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Dr. No (1962), starring Sean Connery, is the first James Bond film. Based on the 1958 Ian Fleming novel of the same name, it was adapted by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, and Berkely Mather. The film was directed by Terence Young, and produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, a partnership that would continue until 1975.

In the film, James Bond is sent to Jamaicamarker on an investigation into the death of a fellow Britishmarker agent. The murder trail leads him to the underground base of Dr. Julius No, who is plotting to disrupt an early Americanmarker space launch with a radio beam weapon. The film does not depict Bond earning his Double-0 status, which grants him a licence to kill; instead, it presents Bond as a seasoned veteran.

Dr. No was produced with a low budget, but was a financial success, leading to a series of films that continues to this day. Dr. No also launched a successful genre of "secret agent" films that flourished in the 1960s. Many of the iconic aspects of a typical James Bond film were established in Dr. No, beginning with what is known as the gun barrel sequence, an introduction to the character through the view of a gun barrel, and a highly stylized main title sequence, both created by Maurice Binder. In his work on film, production designer Ken Adam established a unique and expansive visual style that is the hallmark of the Bond film series.


John Strangways, the British Intelligence Station Chief in Jamaicamarker, is ambushed and killed by three assassins while leaving a bridge game. As a result, MI6marker agent James Bond goes to the British Intelligence headquarters. There, Bond is briefed by his chief, "M", with orders to investigate Strangways' disappearance, and to determine whether it is related to his cooperation with the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on a case involving the disruption of Cape Canaveralmarker rocket launches by radio jamming.

Upon his arrival at Kingstonmarker Airport Bond is shadowed by a mysterious man in sunglasses, and a female photographer, who tries to snap his picture. He is picked up by a chauffeur, supposedly sent from Government House, whom Bond suspects to be an enemy agent. After the car ends up in an isolated beach road, Bond orders the chauffeur to pull over, subdues him after a brief fight and attempts to interrogate him, but his subject kills himself with a cyanide-embedded cigarette instead. After interviewing the other bridge players Bond is informed the name of Strangways' fishing guide, Quarrel.

Bond goes to interview Quarrel at the Kingston docks, but finds the suspicious Cayman Islandermarker to be uncooperative. Persisting with his questions in a local bar, Bond finally persuades his subject to talk in a back storeroom. There, however, the agent is jumped by Quarrel and the bar owner. Bond rapidly subdues them in a brief fight—only to be held at gunpoint by the mystery man from the airport. He reveals himself to be CIA agent Felix Leiter, and that not only are the two agents on the same mission, but Quarrel is helping Leiter.

The CIA has traced the mysterious radio jamming of American rockets to the Jamaica vicinity, but aerial photography cannot pinpoint the exact location of its origin. Quarrel reveals to have been guiding Strangways around the nearby islands to collect mineral samples. He also tells about the island of Crab Key, owned by the reclusive Dr. No, who operates a bauxite mine which is rigorously protected against trespassers by an armed security force and low-scan radar. All this piques Bond's interest, as his photo is snapped again by the camera girl from the airport. She is intercepted, but refuses to talk, so the agents take her film away and let her go, leaving Bond to wonder who could inspire so much fear that his employees would endure pain and even commit suicide before answering questions about him.

The next morning, Bond tries to view the official file on Crab Key, but finds that it has been lost by secretary Miss Taro. Bond also catches her listening at the keyhole and suspects her to be an enemy agent, but nevertheless asks her out on a date. Later, Bond detects radioactive traces on the floor of Quarrel's boat, right where Strangways' mineral samples had been. He convinces Quarrel to lead him to Crab Key, even though the fisherman is afraid of a dragon that is rumoured to inhabit the place.

On his way to pick up Miss Taro, Bond is stalked by Strangways' murderers, who end up dying. At Miss Taro's house Bond seduces her, and after her tryst, she is arrested by an arriving policeman. Now alone in the house, Bond arranges a trap in the bed—and after another henchman, Professor Dent, shows up and empties his silenced pistol into the bed, Bond kills him.

Late that night Bond and Quarrel depart for Crab Key. The following morning, Bond meets nature girl Honey Ryder, who at first is suspicious of Bond but decides to help him. After avoiding an attack by a patrol boat full of security men, Honey leads Bond and Quarrel inland, where they again avoid a security foot patrol. Just after nightfall, the three trespassers reach an open swamp where they are attacked by the legendary dragon of Crab Key—which turns out to be a flame-throwing armored tractor. In the resulting gun battle, Quarrel is incinerated by the flame-thrower, and Bond and Honey are taken captive by the tractor's radiation-suited crew.

