Published on October 5th, 2021 | by Blake Morrow0
James Bond – Top 10 Campy Moments
To prepare for the last film in Daniel Craig’s James Bond reign, we look at the goofier moments in the history of the 007 franchise.
In preparation for the upcoming release (finally!) of Daniel Craig’s last Bond film No Time to Die, I partook in the James Bond marathon I had long been dreading. Not only did I know that some of these films have aged incredibly poorly, but that I would in fact hate most of it. Much to my surprise, I discovered that what I hate so much about the MCU are why I love old Bond movies: shameless fan service, recurring characters, and the humour. The cringey, groan-inducing head shakers. Below are my ten favourite campy moments that made me love the Bond franchise all over again.
#10: No Respect for the Dead
Dr. No has all of the ingredients that made James Bond the legend he is today, albeit in a primordial form. One of the longstanding traditions of the franchise, largely eschewed in the more serious Craig-era, is the post-kill one liner. This is the first of many Connery and the other Bonds have delivered over the past 50+ years and boy oh boy does it make you realize that Bond is a total asshole. Even the bystander knows that was a dick move. There are cringier, douchier, funnier one-liners but this makes the list for being the quip that started it all.
#9: The Roger Moore Hat Trick
Upon reading other takes on the franchise, I’ve come to realize that a lot of people hate the Roger Moore-era Bonds for the silliness he brought to the role. What I discovered about myself was that I can’t get enough of it. Roger Moore is the absolute king of camp. Regarded as a serious entry in the Moore-era (seriously), For Your Eyes Only features a random fight with three masked hockey players that is absolute perfection for this hockey-loving Canadian. Who’s working that goal horn? Skip to 7:10 for the goods.
#8: “I AM INVINCIBLE!”
Many henchmen have had great deaths but for my money Boris Grishenko’s demise in GoldenEye is the best of them all. Equipped with an annoying but somehow lovable quote, he seems to escape certain death at the end only to be stopped cold in his tracks. Arguably cinema’s coolest nerd.
#7: Mr. Big’s Big Problem
Following up the greatest henchman death is the greatest… okay, weirdest villain death. I hadn’t seen Live and Let Die in well over a decade but you can bet this iconic moment was engraved in my memory. Good thing this wasn’t the Timothy Dalton era or the gore would have had this rated-R.
#6: The Moon Buggy Escape
After George Lazenby’s brief cameo as 007, Sean Connery returned as a secret agent in what many consider a low point in the series. Yes, Diamonds are Forever is a bad movie. A really, really bad movie, but super campy too, which is good I guess? Yes, the henchmen are always terrible at their job, but Bond escaping in the moon buggy is just fantastic. Mad props to the astronauts staying in character in ‘low-gravity.’ Hopefully they got a raise and not fired for their commitment to the role.
#5: Q’s Time to Shine
Always one for gadgets, Desmond Llewelyn brought a great childlike charm to all of his appearances as MI6’s Quartermaster. What started in From Russia with Love as a seemingly throwaway expository role blossomed into a reluctant Bond-hating relationship. Always confined to London, Q began to take on more responsibility as the Moore-era pushed forward culminating in him helping to liberate the island of women in Octopussy via hot air balloon. Not only is it great to see a crotchety old man like Q save the day, it’s nice to think that someone was grateful for his efforts.
#4: Jaws Falls in Love
Moonraker is a definite frontrunner for being the silliest of the Bonds. A convoluted plot sends Roger Moore on a rocket into space complete with a lackluster laser battle that would rank near the bottom of most devoted Bond-head’s lists. Not me though, because this was a laugh riot from the very first moment. An unstoppable force of nature and steel dental work, Jaws goes from imposing villain in The Spy Who Loved Me to a turncloak, all inspired by a completely random moment of love at first sight. Jaws seems like a great guy, so Dolly really is a lucky girl.
#3: The Gondola Chase
Moonraker strikes again. While this is for the most part a solid chase scene, it turns into something completely parodic when Bond gets to land. In the previous entry his car turned into a submarine and it was actually pretty sweet. Turns out reversing the effect is nowhere near as cool. It’s all worth it to see the pigeon’s double take though. Bond at his finest.
#2: Roger Moore is a Total Clown
Tasked in Octopussy with defusing a bomb at the circus with less than five minutes on the timer, Roger Moore gets the brilliant idea to pop into a trailer and get into full clown costume in a matter of seconds. Makeup application must be a necessary skill for MI6 recruits. The impromptu disguise is the moment in question but watching Bond defuse a bomb in costume is too ridiculous to ignore.
#1: Never Say Horse Jump Again
The crème de la crème. Sean Connery returned to his iconic role not once but twice, this time over a decade later with the unofficial Never Say Never Again. Overall this really isn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. In many ways it might even be an improvement over the original Thunderball. It has a surprisingly great villain, much better underwater action scenes, and a slightly more game Sean Connery. That being said, Bond doesn’t feel like Bond without the iconic theme or the gun barrel opening. And as much as I hated Thunderball it definitely didn’t stoop to the lows of the stunning horse jump. After saving Kim Basinger from being sold into some sex slavery thing (yikes), the two are pushed to the edge trying to escape on horseback. What you get is the crowning achievement of James Bond camp which undoubtedly made this movie ten times better. That musical score though.
Daniel Craig’s Bond films have been disappointingly light on humour to this point. My gut says that No Time to Die will continue the mature trend of an anguished Bond struggling with the emotional toll of being a secret agent. My heart is hoping to see Craig in full clown get-up defusing a weapon of mass destruction in zero-gravity. Or a horse jump with Ana de Armas, I’m not too picky.