- James Bond: "I admire your courage, Miss...?"
- Sylvia Trench: "Trench. Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mr...?"
- James Bond: "Bond. James Bond."
Dr. No is the first film in the James Bond film series, and thus the first to star Sean Connery as Bond. Released in 1962 in the UK, it paved the way for all future Bond films by making $16 million domestically. It introduced the first Bond girl as well as the first eccentric Bond villain. It was written by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, and Berkely Mather and was based on Ian Fleming's sixth Bond novel of the same name.
In the film, British Secret Service agent James Bond is sent to Jamaica on a mission to investigate the recent murder of a fellow operative that seems to have some connection to a series of recent failures in the U.S. space program. There, he discovers that the evil genius Dr. Julius No is planning something on his private island.
In Jamaica British Agent John Strangways is murdered. MI6 orders James Bond to investigate his disappearance which may be connected with some recent problems the CIA and NASA have been having with a moon rocket. When Bond arrives, his driver turns out to be working for someone against Bond, but eats cyanide before Bond can interrogate him. Knowing that something truly is afoot, Bond meets Quarrel, a man Strangways hired to take him to Crab King, a local private island. Quarrel pulls a knife on Bond, and a Felix Leiter backs him up with a gun, before they realize they are MI6 and CIA working for the same goal.
Bond asks the local geologist R. J. Dent some questions and finds out that he is lying about the radioactivity of rocks that Strangways had asked him to test. Dent is worried by Bond's presence and is given orders to kill the British agent. When Dent later shoots a decoy body, Bond knows he must go to Crab Key, and kills Dent.On Crab Key, Bond meets Honey Ryder as she collects shells. A security team destroys their escape, so they head inland for safety. Bond insists they follow "dragon" tracks which lead them to a tank with a flamethrower. Quarrel is murdered by the tank, but Bond and Honey are taken to a compound. Inside, they are decontaminated and treated to a luxurious room. They meet Dr. Julius No, owner of the facility. Bond calls him out, knowing that he has intentions for his nuclear program other than powering his island facility. Dr. No reveals his organization as SPECTRE and tries to recruit Bond, who declines. Bond is thrown in a cell which he escapes by crawling through steam vents. He knocks out a henchman and dons a radiation suit and enters Dr. No's control room where they are running a test for the takeover of the Cape Canaveral rocket. Disguised, Bond manages to climb up to a control platform where he hijacks the controls, sending the nuclear reactor into a meltdown. Dr. No tries to fight him, but due to his metal hands he is unable to climb out of a cage descending into the water casing the reactor, and dies. Bond rescues Honey and the two escape the island in a boat. They kiss in the boat after it runs out of fuel.
In-DepthAt a country club in Jamaica, undercover British agent John Strangways plays cards with R. J. Dent and others. He leaves the club and is shot down by The Three Blind Mice: three assassins pretending to be blind beggars. His body is thrown inside a getaway car and rushed off. At Strangways' office, his secretary is murdered while making a call to headquarters. The Three Blind Mice steal two files labeled "Crab Key" and "Doctor No". On the other end, the radio receiver notifies his superior that there is a situation.
In London, James Bond is playing baccarat at an upscale casino with several people and Sylvia Trench. The two flirt, but Bond receives a note and excuses himself from the game. Sylvia follows him, and he invites her to lunch the next day. Bond then travels to the office of Universal Exports, a cover for the British Intelligence office of MI6. There, he is informed by M that he must travel to Jamaica to investigate Strangways' disappearance, which may have something to do with some problems the Americans have been having with their Space Shuttle launches. He is given a new Walther PPK by Q.He returns home to find Sylvia playing golf in his room, wearing only his shirt. The two spend a quick amount of time together before Bond catches a flight to Kingston, Jamaica. At the airport, a mysterious man watches Bond arrive, and a photographer tries to snap his photo. He is greeted by a driver outside, but calls MI6 first to check in. He asks if the driver was sent and he learns that no driver was sent. He rides with the driver nonetheless. As the driver tries to evade the man from the airport, Bond pulls a gun on him and interrogates him on the side of the road. After taking some punches, the driver weeps and asks for a cigarette. He bites a cigarette from his pocket and dies instantly.
