The formula has stayed the same through much of the fifty-five year history of 007 on film. Bond is given his assignment by his boss, M; he flirts with Miss Moneypenny on his way of M’s office, and then proceeds to Q-Branch, where he meets with the Quartermaster, who, after some banter between them (sometimes humorous, oftentimes adversarial—depending on the era), supplies Her Majesty’s secret agent with the tools he’ll need for a particular mission and, damn, if they aren’t usually exactly what he needs to get the job done.
So what does come to mind when you think of James Bond? In all likelihood the first thing will be the actor who represents your Bond, whether it be Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan or George Lazenby. Or just maybe you can’t get Barry Nelson out of your head, and that 1950s live TV production of Casino Royale in which the British secret agent was transformed into American “card sharp Jimmy Bond.” Or perhaps it was the other Casino Royale—no, not the one that introduced Craig in the role, but the 1967 big screen “comedy” (it’s really not funny) with 007 portrayed by no less than Peter Sellers, David Niven, Woody Allen and Ursula Andress(!).
So beyond that, what comes to mind? Oh, sure, there’s the beautiful women, the dastardly villains hellbent on global domination, and the exotic locales, but what about those aforementioned gadgets? When James Bond exploded into the pop culture consciousness in the 1960s, those films were unlike any that preceded, and one element that helped it stand out from the rest was the wide assortment of gadgets. Certainly it started off pretty low key in 1962’s Dr. No, which only had geiger counters and cyanide cigarettes (nothing too innovative there), but by the following year’s From Russia With Love there was the watch perfectly designed to strangle your opponent, and the year after that, in Goldfinger, we laid our eyes on the most amazing car ever seen. And it’s just continued from there, amazing generation after generation of moviegoers.
What follows is FHM’s guide 25 gadgets of James Bond, most of which remain pretty damn cool to this day.
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