James Bond opening sequences

Anyone who has seen a James Bond film will likely remember the iconic opening sequence in which Bond, viewed through a gun barrel, strides from right to left of the screen and halfway through whips out his gun and shoots in the direction of the viewer, accompanied all the while by the familiar theme music with its memorable guitar riff.

A fan has now compiled all these opening bits, from Dr. No in 1962 to Skyfall in 2012.

You can see that Bond stopped wearing a hat beginning with Roger Moore when he took over the role in 1973 in Live and Let Die. When Daniel Craig started in Casino Royale in 2006, the filmmakers tried something different for the opening but then returned to the old formula in subsequent films. Also, in Quantum of Solace the gun barrel sequence appeared at the end of the film, which seems completely wrong. Is nothing sacred?

In writing this post, I learned some new things from this history of the opening sequence. One was that it was not Sean Connery who appeared in that opening sequence for the first three Bond films. It was in fact a stuntman named Bob Simmons. But after that, the actor playing Bond did the sequences.

The sequence was also actually shot through a gun barrel using a pinhole lens. I used to think that it was a mock up of the spiral aperture of a camera lens.


  1. dean says

    Lots of interesting trivia around movies. I too always thought the intro was intended to be a camera’s aperture.

    There is one other interesting thing about the Goldfinger theme: a very young Jimmy Page was a session guitarist for it.

  2. says

    I only really liked the Casino Royale version. It’s the only one where the actions and poses by Bond makes sense.

    I get what they were trying to do from the beginning (at least, I think I do). Bond strolls along as if he has no idea he’s in danger, then, SNAP, would-be assassin is dead. But while the early bonds got the stroll right, the draw was just too overdone. Then as time went on, Bond begins more and more to step more deliberately. The assassin is an idiot if they think they haven’t been spotted with the way Bond is charging into view.

  3. Trickster Goddess says

    One thing I can never understand is why is there blood flowing inside the gun barrel?

  4. says

    don’t you know that speech from Shakespeare’s The Assassin of Venice? When the hero, AK47, declaims:
    ” …I am a Gun. Hath
    not a Gun eyes? hath not a Gun hands, organs,
    dimensions, senses, affections, passions?
    hurt with the same weapons, subject
    to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
    warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
    a Person is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?” etc. etc.

  5. busterggi says

    Forty-two years and not once has the gun holder ever thought to shoot Bond who he has cold.

    Serious, Bond just keeps gunning down mentally challenged incompetents.

  6. Enkidum says

    Casino/Quantum are essentially an origin story for Bond, so the sequence showing up at the end of Quantum makes sense -- now we’ve seen him become the Bond we all know, that sequence cements it.

  7. moarscienceplz says

    I used to think that it was a mock up of the spiral aperture of a camera lens.

    Me too! I am also surprised to hear it was an actual barrel. Once I realized it was supposed to be a gun barrel, I always assumed it was just a drawing or painting, like the glass paintings that are used to create large backdrops such as the Ewok tree village in Return of the Jedi.

  8. moarscienceplz says

    It’s the only one where the actions and poses by Bond makes sense.

    It’s never a good idea to think too hard about a Bond movie. For example, in Dr. No, the villain is using a radio transmitter to override NASA’s commands to its rockets. OK, fine, but why does he need a freakin’ atomic reactor to power a radio transmitter? A good sized diesel generator could have easily done the trick. Or in You Only Live Twice, the Chinese are trying to start a war between the U.S. and the USSR by capturing space capsules intact and bringing the astronauts back to Earth. Why not just blow up the capsules?

  9. says

    In You Only Live Twice SPECTRE is doing the dirty work for the Chinese. And SPECTRE’s schemes are all rather ridiculous when you think about it. The hundreds of millions of dollars they put into secret bases, laser satellites etc. etc. would be far more effective used to control the drug business. Even starting a USSR/US WW3, which surely isn’t going to be good for SPECTRE’s projects in the US and Europe, could be done cheaply with a couple of A bombs smuggled into Moscow and Washington. At least in The Spy Who Loved Me(which is basically the same plot as You Only Live Twice) the plot to start WW3 is the scheme of a lunatic, Karl Stromberg, who wants to live at the bottom of the sea.

    SPECTRE disappeared from the Eon Bond films made after Diamonds Are Forever due to a dispute with writer Kevin McClory, who helped create the organisation for an unfilmed screenplay Ian Fleming used as the base for the novel Thunderball.

  10. Doug Little says

    Forty-two years and not once has the gun holder ever thought to shoot Bond who he has cold.

    Not to mention that each villain has captured him now and then and instead of an intricate killing machine that can be escaped a simple bullet to the head from a handgun would get the job done.

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