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Kyle Cogar The Cold War and the Fall of Communism in Cinema James Bond and the Cold War 1

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Kyle Cogar

The Cold War and the Fall of Communism in Cinema

James Bond and the Cold War


In the 1960s, the world was at the brink of another world war. The U.S.S.R. had

built up a nuclear arsenal that would rival the arsenal of the West. With the East and the

West struggling to gain an edge over the other, a man emerged who on several occasions

would defeat the Soviets and prevent the destruction of the world. This man would also

remain at or near the top of the movie box office for almost fifty years. This character is a

Scotsman who, when he is not fighting with someone or seducing a pretty girl, is

constantly drinking and has a great love of gambling1. This man is James Bond, a secret

agent for Mi6, the British equivalent of the CIA. Bond has been in twenty-three movies

over the past fifty years under production company EON, one American television movie

released by CBS in 19542, one parody in 1967, and a non-canon remake of Thunderball,

both the original and the remake starring Sean Connery.

For the past fifty years, Bond has continually fought a fictionalized version of the

Soviet Union on film and has always come out on top. He emerged as a hero of the West,

a man that was needed in the fight against the communist threat. Even though he was a

fictional hero, he served as an inspiration to real world spy agencies such as the Central

Intelligence Agency, which I will later discuss in detail, and he arguably became an icon

of the West's fight against the Soviet Union, which I hope to elaborate on and argue over

the course of this paper as I discuss the films Dr. No, From Russia With Love,

Thunderball, The Living Daylights, and Goldeneye These films have been chosen

because they deal specifically with the Soviet Union3. In the Bond stories, the enemy is

usually either a crime lord or a spy agency controlled by the U.S.S.R. such as SMERSH,

1 Pearson, John. James Bond; the Authorized Biography of 007; a Fictional Biography. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1973. Pages 1-15. 2. David Giammarco.  For Your Eyes Only: Behind the Scenes of the Bond Films. Toronto: ECW, 2002. Sept. 2002. Web. Pages 8-10. 3 I will not be discussing any of Roger Moore's or George Lazenby's Bond films as they do not feature Soviet villains or any ties to the Cold War.


whose name is a rough translation of the Russian phrase "death to spies" or the terrorist

network S.P.E.C.T.R.E4, which is an acronym for Special Executive for

Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion. It is in the stories of Bond

fighting the Soviets that will be the focus of this paper, specifically his battle with them

in film. Bond, through his battles with SMERSH and S.P.E.C.T.R.E. in the past fifty

years, has proven to be a film hero, cultural icon, and a triumph of good over evil.

A Novel Introduction

Bond first appeared in 1953 in the novel Casino Royale. The book, written by

author and former Naval Intelligence worker Ian Fleming, depicts a slightly mysterious,

cold, calculating man with a penchant for gambling, drinking, cigarettes, and women. He

is misogynistic in that he regards women as play things, useful for sex and nothing else.

Bond is a man who lives for his service to the British government and for himself. He is

not a man capable of being a father and, with few exceptions, a lover5. However, his

adventures are his most appealing asset. He travels all over the world, defending it from

SMERSH, an organization in the Bond novels that resembles the KGB, and frequently

beds beautiful women. If the man did not travel to exotic locales and fight outrageous

villains and instead depicted more espionage and stealth based action, the Bond novels

might not have been as successful and might have been accused of copying the George

Smiley novels by John le Carre', another successful yet more realistic spy series6.

Bond as a character is actually complex. He could be considered a twentieth

century Byronic, almost Machiavellian hero. Bond has no problem committing acts of 4 Black, Jeremy. The Politics of James Bond. Westport, Connecticut. Praeger Publishers. 2001. pages 6-10.5 Comentale, Edward P., Stephen Watt, and Skip Willman. Ian Fleming and James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2005. Print., pages 42-48.6 Ibid, pages 224-225.


violence or even killing people as long as his mission gets complete7. However, this was

a somewhat difficult role to cast in mid-twentieth century film as there were still some

restrictions regarding content in film and antihero types such Sam Spade in The Maltese

Falcon, Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep, and Johnny Strabler from The Wild One were

just beginning to become a standard character in film thanks to actors such as Humphrey

Bogart and Marlon Brando. Therefore, an actor had to be used who could successfully

portray an antihero. The first actor to portray Bond in film tried to create an antihero role

but, unfortunately, failed to do so.

