A Bond girl is a character (or the actress portraying a character) who is a love interest of James Bond in a film, novel, or video game. Bond girls occasionally have names that are double entendres or puns, such as Pussy Galore, Plenty O'Toole, Xenia Onatopp, or Holly Goodhead, and are considered "ubiquitous symbol[s] of glamour and sophistication."
There is no set rule on what kind of person a Bond girl will be or what role she will play. She may be an ally or an enemy of Bond, pivotal to the mission or simply eye candy. There are female characters such as Judi Dench's M, who are not romantic interests of Bond, and hence not strictly Bond girls. This apparently extends to Moneypenny's appearance in Skyfall, which re-introduces the character in a fashion much more in line with a Bond girl than her normal characterisation.
Nearly all of Ian Fleming's Bond novels and short stories include one or more female characters who can be said to qualify as Bond girls, most of whom have been adapted for the screen. While Fleming's Bond girls have some individual traits (at least in their literary forms), they also have a great many characteristics in common. One of these is age: The typical Bond girl is in her early to mid-twenties, roughly ten years younger than Bond, who seems to be perennially in his mid-thirties. Examples include Solitaire (25), Tatiana Romanova (24), Vivienne "Viv" Michel (23), and Kissy Suzuki (23). The youngest Bond girl (though she and Bond do not sleep together) may be Gala Brand; she is named for the cruiser in which her father is serving at the time of her birth. If Fleming had in mind the Arethusa-class Galatea launched in 1934, then he may have intended Gala to be as young as 18, and certainly no older than 20, when she meets Bond. (If on the other hand the Galatea in question is the cruiser sold for scrap in 1921, that would make Gala instead the oldest of the Bond girls—in her mid- to late-30s or even as old as 40. Since there are other indications in the novel that Gala is very young, however, it is unlikely that Fleming had the older ship in mind or meant to create a 40-year-old Bond girl.) Bond's youngest sexual partner in the books is Mariko Ichiban, an 18-year-old masseuse in You Only Live Twice. The eldest Bond girls are Pussy Galore, whom Bond speculates is in her early 30s, and 29-year-old Domino Vitali.
Bond girls conform to a fairly well-defined standard of beauty. They possess splendid figures and tend to dress in a slightly masculine, assertive fashion, wear little jewellery—and that in a masculine cut—wide leather belts, and square-toed leather shoes. (There is some variation in dress, though: Bond girls have made their initial appearances in evening wear, in bra and panties and, on occasion, naked.) Nearly all of them are white; they often sport light though noticeable suntans (although a few, such as Solitaire, Tatiana Romanova, and Pussy Galore, are not only tanless but remarkably pale), and they generally use little or no makeup and no nail polish, also wearing their nails short. Their hair may be any colour ranging from blonde (Mary Goodnight) to auburn (Gala Brand) to brown (Tatiana Romanova) to blue-black (Solitaire) to black (Vesper Lynd), though they typically wear it in a natural or casual cut that falls heavily to their shoulders. Their features, especially their eyes and mouths, are often widely spaced (e.g. Vesper Lynd, Gala Brand, Tiffany Case, Tatiana Romanova, Honey Ryder, Viv Michel, Mary Goodnight). Their eyes are usually blue (e.g. Vesper Lynd, Gala Brand, Tatiana Romanova, Honey Ryder, Tracy Bond, Mary Goodnight), and sometimes this is true to an unusual and striking degree: Tiffany Case's eyes are chatoyant, varying with the light from grey to grey-blue, while Pussy Galore has deep violet eyes, the only truly violet eyes that Bond had ever seen. The first description of a Bond girl, Casino Royale's Vesper Lynd, is almost a template for the typical dress as well as the general appearance of later Bond girls; she sports nearly all of the features discussed above. In contrast, Dominetta "Domino" Vitali arguably departs to the greatest degree from the template, dressing in white leather doeskin sandals, appearing more tanned, sporting a soft Brigitte Bardot haircut, and giving no indication of widely spaced features. (The departure may be due to the unusual circumstances behind the writing of the novel Thunderball, in which Domino appears.) Even Domino, however, wears rather masculine jewellery.
