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Spectre recap: Essential guide and how Bond film links to No Time To Die

It might be useful to refresh your memory about the previous entry in the franchise before watching the new 007 flick.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) in Spectre

  • Patrick Cremona
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In days gone by, James Bond films were never particularly bothered by continuity. Characters came and went and most films were essentially standalone adventures with no clear links to previous missions.

But the Daniel Craig era has been very different: from his first film as the iconic 00-agent in 2006's Casino Royale right up to his final outing in No Time To Die , the films have followed a coherent narrative, often feeding directly into each other.

That is certainly the case in the new film, which picks up five years after Bond has decided to leave MI6 following the events of Spectre, and includes many returning characters including Madeleine Swann and Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

So if you're about to head to the cinema to watch the new movie and reckon you need a quick refresh of the events of Spectre first, then look no further – read on for a full recap.

What happened in Spectre?

The main plot of the previous film saw Bond faced with dual threats: an imminent merger of MI5 and MI6 that would bring about the end of the 00 programme, proposed by Andrew Scott's Max Denbigh (known as C), and a more traditional big bad in the form of old foe Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) – who is referred to as Franz Oberhauser throughout most of the film.

The film begins with a particularly memorable sequence: following 007 as he carries out an unauthorised mission in Mexico, killing a terrorist leader after parading through the Mexico City streets as part of the city's Day of the Dead celebrations.

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When he returns from the mission, the new M (Ralph Fiennes) suspends him from duty but Bond, being Bond, pays no notice, instead travelling to Italy to attend the funeral of the terrorist he killed in Mexico. Meanwhile C, the director-General of a new Joint Intelligence Service, is attempting to get the 00 programme closed down and campaigning for Britain to join the global surveillance and intelligence initiative Nine Eyes.

Screenshot 2020-02-20 at 12.02.14

While in Rome, Bond seduces the terrorist's widow Lucia (Monica Belluci) and discovers the existence of a terrorist and criminal organisation, SPECTRE, led by the presumed dead Franz Oberhauser.

Bond first encounters Oberhauser when he secretly gains entry into a meeting of SPECTRE and hears the order for someone called The Pale King to be assassinated. With help from Eve Moneypenny, Bond realises that this refers to another old foe Mr White and he subsequently tracks him down. When he finds him, White explains that he has been poisoned and is already dying, but tells Bond to look out for his daughter.

Bond promises he will find and protect White's daughter, a psychiatrist by the name of Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux).

After he locates her, Swann takes Bond to a hotel in Tangier called L'Américain, where Mr White had left them evidence leading to Blofeld's base. Meanwhile, Q (Ben Whishaw) has learned that all the previous villains from this era of Bond (Le Chiffre, Dominic Greene and Raoul Silva) were themselves part of SPECTRE, and thus Blofeld has been behind almost all of 007's misfortunes.

On reaching Blofeld's base, the villain explains that he is actually working in tandem with C – he has been staging terrorist attacks around the world, creating a need for a new surveillance system that would replace the 00 programme. C's side of the bargain is that he will feed any and all information about investigations into SPECTRE directly to Blofeld, such that he can perennially evade capture.

Screenshot 2020-02-20 at 12.02.30

In true Bond villain style, Blofeld then tortures Bond and reveals that the two are very closely linked: his father Hannes had briefly been Bond's legal guardian in childhood, and Blofeld had resented the attention that Bond received. Eventually, he killed Hannes, staged his own death and took on his new alter ego to create SPECTRE and devote the rest of his life to making Bond's life hell. All pretty deranged stuff, really.

Anyway, Bond and Swann are able to engineer an escape thanks to an exploding watch and retreat to London to put a stop to Blofeld and C's plan. Unfortunately, they are both apprehended by members of SPECTRE – but not before they've told M, Q, Bill Tanner and Moneypenny of the plan, with those four working together to stop the surveillance programme from going online. They are successful, and M kills C, but the mission is not over.

Blofeld takes Bond to the shell of the old MI6 building and informs him that explosives will go off in three minutes, and Swann is hidden somewhere inside. Thankfully Bond is able to find and rescue her before the bomb detonates and the pair manage to escape, while also shooting down Blofeld's helicopter. Bond then confronts an injured Blofeld on Westminster Bridge but decides not to kill him, instead allowing him to be arrested.

The film ends with Bond driving away with Swann in his repaired iconic Aston Martin DB5, the pair now very much in love.

  • Read more: Every James Bond theme song from the film franchise’s history

How is Spectre linked to No Time To Die?

While the new film is not necessarily a direct sequel in the traditional sense, it keeps the continuity of the previous adventures and there are some aspects in particular that play a key part.

First up: Madeleine Swann. In the film's pre-titles section – set soon after the events of Spectre – we find Bond and Madeleine enjoying a holiday in Italy, clearly very much still in love. And although the film jumps forward five years after the opening credits, Madeleine continues to have a huge impact on the plot – in part due to her links to new villain Safin.

Meanwhile, Blofeld – incarcerated after the events of the previous film – continues to plague 007 even from his prison cell, with the pair coming face-to-face again, as can be glimpsed in the trailer.

SPECTRE itself also continues to pose a threat to Bond at the beginning of the film, with the criminal organisation clearly paying no heed to his wishes for a quiet retirement – and is at least partly responsible for bringing him back into the espionage fold.

To give anything more away would be to veer into spoiler territory – but those three aspects, Madeleine, Blofeld and SPECTRE itself, are the elements that need to be remembered going into the new one.

Who is Blofeld?

Ernst Stavro Blofeld is one of the most iconic baddies in Bond history, having appeared in three of Ian Fleming's novels and eight films, including No Time To Die.

Prior to Spectre, Blofeld had last been seen in a cameo role in 1981's For Your Eyes Only – although in that film he was unnamed due to a legal wrangle concerning the rights to the character.

Blofeld is a criminal mastermind and the archenemy of James Bond, hopes to achieve world domination as head of the crime organisation Spectre, and is known for stroking his famous white cat.

Actors to have portrayed him prior to Christoph Waltz include Donald Pleasance (You Only Live Twice), Telly Savalas (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) and Charles Gray (Diamonds are Forever).

At the end of Spectre, Bond passed up the opportunity to kill Blofeld and instead allowed him to be arrested.

In No Time To Die, we find the villain incarcerated.

Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) - Spectre

Who is Dr Madeleine Swann?

Madeleine Swann doesn't have quite as storied a history in Bond as Blofeld, having only been introduced in Spectre, but she makes another appearance in No Time To Die , marking the first time in history that a so-called 'Bond Girl' has returned for a second film.

Swann is a psychologist and the daughter of Mr White, a mysterious member of Spectre who becomes the target of an assassination attempt.

She disliked guns and, prior to the events of Spectre, had distanced himself from her father. After completing medical training and working as a consultant she went into hiding at the Hoffler clinic in Austria – before she was found by Bond and dragged into the action.

Who is Madeleine Swann's father?

As mentioned above, Madeleine's father is Mr. White, an antagonist who was first introduced at the start of the Daniel Craig era in Casino Royale and also played a key role in Quantum of Solace. White was one of the leaders of a secret criminal organisation called Quantum, which it later emerges is a subsidiary of SPECTRE.

In Casino Royale, White is actually responsible for killing the primary antagonist Le Chiffre, due to his fury at the villain for ruining Quantum's reputation by misappropriating their funds in the poker match. But perhaps most notably, he was directly tied to Bond's first true love Vesper Lynd – he had earlier forced her to work for him with the threat of killing her boyfriend, and was thus directly responsible for Vesper betraying Bond at the end of Casino Royale, and essentially also responsible for her death.


Of course, Vesper's final act before her death is to leave White's number to Bond, which allows him to track the villain down. This feeds directly into the events of Quantum of Solace, at the start of which White is able to escape from Bond and M thanks to an associate posing as M's bodyguard. For the rest of that film, he is a shady presence but he is left alive at the end of the film despite the dissolution of Quantum.

Crucially, Bond also learns that Vesper's old boyfriend had actually worked with White to stage his own kidnapping in order to coerce Vesper into working with Quantum in the first place– naturally increasing Bond's resentment of White still further. They didn't meet again until the events of Spectre, as described above.

No Time To Die is in UK cinemas now. If you're looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide . Visit our Movies hub for all the latest news.

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James Bond films are, and always have been, more imitative than innovative. Even in the 1960s they were essentially superhero movies starring an indestructible character who wore street clothes (and the occasional wet suit) instead of tights and a cape. He ran, jumped, drove and flew through loosely connected setpieces that borrowed whatever cliches happened to be popular in action cinema at that moment and amped them up with more beautiful locations, bigger explosions, cornier jokes, and lush, loud music by John Barry . Given the franchise's lineage, it was only a matter of time before the producers went the extra kilometer and started modeling the Bond films on the Batman and Marvel franchises. The new superhero films featured fussy world-building and onion-layered subplots doled out over many films and many years. Their conception owed quite a bit to comic books and to serialized television like "24" (James Bond by way of " Die Hard "). The last three Bond films drew on all of those traditions, plus Bond's own distinctive set of cliches, and set the stage for this fourth Craig outing, "Spectre."

The second Craig Bond, " Quantum of Solace ," built a convoluted narrative scaffolding atop 2006's "Casino Royale"—the best movie in the fifty-plus-year-old franchise, and the only one that would satisfy even if the main character were named Oswald Chutney. The final act of "Royale" killed off Bond's one true love, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), which set the stage for an emotionally burned-out, extra-icy Bond investigating a global conspiracy in "Solace" that turned out to be connected to the bad guys he fought in "Royale." "Spectre" occurs in the aftermath of MI-6's decimation in the last Bond picture. It retroactively forces connections between "Royale," "Solace" and " Skyfall ," by way of a video-recorded warning sent to Bond by his old boss M (Judi Dench) right before her death, urging Bond to follow the trail from Mexico City to Italy to Morocco and beyond, and dig to the bottom of the conspiracy that claimed so many agents' lives.

The movie feels like a culmination of everything the franchise has been building toward since Craig stepped into the part in "Casino Royale." The most recent incarnation of Bond doesn't just have stunts and quips and gadgets and curvy women with porno names. Courtesy of "Skyfall," it has a mythology that turns Bond into Batman minus the cape and cowl, and boasts a Bond version of Stately Wayne Manor; an Alfred-the-butler figure ( Albert Finney in "Skyfall"); a tragic orphan back-story (repeated via the death of Dench's matriarchal figure, who's even called "Mum"), and a Joker-type bad guy (Javier Bardem's fey torturer).

