Bond Week: A Look Back at Bond Posters of the Past
by Alex Billington
November 10, 2008
Ah yes, the movie poster - where would James Bond be without movie posters? To kick off Bond Week and pay our respects to the many wonderful designs of the past, we put together a quick little feature today looking at some of the brilliant James Bond posters that have graced the walls of movie theaters for years. There are so many classic and iconic posters that there's actually an entire book of them, but we'll look at just a few of the many that can be found within the book. Being as big of a Bond fan as I am, it's quite nostalgic looking back at all of these posters. Bond has undoubtedly progressed in so many ways over the 46 years that he's been around, and it's easy to tell when you take a look at these posters. Enjoy!
Sean Connery Era:
Back in the 1960's when Dr. No first came out, James Bond was still a unique British idea, hence all the poster designs in the beginning were British quad posters - meaning they were designed horizontally, not vertically (like most US posters). The Sean Connery era began in 1962 with Dr. No and ended in 1971 with Diamonds Are Forever, although we're throwing George Lazenby's On Her Majesty's Secret Service in here, too, because it doesn't fit anywhere else (and was right in the middle of this era anyway).
Roger Moore Era:
Roger Moore's era began in 1973 with Live and Let Die and kept strong all the way through to 1985 with A View to a Kill. You'll notice that this time around, with Roger Moore, they focused more on his look and the idea of a montage of scenes, keeping a consistent pose across nearly all of the posters.
Timothy Dalton Era:
Timothy Dalton's short-lived era of Bond films began in 1987 with The Living Daylights and ended two years later in 1989 with License to Kill. While the designs finally start to take a realistic turn and use actual photos of Dalton (as opposed to paintings), I decided to feature the more vintage posters for these two.
Pierce Brosnan Era:
Pierce Brosnan's era began in 1995 with GoldenEye, quite a few years after License to Kill left the franchise somewhat destroyed. Thus it was a big challenge for them to come up with something that would reignite the James Bond flame. Brosnan's era ended in 2002 with the poorly received Die Another Day.
Daniel Craig Era:
And here we are, finally caught up to the present, with the start of the Daniel Craig era. We're only two films in and he's going very strong so far. MGM finally stopped making posters that featured montages of action scenes and went with the down and dirty sleek look that Bond is known for. Craig's era kicked off in 2006 with Casino Royale and continues this year with Quantum of Solace. As we have seen with nearly every previous era of posters before, their designs have continued to evolve and improve.
The different eras of posters really reflect their actors' styles here. Connery's the classic, but the posters try to maintain the same kind of feel for Roger Moore and end up a little sillier and a little more over the top, with girls sitting on top of cannons, and the whole scene there in the Moonraker poster is crazy. Dalton looks a lot more modern but the posters maintain the same kind of feel to them, but something, maybe it's the black backgrounds or his stern expressions in the posters as opposed to Connery's sly grin, keeps them more serious like the movies themselves. Brosnan's posters are very sleek and modern looking and full of massive explosions, like the movies. Maybe I haven't seen as much of the other Bonds, but it feels like there were huge amounts of explosions in each Brosnan movie. The Craig posters maintain a modern and minimalistic feel to them, which is what I loved about Casino Royale.
Johnny B on Nov 10, 2008
wow I think Daniel Craig's are head and shoulders over all the rest. Much more sleek and mysterious like Bond is.
Scott McHenry on Nov 10, 2008
Could somebody please tell me their thoughts on the casino royale posters compared to the quantum of solace ones...I think the two casino royale posters are far superior then quantum of solace. I mean the new ones are ok but for example the interaction between vesper and bond is so much more palpable then olga and craig in the new one...and just overall more dynamic.
rblitz7 on Nov 10, 2008
I miss the classic form of poster art...hand drawn and painted, that were quality pieces people remembered....nowadays anyone with photoshop can be a poster artist
Christopher Marc on Nov 10, 2008
Newest ones aren't that great. All posters should go back to the Sean Connery or Roger Moore styles. Just my opinion, of course.
006-Alec on Nov 10, 2008
Hey, you lumped George Lanzenby's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" with Sean Connery. HE was actually not bad. Give him some respect.
Ajax on Nov 10, 2008
I think Casino Royale has the best posters when it comes to representing Bond, but I still think that Connery and Moore have more of an artistic look to them. Is it just me or is the GoldenEye poster just classic in your opinion?
CK on Nov 11, 2008
The hand painted one's are works of art, those artists were genius. The photoshop versions are really dated and bad looking, while the top left Daniel Craig is good and all 2.0 the rest look like his head has been copy/pasted on a weightlifters body.
Crapola on Nov 11, 2008
sean connery smiles in his posters
fanboy d on Nov 11, 2008
I hadn't realized how sexed up the older posters used to be. Overall, I like the vintage look of the Sean Connery ones, and the sleek Bourne-like look of the Daniel Craig ones. The worst ones are Moonraker, Octopussy and the last two Pierce Brosnan ones.
Alfredo on Nov 11, 2008
You left out a very good Sean Connery Bond. "NEVER SAY NEVER"!
Barry on Nov 11, 2008
46 years? Hasn't it been more like 55.
Lefthanded on Nov 11, 2008
Someone earlier was discussing how the Casino Royale poster was superior to the Quantum of Solace. I just wanted to throw in my tuppence: Standing alone, I think the Casino Royale posters are better. However, when you look at the progression of the Quantum of Solace posters, I actually like them better (at first its just a shadow of an armed man walking towards something; then its Bond coming towards that object armed; then Bond and the new girl walking away with something burning to the ground behind them, looking as though the reason they are no longer armed is because they've probably expended all their firepower on whatever is burning.) Its a nice triptych when you put it all together. Where the Casino Royale poster was emphasizing sort of the mystery of the new Bond, this one is emphasizing what looks to be the theme: vengence. Of course I could be all wrong.
Bill on Nov 11, 2008
Gotta love that bonkers Moonraker poster 🙂 I hate the Photoshop-style poster designs - floating heads, cut-and-paste bodies, etc. Best Daniel Craig one for me is the first Casino Royale one.
avoidz on Nov 11, 2008
Awesome article Alex. You should do more movie poster articles like this on how they evolve. Great job and read.
Ryan on Nov 11, 2008
Love those old illustrated posters, especially A View To A Kill and Octopussy, even though they were awful Bond films, I'm digging the new posters of the last 2 films though, simplistic, muted colours, and I love how they're incorporating the 007 into the title logo.
joshmc on Nov 11, 2008
Amongst the pre-Daniel Craig posters, Goldfinger seems quite subdued and almost classy in comparison to the gaudiness of the rest.
kevjohn on Nov 12, 2008
woow....this sure looks nice...
web on Nov 12, 2008
I'm not sure it's accurate to say that James Bond was, in the early 60's, a "uniquely British idea", at least in terms of character recognition. Of course, JB is a British character originated by a British author. However, when asked once why the lights were burning into the night in the White House upstairs, President John F. Kennedy said he was "up late reading James Bond." So I guess Bond had made some US penetration by then. Some Americans were aware of him. Sean Connery IS James Bond, now and forever!
zubzwank on Nov 14, 2008
I absolutely ADORE that Casino Royale poster on the left. Bond in the tux, with the poker chips and gun? Spot on. I think Craig's outfit in the second Casino Royale poster completely defines the new take on the character. Still in the tux, but much more unkempt. Perfect.
Lady Aerin on Nov 15, 2008
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