Ever since two cowboys slugged it out on a moving train in 1903’s THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, movie audiences have loved a good punch-up. What better way to get your aggression out than by watching two other people beat the hell out of each other. During the cinema’s first 60 years, the fight scene was a staple in westerns, gangster flicks, film noir etc. But it wasn’t until producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman brought Ian Fleming’s James Bond series of books to the big screen that the fight scene developed into a work of art. Fast editing, jump cuts, amped up sound effects and brilliant staging lifted these fights to another level that made the punch-ups of the past pail in comparison. Modern day action films owe a lot to Mr. Bond and his team of filmmakers. DG has composed a list of 10 of the best fight scenes from the series to back up our claim. Enjoy!
10. YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967)
Bond vs. Osato Henchman
Bond slugs it out with a tank of a Japanese thug in an office setting. Statues, swords and furniture are utilized during the battle. Masterful editing and the kind of staging one expects from an early Bond fight make this punch-up extremely exciting and arguably the film’s best action scene. The henchman is played by Peter Fanene Maivia, grandfather to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Only Connery’s Bond could pull off using a couch as a weapon!
Necros vs. MI6 Agent
A wonderful set-to in a kitchen between an MI6 agent and Necro, a henchman of the Red Grant variety. Intense and brutal, the fight is often overlooked because of the fact that Mr. Bond is nowhere to be seen. I love the bit of business on the grill.
8. CASINO ROYALE (2006)
Bond vs. Obanno
A terrific off-balance battle between Bond and a machete wielding terrorist in a descending stairwell showcases the latest Bond’s grace and brutality. I think it’s safe to say that Daniel Craig can join Connery and Lazenby as one of the best brawlers in the series.
7. GOLDENEYE (1995)
Bond vs. 006
Bond and rogue agent Alec Trevelyan beat the living shit out of each other in the maintenance room of a giant satellite dish. Director Martin Campbell stated that he wanted to stage a brawl that brought back the brutal intensity of the early Bond fights, particularly the train battle in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. He came damn close.
6. THUNDERBALL (1965)
Bond vs. Largo and Disco Volante Crew
Poor rear projection and under cranked camera action aside, this frenetic battle on the bridge of a careening hydrofoil still packs a punch. Connery is amazingly cat like in this one, getting in a classic bitch slap to lead villain Largo. John Barry’s revved up version of his 007 theme adds to the excitement.
5. DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971)
Bond vs. Peter Franks
Close quarter fights have always been a staple in the Bond series and none were more cramped than this punch-up in an elevator between 007 and a diamond smuggler. The fact that the filmmakers could make such an unlikely battle work demonstrates how good they were at pulling these things off at this point in the series.
4. CASINO ROYALE (2006)
Bond vs. Kill Number One
Flashback of Bond’s first kill features one of the ugliest action scenes in the series. The realism and sheer desperation of the contestants puts this short yet explosive punch-up in a bathroom high on the list. Perfectly staged, you really believe this is Bond’s first kill as sloppy as the brawl gets.
3. ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE (1969)
Bond vs. Draco Thug
While he may not have had the acting chops of Connery, George Lazenby could match Sean in the action department fist for fist. This explosive fight in a hotel room proves my point. The punches sound like gunshots in this one. Fuck you Jason Bourne.
2. GOLDFINGER (1964)
Bond vs. Oddjob
A British secret agent battles a Korean hatchet man with a deadly bowler hat in the bowels of Fort Knox while an atomic bomb ticks away. On paper the scenario reads absurd, on film it plays out as one of the best staged fights in screen history.
1. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963)
Bond vs. Red Grant
What BULLITT did for modern day car pursuits this classic fight to the death in a cramped train compartment did for almost every filmed fistcuffs that followed. From Sean Connery and Robert Shaw doing most of their own stunts to Peter Hunt’s brilliant editing, this fight amounts to sheer perfection. Pure punch-up euphoria.
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