59 years ago today, United Artists released Dr. No, the first film adaptation of Ian Feming's James Bond novels. There have since been 21 more movies with another one on the way, and the series is the second-highest grossing film series ever after Harry Potter.
One of the things that continue to distinguish the Bond films is their highly stylized title sequences, usually with a new song by a popular artist. The word is Adele is up to croon the upcoming installment, and past efforts have included Paul McCartney, Madonna, Duran Duran and more. However, it all started with this.
Monty Norman composed the James Bond theme, and John Barry arranged it. Norman got the job because Albert R. Broccoli was a fan of a musical Norman had written about the murderer Hawley Crippen. Fun fact; Alan Moore borrowed Crippen's first name for his incarnation of the Invisible Man in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. James Bond himself appears in the third volume of the series.
Bond film title sequences are some of our favorite examples of pop art, and to celebrate their introduction into the world we present the top 007.
Unfortunately, most of the videos we've found of the Bond openings have had embedding disabled, so you'll have to click the links to watch them. First on our list is The Spy Who Loved Me. What's not to like? Carly Simon sings the tune ("Nobody Does It Better") and you've got nude women doing gymnastics on gun barrels. Plus, there's something weirdly erotic about a girl wearing nothing but one of those furry Russian hats.
Look, we love both A-Ha and Timothy Dalton's Bond. We know. We know. We don't know why the Houston Press pays us either. (He works cheap - Ed.) The naked girls return in the title sequence for The Living Daylights, though there's a lot more gunplay than trampolines in this one. Our favorite bit is the girl who rises out of the full champagne glass with perfect make-up and dry hair.
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If nothing else you have to love Goldeneye for changing up the formula on the title sequences. Not that we won't always love the mod blue and black that seems to dominate them, but between the firey colors and the giant leering statues of Stalin we think this one really adds so spice for the eyes. Besides, who doesn't adore Tina Turner?
Maybe we're cheating with this one, but Weird Al's awesome parody of the Bond sequences would never have existed without the all the brilliant ones that came before. Also, it's easy to forget that Al can really sing when the song calls for it, such as his Tom Jones impression in Spy Hard.
We have to admit most of our passion for The World is Not Enough titles has to do with a long-running crush on Shirley Manson. The rest of our fondness has to do with the girls covered in oil and the close shots of pumping derricks being the most blatant sexual metaphor ever used.
Casino Royale is the reason title sequences should be eligible for an Academy Award. It's a stunning piece of visual work, and Chris Cornell is one of the best singers they've ever hired to introduce a Bond flick.
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Hands down the best Bond theme song belongs to Duran Duran in the form of A View to a Kill. The Duran boys are themselves huge Bond fans. John Taylor drives Aston Martins like Bond does, and he netted the band the opportunity to participate in a View to a Kill by drunkenly approaching producer Cubby Broccoli at a party and asking, "When are you going to get someone decent to do one of your theme songs."