Bond and Honey end up in Dr. No's private study. There the scientist, over a formal dinner, explains that he is a member of the private criminal/espionage organisation SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion), and plans to disrupt a highly publicised Project Mercury space launch from Cape Canaveral with his atomic powered radio beam. He even offers Bond a position with SPECTRE, but is put off by his guest's witty provocations. After dinner, Bond is beaten by the guards and Honey is dragged off to a separate punishment.

Bond is then locked into a holding cell, but manages to escape. After leaving, Bond disguises himself and finds his way to the base control center, a multi-level room full of high-tech instrumentation, with an atomic reactor set into the floor. Dr. No oversees from the command console as the final stage of the SPECTRE plot is about to be executed. Bond overloads the nuclear reactor that powers the complex, just as the American spacecraft is about to take off. A hand-to-hand fight ensues between Bond and Dr. No, with the scientist being pushed into the reactor's cooling vat, in which he drowns. Bond then searched for Honey, and finds her left to drown as she is strapped to the bottom of a spill basin with water filling up, and releases her, and the two escape in a boat just as the entire lair explodes.




When Harry Saltzman gained the rights for the James Bond book, he initially did not go through with the project. Instead, Albert R. Broccoli wanted the rights to the Bond books and attempted to buy them off Saltzman. But Saltzman did not want to give the rights to Broccoli so they formed a partnership to make the James Bond films. The two received authorization from United Artists to produce the film, to be released in 1962. Saltzman and Broccoli created two companies: Danjaq, which was to hold the rights to the films, and EON Productions, which was to produce the films.

The producers offered Guy Green, Guy Hamilton, and Ken Hughes to direct the film, but all of them turned it down. They finally signed Terence Young as the director. Broccoli and Saltzman felt that Young would be able make a real impression of James Bond and transfer the essence of the character from book to film. Young imposed many stylistic choices for the character which continued throughout the film series. Thunderball was originally intended to be the first Bond film, but there was a legal dispute with the screenplay's co-author, Kevin McClory. As a result, Dr. No was chosen.

As the producers asked about financing to United Artists, the studio lent only $1 million for them to spend. As a result, only one sound editor was hired (normally there are two, for sound effects and dialogue), and many scenarios were made in cheaper ways, with M's office featuring cardboard paintings and a door covered in a leather-like plastic, and the room where Dent meets Dr. No costing only £745 to build. Also, as art director Syd Cain found out his name was not in the credits, Broccoli gave him a golden pen to compensate, saying that he did not want to spend money making those credits again.

Search for an actor

Because Ian Fleming's series of James Bond novels was not widely popular in 1961, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman originally sought to have a popular film actor portray James Bond. Cary Grant was initially chosen for the role, but was not selected due to his commitment of only one feature film; it is also said that Grant refused the part because, age 58 at the time, he felt he was too old for it. Richard Johnson was the first choice of the director, but he turned it down because he already had a contract with MGM and was intending to leave. Other actors purported to have been considered for the role include Patrick McGoohan (on the strength of his portrayal of spy John Drake in the television series Danger Man; it is frequently reported in histories of his later television series The Prisoner that he turned the role down on moral grounds), James Mason, and David Niven (who would later play the character in the 1967 satire Casino Royale).

There are several apocryphal stories as to whom Ian Fleming personally wanted. Some sources, specifically Albert R. Broccoli from his autobiography When The Snow Melts, claim that he favoured Roger Moore, having seen him as Simon Templar on the television series The Saint. However, the details of this claim are disputed by the fact that the series did not begin airing in the United Kingdom until 4 October 1962, only one day before the premiere of Dr. No. It was known that Fleming wanted Noel Coward for the role of the Dr. Julius No and David Niven for the role of Bond. Moore was not linked publicly to the role of 007 until 1967 in which Harry Saltzman claimed he would make a good Bond, but also displayed misgivings due to his popularity as Simon Templar. Moore was selected later as Bond in 1973 for Live and Let Die.

Ultimately, the producers turned to 30-year-old Sean Connery for five films. 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 screen tested 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 proved unable to cope with the role.


