Gun-toting, exotic and full of sass, the list of James Bond’s formidable female counterparts is long but by no means boring.
Typically characterised by a blush-inducing name and unbridled sex appeal, the Bond girl role has been in hot demand with actresses and models alike ever since Ursula Andress burst onto the screen in a bikini in the 1962 Bond classic Dr. No.
With the news that French actress Lea Seydoux will star alongside Daniel Craig as the next Bond girl, we reflect on the best of Bond’s friends, foes and lovers of films past.
7. Xenia Onatopp – Famke Janssen (GoldenEye, 1995)
Able to kill a grown man between her own thighs (no joke), Onatopp continued the tradition of innuendo-laden Bond girl names with style. Janssen epitomised the ultimate femme fatale as a Dutch henchwoman who gains sexual pleasure from killing men.
Her gruesome end – in which she is crushed to death by a safety harness – is summed up perfectly by Bond (played by Pierce Brosnan) who quips, “she always did enjoy a good squeeze”.
6. Jinx – Halle Berry (Die Another Day, 2002)
Reprising Ursula Andress’ famous walk out of the ocean – except this time with a knife strapped to her bikini – Halle Berry exploded onto the screen as strong and capable National Security Agent agent Giacinta ‘Jinx’ Johnson. She and Bond team up to battle international criminals and she more than holds her own next to 007.
5. Miss Moneypenny – Lois Maxwell, Barbara Bouchet, Pamela Salem, Caroline Bliss, Samantha Bond and Naomie Harris (1962-2014)
In all her different incarnations, Miss Moneypenny is without a doubt the most enduring Bond girl of the series. While merely a secretary to M in the Ian Fleming books, the films tend to suggest an unresolved sexual tension between Moneypenny and Bond. Reliable, capable and hardworking, she is the perfect antidote to the other more fleeting female characters.
4. Jill Masterson – Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger, 1964)
Perhaps one of the most memorable images from the prolific film series is that of a gold-dipped Shirley Eaton sprawled on a hotel bed. As the employee of a powerful Miami drug dealer, Masterson meets an early end after she betrays her boss and sleeps with Bond. She is murdered and painted gold by her employer as a powerful message to 007.
3. Vesper Lynd – Eva Green (Casino Royale, 2006)
Bond was married only once, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, to Teresa “Tracy” di Vicenzo before her untimely death on her wedding day. The other woman to break Bond’s bachelor ways, Lynd had you cheering for her up until her ultimate betrayal at the end of the film. A foreign HM Treasury liaison sent to work alongside Bond (played by Daniel Craig) at a high profile poker game, her intelligence quickly wins Bond over and they fall for one another. Or so it seems.
It is revealed at the end of the film that Lynd was working as an unwilling traitor in an attempt to free her boyfriend from a hostage situation. Her death from drowning in Venice, and Bond’s subsequent heartbreak, make for a dramatic ending.
2. Pussy Galore – Honor Blackman (Goldfinger, 1964)
With a name that could shock even Bond himself – “I must be dreaming,” he remarks upon meeting her – Galore is a female pilot who leads a troupe of women aviators known as “Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus”. Like Masterson, Galore is employed by Goldfinger and uses some impressive Judo skills to immobilise Bond when she catches him eavesdropping on her boss.
Soon, however, she turns on her former boss and the film ends with her and Bond (Sean Connery) making love under a parachute.
1. Honey Ryder – Ursula Andress (Dr. No, 1962)
You’d be hard-pressed to find a Bond fan who didn’t have the image of Ursula Andress in a bikini burned into their brain for all eternity. Emerging from the ocean singing, she became an instant icon as Jamaica-based shell diver who is the ultimate beach babe. Initially scared and distrusting of Bond, Ryder is soon won over by his charms.