The James Bond films are the longest running franchise in film history. The first ever Bond film, Dr. No was released in 1962 to mixed reviews, but despite its low budget of $1m it recouped a massive $56m at the box office, launched the 1960s spy thriller sub-genre and made lead star Sean Connery a household name. Since then there have been over 20 sequels which have dominated box offices while the lead role of James Bond himself has become one of the most coveted in film history.
When a British SIS intelligence agent is killed in Jamaica, the British Government send secret agent 007 AKA James Bond (Connery) over to investigate. Upon arrival inKingston, Bond begins to uncover a plot that links Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) to potential radio jamming to disrupt space shuttle launches atCape Canaveraland the targeting of British agents because of their co-operation with the CIA. Bond along with the help of a Jamaican native Honey Ryder (Ursulla Andress) must stop Dr. No before he can fulfil his plan.
Dr. No, now regarded as one of the classic stories introduced the world to the iconic super-spy. It introduces elements which would remain almost entirely throughout the series including the vodka martini, the Bond, James Bond line and in Ursula Andress the first in a long line of ˜Bond girls’ who would be seduced by the long line of actors who have played Bond.
Unlike later instalments Connery’s Bond in Dr. No is a flawed human being rather than an indestructible superman. Perhaps due to budgetary constraints he is forced to rely on his intelligence training rather than any number of gadgets from Q’s laboratory which would become a constant in later stories. This helps to add an element of realism that would disappear almost immediately in the sequels, only to return in Casino Royale over 40 years later.
Arguments will persist about who the best actor to play James Bond is, and Connery as the original and most prolific stands as equal to anyone who proceeded him and in Dr. No he has a legitimate claim to one of the strongest stories. Everything from the grotesque villain to the memorable Andress emerging from the sea, Dr. No is a small-scale Bond narrative full of intrigue, character depth and a very satisfying conclusion, which while never quite hitting the stride of a true classic like Goldfinger is still a blasting introduction to the World’s most famous spy.