The best-known characteristic of Bond girls apart from their uniform beauty is their pattern of sexually suggestive names (the most risqué and famous being Pussy Galore). Names with less obvious meanings are sometimes explained in the novels. While Solitaire's real name is Simone Latrelle, she is known as Solitaire because she excludes men from her life; Gala Brand, as noted above, is named for her father's cruiser, HMS Galatea; and Tiffany Case received her name from her father, who was so angry that she was not a boy that he gave her mother a thousand dollars and a compact from Tiffany's and then walked out on her. Fleming's penchant for double-entendre names began with the first Bond novel Casino Royale. Conjecture is widespread that the name of the Bond girl in that novel, "Vesper Lynd," was intended to be a pun on "West Berlin," signifying Vesper's divided loyalties as a double agent under Soviet control. Several Bond girls, however, have normal names (e.g. Tatiana Romanova, Mary Ann Russell, Judy Havelock, Viv Michel, Tracy Bond [née Teresa Draco, aka Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo]).
Most Bond girls are apparently (and sometimes expressly) sexually experienced by the time they meet Bond (although there is evidence that Solitaire is a virgin). Quite often those previous experiences have not been positive, and many Bond girls have had sexual violence inflicted on them in the past which has caused them to feel alienated from all men—until Bond comes along. (This dark theme is notably absent from the early films.) Tiffany Case was gang-raped as a teenager; Honey Ryder, too, was beaten and raped as a teenager by a drunken acquaintance. Pussy Galore was sexually abused at age 12 by her uncle. While there is no such clear-cut trauma in Solitaire's early life, there are suggestions that she, too, avoids men because of their unwanted sexual advances in her past. Kissy Suzuki reports to Bond that during her brief career in Hollywood, when she was 17, "They thought that because I am Japanese I am some sort of an animal and that my body is for everyone." The implication is often that these violent episodes have turned the Bond girls in question against men, though upon encountering Bond they overcome their earlier antipathy and sleep with him not only willingly but eagerly. The cliché reaches its most extreme (perhaps absurd) level in Goldfinger. In this novel Pussy Galore is portrayed as a practising lesbian when she first meets Bond, but at the end of the novel she sleeps with him. When, in bed, he says to her, "They told me you only liked women," she replies, "I never met a man before."
In Fleming's novels, many Bond girls have some sort of independent job or even career, often one that was considered inappropriate for women in the 1950s. Vesper Lynd, Gala Brand, Tatiana Romanova, Mary Ann Russell, and Mary Goodnight are in intelligence or law-enforcement work. Those who are criminals, such as Tiffany Case and Pussy Galore, tend to be similarly independent-minded in how they approach their work—the latter even running her own syndicate. Even those Bond girls who have more conventional or glamorous jobs show themselves to be invested in having an independent outlook on life. While the Bond girls are clearly intended as sex objects, they are nevertheless portrayed in the novels as having a degree of independence that the Bond films, in contrast, tended to dispense with until nearly 1980.
Most of the novels focus on one particular romance, as some of them do not begin until well into the novel (Casino Royale is a good example). However, several exceptions have been made: In Goldfinger, the Masterton sisters are considered Bond girls (although Tilly is supposedly a lesbian), and after their deaths, Pussy Galore (also supposedly a lesbian) becomes the primary Bond girl. In Thunderball, Bond romances first Patricia Fearing, then later Domino Vitali. In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond enters into a relationship and an eventual marriage with Teresa 'Tracy' di Vicenzo, and sleeps with Ruby Windsor, a patient he meets in Blofeld's hideout while posing as a genealogist. In You Only Live Twice, Bond mainly has a relationship with Kissy Suzuki, but also romances Mariko Ichiban, as well as another a girl who is too insignificant for Fleming to give her a name.
