Fleming saw the cover of a book on ornithology by an American author named "James Bond", and thought it would be a good name for his spy.
James Bond was most famously played by Sean Connery and Roger Moore, although other actors have had their turn (see below). Bond movies are known for their cartoonish villains, beautiful women (most of whom end up in bed with Bond), amazing gadgetry manufactured by "Q" (played by Desmond Llewelyn in every film, except the first, until his death in 1999), and outrageous stunts. Most had little to do with the real activities of intelligence agencies, involving Bond in violent acts of derring-do to save the world from various apocalyptic madmen. The madmen invariably attempt to kill Bond using rather improbable and elaborate methods, from which Bond escapes after the gloating villain gives him the critical information necessary to thwart his fiendish plot. Despite the films'/books' description as "thrillers," Bond's cocky character is rarely troubled, regardless of the odds facing him.
Bond is employed by the British Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, a real-life institution. His superiors are known by single letters such as M and Q, a practice which is also used in the real institution where the chief, for example, is known as C.
Bond's female companions, as well as being beautiful, are often given names that are double entendres, leading to a succession of corny jokes. Examples include "Pussy Galore" in Goldfinger, "Plenty O'Toole" in Diamonds Are Forever, and "Xenia Onatop" (a villain who gets sexually excited by strangling[?] men between her shapely thighs) in GoldenEye. Despite Bond's patronising attitudes towards women, most of these leading ladies end up, if not in love with him, at least subdued by him.
Bond films began to look increasingly outdated throughout the 1980s, with the main character's sexism and the fixation with glamorous locations looking anachronistic and his unruffled exterior increasingly incongruous when compared to movies such as Die Hard. After a relatively unsuccessful attempt to turn Bond in a harder-edged direction with Timothy Dalton as the main character, the successful 1990s revival with Pierce Brosnan in the lead role has increasingly turned the series into self-parody.
At least a little of the Bond character was based on the life of its creator, who was noted for his glamorous lifestyle (including a fair number of female companions). The character is also believed to have been inspired by several of Fleming's contemporaries in British Intelligence during World War Two. The famous Casino in Estoril, Portugal is credited as the birthplace of Bond. The Casino was a home away from home for many spies operating during WW2, with Portugal operating as a neutral ground during the conflict. Fleming was inspired by the atmosphere at the Casino, where much of Europe's royalty mingled openly with many of the world's covert agencies.
James Bond is a moderate to heavy drinker, having consumed 100 alcoholic beverages in his films up to 2002, and more than 250 in Ian Fleming's novels. In the films, he has champagne 32 times, and drinks 20 vodka martinis. Source: http://home.earthlink.net/~atomic_rom/007/
James Bond is a household name (arguably the most successful fictional character ever) and has had a definitive impact on the spy genre, including some parodies like Casino Royale, 1967 or the Austin Powers movies. In the 1960s, the success of the 007 films inspired numerous television imitators, including The Man From U.N.C.L.E., I Spy[?], Get Smart, The Wild Wild West[?], and Johnny English.
Books Fleming himself wrote twelve Bond novels (though there have been many sequels by other hands since his death). In order of publication, they are:
He also wrote two compilations of short stories featuring the character:
Films Note: The sequence numbers, where given, are those used by the makers of the "mainstream" Bond films.