[List] - 9 Innocent Bystanders Whose Day Was Ruined By James Bond

All pictures courtesy of MGM
James Bond, the world's greatest spy. For 50 years, and in 22 (as of today, 23) films, he has amazed us with his death deifying stunts, his apparently invulnerable liver, and his constant need for sexual gratification, to fill the dark, lonely hole that has been carved out of his heart by the ceaseless, meaningless killing...

What we fail to notice in this cacophony of awesome is how much of a utter jerk 007 is. How many innocent people he interacts with in the course of his duties, and how much he doesn't stop to think about how his actions affect other people. I'm not talking about the dozens of women he has tossed aside (and, statistically speaking, infected with VD), or gotten killed. Nor do I refer to the megalomaniacs he campaigns against, or the countless sidekicks, henchmen, and hired goons he disposes of without a second thought, mostly in agonising ways you wouldn't wish on your ex-wife's mother.

I speak here of people unconnected to the spy trade. The people not employed or seduced by the Big Bad. I speak of the everyday folk, the people like you and me. The tourists, the natives, the Regular Joes, whose life unluckily crosses paths with Britain's finest, and because of that chance, have their day completely ruined.

Hit the jump for the list.

Before we begin, I should say, this list is by no means exhaustive. I've excluded large groups, like the good people of St. Petersburg, whose afternoon commute, and property damage insurance rates were undoubtedly effected by Bond's tank chase during the events of Goldeneye. I have focused, with one exception, on specific individuals, beginning with (and in no particular order):

The Old Italian Woman Who Drops Her Food
- Quantum of Solace


The person who inspired this entire list, noticed only during my latest viewing of the most recent film. As Bond chases Mitchell, M's bodyguard and recently revealed Quantum agent, through the streets and buildings of Siena, Italy, they begin to ascend a stair case. About half way up is a tiny, frail old woman, using a pulley system to lift what is either preserved cherries or baby tomatoes from the ground floor to the upper levels.

This old woman, tired from a day at the market, and obviously too weak to carry her produce up the stairs, is knocked first by Mitchell, then by Bond, causing the rope to slip from her fingers, and the food to smash, now useless onto the floor below. And then, to add insult to injury, the camera remains on her for a moment, as she cusses softly in Italian, and buries her face in her hand.

Now, her food is ruined, she's out the money she paid for them, and has no one around to help her clean up the mess. That evening, she goes without dinner, or at the very least, without a red sauce, weeping herself to sleep as she come to terms with her own limitations in the face of increasing age. Poor mama.

The German Woman Using The Pay Phone, Whose Car Bond Steals
 - Octopussy


Bond rushes into the town square, desperate to contact M and warn him of the impending nuclear detonation on a US military base in West Germany. Unfortunately, he is thwarted by a perfectly innocent fräulein, who also needs to make a call, and does not need some pushy foreigner telling her that she should hurry. Displaying no conventional phone booth manners (now made completely extinct by cellphones), Bond, rather then pull her out of the booth and call M, instead turns and steals this poor woman's Alfa Romeo GTV6, after which she futility gives chase on foot.

After Bond, she'll spend the rest of the day filling out reports with the police, and the insurance companies. When the car is retrieved, the insurance company won't want to pay for the damage, claiming that the government should be responsible for repairing the damage. The police will insist that she contact the US embassy, since the car was found on a military base. The Americans will remain obstinate, refusing to help her. She spends the next six months in a constant fight with bureaucracy, all the while thinking how much easier things might be on the other side of that wall in Berlin.

The Rum Seller Whom Bond Kicks In The Arm
 - Thunderball


Imagine this: you are a down on your luck market seller in Nassau. Maybe you've got a family you need to support, and rely on tourist dollars to irk out your meager living. Your big pay day: selling rum car to car during the Junkanoo festivities. You saddle up next to a car with a bottle of your best, offering fair prices to what are clearly tourists. They seem a little tense, maybe rum is what they need. You stick your hand in to make certain they can't get away, when suddenly one of the passengers kicks you right in the wrist. You feel bones break, as you grip loosens, and an entire bottle of rum shatters. As you fall back, crippled in the street, the crazy who kicked you sets the car on fire and runs off.

This poor guy now has hospital bills he'll have to pay off, along with a recuperation period of at least six weeks, during which time, his right arm will be mostly useless to him. This guy makes his living on his feet, selling his wares literally door to door. He can't afford to take a day off, let alone a couple months. Not to mention he's out the cost of that bottle of rum.

The Gondolier, And Probably The Two Lovers, In The Gondola Bond Cuts In Half
 - Moonraker


Do you know how hard it is to become a Gondolier? Neither did I, until I looked it up for this list. Turns out, it's like becoming a cabbie in London. You have to pass an exam, given by the Gondolier Academy in Venice. And then you need to get a license, which is next to impossible since licenses are usually passed down within families, being bequeathed in wills to widows and sons. Apparently, considering their high rate of pay, and high skill set, being a gondolier is a highly respected, and highly sought after position.

