A View to a Kill; The Living Daylights (Bond on toboggan; enemies on skis); The World is Not Enough; Spectre
13. Diving scene
Naturally enough, Ian Fleming had a passion for marine biology. Appears in: Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Tomorrow Never Dies
14. Gadget car
There is something of a misconception that Bond receives a new one in each film; in fact, this is only true of the Brosnan era. James Bond’s gadget cars are: an Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger; Thunderball; GoldenEye; Tomorrow Never Dies; The World is Not Enough; Skyfall; Spectre); an Aston Martin DBS (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; Diamonds Are Forever); a Lotus Esprit S1 (The Spy Who Loved Me); a Lotus Esprit Turbo (For Your Eyes Only); an Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante (The Living Daylights); a BMW Z3 (GoldenEye); a BMW 750iL (Tomorrow Never Dies); a BMW Z8 (The World is Not Enough); an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish (Die Another Day); an Aston Martin DBS V12 (Casino Royale; Quantum of Solace); an Aston Martin DB10 (Spectre). Villainous gadget cars are Francisco Scaramanga’s AMC Matador/light aircraft in The Man with the Golden Gun, & Zao’s Jaguar XKR in Die Another Day.
15. Gadget watch
Again, these are only a regular feature of the Brosnan films, though Q’s line in Die Another Day, “Your new watch. Your twentieth, I believe-?” wrongly implies they are a feature of every film. James Bond’s gadget watches are: a Breitling Top Time with inbuilt Geiger counter (Thunderball); Rolex Submariner with inbuilt electromagnet & buzzsaw (Live and Let Die); Seiko 0674 with inbuilt teleprinter (The Spy Who Loved Me); Seiko M354-5019M with inbuilt explosives (Moonraker); Seiko Duo-Time H357 with inbuilt communicator (For Your Eyes Only); Seiko G757-5020 with inbuilt surveillance equipment (Octopussy); Omega Seamaster 2541.80 with inbuilt laser beam & remote detonator (GoldenEye); Omega Seamaster 2531. 80 with inbuilt explosives (Tomorrow Never Dies); Omega Seamaster 2531.80 with grappling hook (The World is Not Enough); Omega Seamaster 2531.80 with inbuilt explosive detonaor & laser beam (Die Another Day); Omega Seamaster with inbuilt explosives (Spectre)