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Best James Bond Scenes: Sean Connery Era

Best James Bond Scenes: Sean Connery Era

The most commercially successful Bond film to date is Thunderball. The pic earned over $141 million worldwide, of which more than half was generated domestically in the U.S. The film was such a success, it was remade some 18 years later as Never Say Never Again. This is without a doubt my favourite Bond film (although not the best), and the film that perfected the ‘Bond Formula”. Every key player is back: lead actor Sen Connery, director Terence Young, longtime Bond screenwriter Richard Maibaum, cinematographer Ted Moore, title sequence designer Maurice Binder, and composer John Barry.

11: Thunderball – Opening Title Sequence

Maurice Binder returns to the fold after two films away and creates the quintessential Bond title sequence. The titles of Thunderball are visually striking, showing silhouettes of naked women swimming around against coloured backgrounds. Binder hired two dancers who actually swam about in tanks in disco clubs and convinced them to do the scene in the nude, promising he would tint the footage in post production. And finally, Tom Jones tops it off with possibly the second best theme song (even if the lyrics make no sense).

(Watch the clip here)

12: Thunderball – Shark Attack!

The endless underwater sequences in the Caribbean’s big blue, are Thunderball’s standout feature. Thunderball’s underwater exploration easily takes up a quarter of its 130 minutes: The early heist and the final climax are noteworthy, but the best underwater scene involves Bond swimming for his life in Largo’s shark-infested pool. Watch how close the sharks actually get to Sean Connery’s face. The look on Connery’s face is actual fear.

(Watch the clip here)

13: Thunderball – The Wedding Dance

James Bond and Fionna Volpe find themselves locked in a tango after crashing a wedding. Bond spins the dame around locking her directly in the path of an assassin’s bullet. It’s a minor moment in an action packed feature, but a moment no less that show’s Bond’s cruel nature, and just how quick he is to dodge a bullet.

14: Thunderball – Harpoon to the chest

Thunderball may be packed with underwater action, but one of the most memorable scenes takes place above water. Sneaking up on 007 has proven, a not so wise choice. In Thunderball, henchman Vargas quietly approaches Bond while he announces to Domino, her brother died. 007 quickly picks up the harpoon gun and fires it directly at Vargas, leaving him pinned to a tree. Bond responds with one of his best punchlines:

“I think he got the point.”

(Watch the clip here)

Memorable Quotes:

Fiona: Some men just don’t like to be driven.
Bond: No, some men don’t like to be taken for a ride.

James Bond: My dear girl, don’t flatter yourself. What I did this evening was for Queen and country. You don’t think it gave me any pleasure, do you?

James Bond: Do you mind if my friend sits this one out? She’s just dead.

15: You Only Live Twice – Aerial Attack

Amongst the film’s two biggest set-pieces is the battle between four helicopters and Bond’s tiny autogyro. This terrific combination of aerial cinematography and savvy editing cost cameraman John Jordan his foot.

(Watch the clip here)

16: You Only Live Twice – Bond Meets Blofeld

“Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Ernst Stavro Blofeld.”

It can be argued that the unmasking of Ernst Stavro Blofeld was a mistake. Arguably Bond’s greatest nemesis was always on the ominous figure, but for the first time audiences get to see what he looked like. Sure Donald Pleasance’s performance isn’t as good as Max Von Sydow’s portrayal of Blofeld in Never Say Never Again, but Pleasance gives the character an otherworldly creepiness  ranking that almost makes us forgive the decision to show his face.

(Watch the clip here)

17: You Only Live Twice – Ninja Attack

You Only Live Twice is the most action-heavy of all the Connery films. Give credit to the film’s second unit director Peter Hunt, who was in charge of choreographing most of the action, and directing one of the most exciting spectacles of all the early 007 flicks. In the climax of his fifth screen adventure, 007 takes out Blofeld’s massive volcano base with an army of ninjas allies who drop down from the ceiling as Bond rushes to stop the doomsday device. It is absolutely terrific.

(Watch the clip here)

18: You Only Live Twice – Piranha Feeding Time

Blofeld loves his pets, and apart from his white pussycat, he’s known for housing killer sharks and flesh-eating piranhas. Blofeld is also known to not tolerate the failures of his henchmen. Poor Helga Brandt becomes a happy meal for the man-eating fish swimming below when she unknowingly triggers the walkway trapdoor.

(Watch the clip here)

Memorable Quotes:

Blofeld: Kill Bond! Now!

Tiger Tanaka: Permit me to introduce myself. I am Tanaka. Please call me Tiger.

Tiger Tanaka: I must say I am disappointed with the ease with which I could pull you in. The one thing my honourable mother taught me long ago was never to get into a car with a strange girl. But you, I’m afraid, will get into anything. With any girl.


19: Diamonds Are Forever – Peter gets shafted

If there is one noteworthy action scene in Diamonds are Forever, it is the fight between Bond and diamond smuggler Peter Franks in an Amsterdam elevator. The scene is reminiscent of the train car sequence in From Russian With Love since both the actors and the cameras are restricted by space. Nevertheless, it remains one of the very best fistfights in the entire franchise.

(Watch the clip here)

Memorable Quotes:

Willard Whyte: I see you’ve met my friends Bambi and Thumper

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This article is part of our 007 marathon. You can find all the entries by clicking here.