The James Bond Archives REVIEW

As James Bond turns 50, he gets the ultimate photo album to mark the occasion. This comprehensive history of 007 and his exploits is just as lavish as the price tag suggests, and backs up hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes pictures and documents with exhaustive Making Ofs for every single Bond movie – there are even chapters on “unofficial” outings Never Say Never Again and the spoof Casino Royale .

Alongside the extensive archive material (highlights include Sean Connery’s notes on Goldfinger ’s script, and technical drawings of the jetpack from Thunderball ), editor Paul Duncan and his team of writers pull together comments from all the main players – everyone from Cubby Broccoli to George Lazenby, Ian Fleming to Shirley Bassey. There’s so much here that even the most fanatical of Bond aficionados is likely to pick up new intel.

Exhaustive as the book is, however, you can’t help feeling that all that access to the Bond archives came at a price. It never feels like anything other than the “official” version of 007’s history, with some potentially interesting stories (such as Pierce Brosnan’s departure) rather hurried over. Nonetheless, for any Bond fan with a hundred quid burning a hole in their pocket, this is a must-buy.

Claudine Auger, Martine Beswick and Molly Peters.

Roger Moore on the set of Live And Let Die.

Sean Connery and Ursula Andress filming Dr No.

Richard Edwards

Read the results of our James Bond poll .
Read our Skyfall review .
Read our marathon James Bond rewatch of every film.

DR. NO © 1962 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.
THUNDERBALL © 1965 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.
LIVE AND LET DIE © 1973 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.

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