Agent of Change

Charting the evolution of action sports through the James Bond franchise

Dec 5, 2006
Outside Magazine
james bond

Since his big-screen debut in 1962's Dr. No, superspy James Bond has been a fearless early adopter of the latest adrenaline sports—as smooth catching air as he is landing ladies. So what's in store for Daniel Craig, who plays the new, grittier 007 in Casino Royale, opening November 17? Based on our expert analysis of sporting trends and Craig's gear-addicted predecessors, he'll be throwing a sonar-scrambling big-wave surfboard on the back of his biofueled Aston Martin in no time. Here's our look at the rise of an archetypal adventure hero.

MAN IN THE TUX: Sean Connery
On Assignment: 1962–1967, 1971, 1983
Legacy: Connery was the ultimate adventure traveler at the dawn of the Jet Age, taking far-flung assignments and always packing a stealth multitool.
Adrenaline Apex: After jumping from a helicopter into a massive subaquatic smackdown (complete with minisubs), uses a lilliputian regulator and a scuba propulsion pack to take down SPECTRE's underwater minions. (Thunderball, 1965)
Stoke Meter: **

MAN IN THE TUX: George Lazenby
On Assignment: 1969
Legacy: Lazenby starred in just one film, but he launched 007's ski-porn career when he bombed through trees and over moguls in the Swiss Alps.
Adrenaline Apex: In Hollywood's first—and to our knowledge, only—high-speed bobsled pursuit, dodges bullets and a grenade before catching his evil nemesis, Blofeld (Telly Savalas!). (On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969)
Stoke Meter: *

MAN IN THE TUX: Roger Moore
On Assignment: 1973–1985
Legacy: Moore introduced a fledgling sport to the masses with a snowboarding chase in 1985's A View to a Kill.
Adrenaline Apex: Skis off a monster cliff in the Alps, free-falls for 20 seconds, then pulls a parachute emblazoned with the British flag—all in a daisy-yellow jumpsuit. (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)
Stoke Meter: ***

MAN IN THE TUX: Timothy Dalton
On Assignment: 1987–1989
Legacy: Dalton's 007 played off the rise of climbing, skydiving, and watersports but relished large-scale stunts more than physical feats.
Adrenaline Apex: Leaps onto the roof of an explosives-filled truck, plunges over a cliff, deploys a parachute, and lands on a yacht—where a hot, bikini-clad babe awaits. (The Living Daylights, 1987)
Stoke Meter: **

MAN IN THE TUX: Pierce Brosnan
On Assignment: 1995–2002
Legacy: The X Games are ascendant and so is Bond's big-air moxie: He surfs, snowmobiles, parasails, and BASE-jumps. Thankfully, he never dons baggy pants.
Adrenaline Apex: Bungee-jumps off a scary-tall dam, fires a grapple gun, and descends to a secret Russian lab. (GoldenEye, 1995)
Stoke Meter: ****

Filed To: Culture

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