“No Time to Die” is the 25th official Bond film, and the franchise retains its status as one of the most popular in the world.
Here are five things to know about the man with a licence to kill.
Born on paper
James Bond started life on the page, his name taken from the cover of a Jamaican bird-watching book because author Ian Fleming wanted something as mundane as possible.
Fleming was able to draw from some rich real-life experiences, having served in naval intelligence during World War II.
One of Commander Fleming’s key missions was Operation Goldeneye, aimed at sabotaging ties between Spain and Germany — which later gave him the name for his Jamaican home, and inspired the 1995 movie.
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His first novel, “Casino Royale”, was released in 1953 and was a huge escapist hit at a time of postwar rations and hardship in Britain.
He went on to write 13 more Bond novels and also penned the hit children’s musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” for his son.
He died in 1964 at the age of 56, just two years after the first film appeared.
The figures vary, but Bond is clearly one of the most successful film franchises of all time, having spawned 25 official films and enough product placements to make a glossy magazine editor blush.
Industry data site The Numbers places Bond in third place for worldwide box office takings, behind only the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars.
Although it has been running for fewer years than other franchises such as King Kong and Godzilla, it is perhaps the most consistent — rarely going more than two or three years between instalments.
The longest gap was between Timothy Dalton’s last outing “Licence to Kill” in 1989 and the renaissance with Pierce Brosnan’s “Goldeneye” in 1995.
Underlining the immense value of the franchise, Amazon this year bought the Bond rights from MGM for a cool $8.45 billion.
The various Bonds of the past 60 years have included Englishmen Daniel Craig and Roger Moore, Scotsman Sean Connery, George Lazenby from Australia, Timothy Dalton from Wales and Irishman Pierce Brosnan.
In the novels, Bond is actually the son of a Scottish father and Swiss mother — both of whom die in a climbing accident when Bond is a boy.
The codename “007” has a specific meaning.
The “00” designation signifies the agent’s licence to kill, while the “7” is his identification within the elite unit of MI6, Britain’s external intelligence service.
The M designating Bond’s boss comes from the “Missions Department”.
Q, who furnishes Bond with all his nifty gadgets, gets his moniker from “quartermaster” — a military term referring to the person in charge of supplies.
The bad guys also have some nicknames.
“SPECTRE”, the organisation that causes Bond so much trouble, is short for “Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion”.
A famous fan
One big name who gave Bond an early boost was President John F Kennedy, who cited “From Russia With Love” in his top 10 books.
Reportedly, it was also the last film he ever watched before leaving for Dallas in November 1963.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk