James Bond's voice

BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,814Chief of Staff
The voice.

How does James Bond speak? For over 60 years we’ve been hearing various actors saying the lines written by Fleming (and others) trying to convince us that they are Bond, James Bond- obviously the iconic lines (the name, the drink order) but also their dialogue with the villains, their relationship with the ladies, etc. How do they stack up? This is not a critique of the actors’ performances- just their voices. Opinions will naturally vary but this is mine:

8) BARRY NELSON: Given a pass owing to the circumstances. Doesn’t sound like Bond, doesn’t even try to (how could he?).
7) GEORGE LAZENBY: Gets it right some of the time, but often sounds awkward.
6) DAVID NIVEN: Like Nelson, gets a pass owing to the circumstances. His natural voice is just fine for an 007 of the time.
5) DANIEL CRAIG: Tends to flatness, though gets it right on occasion.
4) PIERCE BROSNAN: Often hits just the right note, tendency to be glib.
3) ROGER MOORE: Beautiful voice, a pleasure to listen to. A dab hand at potentially corny lines others would struggle with.
2) TIMOTHY DALTON: Measured deep tones, weight given to the correct syllables. Minus a point for lack of humour, but overall a voice that could read the telephone book and be worth hearing.
1) SEAN CONNERY: Need I say more? Often imitated, never bettered. One-liners carried off effortlessly, women seduced instantaneously, put-downs delivered charmingly...

Honourable mention: Toby Stephens, the radio voice of Bond- splendid job. https://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/50493/the-bbc-radio-4-james-bond-series/
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Comments

  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,522MI6 Agent
    I mostly agree with your ranking.

    Are you considering accents or more the tone of their voice? My problem with Connery is that his accent is inconsistent throughout the films. I think he sounds best in From Russia with Love and Goldfinger, where he has toned down his brogue the most and sounds more like someone who would have had Bond's education. He still sounds great in the other '60s films. He sounds off for Bond in Diamonds Are Forever, with more of the Scottish coming through. Then in Never Shay Never Again hish accent hash matured into what he ish known for. And that's Connery sounding like Connery, not Bond.
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  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,814Chief of Staff
    :)) That'sh true- though I attribute that to his dentures. I'm thinking more of the tones than the accents.
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,556MI6 Agent
    I mostly agree, but I might place Craig over Brosnan. Pierce Brosnan has a tendency to sound nasal and American.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,814Chief of Staff
    Number24 wrote:
    I mostly agree, but I might place Craig over Brosnan. Pierce Brosnan has a tendency to sound nasal and American.

    Sometimes that happens, I agree, but overall I stick with my ranking.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,196MI6 Agent
    Lazenby's gotta lose points for being dubbed for half the film. Only one film and he doesn't even get to speak all his own lines?

    Connery's definitive, but Moore certainly has the mellifluous and authoritative thing going for him.
  • Charmed & DangerousCharmed & Dangerous Posts: 7,045MI6 Agent
    Interesting topic -{ . I mostly agree with with your ranking but Timothy Dalton sounds slightly ‘stagey’ at points - no doubt a product of his theatrical pedigree. So I’d rank Moore above him - he had a very versatile tone, from tough to humorous.

    Some of the actors’ voices also changed, apart from Connery - Brosnan sounds very different in Goldeneye to his more relaxed intonation in later films, and Daniel Craig has the greatest range in Casino Royale, IMO.
    "How was your lamb?" "Skewered. One sympathises."
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,814Chief of Staff
    I haven't considered the effects of ageing, as you and Matt S have discussed, but gone for general thoughts.

    Fair point re Moore and Dalton- it's very close!
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,814Chief of Staff
    Lazenby's gotta lose points for being dubbed for half the film. Only one film and he doesn't even get to speak all his own lines?

    Not entirely his fault, of course, that was Peter Hunt's decision.
  • Charmed & DangerousCharmed & Dangerous Posts: 7,045MI6 Agent
    Barbel wrote:
    I haven't considered the effects of ageing, as you and Matt S have discussed, but gone for general thoughts.

    I’m not so sure it’s due to ageing - more perhaps to do with ‘relaxing into the role’ ( Brosnan’s words at the time of TND). Brosnan possibly tried to sound tougher in his first - whereas Craig sounds slightly more bitter - or more disillusioned? - in his. That’s not a criticism of Craig - just how Bond was written in subsequent films.

