Now that the franchise has been around for more than half a century, the James Bond formula has become pretty well-known — 007 fans go into each movie expecting a pre-credits action sequence, a megalomaniacal supervillain, a one-off love interest, and a third-act showdown at a hidden base — but it wasn’t perfected right out of the gate.
Terence Young’s Dr. No, the first-ever Bond movie, established a lot of the tropes that now make up the familiar formula, but that formula wasn’t perfected until Guy Hamilton stepped in to direct Goldfinger, the third entry in the franchise, two years later.
The iconic shot that opens almost every Bond movie originated in Dr. No. Bond is seen walking into frame through the barrel of a gun, but before the shooter can fire, Bond draws his own weapon and blood seeps over the screen.
The gun barrel shot has since become the Bond franchise’s version of “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” Some of the recent Bond movies have put the gun barrel shot at the end, which seems unnecessary.
One of the most beloved traditions of the Bond franchise is the pre-credits action sequence. Each Bond movie opens with an extended action scene unrelated to the main plot.
This was established by Goldfinger, whose opening set piece is still one of the best. Bond blows up a drug lab, then takes off his wetsuit to reveal a crisp white tux and lights a cigarette like it’s no big deal.
Sean Connery nailed his portrayal of James Bond right out of the gate. His performance in Dr. No is still a high benchmark for portrayals of 007. Connery was the polar opposite of Bond’s characterization in the books, but he came up with his own take on the role that defined 007’s screen persona for decades to come.
Director Terence Young masterfully established Bond’s now-iconic personality in his initial two outings before Guy Hamilton turned the Bond formula into a blockbuster template with Goldfinger.