If you loved all that stuff, you'll adore "Spectre," which revives the titular organization from the Sean Connery era Bond flicks. It has subplots, characters and incidents that amount to what genre fans would call "ret-cons." And it introduces us to a new big bad, Franz Obenhauser ( Christoph Waltz )—aka Ernst Stavro Blofeld; please don't act surprised, neither of us were born yesterday! This new (old, really) villain makes Bardem's character in "Skyfall" seem like a junior Joker at best, if that. He even lures Bond into a ruined building that he's transformed into a combination haunted house and gallery installation, and by the end, he acquires a scar whose gruesomeness rivals the Joker's mouth disfigurement.

If "Spectre" were a great movie, or even a consistently good one, this might be wonderful, or at least intriguing. But this is a weirdly patchy, often listless picture. The Craig Bonds are so expensive and expansive that they can't help but impress with sheer scale. And every now and then they come up with bold images, like the silhouettes of Bond and a foe grappling in front of neon signage in "Skyfall," and the overhead shot of Bond entering the bombed-out ruins of MI-6 headquarters in "Spectre" preceded by a shadow four times as long as he is tall. But an hour or two after you've seen "Spectre" the film starts evaporating from the mind, like "Skyfall" and "Solace" before it. It's filled with big sets, big stunts, and what ought to be big moments, but few of them land. 

What's the problem? Maybe it's the script. It's credited to a murderer's row of gun-for-hire writers, but it can't seem to come up with anything but undistinguished chases and fights and quips pasted together by exposition that's half baked even by Bond standards. Like Christopher Nolan's Batman, Bond shows up wherever he has to be and escapes certain death as needed, without a hint as to how he pulled it off. And even by Bond's damn-the-rules, full-speed-ahead standards, the character is such a suitcase nuke in a cable-knit sweater that it's hard to see him as England's (or the West's) disreputable protector, which is how you pretty much have to see Bond if you're going to root for him. (Omelets, eggs.) In the pre-credits sequence, Bond wreaks destruction on Mexico City, creating an international incident that gets him suspended for the umpteenth time; when he argues that the terrorists he was trying to foil would've caused more damage, he sounds like a parody of the sort of hero who would say such things. At least when Tom Cruise offers similar defenses the " Mission: Impossible " movies (the latest of which has a plot not hugely different from this one's, come to think of it) it's meant to be ludicrous and frothy, not freighted with righteous woe. 

Or maybe the problem is the production itself. The crew teams "Skyfall" director Sam Mendes with production designer Dennis Gassner and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema (" Interstellar ") and fills the screen with deserts and lakes and forests and mountains and historic skylines and converging perspective lines and tastefully arranged rectangles-within-squares and shallow planes of focus (the movie often seems to be in 3-D even though it's not), but too often ends up looking rather like a SuperBowl ad for cell phone service or cologne.

Or maybe—blasphemy alert—the problem is Craig's performance. He might be the most drop-dead-serious actor  to play Bond, and he probably comes closer than anyone to making the character seem plausibly human ( Pierce Brosnan had his moments, even though the scripts were even less inclined to support his efforts than Craig's). But as the character has become increasingly opaque and recessive—so much so that Mendes and company seem less interested in Bond as a cold but complex person than as a sculptural object to light and pose—you may wonder what the point is. This Bond is a sinewy husk of a man, pursing his lips and staring into the middle distance. He's turned into the narrator of Edgar Allan Poe's " The Raven " but with a sidearm. The actor and the writers give us so little to grab onto that it's hard to sense Bond's feelings, much less feel with him. Late in "Spectre," we're supposed to believe that Bond is truly attached to his love interest, Lea Seydoux's Madeleine Swann (nice double Proust reference there). She reciprocates the craggy killer's affection even though, as she rightly observes, she was living in hiding for years until Bond led the bad guys straight to her. But there's little in this film's writing of Bond, or in Craig's performance, to imply that the character is capable of investing in anything more emotionally fraught than a martini mixed with house vodka. 

Or perhaps the problem is historical fatigue. Even the better bits of "Spectre," such as a close-quarters fistfight on a passenger train between Bond and a thick-necked henchman ( Dave Bautista of " Guardians of the Galaxy "), and a mostly wordless, almost one-take stalking/assassination sequence set during a Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City, pale in comparison to their Bondian inspirations (respectively, "From Russia with Love," and " Live and Let Die " by way of "Octopussy"). We've been assured by the producers that "Spectre" contains homages to every previous Bond picture. That's great if you go to films mainly for Easter egg-style trivia in the form of situations and props. But it's not so great if you're inclined to take the makers of these films at their word, and expect a Bond film like "Casino Royale," something with more brains and nuance than the usual, as opposed to a film that purports to be that kind of movie but is content to posture and strut rather than doing the necessary dramatic spadework.

Whatever the explanation(s), "Spectre" is the third Bond film in a row to write conceptual and dramatic checks that the movie itself can't cash. We're at the point now where these films are consistently more fun to anticipate than they are to watch. The media campaigns tend to be more cunning and surprising than anything that ends up onscreen. This film won political correctness kudos for casting Monica Bellucci as Bond's first age-appropriate lover (she's two years older than Craig), but "Spectre" itself squanders her in two scenes, then ditches her for the 30-year old Seydoux. Blofeld's chief henchman is a bust, just a muscleman in a suit; he makes a memorably nasty entrance blinding a rival with his thumbs, but from then on, he's all sneers and punches and kicks. Blofeld fizzles, too. Waltz, who tends to give the same performance over and over with minor variations but at least has the decency to be a hoot each time, is in "Spectre" only slightly longer than Bellucci, and has been drained of the glee he displayed in Quentin Tarantino's films. The payoff of his character's storyline is so dumb that it makes the "twist" in " Star Trek Into Darkness " seem sensible and heartfelt. Stupider still is Bond's reaction when he finally gets the drop on his nemesis. Bags of Scrabble tiles make more sense.

Even the look of "Spectre" makes promises that the film won't keep. Between the copious mirror and reflection shots, the surveillance screens and wall-mounted cameras, and Waltz's all-seeing, all-knowing baddie, we're tacitly promised the first James Bond horror movie: a creepy Cubist study in voyeurism and fear, powered by nightmare logic and silhouettes and moments of physical violation; Bond by way of " The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari " or Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse films. Beyond novelty, such an approach would have made the film's instances of slipshod plotting feel all-of-a-piece, like the "because I said so" storytelling in Nolan's Batman pictures.

But of course "Spectre" can't give us that, because Bond films are products before they're anything else, and products aren't allowed to challenge or upset people. If Mendes didn't keep finding original ways to stage unoriginal moments, this film's star rating would be lower than it is. Even by the generous standards of Bond pictures, which have been graded on a curve since 1962, "Spectre" has to be considered a missed opportunity.

Matt Zoller Seitz

Matt Zoller Seitz

Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large of, TV critic for New York Magazine and, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism.

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Spectre movie poster

Spectre (2015)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language.

148 minutes

Daniel Craig as James Bond

Christoph Waltz as Franz Oberhauser

Léa Seydoux as Madeleine Swann

Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra

Andrew Scott as Denbigh

Dave Bautista as Mr Hinx

Ralph Fiennes as M

Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny

Ben Whishaw as Q

Rory Kinnear as Bill Tanner

Jesper Christensen as Mr. White

Stephanie Sigman as Estrella

Alessandro Cremona as Marco Sciarra

Neve Gachev as Clinic Patron

Alessandro Bressanello as Priest

Judi Dench as M

  • Ian Fleming
  • Neal Purvis
  • Robert Wade
  • Jez Butterworth

Original Music Composer

  • Thomas Newman

Director of Photography

  • Hoyte van Hoytema

Costume Design

  • Jany Temime

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Spectre (film)

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Spectre  is the twenty-fourth film in the James Bond series produced by  EON Productions . Like the previous film Skyfall , Spectre was written by John Logan , Neal Purvis and Robert Wade is directed by  Sam Mendes  and features Daniel Craig  in his fourth performance as James Bond. [1] The film was released in the UK on 26 October 2015, fifty years after release of Thunderball (1965), thirty years after release of A View to a Kill (1985), and twenty years after release of GoldenEye (1995), and worldwide on 6 November 2015 in regular and IMAX theatres. It continues a story arc which started in Craig's first three films: Casino Royale , Quantum of Solace , and Skyfall .

In the film, a cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind Spectre . [2]

The film's title is derived from the criminal organisation SPECTRE , which was prominent during the original Bond films and several Ian Fleming novels. The organisation's logo, an octopus, is also referenced in the official teaser poster.

  • 1.1 Hunting Spectre
  • 1.2 Legacy of the Pale King
  • 1.3 Loose ends
  • 2.1 Pre-production
  • 2.2 Production
  • 2.3 Promotion
  • 3 Cast & Characters
  • 5 Locations
  • 8.1 Posters
  • 8.2 Press conference & photo calls
  • 8.3 Publicity & behind-the-scenes
  • 8.4 Studio trailer release promos
  • 8.5 DB10 & other vehicles
  • 8.6 Teaser trailer stills
  • 9 References

Hunting Spectre [ ]

During the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City, James Bond kills two men arranging to blow up a stadium, before shooting a briefcase containing their bomb. In doing so, the building they are in explodes and collapses. Bond gives chase to a criminal operative named Marco Sciarra , who survived the blast and, in an attempt to escape, boards a helicopter. Bond follows and in the ensuing struggle he throws both Sciarra and the pilot out of the helicopter to their deaths, while in the process, stealing Sciarra's band ring , which has an octopus symbol on it. Bond's actions are revealed to be him working on the unofficial orders of the previous M , who told him that if she died, he was to kill Sciarra and attend his funeral. On his return to London , Bond is indefinitely taken off field duty by the current M , who is in the midst of a power struggle with Max Denbigh (also known as the code name 'C', assigned to him by Bond), the head of the newly created Joint Intelligence Service, which consists of the recently merged  MI5  and  MI6 . C also wants to create the " Nine Eyes " intelligence co-operation agreement between nine countries, and close down the '00' section in the process.

Bond disobeys M's orders and travels to Rome to attend Sciarra's funeral. That evening he visits and seduces Sciarra's widow Lucia , who tells him about a criminal organisation to which her husband belonged and where they are meeting that evening after he rescues her from assassins. Bond enters the meeting by showing the ring, where he sees the head of the organisation, in shadow, chairing a meeting, referring to terrorism in Hamburg and Tunisia, as well as Mexico City and distribution of counterfeit pharmaceutical products. The head mentions the events in Mexico, and mentions Bond by name, turning to face him as he does so. Having been recognised, Bond escapes the meeting and a car chase through Rome ensues, with Bond in an  Aston Martin DB10  pursued by Mr. Hinx , an assassin for the organisation, who drives in a  Jaguar C-X75 .  Eve Moneypenny  acts as a source of information for Bond and informs him that a reference he heard in both Mexico and the meeting will lead to Mr. White , a former member of the Quantum organisation which is revealed to be a subsidiary of this new organisation. Bond also asks for a check on the name Franz Oberhauser , revealed to be the name of the meeting’s chairman, who Bond recognised might be from his past.

