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Hail Ants 11-24-2002 08:17 PM

Bond films - until recently, all based on Fleming novels?
I'm not much of a Bond fan but I read that up until License To Kill all the films were also Ian Fleming novels. At least the titles were anyway.

What I'm wondering is how many of the films actual follow the plot of the novels of the same title. Any of them?

WSLer 11-24-2002 08:19 PM

Some of the films follow the plots of the novels VERY, VERY, VERY loosely.

VERY loosely.

5 time champ 11-24-2002 08:28 PM

The early movies From Russia, with Love, Dr No, Goldfinger and Thunderball were fairly faithful to the novel. Actually From Russia, with Love followed the novel very closely.

You Only Live Twice began the short descent into which the plot in James Bond films were nothing like the plot in the novels. Even characters named were changed. Not that the novel plots were all that deep, or original.

Muad'Dib 11-24-2002 09:39 PM

Diamonds are Forever was also a novel.

CalMeacham 11-24-2002 10:00 PM

As noted, the early Bond films followed the lots. [BDoctor No[/B], in the main, did. From Russia wth Love was pretty close, too, but SPECTRE asn't in t -- it was just Russia vs. the West (and the LEKTOR code machine was called SPECTOR n the novel).

Goldfinger was pretty close, but the movie actually improved on the book, both in making the criminals less of comic-book villains, and in making the resolution of the plot more believable (I won't spoil this -- read the book and compare to the film).

Thunderball was pretty close to the book, too, although there was no pilo switch in the book -- the movie added an extra complication there. In the book Col. Petacchi was simply bribed.

You Only Live Twice was the first movie to depart noticeably from the book -- and t did so almost completely. This my have something to do with the fact that Fleming had died by this time.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service, on the other hand, was a eturn to the Fleming novel, right down to the tragic ending. Despite what some say, I think this s one of the best Bond flicks.

After this point, however, the books depart considerably from the films. The two have ittle in common, aside from one or two points. The book Diamonds are Forever, for instance, features a mud bath and action in Vegas and diamond smuggling, but that's reall bout it for similarity. Live and Let Die has even less in common with its souce. The backstory of Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun is on the mark, but everything else in the film is fantasy.

I'v heard that Fleming forbade them from filming the novl o The Spy who Loved Me, only letting the title b used. There's no similarity at all. I suspect they would'v made t completely different in any case.Moonraker doesn't resemble the book at all.

So it was a pleasant surprise when For Your Eyes Only came out and was incredibl faithful to the book.Well, to two f the stories in hat is really a anthology of four -- the titular "For Your Eyes Only" and "Risico". And I think it's telling that this was the best Bond film in years. They tried the same thing with Octopussy, but chickened out after the first half or so. The backstory about "Octopussy's" father was in the book, as was the auction of the Faberge egg (from the short story "Property of a Lady"), but the rest was just silly.

After that, it got silly agan, with [BA View to a Kill[/B] being "Siliconfinger" instead of anything from a book. Timothy Dalton' first outing, The Living Daylights, borrowed elements from short story of that name, but changing it ll completely. After that, the only Bond film o use any elements from a book was License to Kill, which had Felix Leiter attacked by a roc (an incident whih happened in the book "Live and Let Die").
From time to time they talk about adapting someone else's Bond books -- Kingsley Amis' "Colonel sun", or the novels by John Gardner (I as hoped and suggested that his first Bond novel, "License Renewed", would be the bass of "License to Kill", but it didn't happen.)

Monstre 11-24-2002 11:02 PM

And Never Say Never Again was essentially a re-telling of Thunderball, if I remember correctly.


Moonraker doesn't resemble the book at all.
Well, I think that they DID use some of the same character names, like the name of the villain. But that was it. And I mean it. This was about the wildest departure from the book version that I've seen.

If I recall, the book focused on the bad guy acquiring one -- I repeat -- one nuclear missile, the Moonraker rocket, and there was the threat that he would detonate it -- blow up part of England or something, I think.

In the movie, we have space station, complete with space shuttle fleet, and laser battles in the station (and in space, outside the station). Yoikes!

