A video that crosses the entire span of the Bond era, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, contains some of the best of Bond’s jokes, puns and witticisms. In a research study the two consistent characteristics of a British person are wit and cleverness. But connected with these traits are some generally negative attitudes such as cold, uptight, and snobbish. In an apparent contradiction, Brits are generally considered to be mannered and polite.
All this is important to understanding the why behind the constant string of the one liners and double entendre that is found through almost every Bond film. Though an American and international spy favorite, the character of James Bond has always been British and the actors who are cast for the role have a definite British accent, style, mannerisms, and sense of the culture. The creator of the Bond character, Ian Fleming, was British (and a naval intelligence officer). The cool, detached witticisms need to be expressed in just the right environment at just the right time.
If you think that all the actors who played Bond enjoyed the one liners, think again. Upon leaving the Bond role, Pierce Brosnan was asked what he hated most about being Bond. His answer: all the stupid one liners. If you keep track of the video, you will find very few one liners from the current Bond, Daniel Craig, shown. Maybe the writers were paying attention to Brosnan, or maybe casting Craig as the “new” James Bond, someone far more serious, required less wit and more action.
But don’t walk away thinking that the humor is accidental or required as a part of the British character. Bond movies are supposed to be trendy, action packed, and fun. Humor is often used as a way to break the tension momentarily in many genres of movies. Sometimes viewers don’t like spoofs of their favorite serious movies because there is too much humor and destroy the intended context of the movie. In almost every movie, the Bond writers get it right.
Double entendre is a great device great device because Bond will never permanently be attached to any of the women he meets – or falls in love with. (Remember what happened in Casino Royale where Craig was cast as Bond? It didn’t work out well for her.) Feminists will criticize the objectification of Bond’s women, but it is a necessary part of the plot, and is why you need to pay attention to the double entendre wherever it may show up. The best name for a Bond female villain-accomplice is undoubtedly Pussy Galore.
Also notice that when Bond delivers a one liner it is often after he kills someone. OK, it also extends to the villain, such as Goldfinger. Bond has a laser headed towards him to cut him in half (slowly) he asks Goldfinger, “Do you expect me to talk?” Goldfinger replies, “No Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.” But notice that Goldfinger gets a perverse delight from his statement while Bond remains detached. The whole idea behind all the jokes, puns and witticisms is they are delivered in a typically British cold manner; no screaming, yelling, or excited cry comes from their mouths. Would we ever want a different Bond?