As we all know, James Bond’s greatest weapon is nothing Q designed for him. It’s not his Walther PPK or his judo or even his sexual magnetism, it’s his air of indestructible cool. It’s the one constant in all the portrayals, from the smiling, self-satisfied Sean Connery to the disquieting, dude-will-mess-you-up Daniel Craig.
So, villains, if you ever want to break Bond, don’t resort to some expensive deathtrap that he’ll probably escape in the time it takes you to explain how it works. Just put together a video collection of these, the silliest, corniest, most gloriously awful moments in Bond’s entire career.
With the release of Spectre – which is reportedly a stylistic return to the less “gritty” or realistic days of Roger Moore as James Bond – upon us today, let’s take a look at the 11 Cheesiest James Bond Movie Scenes.
James Bond-san (You Only Live Twice)
James is such a master of disguise, this Connery film would have you believe, he can become virtually anyone, even someone of an entirely different race, by just adding a wig and a cheap makeup job, and squinting a lot. Yeah, that’s not really how it works, weeaboo.
This kind of twist was a little questionable even in the 1960s, and it wasn’t made any better by the idea that 007 kept up his charade for months in a fake marriage to Japanese secret agent Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama). Yes, that’s right, the film also asks us to believe that Bond could stay married and faithful, even fake-married and fake-faithful, for two or three whole months.
Kananga Blew (Live and Let Die)
Bond villains rarely die with dignity. Even if they put up a good fight, James is usually standing over them to reduce their end to some groan-worthy one-liner. “Shocking,” Bond says after electrocuting some nobody in the tub in Goldfinger, “Positively shocking.” But nobody died quite so ignominiously as Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), the dictator and drug lord whom Bond (Roger Moore) fought to a standstill before force-feeding a shark gun pellet.
The pellet contained compressed air, and of course what happens when compressed air rapidly expands inside your body is that you swell up and rocket up into the sky, briefly becoming a cheesy-special-effects balloon version of yourself before exploding like a bomb. That’s just physics.
Them Bond Boys (The Man with the Golden Gun)
This entry’s spot could have gone to the big reveal of Scaramanga’s (Christopher Lee) extra nipple in this same film, a whole lot of buildup for a physical deformity that was about as serious as Chandler’s nubbin on Friends. But even that doesn’t compare to the time Bond (Moore) jumps a bridge in his car and executes a midair loop-de-loop while dissing American stunt cyclist Evel Kneivel.
The whole bit is over in 15 seconds, but it still feels like a crossover with the Dukes of Hazzard that’s only missing the Balladeer’s voiceover. “Ol’ James Bond may have been from the land of tea an’ crumpets an’ bowler hats, but from the way he could make that car of his go ’round the bend, maybe he was a good ol’ boy at heart.”
Gondola Hovercraft Speedboat (Moonraker)
Bond’s gimmicks had already gotten more and more gimmicky over the years, but nothing could top the battle where his knife-throwing skills knock his would-be assassin into a coffin, then he reveals he’s somehow installed a fully functional speedboat motor into a gondola, and then… oh, maybe them Duke boys’ Balladeer should take it from here:
“Bond wasn’t gonna let a little thing like running aground stop his boat chase scene, no sir. He drove that gondola around those Venetian streets like it was a buckin’ bronco.” No, on second thought, this isn’t a Dukes of Hazzard moment… it’s more like Bond (Moore) teaming up with one of the more versatile Transformers.
Jaws and the Missus (Moonraker)
The Bond franchise reached peak cheese levels in this film, which also featured long outer-space sequences that weren’t exactly Star Wars or 2001, or even 1902’s A Trip to the Moon. But if you prefer your cheese with a little bit of schmaltz, you must have been over the moon when we met Dolly (Blanche Revelac), a pigtailed girl in glasses who looks like she’s portraying Heidi in a high school play.
