Bond Queens

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Photo Credit: Goldfinger: Credit: Express/Getty Images
Portrait of James Bond actors Sean Connery and Honor Blackman, to promote the film 'Goldfinger', 1964. (Photo by Express/Getty Images)

License to Thrill — The Best 007 Girls.
By Donald Liebenson, ReMIND Magazine

With 24 official films over 57 years, James Bond is second only to Godzilla as the screen’s longest-running film franchise. What is the secret to its enduring success? Is it the dashing Bond with his license to kill? The gadgets? The “can-you-top-this?” pre-credit action sequences? For many, it is the Bond girls with their license to thrill. There have been many over the years, so selecting a magnificent (00)7 is tough. Being stunning in a bikini doesn’t quite cut it (sorry, Ursula Andress). The best Bond girls were no mere sex objects, but were smart, resourceful matches — or challenges — for the handsome MI6 agent. Here are the Bond girls who made the most lasting impressions.

1. Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (Honor Blackman)
“You can turn off the charm. I’m immune.”
Arguably the best Bond film produces the best Bond girl, or at least the one with the best name that would set the gold standard for Bond girls to come. As the leader of Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus, Galore is in cahoots with Goldfinger to rob Fort Knox, but she has a change of heart after a little judo foreplay with 007 (Sean Connery).

2. Tracy Di Vincenzo in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Diana Rigg)
“Teresa is a saint; I’m known as Tracy.”
If Diana Rigg isn’t the best Bond girl, she is the best actress to play one. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, starring a one-and-done George Lazenby, was dismissed in its original release but has since gained a cult following that considers the first post-Connery Bond film as one of the series’ best. Credit the high-stakes love story between Bond and Tracy, which takes precedence over Blofeld’s threat to contaminate the world’s food supply.

3. Fatima Blush in Never Say Never Again (Barbara Carrera)
“You’re quite a man, Mr. James Bond. But I am a superior woman.”
We know this unofficial remake of Thunderball is not canon, but Barbara Carrera is flat-out awesome in her Golden Globe-nominated role as the stylish SPECTRE assassin. Bond (Sean Connery) has been able to reform some Bond girls, but not our Fatima, who remains defiant right up to her explosive end. At gunpoint, she makes Bond acknowledge, “The greatest rapture in my life was afforded me on a boat in Nassau by Fatima Blush.” We don’t
doubt it.

4. Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye (Famke Janssen)
“Enjoy it while it lasts.”
We’re not being sexist when we say Xenia Onatopp has killer legs. We mean that literally. A former Soviet pilot, she now works as an enforcer for a rogue MI6 agent. Here’s a villain who really enjoys her work … as do her victims, up to a point. She has the distinction of being one of the only Bond girls with whom Agent 007 (Pierce Brosnan) doesn’t have sex.

5. Vesper Lynd in 2006’s Casino Royale (Eva Green)
“I’m the money.”
Not since Tracy Di Vincenzo has a woman had such a profound impact on 007 (Daniel Craig), who, as Vesper Lynd cannily observes, tends to treat women as disposable pleasures rather than meaningful pursuits. Though saddled with perhaps the most unfortunate line of dialogue in any Bond film (“I just want you to know that if all that was left of you was your smile and your little finger, you’d still be more of a man than anyone I’ve ever met”), she is a formidable match, and her betrayal of him has made him the man he is today.

6. Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me (Barbara Bach)
“When this mission is over, I will kill you.”
The best 007 girl of the Roger Moore era. What Maj. Amasova (a.k.a. Agent XXX) lacks in a vivacious personality, she more than makes up for in her Bond-like abilities.

7. Wai Lin in Tomorrow Never Dies (Michelle Yeoh)
“Thanks for washing my hair. I work alone.”
It was a stroke of genius to cast Hong Kong martial arts superstar Michelle Yeoh as Col. Wai Lin, a Chinese agent. Suffice to say, if you’re Bond (Pierce Brosnan) in a high-speed motorcycle chase through the streets of Saigon, she’s the one you want handcuffed to you.

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