There are a few things you can always expect from a James Bond film: cool gadgets, beautiful women, and elaborate opening credits. These credit sequences typically hint at the plot of the film and they’re usually accompanied by an original song by a popular artist at the time. Each movie has its own unique introduction, and the tone of the opening usually evokes the decade that the film was made.
The movies starring the debonair secret agent tend to be over the top, so it’s no surprise that some of these opening credits are pretty strange. With Spectre about to be released, we’ve picked out some of most trippy title sequences from the franchise. Get ready for a lot of dancing women.
Diamonds are Forever (1971)
The dazzling opening to Diamonds are Forever contains more precious stones than a jewelry store. It features a cameo by the famous white cat owned by the villainous Blofeld, who is smuggling diamonds to build a huge laser. The cat walks past women who are decked out in diamond rings, necklaces, and earrings. They really go overboard on the accessories; even the cat is wearing a diamond collar.
Female silhouettes – some of which are sparkling – dance inside and around the jewels. The sequence ends with a diamond entering a woman’s belly button. This could have been the most bizarre jewelry commercial ever.
Live and Let Die (1973)
When the title song is by a former Beatle, Paul McCartney (and his band The Wings), the opening better be pretty wild to justify a title like that. Live and Let Die does not disappoint, as it starts with a woman’s head turning into a flaming skull. This fits with the voodoo theme of the movie and happens again towards the end of the credits. There is also a girl dancing in the eyehole of the skull because, why not?
A good 30 seconds is spent on a silhouette dancing in front of a colorful background. This wouldn’t be unusual except she’s not really dancing, she’s just flailing her arms around. Is she waving? Is she in distress? We’ll never know, but at least she doesn’t burst into flames.
It’s only natural that the credits for this space adventure would have women back-flipping over the moon and floating above Earth. There are also female figures flying through the air in a Superman pose, and sitting on what looks like a disco ball planet. There’s some great wind-in-hair action as a woman’s face rotates around the screen, her hair blowing in the artificial breeze.
The plot of Moonraker, in which Bond (Roger Moore in this one) goes into space to stop a villain from annihilating all humans, is so ridiculous that it actually makes this opening seem understated in comparison. But it’s still pretty weird.
When you’re a super spy, a laser gun that shoots out the number 007 doesn’t seem like an effective weapon. Yet this gun plays a major role in this sequence, and also shoots out laser forms of Bond that travel across women’s bodies. Similarly, there is a close-up shot of a woman’s face, and then a picture of Roger Moore (this film’s Bond) randomly appears between her eyes.
For a change of pace, a male silhouette is included this time. But this man is literally swinging a woman around in a manner that looks more dangerous than fun. Given that Octopussy takes place partially at a circus, you would think that would tie into the credits somehow. But these credits don’t include any details about the plot of the movie (except for a laser octopus).
A View to a Kill (1985)
The credits for A View to a Kill are a mix between a rave and a ski resort, despite the main plot having nothing to do with skiing. It begins with a woman unzipping her parka to reveal a hot pink 007 on her chest, and it only gets stranger from there. The sequence features women wearing glow in the dark makeup and body paint. They hold colorful guns and dance while surrounded by fire.
One woman attempts to ski on top of these flames. Bond shoots her, and she turns into a melting ice sculpture. The bright colors and the titular song by Duran Duran make this fire-and-ice themed opening very reminiscent of the 80s.
As the franchise enters the 90s and starts utilizing CGI, the credits get crazier than ever before. Goldeneye takes place in the aftermath of the Cold War, and the theme of the opening is the end of Communism in Russia. There is a lot of Soviet imagery, with hammers and sickles falling from the sky and women destroying statues of Stalin.
Of course, there is some random weirdness among all the symbolism, like women dancing on the barrels of guns. In perhaps the most bizarre shot of any Bond credits, a woman with two faces shoots a gun out of one of her mouths. Somehow, out of five decades of Bond movies, the boring ol’ 90s might have the most ridiculous credit sequences.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Remember when Sheryl Crow sang a Bond song? Neither did we. Tomorrow Never Dies introduces Bond to the digital era, with his main adversary being the owner of a media conglomerate. This title sequence seems to take place in cyberspace, and uses a lot of x-ray effects.
Let’s dissect the nonsensical ending of these credits. There’s a creepy cyberwoman who turns into a human. This girl’s diamond necklace then expands to become a ring of jewels orbiting a planet. A figure appears on top of a diamond and then dives off of it, falling through lines of code and smashing into a TV screen. When it comes to trippy, that’s pretty hard to top.
The World is Not Enough (1999)
The opening for The World is Not Enough makes it very clear that the plot of the movie is about oil. The substance is everywhere; even the background is a rainbow-colored oil slick. There are women composed of dripping crude oil, which is incredibly unsexy. These figures are layered on top of each other and rotate around as a mess of oily limbs.
There are also some menacing oil pumps causing fiery explosions. In one particularly absurd shot, a number of planets (including an Earth with oil oceans) are consumed by a giant fireball. Bond credits are anything but subtle, but we wouldn’t want them any other way.
Die Another Day (2002)
Die Another Day tries something different by incorporating the credits into the actual beginning of the movie. It’s also the first Bond film to feature an excessively autotuned title song, sung by Madonna. After a failed mission, Bond is imprisoned by North Korean soldiers and subjected to torture that involves scorpions somehow.
Shots of our hero getting beaten up and forcibly held underwater are intercut with a variety of dancing women made of fire, ice, and electricity. This makes for an odd juxtaposition. The credits are usually separate from the rest of the film, so we’re not used to violence being included with the usual silliness.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
When Daniel Craig takes over the main role, the days of cheesy Bond credits are over. But that doesn’t make them any less perplexing, as Quantum of Solace shows. The camera movements alone are dizzying. Also puzzling is the unexpected collaboration between Jack White and Alicia Keys on the song.
Bond is wandering in the desert, when the sand dunes turn into giant women. They surround him and he falls through the sand into a kaleidoscope of more women. This opening proves that while the credit sequences have been classed up, the weirdness still remains and will hopefully continue.
What’s your favorite Bond credit sequence? Let us know in the comments.