Early Attempts at a Bond Film

The first appearance of James Bond in film was in a television movie adaptation

of Casino Royale in 1954 on CBS. The film was a very loose adaptation of Fleming's

book in several ways. The character of James Bond was portrayed by American actor

Barry Nelson and was portrayed as an American named Jimmy Bond8. Vesper Lynd is

replaced with Valerie Mathis and CIA agent Felix Leiter is replaced with Clarence Leiter,

an agent from Great Britain. The villain Le Chiffre was played by signature villainous

actor Peter Lorre9. The plot featured a baccarat game but that was the only resemblance to

the book. The film also lacked the political background featured in the book and Le

Chiffre appeared to be acting of his own accord and not as a member of the fictional

Soviet spy agency SMERSH. As a result of poor casting choices, unremarkable

characters, a low budget, and little resemblance to Fleming's work, the movie was

7 Jonason, Peter K., Gregory D. Webster, David P. Schmitt, Norman P. Li, and Laura Crysel. "The Antihero in Popular Culture: Life History Theory and the Dark Triad Personality Traits." Review of General Psychology Human Nature and Pop Culture 16 (2012): 192-99. Ebscohost. Web. Pages 2-4. 8 Black. The Politics of James Bond. page 100.9 Ibid, pages 100-101.


declared a failure due to low ratings and low approval from critics, resulting in the

absence of a successful Bond adaptation for several years.

The next attempt at bringing Bond to the movie screen was by an Irishman

named Kevin McClory. McClory was a young film director who, after meeting Fleming

in 1961, convinced him to help make a proper Bond film. Fleming would write the script

instead of adapting an existing Bond novel and McClory would direct. However, plans

for the film quickly fell through and Fleming would uses plot points for suggested film

for his novel Thunderball, and as a result of this, McClory would successfully take

Fleming to court on charges of contract violation and for using the plot points of the film

for the book10.

After the ordeal of the McClory film, it looked unlikely that a real Bond film

would ever be made. Fortunately for Fleming, and film audiences, the Bond novels,

specifically Dr. No, were again optioned for adapting. The two people responsible for this

next attempt were Harry Saltzman, a former intelligence officer and film producer, and

Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, another film producer, both fans of the Bond novels11. Broccoli

and Saltzman successfully campaigned for the rights to the Bond films and, with the

support of United Artists, formed their own production company with the purpose of

bringing Bond to the big screen called Eon Productions12. Saltzman and Broccoli

would be responsible for the production for the next two decades.

Dr. No and Castro

Eon productions had what they needed to make a successful Bond adaptation.

10 Giammarco.  For Your Eyes Only: Behind the Scenes of the Bond Films. pages 16-24.11 Ibid. pages 17-20.12 Ibid, page 22.


They had the support of both Fleming and United Artists and they had a proper script

that was close to the plot of the book. However, what they were missing was a leading

man. Fleming's ideal Bond would be David Niven or Cary Grant. However, with both

actors exhibiting little interest in playing Bond and Grant being too old to portray the

younger Bond, Broccoli and Saltzman needed to find someone new. The new actor came

in the form of a 6 foot 2 inch bodybuilder turned actor named Thomas Sean Connery, or

Sean Connery for short. Fleming was reluctant to have the working class Scotsman take

on the role of the suave English spy, no matter how well Connery tried to portray Bond13.

In order to make sure Connery could portray an accurate Bond, the films director,

Terence Young, became Connery's personal acting coach. He instructed the blue collar

Scotsman on how to act like a suave gentlemen. Young instructed Connery on how to

wear his hair and how to get a suit tailored and how to dress in general. He was able to

transform Connery into a passable gentlemen, one who could successfully portray Bond

on screen, which was exactly what he did.

Following the release of Dr. No in theatres, Connery and Bond became instant

celebrities. Connery's portrayal of Bond was warmly received by audiences, and later on

by Fleming. His portrayal of a man who was not quite the cold calculating assassin of the

books but instead was a quick-witted spy with a mixture of both working class and

sophistication14. Connery may have lacked the attitude of the literary Bond but in every

other respect he was a success; so much so that Fleming eventually changed Bond's

nationality from English to Scottish in the Bond books to match Connery's portrayal.

