James Bond Really Likes Boats – and he hasn’t actually owned many cars.

Q: “What do you see?Bond: “A bloody big ship.” – Skyfall

With ITV currently repeating the James Bond films every Sunday afternoon, I’ve found myself chatting with people on Twitter about various Bond-related things. Several weeks ago when ITV were mid-way through the Roger Moore era, it was noted that Bond is seen on a boat in every one of Moore’s Bond films.

Before he was 007, Bond was Commander James Bond of the Royal Navy. He wears his naval uniform in several films including You Only Lice Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me and Tomorrow Never Dies. Bond is rarely seen on naval boats but he does venture onto the water in some form or another an awful lot.

Today, with Twitter’s help, I worked out that 007 can be seen on a boat in every single Bond film except for Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. If you don’t believe me, here it is:

  • Dr. No – Quarrel’s boat whilst using the Geiger counter, then travelling to Dr. No’s island, then escaping the island at the end of the film.
  • From Russia with Love – Bond and Tania are chased in a speedboat, using the spare fuel barrels to blow up their pursuers. Bond and Tania on a canal at the end of the film.
  • Goldfinger – n/a
  • Thunderball – Bond takes a boat with Paula to go diving, he goes back to shore on Domino’s boat, he goes on Emilio Largo’s boat the Disco Volante.
  • You Only Live Twice – Bond is knocked out and wakes up tied to a chair on board a ship where he is interrogated by Helga Brandt
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service –  n/a
  • Diamonds Are Forever – Tiffany and Bond take a ship home, where they are attacked by Mr Wint and Mr Kidd.
  • Live and Let Die – There is an absolutely amazing speedboat chase after Bond escapes from the crocodile farm. Sheriff JW Pepper shows up for the first time.
  • The Man With the Golden Gun – Bond escapes from the karate school by nicking a boat and a little boy tries to sell him “a real live elephant“.
  • The Spy Who Love Me – lots of boats. A boat to get to Karl Stromberg’s home of Atlantis, a U.S. Navy ship, a big fight onboard Atlantis at the end.
  • Moonraker – Bond uses a speedboat to get to Hugo Drax’s lair in the middle of the Amazon. He is attacked by armed goons, including Jaws, on the way. It ends over a waterfall.
  • For Your Eyes Only – Bond boards the Havelock’s boat with Melina Havelock. They use it to travel out and look at the wreck where they recover the ATAC. When they return from diving, Kristatos and his men are waiting for them on the boat.
  • Octopussy – after Bond escapes from Kamal Khan, narrowly avoiding being eaten by a tiger (“Siiiiiit!), he is pulled aboard a boat full of American tourists.
  • A View to a Kill – when chasing Mayday through Paris, Bond jumps from a bridge onto a boat and falls through the roof, destroying a wedding cake. A furious chef can be seen.
  • The Living Daylights – at the end of the pre-titles sequence Bond parachutes onto a boat and borrows a woman’s mobile phone.
  • Licence to Kill – Bond sneaks aboard Sanchez’s boat on several occasions.
  • Goldeneye – a new helicopter is being revealed aboard a boat in Monaco and Bond gets on board. He finds the dead pilots and is stopped by security as the helicopter gets stolen.
  • Tomorrow Never Dies – Bond and Wai Lin fight their way aboard Elliot Carver’s stealth ship.
  • The World is Not Enough – near the start of the film Bond takes Q’s new boat and goes on a speedboat chase after Cigar Girl.
  • Die Another Day – after being traded for another prisoner and getting to leave North Korea, Bond is put on the medical wing of a boat. He swims ashore to Hong Kong, arriving in the lobby of a hotel in soaking wet pyjamas and bare feet.
  • Casino Royale – he takes a boat out with Vesper near the end and we see him writing his resignation email to MI6.
  • Quantum of Solace – Bond steals a wooden speedboat to rescue the leading lady.
  • Skyfall – Bond travels with Séverine to the abandoned island where he meets Raoul Silva for the first time.
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We tend to think of Bond’s cars more than his boats but this proves that the man loves a boat too.

Actually, Bond uses an MI6-issued car in less than half of his films.

  • GoldfingerAston Martin DB5 makes its first appearance. Guns, oil slick, tyre cutter, revolving number plates, and of course – “Ejector seat? You’re joking!
  • Thunderball – the DB5 is seen briefly in the pre-titles sequence.
  • The Spy Who Loved MeLotus Esprit S1. Remembered mainly as the car that can go underwater.
  • For Your Eyes OnlyLotus Esprit Turbo. A goon sets off the self-destruct feature.
  • The Living DaylightsAston Martin V8 Vantage. It has tyre traction so Bond can drive on ice, as well as its own skis.
  • Goldeneye – the DB5 is seen near the start and Bond also takes a BMW Z3 to Cuba that Q showed him earlier. He tells Jack Wade, “Don’t push any of the buttons in that car.” “I’m just going to go bombing around in it.” “Exactly.”
  • Tomorrow Never Dies – the BMW 750iL is rather cool. Bond can drive it from his mobile phone.
  • The World is Not Enough – before it can do anything the BMW Z8 is sadly cut in half by a chainsaw attached to a helicopter.
  • Die Another Day – the Aston Martin Vanquishwe call it ‘the Vanish’“. Some people hate the Bond car because it can turn invisible. There is a very cool moment where the car gets flipped on its roof and Bond uses the ejector seat to flip back over.
  • Casino Royale – the Aston Martin DBS V12 has a medical kit that saves Bond’s life.
  • Quantum of Solace – a DBS V12 is featured again.
  • Skyfall – the DB5 returns for Bond’s 50th anniversary.
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In the rest of the Bond films Bond either steals cars or uses hire cars. Having a specialist car from MI6 for every film is really only a tradition that began with the Pierce Brosnan Bond films. This means that altogether there are only 9 different cars that Bond has from MI6, including 3 – the Lotus Esprit Turbo, BMW Z3 and BMW Z8 – that only appear briefly. That is quite something for a man who is known for women, gadgets and cars.

Bond’s gadget-filled cars are not essential and are certainly not a major part of every one of the films. However, Bond really likes his boats.

My thanks to @Roll_VT (Goldeneye) and @Simon_Pegg (Diamonds Are Forever, Die Another Day and Quantum of Solace) for their boat help.

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