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The Good Life

License to Thrill

How the James Bond phenomenon became the industry’s longest running—and most exciting—film franchise
By Marshall Fine | From The Bond Legacy, July/August 2020
License to Thrill
Photo/Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
Sean Connery was the first man to play James Bond on the big screen, and this moment by an Aston Martin in Goldfinger sums up the very essence of agent 007.
Through almost 60 years, more than 20 movie thrillers and a half-dozen casting changes, James Bond has done one thing unswervingly well: spoil the plans of his enemies. From his first screen appearance, portrayed by the dashing Sean Connery in Dr. No , a rogues’ gallery ofvillains, from megalomaniacal tycoons to brutal drug lords to vicious dictators, have battled cinema’s greatest secret agent on land, underwater and in outer space, unleashing every weapon imaginable, from knives and garrotes to lasers and nuclear weapons—even a man with steel teeth. And yet he’s never been bested. Agent 007 may now be facing his most formidable foe. A pandemic has postponed the …
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