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As We Wait For A New James Bond To Be Announced, The Franchise Is Celebrating A 60-Year Anniversary

Lois Maxwell and Sean Connery share a hug at the office in Dr. No.
(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

At this time in the history of James Bond, celebration is in order, as No Time To Die has been released around the world. The fifth and final film for Daniel Craig’s Bond, the movie has been the primary focus of producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, as well as everyone else over at Bond HQ. We’re still going to have to wait some time for the next 007 to be selected, but in the wake of the new film's release, today is the perfect time to celebrate the first time Sean Connery stepped into those cinematic shoes. 

It was this day, November 3, in 1961 that Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman announced that Dr. No would star Sean Connery as the very first big screen version of Ian Fleming's James Bond. Though others were considered for the role before Connery's casting, and a 1953 television adaptation of Casino Royale technically marks the very first Bond depiction in filmed media, today was the day that cinema’s 007 landed his first actor. A reminder of this historic date came from the official 007 Twitter, as you’ll see below: 

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The total history of the James Bond franchise is absolutely wild, especially considering some of the earlier pitches to kick things off. Initially, one of the most intriguing ideas was to adapt Thunderball with Alfred Hitchcock directing and Cary Grant starring as 007. But history would see that plan scrapped, making way for Dr. No with Sean Connery and director Terence Young starting things off.

As the success of the James Bond franchise grew through Sean Connery’s first five films, it was clear the man was going to be a hard act to follow. Leaving the franchise before 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Connery would be enticed back to the role of 007 three more times throughout his life. Due to the public reception of George Lazenby's only entry being quite disastrous at the time, the door was open for Sir Connery to make several appearances as Bond once again.

Sean Connery's final official entry was 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, which saw the actor bid a fond farewell to 007 in the EON Productions canon. Later, he would play James Bond in 1983’s unofficial remake of Thunderball, entitled Never Say Never Again, marking his final cinematic outing in the fabled tuxedo. Connery's final “final performance” as James Bond came when EA Games brought him in as the voice of James Bond for 2005's official video game adaptation of From Russia, With Love

2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the UK release of Dr. No, which means that this is literally the beginning of the festivities. There will be more chances to raise your cocktail of choice (martinis encouraged) to the history of 007, especially with a new book on the way from author Anthony Horowitz. And according to Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the music of the franchise is the first topic of celebration that the folks at EON Productions have in mind for their official commemoration.

But, of course, even with his literary fame preceding his cinematic glory, James Bond probably wouldn’t be as big of a deal without Sean Connery. Laying the foundation for the character to become a fixture in all sorts of media, there’s a good number of fans that still claim nobody’s done it better. So for today, let’s toast the late Sir Sean Connery and his vital role in making Bond, James Bond a household name.

Meanwhile, for those of you who haven’t seen No Time To Die, and have gracefully avoided the twists, the movie is more than likely in a theater near you. But if you’re looking to enjoy some spoiler-free fun with the cast, that can be arranged as well. Last but not least, if you’re looking to the future, you can seek out the remainder of the 2021 movies that await you in between now and the end of December.

Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.