On this Valentine’s Day, I’m taking a look at the love life of a man who has enjoyed “a bachelor’s taste for freedom.” This terrific line comes from James Bond himself in the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In this movie, it is perhaps one of only a handful of times that 007 has fallen in love.
From Dr. No to You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery’s Bond never falls in love with his Bond girl. He’s usually too busy forcing lesbians and health clinic workers into having sex with him, and occasionally slapping some of his ladies around. George Lazenby’s one Bond movie is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and yes his Bond does feel something for Tracy. Okay, he does slap her too. Tracy is probably the first bipolar Bond girl, which makes sense considering James Bond has his fair share of psychological issues as well. Most fans agree that Tracy is his one true love because he marries her. But does he really love her, or is he just forcing himself into love? They fall for each other under stranger circumstances, and thanks to Louis Armstrong and a dating montage, we are to believe the ultimate womanizer is ready to settle down.
So there we have it. James Bond is done with all other women. Tracy is his one and only. However, after this sweet courtship clip, Bond goes on his mission and has sex with at least two women, more likely three. The only woman I’m sure he doesn’t screw at the Piz Gloria is Irma Bunt. As Bond fans know, he does marry Tracy, only for her to be killed later on their wedding day thanks to Blofeld and Bunt. Of course Bond loved Tracy very much, but I still don’t think she was his greatest love. More on that later. Oh and a fun fact: George Lazenby and Diana Rigg (Tracy) absolutely detested each other on set.
The Roger Moore era certainly didn’t have any true love in the 70s and 80s. In fact, I think Roger’s 007 bedded the most ladies. He even had some waiting in the closet for him until he was done with another lady (see: Man With Golden Gun). Moore wasn’t as rough a lover as Connery, but his Bond wasn’t loving either. Live And Let Die? Lies to a young girl and takes her virginity. Moonraker? Has sex with Drax’s assistant and gets her killed. Maybe he cared for Octopussy the most, but that just might be because all the other women in the Bond era were old enough to be his daughter.
When Timothy Dalton became James Bond we were in the grips of the AIDS crisis. Was it time for Bond to settle down again? Or at least start using condoms? In Dalton’s first flick, The Living Daylights, after a quickie on a yacht with a bored vacationer, 007 only hooks up with Kara. In fact, for the first half of the movie, our too-cool-to-settle-down hero is kind of put into the “friends zone” by her. Dalton’s second and final Bond movie has him back to basics, although still not too promiscuous.
Pierce Brosnan’s 007 gives the impression that he falls in love very fast, but I’m not buying it. Paris Carver, Elektra King and Miranda Frost are women he has sex with and who eventually die. Brosnan’s acting seems like he knows a backstory full of passion and romance, that the audience isn’t quite in on. He stands and leans over these three dead women in particular in a very odd fashion. Think of Brosnan’s Bond as Moore’s, except his is a little more sensitive. Both men had to deal with two young, regrettable Bond girls in Christmas Jones and Stacy Sutton. So they have that… umm… bond.
Forget about Tracy Bond. Let’s talk about his true love… Vesper Lynd. Casino Royale sees a new Bond (Daniel Craig) start from the beginning of his espionage career. Vesper and Bond instantly hit it off on the train. Thanks to some sharp dialogue in the script, I don’t think we have ever seen James meet his love match like this. She is intelligent, beautiful, witty, sultry, and as cynical and sarcastic as him.
This is what makes Casino Royale one of the greatest Bond movies ever. We believe these two characters are falling in love with each other. Bond is already willing to toss away his young career for her. That’s why her betrayal (spoiler alert: she lies and steals from him) is so gut-wrenching. Bond is shaken to his core and we understand why he never trusts women again. Guys, gals, we have all been there. Heartbreak is real and it takes years to recover from. When James says “the bitch is dead”, we get it. He’s ready to move on, but he will never forget this sickening feeling.
Craig’s Bond doesn’t sleep around as much as Connery or Moore or Brosnan did, but he definitely isn’t monogamous either. Just ask Strawberry Fields and Severine. Well don’t ask them. They’re dead. Look, it doesn’t matter which actor plays Bond because about half his ladies end up dead. At the end of Spectre, we see Bond ride off into the sunset with Madeleine Swann. She told him she loved him after knowing him for about three days. It’s hard to buy a man like Bond, after what he went through with Vesper, to end up with Madeleine. I’m sure in 2019, we will see Craig’s Bond with a new girl(s). Because that’s how we like our James Bond. Someone with an even more complicated love life than our own.
So on this Valentine’s Day, if you don’t have anyone special to love, maybe you should be more like Roger Moore’s James Bond and love yourself.