James Bond franchise holds multi-generational appeal

Photo illustration by Sofia Eneqvist

Six actors. 25 movies. 59 years. Still, Bond — James Bond — is drawing fans to theaters around the world.

“No Time to Die,” the most recent film in the Bond franchise and the final in the Daniel Craig era, was released in theaters on Oct. 8, bringing in over $600 million globally at the box office so far.

Michael Eaton, professor of film studies and film production, credits some of this success to the multi-generational aspect of the franchise. 

Since it has spanned almost six decades, it can forge connections between multiple generations.

“I think there is something to the appeal for different generations in that they can become a shared enthusiasm within families,” Eaton said. “My wife and I both enjoyed going to Bond films with my late father-in-law, partly because he was such a fan of them and we could share in his fandom because of the consistent excellence of the films. I suspect that many California Baptist University students, both male and female, perhaps have the shared experience of attending Bond films with their fathers and/or grandfathers.”

Since the franchise’s beginning in 1962, Bond has been portrayed on screen by Sean Connery (1962-67, 1971), George Lazenby (1969), Roger Moore (1973-85), Timothy Dalton (1987-89), Pierce Brosnan (1995-2002) and Daniel Craig (2006-21). 

Bryan Farr, California Baptist University parent, has witnessed multiple eras of the Bond franchise. During his lifetime, he has seen four different actors as Bonds. He said he has enjoyed watching how they each approached the same role with a different style.

“As a kid, I grew up with Roger Moore,” Farr said. “As I have gotten older, the make of the movie has transitioned. Roger Moore was more of a playboy, really light-hearted. It still had action, but as the character has changed and movies have changed, the individuals had to become more gritty and the action is not as over the top as it once was. Now, it is very straightforward. The story is very simple but intense. There is just this level of intensity in all the ones (Craig) has been in. It has gone from this playboy joker kind of style to this intense, serious actor, which I like. It took some time to get used to.”

The Bond franchise is the second longest-running film franchise, following Godzilla. 

Carly Brunner, freshman graphic design major, said it is a unique series because it unites multiple generations.

“It is an iconic series and is the first of its kind,” Brunner said. “The James Bond franchise has lasted so long because it is a classic series and the company has kept creating more and more entertainment, which is exactly what a successful franchise should do.”

Farr said he credits the longevity of the series to the diversity in content and its appeal for multiple generations.

“I do not think a lot of your series, genres, movies or titles have been able to do that,” Farr said. “That franchise has four generations in it. It is a mix. You have action, you have drama, you have a little bit of comedy, but then you have the gimmicks and the gizmos, and all the fun stuff. I think there is something for everybody. Women enjoy it, men enjoy it, young (and) old.”

Although “No Time to Die” is the final movie in Craig’s era as Bond, Eaton said he believes   the franchise will continue with a new actor. He suggests British actor Ben Barnes (“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”) as his own choice for a replacement.

“I believe that there will always be a future for Bond movies,” Eaton said. “The next Bond will be a major announcement for movie audiences around the world.”

Producers for the Bond franchise have said the next actor for the role will not be announced until 2022.

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