Dr. No introduced the many recurring themes and features associated with the suave and sophisticated secret agent: the distinctive James Bond Theme, the gun barrel sequence, his initial mission briefing with M., "Bond girls," the criminal organization SPECTRE, narrow escapes, Bond's luck and skill, his signature Walther PPK and the licence to kill, over-ambitious villains, henchmen, and allies. Many characteristics of the following Bond films were introduced in Dr. No, ranging from Bond's introduction as "Bond, James Bond" (although he seems to be mimicking Sylvia Trench who introduces herself first as "Trench. Sylvia Trench"), to his taste for vodka martinis "shaken, not stirred", love interests, weaponry, and a closing scene with Bond finally alone with the girl (generally in a boat). Also, this film establishes the oft-repeated association (in this case, Project Mercury) between the Bond series and the U.S. manned space program—which would be repeated with Project Gemini in You Only Live Twice, Project Apollo in Diamonds Are Forever, and the space shuttle in Moonraker (not to mention several outer space sequences involving fictional satellite programs in Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Die Another Day).


Broccoli had originally hired his friend Wolf Mankowitz to write Dr. No's screenplay. After viewing early rushes, Mankowitz feared the film would be a disaster and damage his reputation, and had his name removed from the film's credits. Richard Maibaum, who would write for twelve more Bond films, wrote the final draft, which had the collaboration of many writers, with two receiving credits: Johanna Harwood and Berkely Mather.

During the series' forty-year history, only a few of the films would remain substantially true to their source material; Dr. No has many similarities to the novel and follows its basic plot, but there are a few notable omissions. Major elements from the novel that are missing entirely from the film include Bond's fight with a giant squid, and the escape from Dr. No's complex using the dragon disguised swamp buggy.

Several elements of the novel were significantly changed for the film, as well. These include the use of a (non-poisonous) tarantula spider instead of a centipede, Dr. No's secret complex being disguised as a legitimate bauxite mine instead of a guano quarry, Dr. No's plot to disrupt NASAmarker space launches from Cape Canaveral using a radio beam instead of disrupting U.S. missile testing on Turk's Island, and the method of Dr. No's death by drowning in reactor coolant rather than a burial under a chute of guano.

In addition, some major elements were absent from the novel, but added to the film. These include the introduction of the Bond character himself in a gambling casino, the introduction of Bond's semi-regular girlfriend Sylvia Trench, a car chase from the airport, a fight scene with an enemy chauffeur, a fight scene to introduce Quarrel, Bond's recurring CIA ally Felix Leiter, Dr No's partner in crime Professor Dent, and Bond's controversial cold-blooded killing of this character.

When Major Boothroyd replaces Bond's Beretta, he claims that it has no stopping power. He states the replacement gun's caliber as '7.65 mil with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window'. The Walther PPK given to Bond established a trend in the entire series as the secret agent's signature weapon. However it should be noted that the Beretta M1934 replaced in the film is actually a higher caliber (.380 ACP/9 mm short) with much more stopping power.In the novel it is a very small .25 (6.35 mm) caliber Beretta that is replaced by the larger .32 (7.65 mm) caliber PPK. Major Boothroyd's remarks originally referred to the .25 Beretta, not the .380 shown in the film.


The film is set in the London, UKmarker, Kingston, Jamaicamarkerand Crab Key, a fictional island off Jamaica. Some of the scenes were shot on location in Jamaicamarker, primarily the exterior scenes of Crab Key and Kingston where an uncredited Syd Cain acted as art director and also designed the Dragon Tank. They shot a few yards from Fleming's Goldeneyemarker estate, and the author would regularly visit with friends. Most interior shots of Dr. No's base, the ventilation duct and the interior of the British Secret Service headquarters were shot at Pinewood Studiosmarker, Buckinghamshire, England with sets designed by Ken Adam. The majority of shooting for later Bond films also took place at Pinewood.

The scene where a tarantula walks over Bond was initially shot by pinning a bed to the wall and placing Sean Connery over it, with a protective glass between him and the spider. Director Young did not like the final results, so the scenes were intercalated with new footage featuring the tarantula over stuntman Bob Simmons. The book features a scene where Honey is tortured by being tied to the ground along with crabs, but since the crabs were sent frost from the Caribbean, they did not move much during filming, so the scene was altered to have Honey slowly drowning.

When he is about to have dinner with Dr. No, Bond is amazed to see Goya's painting of the Duke of Wellington. The portrait had been stolen from the National Gallerymarker allegedly by a 60-year-old amateur thief in Londonmarker just before filming began.

As title artist Maurice Binder was creating the credits, he had an idea for the introduction that would appear in all subsequent Bond films, the James Bond gun barrel sequence. It was filmed in sepia by putting a pinhole camera inside an actual .38 calibre gun barrel, with Bob Simmons playing Bond.