At the government house, they discover it was cyanide inside his cigarette. Bond meets with Pleydell Smith to discuss Strangways, and learns that Dent was one of the last to see Strangways. They visit Strangways' office where Bond discovers a receipt from Dent's practice. He also discovers a photo of a fisherman and Strangways and notes that the fisherman was driving the car that was tailing him from the airport. At his hotel room, Bond sets up traps to see if people have entered his room, and heads off to meet Dent and the other card players. They inform him that Strangways had been chartering a fisherman named Quarrel's boat frequently.Bond visits Quarrell at his boat, but receives no answers. He follows him to Puss Feller's restaurant and is assaulted by the the fisherman and Puss Feller but gets the upper-hand in the fight quickly. A man orders Bond to "hold it", and shortly reveals himself to be Felix Leiter, CIA. Quarrell greets Bond as a friend. That night at dinner, Bond and Felix talk about Strangways' disappearance and the trouble at Cape Canaveral and the photographer from the airport snaps another photo. Quarrel restrains her while Bond destroys her film. Outside the restaurant, The Three Blind Mice nearly shoot Bond but are thrown off by a passing car.
The next day, Bond visits R. J. Dent at his office and enquires about Strangways' receipt. Dent says the rocks he brought him were not special and he threw them out. Dent also claimed that the rocks were not from Crab Key, a privately owned island near Kingston. After Bond leaves Dent rushes off to a boat and argues with the driver to take him to Crab Key. On the island, he is escorted to a large empty room where he talks to a voice over an intercom. The voice is angry that he arrived during daytime and is angry that Bond is still alive. Dent takes a tarantula to kill Bond with.Bond returns to his hotel room and discovers that his traps had been sprung. He goes to sleep and in the middle of the night is awoken by the spider in his bed. He kills the spider. The next day he visits Pleydell Smith again and the two discuss the investigation. Bond discovers Miss Taro listening in, but she claims she was looking for a file. Bond is later found by Quarrell measuring the radioactivity of the rocks Strangways brought to Dent with a geiger counter. Their radioactivity levels are high and Bond asks a reluctant Quarrel to take him to Crab Key that night. Quarrel believes there is a dragon on the island.
Back at his hotel room, he receives a call from Miss Taro. She invites him over, but on the way a car tries to run him off the road. He manages to escape while the other car plummets off a hill and explodes. Surprised to see him alive, Taro tries to keep him at her place until another assassin can arrive. They sleep together, and after Bond decides to go out for food. He calls for a car, but rather than a taxi arriving an officer arrives to arrest Taro. Bond waits at her apartment, and when Dent arrives and shoots a decoy, Bond interrogates him and shoots him.Bond returns to Quarrel at the dock and they boat over to Crab Key. They pull the boat up on the island and wait until daylight. The next morning Bond hears a woman singing. He sees Honey Ryder exiting the sea carrying shells. He surprises her and asks her why she's on the island. She tells him she is not afraid of the island security, but when Quarrel warns them that a boat is coming, they hide behind a sand dune. The security team notices Bond's boat and fires around the island. They leave, claiming they will return with dogs. Bond tries to send Honey back to Kingston, but her boat was hit by the marksmen. She continues with him and Quarrel inland to a hiding spot. On the way, they are forces to hide underwater and use reeds as snorkels as a patrol with dogs approaches. The patrol leaves, but another lone guard arrives and Bond kills him. They arrive at Honey's hiding spot and agree to take turns watching out for the dragon, which Honey claims to have seen. When Quarrel sees tracks, Bond insists they follow them to the dragon. By the time they arrive to the dragon it is nighttime. They are spotted and the "dragon", a tank painted with teeth and a flamethrower mounted on the front, approaches them. Bond and Quarrel attempt to shoot its tires and lights, but fail. Quarrel is lit on fire and dies. Bond and Honey are apprehended and taken to a compound.
Upon arrival, they are put through a decontamination process and are taken to a luxurious suite where they find clothes in their exact sizes because, as the extremely polite receptionist explains, they were expected. Bond and Honey drink coffee, still confused, and quickly pass out because the coffee was drugged. A mysterious man with black gloves enters their room as they sleep, but leaves shortly after. The next morning they dress and are escorted to the office of the compound's owner, Dr. Julius No. He arrives and introduces himself, but excuses his handicap - he has lost his hands in an accident and had replaced them with metallic ones.
Dr. No invites them to lunch, where they discuss the origins of his wealth and what he is doing with his nuclear facility. Bond states that he knows all about No because he has read his MI6 and CIA files. Now that both men know what each other is up to, Bond asks that Honey be excused. The guards drag her away and Bond tries to help her. A guard shoves a gun in Bond's back and he returns to his seat. Dr. No then explains why he is planning on taking over the moon rocket's launch from Cape Canaveral, and that it is all a part of SPECTRE's master plan. No invites Bond to join SPECTRE, but Bond refuses. No leaves and his guards beat Bond and leave him in a cell.Bond awakes and breaks through a vent in his cell. He crawls through pipes and vents until he reaches a facility room, where he attacks a worker in a radiation suit. He dons the suit and enters Dr. No's main control room where they are running a test on their nuclear reactor. The disguised Bond climbs to a platform with controls. When No initiate the real mission, Bond cranks a dial to a dangerous level, initiating a meltdown.
