Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: The 5 Best Bond Girls

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist November 9, 2012 at 12:37PM

We've been looking all week at the various aspects of the James Bond films, picking out the best villains and best action scenes. We've also named the worst films in the franchise, along with the best. But there's one essential ingredient of the series that we haven't yet touched on that couldn't really be ignored -- the Bond girls.
12
Skyfall Bond Girls

We've been looking all week at the various aspects of the James Bond films, picking out the best villains and best action scenes. We've also named the worst films in the franchise, along with the best. But there's one essential ingredient of the series that we haven't yet touched on that couldn't really be ignored -- the Bond girls.

Even when franchise staples like gadgets and the theme songs weren't always in place, Bond's love interests -- both friendly and villainous -- have been an essential part of the recipe, with the ladies of the 007 series blessedly evolving over time from damsels-in-distress who crumble at Bond's feet to independent, ass-kicking heroines in their own right (though "Skyfall" marks something of a backwards step in some respects). So with that in mind, we're closing off Bond Week at The Playlist by picking out our five favorite Bond girls. Did we miss your favorite? Argue your case in the comments section below.

Ursula Andress
Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) - "Dr. No"
The very first Bond flick also provides, as you might imagine, the very first Bond girl, who remains (with the possible exception of Jill Masterson in "Goldfinger," who's in and out of the film in about ten minutes) by some distance the most iconic, even 50 years on. Most of the first half of "Dr. No" is an estrogen-free zone, with only the first appearance of Lois Maxwell's Miss Moneypenny, and a mysterious photographer working for the titular villain keeping up the side of the fairer sex. But things change once Bond reaches the bad guy's private island of Crab Key, and Swiss actress Ursula Andress makes one of cinema's most unforgettable entrances, clad only in a white bikini, and singing Bond theme composer Monty Norman's "Underneath The Mango Tree" while collecting sea shells (the scene was paid homage to, gender reversed, in Daniel Craig's "Casino Royale," albeit without the shells and the singing). Julie Christie had originally been considered for the part, but a photo taken by Andress' husband John Derek won producers over, and the relatively unexperienced actress got the gig. Andress was ultimately dubbed over, but even so, she makes quite the impression as Bond's assistant for the second half. By modern standards, it's an underwritten role, but no list of Bond girls could ever be complete without Andress in that bikini on the Caribbean beach.

Diana Rigg
Tracy Di Vincenzo (Diana Rigg) - "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"
Over 50 years and 23 films, no Bond girl has the lasting impact as Contessa Tracy Di Vincenzo, or as she became known, somewhat briefly, Mrs. Tracy Bond. As we've said, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" isn't just notable for being an excellent Bond, but for the way that it places a central romance at its core more than almost any other 007 film. Lazenby's Bond meets her in unusual circumstances, saving her from attempted suicide. As it turns out, she's the daughter of crime boss Marc-Ange Draco, who offers Bond a million pounds to marry his troubled daughter. It's a curious set-up that almost feels like a marriage plot comedy, but as time goes on, there's genuine feeling that develops between the pair (although not enough to stop Bond from seducing someone else, in a rather sour and misjudged note), and by the time that 007 proposes to her, it feels surprisingly earned. It helps that we've got one of the best actresses ever to play a Bond girl. Brigitte Bardot had been considered for the part, but one suspects that it really wouldn't have worked without Diana Rigg, who like previous Bond girl Honor Blackman, came to the attention of producers through rival spy TV series "The Avengers." Rigg is undeniably beautiful, but she's also a fantastic actress (having trained at top drama school RADA, and spent five years with the Royal Shakespeare Company prior to playing Emma Peel) and, aided by a script with unexpected depth, makes Diana into one of the relatively few three-dimensional female leads in the early years of the franchise. Interestingly, she was originally meant to survive the film, with her murder at Blofeld's hands intended to be kept back for the pre-credits of the next film. But after discovering that George Lazenby had no intention of returning, the filmmakers were forced to move her death to the end of the film. The result is the most powerful conclusion in Bond history.


This article is related to: Features, Skyfall


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates