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December 11, 2013

The Connery Years: Six Memorable Moments in the Water


Dr. No (1962)

A drifting speedboat was the setting for the series’ first fadeout clinch. Many subsequent entries* would reprise or quote this scene.

*From Russia with Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, Tomorrow Never Dies…

From Russia with Love (1963)

Location filming in Istanbul lent From Russia with Love an air of unstudied exoticism. And never more so than in this scene, where Kerim Bey takes Bond over to NATO’s observation post under the Soviet headquarters by navigating the waters of a subterranean Roman reservoir.

Goldfinger (1963)

Bond’s first appearance in Goldfinger was a harbinger of franchise goofiness to come. Yes, that is a stuffed duck on his head.

Thunderball (1965)

About half of Thunderball is set in or by the ocean off the Bahamas. Admittedly an impressionistic estimate, but there is a lot of underwater action. The on-location filming is an undeniably impressive technical achievement. There are some lovely picture-postcard shots of coral reefs as well. Yet, neither stunt work nor nature’s work claims the “most memorable” title. That must go to our first sighting of the villain’s pet sharks swimming around in his pool- followed closely, inevitably, by their being fed with a minion.

You Only Live Twice (1967)

The second Connery movie to begin with James Bond meeting a violent end, in this case in Hong Kong at the hands of Chinese assassins who shot him up while he was trapped in a Murphy bed. Absurdly amusing as that was, it was bettered by the immediate sequel: burial at sea with full military honors, from the deck of a British Navy ship at anchor in the harbor.

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

An oil rig off the coast of Baja California is the setting for the action finale of Diamonds Are Forever. The best part comes when Blofeld tries to escape on his personal mini-submarine as 007 metes out a long-deferred revenge in appropriately seriocomical fashion.