In the film, the antagonist and title character, Dr. Julius No, intends to start a war

13 Ibid, pages 39-42. 14 Dodds, Klaus. "Shaken and Stirred." History Today 62.10 (2012): 50-56. Ebscohost. Web. Pages 51-53


between the U.S. and the Soviets by sabotaging the American early space program,

Project Mercury, for the fictional terrorist organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E. The villains goal

is different from the novel where he planned to sabotage and seize American missiles15, a

plot point that would have been just as relevant as the new film plot due to the Cold War

reaching a breaking point in 196216 Both plots resemble the actual situation between the

Americans and the Soviets. For example, during the creation of Project Mercury, the

Central Intelligence Agency had a plan to blame the Cubans in case the rocket

malfunctioned or failed to return to Earth17. This is just one example of the CIA's

connection with the Bond franchise. The plot of the novel was still politically relevant at

the time of the film's release due to the Cold War reaching a near breaking point and the

plot of the film almost took place if, as previously stated, something would have

happened to the U.S. rocket as it was preparing to go into space.

The film was released on October 6, 1962 to commercial success, eventually

earning over sixty million dollars on a one million dollar budget, but a mixed

critical reception18 with the The New York Times disregarding it as a thriller saying:

"This lively, amusing picture, which opened yesterday at the Astor, the Murray Hill and

other theaters in the "premiere showcase" group, is not to be taken seriously as realistic

fiction or even art, any more than the works of Mr. Fleming are to be taken as long-hair

literature. It is strictly a tinseled action-thriller, spiked with a mystery of a sort. And, if

you are clever, you will see it as a spoof of science-fiction and sex.

For the crime-detecting adventure that Mr. Bond is engaged in here is so wildly

exaggerated, so patently contrived, that it is obviously silly and not to be believed.

15Black. The Politics of James Bond. Pages 91-95. 16 Comentale, Watt, and Willman. Ian Fleming and James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007. Pages 55-58. 17 Black. The Politics of James Bond. Pages 94. 18 Beale, Lewis. ""Bond James Bond." The Saturday Evening Post 1 Jan. 2012: 42-45. Ebscohost. Web


It is a perilous task of discovering who is operating a device on the tropical island of

Jamaica that "massively interferes" with the critical rocket launchings from Cape


However, the writer of this article fails to connect the seemingly silly plot with real world

events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and Project Mercury. In October of 1962, the

world was nearing possible nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Cuba was under communist control following the revolution in 1959 and the situation

between the States and Cuba had grown quite tense following the U.S. backed failed

invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs by paramilitary troops seeking to overthrow Castro. With

the Soviets attempting to place missiles in Cuba in retaliation of the U.S. stockpiling

missiles in Turkey, war seemed imminent20. However, due to negotiations between the

two governments of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. and the fact that there was no Soviet super-

villain to seize or sabotage the missiles, war was narrowly avoided. Tensions between

Cuba and the U.S. would continue despite the end of the Missile Crisis.

The U.S. President during this time, John F. Kennedy, used Bond as an inspiration

for dealing with the Soviets and the Cubans in general. Before and after the Crisis,

Kennedy continued to view Bond in a heroic sense and urged the Central Intelligence

Agency to plan their movements so that they would resemble something similar to what

would happen in a Bond film or novel. However, Kennedy's want of a more action-

oriented C.I.A21. did not lead to much success, such as the failure at the Bay of Pigs and

the not-so-successful tactics of Operation Mongoose, a military operation meant to

discredit Castro and communism in Cuba and, eventually, attempt to assassinate Castro

19 Crowther, Bosley. Dr. No (1962). The New York Times. 30 May, 196320 Comentale, Watt, and Willman. Ian Fleming and James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007. Pages 55-58. 21 Moran, Christopher. "The CIA's Favorite Novelist." Journal of Cold War Studies 37.3 (2013): 129-33. Ebscohost. Web.


and place in power someone allied with the U.S. These covert operations were a

combination of ideas by Fleming submitted to Kennedy and Kennedy's own love for, as

stated previously, more action-based operations.

