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James Bond's Top 10 Closest Shaves

Written by Ivan R.


Following his creation in 1953, James Bond featured in twelve very successful Ian Fleming novels prior to the release of Dr. No, the first motion picture in the Bond film franchise in 1962. So, while skilful production and casting have contributed enormously to the global success of the Bond movies, the ultimate appeal of 007 lies firmly in the edge-of-your-seat story lines.

In pitting his wits against megalomaniacs across every continent, Bond has on many occasions been close to a sticky end. Here we list our top ten memorable close shaves where our hero, but for some quick thinking and even quicker reflexes, could have been pushing up the daisies.

#10 Something Under the Sheets (Dr. No, 1962)

Dr. No Spider Attack

You don't need to be arachnophobic to break out in a cold sweat for this scene but it does help! Lying comfortably asleep in his bed during the early hours, crickets gently chirp in the still acacia trees outside. Bond stirs, slowly raising his head from the pillow to look over his shoulder. Under the bed sheet something moves tentatively up his arm. Bond remains motionless. A cold sweat covers his face. Whatever it is, it shouldn't be there.

Then, with a sudden glance from the corner of his eye he spots the meaty black tarantula as it reveals itself from beneath the cover. Tapping its hairy forelegs on his upper arm, the poisonous arachnid feels its way ominously over Bond's shoulder. Starting over his chest it changes direction until it slowly crawls onto the pillow next to his head. Within a second Bond throws off the sheet and is out of bed grabbing his shoe before hammering the life out of the would-be killer.

#9 A Bite for Lunch (Live and Let Die, 1973)

James Bond with a Crocodile

Having been driven to a remote illicit drugs factory in the Louisiana outback, Bond is shown the crocodile enclosure. Feeding time will be the "highlight of the tour". Bond watches suspiciously as Tee Hee, the bad guy with a mechanical arm, feeds meat to the reptiles. His captors then leave him defenceless on a ten-foot by ten-foot island in the middle of a crocodile-infested lake. Bond scans the area for an escape route as one by one the crocodiles surface above the muddy water and begin to close in.

A small boat nestles in the nearby reeds. Using the super-magnet built into his wristwatch, Bond tries to draw the boat closer, only to find it tied too securely. The situation appears hopeless as four hungry crocodiles slowly climb onto the tiny island while others surround it on all sides. Everyone knows Bond has nowhere to go. But in a flash, he hops with one foot from the island onto the back of a snapping crocodile, then another, then another until finally he lands safety on solid ground.

#8Under a Steel Jaw (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)

Fight with Jaws

Bond has had many encounters with the villain with a steely bite. His closest shave with Jaws comes on a train where his companion is the serene Anya Amasova. They occupy annexed cabins when Bond hears a muffled scream. He rushes to investigate and finds Jaws stooping over an unconscious Ms. Bach, just about to bite into her neck. Taking a magnum of Champagne Bond smashes it over Jaws' head.

This is merely a tickle for the big guy. He turns, punches a hole in the door, grabs Bond by the throat, and hurls him across the room. After biting a chunk out of a tabletop, Jaws lifts Bond off the floor with one hand. Pinning him against the wall, he goes in for the big bite. Reaching down for the bedside lamp Bond smashes the bulb to expose the electric filament and forces the live wire on to Jaws' metal mandible. With the sound of a dentist's drill and a flash of neon light, Jaws recoils in agony. Then, with a two-footed jump, Bond kicks the giant assassin through the train window.

#7 Ashes to Ashes (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971)

Bond in a Flaming Coffin

Knocked unconscious outside a mafia-run funeral parlour in L.A--by two murderous assassins going by the names of Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint--Bond is laid to rest peacefully, yet still alive, inside a coffin prepared for cremation. The lid of the coffin slams shut with a heavy thud before being locked by the bespectacled, creepy Mr. Kidd. Proceeding to the control panel at the head of the coffin, Mr. Kidd cues the music as a solemn Mr. Wint watches.

The doors and curtains open and the coffin rolls slowly inside the oven. A "glowing tribute" says Mr. Wint. The flames wrap around the coffin while Bond slowly regains consciousness. The heat and smoke begin to penetrate the coffin, but for all his efforts there is no way out and James Bond is about to be burned alive. Suddenly, the coffin is open and daylight streams in. His saviour, the figure holding open the lid, is an angry Shady Tree, the mob comedian Bond has just duped with fake diamonds.

#6 Trapped in a Tiger (Goldeneye, 1995)

Trapped in a Tiger Helicopter

Rendered unconscious by a tranquilliser dart, Bond finds himself, along with blast survivor Natalya Siminova, strapped inside a Eurocopter Tiger. He rouses to the harrowing screams of his co-captive with less than thirty seconds before the helicopter is to self-destruct. The bleep of the countdown continues as the two struggle with their straps. As the timer reaches zero, Bond watches helplessly as two Mistral infrared homing missiles are launched from the helicopter into the sky above. Bond looks down at the dashboard. Time To Target, eleven seconds.

The missiles turn back on themselves, aiming straight at the helicopter from where they were launched. Franticly, Bond looks about the cockpit for options and notices the emergency Eject button flashing to the left. Arching his neck, he strikes the button powerfully with his forehead. Nothing. He strikes it again. Nothing. He has time for one final attempt. He musters up all his strength and strikes the button with his head for the third time. The rotor blades disengage and Bond and Siminova are ejected high into the air just as the helicopter explodes beneath them.

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