When it comes to explosive butt-kicking spy-fu nobody does it better than one man: Bond, James Bond 007 licensed to kill, thrill and seduce a bevy of stunning beauties in his never- ending duty of saving the world in the service of queen and country. Since he first burst onto the cinema screen in 1962’s epic “Dr. No” starring Sean Connery, Bond has become the iconic action hero battling maniacal villains across the planet with a Walther PPK in one hand, and a Vodka Martini in the other. For more than five decades, Bond has continually evolved being been played by six different actors, across each decade ensuring he survives (physically and psychologically) as the fittest upon the backdrop of an increasingly fast-paced, ever-changing world.
Exotic locations, out of this world hi-tech gadgets, and seemingly unstoppable villains hellbent on world domination and destruction, James Bond films have excited and enthralled generations of action fans. Of course fancy widgets and weaponry are not the only tools in this superspy’s arsenal – a trained operative can and should be able to turn his hands and feet into deadly weapons and in this profession he certainly needs them. The franchise has given fans some awesome fight-fu featuring an assortment of martial arts styles including Sumo, Judo, Jujitsu and Karate.
So buckle up for this Thrill-O-Fu rollercoaster ride (that’ll probably leave you a little shaken AND stirred into the bargain) of our Top 10 James Bond Fight Scenes! (in descending order)
- Goldfinger (1964) — vs Pussy Galore (Barn Scene)
- You Only Live Twice (1967) — vs Sumo Henchman
- Skyfall (2012) — Train Fight
- The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) — Karate School Escape
- Spectre (2015) — vs Hinx
- Die Another Day (2002) — vs Gustav Graves
- Casino Royale (2006) — Stairwell Assault
- Goldeneye (1995) — vs Xenia Onatopp
- Quantum of Solace (2008) — Apartment Fight
Fifty years on, this classic moment from Sean Connery’s third outing with his license to thrill, whilst somewhat dated and a little controversial, is still worth a look. Both Connery, and Honor Blackman (as ace pilot Pussy Galore) are skilled martial artists with Connery holding a belt in Kyokushin karate. It’s Blackman’s display of judo that stands out in this scene – having learned judo on the set of her breakthrough role in the TV series “The Avengers” from the show’s action choreographers Joe and Doug Robinson. By the time she reported for duty on her first big screen action role, she had already earned a brown belt in the art and her adeptness certainly shows here in what is considered an iconic Bond moment.
Question: What do James Bond and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have in common? Answer: the fight choreographer for this film is none other than Samoan professional wrestler and WWE Legend High Chief Peter Maivia, grandfather to the Brahma Bull himself.
In this scene Bond (Sean Connery), snooping around the company fronting for the evil organisation SPECTRE is caught by a hulking henchman played by professional Sumo wrestler, Sadanoyama (who holds the highest rank of ‘Yokozuna’). A David and Goliath match-up ensues. Maivia’s choreography features a smooth blend of judo and jujitsu with some elements of sumo “thrown in”, but what stands out is the sheer speed and athleticism of both performers. Some technically rich and intense grapple-fu with all the hallmarks of Connery’s charm and swagger make for a solid two minutes of thrills and laughs.
Fans of the Bond franchise know all too well that if you’re on the same train as this secret agent, you might want to get off at the next stop as trouble is sure to kick off. Ever since Bond (Connery) and SMERSH agent Red Grant (the late Robert Shaw) bumped heads on the rails in “From Russia With Love” the Bond franchise has returned time and again to the train fight looking to improve on the original. Marking the 50th anniversary of the series in 2012, stunt coordinator Gary Powell and fight choreographer Roger Yuan (Jason Bourne, Blindsided etc), put together this explosive scene for the big 50. The tense excitement and hard-hitting fight action open Daniel Craig’s return after a 4 year hiatus in true Bond fashion proving as always that 007 is as relevant and entertaining today as he’s ever been.
A disoriented Bond (Roger Moore in his second outing) wakes up to find himself in arch villain Scaramanga’s karate school in Thailand, and whilst his skilled instincts get him out of the school, Bond finds he needs a little help from his friends. Enter Lieutenant Hip (the late and very great Soon-Tek Oh) and his nieces Cha (Joie Vejjajiva) and Nara (Qiu Yuen) to save the day. This is a scene which will delight martial arts fans as there’s plenty of skill on display; from Thai sword-fighting in the dojo, to the rumble by the river to Soon-Tek Oh (as ‘Hip’), employing his kempo skills are enjoyable leaving you wanting more. However, it’s his nieces that steal this show, making light work of the quintessential chop socky henchmen. Hong Kong action fans should recognise a young Qiu Yuen from Golden Harvest’s “Dreadnaught” and in her scene-stealing turn as the landlady in “Kung Fu Hustle”.
