Groovers and Mobsters Present: Bond Girls, Andy’s list.
You have seen Heathers top ten Bond Girls, now time for mine. We intended to choose five each and post them on the same page but there was a slight problem, we both independently of each other picked the same five (not in the same order), so we decided to go for our own top tens.
Ten – Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko) Quantum of Solace
A late and possibly surprising entry to the list I just re-watched Quantum of Solace and came to the conclusion that it is a better movie than I gave it credit for and she is a far better character than I initially appreciated. A former Bolivian secret service agent whose entire life is about revenge, this gives a prospective and balance to Bonds own personal mission. The most notable thing about the character is the way she completely overshadows Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton), also worth noting is that (unlike Fields) she doesn’t sleep with Bond, a real rarity for a major Bond Girl.
Nine – Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell) Licence To Kill
After a brief appearance at Felix Leiter’s wedding we next seeing Pam Bouvier pointing a shotgun at a sensitive part of henchmen Dario’s (a young Benicio Del Toro) anatomy. She then goes on to kick ass in a bar fight. You really notice her when she slips into a cocktail dress and gets a new haircut (inspiration for Jamie Lee Curtis’ look in true lies?), her insecurities and jealousy of Lupe Lamora (Talisa Soto) only add to the appeal.
Eight – Domino Derval (Claudine Auger) Thunderball
In many ways Thunderball is the perfect Bond film, it retains the link with the original source novels like the movies that went before it whilst also developing the over the top fantasy that the later movies became. As such it has a Bond girl that ticks all the boxes, Domino fills the eye-candy role that are often taken up by the bit part girls but is also a more fleshed-out role that is integral to the plot.
Seven – Teresa “Tracy” Di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg) On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
It would be easy to dismiss Tracy as a Bond Girl, she appears in a seriously flawed movie and Dianna Rigg has absolutely zero onscreen chemistry with George Lazenby. Putting this aside there are a few things to take into account, firstly she is one of only two women that Bond appears to have actually loved (the other being Vesper Lynd). The second thing is that she is a great character in her own right, the suicidal fast living daughter of a Mafia crime boss proves to be both entertaining and compelling. Last but not least she is played by Diana Rigg, yes thats Diana “Emma Peel” Rigg, what more could you ask for in a Bond Girl.
Reclusive megalomaniac Karl Stromberg has a suitably fiendish plan to destroy the world and create a new under the sea civilisation. In an effort to save the world the M and his opposite number at the KGB decide to work together and assign their best agents. 007 and XXX. Constantly trying to out do each other the pair work well together, however there is a complication Amasova has vowed to kill Bond when the mission is over in revenge for the death of her lover (who Bond killed in the pre-credit sequence). This tension and competition between the pair is the at the heart of the success of the movie.
Five – Colonel Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) Tomorrow Never Dies
Pussy Galore may be more than a match for Bond but with her sharp intellect, strong sense of duty and most importantly her considerable martial arts skills Wai Lin makes Bond look like a rank amateur at times. She is also played by action star Michelle Yeoh helping to introduce her to a wider western audience. As a more action orientated Bond girl she gets everything right that Halle Berry’s annoying Jinx Johnson gets wrong, and lets be honest she is the only thing work watching in a somewhat lacklustre movie.
Four – Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) Dr. No
The first? Certainly; the most iconic? Probably; the best? No but still worth a place on the list, she is worth a place on the list just for her entrance into the movie. Not only is her rise from the sea one of the most iconic and memorable moments in Bond history it is one of the most iconic and memorable moments in movie history.
Three- Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) Goldfinger
Depending on your point of view Pussy Galore is the best or worst name of a Bond Girl and the most suggestive double entendre in the franchise. In the original novel the character is a lesbian, something that is only hinted at in the movie,. Something that isn’t changed is the fact that she was the first Bond Girl to be more than a match for Bond, not exactly the archetype for future Bond Girls but certainly a reference point that future writers/directors would return to. At 39 Blackman is the oldest Bond Girl to date and a real rarity in that she was older than Bond (Sean Connery was 34) this gave a certain dynamic that has never been completely recaptured.
Two – Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) Golden Eye
I had to think long and hard about this one, could I put a Bond villain/hench(wo)man as number two on my list of Bond Girls, then I decided hell yes, I even considered elevating her to number one. When the main villain is revealed in Goldeneye it really isn’t a surprise but Famke Janssen’s Xenia Onatopp is a perfect weapon of mass distraction keeping making us forget there is.
One- Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in Casino Royale
There is always a danger with Bond Girls that they are little more than window dressing or eye candy, and when you cast someone who looks like Eva Green that is probably what you expect of the character. In an effort to update the movies there has been attempts to make the women in Bond films his equal, whilst Vesper Lynd makes no attempt to compete with Bond on a physical level, intellectually she more than holds her own, her character is also integral to the plot. She actually doesn’t appear until nearly an hour into Casino Royale, but what an entrance she makes, her exit is brety spectacular too and promises to echo throughout Daniel Craig’s tenure as Bond.
Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) Dr. No (1962) to A View to a Kill (1985)
Not generally regarded as a Bond Girl but the list wouldn’t be complete without Moneypenny, and if you are going to include Moneypenny why not go for the original, Lois Maxwell. The Bond movies are essentially travel-logs of exotic places and fantasies of improbable lifestyles, within this Moneypenny is the link to reality, the boring and mundane, the fact that she is never boring or mundane is the reason she deserves a mention. Her playful and flirtatious banter with Bond were an essential and memorable part of the movies.