2012 marks the 50th anniversary of James Bond on the big screen. To celebrate, SFX’s Nick Setchfield revisits each and every 007 adventure in a week by week countdown to Skyfall


JUMP! It’s the breathcatching stunt that declares Bond’s inimitable return to the big screen – a freefall bungee jump into the granite vastness of the Arkangel chemical weapons facility. As GoldenEye opens a black-clad 007 executes a graceful descent into its seemingly infinite maw, in peril of being smashed to pulp by its blind grey walls. Switzerland’s virtually vertical Locarno dam delivered the eye-popping visual while Wayne Michaels doubled for Brosnan on the daredevil leap, a 700 ft plummet that was nailed in one take and set a new world record (Michaels recalls that he glimpsed an Italian crane driver make the sign of the cross before he jumped). A showcase for the Bond tradition of muscular, risk-calculating stuntwork in an increasingly digital age, this leap launches the seventeenth Bond adventure in high, audacious style.

NEW WORLD DISORDER “The map had changed,” said director Martin Campbell, acknowledging that 007’s resurrection was occurring in a radically transformed world. “Russia had changed, the whole political spectrum had changed – Bond has adapted.” The decades-long powerplay between East and West had been the inescapable background hum of Bond’s big screen career but in his absence from active duty the Cold War had finally defrosted. New title designer Danny Kleinman’s astonishing credits form the franchise’s belated response to the fall of the USSR – golden girls writhe against broiling, blood-red clouds as sinister, skyscraping supermodels take pick-axes to Soviet icons. Statues of Lenin and Marx topple like abandoned ideology. It feels like the final triumph of moneyed Western decadence, communism crushed beneath the power of the stiletto heel, collectivism assassinated by glamour. By the time Bond re-enters history the New World Order of 1989 has soured – crime has filled the vacuum left by the old orthodoxy and broken effigies of socialist heroes now decorate a junkyard, looming spectrally in the night. Tellingly, the villainous Alec Trevelyan wields a Cold War weapon, an electro-magnetic pulse that targets Britain’s financial district. It may be a new world but Bond is still battling old ghosts.


For the city-smashing tank chase production designer Peter Lamont recreated St Petersburg on the backlot of Leavesden studios. It took 175 workmen over six weeks to create two acres of makebelieve Russia.

Sean Bean was in contention for the role of Bond himself.

GoldenEye sees the first mention of the Internet in the Bond films. And email. And the word geek.


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