Dr. Rieux 11-24-2002 11:18 PM


License to Kill, which had Felix Leiter attacked by a roc.
Was this the one where Bond met Sinbad?:D

Tim R. Mortiss 11-25-2002 12:25 AM

CalMeacham - that was a very excellent run-down! But please, get yourself a new keyboard.....Timmy

av8rmike 11-25-2002 01:51 PM

I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that the books are not in the same order as the movies. I got the whole set from my dad and read them in what I could approximate as writing order. IIRC, Casino Royale is first, followed by Live and Let Die, then Moonraker. This fact is also borne out by specific references made to events in the first few books.

If anyone is interested, I can post the whole order when I get home.

airdisc 11-25-2002 02:04 PM

Here's all the books, plus short stories:

Casino Royale - Ian Fleming - 1953
Live And Let Die - Ian Fleming - 1954
Moonraker - Ian Fleming - 1955
Diamonds Are For Ever - Ian Fleming - 1956
From Russia With Love - Ian Fleming - 1957
Doctor No - Ian Fleming - 1958
Goldfinger - Ian Fleming - 1959
For Your Eyes Only (collection of short stories) - Ian Fleming - 1960
Thunderball - Ian Fleming/McClory/Whittingham - 1961
The Spy Who Loved Me - Ian Fleming - 1962
On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Ian Fleming - 1963
You Only Live Twice - Ian Fleming 1964
OO7 In New York (short story in Playboy) - Ian Fleming - 1964
The Man With The Golden Gun - Ian Fleming - 1965
Octopussy And The Living Daylights (collection of short stories) - Ian Fleming - 1966
Colonel Sun - Kingsley Amis - 1968
The Spy Who Loved Me (movie novel) - Christopher Wood - 1977
Moonraker (movie novel) - Christopher Wood - 1979
Licence Renewed - John Gardner - 1981
For Special Services - John Gardner - 1982
Icebreaker - John Gardner - 1983
Role Of Honour - John Gardner - 1984
Nobody Lives Forever - John Gardner - 1986
No Deals, Mr. Bond - John Gardner - 1987
Scorpius - John Gardner - 1988
Win, Lose Or Die - John Gardner - 1989
Brokenclaw - John Gardner - 1990
Licence To Kill (movie novel) - John Gardner - 1990
The Man From Barbarossa - John Gardner - 1991
Death Is Forever - John Gardner - 1992
Never Send Flowers - John Gardner - 1993
Seafire - John Gardner - 1994
GoldenEye (movie novel) - John Gardner - 1995
Cold (called Cold Fall in the U.S.) - John Gardner - 1996
Blast From The Past (short story in playboy) - Raymond Benson - 1997
Zero Minus Ten - Raymond Benson - 1997
Tomorrow Never Dies (movie novel) - Raymond Benson - 1997
The Facts Of Death - Raymond Benson - 1998
Midsummer Night's Doom (short story) - Raymond Benson - 1999
High Time To Kill - Raymond Benson - 1999
The World Is Not Enough (movie novel) -Raymond Benson - 1999
Live At Five (short story) - Raymond Benson - 1999
Doubleshot - Raymond Benson - 2000
Never Dream of Dying - Raymond Benson - 2001

TheeGrumpy 11-25-2002 04:50 PM

The title of Goldeneye has a Fleming link, at least, being the name of his estate in Bermuda.

5 time champ 11-25-2002 05:14 PM

and The World is Not Enough is the Bond Family motto.

mobo85 11-25-2002 05:18 PM

The films' credits actually differentiate between which films are based somewhat on novels and which aren't.

The ones that are feature in the credits "James Bond 007 in Ian Fleming's (title)."

The ones that aren't read "Ian Fleming's James Bond 007 in (title)."

Kaitlyn 11-25-2002 05:51 PM


Originally posted by Monstre
And Never Say Never Again was essentially a re-telling of Thunderball, if I remember correctly.

Well, I think that they DID use some of the same character names, like the name of the villain. But that was it. And I mean it. This was about the wildest departure from the book version that I've seen.

If I recall, the book focused on the bad guy acquiring one -- I repeat -- one nuclear missile, the Moonraker rocket, and there was the threat that he would detonate it -- blow up part of England or something, I think.