Legacy of the Pale King [ ]

Bond travels to Austria to find Mr. White at his current home, and finds him dying of Thallium radiation poisoning, which was planted on his phone after falling from favour with the organisation and its leadership, due to White's reservations about human tracking. Bond wins his trust by disarming himself of his weapon after discovering White has a daughter, Dr. Madeleine Swann , that he is protecting from the organisation. Bond promises to protect her from them before White tells him Madeleine can lead him to "l'Américain", which will, in turn, lead him to the organisation. White then uses Bond's gun to shoot himself in the head. Bond finds Swann at a secluded Austrian clinic where she works, but she tries to have him thrown out before she is snatched by Mr. Hinx. Bond chases the kidnappers by plane and forces their three cars to crash before he makes his escape with Swann, who is still angry with Bond. The pair then meets with Q , who reveals that Sciarra's ring contains digital files linking Oberhauser, the leader of the organisation, and Bond's three previous missions . Swann then informs them about the name of the organisation, Spectre , and that l'Américain is a hotel in Tangier, Morocco, rather than a person, as Bond has suspected previously.

Spectre - Blofeld tortures 007 (1)

Oberhauser tortures 007.

The couple travels to the hotel and stays in the suite her father used to stay in every year since he was married to Swann's mother . Bond discovers White had built a secret room full of videotapes, charts, and photographs, as well as maps and coordinates of where they should go next. They travel to the nearest point a train will go, but are again attacked by Mr. Hinx. After fighting and nearly killing them both, Hinx is flung off the train, presumably to his death, by a rope attached to several beer kegs, leading to Swann and Bond having sex. At the end of the journey, they are transported to a facility in the desert, where they are met by and held prisoner by who Bond thinks is Franz Oberhauser, the son of Hannes Oberhauser , Bond's temporary foster father, who was murdered. While drilling into Bond's head and nerves with mechanical probes , Oberhauser also informs him that C is part of the Spectre organisation, and he feeds all the intelligence data straight to Spectre. Oberhauser then tortures Bond and reveals that the name Franz Oberhauser was what Bond and Hannes called him, but his real name, the name he uses now, is actually Ernst Stavro Blofeld. He secretly renamed himself while Bond stayed with him and he took in his mother’s bloodline. He faked his death thirty-four years ago to be recognised as his real name and to avoid legal trouble after he murdered his father, Hannes; Blofeld reveals that he killed his father because he felt that Bond had replaced him as his father's favourite. Bond and Swann escape with the help of Bond's exploding watch , destroying the facility in the process.

Loose ends [ ]

Back in London, Bond and Swann meet M,  Bill Tanner , Q, and Moneypenny, and they travel to arrest C and stop the launch of the Nine Eyes programme. En route they are ambushed and Bond is kidnapped by Spectre agents. M and the others escape and proceed to wait for C in his office, arrest him and shut down Nine Eyes before it launches; in an ensuing struggle, C falls to his death at the hands of M. Bond has, meanwhile, been taken to the old MI6 building—derelict since Raoul Silva 's attack in  Skyfall , and now scheduled for demolition—but he disables his captors before entering the building. He meets Blofeld - who was ferociously marred by the explosion where Bond escaped earlier on, leaving him with a horrific scar and blindness in one eye - who tells him the building is rigged to explode in three minutes and that Swann is hidden somewhere within it, before giving Bond a choice: die in the explosion whilst trying to rescue Swann, or leave with his life and be forever haunted by the fact that he did not save her. Bond finds her and the couple escapes by boat out onto the Thames. They chase Blofeld — who is in a helicopter — and shoot it down; the helicopter crashes onto Westminster Bridge. Bond comes close to executing Blofeld but then lets him be arrested by M and leaves with Madeleine. The next day Bond retrieves his old  Aston Martin DB5  from Q, now fully repaired, and drives off with Madeleine.

Film History [ ]

Pre-production [ ].

Shortly after Skyfall premiered, pre-production on Bond 24 began. Bond franchise staples Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson returned as executive producers and EON Productions , MGM and Sony/Columbia Pictures returned as production companies. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment secured the rights for home distribution.

With Daniel Craig under contract for two more Bond films, MGM and EON Productions hired Skyfall writer John Logan to pen Bond 24 and 25 as a two-parter, to film simultaneously and release in 2014 and 2015. [3] Immediately after Skyfall Mendes had shown interest in directing Bond 24 but passed in March 2013 in order to focus on his stage work. [4] MGM, EON, and Mendes continued to meet and plan the future of the Bond franchise and decided to abandon the two-parter concept and push back the release of Bond 24 to 2015 to accommodate Mendes' schedule. [5]

Spectre-BTS 001

Mendes on the set of Spectre

On July 11, 2013, it was officially announced that  Daniel Craig ,  Sam Mendes , and  John Logan  would return for  Bond 24  for an Autumn 2015 release. [1]

On October 21, Ralph Fiennes confirmed he would be in Bond 24 saying "I think everyone knows that, I don’t think that’s particularly a secret" and later hinted that Gareth Mallory might not be stuck behind a desk in the film. [6] [7] On November 24 Naomie Harris confirmed she would also be returning. [8] In late March 2014, John Logan teased that he had completed the first draft of the script, hinted that some elements from the original films may return but was cautious to reveal any specifics about the possible return of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. , Quantum , other 00 agents , or other returning elements. [9] In an April 2014 interview with Charlie Rose, Sam Mendes revealed that Bond 24 would be a "continuation" of the character stories he began in Skyfall, namely the new characters' (M, Moneypenny , Tanner , and Q ) relationships with Bond and each other. [5]

On June 27, it was announced that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were hired to polish the script, specifically to "punch up the script and sprinkle in more gags" and improve the banter between Bond, Moneypenny and M. Some reports indicated the re-write was more significant than originally planned. Due to the re-writes, production was pushed back to December 6, 2014, with the same hopeful autumn 2015 release date. [10] [11] In November screenwriter Jeremy "Jez" Butterworth was hired to do a final polish of the script, which reportedly did not affect the filming schedule. [12]

Spectre press conference - full cast and Mendes

The full principal cast of Spectre and director Sam Mendes. L-R: Andrew Scott, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Mendes, Lea Seydoux, Daniel Craig, Monica Belluci, Christoph Waltz, Ben Whishaw, Dave Bautista and Rory Kinnear.

Months after it was confirmed Skyfall cinematographer Roger Deakins would not be returning for Bond 24 [13] Hoyte van Hoytema was named cinematographer. [14] Set construction was spotted in Obertilliach, Austria. [15] In October 2014 French actress Lea Seydoux was announced as being cast as a Bond girl in the film. [16] In November two time Oscar-winning actor Christoph Waltz was announced as being cast in an unspecified role. [17] On December 4, 2014, the official title and cast were announced. [2]

Production [ ]

Production began on December 5 at Pinewood Studios . Locations for Spectre include Mexico City, Rome, Tangier, Morocco, Sölden Austria, Obertilliach and Lake Altaussee. [2] Jesper Christensen revealed in an interview on December 5, 2014, that he would be returning as Mr. White . [18]

In a production video published February 26, 2015 director Sam Mendes shared that the film would continue to explore Bond's past and how his longer-tenured experience in MI6 affects his working relationship with M, Q, and Moneypenny. On March 9, 2015, it was announced that Mexican model and actress Stephanie Sigman joined the film as Estrella . [19]

In late March it was revealed that the opening sequence of the film would take place during a Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City, Mexico and feature "one of the biggest opening sequences ever" according to the films' producers. [20]

It is estimated that Spectre had the highest budget of any Bond film and during production $36 million of vehicles, namely Aston Martin DB10s , were destroyed. [21]

Principal photography wrapped on July 5, 2015. [22]

Promotion [ ]

On March 27, 2015, the first teaser trailer for the film was released, showing Spectre takes place soon after the events of Skyfall , as MI6 is still in ruins and Bond receives his personal effects from Moneypenny, collected by forensics from the destroyed Skyfall Lodge . The trailer also features Eve Moneypenny , Mr. White , and first glimpses of Monica Bellucci's Lucia Sciarra and Christoph Waltz' Franz Oberhauser . 

The first theatrical trailer was released in mid-July 2015.

On 8 September 2015, it was announced the theme song would be titled " Writing's on the Wall " and was written and performed by Sam Smith and produced by Smith, Jimmy Napes, and Disclosure with a release date of 25 September 2015. [23]

In mid-September Spectre received a PG-13 rating with an estimated run-time of 148 minutes. [24]

Cast & Characters [ ]

James Bond (Daniel Craig)

Sam Mendes at the Spectre announcement press conference

  • Directed by: Sam Mendes
  • Written by: Ian Fleming (characters only), John Logan , Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (screenplay)
  • Produced by: Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli
  • Cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema
  • Production Design by Dennis Gassner
  • Edited by Lee Smith
  • Music composed by Thomas Newman
  • 2nd Unit Director Alexander Witt
  • SFX Supervisor Chris Corbould
  • VFX Supervisor Steve Begg
  • Costume Designer Jany Temime
  • Stunt Coordinator Gary Powell

Locations [ ]

  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • London, England
  • Saint Peter's Square, Vatican
  • Rome, Italy
  • Altaussee, Austria
  • Tangier, Morocco
  • For the first time in their shared history, Aston Martin specially commissioned the DB10 specifically just for the film. It was designed and built exclusively for the James Bond Franchise.
  • Director Sam Mendes would later revisit the concept of using a single long tracking shot, as seen in Spectre's opening sequence, in his Oscar-nominated war film, 1917 , only extended for an entire movie.
  • Kingsley Amis receives screen credit due to a plot point and some dialogue having been adapted from his Bond novel, Colonel Sun . Although Die Another Day featured a character whose name referenced that of Amis' titular villain, this was the first film to directly adapt material from the novel; indeed, it is the first Bond film to acknowledge adapting any literary Bond story not written by Ian Fleming .
  • The SPECTRE conference sequence references a similar set-piece event in the original Thunderball novel and its 1965 film adaptation , with a key difference being that Bond is not present in the earlier version (and, indeed, does not encounter Blofeld at all in Thunderball ).
  • This is the only Daniel Craig's Bond film where Bond is seen sporting a white dinner suit.
  • The name Oberhauser comes from the short story Octopussy .
  • The film represents the first appearance of Blofeld's cat since the non-Eon Never Say Never Again or the official For Your Eyes Only .


Posters [ ]

SPECTRE poster 1

Press conference & photo calls [ ]

Seydoux and Bellucci

Publicity & behind-the-scenes [ ]

The Day of the Dead festival.

