Long before Tom Cruise sought to outdo himself in each Mission: Impossible film he made, piling incredible stunt sequence upon incredible stunt sequence, film franchises like James Bond created and captured some of the most fantastic and practically done stunts put to film.
And while the Academy has yet to include a Stunt Oscar, these craftspeople put maximum effort to deliver tense and brilliant moments making our heroes seem that much more heroic. Over the course of twenty-five films, Ian Fleming ‘s Agent 007 has gotten himself in and out of some serious trouble, always doing it with style and verve. There are a number of moments in each film that could be worth highlighting but here are ten, presented in chronological order for your enjoyment.
With Blofeld’s oil rig base blowing up around him, Sean ConneryJames Bond takes a moment to pause in Diamonds are Forever, before leaping from the base of a crane, executing a perfect dive into the water below. It’s shot and executed with such ease that it’s a blink, and you could miss it moment. The dive, performed by Orwin Harveyan accomplished cliff diver, delivers an iconic moment as 007 escapes from danger again with a swelling John Barry score as accompaniment.
The early Bond films while eager to showcase action and exotic locations did not have a lot of big stunts. This is something that grew into the series as action sequences became more intricate and involved. But there are plenty of other smaller stunts filling all the 007 films, all of them requiring professionals doing their thing.
Roger Moore‘s first outing as James Bond, in Live and Let Die, saw him trapped at a crocodile farm. As crocodiles begin to surface in the water surrounding him, inching closer to his lone piece of land, 007 has to figure out what to do. With barely a pause, he leaps, running across the backs of the crocs to make a quick escape.
Ross Kanaga performs this nerve-wracking stunt that necessitated the tying down of the dangerous animals to hold them in place, but one of them almost catches Kanaga’s foot as its head whips around to snap at him, ruining his trousers and causing an injury that needed over a hundred stitches.
Don’t Rock the Boat
During his escape from TeeHee and Kanaga, Roger Moore’s Bond steals a motorboat and takes to the swamps of Louisiana in Live and Let Die. Being pursued by baddies, and with the cops being ineffectual, Bond eludes and evades, eventually jumping a stretch of roadway grabbing nothing but air for 110 feet, setting a Guinness World Record.
The jump was done with the help of a ramp that launched the boat into the air and over the road. Driven by stuntman Jerry Comeaux, this moment ushered in a new moment in Bond films, The BIG stunt. It is definitely a wow moment and announced the arrival of a new 007 on the scene.
Roll That Barrel
The Man With the Golden Gun was Moore’s sophomore Bond film, and while it’s a little lackluster, it still made sure to highlight some solid action beats. None more so than a brilliantly executed barrel roll over a river while James pursues his enemy Scaramanga, played by Christopher Lee.
The filmmakers made a huge mistake by including the sound of a slide whistle during the stunt because it detracts from the moment that was orchestrated and overseen by Jay Milliganand driven by Loren Willert. Turn the sound down and just enjoy seeing physics and science at work as the car executed a perfect spiral jump.
Jump For My Love
The Spy Who Loved Me was Roger Moore’s third film, and his most enjoyable, campy entry. It’s over the top, tongue planted firmly in cheek, and delivers some great moments. There is perhaps none more iconic however than a ski jump that was filmed on Mount Asgard in Baffin Park, Canada.
Bond throws himself off a mountain, plunging downward, tumbling away from camera until, finally, out pops a Union Jack parachute (of course) and our hero makes his escape into the opening titles. The jump itself was done by Rick Sylvester, and like the spiral roll before it, this stunt became synonymous with Moore’s James Bond, defining his era. It’s a beautifully shot stunt and once leaves one breathless.
Take a Flying Leap
Roger Moore’s final Bond film, A View to A Kill saw him chasing May Day played by Grace Jones through the Eiffel Tower before she affects an escape by leaping from the building at the last moment. After practicing the jump for a hot air balloon BJ Worth got this stunning jump in one take, much to the relief of French authorities.
Comparable to the ski jump from The Spy Who Loved Me It is a gorgeously executed stunt that helped mark the end of Moore’s era as 007. And while the rest of the film may have featured Moore’s Bond looking a little tired, this sequence stands out as a highlight.
Lean Into It
The truck chase in Timothy Dalton‘s second 007 outing, the underrated License to Kill, is filled with action beats and incredible stunts. Perhaps the crowning achievement is when Bond angles a tanker truck to drive on only nine of its eighteen wheels in an effort to avoid a missile launch.
While the tuck was modified to be able to balance on its nine wheels, it’s still a stunning effect, done practically under the watch of stunt coordinator and driver. Remy Julienne. In a sequence that is rife with fight and truck stunts, this one is exceptional and really shows off the work the stunt team puts into their efforts.
Pierce Brosnan finally assumed the 007 mantle with 1995’s Goldeneye. He burst onto the screen with a spectacular pre-credits sequence which was packed with stunts, but none more jaw-dropping than a bungee jump off of a massive dam.
Stuntman Wayne Michaels took the six hundred and forty-foot leap, with the Verzasca Dam in Switzerland standing in for a Russian base. Often hailed as the best stunt in the entire franchise, the jump was incredibly stunning to behold on the big screen.
Crane You Feel It
Daniel Craig brought a more rough and tumble James Bond to the screen. From the black and white pre-credits sequence on, viewers knew this would be something special. The first big action set piece in 2006’s Casino Royale had a parkour chase through a construction site and features a terrifying leap from a construction crane to a lower level.
Performed by stuntman Wayne Michaels as six cameras rolled, the jump helped launch Craig’s 007 to box office stardom, as it was just the tip of the iceberg for the sequences that would populate the film.
No Time To Die was Craig’s final outing as 007, and from the get-go, the film was packed with wall-to-wall action, stunts, and story. In the midst of a chase that sees not only the Aston Martin making an appearance, Bond uses a motorcycle to race up the sloping sides of a building onto a road above. The bike roars up the side, clears the barrier, and lands solidly but smoothly in an eye-popping moment.
The stunt was practiced to perfection by stuntman Paul Edmondsonwho makes it look easy, and drops a gauntlet for future Bond films to meet the challenge of the legacy of the stunt-filled franchise.
NEXT: Scenes James Bond Probably Shouldn’t Have Survived