From the Balkans With Love

Following the success of Dr. No, Eon productions was eager for another

successful Bond adaptation. The production company found it in From Russia With

Love.. The novel and the film deals with an attempt to ruin Bond's reputation by

involving him in an operation commonly referred to in espionage as a honeypot22. The

operation involves using a female Soviet intelligence officer named Tatiana Romanova to

seduce Bond and while they are together, both the female and Bond are to be

assassinated. The Soviets would photograph the two together then leak the photos to the

press to harm Bond's and Britain's reputation. Bond is lured to a Soviet post in Istanbul

under the premise that he is to retrieve the Romanova, who claims she is a double agent

and has fallen in love with Bond, and code cipher called a Spektor23, or Lektor in the film

adaptation, all the while being unsuspecting towards a possible double cross and

assassination. After meeting the defector and retrieving the decoder, Bond and the girl,

after spending the night together and dodging assassins in Istanbul, make their way back

to Western Europe via the train the Orient Express in order to deliver the coder to Mi6,

all the while fighting off more assassins including the ones in charge of the humiliation

and assassination operation, Rosa Klebb and Red Grant24.

22 Dodds, Klaus. Licensed to Stereotype: Popular Geopolitics, James Bond, and the Spectre of Balkanism. Summer 2003. Vol. 8, Issue 2 Pg. 125-156. Ebscohost. Web. 23 Ibid, 125-136. 24 Black. The Politics of James Bond. Pages, 27-30.


The film, unlike the film adaptation Dr. No, changes very little in terms of plot.

The only significant difference between the novel and the film version of From Russia

With Love is the change in the organization that orders for Bond to assassinated and

humiliated. In the novel, the organization that orders the mission is the Soviet spy agency

SMERSH while in the film the organization is changed to the terrorist network

S.P.E.C.T.R.E in order to maintain continuity with Dr. No25.

This Bond film is somewhat different than the previous one in the sense that it is

more realistic and even more factually based. Fleming, being an intelligence officer, had

plenty of inspiration for the novel, and later the film, from his time working in WWII and

Post-WWII Europe. Fleming himself visited Istanbul and the area of the Balkans several

times, the area hotly contested between the Soviets and the Western powers26. The

Soviets, as did the British and Americans, maintained a considerable presence in Turkey

and, because of this, Fleming had plenty of information with which to use to write From

Russia With Love. The U.S. military based not only missile silos in Turkey but also

several ships were kept in waters outside Istanbul. The British, however, were much more

espionage based in their operations in Turkey. For example, the British government,

planned to use Turkey as a base of operations in order to spread propaganda discrediting

the Soviet Union in the Middle-East. British Intelligence also attempted to establish

several anti-Soviet states in the Middle-east under an agreement between Britain, Turkey,

and Iraq known as the Baghdad Pact; states that would be controlled by the British

government from their base in Istanbul. The British government planned to use these

states not only to combat the influence of the Soviet Union but also as possible bases of

25 Ibid, pages 28-31. 26 Dodds, Klaus. Licensed to Stereotype: Popular Geopolitics, James Bond, and the Spectre of Balkanism. Summer 2003. Vol. 8, Issue 2 Pg. 125-156. Ebscohost. Web.


operations for possible coups against countries in the Middle-East not allied with the

British government27. Another notable occurrence in Istanbul was the betrayal of a Soviet

defector by notorious double agent Kim Philby. The Soviet defector, Konstantin Volkov,

had went to Mi6 to propose his betrayal. Philby, himself a double agent, informed the

Soviet government of Volkov's betrayal, after which the defector was knocked

unconscious and sent back to the Soviet Union28, where it can be assumed that he was

swiftly executed for his betrayal.

The use of the Orient Express could be seen as an attempt by Eon Productions to

and Fleming to cash in on the use of a train in thrillers such as the Hitchcock films The

Lady Vanishes and North by Northwest. However, Fleming was a frequent passenger and

was also inspired by the story of a spy, whose tale he had heard about while working in

British intelligence. The spy mentioned previously had boarded the Orient Express with a

case containing information regarding various spy networks for the British government.

Unbeknownst to the spy, two Soviet officers also boarded the train. The two Soviets then

located the spy in one of the train carriages, executed him, took possession of the case,

and departed from the train for the Soviet Union29.