Dolly found the steel-jawed henchman Jaws (Richard Kiel) staggering from the wreckage of another battle with Bond, and it turns out the love of a good woman broadened his horizons enough to make him renounce his life as a henchman/assassin. (The next film in the franchise would have featured the two of them getting married, if someone at United Artists hadn’t said “Enough already.”)
Wearing Crocs (Octopussy)
In the opening of Goldfinger, Bond (Moore) infiltrates a secret lair by swimming underwater with a dummy bird attached to the top of his head. That’s silly enough, but maybe you could say that the bird’s “eye” contained a camera to help Bond see his way in, so he didn’t have to surface before making sure the coast was clear. Sure. Why not.
But in the opening moments of this film, Bond infiltrates a secret lair by swimming underwater inside a mechanical crocodile. How is this meant to be inconspicuous? Is he hoping people will say “Oh, jeez, I thought a tuxedo-wearing spy was in those waters, but thank goodness, just a crocodile?” He might as well have disguised himself as Jaws (the shark, not the lovesick ex-henchman) and started blaring John Williams’ Jaws theme with loudspeakers.
“AAAAA, SPIDER!” (Dr. No)
Sean Connery’s Bond wakes up to find death looming over him in the form of a huge tarantula crawling across him in his bed. Now, in the book, it was an actually deadly centipede. And it so happens that this particular breed of tarantula isn’t venomous. In fact, there’s no record of any tarantula bite causing a human fatality. But hey, first time for everything, right?
To his credit, Bond remains perfectly still while the spider continues to crawl all over him, waiting until it’s quietly moved onto the pillow to… run around the bed in a panic and beat the poor beast to death with his shoe. All that’s missing is a voice-over of him screaming like a little girl.
Chicken-Lovin’ Good (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
No one can say that Ruby Bartlett (Angela Scoular) didn’t know how to get Bond’s (George Lazenby) attention, writing her room number on lipstick on his thigh, and he was sleeping with her less than an hour later. Bartlett deserved a little fun, having come a long way and likely spent a lot of money to be cured of her chicken allergy.
Unfortunately, her therapist turned out to be the evil Blofeld (we hate when that happens), who hypnotized her into “loving chickens, their smell and their voice” after she slept with Bond. Bond is, of course, no chicken (unless his bedroom has a spider in it, in which case all bets are off) so Bartlett just disappeared from the story after that, presumably leaving the premises to try to seduce Chicken Boo from Animaniacs.
Dr. Christmas Jones, PhD (The World Is Not Enough)
There was not enough suspension of disbelief in the world to sell Denise Richards as a qualified nuclear physicist. Within her wheelhouse of Starship Troopers and Wild Things, the actress and ex-model had done fine; here, as a nuclear physicist, she made a great fashion model.
The goofy names are an easy laugh, but plenty of Bond girls command respect with their brains and brass, not just beauty. Even two years prior, Michelle Yeoh’s Wai Lin had kicked every kind of ass in Tomorrow Never Dies. But in interviews, Richards seemed to feel she’d be playing the first smart Bond girl ever, which shows that she spent about as much time studying Bond filmography as she did studying nuclear physics.
Surf’s Up, Duuuude (Die Another Day)
These days, Bond films have largely exchanged silliness for ruggedness and a degree of bleak realism that looks good on Daniel Craig. But before they went on their no-cheese diet, they had one last binge with this scene, wherein Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is stuck to a melting glacier in a canoe, falls to his apparent doom as the bad guy makes a crack about global warming, and then kitesurfs his way through the resulting tsunami to safety on a neighboring floe.
Somehow, the filmmakers and Pierce Brosnan resisted the urge to have Bond make some kind of pun while doing it, something like “Bondzai!” or “BONDS AWAYYYY!” or “Ice to see you!” Somehow, this was the cheesiest moment in a film with an invisible car.
That said, cheese is in the nose of the beholder. You could argue that the end of Skyfall is a last stand with limited resources and ultimately tragic consequences. You could also argue it looks a little like the plot of Home Alone. Should you care to make such an argument, or any other about the relative silliness of other Bond moments, the comments section is, as ever, at your disposal.
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