1960s Casino Royale Parody Broke No Time To Die’s Biggest Taboo First

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No Time To Die has a distinction that divides previous Eon Production films, but that taboo was first broken in the 1967 parody Casino Royale.

The death of James Bond in no time to die is unprecedented in the previous 24 installments of the Eon Productions film franchise, but the taboo subject of the secret agent’s death was first broken in the 1967 parody Casino Royale. The concept of Bond’s death has undoubtedly been flirted with in many previous canon films, but it’s always ultimately avoided. While Bond’s death plays out very differently in no time to die that in Casino Royale (1967), it is nonetheless fitting that such a bold screenplay decision – which warrants protest from some viewers – has already been made, ironically enough, in parody form.

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Casino Royale (1967) boasted an excellent cast and was successful at the box office, but generally received poor critical reception. The film sees David Niven as Sir James Bond, a retired secret agent who advocates celibacy. He returns to active duty to fight SMERSH, a counterintelligence agency. Sir James isn’t the only Bond though: an attempt to confuse SMERSH sees MI6 agents adopt the name, while the villainous Dr Noah is revealed to be Sir James’ nephew, Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen). After being tricked into consuming one of his biochemical weapons, Jimmy Bond fights his way into an atomic explosion, killing himself, Sir James, and the other Bonds. The film then suddenly ends on a cheerful melody as the Bonds are shown in Heaven and Jimmy Bond descends into Hell.


Related: No Time To Die Makes A 1960s-era Bond Movie More Likely

The concept of James Bond’s death is unexpected in canon: the character is constantly in situations of considerable mortal risk, but his unimaginable survival is usually the essence of movies. Bond avoiding death is such an ingrained pattern in the Eon Productions franchise that viewers will always anticipate him no matter how dangerous he becomes. Obituaries are written on Bond in both celestial fall and you only live twice, the two soon realized they were premature. In Casino Royale (1967), and now no time to diehowever, obituaries are absolutely necessary. Casino Royale (1967) marked Bond’s first screen death. It typifies the parody genre by abruptly killing off a character who, in canon, appears to be immortal, then almost immediately rolling credits. no time to die Contrast this with a poignant depiction of Bond’s final moments – an act made perhaps all the more surprising by the fact that Bond’s only ‘real’ death before took place in a parody.



Daniel Craig as Bond in No Time to Die

Like the Bonds of the parody movie, the end that divides no time to die sees Daniel Craig’s Bond killed in an explosion, including by his own country’s missiles (a rather parody-worthy detail). The nature of his death, however, is strictly solemn. Bond realizes that Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek) has exposed him to nanobots designed to kill Madeleine (Léa Seydoux) if they touch her. Bond therefore awaits his death with missiles intended to destroy the impending bioweapons lab, ensuring that Madeleine cannot be exposed to the nanobots now within him. Bond speaks to Madeleine one last time and she confirms that Mathilde (Lisa-Dorah Sonnet) is his daughter. Rather than a fanciful representation of the afterlife, no time to die follows Bond’s death with Madeleine recounting Bond’s legacy to Mathilde. The soundtrack of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service plays as the pair pass through a tunnel that appears to be the iconic gun barrel sequence, now devoid of Bond.


Craig’s five films act as an iteration in the canon. His debut in 2006 Casino Royale began with Bond’s first murders and the achievement of 00 status. Thus, Bond’s death in no time to die doesn’t disrupt any sense of continuity in the franchise. Bond’s mortality taboo is exacerbated by its initial portrayal as a satirical feature of the 1967s Casino Royale. Nonetheless, the unexpected conclusion at least wraps up Daniel Craig’s iteration of James Bond and sheds light on a modernized genre to move the franchise forward, at best. The credits state, as usual, “James Bond will return,‘ and any debate over the decision to kill off James Bond will likely dissipate as soon as a new actor enters the gun barrel sequence.


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