The latest Bond film, No Time to Die will soon be hitting the cinemas. It will represent the end of an era, being the swan song for Daniel Craig, and will inevitably have people drawing comparisons between Craig’s tenure as 007 and those who have gone before him.
Every actor has revealed a different side to Bond. Even George Lazenby, in his single appearance, gave us a glimpse of the man behind the 00 prefix, in a closing sequence that still reverberates to this day. And it is this continuity that is part of the magic of Bond.
It’s well and good to dissect each actor’s portrayal of Bond, but far more interesting to look at the common threads that have remained in place since Dr No. The cars? Bond’s DB5 has gone from hypercar of its era to revered classic and looks a little incongruous in active duty today. The girls? Changing attitudes and, in particular, the MeToo era mean Bond has had to move with the times. The casinos? Ah, now we are talking. Step into the Casino de Monte Carlo today and you could as easily be in 1962. Let’s take a look at some of Bond’s great casino moments.
This was where it all began. In fact, the very first line of the very first scene is uttered in the Casino de Monte Carlo, where Bond sits holding court at the baccarat table. Sylvia Tench coolly remarks “I admire your luck, Mr…?” Sean Connery lights his cigarette and replies “Bond, James Bond.” Moments don’t get more iconic.
Diamonds are Forever
Nine years later, Connery was still the James Bond, and Diamonds are Forever is considered by many to be the last movie of the classic era. Bond girl Plenty O’Toole’s bizarre name signalled the Moore shenanigans to come, and together they headed for the Las Vegas strip and the craps table at Circus Circus casino. He gets the girl, but also the dough, raking in a cool $60,000.
Licence to Kill
Timothy Dalton’s two outings as Bond are criminally underrated, especially the dark and gritty License to Kill. Here, the game of choice is blackjack, so the viewer has the advantage of knowing exactly what is happening. After all, it’s a game we all understand and one that’s immensely popular in this age of smartphone gambling apps. This time, Bond takes down both the house and the lead villain when he wins a quarter of a million in the casino owned by drugs baron Franz Sanchez.
The most famous scene of all though? It has to be that killer hand in Casino Royale. Bond’s deadly game has even more resting on it than the $150 million pot, and the palpable sense of tension is a testament to the actors and the directorial staff. It brings Bond’s gambling escapades right up to date, but we can be certain there will be plenty more to come with the next actor to take up the tuxedo and the dry martini.