Everyone starts to flee, but No attempts to fight Bond on the platform. The two fall onto a cage descending into the water holding the nuclear reactor. Bond is able to fight off No long enough to climb out, but Dr. No can't climb out due to his metal hands. No dies in the water.
Bond runs through the hallways and grabs a receptionist to help him find Honey. He finds her locked on a concrete ramp with a rising tide approaching her body. He unclasps her and the two escape the facility. Outside, they find a boat and Bond punches the two men currently on it. They drive the boat away moments before the compound explodes. Their boat runs out of fuel, but Felix arrives in time to tow them in. Bond and Honey begin kissing, and Bond releases the tow rope, leaving them totally alone in the middle of the Caribbean.
Cast & characters
- Directed by: Terence Young
- Written by: Ian Fleming
- Screenplay by: Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, Berkely Mather, Terence Young (uncredited)
- Produced by: Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman
- Composed by: Monty Norman
- Cinematography by: Ted Moore
- Production design by: Ken Adam
- Art Direction by: Syd Cain (uncredited)
- Film editing by: Peter R. Hunt
Novel & Script Basis
- Ian Fleming's ninth Bond novel, Thunderball, was originally chosen to be adapted as the first Bond film but, due to a legal battle with its co-author, Kevin McClory, EON Productions instead chose to film Dr. No, Fleming's sixth Bond novel, originally published in 1958.
- During the film series' fifty year history, only a couple of films would remain substantially true to their source materials; Dr. No is generally faithful to Ian Fleming's novel of the same name with many similarities to the book, but almost as many differences.
- An infamous scene of the film, in which Bond murders Professor Dent, is not in the original novel and fans of Ian Fleming's novels protested, arguing that even the literary version of Bond was never so cold-hearted.
- Sylvia Trench, the first Bond girl of the film series, is not a character from any of Ian Fleming's novels.
- Viewers of the film series might be surprised to discover that very little of the playful banter and flirting between Bond and Moneypenny actually exists in the novels; much of it was developed for the movies, although later Bond novelists would incorporate the film relationship into their takes on the characters.
- Although the Dr. No novel only mentions Miss Taro in passing, the character's role was greatly expanded and embellished for this film.
- Honey Rider is named Honeychile Ryder in the novel.
- The photographer working for Dr. No in this film is named Annabel Chung in the novel.
- Felix Leiter appears in this film, though not in the novel, even though the character had been created and appeared in prior Bond novels written by Ian Fleming.
- The novel has a different emphasis from the film on Bond's escape through a ventilation duct. In the book, this is a deliberate ordeal for Bond that culminates in a fight with a giant squid.
- The book's version of the scene in which Bond finds a tarantula in his bed instead features a centipede. The film's makers thought that a spider would represent a more obvious danger to Bond.
- Though Dr. No claims to be a member of SPECTRE in this film, he works for a Russian organization named SMERSH in the novel.
- Also in the book, Dr. No is suffocated to death by a pile of guano and does not die in his own nuclear reactor, as he does in this movie.
- In an early version of the script, Dr. No is the name of a monkey and not the name of the main villain.
- The end of the movie had originally featured land crabs attacking Honey Ryder when Bond rescues her. The sequence was filmed, but the crabs were thought to move too slow to be menacing and the end was reshot without the crabs. Despite the scene's exclusion from the movie, photographs of the earlier ending can be seen on the special edition DVD.
Searching for James Bond
- Initially, Cary Grant, Patrick McGoohan, James Mason, and David Niven were each considered for the role of James Bond. Max Von Sydow was offered the role of the villainous Dr. Julius No.
- Ian Fleming originally wanted his cousin, Christopher Lee, to play the role of Dr. Julius No. Other possibilities Fleming personally favored were Noel Coward as Dr. No and David Niven as Bond, both of whom he knew personally.
- Sean Connery was a relative unknown at the time he won the role of Bond. It is often reported that Connery won the role through a contest set up to "find James Bond". While this is untrue, the contest itself did exist, and six finalists were chosen and screentested by Broccoli, Saltzman, and Fleming. The winner of the contest was a 28-year-old model named Peter Anthony who, according to Broccoli, had a Gregory Peck quality but lacked the technique to cope with the demanding role of Bond.