In the movie, we have space station, complete with space shuttle fleet, and laser battles in the station (and in space, outside the station). Yoikes!

Yep, the only thing the same was the name of the main character, Hugo Drax. The character himself was changed completely--Drax in the book was an obnoxious, boorish slob, not the elegant gentleman of the book. The first third of the book dealt with M having Bond try to catch Drax hustling high stakes bridge at an exclusive gentleman's club for high ranking government officials and powerful businessmen. The climax of this part occurs when Bond figures out the hustle and he and M con Drax. It's actually quite clever in the book, but it's unlikely to have worked on screen for more than a few minutes. Fleming likes to really draw out his gambling scenes, which works well in print, but not so much on screen.

The rest of the book, however, would have worked well. Drax is an industrialist who has managed to build the world's first ICBM (though it isn't called that), and has done it for England (remember this was in the 50's). Drax is actually a mole who intends to target the test firing on London. It's part con game, part murder mystery, part industrial sabotage. It would have made a much better movie than the one they made. The interesting thing is, it still would make a good Bond movie--change the name of the title character and the rocket, and the story is new.

Casino Royale also would make a good movie--none of the book made it into the movie, and it has an ending that makes OHMSS look upbeat.

Sigh. Though I like the flashy action sequences and nifty toys, I want a Bond movie like Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and On Her Majesties Secret Service. Dump the gadgets and show Bond surviving and succeeding or failing using his wits, guts, and tenacity. And while I'm wishing, I'd like a pony.

Bryan Ekers 11-25-2002 05:57 PM

As has been pointed out, the early movies were quite close to the novels, though they started to get pretty far afield with You Only Live Twice. The early movies kept playing up the SPECTRE organization, though it only appears in a few of the later Fleming novels.

Spoilers galore follow, so consider yourself warned. Film titles are in italics, novel titles are in quotes:

Dr. No: Very close to novel, though the villian's operation was somewhat altered. No mention of SPECTRE in novel, but it was in the movie.

From Russia With Love: Very close, though the operation in the novel was organized by the Soviet SMERSH, not SPECTRE as in the movie.

Goldfinger: Very close to novel, though the movie improved on the novel by realizing it was easier to nuke America's gold than steal it. The Pussy Galore character in the novel is a definite lesbian, though this element was eliminated in the movie.

Thunderball: Very close to novel, which is appropriate since the novel's premise was originally conceived as a sceen treatment (do an internet search for Kevin McClory for the whole ugly story).

You Only Live Twice: Movie had rockets launched from Japan, trying to trigger WW3. Book had Bond seeking revenge on Blofeld (in Japan) for killing Tracy in the previous book, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". Aside from the Japanese setting and a few characters in common, the film is a major departure.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Very close. The character of Tracy Draco is very close, though she plays a more active role in the movie (understandable, since she was played by Diana Rigg). The young women hypnotized into going out and spreading bioweapons were all from the U.K. in the book, while they were international in the movie.

Diamonds are Forever: The diamond smuggling is vaguely portrayed, and the character names of Peter Franks, Tiffany Case, Shady Tree, and Wint and Kidd are kept. Everything in the movie dealing with Blofeld and lasers is pure Hollywood hogwash. The novel is significantly better than the movie.

Live and Let Die: Tenuous connection. The character of Solitaire is in both, but the similarity is vague. There are some elements in the novel that were used in later movies, including the mangling of Felix Leiter (seen in the movie License to Kill) and dragging Bond and a woman across a coral reef so they'd be eaten by sharks (see in the movie For Your Eyes Only).

The Man With the Golden Gun: Aside from the names Scaramanga (and some details of his life story) and Mary Goodnight, no similarity to novel.

The Spy Who Loved Me: the novel by this name is unique among the Fleming books. It's the only one written in the first person, through the eyes of a French-Canadian woman who only meets Bond in the later chapters. Similarity to the movie is nil.

Moonraker: The villian's name in each is Drax. Beyond that, zip.

