English in Blockbuster Movies: James Bond

Man wearing a tuxedo fixes his cuffs

Welcome to the next part of our free English class series about English in Blockbuster Movies! Today we’re going to look at the most famous fictional spy in the world: James Bond!

Goals:

  • Learn how to speak about movie actors and characters
  • Learn new general English and movie-related vocabulary
  • Learn how to use the future perfect tense
  • Discover interesting facts about the James Bond franchise

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Time: Approximately 15 minutes

 

Reading Passage

Bond. James Bond. This is one of the most famous introductions in Hollywood history. James Bond was originally created by Ian Fleming in 1953 for a series of novels and short stories, but filmgoers first met James Bond in the 1962 film Dr. No. Scottish actor Sean Connery played James Bond, a dashing secret agent (spy) for the British Secret Service. Despite its low budget, Dr. No was an immediate hit, spawning a wave of “secret agent” films throughout the 1960s.

 

From Sean Connery to Roger Moore

Sean Connery reprised his role as James Bond in six subsequent films: From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, and Never Say Never Again. Even though Connery decided to leave the series behind in the 1970s, fans couldn’t get enough of the suave British agent. In 1969, George Lazenby played Bond in one film titled On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The role was later given to Roger Moore, who would have the longest streak as James Bond (7 films between 1973-1985). 

 

From Timothy Dalton to Daniel Craig

Timothy Dalton took over the role in the mid-1980s for two additional films, The Living Daylights and License to Kill. In the 1990s, Pierce Brosnan provided his own interpretation of James Bond, filling the role for a total of four films. Finally, in 2006, Daniel Craig became the latest James Bond, starring in four films. His most recent film was Spectre, which grossed nearly $900 million. His upcoming film, No Time to Die, is set to be released in 2020.

 

James Bond Parodies

Even though James Bond is very popular, it also provides great material for parody. In James Bond films, Bond is also known as 007 (pronounced “double-oh seven”). He often uses high-tech gadgets, fights his way out of impossible situations, and faces outlandish (bizarre) villains. He also manages to have an affair with at least one beautiful woman in every film (these characters and actresses would come to be known as the “Bond Girls”). As a result, movies like Austin Powers, The Naked Gun, and Johnny English have poked fun at James Bond and the “secret agent” genre. However, they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

 

The Future of the Series

While the James Bond series did not begin with a blockbuster, the movies became popular enough to allow for bigger budgets and larger marketing campaigns. Once No Time to Die reaches theaters later this year, there will have been a total of 27 James Bond films since its start 58 years ago, making it one of the longest-running film franchises of all time. While people show their love for James Bond at the box office, fans often argue over which actor is the “best” and who should take over the leading role next!

 

Youtube Links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iFSPuJc1sY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOT0j2pbcdU

 

Word Focus

Let’s take a closer look at some of the words in bold from the passage:

  • Dashing – (adjective) – Attractive; confident.

Bond is a dashing young spy who always outsmarts the villain.

  • Hit – (noun) – A popular film, television, book, music album, or similar product; a success.

Sean Connery’s portrayal of James Bond was a hit with fans around the world.

  • Reprise – (verb) – Repeat; return to an earlier position or role.

Sean Connery would reprise his role as James Bond for the last time in Never Say Never Again.

  • Film franchise – (noun) – A movie series; movies that share the same fictional world.

Writers and directors are constantly reinventing new stories to keep the James Bond film franchise fresh.

  • Box office – (noun) – The financial success of a movie; the place at a movie theater where people can buy movie tickets.

People line up at the box office to buy tickets for a new James Bond movies.

  • Parody – (noun/verb) – An exaggerated (often humorous) imitation; to copy the style of something in a hyperbolic manner.

Austin Powers is one of the most famous parodies of the James Bond franchise.

  • Gadget – (noun) – A small electronic device that serves a unique purpose.

James Bond often uses gadgets that don’t exist in the real world.

  • Poke fun – (verb phrase) – To make fun of something; to tease.

Even fans love to poke fun at James Bond movies.

  • Flattery – (noun) – Praise; compliments, usually with a specific intention.

Flattery helps James Bond attract beautiful women.

Grammar Center

Take a look at the following sentence from the passage:

Once No Time to Die reaches theaters later this year, there will have been a total of 27 James Bond films since its start 58 years ago, making it one of the longest-running film franchises of all time.

This sentence is an example of the Future Perfect Tense. English speakers use the future perfect to talk about events that will occur after a certain point in the future. As of this moment, the movie No Time to Die has not been released yet. However, it will be the 27th movie in the James Bond franchise. Thus, once No Time to Die is released, there will have been 27 James Bond films.

 

In the positive form, the future perfect tense looks like this:

  • Will + have + past participle 
  • By the end of 2020, Daniel Craig will have starred in 5 James Bond movies.

 

In the negative form, it looks like this:

  • Will + not + have + past participle 
  • Even if the next James Bond movie earns $2 billion, the series will not have earned more than the Star Wars franchise.

 

Finally, here is the future perfect tense in the question form:

  • Will + subject + have + past participle
  • Will the filmmakers have finished No Time to Die by the end of the summer?

 

Quiz

Now, let’s look at a few questions to review the passage, vocabulary, and grammar:

 

1. Which of the following statements most accurately captures the central idea of the passage?

A. James Bond is a popular secret agent movie franchise that has already spanned nearly 6 decades and featured 7 leading actors.
B. James Bond is a suave secret agent who must defeat a villain in every movie.
C. James Bond is so popular that it has spawned dozens of parody films.
D. The James Bond film franchise began in 1962 with Dr. No, though it was inspired by a series of novels and short stories by Ian Fleming.

2. Who had the shortest career in the James Bond Franchise?

A. Sean Connery
B. Roger Moore
C. George Lazenby
D. Timothy Dalton

3. Based on your understanding of the term, which of the following could be considered a gadget?

A. Secret agent
B. Smart watch
C. Rocket ship
D. Sports car

4. Which of the following words is a synonym for dashing?

A. Gentle
B. Successful
C. Rude
D. Handsome

5. In which of the following situations could you use the Future Perfect Tense?

A. To describe a movie you saw yesterday
B. To talk about your best friend’s appearance
C. To discuss your final grade after the test tomorrow
D. To describe your current mood

6. Fill in the blank: “Spectre earned nearly $900 million and No Time to Die is expected to earn even more; by this time next year, the James Bond franchise _________ approximately $1 billion in revenue.”

A. Will have been
B. Will not have wanted
C. Will be
D. Will have added

 

Correct Answer:

  1. A
  2. C
  3. B
  4. D
  5. C
  6. D
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