What is a spy without his toys? Sorry, I mean “gadgets.” Let’s face it, if you’re the most iconic spy of all time, James Bond 007, then you have an arsenal of cool weapons and cunning contraptions to go sleuthing, make a grand entrance or hightail it from villains. From flying jetpacks to a deadly briefcase and even exploding toothpaste, one-of-a-kind gizmos are James Bond’s signature trademark. Bond relies on “Q,” his distinguished quartermaster, to supply him with one of a kind apparatuses to help him out of any compromising situation.
Absent from 2006’s Casino Royale and 2008’s Quantum of Solace, Ben Whishaw reintroduces the genius inventor to the film franchise in 2012’s Skyfall. Thankfully, Q is back again for Bond’s latest film, SPECTRE. Director Sam Mendes knows how to please fans as he has already announced that Bond’s iconic Aston Martin is back in the form of the all new DB10. So, what will Q have for Bond this go around? With the film’s release later this fall, technology geeks are in high anticipation for the next whiz bang device.
So, here is a walk down memory lane of Bond’s enduring coolest gadgets. Maybe this list gives insight into what to expect for SPECTRE. Bear in mind these gadgets must hold up over time. Thus no X-Ray Polaroid Camera from License to Kill or the Ghetto Blaster from The Living Daylights make this list. In fairness, innovations ahead of their time, like cell phones and car phones are no longer that cool. Lastly, to keep the list sophisticated, just plain silly doesn’t cut it. That’s why we made a separate list for the 10 Lamest James Bond Gadgets.
Well, here is to hoping that looking into Bond’s iconic past gadgets will tell us what to expect in SPECTRE!
Rocket Pack from Thunderball (1965)
“No well-dressed man should be without one,” if you ask James Bond in Thunderball. One part fantasy, one part fact, a jetpack is the stuff that inventors dream of, and luckily for 007 fans, Q created one for Bond.
The jetpack makes its debut in Thunderball when Bond uses it to escape from a French chateau while being pursued. After he kills Jacques Boiter, Bond takes to the sky by strapping this pack onto his back. Flight complete, Bond simply unstraps the pack and throws it into his car. Super cool. With the pack about the size of two scuba oxygen tanks. It makes a return appearance in Die Another Day.
Deadly Trick Briefcase from From Russia With Love (1963)
The business man’s bonus gift is another of Bond’s iconic tools. It’s the original high-tech gadget: the briefcase from the film From Russia With Love. This briefcase boasts various hidden compartments and tricky capabilities, including a knife that pops out of the side and a collapsible rifle. The case also carries gold to be used as world currency.
After dismissing the case as uninteresting, Bond eventually finds good use for it when he uses the enclosed explosive tear gas to smoke out a train that he’s travelling on. Good thing that M urges Bond to take the case with him. Bonus: From Russia with Love marks the first appearance of series regular Desmond Llewellyn as Q, and he continued in the role until his death, shortly after filming The World is Not Enough.
Submarine Lotus from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Beautiful Bond girls and desirable automobiles are synonymous with 007, and his amphibian Lotus Esprit makes car enthusiasts salivate. Q delivers the car to Corsica during The Spy Who Loved Me. Although Bond’s Aston Martin is iconic, this Lotus makes dreams come true.
Come on, who hasn’t wanted a car that could turn into a boat, or – better yet – a submarine with its very own periscope? Featuring retractable wheels, surface-to-air missiles, an oil-slick sprayer, concrete guns, harpoons for an underwater offensive, a TV Monitor, a closed-circuit camera, plus it’s nicely loaded with the all-important, must-have self-destruct system. Oh, and don’t forget the car catches fish too.
Wallis WA-116 Agile, AKA “Little Nellie,” from You Only Live Twice (1967)
Coolest gadget? Maybe not, but how about the cutest? Whatever the case, there is no denying that 007 fans want one of these bad boys for their own backyard. The “Little Nellie” is a mini one-person “autogyro.”
Differing from a helicopter, the autogyro generates an upward thrust using its propeller and a forward motion from using its second prop. Outfitted with guns, rockets, flamethrowers, missiles, and aerial mines, the Little Nellie is bright yellow too! Eventually Nellie runs into hostility and that is when Bond deploys her special features. And as a bonus, she disassembles to fit into four large travel trunks for shipment.