For Your Eyes Only: Fleming's book by this title was actually a collection of short stories, named "From a View to a Kill" (see movie entry below), "For Your Eyes Only", "Quantum of Solace", "Risico" and "The Hildebrand Rarity". This movie was mostly a combination of elements from "For Your Eyes Only" (young bow-and-arrow-wielding woman seeks revenge on man who killed her parents) and "Risico" (two Greek smugglers involve Bond in their violent rivalry). The movie also got the coral-dragging idea from "Live and Let Die" (see above).

Octopussy: Fleming's "novel" was another collection of short stories titled "Octopussy and the Living Daylights," consisting of those two stories, with a third, "The Property of a Lady", added for the paperback edition. The movie combined elements from "Octopussy" and "The Property of a Lady." In "Octopussy", the title refers to the nickname given to an actual octopus that lives in the coral near the beach home of retired secret service agent Dexter Smythe. Bond goes to Smythe's house to reveal his knowledge of Smythe's criminal actions during WW2, with the idea of letting Smythe kill himself honorably rather than submit to a court-martial. In the movie, "Octopussy" is the nickname of the Maud Adams character, who says she is Smythe's daughter (in the short story, Smythe had no children) and she appreciates that Bond gave him a chance to avoid dishonour. The "Property of a Lady" is the lot name of a Fabergé egg put up for auction. In the short story, the egg is being used as a payoff for a double-agent, while the movie uses it as a payoff to the bad guy.

A View to a Kill: Although the title was from a Fleming short story, the similarity between this lousy movie and that story is nil.

The Living Daylights: The short story by this name featured Bond going head-to-head with a blonde sniper. The rest of the movie, involving Afghanistan and whatnot, is pure Hollywood.

License to Kill: The first movie title not taken from a Fleming work. One element, a rather messily-murdered oceanographer named Milton Krest, is taken from the short story "The Hildebrand Rarity" (see above). Felix Leiter gets mauled in this movie, in a manner taken from the novel "Live and Let Die".

Goldeneye: A Hollywood original, though the film was named after Ian Fleming's house in Jamaica.

As mentioned, The World is Not enough is a Bond family motto, though the connection to James Bond is doubtful. In the novel "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", Bond meets with some heraldry experts with the idea of learning enough to pass as one under the cover name "Hillary Bray". The first expert insists on regaling Bond with the history of a famous English family by that name (with "The World is Not Enough" as a motto and for whom "Bond street" in London is named) but Bond shows scant interest and denies any connection, since his father is Scottish.


[Heraldry Expert Griffon Or] reached for another volume that lay open on his desk and that he had obviously prepared for Bond's delectation. "The coat of arms, for instance. Surely that must concern you, be at least of profound interest to your family, to your own children? Yes, here we are. 'Argent on a chevron sable three bezants'." He held up the book so Bond could see. "A bezant is a golden ball, as I am sure you know, Three balls."

Bond commented drily, "That is certainly a valuable bonus" - the irony was lost on Griffon Or - "but I'm afraid I am still not interested. And I have no relatives and no children. Now about this man..."

Griffin Or broke in excitedly, "And this charming motto of the line, "The World is not Enough". You do not wish to have the right to it?"

'It is an excellent motto which I will certainly adopt," said Bond curtly. He looked pointedly at his watch. "Now, I'm afraid we really must get down to business."
The later movies may have a few random Fleming elements here and there, but you'd need a freeze-frame to find some of them.

Kaitlyn 11-25-2002 06:01 PM

Never Say Never Again was a remake of Thunderball, which wasn't exactly an adaptation of the novel. Ian Fleming made a deal with Kevin McClory to write an original Bond movie script before Saltzman/Broccoli eventually bought the rights. The collaborated and came up with Thunderbll, which introduced SPECTRE and Blofeld. When they couldn't sell the script, it was shelved, the rights to the Bond books were sold to Saltzman/Broccoli, and Fleming adapted the script into a book. When the book Thunderall was later made into the movie, McClory threw a fit, claiming he owned the rights to Thuderball, Bond, SPECTRE, and Blofeld. He sued for years, until a court ruled that he owned Thunderball, SPECTRE, Blofeld, and all other original characters from that book. This is why SPECTRE and Blofeld disappear from the series after Diamonds Are Forever. McClory remade Thunderball as Never Say Never Again, and continued to sue for the rights to make his own series of original Bond movies. This led to EON shutting down production on Bond films for some 4-5 years, resulting in what would have been two more Timothy Dalton pictures being canelled while the lawyers argued in court.