In 1965, one of the most successful Bond films was released: Thunderball30. This

film, the fourth featuring Connery as Bond, was, as previously discussed, based upon a

screenplay written by Fleming and McClory in 1961. After the plans for the film fell

27 Black, Jeremy. The Politics of James Bond. The operations conducted by the British under the Baghdad Pact resulted in the failed invasion of the Suez in attempt to overthrow Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. 28 Ibid page 29. 29 Dodds. Licensed to Stereotype: Popular Geopolitics, James Bond, and the Spectre of Balkanism. Vol. 8, Issue 2 Pg. 125-156.30 Giammarco.  For Your Eyes Only: Behind the Scenes of the Bond Films. Page 31-32.


through due to lack of interest from film studious at the time, Fleming used the

screenplay to write the novel, resulting in a years long legal battle between Fleming and

McClory, and later Broccoli and Saltzman after they began adapting Thunderball31.

The film, like From Russia with Love, keeps the plot of the novel intact with only

small changes, such as Largo's payment demands. In the novel and the film, the

international terrorist group S.P.E.C.T.R.E., using one of their top agents, to hijack a

NATO bomber loaded with two atomic bombs. The operation, headed by the group's

second in command, Emilio Largo32, is a success although the agent is killed after

demanding a higher payment than he was originally promised33. The bombs are then

seized and aimed at both Western Europe and the United States. Largo then notifies the

several heads of state that he intends to use both bombs on an unspecified city unless he

receives 100 million British Pounds34. If he had to use the bombs then he would simply

attack both the U.S. and Western Europe then blame the attacks on the Soviet Union. The

resulting conflict between the USSR and the Western powers would leave Largo free to

conquer the world.

Mi6 quickly springs into action, deploying every available agent to track down

and find these bombs and Largo himself while the British government begins to gather

the ransom funds. Bond, who has made himself a target of the terrorist group after killing

several of their agents, tracks down Largo, and his mistress Domino, to a casino in the

city of Nassau in the Bahamas35. After besting Largo in the casino, Bond seduces his

31 Ibid, pages 31-34. McClory would later go on to make Never say Never Again in 1983, a remake of Thunderball. McClory would also recieve a percentage of the profits from Thunderball as a way for Saltzman and Broccoli to keep him from starting another legal battle. 32 Ann S. Boyd. The Devil with James Bond! (Richmond, VA: John Knox, 1967.) Pages 85-8733 Kingsley Amis. The James Bond Dossier. (New York, New American Library, 1965). Pages 99-110. 34 Ibid, 105-110. It is changed to $100 million dollars in diamonds for the film adaptation. 35 Ibid, 110-112.


mistress and convinces her to help him find the bombs, although she is captured and

tortured by Largo shortly after.

Bond, with the help of CIA agent Felix Leiter, is able to track down one of the

bombs to his underwater base. Leiter, upon discovering one of the atomic bombs, calls in

the American Coast Guard for reinforcements and to seize control of the bomb36. Bond,

seeking the other bomb and Largo himself, boards the villain's yacht and searches for the

missing bomb. Upon finding the bomb, Bond is attacked by Largo, angry at the loss of

his possible fortune and of Bond foiling his plans, attacks him, only to be killed by

Domino, in retaliation for beating her.

While the film may not be as Cold War and Soviet Union focused as the first two

films in the series, Fleming did incorporate several real world elements into the story.

The first of these is the use aquatic spying and combat by Bond. Fleming, due to his

intelligence work, knew that the British deployed a Royal Marine named Lionel Crabb

to attach himself to the underside of the Russian ship carrying Nikita Khrushchev into

London37. The purpose of Crabb's mission was to find out if Khrushchev's ship could be

detectable by sonar and how the ship was able to move as fast as it did. Crabb attempted

to carry out the mission on April 19, 1956 but it is assumed that he failed to carry it out.

Crabb never reported in and was also never heard from again, leading the British

government to falsely declare an unknown body that washed ashore as his38.

Fleming also based the plot of the novel on his own opinions regarding nuclear

weapons. He believed that while the powerful weapons were a usual weapon in war, they

36 Black. The Politics of James Bond. Pages 54-57. 37 Richard C.S. Trahair and Robert L. Miller. Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations. (New York, Enigma Books, 2009). Page 69-71. 38 Ibid, 70. The body was falsely identified as his because a man who knew Crabb was coerced into identifying the body as Crabb in order to avoid a potential political scandal.


could also be seen as a double edged sword. The atomic weapons were a useful and very

powerful weapon as long as they were in the right hands39. However, Fleming also

recognized the dangers of the weapons if they were used by the wrong people, such as the

USSR or a terrorist group like S.P.E.C.T.R.E.

