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LIFE 50 Years of James Bond Hardcover – October 2, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

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About the Author

The editors at LIFE vigorously carry on the traditions of excellence in photography, in journalism, and in telling the story of our country and our world which began with LIFE magazine in 1936 by founding editor and publisher, Henry R. Luce. They have published books on a broad range of subjects, including New York Times bestsellers One Nation, LIFE Picture Puzzle and The American Journey of Barack Obama.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Liberty Street; 1 edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1618930311
  • ISBN-13: 978-1618930316
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 0.8 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Timothy B. Clodfelter on October 5, 2012
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An example: In the writeup on "You Only Live Twice," the writers assert:
"For some reason, in You Only Live Twice, James Bond did not pilot any kind of vehicle -- first time ever."
That being the movie with a lengthy sequence of some British guy named James Bond piloting Little Nellie, the portable helicopter, and getting into a dogfight with other pilots. You know, while he was piloting a vehicle.
Why even make that assertion in the first place, let alone make it when you're entirely wrong in a way that should have been caught by anyone actually watching the movie? Sloppy, lazy work.
There are also such oddities as the writeup on "Thunderball" being one-third as long as the writeup for the 1967 "Casino Royale." As long as you don't rely on this for any research, and take some "Facts" with a grain of salt, it's a passable read, but the main draw would be the plentiful photos.
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If you're interested in this book for the pictures and visual layout, then go ahead and buy it. Otherwise, it's probably the most poorly written item covering the James Bond film franchise. It's clear that the author really isn't that much of a Bond fan, merely praising the more financially successful films and throwing the rest of them under the bus. As a massive James Bond fan and aficionado, I respect everyone's opinion as to who they feel is the best Bond or which films are their favorites, but it's clear from the lack of research and constant inaccuracies regarding the series history that the author is just catering to the expectations of the general public rather than providing new insight as to why certain films are better than others. If you're going to make the claim that Diamonds Are Forever is better than both You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, then you better have a lot to offer in backing that decision up.

In fact, there is nothing to back up any of the projected opinions, and the overall negativity of the book leaves a bad taste in the reader's mouth. Isn't this supposed to celebrate James Bond instead of pointing out all the films' flaws? Has this guy even actually sat down and watched a Timothy Dalton James Bond film before casting him off as the worst thing that has ever happened to the franchise? And the speculation that Ian Fleming would have liked the depiction of 007 in the film version of Moonraker is fairly solid evidence that the author either skimmed through the novels or took the even lazier way out by reading the back covers and calling it good.

In summary, the photos are incredible, but the book itself should have been written by a real Bond fan.
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I did not really know what to expect from LIFE's 50 Years of James Bond. I received it yesterday, opened the package, removed the book and started flipping through the pages. There were probably a lot of things I would not have liked had I been younger and back in the day. But, as I flipped through the pages I found them, the images and photographs rather endearing. I found myself reminiscing. I had seen DR. NO when it was first released, not even realizing it was a James Bond film. I was too young. But, when GOLDFINGER came out, I remembered the opening gun barrel that I saw in DR. NO again, like Deja Vu. And then there was the Aston Martin, the man with the steel hat, the golden girl and all the rest. I was a kid, but I was hooked from that point on. As I flip through this book again, I see and remember and know that am still hooked and always will be. Yes, I like this book. It not the best book on Bond nor the worst. It is just about James Bond with a very nostalgic visual style and with snippets here and there about what happened, how it came about and such. At this stage of the game, I do not even get too hung up on accuracy any more. Just let it flow. Just enjoy the moment.
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I over all enjoyed the review of Bonds first 50 years. I liked the box office reports that shows what the gross's would be by todays standards.

However, the writers of this book nearly lost me with the review for On Her Majesty's Secret Service which they called "more than a little bit lost"?! Are they nuts? When it first came out it was met with some criticism, trying to carry the torch after Connery, but it has since been met with universal praise from film historians, critics, and fans alike. It is regarded as one of the best adaptations of Fleming's novels and one of the best Bond films of all time. I mean are the LIFE writers from the 60's? Modern critics have given an 82% approval rating and In September 2012 it was announced that On Her Majesty's Secret Service had topped a poll of Bond fans run by 007 Magazine to determine the greatest ever Bond film. Goldfinger came second in the poll and From Russia With Love was third. Catch up to the present consensus LIFE. .

They even got it wrong when the labeled OHMSS a flop. It had a budget of $7 million and made back over 11 times that with $80 million which by todays standards is over $400 million. And they call that a flop?! Presently Avengers had a budget of $220 million and made back $1.5 billion, which is about 7 times it's budget. So OHMSS actually made back more of a profit in comparison to it's budget than Avengers and yet Avengers is considered a huge success. At the time OHMSS was released it was considered a disappointment in comparison to what the Connery films grossed, Thunderball was at $141 million, but that certainly doesn't make OHMSS a flop. You people need to get your facts straight.
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