Studio trailer release promos [ ]

Ralph Fiennes in SPECTRE

DB10 & other vehicles [ ]

The Aston Martin DB10

Teaser trailer stills [ ]

Spectre teaser 01

References [ ]

  • ↑ 1.0 1.1 7/11/13 — — Bond 24 news
  • ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 12/4/14 — — Bond Returns in Spectre
  • ↑ 10/26/13 — — ‘Gladiator’ Scribe John Logan To Write Next Two James Bond Films
  • ↑ 2/15/13 — — Skyfall' director Sam Mendes likely to return for next James Bond film
  • ↑ 5.0 5.1 4/30/14 — — Sam Mendes Explains His Bond 24 Return
  • ↑ 3/5/14 — — Ralph Fiennes stokes James Bond rumors and talks about M's future
  • ↑ 10/19/13 — - Ralph Fiennes ‘excited’ about playing M in the next James Bond film
  • ↑ 11/24/13 — - As Winnie Mandela, Naomie Harris found the role of her career in ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’
  • ↑ 3/5/14 — — John Logan Gives Bond 24 Script Update
  • ↑ 6/27/14 — — ‘Bond 24′ Brings Back ‘Skyfall’ Scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade
  • ↑ 9/15/14 — — Bond 24 Gets A Start Date
  • ↑ 11/6/14 — — Edge of Tommorow Screenwriter Polishing Bond 24 Script
  • ↑ 2/19/14 — — Roger Deakins Won't Shoot Bond 24
  • ↑ 9/16/14 — — HER and INTERSTELLAR Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema to Replace Roger Deakins on BOND 24; May Shoot on Film
  • ↑ 9/25/14 — — First BOND 24 Set Photo Has Surfaced
  • ↑ 12/10/14 — Move over Rihanna, actress Léa Seydoux is the new Bond girl
  • ↑ 21/11/14 — Christoph Waltz Boards Bond 24
  • ↑ 12/5/14 — — ‘Quantum of Solace’s Mr. White Says He’s Returning for ‘Spectre’
  • ↑ 3/9/15 — @007 on Twitter
  • ↑ 4/30/15 — — Spectre: New opening sequence in Mexico set to be 'biggest ever done' for Bond film
  • ↑ 9/30/15 — — New bond movie wrecked $36M in cars during filming
  • ↑ 7/5/15 — — It's a wrap for 'Spectre' as principal photography ends
  • ↑ 11/8/15 — — Sam Smith Confirms 'Spectre' Bond Theme Song 'Writing's on the Wall'
  • ↑ 9/14/15 — — James Bond 007: Spectre’s Runtime Will Make Bond History.
  • 1 Skyfleet S570
  • 2 Mr. White
  • 3 Vesper Lynd (Eva Green)

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  • <arttitle><b>Spectre Plot Summary</b></arttitle>

Spectre Plot Summary

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<arttitle><b>Spectre Plot Summary</b></arttitle>

Spectre wants to be that; it wants to embrace the series' past and open up Craig's version of Bond to some of the more over-the-top elements of Bond. It just fails to do so in a way that is at all compelling.

It opens strong, at least. In Spectre 's first setpiece, Bond is in Mexico during a visually astounding Day of the Dead celebration. While the super-spy is ostensibly there on vacation, he ends up foiling a terrorist plot — but not before being at the center of the destruction of half a city block and having an unbelievable (and beautifully shot) fight in a helicopter hovering dangerously over the crowds of people.

Though he stops a major terrorist attack, Bond is notably working without direct orders from his supervisors on this mission. This becomes a big deal, as a major part of  Spectre 's plot concerns an attempt to shut down the "double-O" program. C, the new head of Britain's intelligence services (played by Andrew Scott), believes that secret agents are an anachronism, and what the world really needs is around-the-clock, around-the-world surveillance of everything.

The film definitely wants us to think that this heavy-handed approach to surveillance is bad, which isn't a hard sell. But it never fully clarifies why surveillance is an unacceptable blow to freedom while Bond being involved in destroying a building presumably full of innocent people is acceptable losses. Oh well.

As the film progresses, Bond uncovers a sinister plot that not only ties together recent events, but also pulls in threads from all of the previous Daniel Craig Bond films. At the heart of it all is a man named Franz Oberhauser, played by a delightfully scenery-chewing Christoph Waltz.

Oberhauser and the secret terrorist organization he runs — the titular Spectre — are simultaneously the best and worst bits of the movie. For as little as it fits the darker and more serious tone of the Craig era of Bond, there's something wonderfully cheesy and watchable in 007 going up against a world-spanning evil empire run by larger-than-life bad guys.

On the other hand, the film's emotional core is compromised by Waltz's fun but nonsensical monologues. 007, as a concept, may be ridiculous, but Craig has always brought a certain weight and depth to his performance, one that has been equally shouldered by the side characters and villains across this series. Oberhauser has none of that depth. We're made to believe that he's brilliant, that's he's evil and that he has a connection to Bond beyond the obvious spy-versus-terrorist relationship. But none of this is fleshed out; Oberhauser has no conceivable motivation for his actions, and the other players in the film have no motivation for following him.

The script carries most of the blame for Spectre 's shortcomings. Though the film is slightly overlong, Sam Mendes' directorial work is as strong as ever. The supporting actors in the film often shine despite being underutilized - Léa Seydoux is enchanting as this film's "Bond girl," Madeleine Swann; Ralph Fiennes' M, Ben Whishaw's Q and Naomie Harris' Moneypenny make Bond feel more like part of a team than ever; ex-wrestler Dave Bautista grounds some of the film's best action sequences as silent henchman Hinx.

But for all the great work of everyone involved, they can only do so much to lift up some painfully average base material. The film centers on the rivalry between Oberhauser and Bond, and it's those two characters who suffer the most from line after line of corny dialogue that just falls flat. Much of the villainous monologuing and winking banter feels like it's supposed to be a callback to the more tongue-in-cheek tone of ‘60s and ‘70s Bond. But Craig isn't Sean Connery or Roger Moore - that goofiness doesn't play to his strengths.

Spectre aims to wrap up the storyline of the serious, darker Bond that Craig has portrayed across three previous films, but it simultaneously wants to harken back to a simpler time of adventurous spy stories and unambiguously evil supervillains. I don't know that any script could successfully harbor these competing goals, but Spectre 's certainly cannot. And while it would be a shame to see Craig's otherwise excellent run as Bond end on such a down note, I can't help but agree with the  actor himself that perhaps it's time for a new Bond, and a new direction.

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On a rogue mission in Mexico City Bond kills an assassin. Back in London, Bond is grounded by M but confides in Moneypenny that he was acting on orders from the previous M before she died. Bond travels to Rome and infiltrates a secret meeting, but their leader Franz Oberhauser, reveals Bond’s presence. The terrifying Hinx pursues Bond in a car chase. In Austria, Bond meets his old nemesis Mr White and makes a promise to keep Mr White’s daughter safe in exchange for leading him to Oberhauser. The daughter, Dr Madeleine Swann, is reluctant to help, but after Bond rescues her from Hinx she agrees. She reveals the secret organisation is SPECTRE. Swann leads Bond to Tangier and from there they journey by train to a desert location, Swann makes Bond question the life he has chosen for himself. Hinx appears and a vicious fight ensues. At a high-tech facility in the desert Bond and Swann meet Oberhauser, He amasses information to manipulate events and is about to gain control of a global surveillance network. After Oberhauser tortures Bond and reveals himself to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Bond and Swann escape and destroy the base. In London Bond debriefs M, is captured by Blofeld, then rescues Swann. Bond has the opportunity to kill Blofeld but decides to let him live. Bond joins Swann, leaving his old life behind.

Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen

Michael G. Wilson Barbara Broccoli

Release Date

26 October 2015 (UK) 6 November 2015 (USA)

World Premiere

26 October 2015, The Royal Albert Hall, London

Pinewood Studios, London locations, UK; Lake Altaussee, Obertilliach and Sölden, Austria; Rome, Italy; Mexico City, Mexico; Tangier, Erfoud and Sahara desert, Morocco

“Writing’s On The Wall” – performed by Sam Smith, written by Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes

Aston Martin DB5 , Aston Martin DB10 , Jaguar C-X75 , Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, Land Rover Discovery Sport SVR, Land Rover Defender Big Foot,  Fiat 500, Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander aircraft, McDonnell Douglas MD500E, AgustaWestland AW109. Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm Bo 105


  • Smart Blood tracking device
  • Omega Seamaster 300 with two-tone NATO strap. Built in explosive charge with a one-minute timer
  • Blofeld’s torture chair
  • Nine Eyes Surveillance System
  • Laser microphone attached to Bond’s gun
  • Hinx’s thumbnails

The pre-title Day of the Dead sequence employed 1,520 extras, dressed and made up by 107 different make-up artists, 98 of whom were local. On each working day it took three and a half hours to get the crowd prepared

The Red Bull helicopter that featured in the pre-title sequence is built especially for barrel-rolling and free-diving and piloted by aerobatic pilot Chuck Aaron

Spectre marked the first time Bond has filmed in Rome, Italy

It was also the first time Aston Martin and the Bond production team collaborated on creating a new car designed specifically for the film with the DB10

Stefan Zurcher began looking for appropriate locations in Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France, 12 months before shooting commenced. His first Bond film was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service where he played a Piz Gloria guard. He continued to work on eight more Bond films in different capacities. He is also known as “The Snowman”

The exterior of the Ice Q in Solden was selected for the start of the chase. The main outdoor set was constructed in Obertilliach, a small village with 500 inhabitants in the Austrian Tirol

Two 20 tonne cranes were used in order to simulate the flight in the forest. The plane was 18m wide and the path through the trees was only 20m wide. Special carbon fibre cables were used between the cranes. Laser equipment was used to ensure the one kilometre path through the trees was in a straight line

A snow team of 30 people worked round the clock to guarantee perfect snow conditions on the road and in the forest

Spectre includes a Guinness World Record for the largest on screen explosion (of Blofeld’s lair)

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2015, Action/Adventure, 2h 28m

What to know

Critics Consensus

Spectre nudges Daniel Craig's rebooted Bond closer to the glorious, action-driven spectacle of earlier entries, although it's admittedly reliant on established 007 formula. Read critic reviews

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Spectre videos, spectre   photos.

A cryptic message from the past leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.