Dalton, Daylights, and Afghanistan

In 1987, after years of Bond films not focusing on the Cold War, specifically the

Roger Moore films, Eon productions went back to fighting the Soviets with The Living

Daylights. This film, one of the darker in the Bond series, starred Shakespearean stage

actor Timothy Dalton, a man who is physically the closest in appearance to the Bond of

Fleming's novels. Unlike the previous Bond actors, Dalton appeared in mostly dramatic

films while Roger Moore and Sean Connery were, and are, more known for their action

and adventure roles. Dalton was a favorite of Saltzman and Broccoli's for years but

refused the offers to be in a Bond film as he disliked the previous scripts offered to him40.

After reviewing the script for Daylights, Dalton generously accepted as it was a more

character driven story and one more in line with Flemings books.

In Fleming's original story, Bond is assigned to be a sniper in East Germany to

guard a Soviet double agent who has information for the United Kingdom regarding

Soviet nuclear testing. He has a secondary objective, which is to eliminate a major Soviet

assassin41 who is attempting to kill the double agent. Bond, refuses to kill the assassin

after discovering that it is a beautiful woman and instead damages her gun, making it

39 Black. The Politics of James Bond. Page 54-55. 40 Giammarco.  For Your Eyes Only: Behind the Scenes of the Bond Films. Page 196-199. Dalton wanted to make Bond a more tragic and flawed hero to better show that he problems with carrying out the tasks demanded of him. As a result, his Bond became more of a Byronic Hero than the playboy of the Roger Moore years. 41 Black. The Politics of James Bond. Page 78-79.


inoperable. As with From Russia With Love, the story is driven by Bond trying to rescue

a double agent while trying to dodge an enemy agent. However, the story is a more

dramatic one as Bond cannot bring himself to kill the enemy agent and, as a result,

believes he has failed his mission42. The short story shares Fleming's views that at the

time of it's publishing, 1962, the Soviets were more dangerous than they let on. He

believed that while the Soviets encouraged mutual disarmament of nuclear weapons, they

only meant for the Western powers to disarm while they would still keep their weapons


The film version is a somewhat different story. The film begins with a similar

situation from the short story. Dalton, as Bond, is assigned to be a sniper in

Czechoslovakia in order to protect a Soviet double agent named Georgi Koskov as he

defects to the West44. Koskov, after getting to the United Kingdom with Bond, claims that

the new head of the KGB, General Pushkin, is systematically eliminating CIA and Mi6

agents, and shortly after giving this testimony, he is kidnapped. Bond is assigned to track

down the general and assassinate him to prevent further death on both sides. After

tracking down Pushkin, Bond discovers that Koskov was lying and that he is the real


At this point, Bond actually joins with one enemy to stop an even more dangerous

foe. Koskov is arranging to buy a large amount of opium from Afghanistan. Then he is to

sell the opium and use the profits to buy weapons for the Soviet army to use to combat

the Afghani soldiers during the Soviet-Afghan war. Bond and Pushkin manage to

42 Ibid, page 79. 43 Ibid, pages 78-80. 44 Giammarco.  For Your Eyes Only: Behind the Scenes of the Bond Films. Page 196-199. 45 Black. The Politics of James Bond. Page 148-151.


intervene in by destroying the opium shipment46, killing the man responsible for

supplying the weapons, an American arms dealer, and arresting Koskov, who is then sent

back to the Soviet Union where he is presumably executed.

The film, and Dalton's performance, was well received by critics but audiences

expecting another Roger Moore adventure romp, did not turn up in significant numbers47.

Dalton wanted to make the character his own and not to look like Connery, Moore, or

even the George Lazenby Bond. He wanted his portrayal of Bond to be just like the Bond

of the novels and it is from the novels that Dalton took his inspiration48. He was not the

Moore Bond; a witty playboy who frequently used all sorts of clever gadgets. He was a

conflicted yet merciless assassin. This is a Bond who is almost dissatisfied with his

continuing role as an assassin for Mi6. Dalton's new portrayal of Bond was, as stated

above, one critics found enjoyable with The New York Times reporter Janet Maslin


"Mr. Dalton, who trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and has had a lot of

experience playing Shakespeare, has a more somber, reflective acting style than the ones Bond

fans have grown used to; he's less ironic than Sean Connery, less insistently suave than Roger

Moore. Instead, Mr. Dalton has his own brand of charm. His Bond is world-wearier than others,

but perhaps also more inclined to take the long view (as well he might, after all these years). In

any case, he has enthusiasm, good looks and novelty on his side49."

