Making his way in and out of boltholes and bedrooms, 007 has personified the definition of saucy and smooth. From Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, every one of the seven actors bought their own unique suave sophistication to the screen, but nothing could tarnish the Bond mystique. He remains the "Hyper-heterosexual “male- "more masculine, more sexually desirable, and more heterosexual than those around him”. However, while Bond is always Bond, his feminine foils have evolved with the time, each one molded according to what her era believes a woman can do.
To Seduce or to Slaughter?
The best Bond Girls
During the pre-production stage of Bond films, the most scrutinized task is the casting of the Bond Girl.
Through the years the most iconic Bond girls were indisputably, Honey Ryder - Dr. No (1962) invented the classic Bond girl image, emerging bikini-clad from Jamaican waters, looking both darling and dangerous.
Jinx - Die Another Day (2002) Honey redux: she paid an obvious homage to Honey Ryder, as Bond first glimpses her as she strolls from the surf (this time Cuban), sporting an orange bikini and holstered knife.
Pussy Galore - Goldfinger (1964) is one of the several femme fatales that Bond seduced into going straight. In 1964 it seemed like a good idea, turning women straight with the male Midas touch.
Xenia Onatopp - Goldeneye (1995) was famous for strangling her victims while, obviously enjoying it.
Jill Masterson - Goldfinger (1964) was literally the Golden girl- death by paint suffocation, an iconic image re-created with crude oil in Quantum of Solace, seducing Bond and the audience even as she is turned literally into an object.
Finally, Tracy Di Vicenzo - On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) who remains the only bond girl Bond marries. But she gets one minute of wedding bliss before she is shot in the head. The film ends with a sobbing 007 cradling his wife’s dead body in his arms, and just like that, the best Bond girl of them all was gone.
Fighting, Flirting, Feminism: The Bond Girl Evolution
The enduring mystery of Bond’s bevvy of beauties is how each manage to conform to a stereotype, yet remain utterly unique. A typical Bond girl happily beds Bond almost without any inhibitions, casually, whether or not she actually seems interested in him. A typical bad Bond girl not only has “too much” agency over her own sexuality, but she’s often sexually deviant in ways that threaten the Great White Male order of the world. This trope has remained the same over the 5 decades the franchise has been running, but that being said, many actresses who have played the Bond girl, have been adamant that they were breaking the mould. The evolution of Bond girls is parallel to that of the actor in the titular role.
The Connery Years codified the Bond girl formula both by virtue of being the first and the most formulaic. The Moore Years saw a lot of Bond girls, ranging from the first African-American Bond girl in the Blaxploitation Live and Let Die to the eponymous Octopussy, who is largely only notable for her name. At this stage, a grittier, more realistic old Bond romances a much younger Bond girl. The Dalton Years Bond girls are somewhat just ordinary. Bond seeking revenge for the rape and murder of his friend’s wife is a textbook example of Fridging, where a female character is killed off to fuel the feeling of hatred and vengeance in the male protagonist. The Brosnan Years introduce Dame Judi Dench as ‘M', one of the greatest casting decisions ever made. The bond girls now are on their own, out for revenge, and aid Bond with their skills, but with the added bonuses of actually developing a relationship with Bond organically, even challenging Bond occasionally. The Craig Years sees strong leading woman with no intention of falling for the baby blues, they are independent and ready to fight for their life, which is very different from the usual Bond girl characteristics—submissive, helpless, and accommodating.