Firsts & Continuity
- This film first introduced several themes that would return in subsequent Bond films, including the distinctive James Bond theme, the gun barrel sequence, "Bond girls", exotic locales, narrow escapes, Bond's astonishing good luck and skill, Bond's signature Walther PPK and his licence to kill, an over-ambitious villain, quirky, villainous henchmen, Felix Leiter of the CIA, the main character's introduction as "Bond, James Bond", as well as his taste for fine champagne, vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred), women, and weaponry.
- Bond would rarely behave as cold-heartedly than he does in the scene in which he murders Professor Dent, although he would act in similar fashion in The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Licence to Kill, and Tomorrow Never Dies.
- This is the first Bond film to reference the criminal organization SPECTRE, as Dr. Julius No is established as being a member of the organization. However, although both Ian Fleming's novels and later Bond movies establish that SPECTRE is an abbreviation of "SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion", this film gives the full version of the organization's title, referenced only once (by Dr. No), without the word "and". Additionally, SPECTRE's role in this film is minor. The organization would later be a more formidable foe in From Russia with Love through You Only Live Twice (with the exception of Goldfinger). The head of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, would continue to be Bond's nemesis until Diamonds Are Forever, and again (briefly) in For Your Eyes Only.
- M and Miss Moneypenny, played by Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell, first appear in this film and would become permanent fixtures until the 1980s.
- Q is not referred to in this movie, though the film does feature a man who provides Bond with weapons named "Major Boothroyd" both on-screen and in the end credits. Although the character is played by Peter Burton, the armourer would seem to be the same person as Q, since Ian Fleming's novels refer to Q as Major Boothroyd. Usual Q actor Desmond Llewelyn would appear as "Boothroyd" in the following film, From Russia with Love, due to Burton being unavailable. Although Q-Branch is first mentioned in that film, it would not be until Goldfinger that the armourer would be referred to as Q.
- The character of Miss Taro from this film would become the first of many "bad girls" in the Bond film series, women such as Fiona Volpe, Xenia Onatopp and Helga Brandt.
- This film provides the first of only two views of Bond's flat, the other being in Live and Let Die.
- In one scene, M claims that he is head of MI7, even though MI6 is referenced earlier in the film. No other mention of MI7 would be made in subsequent Bond films and it currently does not exist in real life, although MI7 was once the name of a temporary subsection that specifically dealt with propaganda during World War I. One possible explanation for the reference to MI7 is that there might have been a prohibition on mentioning MI6 in the media at the time this film was made. If so, this changed and not only would MI6 be cited frequently in future Bond films, but also its real-life headquarters building would first be seen and used in GoldenEye, decades later (although the real-life MI6 is not known to have a 00-section).
- In another scene, Dr. No offers Bond a vodka martini "with lemon peel". Besides being the first on-screen reference to Bond's favorite drink by a major character (a waiter serves one to Bond when he arrives in his hotel room), it is the only occasion in the original continuity that any additional ingredient (namely the lemon peel) is mentioned (Also mentioned in 2006's Casino Royale, released more than forty years after this film).
- Sylvia Trench also appears in the next James Bond film, From Russia with Love, becoming the only Bond girl to have appeared twice in the film series.
Gun Barrel SequenceThis film starts with strange electronic noises that accompany the familiar white dot which unusually pauses in the middle of the screen as the credit "Harry Saltzman & Albert R Broccoli present" appears (the ampersand is within the dot). The dot continues moving before it opens out to reveal black and white footage of stunt performer Bob Simmons, doubling for Sean Connery who was apparently unavailable when it was decided to film the sequence. Simmons, wearing a hat, jumps to the side and fires. We hear the sound from the gunshot dissipate and only after that does the James Bond Theme start. The same footage would be reused for the next two films, From Russia with Love and Goldfinger, and Connery wouldn't appear in the gun barrel sequence himself until the fourth official Bond film, Thunderball.
Dr. No is set and was filmed in London, Kingston in Jamaica, and Crab Key - an island off Jamaica. The casino scene at the beginning of the film was set at the "Les Ambassadeurs" Club, Hamilton Place, London. The club still exists, and is one of London's most exclusive casinos. The Club itself was a set that was subsequently re-used as Pleydell Smith's office.
- Honey Rider would prove to be well-liked by many viewers who consider her the standard to which future Bond girls are measured up to.
- Both fans and critics have likened Honey Rider's emergence from the sea in a white bikini to Botticelli's Venus, a painting which depicts the goddess Venus, having emerged from the sea as a full grown woman, arriving naked at the sea-shore.
- Sylvania Trench was originally intended to be Bond's regular girlfriend but that concept was ultimately abandoned and the character only made one subsequent appearance before she was dropped in favour of further developing the playful relationship between Bond and Miss Moneypenny.
