Bond, James Bond

Sometimes you get really lucky on Netflix Watch Instant, like when Mysterious Cities of Gold is added (note: the last three episodes are CRAZY) or when the entire run (or most of) one film series is made available.

The latter is true, at least for the next few days or so, in regards to the bulk of the James Bond franchise. Hours of crazy spy action are at your finger tips, including the classics like Dr. No (1962) and Goldfinger (1964), as well as the under-appreciated On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).

What this library of “kiss kiss bang bang” flicks grants a viewer, is a chance to see how each actor (at least through 1995’s Goldeneye) handled the mantle of one James Bond.

Speaking of the titular Bond, you can also catch the rarely seen 1954 American TV movie version of Casino Royale — it was planned to kick off a weekly TV show, which, sadly, never came to fruition (and he’s American in this, too).

Here is a fun game, one in which I partook leading up the release of the Daniel Craig version of Casino Royale (2006): Watch a single film from each incarnation of Bond, ideally the actor’s first outing, one after another. The series, love it or hate it, has its fair share of running “gags” and changes in style over the decades.

To play along, add the following to your Watch Instant Queue, and watch in this order:

Dr. No — Sean Connery

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service — George Lazenby

Optional: Diamonds Are Forever (1971) — Sean Connery’s brief return to the franchise*

Live and Let Die (1973) — Roger Moore

The Living Daylights (1987) — Timothy Dalton

GoldenEye — Pierce Brosnan

Sadly, as of this writing, none of the Daniel Craig films are available on Netflix Watch Instant. What is interesting about this project, is how the series, and Bond himself, evolved over the decades.

There is a film theory about the Bond franchise, which is at least worth mentioning: James Bond, like Dread Pirate Roberts, is actually a code name, handed down from agent to agent** (the same goes for M, Q and maybe even Moneypenny***). It can be amusing to watch the series with this theory in mind, especially as Bond changes, yet M and the rest stay the same (for the most part). I don’t really buy into the theory too much. Yes it is fun, but I kind of treat each incarnation of Bond as its own “universe.”

Hurry and watch these while you can, as Instant Watcher says they expire on January 8th.

* = Not counting the non-Eon production of Never Say Never Again (1983), which is a remake of Thunderball (1965).

** = If you follow this theory, it would mean the Connery Bond “retired” after You Only Live Twice (which is amusing, as Connery did come back as Bond, twice) and the mantle was taken up by the Lazenby Bond. The change back to Connery for a single film following On Her Majesty’s Secret Service could be seen as Lazenby’s Bond being burned out after his single adventure (and given the events in the film, it is believable) and MI6 brought Connery’s Bond back for one more outing, until another replacement, Moore’s Bond, was found or perhaps, trained. Ain’t film theory fun?

*** = There is another film theory which suggests Bond and Moneypenny are actually married, at least in the Connery films. You can roll this one into the code name theory for added fun.

Daniel J. Hogan is the geek half of Ginger and the Geek. Follow him on Twitter, @danieljhogan.

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