Stick-on Fingerprints from Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase sticky fingers. A simple, but highly effective gadget, Bond employs stick-on latex fingerprints in Diamonds Are Forever. An invention of Q’s, these fake fingerprints duplicate anyone’s unique fingerprint pattern.
Apart from being clever, these fingertips made of textured latex are easily removable and disposable. Stamped into a hot sheet of latex, these prints adhere to one’s fingertips with some glue. Bond uses these fingertips to fool diamond smuggler Tiffany Case into believing that he is a fellow diamond smuggler, Peter Franks. Case runs Bond’s prints after she refills his drink, and of course they check out.
all of the wristwatches
There could be a whole list dedicated to just Bond’s watches, and even when they’re five decades old, they would put an Apple Watch to shame. Can’t deny that our modern day watches have been shaped by a few of these. As much a staple of a Bond film as his cars, the gadget watch and its iterations make perennial appearances. As Q jokes in Die Another Day, he must have given Bond 20 watches over the years.
Appearing first in Thunderball with a Geiger counter, it eventually evolves into a laser cutting tool in Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye and a rotating saw in Live and Let Die. In The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond’s watch takes messages and prints them on small ticker tape, eventually modernizing enough to let Bond read messages on a screen in For Your Eyes Only.
Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger (1964)
The car to make all other cars blush, Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 is actually Bond’s third car in the film franchise. Making its first appearance in Goldfinger, this brand is now synonymous with James Bond. The car makes appearances in other Bond films like, Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, and Skyfall. In addition, it is the only known gadget to be in SPECTRE, which will showcase an updated version.
The original 1964 DB5 is so iconic partly because it’s a gadget factory on wheels. The car has a homing beacon display and a Ben Hur-esque tire-slasher hubcaps. The car also has the all-important bulletproof windows, the ability to lay down an oil slick and create a smokescreen. Loaded with pop-up machine guns up front and automatically rotating license plates, these wheels are ready to battle. But probably the most valued asset of the car is its passenger ejector seat, which can be used for unwanted company.
Dentonite Toothpaste from License to Kill (1989)
Certainly not expert-recommended, this toothpaste packs much more power than fighting cavities. If paired with the detonator, “Lark” cigarettes, it takes care of criminal masterminds.
Used for assassinating the drug baron Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) in License to Kill, the always stylish Bond (Timothy Dalton) skips carrying C4 and opts for a his ‘go-to’ kit of a classic tux and a variety of other Q inventions to get the job done. At Sanchez’s bullet-proof office Bond places the cigarette in the paste then detonates the device from a rooftop. He does it right before trying to take Sanchez out with another cool tool, his camera gun. One word: Dyne-o-mite!
Pen Grenade from GoldenEye (1995)
Proving that the pen is mightier than the sword, Bond’s (Pierce Brosnan) grenade pen clobbers criminals. In sacrifice of its own future, this pen is a testament to Her Majesty’s service getting blown to smithereens while saving the mission. This pen might look like any other aluminum pen, but it is not. Three clicks of the pen activates this Class-4 grenade and then in four seconds detonation occurs. To disarm the pen, click it another three times within four seconds.
Bond employs the pen in GoldenEye when held hostage at gunpoint. He notices his captor, Russian computer technician Boris (Alan Cumming), fiddling and clicking his enhanced pen. When the pen is set to detonate, Bond tips Boris’ hand forcing the pen into a puddle of fuel. Bond runs for cover as the evildoer’s lair is blown to bits.
Wrist-Mounted Dart Gun from Moonraker (1979)
A Walther PPK might be Bond’s signature gun, and this wrist-mounted dart gun gets quite a bit of use in Moonraker. Before Bond blasts into space, he puts the gadget to good use. Testing the gun at M’s office, he fires a dart into a painting. Later, he relies on the gun to save his life, allowing him to break free from a killer centrifuge. Finally, Bond enlists the gun’s poison tip to kill the evil Hugo Drax by firing a dart into his heart and forcing him out an airlock into the void of space.
This Spider-Man-web-shooter reminiscent gun fires two types of darts: poison tipped and amour piercing. Resting nicely under a cuffed shirt, Bond launches the pressurized gas darts by the flick of the wrist fast, firing 10 darts before it needs to be refilled.
Over the course of 25 feature films (including the upcoming SPECTRE), there are plenty more gadgets that Q has given James Bond over the years. Which ones are we missing? Don’t forget to check out the 10 Lamest James Bond Gadgets as well!