Skip to main content

(00)7 Best James Bond Opening Sequences

You could tell Die Another Day was going to be dire as soon as Bond somehow gives himself a heart attack to escape custody.  And then there was the invisible Aston Martin.  Despite that though, it actually started very well.  I even like Madonna's title song (dons tin hat), but the start's hovercraft chase is really fun too.  I caught Skyfall's pre-title action sequence (and brilliant title song) on TV the other day, and it got me thinking about how important they are to the Bond formula.  It's a given now that every Bond film starts with a look down a gun barrel, a breathtaking action scene, followed by the song and title sequence.  Die Another Day, and to a lesser extent Spectre, were poor Bond films that couldn't live up to it's breathtaking starts, but those scenes are so good I'm almost tempted to put them on and sit through the whole thing.  So, putting the rest of the film and the brilliant title song sequences aside, what are the best ever Bond film opening scenes?

7. Goldfinger (1964)

The opening that really does have it all.  Gadget pigeon?  Check.  Attractive women?  Check.  Pithy line after electrocuting an assailant in the bath?  Socking.  Positively shocking.

6. Casino Royale (2006)

It's easy to forget the uproar surrounding the selection of Daniel Craig as the man to replace Pierce Brosnan as one of the most famous characters on the big screen.  Turns out Bond can be blonde, but teeny weeny shorts help.  Craig's Bond had another crack at the hard-hitting, violent films, and more vulnerable, human Bond that Timothy Dalton had attempted two decades earlier.  This time audiences were more willing to cast aside the camp, wise-cracking films they had grown bored off, and happy to embrace a Bond who got punched, winced, and bled.  This Bond's rawness is wholly evident from the film's opening as he gets his first kills and double-0 agent status.  Here's an extended version with more cricket... don't think it needed it.

5. Moonraker (1979)

One minute Bond is trying to join the mile high club, the next he's hurtling towards the ground without a parachute in a freefall race with a giant man with metal teeth.  Think Point Break (1991), but with Roger Moore... I would totally watch that by the way.

4. The World is Not Enough (1999)

The Playstation 2 game version of this film may have been terrible, but I seem to remember managing to convince myself it was good seeing as I had enjoyed the film so much.  The film's opening is remembered for it's high speed tour of the Thames, but it actually starts with an abseil down a building in Bilbao.  The rest of the movie's a little hit and miss: for every Robert Carlyle there is a Dr. Christmas Jones.  They got the opening spot on though... from hitting every tourist spot, to Brosnan's (apparently impromptu) adjusting of his tie under water.

3. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Bond and his blonde are rudely interrupted by his ticker tape watch.  He quickly dons a camouflage bright yellow and red suit before a high speed ski chase down a mountain.  It's all very exciting, but a tease to it's finale: one of the greatest stunts ever.  Suddenly Bond is speeding up towards a looming cliff face.  There's nothing but silence as he begins to plummet, only to eventually release his parachute.  Union Jack patterned.  Duh.

2. Spectre (2015)

Okay, you got me, I'm a sucker for a great tracking shot.  As I said in my countdown of my absolute faves, Sam Mendes put together an unobtrusive and immersive shot round Mexico City.  For that to then run in to one of the best action sequences at the start of any Bond is another level though.  Apparently only a few pilots in the world are even allowed to pull off a full loop the loop stunt in the helicopter we're treated to.  That follows some flips, men dangling off the side, and all in between huge buildings with a big crowd underneath.  My jaw was open the whole time.  The link to the tracking shot is on my other post, but for now, enjoy this ridiculousness:

1. Goldeneye (1995)

Too young to see the film in the cinema at the time, my first memory of Goldeneye is the game.  Although the rest of the game is incredible, the dodgy looking bunch of N64 pixels jumping from the dam didn't really do film version justice.  This is one of the best ever Bond moments.  It had to be too.  After Dalton's two efforts there had been a 6 year hiatus of Bond movies.  Could he still be relevant in a post cold war world?  Pierce Brosnan and co had to get audiences on board from the off, and what better way to do that than by diving face first off the face of a 750-foot dam.  It's one of many superb action sequences in Goldeneye, but it also introduces one of my favourite villains.

Spoiler alert: it's Sean Bean.  His Alec Trevelyan (006) is Bond's companion in the opening, as they infiltrate a Soviet chemical weapons factory.  Among the action are witty back and forths, and a relationship that carries extra weight when Alec later reveals himself to be the villain of the piece.  Lets not get ahead of ourselves though.  First there's time to clench our bumcheeks as Bond slowly uses a trolley of chemical weapons for shelter, and nosedives in to a valley only to pull his plane up at the last second.


Popular posts from this blog

Manchester by the Sea (2017)

If there is one way to get me giddy for a film, it’s having Friday Night Lights' very own Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) in it.  Although other fans of one of the greatest TV shows ever may also be hoping for a 2 hour Chandler motivational speech, that isn't how Manchester by the Sea pans out.  Instead Kenneth Lonergan (who writes and directs) has created a deeply moving and realistic look at grief, family and loss.  A comedy it ain't, but Manchester by the Sea was a film I could have watched for another 5 hours so attached was I to it's characters and story.  It's subject matter makes it a difficult sell, but I really hope this finds an audience as it was an enthralling piece of work.

The story is a difficult one to tell while avoiding certain spoilers, but I think that is important so as not to lessen the impact of particular scenes.  Essentially, Manchester by the Sea is about Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) - a man forced to care for his nephew (Lucas Hedges) followi…

11 Best Documentary Films

A documentary’s place is often on the small screen where it has the time to carry out it’s investigation in full across a few episodes. Making a Murderer was a great example of that – there wasn’t anything visually grand about the series that was missed having it on my small screen, and it’s run time allowed it to delve deep in to the detail, rather than cramming it all in to 2 hours.  Despite the tendency to find them more on TV, there is a growing trend in documentaries made for the big screen now. What was once an ignored platform is finding an ever growing audience. That’s reflected in my admittedly blinkered list of all time faves, seeing as only one was made outside of the last 10 years. Attention for film docs is getting bigger and bigger, and some of my favourite experiences in a cinema have been sitting through some of the films below.
It isn’t often that audiences will challenge what’s being presented to them when it’s got that ‘documentary’ label, but through the same techn…

The Secret History of Hollywood Podcast

A while back for my previous job I had to drive from the office near Manchester, down to London, and then back again after a couple of days.  Rather than sitting through the same songs on my iPod during the journey, I thought I would search for a decent podcast to listen to.  The previous time I had made a similar journey I had listened to an audiobook of Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' and although it was a great listen I was up for something for cinema themed this time round.  Having searched through iTunes, I came across 'The Secret History of Hollywood.'  The 'Universe of Horrors' episode in particular caught my eye, and although the 7 hour run time would put many off, it was exactly what I was after.

@philpotts89 Thank you! — Hollywood Histories (@moviehistories) September 4, 2016
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, the podcast's examination of the role of the monster movie in the rise of Universal studios really caught my imagination a…