James Bond is back on track. Production starts on Bond 25 in March 2019 with a new director at the helm, Maniac and True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga.
And with the gossip building on who will replace Daniel Craig after his last outing as Bond – Ibris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, Tom Hardy, Henry Cavill, Richard Madden or Aidan Turner have all been mentioned – we’ve decided to look back through the last 24 films to find some of our favourite on-screen gadgets.
Some are incredible, some just plain stupid. All are part of 007’s rich cinematic tradition that we’ve been enjoying since 1962.
From Russia With Love
A garotte wire in a wrist watch. This gadget is used in From Russia With Love by the main Spectre hitman, first in a training exercise and then on Bond himself. Bond of course laughs in the face of danger and uses it on the attacker instead.
Never trust a lady, especially Rosa Klebb, in heels with a dagger pointing out the tip. Worn by Spectre agents in the film, the poison tipped blade pops out at the front of the shoe ready to use it a fight. Die-hard Bond fans will also tell you the shoe appears again in Die Another Day in Q’s lab.
Who said Bond’s gadgets have to be state of the art? In Goldfinger Bond puts a rubber duck on his head and uses breathing apparatus to sneak into an enemy facility.
Yes, the Aston Martin DB5 had machine guns and an ejector seat, but perhaps more interestingly also had a satnav to help Bond get around the English countryside even though it was 1964, 40 years before the first TomTom satnavs went on sale.
Odd Job’s bowler hat might not be a Bond gadget as such, but it’s one of the best weapons wielded by a villain by far.
The jetpack from Thunderball lets Bond escape after killing Jaques Bouvar in the movie. What’s more remarkable is that the actual pack used during filming worked for real.
You Only Live Twice
Smoking does indeed kill. Especially when a mini rocket from a cigarette hits you. Bond uses this gadget in You Only Live Twice to kill a technician standing by the entrance controls before entering Blofeld’s volcano base.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Radioactive lint. Radioactive. Lint. Pop that in your pocket and you can be tracked and saved.
Diamonds Are Forever
Q devises an electro-magnetic ring that, when used, means that you’ll always win on a slot machine. Surely that’s more the sort of thing a Bond villain might do don’t you think? Maybe that’s how they can afford all those fancy gadgets.
Diamonds Are Forever is also the first time we see Bond using a fingerprint sensor to access a room. The technology then wasn’t as good as that found on our phones today though as Bond is able to use a fake fingerprint to pretend he is someone else.
Live And Let Die
A Rolex Submariner with mini saw and a super magnet inside is a great gadget for Bond. While he does use the saw to cut some rope and escape, he mainly uses the magnet for unzipping the dress of Madeline Smith at the end.
Live and Let Die started the Roger Moore era and, with that, he got a vast selection of (sometimes silly) gadgets to play with. The silliest were perhaps shark gun pellets that swell after impact. Although designed to kill sharks, Bond uses it Dr Kananga to finish him off instead in possibly the most hilarious ending for a villain in the entire series of films.
The Man With The Golden Gun
When you say the word “gadgets” you think phones, cameras, cool stuff. You don’t think of a fake third nipple. But in the Man With The Golden Gun that’s exactly what Bond uses as part of his disguise.
The Golden Gun. Definitely the coolest gadget that someone other than Bond uses in the movies.
The Spy Who Loved Me
Not only is Bond’s ski pole gun superb as a surprise gadget, it’s just a taster for the rest of the best opening sequence in all of the films.
Hiding a gun in a hookah is an incredible niche way to kill someone as we found out in MI6’s offices in The Spy Who Loved Me when Bond goes to visit Q Branch.
Yes, the Aston Martin DB5 is iconic, but the Lotus Esprit S1 turns into a submarine by retracting its wheels and replacing them with fins to help steer under water.
Bond doesn’t need to wait like the rest of us to get the latest gadgets. Here he is in 1977 with a smartwatch getting text messages on his arm from Q. Remember, this was 30 years before the iPhone and 40 years before the Apple Watch. The film makers didn’t, however, believe you would read the message on screen, instead making Bond print out the message on a small ticker tape.
In 1979, cameras where still pretty bulky, but not for Bond. In Moonraker he uses a tiny camera to snap spy shots. Of course, Bond being Bond he has 007 embossed on the side, presumably so he doesn’t get it mixed up with the other 00 agents in the canteen.
As the film’s title suggests, Bond heads to space where he has a laser battle with others to save the day and be back in England by tea time.
Hidden from sight, as long as you’re wearing a shirt and suit, this wrist dart gun proves the saviour of the day when Bond has to escape from a centrifuge.
For Your Eyes Only
The Identigraph is at MI6 headquarters and used by Bond and Q to put together an image of henchman Emile Leopold Locque in the movie, showing us just how basic computer graphics were at the time.
It might seem weird considering the smartwatch evolution and devices like the Apple Watch and Wear OS, but we still don’t really use them to stream live video content as Bond did in Octopussy.
On the surface it looks like any ordinary-looking horse trailer, however at the press of a button, the rear end of the horse lifts up concealing an Acrostar BD-5J aircraft ready for Bond to make a quick getaway.
These polarising sunglasses can see through tinted glass, giving Bond a peek at what’s going on in areas he couldn’t normally access.
The Living Daylights
This brings new meaning to the phrase “Ghetto Blaster”. While never used by James Bond, now played by Timothy Dalton, this gadget is tested at Q Branch and is a boombox that fires a rocket.
This one’s called Dentonite. Yes, it is explosive toothpaste. That’ll solve all dentistry problems with a bang.
Licence To Kill
Literally a “point and shoot” camera, this Polaroid was not only a laser-firing snapper when the shutter was pressed, but also allowed Bond in Licence To Kill to take x-ray pics too.
Goldeneye saw a new Bond, Pierce Brosnan, and new gadgets. In particular, a deadly phone box that incorporated a large airbag which crushes anyone who happens to be inside. Deadly.
Another gadget never used by Bond but still fun, this wheelchair and leg cast missile combo hid a missile in the leg cast that could be fired while sitting down.
Bond’s Sony mobile phone can do a whole stack of things in this film, but remotely drive a BMW is perhaps one of the coolest. It’s a technology that has eventually become possible – to an extent – with Tesla drivers able to control their car in and out of parking spaces using their mobile phone. Driving around a car park in a high speed chase is a completely different thing though.
The World Is Not Enough
A Bagpipe that hides a flamethrower and a machine gun sounds pretty deadly. If that doesn’t get you, the sound probably will.
The World Is Not Enough
X-ray sunglasses, this time allowing Bond to check for concealed weapons.
Die Another Day
Bond’s car in Die Another Day comes with all the usual gadgets, guns and tricks. There’s also the small matter of a cloaking device that allows it to become invisible at the press of a button.
Poisoned and fighting for his life, Bond, now played by Daniel Craig, rushes to his trusted Aston to use the built-in defibrillator found in the glove compartment. It’s what every car needs.
“The latest thing from Q branch; called a radio.”
It’s about as gadgety as you get for Bond in the Craig era. A ring used by members of SPECTRE to store details about the evil organisation. Have these people never heard of the cloud?