Several Bond girls have obvious signs of inner turmoil (Vesper Lynd or Vivienne Michel), and others have traumatic pasts. Most Bond girls whose characters are allowed to develop in the course of the story are flawed, and several have unhappy sexual backgrounds (Honey Ryder, Pussy Galore, Tiffany Case, Vivienne Michel, and Kissy Suzuki, among others). It is perhaps this vulnerability that draws them to Bond, aside from Bond himself being irresistible to women.
The inspiration for all of Fleming's Bond girls may be his onetime lover Muriel Wright, who
has a claim to be the fons et origo of the species: pliant and undemanding, beautiful but innocent, outdoorsy, physically tough, implicitly vulnerable and uncomplaining, and then tragically dead, before or soon after marriage.
Wright was 26 and "exceptionally beautiful" when she and Fleming met in 1935. A talented rider, skier, and polo player, Wright was independently wealthy and a model. She was devoted to Fleming, despite his repeated unfaithfulness. She died in an air raid in 1944, devastating Fleming, who called Wright "too good to be true".
Ursula Andress as "Honey Ryder" in Dr. No (1962) is often considered the quintessential Bond girl. She was preceded by Eunice Gayson as "Sylvia Trench" and Zena Marshall as "Miss Taro" in the same film.
There have been many attempts to break down the numerous Bond girls into a top 10 list for the entire series; characters who often appear in these lists include Anya Amasova, Pussy Galore, Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo and Honey Ryder, who is often at Number 1 on the list.
Entertainment Weekly put "Bond bathing suits" on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "And you thought spies were supposed to be inconspicuous! Halle Berry's orange bikini in Die Another Day (2002) and Daniel Craig's supersnug powder blue trunks in Casino Royale (2006) suggest that neither 007 star can keep a secret."
Roles and impact
In several of the Bond films, the Bond girl is revealed, after her tryst with Bond, to be a villainess. Examples are Fatima Blush (Barbara Carrera) in Never Say Never Again (1983), Elektra King (Sophie Marceau) in The World Is Not Enough (1999), and Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike) in Die Another Day (2002).
As of 2013 there have been only two films in which James Bond falls in love with the Bond girl. The first was On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), in which Countessa Tracy di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg) marries Bond but is shot dead by Irma Bunt and Ernst Stavro Blofeld at the story's end. (It was originally intended that she would instead die at the beginning of Diamonds Are Forever (1971); but that idea was dropped during the filming of On Her Majesty's Secret Service when George Lazenby announced that he would not play the James Bond role in future films. One critic has opined that, although the theme of Bond in love is not overtly explored in Diamonds Are Forever, that film's pre-title sequence, in which James Bond vigorously pursues Blofeld, demonstrates "an effort to avenge Tracy's murder".) The second was Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in Casino Royale (2006). Bond confesses his love to her and resigns from MI6 so that they can have a normal life together. He later learns that she had been a double agent working for his enemies. The enemy organisation Quantum had kidnapped her former lover and had been blackmailing her to secure her cooperation. She ends up actually falling in love with Bond, but dies, as Quantum is closing in on her, by drowning in a lift in a building under renovation in Venice.
With the exception of these two doomed Bond girls, it is never explained why Bond's love interest in one film is gone by the next, and is never mentioned or even alluded to again. This is not always the case in the novels, which do sometimes make references to the Bond girls who have appeared in previous books. Tiffany Case and Honey Ryder are revealed to have married other men (in From Russia With Love and The Man With the Golden Gun respectively), and in Doctor No, Bond briefly wonders about Solitaire. A unique case is Mary Goodnight, who appears in the novels, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice as Bond's secretary, before becoming a full-fledged Bond girl in The Man With the Golden Gun.
