James Bond is part of British cinematic history, with 26 films spanning the past 56 years – but some millennials watching 007’s early outings for the first time are taking issue with the movies’ ‘inappropriate’ content.
Some viewers too young to witness past Bonds like Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton – and even Pierce Brosnan – in action at the cinema have expressed their shock at the ‘sexist’ and ‘racist’ contents of the films in a modern context.
The older Bond movies may have stood the test of time in the eyes of true devotees of Ian Fleming’s hero – but those people coming to the franchise with fresh eyes say the spy’s sexually aggressive actions are unacceptable.
In particular, Sean Connery’s James Bond – the Scottish actor took the title role in seven Bond flicks between 1962 and 1983 – has been described variously as a ‘sexist wife beater’, a ‘scumbag’, and a ‘rapist’ by modern viewers.
It comes after the arrival of seminal ’90s sitcom on Friends on Netflix sparked an online outcry among 20-somethings seeing the episodes for the first time, who branded it ‘transphobic’, ‘homophobic’, and ‘sexist’.
It’s become a familiar Bond trope to feature a woman in as little clothing as possible as a love interest for 007, but amid a global conversation around consent triggered by the Weinstein scandal, Connery’s version of the character has come under fire for his ‘aggressive’ seduction technique.
One unimpressed person said on Twitter: ‘Sean Connery’s James Bond is a flat out rapist.’
While another asked: ‘Is old school James Bond a rapist? Sean Connery is pretty damn aggressive.’
The Man With The Golden Gun, which starred Roger Moore and hit theatres in 1974, has also been described as racist by viewers who pointed to remarks made by the sheriff character, played by J.W. Pepper.
The officer from America’s deep south is seen on holiday in Thailand in the movie, where he calls people in Bangkok ‘little brown pointy heads’.
The 1985 film A View to Kill, another outing for Moore, has also attracted accusations of sexism.
Even more modern installments featuring Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig have not escaped criticism – although some at least feature acknowledgments of Bond’s flaws.
Like Dame Judi Dench’s classic in 1995’s GoldenEye, in which she dismisses the spy as a ‘sexist, misogynist dinosaur – a relic of the Cold War’.
As for Daniel Craig, In 2012’s Skyfall his Bond sneaks into the shower of former sex slave Sévérine, played by Bérénice Marlohe, and has his way with her with zero conversation.
She is then killed in the next scene, prompting one viewer to tweet: ‘At least once a week I think about the abominable treatment of Sévérine in Skyfall.
‘She was honestly one of the most traumatized and bravest characters and they made a huge show of throwing her life away and she was never mentioned again.
‘Then the next scene they want me to feel bad for the guy who shot her? Hard pass.’
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