Rating: PG-13 (Language|Intense Sequences of Action|Sensuality|Some Disturbing Images|Violence)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery & thriller

Original Language: English

Director: Sam Mendes

Producer: Michael G. Wilson , Barbara Broccoli

Writer: John Logan , Neal Purvis , Robert Wade , Jez Butterworth

Release Date (Theaters): Nov 6, 2015  wide

Release Date (Streaming): Jul 24, 2016

Box Office (Gross USA): $200.1M

Runtime: 2h 28m

Distributor: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Production Co: Danjaq Productions, Eon Productions Ltd., Columbia Pictures, MGM, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Sound Mix: Dolby Digital

View the collection: James Bond 007

Cast & Crew

Daniel Craig

Christoph Waltz

Léa Seydoux

Ralph Fiennes

Monica Bellucci

Ben Whishaw

Naomie Harris

Dave Bautista

Andrew Scott

Rory Kinnear

Jesper Christensen

Alessandro Cremona

Marco Sciarra

Stephanie Sigman


Neal Purvis

Robert Wade

Jez Butterworth

Michael G. Wilson

Barbara Broccoli

Callum McDougall

Executive Producer

Hoyte Van Hoytema


Film Editing

Thomas Newman

Original Music

Dennis Gassner

Production Design

Christopher Lowe

Supervising Art Direction

Andrew Bennett

Art Director

Ben Collins

Mark Harris

Neal Callow

Anna Pinnock

Set Decoration

Jany Temime

Costume Design

News & Interviews for Spectre

Your Epic Movie Franchise Binge Guide: The Best Way to Watch the Biggest Series

Daniel Craig Is Returning as James Bond – What Critics Are Saying

Black Mirror , Shine a Light , and More Available to Stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime

Critic Reviews for Spectre

Audience reviews for spectre.

Visually stylish and a nice homage to the 60s Bond movies, neatly tying together plot points from the previous Daniel Craig bond movies, but felt quite pedestrian, I never really felt anything for any of the characters: things just happened without any excitement or emotion. At least it wasn't too silly, but again lacked humour.

bond spectre plot summary

One of the most obvious characteristics of the Bond series is that each instalment of the franchise can sit on its own. Modern audiences are asked to believe that the character has been the same age for more than 50 years, and the series has bent or tinkered with its conventions ever so slightly as the decades have rolled past in order to stay relevant. While this has kept the Bond series as a whole firmly in the realms of fantasy, it has allowed individual entries in the series to push for something more gritty or realistic; if it works, it's embraced and carried forward, and if not the series reverts to type with very few tears. Since the franchise was effectively rebooted with Casino Royale, an approach more becoming of comic books has been employed: different writers and directors come in and somehow try to stitch all the character's actions together into an overarching narrative. Doctor Who, Sherlock and Star Wars have all shown that this is not an easy thing to pull off, and it's harder still to convince an audience that such an undertaking was always intentional. Spectre attempts to tie together the events of its predecessors with a story about chickens coming home to roost - and while there is much to applaud about Sam Mendes' film, it is also riddled with problems. The first such problem is the amount of emphasis given to each of the previous films. You would imagine that any story which seeks to claim that the events of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall were all an elaborate means to bring us to this point would place an equal weight on each instalment and the events therein. Instead, Quantum of Solace has been practically airbrushed out of history; besides the odd mention of Quantum, we get no reference to its plot and Dominic Greene is never seen on camera. The refusal to even hint at it is too constant a factor for it to be an accident; it is as though the whole production threw up their hands, admitted that it was terrible, and then asked us to forget that it ever existed. A related problem is that the script for Spectre is deeply conflicted, especially when it comes to the film's female characters. Madeleine Swann is written like two completely different people who have been composited; one moment she's being icy cold, compelling and giving Bond a run for his money with a gun, the next she's being captured for the umpteenth time and needing to be rescued. For all the steps forward that the Daniel Craig era has taken, it still can't resist a damsel in distress. None of the women in Spectre are given a fair crack of the whip. Even if we put Léa Seydoux to one side, that still leaves us with Monicca Bellucci. The film has a great opportunity here, casting an older woman with the promise of a deeper relationship. Instead, she gets five minutes of screen time to look scared, sleep with Bond and then leave. Dressing her in stockings is at best a nod back to Teri Hatcher in Tomorrow Never Dies and at worst just lazy fanservice. Not every woman in Bond's life has to be helpless without him, and the series has been at its best when the women are equal to him - either in a fetishistic way, like Xenia Onatopp or Bambi and Thumper, or something more mature and three-dimensional. Then there are the villains to consider. Sherlock's Andrew Scott waltzes through the whole film like he has "bad guy" tattooed on his forehead, but at least he's fully committed to what he is doing. Christoph Waltz, meanwhile, is completely underwhelming as Blofeld. Having Bond and Blofield as adopted brothers is workable, but Waltz can't decide whether to play it as the Jew Hunter from Inglorious Basterds or as a straight-up pantomime. He seems uncomfortable in the costume, looking like Hyman Roth in The Godfather Part II but without the threat. Either it's just a bad performance, or Mendes didn't know what he wanted from the character. Further evidence of a confused director can be found in the torture scene. The rope torture and poisoning scenes in Casino Royale were justified; they were both an effective means of moving to a grittier style and a meaningful way of showing Bond's vulnerability. Torture has been used as a novelty in Bond films before - there's a lot of it in the Brosnan era, whether Xenia's thighs in Goldeneye or the neck-breaking chair in The World Is Not Enough. But here it feels all too routine, as if Mendes said: "We need a torture scene here" and then got the specifics from a trip to the dentist. Like Skyfall before it, Spectre makes a number of conscious nods to its back catalogue. There's a lot more references to the Connery era this time around, with the DB5 and the gadgets on the DB10 nodding to Goldfinger, and Blofeld's cat and base borrowing heavily from You Only Live Twice. The sequence on the train is essentially a more stereoidal take on the train fight in From Russia with Love, and Swann's appearance particularly in the dining car is strongly influenced by Tatiana Romanova. But unlike its predecessor, these references are here for their own sake rather to make any attempt at justifying the franchise's longevity. There are a lot of plot details in Spectre which don't make sense or which are disappointing - another probable consequence of having four writers. The DNA scan on the Spectre ring is both a very arbitary gadget and a contrived plot device, asking us to accept both the technology and the fact that all the people involved would have worn the same ring. Then there's the ease with which Bond is able to blow up Blofeld's base, or the comparable ease with which Blofeld is able to wire up the whole of the MI6 building without anyone noticing. The final act is deeply anticlimatic, falling emotionally short where The Bourne Ultimatum hit a home run. In the midst of all these niggles, flaws and frustrations, there is an awful lot about Spectre which can be enjoyed, at least in the moment. For all its concessions to cliché, the film does make some interesting points about our increasingly surveillance-driven world and how easily it can be manipulated. The set-pieces are beautifully filmed, with Mendes lending excellent coverage to both the car chases and the long opening shot in Mexico. If you only watch Bond films for the car chases and fight scenes, rest assured they are still exhilirating enough to allow you to gloss over the plot holes. There are also improved performances within the supporting cast. Ben Whishaw's Q in Skyfall was essentially Brains from Thunderbirds, but here he becomes more rounded and appealingly tetchy. It's a different Q from Desmond Llewellyn's, but it still feels like a kindred spirit. Ralph Fiennes was always going to have a hard job following Judi Dench as M, but here he rises to the occasion, taking the tension he exhibited in In Bruges and bringing along some devil-may-care attitude for the ride. The best aspect of Spectre, however, is the scene involving Mr White - if nothing else because it is the most effective at tying up a part of the overarching story. There's a wonderfully bleak, pathos-ridden quality to the scene, with one man utterly defeated and the other delaying the inevitable. The writing is unpredictable but coherent, with Craig and Jesper Christiansen dualling brilliantly and the latter giving a sad, dead-eyed performance. Hoyte von Hoytema, who shot Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, does a fantastic job, contrasting the dark, oppresive colours in the cabin with the stark, deathly white of the snow. Spectre is a watchable slice of the Bond saga which pales in regard to two of the three films which preceded it. It's still heaps better than Quantum of Solace, if only because it always has a rough idea of where it is going even during its moments of writing conflict. But while its visual spectacle can give Casino Royale and Skyfall a run for their money, it doesn't have either the brains or the heart to rise above them. Bond fans will embrace it, but the rest of us will be expecting more effort next time around.

This is the movie that fans wanted to be even better than the critically acclaimed "Skyfall" that was released back in 2012. This movie clearly isn't that sequel! However, it really is a movie that can be enjoyable if you watch it with the right audience. If you watch it with the most die-hard Bond fans, this movie probably isn't for you, but if you just love Bond and love spy films, this movie is definitely something that you should check out. Daniel Craig once again proves why he was chosen back in 2006 and Christoph Waltz (who probably wasn't the Bond villain everyone was hoping for) shows why he is one of the best actors out there right now.

Every couple of years we get to go to the movies and hear the immortal words "Bond is back!". It's been 53 years since Sean Connery stepped into the role that he made iconic or made him an icon. That is a debate for a later time. Six Bonds later and the franchise still delivers enjoyable adventures that span the globe (with the occasional dud). Spectre is officially the 24th film and it really harkens back to the Bond of 30 years ago. The previous three films have built to this point in which Bond (Daniel Craig) has found that there is a huge criminal syndicate called Spectre that has been behind the events going all the way back to Casino Royale. Spectre represents a series of events in which Bond attempts to pull back the curtain and expose the puppet master in the form of Ernst Stravo Blofeld (Christophe Waltz). What's interesting about Spectre is that after 45 years of legal wranglings James Bond finally gets to face his arch nemesis. Blofeld is a characters that has never been played by the same actor twice and Christophe Waltz is a wonderful return for the character. Cold, calculated evil delivered. Craig once again fits into Bond and exudes that dark, brooding Bond. Some have mentioned the Roger Moore era of Bond being represented in this film, but Craig keeps the film grounded. Each Bond is his own man, yet the same man. Bringing us to the story, it once again leads to world control. Not from nukes or space stations, but information. We live in an information age. Our bogeymen sit at computer screens now. Who is on the other end of that camera watching you.Bond stories tend to recycle themselves, but amazingly most of them hold up. Spectre is a very good follow up to the almost perfect Skyfall. What's enjoyable about James Bond films, particularly when comparing films with the Bournes and Mission: Impossibles out there. Each individual Bond film makes its own mark, be it in villains, locales, or general bad assery. Other spy franchise seem to blend together, creating a murky identity when trying to remember what film had this or that happen. Bond has never had that problem and it's one of the many reasons that these films endure and continue to endure.

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The Entire James Bond Timeline Explained

Daniel Craig as James Bond

In 1962, Eon Productions released "Dr. No," its first adaptation of Ian Fleming's bestselling series of  James Bond novels. The film, about a suave, deadly, and witty secret agent uncovering a mad scientist's plot in the Caribbean, was a massive hit, and launched one of the longest-running and most successful media franchises of all time.

More than five decades later, James Bond is still going strong. Six different actors have played the legendary Agent 007 over the course of more than two dozen films in Eon's series, and as a result of the films' popularity Bond's life has also continued in novels, comics, and even a few non-canonical films. James Bond is a survivor, not just in pop culture but in the many cinematic stories of his adventures. With that in mind, let's take a loving look back at Bond's many missions in the long-running Eon Productions series. This is the James Bond timeline, explained.