Effect on career
The role of a Bond girl, as it has evolved in the films, is typically a high-profile part that can sometimes give a major boost to the career of unestablished actresses, although there have been a number of Bond girls that were well-established beforehand. For instance, Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman were both cast as Bond girls after they had already become stars in England for their roles in the television series, The Avengers (in an unusual twist, an unknown Joanna Lumley played "The English Girl" in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and went on to play the lead in the television series The New Avengers). In addition, Halle Berry won an Academy Award in 2002—the award was presented to her while she was filming Die Another Day. Teri Hatcher was already famous for her role as Lois Lane in the television series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman—and for a photograph in which she is wrapped in nothing but a cape, which became an internet sensation—before she was cast in Tomorrow Never Dies. A few years after playing a Bond girl, she became one of the most highly paid actresses on television, starring in Desperate Housewives. Kim Basinger had perhaps the most successful post-Bond career. After her break-out role in Never Say Never Again, Basinger went on to win an Academy Award for her performance in L.A. Confidential and to star in the blockbuster films Batman and 8 Mile.
At one time it was said that appearing as a Bond girl would damage an actress's career. Lois Chiles is often cited as a case in point, even though her career did not suffer because of her portrayal of Holly Goodhead, but rather because, after she lost her younger brother to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, she decided to take a three-year break from acting, from which her career never recovered. Notable exceptions to the so-called "curse" (actresses who went on to have successful careers) include Jane Seymour, Famke Janssen, Teri Hatcher, Halle Berry, Diana Rigg, and Kim Basinger. Casting for the female lead in Casino Royale was hindered by potential actresses' concerns about the effect that playing the role might have on their careers. At that point, some thought that the Bond series had become stale and would therefore be a less desirable vehicle for young actresses. Nevertheless, the up-and-coming actress Eva Green agreed to play the role of Vesper Lynd, and showed those fears to be unfounded when she won BAFTA's Rising Star Award for her performance. Two actresses, who appeared in the Bond films but not as Bond's romantic interests, also later became successes. One is Minnie Driver from Golden Eye(1995) who later earned an Academy Award nomination for Good Will Hunting, and the other is Stana Katic from Quantum of Solace (2008), who a year later landed the female lead in the long-running television show Castle.
The character of Sylvia Trench is the only Bond girl character who recurs in a film (Dr. No (1962) and From Russia with Love (1963)). She was meant to be Bond's regular girlfriend, but was dropped after her appearance in the second film.
In the series of films, six actresses have made reappearances as different Bond girls: Martine Beswick and Nadja Regin both first appeared in From Russia with Love, and then appeared in Thunderball and Goldfinger respectively. Maud Adams played Andrea Anders in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) and the title character in Octopussy (1983); she also is an extra in A View to a Kill (1985). Tsai Chin also appeared in two small roles, first as the Chinese/British agent "Ling" in You Only Live Twice and later as one of the poker players, Madame Wu, in Casino Royale (2006). Mary Stavin was one of Octopussy's girls in Octopussy and reappeared as "Kimberly Jones" in "A View to a Kill. Finally, Diane Hartford also appeared in two small roles: Bond's pick-up dance partner at the Kiss Kiss Club in Thunderball and as a card player in the Bahamas in Casino Royale (2006).
If the "unofficial" James Bond films, Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again, are included, several actresses have also been a Bond girl more than once: Ursula Andress in Dr. No (1962) and Casino Royale (1967); Angela Scoular, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and Casino Royale (1967); Valerie Leon in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Never Say Never Again (1983).
List of Bond girls
|Casino Royale||Vesper Lynd|
|Live and Let Die||Solitaire|
|Diamonds Are Forever||Tiffany Case|
|From Russia, with Love||Tatiana Romanova|
|Dr. No||Honey Rider|
|"From a View to a Kill"||Mary Ann Russell|
|"For Your Eyes Only"||Judy Havelock|
|"Quantum of Solace"|
|"The Hildebrand Rarity"||Liz Krest|
|Thunderball||Dominetta "Domino" Vitali
|The Spy Who Loved Me||Vivienne Michel|
|On Her Majesty's Secret Service||Teresa di Vicenzo
|You Only Live Twice||Kissy Suzuki (main girl)
|The Man with the Golden Gun||Mary Goodnight|
|"The Living Daylights"||Trigger|
|"The Property of a Lady"||Maria Freudenstein|
|"007 in New York"||Solange|
Mary Goodnight was a supporting character in several Bond novels before graduating to full Bond girl in The Man with the Golden Gun. Several short stories, such as "Quantum of Solace", "The Hildebrand Rarity", "The Living Daylights", and "The Property of a Lady" feature female characters in prominent roles, but none of these women interact with Bond in a romantic way.