So, imagine you are the this poor guy, who despite all his training, is left sinking in the rear portion of his now bisected Gondola, pawing desperately at the rising waters. But he is (presumably) Venetian, he should be able to swim. But what about the two love birds left helpless in the front half, last seen drifting aimlessly, oddly balanced and completely oblivious to what has happened. When they come out of their lip lock, and immediately panic, causing the boat to take on water, how do you think their impression of the day will change?

The Perrier Truck Driver, After Bond Drives A Tank Through His Truck
 - Goldeneye


As I mentioned above, Bond probably made life pretty inconvenient for the people of St. Petersburg after his tank escapades. This tended to be a trend during the Brosnan years. Other Bonds had managed to limit collateral damage during their many car chases, limiting actual damage to police vehicles and the property of villains. But once Brosnan took over, anything in the city was fair game. Restaurants destroyed (World Is Not Enough), big sections of whole villages (Tomorrow Never Dies), and whatever happened to be in his way (Goldeneye). Point of fact, he drives full bore, not even hesitating, through a product placement- er, Perrier truck, with the tank. Bottles of water go everywhere, and the unsuspecting truck driver escapes, to survey the damage.

Keep in mind, those water bottles were going somewhere. A business owner had paid for that delivery. Who recoups that loss? And what about the truck driver? Sustaining that amount of product loss would not look good on his record. You think he's ever going to get the good hauls after that? Bond may have single handily stalled a man's career, just because he couldn't be bothered to swerve.

The Sleeping Couple In The Back Of The Truck, Destroyed By A Firetruck 
 - A View To A Kill


In one of A View To A Kill's more laughable scenes (mostly because of how much we as an audience are expected to not notice that Roger Moore had aged considerably), Bond and Donna's Mom set off after the bad guy, with police in pursuit, using a fire truck. The ladder swinging wildly, as it takes a corner wide, clean cuts a fifth wheel trailer off the back of a parked truck. Inside, suddenly awake and apparently naked, are a clueless couple, who only know that they are exposed to the world, and without a place to sleep for the rest of the night.

Now, unless they had just been evicted and were living in the trailer, this couple was probably on vacation, having driven to San Fran to enjoy the sights, the bridge, the large and accepted homosexual population. And brought the trailer to save money on hotels. Think about how much your vacation is ruined if a piece of luggage gets lost, now imagine what it would be like to lose basically a small house.

Or worse yet, what if they had been evicted? What if that truck cab cover was all they had left in this world? Their only shelter from the cold, empty night?

Plenty O'Toole
 - Diamonds Are Forever


Probably the most tragic case on this list. Plenty was a gold digging lounge lizard, saddling up beside any high roller, and tossing them aside when their luck went south. She had no connection to the bad guy, or Bond's mission at all. She only crossed paths with him because she happened to pass by the table when he won, thus drawing her flimsy blouse and desperation to his winnings. Not a prostitute per say, Plenty certainly wasn't above whoring herself out if it meant a few chips would be tossed her way.  Following Bond back to his room, and nuding up pretty quick, she is launched from his hotel room window, into the pool, by the bad guys. Embarrassing, and probably emotionally shocking, this event might have spurred Plenty into a life of decency.

Except then she gets killed. In a way that is never fully explained, and strains logic. Her death comes out of nowhere, and seems pointless, both in the narrative and philosophically. But the fact remains: the bad guys only knew she existed because of a chance encounter with Bond. And now she's dead.

Practically Everyone (But Specifically the Belly Dancer)
 - Man With The Golden Gun


Well known as the film in which Bond is a total ass to nearly everyone he encounters, the belly dancer gets it worst. He stumbles into her dressing room, bringing with him some unexplained goons, with the intentions of stealing the crushed bullet she uses as a good luck charm. After he and the goons destroy her dressing room, and Bond takes off with the bullet, the dancer is left in tears, and without a valid excuse for the manager.

But Bond takes his jerkass show on the road. He pushes a small child out of a moving boat, beats up a school of karate students (or lets a pair of girls hit the students in the testicles). He treats Maud Adams like absolute shit, essentially guilting her into sleeping with him, which ultimately gets her killed. He steals boats, destroys property without a care. Despite the fact that she is pretty dumb, he's a lot meaner to Goodnight then she deserves, and ends the film by locking Nick Nack in a lobster cage, and stringing him up on the mast. The only person Bond is decent to in the entire film is Scaramanga, which considering that he is just an evil version of Bond, has unsettling narcissistic undertones.

Us (The Audience)
 - Die Another Day


And anybody else who paid good money, or wasted precious time, watching this self-congratulatory, cinematic masturbation session.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

3 comments :

  1. Funny punchline is funny.

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  2. Die Another Day suffered from what I call Lucasitis. That affliction that George Lucas has, thinking that because you have CGI, you can visually create anything and the story suffers. Just because you "can" create an invisible car does not mean you should. Just because you "can" make Bond wind surf a giant wave......and so on.

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  3. I'd like to think there's a sort of "civilian damages compensation commision" so (after it's been thoroughly sterilzed) the bullet is returned to Saida along with a money to cover her lost earnings. The rum seller gets monetary compensation as well as medical expenses ect sadly poor old Plentys out of luck.

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