While a great many Bond adaptations don't spend much time alluding to his early life, creator Ian Fleming did establish a background for his legendary secret agent, much of which has remained intact in one way or another throughout the decades since 007's debut. Bond was born to a Scottish father and a Swiss mother, and spent much of his early childhood on the European continent due to his father's work. When he was 11, both of his parents were killed in a mountain climbing accident, and young Bond was placed in the care of his aunt. He then attended Eton and Fettes, completing his education early, and lied about his age to enter and join what would later be called the Ministry of Defence in 1941. He joined the Special Branch of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, doing confidential work as a lieutenant, and by the end of World War II he had been promoted to the rank of Commander. After the war he continued covert work for the Ministry, earning the rank of Principal Officer of the Civil Service. Later, he recorded his first two kills as a secret agent, earning him the "00" status of the films.

As is pretty much par for the course with any enduring franchise, the James Bond timeline has often been tweaked in various adaptations. That being said, Bond's naval service and subsequent secret work for the Ministry of Defence, as well as his tragic childhood, have remained near-constant parts of his backstory.

First battles with SPECTRE

The first film in the Eon Productions Bond series, "Dr. No," featured Bond traveling to Jamaica to investigate the death of the MI6 station chief there. Bond's subsequent investigation, which included multiple attempts on his life, led him to Crab Key, and a radioactive area guarded by a "dragon," which turned out to be a tank with a flamethrower attached. There, Bond and his companion Honey Ryder discovered the lair of Dr. Julius No, a brilliant scientist who'd been recruited by the evil organization known as SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion). No's plan involved using his advancements in radiation to disrupt the upcoming launches of the Mercury space program. With Ryder's help, Bond was able to sabotage the effort, kill No, and destroy his lair. His success in stopping Dr. No led to a vow of vengeance from SPECTRE leadership that would haunt Bond for years, adding a consistent through line to a franchise that could frequently be fairly episodic in nature. "Dr. No" also introduced a key Bond ally, CIA Agent Felix Leiter, who would assist him in numerous future missions.

"From Russia with Love" introduced more of the SPECTRE leadership, including the mysterious Number One, and featured assassins attempting to lure Bond to his death by stealing a Russian cryptographic device. Though several SPECTRE killers pursued him, Bond was able to both free the device from SPECTRE control and kill his own would-be killers, setting the stage for future acts of vengeance. The film also introduced Bond's beloved equipment master, Q.

Thwarting global domination

With "Goldfinger," Bond left SPECTRE behind for a bit to focus on Auric Goldfinger, a gold-obsessed megalomaniac who, with the help of a smuggled nerve gas, planned to detonate a dirty bomb in Fort Knox to make the U.S. supply of gold inside useless. This would increase the value of Goldfinger's own personal gold horde and plunge the world into economic chaos. Bond was able to thwart Goldfinger's plans with the help of one of his former collaborators, the pilot Pussy Galore. Goldfinger also introduced another key part of the Bond mythos: His Aston Martin spy car, complete with ejecting passenger seat.

"Thunderball" featured the return of SPECTRE and a plot led by Emilio Largo, Number Two in the organization's hierarchy, to hijack a pair of nuclear bombs from NATO and hold the world hostage. With the help of Largo's former mistress, Domino, Bond was able to infiltrate Largo's home and yacht and foil the plan, killing Largo in the process.

"You Only Live Twice" featured yet another encounter with SPECTRE, including the organization's mysterious leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. With the help of the head of the Japanese secret service, Bond went undercover to find SPECTRE's secret volcano lair, where a plot to steal US and Soviet spacecraft and covertly start World War III was underway. With numerous Japanese operatives fighting alongside him, Bond defeated Blofeld, but did not kill him.

The brief marriage of James Bond

"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is the only Bond film to star George Lazenby as 007, and it's also one of the most consequential films in the franchise. In that film, Bond is tracking Blofeld when he meets Teresa "Tracy" di Vincenzo, who he began to romance after saving her from a suicide attempt. Tracy's father, the head of a massive European crime syndicate, encouraged the romance, and Bond agreed to keep seeing Tracy in exchange for information about Blofeld.

Bond's investigation into the head of SPECTRE ultimately led him to the Swiss Alps, where Blofeld established a clinic claiming to cure people of their allergies. In reality, Blofeld had brainwashed 12 women to be "angels of death," who would be biological weapons which sabotage the food supply of the world. Bond's boss, M, agreed to Blofeld's ransom terms, but because Blofeld captured Tracy, Bond decided to mount an attack on the facility anyway. Bond, with the help of Tracy's father and his allies, was able to thwart Blofeld's plan, but failed to capture the head of SPECTRE. When they reunited, Bond and Tracy were married, but the union was cut tragically short. Blofeld and his operative Irma Blunt staged a drive-by shooting on Bond's parked car, and while 007 survived, his new bride was killed. Tracy's death would continue to haunt Bond for years.

A changing of the guard

"Diamonds Are Forever" marked the final time in the Eon series that Bond would be played by Sean Connery, and featured 007 battling Blofeld yet again. This time, the head of SPECTRE was revealed as the mastermind behind a diamond smuggling ring and the construction of a diamond-encrusted satellite laser that could detonate nuclear weapons from space. Blofeld planned to auction the satellite off to the highest bidder, but Bond was once again able to stop him.

"Live and Let Die" marked the beginning of the Roger Moore era of Bond, an era that featured no major SPECTRE stories and instead relied on a slightly more standalone style. In that film, Bond traveled to the Caribbean island of San Monique to investigate the deaths of three different MI6 operatives in less than 24 hours. There, he uncovered a plot by the island's leader, Dr. Kananga, to distribute free heroin in a chain of restaurants, and thus increase drug addiction and therefore drug sales around the world. The whole operation was disguised by a cloud of voodoo-based terror to prevent locals from asking too many questions. With the help of Kananga's advisor Miss Solitaire, Bond was able to stop the operation.

New kinds of killers

In his next two adventures, Bond would encounter several different kinds of killers who would challenge his place as the world's deadliest secret agent. In "The Man with the Golden Gun," Bond received a golden bullet from the titular assassin, a reclusive millionaire named Francisco Scaramanga. Though M pulled Bond back from official business, 007 set out to track down Scaramanga himself, and ultimately learned that Scaramanga had stolen a device that could change the future of energy production and disrupt the world economy. The two battled on Scaramanga's remote island home near China, and Bond ultimately defeated the man with the golden gun.

"The Spy Who Loved Me" saw Bond investigating a series of vanished submarines owned by both British and Soviet navies. He was forced to team up with Soviet spy Anya Amasova, and the two uncovered a plot by billionaire scientist Karl Stromberg to start a nuclear war using the submarines. Bond and Amasova were able to infiltrate Stromberg's underwater lair, where he planned to start civilization over after World War III was fought, and stop nuclear missiles from reaching New York and Moscow. "The Spy Who Loved Me" also introduced one of Bond's most memorable opponents: The metal-toothed assassin known only as Jaws.

James Bond goes to space

Over the course of his next four movies, Bond would traverse the world while dealing with everything from mad scientists to power-hungry Russian generals. In "Moonraker," Bond teamed with CIA agent Holly Goodhead to stop industrialist Hugo Drax from wiping out the world's human population via deadly nerve gas and starting a new "perfect" civilization from a secret space station. 

In "For Your Eyes Only," Bond teamed up with a vengeful young woman to stop a secret British targeting computer from falling into Soviet hands. Before the action really got started, though, Bond spent the cold open of that film dealing with a bit of old business, visiting his wife's grave and battling a slightly disguised version of Blofeld before killing him. In reality, Blofeld had been removed from Moore-era Bond films for legal reasons, and this was the franchise's tongue in cheek way of addressing that. 

In "Octopussy" Bond again faced scheming Soviet generals. This time, he teamed up with the unlikely title ally, the enigmatic leader of a cult of women who ran a circus troupe, to stop a nuclear bomb plot that would lead to Soviet dominance in Western Europe. Then, in "A View to a Kill," Bond traveled to San Francisco to stop the mad business titan Max Zorin from flooding Silicon Valley to secure his own monopoly on the future of microchips. Each time, Bond was able to win in the end.

Another new era

In 1987 the Bond series passed into the hands of new star Timothy Dalton, who starred in two very different Bond films to close out the decade. In "The Living Daylights," Bond was once again swept up in Cold War schemes, this time in the form of a KGB defector who sought 007's protection. When the defecting agent went missing, Bond began investigating and was swept into a web of lies that involved a cellist, a renegade arms dealer, and a defection that may have been staged all along.

"Licence to Kill" brought a more personal approach to Bond's work, and re-teamed him with his old CIA friend Felix Leiter. When the head of a drug cartel ordered a revenge hit on Leiter, severely injuring him and killing his wife in the process, Bond set out for revenge. When M tried to rein him in, Bond wouldn't budge, and so his license to kill was revoked. As a rogue spy, with a little help from Q, Bond journeyed to Central America to seek revenge, and destroy a drug cartel in the process.

James Bond enters the '90s

After a six-year gap, James Bond returned for the beginning of the Pierce Brosnan era with "Goldeneye," a film that heavily relied on the idea that Bond was the product of a bygone age dealing with new threats. In that film, he dealt directly with the fallout from the end of the Cold War in the form of his former partner, 006, who'd faked his death to lead a criminal organization which planned to use a satellite EMP device to crash Britain's economy.

In "Tomorrow Never Dies," Bond went toe-to-toe with the manipulation of the media, as he battled media mogul Elliott Carver and his plan to start a phony war between Britain and China by creating the news with the help of a deadly stealth ship and some clever technology.

In "The World is Not Enough," Bond dealt once again with the fallout from the Cold War, battling an ex-KGB agent and an oil heiress he'd once considered a friend as they attempted to steal Soviet plutonium to create a bomb to enhance their own oil interests. In Brosnan's final Bond film, "Die Another Day," 007's list of modern threats grew to include North Korea, as he battled a Korean colonel who'd disguised himself as a British billionaire as part of a scheme to destroy the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, starting the Korean War all over again.

A new timeline

With the beginning of the Daniel Craig era of Bond, Eon Productions decided to do something new, and completely rebooted the Bond timeline. Though Judi Dench stayed on for this era of the series as M, she was the only real holdover from the Brosnan days. All of Bond's other allies were recast, and Bond himself was depicted as a much younger operative. He gains his 00 status in the cold open of Casino Royale by killing two people as part of a mission.

The bulk of "Casino Royale" involves Bond investigating the funding of terrorism through the dangerous banker known as Le Chiffre, with the help of British Treasury agent Vesper Lynd. As the pair dug deeper into Le Chiffre's money and where it was going, they were able to gain a key victory via a high-stakes poker game, but Le Chiffre retaliated by kidnapping them both. Le Chiffre was killed by an enigmatic man known as Mr. White, and while Bond was able to reunite with Vesper, he also discovered she could be a double agent.