Eon Productions films
The most prominent Bond girl is featured first, followed by the rest in order of appearance. (* denotes first overall)
In addition to the Eon Productions films, there have been two Bond films produced by independent studios and one television production.
|Film||Bond girl||Actress||Actress' nationality|
(1954 television production)
|Valerie Mathis||Linda Christian||Mexican|
Agent Mimi/Lady Fiona McTarry
|Never Say Never Again
Lady in Bahamas
Saskia Cohen Tanugi
|Game||Bond girl||Actress (if applicable)|
|Agent Under Fire||Zoe Nightshade
Dr. Natalya Damescu
|Caron Pascoe (voice)
Eve Karpf (voice)
Beatie Edney (voice)
|Lena Reno (voice)
Jeanne Mori (voice)
Kimberley Davies (voice)
Tamlyn Tomita (voice)
|Everything or Nothing||Serena St. Germaine
Dr. Katya Nadanova
|GoldenEye: Rogue Agent||Pussy Galore
|Jeannie Elias (voice)
Jenya Lano (voice)
|From Russia with Love||Tatiana Romanova
|Daniela Bianchi (likeness)
Kari Wahlgren (voice)
|Blood Stone||Nicole Hunter||Joss Stone (likeness and voice)|
|GoldenEye 007||Xenia Onatopp
|Kate Magowan (likeness and voice)
Kirsty Mitchell (likeness and voice)
|007 Legends||Holly Goodhead
Diana Rigg (likeness), Nicola Walker (voice)
Gabriela Montaraz (likeness), Madalena Alberto (voice)
Honor Blackman (likeness), Natasha Little (voice)
In 2002 former Bond girl Maryam d'Abo co-wrote the book Bond Girls Are Forever: The Women of James Bond. This book later became a DVD exclusive documentary featuring d'Abo and other Bond girls, including Ursula Andress. In some locations, the documentary was released as a gift with the purchase of Die Another Day on DVD. The featurette was included on the DVD release of Casino Royale (2006) with an updated segment referencing the newest film.
Robert A. Caplen's 2001 work, Shaken and Stirred: The Feminism of James Bond, 1962–1979, discussed the cultural impact of the Bond girl within the context of the feminist and Women's Liberation movements. In 2003, scholarly critiques of Pussy Galore and Miss Moneypenny, authored by Professors Elizabeth Ladenson and Tara Brabazon, respectively, were published in The James Bond Phenomenon: A Critical Reader. In 2009, researchers at Cleveland State University and Kent State University published an article, Shaken and Stirred: A Content Analysis of Women's Portrayals in James Bond Films, which provided a quantitative content analysis of 195 female characters appearing in twenty James Bond films.
- Caplen, Robert A., Shaken & Stirred: The Feminism of James Bond (Xlibris, 2010), pref.
- Jütting 2007, p. 65.
- Lipp 2006, p. 34.
- Comentale, Watt & Willman 2005, p. 134.
- For a general discussion of the characteristics of the Fleming Bond girl, see the relevant chapters of O. F. Snelling, 007 James Bond: A Report (Signet, 1965).
- James Bond (literary character)#Background
- Fleming, Ian, Live and Let Die (MacMillan, 1954), ch. 10.
- Fleming, Ian, From Russia, With Love (MacMillan, 1957), ch. 9.
- Fleming, Ian, The Spy Who Loved Me (Glidrose, 1962), ch. 2.
- Fleming, Ian, You Only Live Twice (Glidrose, 1964), ch. 12.
- Fleming, Ian, Moonraker (MacMillan, 1955), ch. 16.
- From Russia, With Love, ch. 8
- Fleming, Ian, Goldfinger (Glidrose, 1959), ch. 17.
- Snelling, 007 James Bond: A Report.
