While we may smirk at their, frankly, rather silly names and can roundly agree that there are a few instances where their roles haven’t aged all that well, there’s no denying that the female foil to James Bond is key to the success of the super-spy franchise. And, just like the man himself, the Bond girl has evolved over time to become a much more nuanced and fully-rounded character. Just take Lea Seydoux’s portrayal of the highly intelligent Dr. Madeline Swann. Or Naomie Harris’ take on Miss Moneypenny as an agent worth every bit as much as the boys. And, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s input being sought for No Time To Die, we’re expecting big things from the next generation of Bond girls.
Which isn’t to say, of course, that we don’t still hold a soft spot for their predecessors. Here are our favourite Bond girls of all time.
10. Miss Caruso - Live and Let Die
Played by Madeline Smith, who was recommended by Roger Moore after the pair had worked together on a television show, Miss Caruso is the quintessential female agent who falls for Bond’s charms – at one point being forced to hide in a coat closet to avoid discovery by M. That said, the Italian spy, is no fool – and tends to get her way in the end.
9. Xenia Onatopp - Goldeneye
Yes, even by 1995 the penchant for suggestive, mildly ludicrous names still hadn’t quite died out. And, while Xenia might be a psychopath with a soft spot for bald admirals, as Bond girls go, she could hold her own. Played by Famke Janssen of X-Men fame, this Soviet fighter pilot and ruthless killer is the classic femme fatale.
8. Tracy Bond - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Diana Rigg played the only true Mrs James Bond there ever was (we’re discounting Kissy Suzuki on reasons of that marriage being an undercover ploy) with great aplomb. Daughter of an Italian crime lord with the upbringing of a European noble, she would have been a brilliant match for Bond had it not all ended so abruptly in tragedy.
7. Vesper Lynd - Casino Royale
French actress Eva Green played Lynd in Casino Royale, imbuing her performance – and her character’s relationship with Daniel Craig’s Bond – with far more emotion than the typical Bond girl – making the revelation of her double agent status all the more painful. It is undoubtedly Green’s portrayal which helped make Casino Royale one of the best regarded Bond films of recent years.
6. Tatiana Romanova - From Russia With Love
The blonde Soviet officer was not played by a Russian, but by former Italian Miss Universe contestant Daniela Bianchi – albeit with her voice dubbed by Barbara Jefford. A former Boloshoi ballerina, Romanova is all about poise, elegance – and loyalty to her country at all costs.
5. Fiona Volpe - Thunderball
The SPECTRE assassin is one of the most fearsome Bond girls in history and presents a formidable foe for 007. Conspirator to elaborate plots and handy with a handgun, Italian actress Luciana Paluzzi put in a commendable performance as Volpe in the 1965 film.
4. Pussy Galore - Goldfinger
Honor Blackman’s Pussy Galore is one of the most famous Bond characters – quite possibly due to her ridiculous name. Thought to be based on Fleming’s real life love Blanchette Blackwell, Blackman’s character may differ vastly to the source material (in the novel Galore is a black-haired lesbian leading a group of all-female cat burglars), but her bad-girl-gone-good storyline has made her a firm fan favourite.
3. Domino Derval - Thunderball
Domino Derval was originally Domino Vitali in the Fleming novels but producers were very keen to get French actress Claudine Auger in the film, hence the name change. Unlike many of her counterparts, Domino is not a spy, but rather a RADA-trained actress recruited by Bond to inform on her lover Emilio Largo – becoming one of the more fully-rounded Bond girls as a result.
2. Mary Goodnight - The Man with the Golden Gun
Britt Ekland was one of the most famous actresses ever to play a Bond girl and her role as the ditzy but charming Goodnight was very well received. At the receiving end of some of the rougher treatment by both Bond (who pushes her into a cupboard to hide her from Andrea Anders) and hit man Scaramanga (who imprisons her and forces her to wear a bikini at all times), her eventual revenge is all the sweeter.
1. Andrea Anders and Octopussy - The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy
Maud Adams is the only actress to play two different Bond girl leads and therefore should have her talent recognised. Dangerous, captivating, mysterious and beautiful – Adams encapsulated everything a Bond girl should be.
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.