Cover image for Licence to thrill : a cultural history of the James Bond films
Licence to thrill : a cultural history of the James Bond films
Chapman, James, 1968-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiv, 325 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Introduction: Taking James Bond seriously -- Bond and Beyond: The James Bond films and genre -- Snobbery with violence: Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger -- Bondmania: Thunderball, Casino Royale, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service -- Bond in transition: Diamonds are Forever, Live and let Die -- The Man with the Golden Gun -- Keeping the British end up: The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker -- Cold warrior reborn: For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, Never Say Never Again, A View to Kill -- Continuity and change: The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill -- For England: GoldenEye, Tommorow Never Dies -- Postscript: A licence to thrill.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1995.9.J3 C49 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The James Bond epic is the most popular film series in silver screen history: it is estimated that a quarter of the world's population has seen a Bond feature. The saga of Britain's best-loved martini hound (who we all know prefers his favorite drink "shaken, not stirred") has adapted to changing times for four decades without ever abandoning its tried-and-true formula of diabolical international conspiracy, sexual intrigue, and incredible gadgetry.

James Chapman expertly traces the annals of celluloid Bond from its inauguration with 1962's Dr. No through its progression beyond Ian Fleming's spy novels to the action-adventure spectaculars of GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies. He argues that the enormous popularity of the series represents more than just the sum total of the films' box-office receipts and involves questions of film culture in a wider sense.

Licence to Thrill chronicles how Bond, a representative of a British Empire that no longer existed in his generation, became a symbol of his nation's might in a Cold War world where Britain was no longer a primary actor. Chapman describes the protean nature of Bond villains in a volatile global political scene--from Soviet scoundrels and Chinese rogues in the 1960s to a brief flirtation with Latin American drug kingpins in the 1980s and back to the Chinese in the 1990s. The book explores how the movies struggle with changing societal ethics--notably, in the evolution in the portrayal of women, showing how Bond's encounters with the opposite sex have evolved into trysts with leading ladies as sexually liberated as Bond himself.

The Bond formula has proved remarkably durable and consistently successful for roughly a third of cinema's history--half the period since the introduction of talking pictures in the late 1920s. Moreover, Licence to Thrill argues that, for the foreseeable future, the James Bond films are likely to go on being what they have always been, a unique and very special kind of popular cinema.

Author Notes

James Chapman teaches at the Open University.

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. vi
General Editor's Introductionp. viii
Acknowledgementsp. x
Author's Notep. xiii
Introduction: Taking James Bond Seriouslyp. 1
1 Bond and Beyond: the James Bond Films and Genrep. 19
2 Snobbery with Violence: Dr No, From Russia With Love, Goldfingerp. 65
3 Bondmania: Thunderball, Casino Royale, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Servicep. 111
4 Bond in Transition: Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Man With the Golden Gunp. 149
5 Keeping the British End Up: The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonrakerp. 178
6 Cold Warrior Reborn: For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, Never Say Never Again, A View To A Killp. 200
7 Continuity and Change: The Living Daylights, Licence To Killp. 230
8 For England: GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Diesp. 248
Postscript: A Licence to Thrillp. 268
Notesp. 276
Filmographyp. 292
Bibliographyp. 308
Indexp. 316