Get ready to embark on another action-packed James Bond mission when No Time To Die arrives in Cineworld on the 2nd of April. Starring Daniel Craig in his final 007 movie, the 25th Bond film sees the agent brought out of retirement to hunt down a missing scientist. However, this puts him in the path of new villain Safin (Oscar-winner Rami Malek), a mask-wearing, menacing foe who’s set to be 007’s most dangerous adversary yet.
Over the last five and a half decades, the Bond franchise has become a long-standing staple of action cinema. And from what we’ve seen of the film so far – combined with Billie Eilish’s newly unveiled theme – No Time to Die is set to continue the moody and gritty tone of Craig’s previous outings. However, the series isn’t without its more peculiar moments either.
As we get ready for No Time To Die, let’s fondly remember some of Bond’s more ridiculous moments – it’s part of the series’ charm, after all.
1. Pop goes Kananga – Live and Let Die (1973)
When it comes to dispatching his foes, Bond isn’t known for being merciful. Whether it’s launching them into vats of boiling radioactive water, having them crushed to death or throwing them into cocaine grinders, Mr. Bond really does get the most out of having a license to kill. Live and Let Die villain, drug dealer Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), was likewise given zero mercy when it came to his demise.
Brawling in a shark tank, a bloodthirsty Bond (played by Roger Moore in his 007 debut) isn’t just content with feeding the villain to the predators, but forces him to swallow a compressed-gas pellet at which point he bloats up like a balloon, flies into the air and bursts. As Bond villain deaths go, it's one of the silliest, not to mention most spectacular.
2. When Jaws met Dolly – Moonraker (1979)
The only 007 film where Bond (Roger Moore) goes to space, Moonraker is filled with bizarre moments that include such sci-fi shenanigans as a laser fight. But even this doesn’t come close to the silliest moment in this film: when henchman Jaws (Richard Kiell) meets Dolly (Blanche Ravalec).
Following a tense showdown between Bond and the mute henchman on a cable-car that sees the latter crashing into a building, the metal-mouthed man is helped from the wreckage by a bespectacled woman with pigtails. With the Overture from Tchaikovsky’s Romeo And Juliet swelling, the film takes a huge tonal shift as the pair’s eyes meet. It’s campy, it comes out of nowhere, and it eventually transforms the villain from The Spy Who Loved Me into a lovestruck good guy.
3. Bond kills Blofeld – For Your Eyes Only (1981)
The Bond franchise is bursting with brilliant baddies, but none of them are as iconic as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. With his bald head and white cat, Blofeld has become the archetypal spy villain since first appearing in From Russia With Love. It’s strange, then, that he – or at least someone who looked uncannily like him – was killed-off in the most unceremonious (and hilarious) fashion at the beginning of Roger Moore movie For Your Eyes Only.
After being trapped in a helicopter controlled by the unnamed nemesis, who continuously spouts awful quips, Bond regains control of the vehicle before dispatching his foe – by picking him up by his wheelchair and dropping him down a chimney. There’s even some cartoon sound effects thrown in, too.
It’s alleged that this sequence was Bond producer Albert R. ‘Cubby’ Broccoli’s revenge against Blofeld and Spectre rights holder Kevin McClory, who had continually blocked the use of the character throughout the Moore era. By refusing to name the character and having him killed off, Broccoli was able to rub salt in the wound.
4. The clown suit – Octopussy (1983)
Being a secret agent, part of Bond’s job description will occasionally call for him to deploy cunning disguises to elude pursuers, and to defuse bombs under serious pressure. In the case of Octopussy, Bond’s (Roger Moore) mission required him to deploy both skills simultaneously.
However, nobody said the disguises would always be flattering. And when the location that needs infiltrating is a circus tent in an army base, Bond finds himself in a clown outfit. And if that image wasn’t silly enough for you, the nuclear bomb’s location happens to be in a cannon. At least if the espionage work doesn’t pan out, we know Bond could have a fruitful career as a clown.
5. The cello case chase – The Living Daylights (1987)
James Bond is no stranger to finding himself in sticky situations in which a quick escape is necessary. And in Timothy Dalton’s first outing as the spy in The Living Daylights, this is exactly what we got when he and accomplice Kara (Maryam d’Abo) are chased down a snowy mountain. But when Bond’s gadget-laden Aston Martin V8 Vantage is wrecked, the pair make their great escape on Kara’s cello case, using the string instrument to steer.
It’s an unusually silly moment in a relatively serious-minded Dalton movie, more akin to something Roger Moore may have done, but enormous fun nonetheless.
6. Helicopter saws – The World is Not Enough (1999)
In his many years of international espionage, Bond’s enemies have tried to kill him in various inventive ways: laser, poison, bombs, you name it. But one of the silliest came in The World is Not Enough where villain Elektra (Sophie Marceau) tried to thwart 007 (Pierce Brosnan) by deploying several helicopters with sawblades attached to them.
While we need to give Elektra points for villainous creativity here, this over-the-top plan proved to be ineffective in practice, with Bond easily destroying the aircraft with missies from his BMW. You’d think the pilot would’ve flown out of the way. But at least the baddies get their revenge immediately after when the vehicle is sawn in half. As Bond says: “Q’s not going to like this.”
7. Surf’s up – Die Another Day (2002)
A globe-trotting man of mystery, James Bond is accustomed to using an assortment of vehicles to make stylish getaways. In the case of Die Another Day, Bond’s great escape proved to be one of the most ludicrous moments in the series to date. In fact, so daft was it, the scene was credited with single-handedly killing off the Pierce Brosnan era, forcing the franchise into its eventual Daniel Craig reboot with Casino Royale.
Chased across an Icelandic glacier by a space laser powered by diamonds (yes, really) Bond uses part of his escape vehicle, along with its parachute, to fashion a make-shift surfboard. He then kite surfs on a tidal wave when the melting glacier collapses into the water behind him. Perhaps if the obvious blue screen and CGI wasn’t so terrible, this sequence wouldn’t be as ridiculous as it is. Actually, scratch that – there’s no way of escaping the nonsense of this sequence.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team. Follow him on Twitter.