As Bond attempted to stop Vesper's treachery, he was attacked by White's men. Vesper ultimately sacrificed herself, and her supposed betrayal was revealed to be part of a deal she made with White to save Bond's life. Vesper's death would continue to haunt Bond for much of the story that followed, and he began his quest for vengeance by tracking down White.

Shadowy new threats

Bond's capture and subsequent interrogation of Mr. White revealed the existence of a criminal group known as Quantum, the primary villains of "Quantum of Solace." That film saw Bond battling the shadowy group as it attempted to seize control of Bolivia's water supply to create a monopoly. Bond ultimately triumphed, and in the process was able to seemingly let go of his grief over Vesper's death.

"Skyfall" brought a more personal mission to the fore, as Bond returned to MI6 after a self-imposed exile when the organization's headquarters were destroyed by an unknown attacker. Working with M, who faced pressure from her superiors to retire, Bond discovered the mastermind was ex-MI6 agent Raoul Silva. Silva worked for M in the years before Bond came along, until she disavowed him and left him to be tortured by Chinese agents, leaving him disfigured and eager to seek revenge. With Silva's grip on MI6 seemingly too tight to shake, Bond and M retreated to Scotland to Bond's ancestral home, Skyfall. Once there, they prepared for an assault with the help of the house's groundskeeper. Though they were able to fight off Silva's men and eventually kill Silva himself, M died from her wounds after the battle, leaving Bond to mourn another important woman in his life.

A face from the past

"Spectre" began with Bond investigating a lead left for him by M, against the wishes of the new M. Bond persisted in his investigations, despite a new privatisation effort that led to the shutdown of the 00 program, and found a shadowy organization led by a man named Franz Oberhauser. Further investigation revealed that Mr. White, still alive after the events of "Quantum of Solace," was somehow connected to this organization, and that Oberhauser was supposed to have died decades earlier.

Teaming with Mr. White's daughter, Madeleine Swann, Bond discovered that all of his previous enemies — including Le Chiffre, members of Quantum, and Raoul Silva — could all be tied back to the organization known as Spectre. Even the privatization at MI6, which included a new global surveillance effort, were a Spectre-backed attempt to thwart counterterrorism agents. Then it got worse.

After capturing Bond, Oberhauser revealed that his true name was Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and that he'd known Bond as a boy. After Bond's parents died, Oberhauser's father took Bond in and began to look at him with such favor that young Franz decided to seek revenge. He killed his father, faked his death, and devoted his life to a massive criminal enterprise that he ultimately turned on Bond. This massive personal vendetta, decades in the making, culminated with Bond capturing but not killing Blofeld, leaving him free to return for future sequels.

An attempt to make peace

Bond emerged from the events of "SPECTRE" with Blofeld in prison and Madeleine Swann on his arm, and decided it was time to step away from MI6 in favor of a trip with his lover. But Madeleine wasn't just interested in Bond's present. As "No Time to Die" opens, she also reveals a keen interest in his past, and asks him to attempt to make peace with Vesper Lynd, his lover who betrayed him and sealed her own doom during "Casino Royale." Hoping to build a future with Madeleine, Bond opted to visit Vesper's grave in Italy and let her go once and for all.

When he visited the gravesite, though, it was revealed to be a SPECTRE trap, which Bond immediately blamed on Madeleine. Though he was willing to get her out of harm's way, he wasn't willing to attempt to mend fences yet again. Feeling that he'd had enough of betrayals, Bond put Madeleine on a train, intending to leave her behind forever, and entered retirement from MI6. Done with the life of a hard-fighting spy, he retreated to Jamaica to live out the rest of his days in solitude, but as it always goes with James Bond, the past still had a way of catching up.

Out of retirement

Five years after Bond left Madeleine and retired from MI6, his old friend Felix Leiter tracked him down with a new mission. A dangerous new weapon dubbed Heracles had fallen into the hands of a terrorist known as Safin, and attempts to retrieve it were complicated by apparent ties to SPECTRE as well as MI6. Bond investigated, and discovered Heracles was an MI6-backed weapon, a nanobot cloud that could kill anyone whose DNA was placed into its targeting system. As Bond made this discovery, he also witnessed Safin orchestrate a plan to use Heracles to murder every member of SPECTRE, and lost Felix during the mission.

Furious, Bond turned to Blofeld, now in prison and the only surviving member of SPECTRE. As he attempted to interrogate Blofeld, Bond inadvertently killed him, as the Heracles nanobots were in his bloodstream but coded to kill Blofeld. That left one more person with knowledge of Safin: Madeleine, who'd met the villain as a child. Desperate to stop Heracles, which had the potential to kill millions, Bond sought out his former lover, and found more than he bargained for.

Stopping Heracles

Bond found Madeleine at her childhood home in Scandinavia, and learned that in the five years since they'd last seen each other, she'd given birth to a daughter, who she named Mathilde. Madeleine denied Mathilde was Bond's child, but did reveal certain details about Safin, the son of SPECTRE poisoners whose parents had been murdered by her father. Through Heracles, Safin hoped to not just get his revenge on SPECTRE, but remake the order of the world through its targeted infection system.

In the process of spilling their secrets to each other, Bond and Madeleine reconciled just before Safin's men converged on them. Bond fought his way through the threats, but not before Madeline and Mathilde were captured and taken to a secluded island where Safin held court at a "poison garden." With the help of Q and Nomi, his replacement as agent 007, Bond followed Safin to the island with the goal of saving Madeline and Mathile, and destroying Heracles.

A legacy of life, not death

Bond and Nomi managed to infiltrate Safin's island with Q's remote help, and made a terrifying discovery: The terrorist and his organization had actually scaled up production on Heracles, and were preparing to use it on countless victims around the world. Racing against time and Safin's own ambitions, Bond managed to rescue Madeleine and Mathilde and get them to safety, then set about figuring out how to stop Heracles.

The only solution was to destroy the entire island, which could only be done via airstrike. Bond stayed behind to open the blast doors on Safin's facility to ensure the entire supply of Heracles would be destroyed, only to encounter Safin one more time in the process. As a parting gift before dying, Safin tainted the dormant Heracles nanobots in Bond's system with the coded DNA of Madeleine and Mathilde, ensuring that he could never touch either of them without killing them. He also closed the blast doors, leaving Bond with mere moments to ensure the airstrike worked.

Confronted with his own death, Bond contacted Madeleine, who told him Mathilde was indeed his daughter. The airstrike missiles rained down as Bond looked out over the ocean, putting an end to Daniel Craig's incarnation of the character just as he learned he'd left a legacy in the world beyond violence.

Here's Why the Next James Bond Film Is Called Spectre

J ames Bond is headed back to the big screen next year, and the new film finally has a name: Spectre . Bond superfans are giddy about this title. Here’s why.

Luckily, Spectre is easier to decipher than some, more difficult past Bond titles like Quantum of Solace . Spectre, or rather SPECTRE, stands for the Sp ecial E xecutive for C ounter-intelligence, T errorism, R evenge and E xtortion, a global terrorist organization that plays a major role in the Bond stories. (You have to give them credit for stating their intentions openly with that acronym.) Many Bond villains count themselves as members of Spectre, including Dr. No ( Dr. No ), Emilio Largo ( Thunderball ) and, of course, Ernst Stavro Blofeld ( From Russia With Love , Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever , to name but a few).

Spectre (the British spelling for specter, meaning ghost) was originally conceived by Bond novelist Ian Fleming in 1959 for the novel Thunderball as a villainous organization that could pose a threat to the British government even as the Cold War ended and political alliances shifted. (A savvy move: 56 years later, Spectre still lives on.)

Spectre is a commercial organization led by Blofeld—you may know him as the guy with the fluffy white cat, played amongst other actors by Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas and Max Von Sydow—that recruits its members from criminal groups all over the world like the Gestapo, the Mafia and a fictional Soviet counterintelligence agency called SMERSH. In short, Spectre is not messing around: Members who fail to meet directives—like, “Kill James Bond”—face death.

In From Russia With Love , Blofeld explains using Siamese fighting fish as a metaphor (typical long-winded Bond villains!) that Spectre’s main objective is to create conflict between two superpowers, wait until they are both vulnerable and then strike. The organization has no alliances and will blackmail both good and evil rulers alike.

Its assassins also tend to be pretty ruthless: From Russia With Love’ s Red Grant practices murdering real people wearing Sean Connery Bond masks; the same movie’s Rosa Klebb stabs people with a poisonous needle at the tip of her shoe; in Diamonds Are Forever Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd drown a schoolteacher and then joke about sending pictures of the body to her students.

Blofeld, however, is the most evil villain of them all: Pleasence’s take on the bald-headed criminal mastermind with a scar over his eye in You Only Live Twice has inspired many an action villain, including the parody Dr. Evil in Austin Powers . At one point Blofeld even murders Bond’s wife in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. (Yes, Bond got married at one point, though he wasted little time after she died hopping back into bed with the various Bond girls.)

MORE: This Is the Awesome Car James Bond Will Drive In His Next Movie

Blofeld disappears after For Your Eyes Only because the filmmakers lost the rights to the character. (He even goes unnamed in that last movie, killed by Bond before the opening credits by being unceremoniously dropped down a smokestack from a helicopter.) The producers only just sorted out the legal issues in the past few years, which means that the Bond series can once again use the character Blofeld and the organization Spectre. In short, the return of Spectre has been highly anticipated, which is perhaps why the filmmakers opted to use the organization’s name as the title.

Some fans thought that perhaps Spectre would be behind the events in 2006’s Casino Royale : Bond tracks down a then-nameless criminal organization at the end of that film. But in the sequel, Quantum of Solace , audiences learn that the organization’s name is, in fact, just Quantum (though it has many Spectre-like elements). Spectre’ s new, vague synopsis suggests that Daniel Craig’s Bond will only just discover Spectre for the first time in the new film. (Remember, Casino Royale rebooted the Bond franchise, so Craig’s Bond has not yet met Blofeld or any other of the Spectre villains.)

But can the new Bond film live up to Spectre’s reputation? Hopefully. Filmmakers have announced that Christoph Waltz and Andrew Scott have been cast in the film—both of whom are known for playing particularly popular and formidable villains, Waltz as the Nazi Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds and Scott as Moriarty in BBC’s Sherlock . Might one of them turn out to be Blofeld? That’s what Bond fanatics are hoping.

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Graeme Shimmin, spy thriller and alternate history writer

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Spectre – Movie Review

Spectre is the latest James Bond film, staring Daniel Craig as James Bond, Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra, Christoph Waltz as Oberhauser, and Léa Seydoux as Madeleine Swann.

Spectre: Logline

When Bond’s past comes back to haunt him, he has to choose between revenge on his secretive nemesis and potential happiness with the daughter of an old adversary, whilst trying to prevent a threat to world freedom.

Spectre: Plot Summary

Warning: My plot summaries contain major spoilers. The worst spoilers are blacked out like this [blackout]secret[/blackout]. To view them, just select/highlight them.

