Author: Martin Loughlin
A simple enough introduction, but it has become one of the most recognizable lines in cinema history. Since Ian Fleming's master spy was introduced to cinema audiences in 1962, there have been 20 Bond movies spanning almost 40 years and accurately reflecting the changing times during which they are set. But for many of us, Bond belongs firmly to the 1960s, the decade when the suave secret agent was as popular around the world as the Beatles and Barbie dolls.
The Bond films had it all and captured the spirit of the decade like no other films - exotic locations, glamorous girls in mini skirts or other trendy outfits, exciting car chases, larger than life villains and clever gadgets. And of course, in the middle of all of this, James Bond himself, drinking a dry martini and usually immaculately dressed in a tuxedo, with a beautiful woman on his arm. And Bond was the ultimate womanizing bachelor, as befitting the culture of "free love" and the often relaxed morals of the time.
Even the music to the films was different, a mixture of smooth strings, jazzy riffs and jangly guitars that might be described as "spy music".
The third Bond movie "Goldfinger" is generally considered to be the best of the films, made in 1964 at the height of the Bond craze and the height of the so-called swinging sixties. The plot concerns an outrageous plan to rob Fort Knox of all its gold, which of course is foiled easily by Bond, who has time to romance several women along the way. And there is even a reference to the Beatles in the movie, who at the time were also at the height of their popularity.
The success of Goldfinger spawned many imitators at the time, both on TV and in the cinema. Many of us of a certain age fondly remember "The Man from UNCLE", "The Avengers" and "Get Smart" amongst many others. No other spy or secret agent though could touch Bond for popularity, and before the 1960s came to an end there would be 3 more Bond movies, before the series started to run out of steam.
Apart from the wave of spy movies and TV shows, the success of Goldfinger meant a merchandising craze of Bond toys, games, books and everything else. I can still remember being the proud owner of an Aston Martin toy car based on the famous car that was featured in the film, and spending many happy hours playing with the ejector seat.
Needless to say, some of these items are now highly collectible, not to mention highly valuable. Drag down your old box of toys from the attic!
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