If there is a Bond film that is closely identifiable with the time period it is released

in, it is this one. The film is a more violent film than previous Bond films, reflecting the

46 Pushkin did not agree with the war in the Soviets because in the time that the film takes place, the late 1980s, the Soviets were already losing badly to the Afghani forces and he did not want the war to continue. 47 Giammarco. For Your Eyes Only: Behind the Scenes of the Bond Films. Pages 196-199. 48 Yeffeth, Glenn. James Bond in the 21st Century: Why We Still Need 007. (Dallas, Texas: BenBella Books. 2006). Ebook. Pages 27-30. 49 Janet Maslin. ""The Living Daylights", with the new Bond". The New York Times . July 31, 1987.


changing nature of film at the time. The film also makes use of the Afghan war as a plot

device. This conflict was the result of Soviets attempting to install a Pro-Soviet

government in Afghanistan50 and the Afghani people rebelling at this attempt. The

Soviets, despite having better weapons and better training, could not defeat the rebels in

their homeland and, as a result of this, the conflict becomes a long and bloody conflict

lasting for almost a decade51.

The use of an American arms dealer as a character is another plot point with a real

life basis. By 1986, the Afghani rebels were being supplied by the CIA, in their attempt

to disrupt Soviet and communist influence, as they did in several countries in South

America in previous years52. In 1989, after almost a decade of fighting and with the CIA's

involvement, the Afghani rebels were finally able to repel the Soviet troops from


Brosnan and the Post-Cold War Era

By the 1990s, the Soviet Union had fallen and the Cold War was over. The era of

Timothy Dalton as Bond was over after just two films. Eon productions, eager for another

Bond film, took inspiration from the post Cold War years of the '90s for their next films.

However, in order to have a new Bond film, a new Bond had to be cast. This new Bond

came in the way of handsome Irish actor Pierce Brosnan, the second Bond actor not from

the United Kingdom. Brosnan, like Dalton, took inspiration from Flemings novels but

also was a blending of Moore and Connery's portrayals. The resulting Bond was one who

50 Trahair and Miller. Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations. Page 449. 51 Black. The Politics of James Bond. Pages 150-152. 52 Ibid, 151.


was charming, funny, a gadget loving playboy, and one who did not hesitate to resort to

great acts of violence53.

In order to match this fresh new Bond, a completely original story would be

needed. This would be the first Bond film not to be based on an Ian Fleming story but

would still be recognizably Bond. This new film would be called Goldeneye, a nod to the

name of the house where Fleming wrote the Bond stories54.

Goldeneye starts with Bond and his friend and fellow operative, Alec Treveylan,

infiltrating a Soviet-era chemical facility stocked with nerve gas and other chemical

weapons. The mission, despite being a success for Bond, ends with Treveylan shot in the

head by Soviet general Arkady Ourumov. The film then flashes forward nine years and

Bond is still a top agent for Mi6. He is assigned to go to Russia in order to track down a

new criminal organization known only as Janus55 who have seized control of a radar

shielded helicopter. The Soviet Union has fallen by this time but the fallout is still being

felt in Russia. This is evident through the desolate looking state of Russia and the

struggle of the Russian government to maintain control in this post-Soviet era.

Bond, seeking Ouromov and information on Janus visits an arms dealing member

of the Russian mafia named Valentin Zukovsky, who arranges a meeting with members

of Janus in St. Petersburg. Bond, upon meeting with the Janus group, discovers that

Trevelyan is alive and the leader of the group56. Trevelyan reveals that his plan is to use a

satellite based weapon to fire an electromagnetic pulse on London, England, during

which, he will hack the Bank of England's servers in order to siphon all funds into the

53 Giammarco.  For Your Eyes Only: Behind the Scenes of the Bond Films. Pages 225-228. 54 Ibid, pages 226-229. 55 Ibid, pages 227-230. 56 Black. The Politics of James Bond. Page 160-162.


Janus account. The EMP strike will erase the record of the hacking taking place57 After

being captured and framed for the murder of the Russian prime minister, Bond escapes

from the Janus group and, using a Russian tank, chases Trevelyan through the streets of

St. Petersburg, seeking revenge and to rescue a female computer programmer named

Natalya Simonova that Ouromuv had captured earlier in the film. Bond, upon rescuing

Natalya, kills Ouromov58.