- Fleming, Ian, The Man with the Golden Gun (Glidrose, 1965), ch. 4
- Fleming, Ian, Live and Let Die (MacMillan, 1954), ch. 7.
- Fleming, Ian, Casino Royale (Glidrose, 1953), ch. 5.
- Fleming, Ian, Casino Royale (Glidrose, 1953), ch. 5; ibid., Moonraker (MacMillan, 1955), ch. 11; ibid., Diamonds are Forever (MacMillan, 1956), ch. 5; ibid., From Russia, With Love (MacMillan, 1957), ch. 8; ibid., Doctor No (Glidrose, 1958), ch. 8; ibid., The Spy Who Loved Me (Glidrose, 1962), ch. 2; ibid., The Man with the Golden Gun (Glidrose, 1965), ch. 4.
- Fleming, Ian, Casino Royale (Glidrose, 1953), ch. 5; ibid., Live and Let Die (MacMillan, 1954), ch. 7; ibid., Moonraker (MacMillan, 1955), ch. 11; ibid., From Russia, With Love (MacMillan, 1957), ch. 8; ibid., Doctor No (Glidrose, 1958), ch. 8; ibid., The Spy Who Loved Me (Glidrose, 1962), ch. 2; ibid., On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Glidrose, 1963), ch. 3; ibid., The Man with the Golden Gun (Glidrose, 1965), ch. 4.
- Fleming, Ian, Diamonds are Forever (MacMillan, 1956), ch. 5.
- Fleming, Ian, Thunderball (Glidrose, 1961), ch. 11
- Fleming, Ian, Diamonds are Forever (MacMillan, 1956), ch. 22.
- Fleming, Ian, Diamonds are Forever (MacMillan, 1956), ch. 8.
- Fleming, Ian, Doctor No (Glidrose, 1958), ch. 11.
- Fleming, Ian, Goldfinger (Glidrose, 1959), ch. 23.
- Fleming, Ian, You Only Live Twice (Glidrose, 1964), ch. 14.
- Macintyre, Ben (5 April 2008). "Was Ian Fleming the real 007?". The Times (London). Retrieved 8 March 2011.
- "The 10 Best Bond Girls – EW.com". Entertainment Weekly.
- [dead link]
- Geier, Thom; Jensen, Jeff; Jordan, Tina; Lyons, Margaret; Markovitz, Adam; Nashawaty, Chris; Pastorek, Whitney; Rice, Lynette; Rottenberg, Josh; Schwartz, Missy; Slezak, Michael; Snierson, Dan; Stack, Tim; Stroup, Kate; Tucker, Ken; Vary, Adam B.; Vozick-Levinson, Simon; Ward, Kate (11 December 2009), "The 100 Greatest Movies, TV Shows, Albums, Books, Characters, Scenes, Episodes, Songs, Dresses, Music Videos, and Trends That Entertained Us Over the Past 10 Years". Entertainment Weekly. (1079/1080):74-84
- Caplen, Robert A., Shaken & Stirred: The Feminism of James Bond (Xlibris, 2010), ch. 0011.
- "Curse Of The Bond Girl". Cinema.com. 25 April 2001. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- http://cocatalog.loc.gov, Registration No. TXu001060400. The work was later published as Shaken & Stirred: The Feminism of James Bond.
- Lindner, Christoph, ed., The James Bond Phenomenon: A Critical Reader (Manchester University, 2003), chs. 11–12.
- "SpringerLink – Sex Roles, Volume 62, Numbers 11–12". Springerlink.com. doi:10.1007/s11199-009-9644-2. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- Comentale, Edward P; Watt, Stephen; Willman, Skip (2005). Ian Fleming & James Bond: the cultural politics of 007. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-21743-1.
- Jütting, Kerstin (2007). "Grow Up, 007!": James Bond Over the Decades: Formula Vs. Innovation. GRIN Verlag. ISBN 978-3-638-85372-9.
- Lipp, Deborah (2006). The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book. New York: Sterling & Ross Publishers. ISBN 978-0-9766372-8-8.