007 Movie Poster Reviews

You Only Live Twice poster art
The poster art for 1967’s You Only Live Twice

As a James Bond fan and a general movie lover it shouldn’t be a surprise that I also love movie posters. They go hand in hand with films and have always been a vital part of the advertising and selling of them to moviegoers.

A great movie poster can generate excitement, awe, admiration, interest and most importantly to the filmmakers – to create a desire in an audience member to plunk down some cash and go see that movie.

After being around for over fifty years the 007 films have given fans countless posters to promote the latest Bond adventure. Over the holidays I received as a gift the book James Bond: 50 Years of Movie Posters. Since then I had wanted to talk about some of the movie posters from the Bond series. Plus, with the release of the latest teaser poster for Spectre it seemed like an ideal time to finally do it.

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2 Responses

  1. CKULIK says:

    Fascinating, absolutely fascinating, thanks for sharing us the posters from the book. I jotted down some thoughts when it comes to these posters…(ellipsis) !!!! (exclamation points)

    What struck me as bizarre is the majority of the posters for the great/good Bond films have terrible posters…and the fair/bad Bond films have terrific posters. For example, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE….you are absolutely right: the font is typical '60s and very cheesy, more suited to a Bond spoof than the real thing. Good call on noting how Bond was "kissing Pussy" on the GOLDFINGER poster. Intentional? The THUNDERBALL poster is just pure awesome, and one of the few which I felt lived up to the film itself, which I always found underrated (it's the only Bond film I wrote a review on for DVD Verdict when the original Blu-ray came out).

    I pretty much agree with all the scores you gave the posters…except for YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, which I actually think is one of the worst posters. First, the tagline, "Sean Connery IS James Bond." Really? No shit?!? Did they think audiences forgot who Bond was at this time, or were they simply reminding them as to who the real Bond was with CASINO ROYALE coming out at the same time? The other issue I have is Bond's pose in the plane. I can understand him standing and having the gun raised up or pointing at something in other posters and I know these are only designed to sell the movie…but his pose on the plane looks *really* stupid. They could have had his right hand actually steer the plane while shooting at a bad guy in another plane with his left hand. I actually prefer the one where he's surrounded by the Japanese women in the hot tub!

    Going back to the notion of the awful posters for the great Bond films, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME is the perfect example. Seriously, the submarine image at the bottom looks like a giant frowned metal face. And Moore's image is off-putting and terrible. Then we have MOONRAKER, which I agree is, like THUNDERBALL, just pure awesomeness, particularly with Jaws and Drax on there. Of all the things they didn't include in the SPY WHO LOVED ME poster was Jaws, or did they just want him to be a surprise?

    Bond's legs look the worst on the FOR YOUR EYES ONLY poster; the left leg looks like it was blown up to 3 times the size of the right. And the OCTOPUSSY one is great, one of the best! But looking again at the A VIEW TO A KILL poster made me realize how, as you put it, epic it was. For such a bad Bond film, it was given a great poster, unlike the Dalton ones; I'm with you in that I always HATED the LICENCE TO KILL poster which screams lazy, cheap and slapped together. The atrocious promotional campaign no doubt damaged the film's potential, along with the other Summer '89 releases.

    Of course you know what my pick is for worst Bond film, even worse than DIE ANOTHER DAY…and yet, I agree the TWINE poster is actually really cool. Even Denise Richards looks okay in it. And I love Eva's WTF? expression on the CASINO ROYALE poster.

    Finally, last but not least, the funniest part of this whole review which made me laugh out loud hard was what you said about SPECTRE's teaser poster: "I think Craig's legs are a bit too open here." Of course, what added to my spurt of laughter was the fact it said "Coming Soon" literally right under this crotch. Cue Butt-head laugh….

    Loved this, Hap, great job! 🙂

  2. spaceodds says:

    Love the videos. I too agree with CKULIK. Why do the mediocre to bad films have such great poster artwork?

    I love the Thunderball poster, and I love the images you talked about. It gives the feeling of a boy's own adventure. I mean if you were a kid in 1960s, and you saw that poster, you would sell your Granny to see it. The same goes for Your Only Live Twice, Connery in a dinner jacket, flying Little Nellie. Fantastic.

    The next one I liked was the poster to Moonraker? Forget the film, the poster is phenomenal. It shows what we like about Bond, and like the Thunderball poster it shows boys adventure with sexy girls on the side. Also you've got to admire the gall that the marketing people had by putting Ian Fleming's name above the title. I seriously doubt Fleming would've even dreamt of sending Bond into space. It's almost as if its saying, "Don't worry Bond fans! This is still a movie based on the stories of Ian Fleming!" Ridiculous. A View to A Kill is also a great poster; the shot of Bond on top of the Golden Gate Bridge is certainly memorable. No wonder the film did well in the U.S.

    Goldeneye; the last great bombastic Bond poster. And I also like it. Old school action set pieces redesigned for the next generation of Bond fans. The abandonment of hand drawings for computer graphics is a certain signifier of Bond moving with the times. I like that the old school poster was used to not only entice action fans, but to remind everyone that Bond is back and he's here to stay for the forseeable future.

    As much as I appreciate the old school action pics on the posters, I always side with simplicity. I like my Bond's back to basics and I love the ingenious ways that marketing people would lure fans of Ian Fleming's Bond. I would like this an ideal world, but the problem is when the better the Bond film, the more back to basics the film is, the more challanging it is to sell it.

    The poster for For Your Eyes Only is simple, cheeky and conveys very simply what the core of Bond is all about; murder and sex. I find it ironic that the shot of Bond in between the girl's legs is the most iconic Bond poster of them all, so much so that even Kingsman: The Secret Service used a parody of it; this time the legs are artificial and we have Colin Firth far far far away in between the legs. Not only was this used as a homage to Bond, but it was used as the main poster for the film!

    The Living Daylights; I love the gunbarrel, and I love this poster, probably my favourite poster of a Bond film. The use of the gunbarell for the poster for the film that would not only introduce a new Bond after 14 years, but also celebrate the series 25th Anniversary was a master stroke, and I like how it almost shouts out that this film will be going back to the character and world that Ian Fleming created. It's a shame you didn't mention the even more simpilar poster of Dalton wearing a leather jacket and doing the classic Bond gun pose, which also uses the tagline; James Bond 007 At His Most Dangerous. Simple, mysterious and memorable.

    The Casino Royale teaser, along with the Skyfall teaser poster (the black and white one with Crain walking through the Gunbarrel) are dark, brooding and make nods to its iconography. I always wondered how cool it would have been for the Casino Royale teaser poster to lose the title and simply have a release date at the bottom. Imagine the frenzy it could've have occurred.

    The worst Bond poster by far is for License to Kill. One of the very best Bond films and it's a given, as you said, a direct to video poster. Absolutely terrible.

    Great videos, and great review. Hope to see more Bond videos soon.

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