Monty Norman was invited to write the soundtrack because Broccoli liked his work on Belle, a musical about murderer Hawley Harvey Crippen. Norman was busy with musicals, and only accepted to do the music for Dr. No after Saltzman offered him to travel along with the crew to Jamaica. The most famous composition in the soundtrack is the "James Bond Theme", which appears in a calypso medley over the title credits, and was written by Norman based on a previous composition of his. John Barry, who would later go on to compose the music for eleven Bond films, arranged the Bond theme, but was uncredited—except for the credit of his orchestra playing the final piece. It has occasionally been suggested that Barry, not Norman, composed the "James Bond Theme". This argument has been the subject of two court cases, the most recent in 2001.

The music for the opening scene is a calypso version of the nursery rhyme "Three Blind Mice", with new lyrics to reflect the intentions of the three assassins hired by Dr. No. Other notable songs in the film are the Bouyon music song "Jump Up", played in the background, and the traditional Jamaican calypso "Underneath the Mango Tree", famously sung by Diana Coupland (then Norman's wife), the singing voice of Honey Ryder, as she walked out of the ocean on Crab Key. Byron Lee & the Dragonaires appeared in the film and performed most of the music on the later soundtrack album.

Release and reception

Dr. No premiered on 5 October 1962 and received mixed critical reception. Bad reviews came from the direction that the sardonic humour was not appropriate, and some did not think that Ursula Andress was particularly attractive . But in the years that followed its release it became more popular among critics and fans. Writing in 1986 Danny Peary described Dr. No as a “cleverly conceived adaption of Ian Fleming’s enjoyable spy thriller… Picture has sex, violence, wit, terrific action sequences, and colorful atmosphere… Connery, Andress and Wiseman all give memorable performances. There’s a slow stretch in the middle and Dr. No could use a decent henchman, but otherwise the film works marvelously." Describing Dr. No as "a different type of film", Peary notes that "Looking back, one can understand why it caused so much excitement.”

The American release for the film was in 1963, a year later than its British release. The American teaser trailer displayed a sense of humour absent from the original British trailer. The American advertising campaign first included the 007 logo designed by Joseph Caroff with a pistol as part of the seven. An original soundtrack album was released in 1963 as well as several cover versions of the "The James Bond Theme".

In Japan the film was titled We Have No Need of a Doctor when promotional materials sent to Japan by United Artists mistakenly featured a question mark instead of a full stop/period following the "Dr.".

Following Dr. No's release, the quote "Bond ... James Bond," became a catch phrase that entered the lexicon of Western popular culture as the epitome of polished machismo. On 21 June 2005 it was honoured as the 22nd greatest quotation in cinema history by the American Film Institute as part of their 100 Years Series.

The film had a budget of US$1,000,000, and grossed a total of $16,067,035 in U.S. domestic box office and $59,600,000 worldwide, making it a financial success. The results place it as the fourth lowest grossing film in the Bond series.

IGN listed it as sixth-best Bond film ever, Entertainment Weekly put the film at seventh among Bond films, and Norman Wilner of MSN as twelfth best. All the rankings considered the film modest, but effective, with Connery's charisma overcoming flaws of the plot and the low budget. President John F. Kennedy was a huge fan of not only the movie Dr. No, but also all of Ian Fleming's novels.

In 2003, the scene of Andress emerging from the water in a bikini topped Channel 4's list of 100 sexiest scenes of film history. The bikini was sold in an auction for US$61,500. Entertainment Weekly and IGN ranked her as Top in a Top 10 Bond Babes list.

Comic book adaptation

Around the time of the film's release, a comic book adaptation of the screenplay was published in British Classics Illustrated, and later reprinted in European Detective and in early 1963 in the United States by DC Comics as part of its Showcase anthology series. It sold disappointingly, its interior art being very different from the typical DC comics. DC has not published another James Bond comic since.


  1. Cork, John & Scivally, Bruce (2002). James Bond: The Legacy. Boxtree, 29.
  2. Cork and Scivally, 31.
  3. Dr. No by Ian Fleming
  4. Cork and Scivally, 305.
  5. Cain, Syd Not Forgetting James Bond: The Autobiography of Syd Cain 2005 Reynolds & Hearn
  6. Lyrics to "Jump Up", "Three Blind Mice" and "Underneath the Mango Tree"
  7. Danny Peary, Guide for the Film Fanatic (Simon & Schuster, 1986) p.127
  8. P.126 Cinefantastique magazine Vol. 37, no. 9 (winter 2006)
  9. Collectors Australian Broadcasting Corporation television show
  10. IGN: Top 10 Bond Babes
  11. Secrets behind Comics URL accessed 20 July 2007

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