It’s the present day. James Bond is in Mexico at the Day of the Dead celebration. Eavesdropping on a criminal, Marco Sciarra, he hears him mention “The Pale King” and a plan to bomb a football stadium. Bond shoots the bomb, causing it to explode, but Sciarra escapes and Bond gives chase. When Sciarra boards a helicopter, Bond leaps aboard and, after stealing Sciarra’s unusual ring, throws him out of the helicopter.

Back in London, M is furious at Bond’s unofficial activities and suspends him from duty. Moneypenny visits Bond at home and asks him what he’s up to. Bond shows her a video from the previous M asking him to assassinate Sciarra and then attend the funeral.

On M’s orders Q tags Bond with a nanotechnology tracker, but agrees that he will cover for Bond for forty-eight hours, while he goes to the funeral in Rome and gives Bond a watch packed with explosives.

At the funeral, Bond meets Sciarra’s widow, Lucia, and saves her from assassins. Lucia tells Bond about a meeting of her husband’s criminal associates that evening, and Bond infiltrates the meeting. There he witnesses a brutal murder by the enforcer, Mr. Hinx, and is then recognised by the organisation’s head, Franz Oberhauser, and has to flee, chased through Rome by Mr. Hinx. Bond eventually escapes using his Aston Martin’s ejector seat.

Moneypenny tells Bond that “The Pale King” is an alias of Mr. White, from the Quantum organisation Bond had previously tangled with.

Meanwhile, M’s rival intelligence chief ‘C’ attempts to create a worldwide, total-surveillance organisation called ‘The Nine Eyes’, but loses by one vote, to M’s relief.

Bond travels to Austria to find Mr. White, who assumes Bond is there to kill him. He tells Bond it’s too late, as he’s already dying of radiation poisoning. Bond realises Mr. White’s last concern is to protect his daughter and persuades him the best way to do that is to tell Bond where she is. Mr. White tells Bond his daughter, Madeline Swann, works at a clinic in the Alps, and Bond should ask her about “L’American”. He then kills himself.

Bond meets Madeline at the clinic, but she won’t cooperate and is then kidnapped by Mr. Hinx. Bond rescues her after a plane and car chase and takes her to meet Q. Q examines Sciarra’s ring and discovers files linking Oberhauser’s organisation with Bond’s previous missions. Madeline tells Bond the organisation is called “Spectre”, and that “L’American” is a hotel in Morocco that her mother and father used to visit annually.

Bond and Madeline travel to the hotel and stay in the same room her mother and father used to stay in. That night, Bond discovers a secret room containing a computer with the co-ordinates of a facility in the desert that isn’t on any maps. Bond and Madeline travel into the desert by train. While on the train they’re attacked by Mr Hinx, who’s about to kill Bond when Madeline shoots him. Bond then throws Mr. Hinx off the train. Later, Bond and Madeline become lovers.

At the facility in the desert, Bond meets Oberhauser, who’s the son of Bond’s guardian and who Bond thought dead in an avalanche. Oberhauser tells Bond how he killed his father, faked his own death, and has manipulated Bond for years, ruining his life. Now, he has succeeded in having The Nine Eyes approved, after setting off more bombs, and will soon have total surveillance of the world. Oberhauser makes Madeleine watch a video of her father committing suicide and Bond one of M giving a farewell speech after being forced out. One of Oberhauser’s guards knocks Bond out…

Bond [blackout]comes to tied to an operating chair and about to be tortured to death. Oberhauser tells Bond how he took a new name after he faked his death: Ernst Stavro Blofeld. He starts torturing Bond, but Bond manages to set his watch to explode then passes it to Madeline, who throws it at Blofeld. After the explosion, Bond and Madeline escape, destroying Blofeld’s facility in the process. They return to London to meet M, arrest C and prevent The Nine Eyes going live, though Madeline says she can’t be part of Bond’s world of violence and leaves.[/blackout]

On[blackout] the way to arrest C, M’s car is ambushed. M escapes but the assailants grab Bond and take him to the old MI6 building, which is wired for demolition. M attempts to arrest C in his office, while Q tries to hack the Nine Eyes system. C attacks M and in the ensuing struggle falls to his death, while Q finally manages to terminate the Nine Eyes system.[/blackout]

In [blackout]the old MI6 building, Bond finds Blofeld, who tells him that he can save himself or die trying to find Madeline, as he triggers the explosives. Bond manages to find Madeline and they escape the exploding building by boat. They chase Blofeld’s helicopter along the river and Bond shoots it down. He then has chance to execute Blofeld, but instead lets M have him and leaves with Madeline, seemingly turning his back on the secret world.[/blackout]

Spectre: Analysis

The plot of Spectre all hangs together rather well, with a few ‘movie logic’ exceptions, such as brutal fights leaving no visible marks on people, stormtrooper-level marksmanship by the bad guys, and people appearing and disappearing a trifle conveniently.

Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra and Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre

With actors of the calibre of Daniel Craig, Monica Bellucci, Christoph Waltz and Léa Seydoux, a character-focussed script and a good director, this is the strong point of Spectre .

Daniel Craig’s reading of the Bond character has become steely, with less of the hints of vulnerability he had in his earlier films. He is now the hard, professional assassin who kills without compunction.

Monica Bellucci only has a cameo role, which is a shame as she’s rather good in the little we see of her. Similarly, Christoph Waltz doesn’t actually get a lot of screen time either. There’s a possibility that he might be back though, we will see. I hope so as his character certainly has a lot of potential.

And Léa Seydoux is excellent – the best actress in a ‘Bond girl’ role since Eva Greene’s Vesper Lynd.

Spectre is about death, literal and metaphorical. The story begins at the Mexican Day of the Dead, proceeds via endless motifs of death (a funeral, the walking corpse of Mr. White, a clinic) and ends with several dilemmas for Bond, all involving whether to choose life or death.

It seems that there are two forces competing for Bond’s soul: death, literal and spiritual, in his chosen profession; and life, personified by Madeline. The word ‘Spectre’ itself means ghost, and the ghosts of Bond’s past return to haunt him and, if they can, drag him after them.

This gives the film its emotional impact. Like Skyfall it has some depth.

Daniel Craig as James Bond and Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann in Spectre

Even compared to Skyfall  (which saw the return of Q and Moneypenny)  Spectre  has a lot of Bond film clichés, or tributes, depending on how you see it. Whether you regard that as a good thing or not probably depends on your taste. The structure of the film has very much returned to the classic Bond ‘formula’, after the more experimental earlier Daniel Craig films.

One cliché did make an entirely unwelcome return: during the car chase in Rome, there’s a comedy moment that would have slotted in well in a Roger Moore Bond film. I’m not sure what they were thinking there.

The Sam Mendes Bond films have been less frenetic than some of their predecessors. Scenes are allowed to breath, making Spectre a relatively long film: two and a half hours. The cinematography though, as you might also expect from Mendes, is fabulous.

Spectre: Helicopter Fight in Mexico

The set-piece action scenes are excellent, particularly the opening sequence with the helicopter, and the air/plane chase in the Alps. The car chase in Rome is perhaps a little underwhelming, being played for laughs a bit too much for me. The hand to hand fight between Bond and Mr. Hinx on the train is brutal. The denouement of the movie though is not very action-packed but focusses more on Bond’s dilemmas.

Spectre: My Verdict

A blast, and with more depth than most Bond movies. If you loved  Skyfall , you’ll almost certainly love  Spectre  too.

Want to Watch It?

Here’s the trailer:

Spectre  is available on Amazon USA here and Amazon UK here .

A Kill in the Morning

If you like James Bond then you’ll love my novel  A Kill in the Morning which  SFF World described as “an action-packed romp that Ian Fleming would be proud of.”

You can read the opening here: The first two chapters of A Kill in the Morning.

If you’d like to buy  A Kill in the Morning  then:

  • In the UK:  A Kill in the Morning on Amazon UK,  although the novel is also available in bookshops.
  • In the USA:  A Kill in the Morning on Amazon USA.

Agree? Disagree?

If you’d like to discuss anything in my Spectre  review, please  email me.  Otherwise, please feel free to share it using the buttons below.

Related posts:

The Spy Who Loved Me: Movie review

Screen Rant

'spectre' trailer #2: james bond is just getting started.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) undertakes perhaps his most personal mission yet in the full-length trailer for the upcoming 'Spectre'.

If Skyfall  serves as the final chapter setting up classic elements from the James Bond franchise within MI-6 (introducing new versions of Moneypenny, Q and M, for instance), then this fall's Spectre will expand that newly re-established world with its own take on one of Bond's greatest adversaries, the terrorist organization known as SPECTRE. However, while the latest Sam Mendes-helmed 007 big screen adventure isn't far off now - much like SPECTRE itself - it has remained largely shrouded in mystery, in terms of official details ( leaked information , on the other hand...).

We've gotten glimpses of the film's tone and the shadowy group at the plot's center as well as gained some insight regarding how Quantum - the organization featured in 2008 release Quantum of Solace - may be connected to SPECTRE. Now, as  previously reported,  a second Spectre trailer has launched, along with a fresh synopsis that sheds light on the film's story and hints at the villainous character played by two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz ( Django Unchained ).

The new Spectre  footage is here (watch it above) certainly ought to give James Bond fans enough to whet their appetites for the upcoming film. It remains to be seen just how far Spectre will push Daniel Craig's Bond in his battle to stop the eponymous organization and its world-dominating agenda, though the latest trailer suggests this is a far more personal battle for 007 than usual (see Waltz' final line in the preview).

For more on the plot for Spectre - conceived by Skyfall writers John Logan, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade - you should check out the film's newly-released synopsis, below. Keep in mind, though, it contains what some will consider MILD SPOILERS.

A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE. Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of SPECTRE. As the daughter of an assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot. As Bond ventures towards the heart of SPECTRE, he learns of a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks, played by Christoph Waltz.

Spectre could prove to be a critical entry in the Bond franchise, following on the heels of the highest-grossing 007 installment yet, in Skyfall . The film is not only expected to be  the last Bond film helmed by Mendes , it also (at the moment, at least) looks to be the penultimate Bond film starring Craig  as the iconic lead. Moreover, the movie is faced with needing to please the existing fanbase in its depiction of SPECTRE and leaving the franchise in top shape, since distribution rights to the James Bond film brand will open for bids after Spectre is released.

In any case, the rebooted Bond has succeeded in reinvigorating the series (after it fell out of vogue in the early 2000s) and transformed Craig into arguably one of the most memorable takes on the 007 character. Skyfall  demonstrated that the James Bond franchise is still going strong after its first fifty years of existence, so now it's on Spectre 's shoulder to keep audiences interested in the continuing adventures of Mr. Bond (and, in particular, the personal struggles of Craig's iteration).

NEXT: Spectre Set Visit Report

Spectre  opens in U.S. theaters on November 6th, 2015.

Source: MGM


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