5 questions to ask about… James Bond

© Sony Pictures Releasing, 2015.

Some honesty, upfront: I am not much of a Bond fan. Both in the sense that I haven’t seen a lot of Bond, and in that I’m not hugely keen on what I have seen. Unlike many of my friends, I didn’t grow up watching old Bond films, so they don’t even have nostalgic appeal for me. But I recognise that for many people, they offer just the right kind of escapist entertainment.

The release of a new Bond film is a major cultural event, and it’s well worth pausing to ask why. Here are some questions to reflect on as Spectre, ostensibly Daniel Craig’s last outing as Bond, hits cinemas.

I think that a convincing case can now be made for James Bond having become a religion.- Author Simon Winder

  • In your view, what gives the James Bond franchise its enduring appeal? The first of Ian Fleming’s novels was published in 1953, and it’s been more than 50 years since Sean Connery first appeared onscreen as the iconic spy. Why have the films been so popular for so long? What are some of the highlights – and lowlights – of the series for you?
  • How has each version of Bond reflected the tastes and concerns of his era? Each new Bond is slightly different, and these differences reflect the changing times. What might Daniel Craig’s Bond tell us about the time we’re living through now?
© Sony Pictures Releasing, 2015.
  • How do you feel when you watch James Bond in action? What reassurances does the character offer, and what vicarious thrills does he allow an audience to experience? Is he a ‘likeable’ character, and does this matter?

Are we capable of living? Can we deal with what reality throws in our way? Can we overcome the obstacles that lie between us and the values we want to achieve?

In the character of James Bond, we experience the answer as “Damn right we can – and how!” – Journalist David Gulbraa

  • What could the popularity of Bond tell us about masculinity in our culture? In what ways could Bond be viewed as a ‘masculine ideal’, and what do you make of this ideal? How do you react to the treatment of women in Bond films?
  • What was your reaction to Spectre, and how does it fit into the Bond canon? How does the film draw on Bond’s cinematic legacy, and does it attempt anything new or original? What conclusions does it draw about the value of the human element in a world driven by information and technology?
© Sony Pictures Releasing, 2015.

Read More

Why James Bond is a Religion

Why do we love James Bond?

James Bond, spy fiction and the decline of Empire

Daniel Craig: A reluctant Bond who has made the role his own

Daniel Craig tells us what he really thinks of Bond

Ralph Fiennes: loosey-goosey? ‘I like that!’

Does liking James Bond make me a bad feminist?

Published by

Sophie Lister

Damaris resources bring films to new audiences, start conversations, and enrich lives. Find out more at www.damarismedia.com Here at the Damaris Film Blog, we publish regular discussion guides to help you make the most of the latest cinema releases.