In the end McClory retained the rights only to Thunderball and those elements that were introduced in that script/book, and fans of Bond and Dalton got two, possibly three fewer Dalton Bond films as a result. Though I like his version of Thunderball better than the original, I'm not a fan of Mr. McClory.

Bryan Ekers 11-25-2002 07:01 PM


Originally posted by Number Six
This is why SPECTRE and Blofeld disappear from the series after Diamonds Are Forever.
A wheelchair-bound Blofeld-ish character (never named or seen from the front, but carrying a white cat) almost kills Bond with a remote-control helicopter shortly after Bond visits Tracy Draco's grave in the For Your Eyes Only teaser. Bond manages to get control of the chopper and drops the pseudo-Blofeld down an industrial chimney.

The whole sequence is a blatant "screw you" to McClory, who was at the time preparing to use Blofeld in Never Say Never Again.

5 time champ 11-25-2002 07:05 PM

Hey [b]Number Six[/b]
Nice recap of Moonraker.

Here is a question for you [and everyone else]. The heroine of the novel is named Gala Brand. Can you tell me what is "unique" about her?

Bryan Ekers 11-25-2002 07:18 PM

Unique? Well, she's a policewoman, Bond reflects that she could break his arm more easily than he could break hers, she's engaged to another man, and Bond never actually gets to have sex with her. This last part make her unusual for a major female character in a Bond novel (not counting Moneypenny), but not really unique, since Bond doesn't get to nail Mary Goodnight in "The Man with the Golden Gun", either, though she isn't arguably a major character since she only appears in a few chapters.

5 time champ 11-25-2002 07:37 PM

Well ol' dopey me. :smack: OK, unusual.

I guess you are right, at the end of The Man with the Golden Gun Bond is certainly in no shape for sex. But given a month of bed rest. . .

Actually, I was thinking he and Mary Goodnight had a quickie or something earlier at the hotel.

Dread Pirate Jimbo 11-25-2002 08:10 PM

Although I haven't seen the new movie, the premise I've heard has Bond captured and brain-washed by the bad guys. This echoes the opening to the novel "The Man With The Golden Gun" where the Russians have gotten ahold of 007 and programmed him to assassinate M. When the plot fails and he is deprogrammed, he is then sent off on what is essentially a suicide mission to kill Scaramanga--either he succeeds and proves himself worthy to return to duty or dies and MI6 no longer has to worry about Bond's psyche.

CalMeacham 11-25-2002 10:00 PM

Interesting thing about Moonraker -- in the bok the villain, Hugo Drax, is decribed as "a Lonsdale character". In the movie Drax as played by ---- Michael Lonsdale!

I always felt sure that Lonsdale got the part because of that brief throwaway description by Flemin . Which I never understood, by the way.

Kaitlyn 11-26-2002 05:52 PM

There is one part of the novel Moonraker that was used for the movie Die Another Day. The main villian is a young, popular, hugely successful British industrialist, an orphan who appeared seemingly out of nowhere and built a huge fortune is a short time, using this fortune and the support of the English people to build a weapon to be used against them. In both cases, he's a spy planted by the enemy to infiltrate and destroy the British. It seems more than a coincidence to me.

Kaitlyn 11-26-2002 05:57 PM

Bryan: Yep, I knew that. Look at the credits, and you'll notice the character is listed as "Man in Wheelchair" or something similar. They used the character without using his name, technically staying within the court's rulings.

This had to be a deliberate shot at McClory owning Blofeld--not just a way to tie up the loose end, because in Blofeld's last appearance, in Diamonds are Forever, Bond kills him.

Now, had EON retained the rights to Blofeld, they no doubt would have had Blofeld either survive the exploding oil platform, escape, or reveal that it was another double that was killed (which would have made three that movie, I think).

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