Study Guide

From Russia With Love James Bond (Sean Connery)

James Bond (Sean Connery)

Ian Fleming's iconic debonair spy became a film legend beginning with Dr. No in 1962. Since then, movie audiences have come to expect certain things from James: his mordant wit, an ability to outwit stronger and better-armed enemies, his gadgetry, his coolness in the face of danger. Oh yeah, and his sexual exploits. 007 always gets his man—and his woman.

Bond isn't exactly the most three-dimensional character in filmdom. What you see is what you get, and what you get in From Russia With Love is pretty much the typical James Bond. Handsome? Suave? Cheeky? Irresistible to women? Check, check, check, and check.

Brit Wit

The James Bond of the Ian Fleming novels isn't as quick with the witty comebacks as his movie counterpart. That's thanks to screenwriter Richard Maibaum, who wrote 007 as a guy who could crack wise even with a gun to his head. It came to be a defining characteristic of 007 in all the Bond films. They just wouldn't be as fun if we couldn't expect our hero to come up with some clever remark while on the verge of being dispatched or dispatching someone else.

Having just been drugged with wine at dinner, knocked out cold, and held at gunpoint by Grant, Bond says:

BOND: Red wine with fish. That should have told me something.

Bond manages to keep Grant talking while he figures out a way to turn the tables, which isn't easy since Grant's holding all the cards—and the gun and garrote. But Bond being Bond, he gets the upper hand after an extended fight and strangles the big guy to death.

If it was us, we'd want to lie down for a couple of hours after a fight like that. James is already planning his next move, and as he takes his money out of his briefcase he looks at the dead Nash, who's been taunting him all night calling him "old man," and says:

Bond: You won't be needing this, old man.

The king of the one-liners, our 007.

Irresistible but Incorrigible

Women can't seem to keep their hands off of Sean Connery—er, we mean James Bond. But if we were to make a list of dating do's and don'ts, the don'ts list would be filled with Bond's defining characteristics: pretentious taste in champagne, answers the phone in the middle of a date, has literal scars from past relationships.

Plus, 007 will never call you back.

So we're shocked that the beginning of From Russia with Love features a callback to Bond's first film, Dr. No. Bond with the same woman, Sylvia Trench, twice in two films, instead of ghosting them like he's prone to do. What's up with that? Is our playboy James succumbing to monogamy?

Not to worry.

Bond quickly resumes his womanizing ways once he gets his mission to seduce a beautiful Russian woman and steal her country's top-secret decoder machine. The scheme smells like Borscht from 1500 miles away, but Bond's excited by the fact that such a beautiful woman might actually be interested in him.

Bad Boy

Bond ceases to be adorbs when he turns his temper against the women he romances. He must have a lot of confidence in his power of seduction to think he can get away with this stuff. Poor Sylvia, who's just trying to keep his attention by undressing him while he takes a call from HQ:

BOND: Sylvia, behave! We'll do this again some other time, soon.

SYLVIA: Do what? The last time you said that you went off to Jamaica. I haven't seen you for six months.

(Bond slaps her hand away.)

Bond eventually gives in, but make no mistake: it's on his terms.

At the end of the film, Bond (wrongly) believes that Tania has betrayed him. Before he confirms that she is a traitor—which she isn't—he manhandles her and fiercely backhands her across the jaw.

TANIA: James, you are hurting me!

BOND: I'll do worse if you don't tell me!

His interrogation technique is to strike first, ask questions later.

Bond treats violence against women as a joke earlier in the film after a bomb scares away Kerim Bey's mistress.

BEY: The girl left in hysterics.

BOND: Found your technique too violent?

Considering Bond thinks sexual assault is hilarious, we don't think his smacking Tania is an isolated incident.

Hmm, maybe that scar did come from Honey Ryder.

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