On October 5, 1962, the first James Bond film, “Dr. No,” premiered in London. Based on Ian Fleming’s novels, moviegoers were riveted by the suave superspy, codenamed 007, for the first time. They were also mesmerized when the first “Bond Girl,” Honey Ryder (played by Ursula Andress), emerged from the ocean, sporting nothing but a sexy white bikini and diver’s knife. This new onscreen female archetype oozed with unbridled sex appeal, while asserting a fearless independence and strength. Bond Girls are an undeniably iconic part of pop culture, and have launched or solidified many famous actresses’ careers in Hollywood.
The James Bond franchise has been captivating audiences for over 50 years, with multiple actors playing the title character, and 77 Bond Girls gracing the screen. Aside from being gorgeous, young and an irresistible love interest, Bond Girls played various roles throughout the films. Most Bond Girls were gorgeous sidekicks, some with memorable double entendre-filled names, such as Pussy Galore (“Goldfinger”) or Holly Goodhead (“Moonraker”). Other Bond Girls, after trysts with 007, revealed that they are actually villains, like Fatima Blush in 1983’s “Never Say Never Again” and Miranda Frost in 2002’s “Die Another Day.”
Many of the Bond Girl actresses were already established stars before their roles opposite 007. Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman were already well known for their respective roles in “The Avengers.” Halle Berry (Jinx Johnson in “Die Another Day”) was in the middle of filming when she won her 2002 Academy Award.
However, some actresses catapulted to fame after being Bond Girls. Kim Bassinger’s breakout role was in “Never Say Never Again” (1983) as was Famke Janssen’s as a femme fatale in “GoldenEye” (1995).
Perhaps a promising sign of the changing times, in the most recent Bond film, “Spectre” (2015), director Sam Mendes departed from the typical Bond Girl formula. He cast 51-year-old actress, Monica Bellucci, as a Bond Girl – or a “Bond Woman,” as she called it. In an interview, Mendes explained, “For the first time in history, James Bond is going to have a story with a mature woman.” Timeless, yet revolutionary, Bond Girls continue to symbolize the long-standing, yet ever-changing dichotomy between sexism and empowerment.