It’s a good thing James Bond doesn’t suffer from any travel anxiety as he might never ride the train again given the number of scuffles he’s had over the decades. So it’s all aboard for another train tussle, this time Bond (Daniel Craig) takes on the rock solid SPECTRE agent Hinx played by the mighty ex-WWE star-turned-actor Dave Bautista. Hinx is the perfect embodiment and evolution of the hulking henchmen that are a staple of Bond films that include Oddjob (“Goldfinger”), Jaws (Richard Kiel – “The Spy Who Loved Me”, “Moonraker”) and Stampa (Götz Otto – “Tomorrow Never Dies”). The Hinx vs Bond fight however is more than just a brains vs brawn match up as Hinx is less of a hulking brawler and more a skilled and strategic fighter, proving him virtually unstoppable. Craig brings his usual intense physicality to the scene making a perfect match for Bautista’s skill and resourcefulness.
Pierce Brosnan’s swan song as 007 met with mixed reviews but there’s no denying it’s in every way a quintessential Bond film with plenty of memorable moments. Not everyone enjoys a “cock fight” yet there’s much swashbuckling fun to be had with this athletic fast-paced sword duel between Bond and daredevil entrepreneur Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens). The action comes thick and fast courtesy of legendary stunt director Vic Armstrong with Brosnan showing off plenty of Bond professional cool but it is Stephens, as the egotistical Graves who viciously “steels” the show.
After Brosnan left the franchise, Daniel Craig stepped in to fill some pretty big shoes which he did and in so doing shut his naysayers down faster than he could mix up a vodka martini. Director Martin Campbell and stunt coordinator Gary Powell pulled out all the stops to make Craig’s Bond debut a truly entertaining and memorable one. The stairwell fight in which Bond and Vespa Lynd (Eva Green) try to evade arms dealer and terrorist Le Chiffre’s assassins through the world’s worst fire escape (watch closely and you’ll see what I mean) is an adrenaline rush of a fight featuring swinging machetes and loaded guns. Cue lots of intense stair-bound fisticuffs, impressive skills and a rear naked choke hold proving to be the ultimate finisher.
The much anticipated Bond debt of Irish actor Pierce Brosnan back in 1995 look set to miss the mark in an age when Stallone, Schwarzenegger (in particular “True Lies” 1995), and Van Damme dominated the action scene. “Goldeneye” however proved the naysayers wrong with Bond back on the big screen with a vengeance along with some formidable villains. Of those included, Famke Janssen stole the show as former KGB assassin Xenia Onatopp (the most bodacious of Bond double entendres) with her particularly deadly technique that has more men looking forward to meeting their end than dreading it. Here Bond and Onatopp face off for a steamy encounter that proves both pleasurable and painful for our hero. Her deadly skills come courtesy of Janssen’s double, British stuntwoman, Eunice Huthart, winner of 1994’s “Gladiators”. She went on to become a respected stuntwoman working for some of Hollywood’s biggest actresses including the one and only Angelina Jolie in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and “Salt”.
Bond returns with Craig back in his second outing as the indestructible superspy continuing his hunt for the terrorist organisation behind the events of “Casino Royale”. Upping the action ante even further, returning stunt coordinator Gary Powell, brings the best of Bond fight-fu with a Bourne-esque feel. Lots of great techniques are displayed in this vicious exchange of cuts and blows, in which Bond, far from any signs of haughty indestructibility fights like his life truly depends on it. Move over Jason Bourne, when it comes to spy-fu nobody does it better.
…and in at #1 is…
Casino Royale (2006) — Parkour Chase
Daniel Craig’s turn as James Bond has proven so popular that it’s hard to see anyone else now filling the signature tux brandishing the classic Walther PPK. A franchise as long-running as this one has the challenge of keeping in with the times, and just as action films have evolved where the fighting is concerned, so has Bond. Survival-fuelled wits and hand-to-hand combat, has always been a mainstay of Bond films, so to keep up with the ever rising bar of high-octane, high-speed action, director Martin Campbell and stunt coordinator Gary Powell, brought in the godfather of parkour, Sébastien Foucan to literally give Bond a run for his money and take fight action-fu to new heights. Brilliantly staged and packed full of tension with an explosive climax, this scene really threw down the gauntlet letting audiences know that Bond was back with a bang!
So there we have it folks, our take on the Top 10 James Bond Fight Scenes! Who’s the best Bond fighter so far in your opinion and which Bond fights did you ‘bond’ with the most? Let us know in the comments below and like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram.