It’s the 50th anniversary of the James Bond films next month and one of the most recognised icons of the series is the Bond Girl. As with Doctor Who assistants and John Steed’s companions, some are better than others and the choice of favourite is very personal. Do I just go for looks, or looks and character? Or looks, character and acting ability? Or whether or not they were dubbed? It’s fair to say that this has taken some time to decide and so - excluding villains, M and Moneypenny, I’ll begin with
Starting with the most recent and, for me, one of the most interesting Bond girls. Gorgeous to look at, a good actress, isn’t a superfluous love interest and has some great character background and motivation. Ticks a lot of boxes for me! I love the revenge factor that drives Camille and that, after everything she goes through, the flames in the hotel suite literally drag her back to her horrific childhood and paralyse her completely. Tough and resourceful, she is one of only a handful I’d love to make a return to the series. Barbara Broccoli has already stated that she would like Kurylenko to return as Camille in a future film – and ifthat happens then I’m all for it as long as she isn’t watered down and becomes Bond’s lover. I liked the way she and Bond connected and could see them working very well together again.
Come on, how can anyone not love Wai-Lin? Possibly the only Bond girl who is as good as he is at the job they do – and he knows it. Another great relationship that, thankfully, only becomes a snog-fest in the last few seconds of the film. Up until that point, they are a tremendously effective team. Initially scoring points off each (I love the moment where they’re both escaping from Carver’s printing press and she cheekily waves at him while she uses a handy gadget to escape – and the “just you wait” look he gives in return) they end up joining forces and I remember thinking quite clearly that I’d love to see more of this pairing. I also love how she is capable of looking after herself. The scene where she is attacked by Colonel Chang’s men is superbly choreographed and is one of the best fight scenesin any Bond movie.
I’ve always had a soft spot for this character. She was an attempt to give a Bond girl more character, strength and skill, rather than just be someone pretty to look at. A former army pilot and CIA informer working for Felix, posing as a courier for drug lord Franz Sanchez. Lowell gives Pam a tough exterior but she is vulnerable too. She’s a very human figure, having the skills gained in the army and from working with the CIA but not to the same level as Bond, so she is capable but not superhuman. Nicely cast opposite Dalton’s Bond she also seems to get on famously with Q and comes across as a more approachable Bond girl – not the fantasy figures of the past but still beautiful, not the tough agents of the more recent films but not a pushover either. A difficult balancing act that I think works well here.
After the turmoil of the six year gap between Licence to Kill and Goldeneye, women in cinema had changed and so had the production team of James Bond. Cubby Broccoli’s daughter Barbara joined up with step-brother Michael Wilson and they led the charge for Bond’s comeback. Natalya Simonava was the first Bond girl of the Nineties and carried with her a great deal of expectation. Fortunately model-turned-actress Scorupco was more than up to the task, making Natalya one of us, thrown into a completely alien world. A resourceful and brave woman prepared to do what she could despite being faced with highly trained and merciless opposition, she didn’t suddenly turn into a marine or faint at the first sign of trouble – she just did the best she could. She has a good relationship with Bond and, as part of Goldeneye‘s mission to bring Bond down a peg or two with the ladies, she has some nice opportunities to turn the tables on him, even if they are a bit heavy-handed at times. An excellent start to the New Beginning.
“That’s a nice little nothing you’re almost wearing.”
In the last 50 years there have been many, many Bond Girls and in some way, shape or form I love them all – however narrowing it down has highlighted one significant point: all these women are from the last 22 years, from just around the time it was realised that the Bond Girls needed to be more than just window dressing. More than just another conquest or victim. They needed to be real people – at least, as real as the world of James Bond could possibly make them – and these four ably represent that and are my absolute favourites. So far…