Watch a Montage of 50 Years of James Bond Opening Titles

Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 17 2012 6:28 PM

The Evolution of the James Bond Opening Title


For 50 years now, James Bond films have had some of the best opening title sequences in Hollywood. In fact, they’re often among the best parts of the movie. Now the great site Art of the Title has rounded them all up in this slick montage, to accompany their new article on the topic, coming tomorrow.

Watching the video, it’s clear some things will never change. Jean Luc-Godard once said that “All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl,” and the same applies to James Bond’s opening titles. (Especially if the girl comes in a nude silhouette.)


The Bond franchise has long succeeded through this kind of nostalgic familiarity as much as through novelty, but watching the montage I was surprised by exactly how quickly and firmly the Bond movies locked into that one formula. It’s clear that the early movies were influenced by the work of the great title designer Saul Bass for ‘50s films like Vertigo. But it seems to have been only in the mid-‘90s, after movies like Se7en prompted a renaissance in title design, that the Bond movies really began to experiment with new ideas again. Hopefully the great title sequence for Skyfall, one of the all-time greats for the Bond franchise, will set an even higher standard for the installments to come.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.