The film then shifts to Cuba, the location of the Janus' groups base of operations.

Bond and Natalya, seeking to disrupt Trevelyan's plans to rob the Bank, manage to gain

access to his base where Natalya manages to reset the coordinates for the satellite based

weapon, causing to fall through the atmosphere towards the Janus base.59 Bond,

meanwhile, manages to cripple Trevelyan in a fight on the metal structure above the

Janus base, after which he escapes with Natalya as the satellite crashes into the base and

into Trevelyan, ending the Janus threat.

Despite being a film set after the fall of the Soviet Union, the film still utilized

memories of the USSR for the plot. Alec Trevelyan, upon revealing that he is the man

behind the Janus group, reveals to Bond the reasoning behind his plan to rob the Bank of

England. He reveals to Bond that he is the child of Cossacks who had not supported the

Communist regime and instead pledged their allegiance to Adolf Hitler60. These

Cossacks, called the Leinz-Cossacks, sought refuge after World War II with Great

Britain. Britain, not wanting to damage relations with the Soviets after helping them to

defeat the Nazis, refused to grant asylum. The British government then delivered the

Cossacks into Soviet hands, after which they were slaughtered for siding against the 57 Ibid, pages 161. 58 Ibid, pages 162-164. 59 Ibid, pages 162. 60 Black. The Politics of James Bond. Page 160-162.


Soviets. Trevelyan, while an enemy of the Soviet Union, does utilize ex-Soviet troops

and generals, such as Ouromov, in order to seek vengeance on the British government for

inadvertently condemning the Cossacks to death.

This new Bond film and this new Bond portrayal helped to give new life to the

series after the perceived disappointing Dalton films of the 1980s61. Brosnan, in this new

and highly successful take62 on Bond, would go on to star in four Bond films throughout

the 1990s and the early 2000s. Goldeneye, despite being a great success at the box office,

would be the last Bond film to feature the Soviet Union or the Cold War as a plot point.

Brosnan's other films would resemble more or less Moore's Bond films in the sense that

they feature Bond fighting terrorist groups throughout the world who are either

threatening the economic stability or the safety of the world nations.

Final Thoughts

Bond was not meant originally to be the symbol of the West's fight against the

Soviet Union during the Cold war. He was originally meant to be just a character of a

series of spy novels based on Fleming's experiences during the war63. However, through

the use of his adventures as the basis for actually espionage operations by the CIA and

because of the fact that Fleming's novels were so widely read by the Kennedy

administration, Bond slowly became an almost figurehead of the fight to stop the spread

the of the Soviet Union's influence. However, it is through the films that I have discussed

61 Giammarco.  For Your Eyes Only: Behind the Scenes of the Bond Films. Pages 268-272. The Brosnan era of Bond films would prove to be one of the most successful as all four films grossed over a billion dollars with taking inflation into account. Although they would not match the success of Daniel Craig's Bond films, which grossed a billion or a little less than per film. 62Schama, Simon. "Shake Us. Stir Us." Newsweek 5 Nov. 2012: 30-37. Ebscohost. 63 Berberich, Christine. "Putting England Back on Top? Ian Fleming, James Bond, and the Question of England." The Yearbook of English Studies 42 (2012): 13-29. JSTOR. Web


above that Bond becomes the icon of the fight against communism as he is frequently in

the films either on his own or siding with the Central Intelligence Agency in order to

avert nuclear war or to stop the Soviets from taking over other countries.

Bond has become a staple for moviegoers over the past fifty years; his twenty

three films and a multi-billion dollar box office gross is evidence of that. As Bond

continues to fight different terrorist groups in films and in the new novels, he becomes an

icon through him being the good guy triumphing over a threat to world security. It is in

my opinion that one of the reasons Bond has remained around for so long is that he is an

ordinary man. He is a man that has his different vices, whether good or bad, he is only

wealthy through his job, and he is vulnerable; he has no super powers and he can get hurt

or even die. This does not stop him from completing his mission. Bond puts life and limb

on the line for his country. Hopefully, the Bond films will be continue to be made to

provide enjoyment for those wishing to see a man drive fast cars, travel to exotic locales

while wearing tailored clothing, and fighting terrorists intent on destroying the world. He

is needed as a symbol of good now more than ever in this age of international terrorism.


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