- Eunice Gayson, the actress who appears as Sylvia Trench in this film, was originally hired to play Miss Moneypenny, and Lois Maxwell was to have played Sylvia, but the two actresses swapped their roles. Gayson's daughter would later appear as an extra in GoldenEye.
- Former "Miss Jamaica" Margeurite LeWars, who appears as the villainous photographer Annabel Chung, was initially considered for the role of Miss Taro by director Terence Young, whom the actress met while working at an airport counter. The role, according to LeWars, was too racy for her, so she opted for the part of the photographer instead.
Music & Soundtrack
- The scene in which M claims to be head of MI7 is actually dubbed, since it is clear that M says MI6 (the subtitles on the special edition DVD release also says "MI6", and at least one trailer features the undubbed dialogue).
- Most female voices in this film, including that of Honey Ryder actress, Ursula Andress, who had a thick Swiss German accent, were dubbed by an uncredited actress, Monica Van Der Syl, in post-production. The only time when Van Der Syl's voice is not used for Honey Ryder is when the character sings "Underneath The Mango Tree" during her first appearance. Diana Coupland, an actress who was married to Monty Norman at the time this film was being created, provided the singing voice of Honey Ryder. The undubbed voice of Eunice Gayson as Sylvia Trench can be heard on the theatrical trailer for Dr. No, included on the special edition DVD; Gayson speaks with a noticeably higher pitch than Van Der Syl. The practice of dubbing actress' voices in post-production would be a standard procedure with Bond films throughout the 1960s and few actresses were provided with a chance to present their own voices, with notable exceptions being Honor Blackman (as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger), Diana Rigg (as Tracy Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service), and Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny.
- The voice of Louis Blaazer, who plays Pleydell Smith in this movie, was also dubbed. Although a resident of Jamaica at the time of filming, he had been brought up in Aberdeen. The producers of the film were concerned about the movie's audiences hearing two Scottish accents during the actor's scenes with Sean Connery and it was consequently decided to re-dub Plydell-Smith's lines with a clipped Home Counties voice.
- The title of Dr. No has one of the more obvious derivations of the Bond films, being as it is the name of the movie's villain, Dr. Julius No.
- The film was alternatively titled James Bond Chases Dr. No in Germany, James Bond Vs. Dr. No in France and Belgium, 007 Is The Killing Number: Dr. No in Japan, Agent 007 Vs. The Satanic Dr. No in Spain and Portugal, Agent 007: Mission: Kill Dr No in Denmark, Agent 007 With A Licence To Kill in Sweden and, more simply, Licence To Kill in Italy.
- Because the film received titles that incorporated the phrase "licence to kill" in some countries, a minor problem arose during translations of the title of the sixteenth film Licence to Kill.
Weapons & Gadgets
Walther PPK - Technically the only notable "gadget" in the entire film is when M and Major Boothroyd (Q) force Bond to trade in his Beretta 950 for the new standard issue, the Walther PPK. Bond has since used a Walther PPK in every movie up to Tomorrow Never Dies, when it was temporarily switched to a Walther P99. In Quantum of Solace use of the Walther PPK was resumed. Radio transmitter - The MI6 radio transmitter was located at the Jamaican station and was used to make regular contact with London. Geiger counter - Bond has to request one from Britain before using it to determine the radioactivity of Crab Key, suggesting they were uncommon. Luminous watch - Bond has a watch with a luminous, slightly radioactive face that glows in the dark. This is a holdover from Fleming's novels, in which Bond is described as having a similar watch.
- As Bond is being ushered into Dr. No's dining room, he pauses to take notice of a portrait of the Duke of Wellington by Goya. This was actually a joke, making light of the fact that the painting had been stolen in real-life from London's National Gallery in 1961 and was still missing when the film was released. The portrait was finally recovered in 1965.
- A comic book adaptation of this film's screenplay was published around the time of the film's release.
Read more about the Dr. No Theme Song.
- Dr. No (1962) at IMDb
James Bond films Sean Connery
Dr. No (1962) - From Russia with Love (1963) - Goldfinger (1964) - Thunderball (1965) - You Only Live Twice (1967) - Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Live and Let Die (1973) - The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) - The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) - Moonraker (1979) - For Your Eyes Only (1981) - Octopussy (1983) - A View to a Kill (1985)
The Living Daylights (1987) - Licence to Kill (1989)
GoldenEye (1995) - Tomorrow Never Dies (1998) - The World Is Not Enough (1999) - Die Another Day (2002)
Casino Royale (2006) - Quantum of Solace (2008) - Skyfall (2012) - Spectre (2015) - Bond 25
Casino Royale (1954) - Casino Royale (1967) - Never Say Never Again (1983)