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Image: 'Goldfinger'
United Artists  /  Getty Images file
Villain Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) laughs as British agent James Bond (Sean Connery) lies strapped to a table beneath a laser weapon in "Goldfinger," directed by Guy Hamilton, 1964.
By
msnbc.com contributor
updated 11/10/2008 1:17:38 PM ET 2008-11-10T18:17:38
COMMENTARY

One of James Bond’s signature characteristics is his eternal readiness with a quip in the face of danger — often a casual aside as he’s walking away from the body of someone who’s just tried to kill him. His two most well-remembered quotes are by now part of the formula: The suave-yet-macho introduction “Bond, James Bond,” and that eternally sophisticated drink order, “martini, shaken not stirred.”

Of course, Bond doesn’t always get the best lines. In particular, the irascible gadget maker Q — who provides 007 with his high-tech spy gear and is inevitably disappointed when the rough-and-tumble of Bond’s fieldwork winds up destroying his carefully crafted machinery — gets more than his share of zingers. And the villains get their digs in, too, though Bond usually has the advantage of the last word (and the last bullet).

The best
It’s spoken not by Bond, but villain Auric Goldfinger, a confirmed madman whose streak of gruff practicality leads him to break out of the spy-movie convention of keeping the hero captive to get information out of him, thus allowing an opportunity for escape later. Instead, he prepares to cut Bond in half with an industrial laser, leading Bond to ask “Do you expect me to talk?” The irritated Goldfinger replies: “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.”

The worthy
Q, dryly explaining what Bond and Holly Goodhead are doing up there in that satellite in space: “I think he's attempting re-entry, sir.”

George Lazenby as Bond, breaking the fourth wall in “On Her Majesty's Secret Service” to comment wryly on his taking over the role from Sean Connery: “This never happened to the other fellow.”

Ernst Stavro Blofeld, after murdering a henchman who failed him in “From Russia With Love”: “Twelve seconds. One of these days we must invent a faster-working venom.”

Blofeld in “Diamonds Are Forever,” on the importance of choosing the right target for your death ray: “The satellite is at present over... Kansas. Well, if we destroy Kansas the world may not hear about it for years.”

M, bemoaning the sloppy work of modern-day Double-0 agents in “Casino Royale”: “In the old days if an agent did something that embarrassing he'd have a good sense to defect. Christ, I miss the Cold War.”

M, exasperatedly answering Bond’s query about who would possibly want to have him killed, in “The Man With The Golden Gun”: “Jealous husbands! Outraged chefs! Humiliated tailors! The list is endless!”

Bond, seeing Q’s demonstration of an acid-filled pen in “For Your Eyes Only”: “Wonderful for poison pen letters.”

Bond, after killing Kananga by forcing an expanding air cartridge down his throat in “Live And Let Die”: “He always did have an inflated opinion of himself.”

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Bond, after killing a villain with a spear gun in “Thunderball”: “I think he got the point.”

Hugo Drax, the lead villain in “Moonraker,” sneering after capturing his MI6 enemy: “Look after Mr. Bond. See that some harm comes to him.”

Bond shows good taste in vino, but questionable taste in music, in “Goldfinger”: “My dear girl, there are some things that just aren't done, such as drinking Dom Perignon '53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That's just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!”

James Bond, after electrocuting Oddjob in “Goldfinger”: “He blew a fuse.”

Willard Whyte, the Howard-Hughes-like character in “Diamonds Are Forever,” upon discovering that one of his employees has actually been trying to kill him: “Bert Saxby? Tell him he's fired!”

Slideshow: Bond through the ages Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint, after trapping Bond inside a crematorium in “Diamonds Are Forever” to be burned alive: “Heartwarming, Mr. Wint.” “A glowing tribute, Mr. Kidd.”

Bond, answering the question “what do you think you’re doing?” when he’s discovered sleeping with Russian spy Agent XXX, in “The Spy Who Loved Me”: “Keeping the British end up, sir.”

Bond, after electrocuting a would-be assassin by throwing a lamp into a bathtub in “Goldfinger”: “Shocking! Positively shocking!”

Bond puns shamelessly in bed with Christmas Jones in “The World Is Not Enough”: “I thought Christmas only came once a year.”

Bond, after killing Xenia Onatopp in “GoldenEye” by crushing her to death, ironically her own preferred way to kill people: “She always did enjoy a good squeeze.”

Bond, using his high-powered magnetic watch to unzip a lover’s dress in “Live And Let Die”: “Sheer magnetism, darling.”

Bond, sleeping with his foreign-language instructor in “Tomorrow Never Dies”: “I always enjoyed learning a new tongue.”

The worst
Blofeld’s bizarre instructions to his hypnotized victims in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”: “I've taught you to love chickens, to love their flesh, their voice.”

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