    I imagine the voice of Bond in the novels would also have changed - perhaps from reflecting youthful passion at first to ennui (as Sir James Molony puts it) some years later.
    "How was your lamb?" "Skewered. One sympathises."
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,556MI6 Agent
    Dalton can sound a bit line he's standing on a stage but generally I like is voice and delivery very much.
    Upper-class or educated English can easily sound effeminate, but with Dalton the accent sounds tough and masculine.
  • zaphod99zaphod99 Posts: 1,405MI6 Agent
    I think Craig has the best voice overall for Bond. Good tone, more or less accentless. Dalton sounds too regional to my ears, but otherwise good. Brosnan fine in GE but American sounding thereafter. Roger is pretty good but lacks gravitas. Shame about Georgy boy as I don't think he needed to be dubbed. Defo Craig comes out best to me.
    Of that of which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence- Ludwig Wittgenstein.
  • walther p99walther p99 NJPosts: 3,392MI6 Agent
    zaphod99 wrote:
    I think Craig has the best voice overall for Bond. Good tone, more or less accentless. Dalton sounds too regional to my ears, but otherwise good. Brosnan fine in GE but American sounding thereafter. Roger is pretty good but lacks gravitas. Shame about Georgy boy as I don't think he needed to be dubbed. Defo Craig comes out best to me.
    Agreed, Craig's is deep and masculine sounding.
  • Dirty PunkerDirty Punker ...Your Eyes Only, darling."Posts: 2,586MI6 Agent
    zaphod99 wrote:
    I think Craig has the best voice overall for Bond. Good tone, more or less accentless. Dalton sounds too regional to my ears, but otherwise good. Brosnan fine in GE but American sounding thereafter. Roger is pretty good but lacks gravitas. Shame about Georgy boy as I don't think he needed to be dubbed. Defo Craig comes out best to me.
    Agreed, Craig's is deep and masculine sounding.
    Ditto on Craig and Brosnan.
    But I still prefer Roger's, Connery's third for me.
    Dalton had a deepness to it, that I liked but wasn't the voice I imagined for an international secret agent.
    Lazenby, I also can't see the need for the dub...makes his voice appear quite inconsistent and it's edited weird.
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  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,065MI6 Agent
    Yep, Craig all the way.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,196MI6 Agent
    but if you were going to do a Bond impersonation and expect people to recognise it, whose voice would you do?
    Connery's. That's the only answer.
    example: Trainspotting was made when Brosnan was Bond, and apparently the story is set in the eighties (beginning of the AIDS crisis) when either Moore or Dalton was Bond. But its not any of their voices SickBoy keeps imitating, its Connery.
  • hehadlotsofgutshehadlotsofguts Durham England Posts: 2,075MI6 Agent
    zaphod99 wrote:
    I think Craig has the best voice overall for Bond. Good tone, more or less accentless. Dalton sounds too regional to my ears, but otherwise good. Brosnan fine in GE but American sounding thereafter. Roger is pretty good but lacks gravitas. Shame about Georgy boy as I don't think he needed to be dubbed. Defo Craig comes out best to me.

    Brosnan sounded too whispery at times and his irish accent in his later films, was really distracting.

    Timothy Dalton has a great voice, but i agree with everyone here, that he forgets he's not on stage. His accent was all over the place in LTK. He has a Welsh accent during the conveyor belt scene and his final line to Sanchez, before he sets him on fire. He speaks with a Northern accent during the scene with Sanchez in his mansion.

    George had a great deep delivery of his lines and his hushed delivery in the climax, was perfect.
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  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    Brosnan seems a bit high toned, a bit James Masonish. A bit plaintive and not authorative.

    Craig has a deep, rich voice but it comes across as mumbley in too many of his Bond films.

    I wonder if there is any copy of OHMSS with Lazenby's real voice as Sir Hilary Bray? Was it released anywhere like that? Oddly, OHMSS may work better dubbed in a foreign language, as Blofeld would then not sound American, Lazenby well, not Australian and Tracey might sound less prim and proper too.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,814Chief of Staff

    I wonder if there is any copy of OHMSS with Lazenby's real voice as Sir Hilary Bray? Was it released anywhere like that? Oddly, OHMSS may work better dubbed in a foreign language, as Blofeld would then not sound American, Lazenby well, not Australian

    Not to my knowledge though in the German dub, the actor who usually did Connery's voice did Lazenby's throughout (ie including the Sir Hilary section).

    For those who can read German:
    http://www.jamesbond.de/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1167
  • Charmed & DangerousCharmed & Dangerous Posts: 7,045MI6 Agent
    OHMSS may work better dubbed in a foreign language, as ... Lazenby well, not Australian and Tracey might sound less prim and proper too.

    It's funny, I can't hear an Australian note to Lazenby's voice -and I think Diana Rigg has a beautiful voice, which doesn't strike me as prim and proper. Most British actresses of that generation including Honor Blackman spoke with similar clarity and pronunciation. Just think how Fenella Fielding would have sounded (how great would she have been as a Bond girl! :x )

    IMG_1521.jpg
    "How was your lamb?" "Skewered. One sympathises."
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,696MI6 Agent
    :)) I'm watching "Carry On Screaming " right now ( ITV 3 )
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,814Chief of Staff
    Oddly enough, that film has Harry H. Corbett filling in for Sid James (who had just had a heart attack)- his character is even called Sid- which is vaguely comparable to Lazenby filling in for Connery...? Very vaguely...? Only in the way that Sid would be back for the next one in the series.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,696MI6 Agent
    edited April 2018
    Personally I love a girl with a posh accent, I'd love to be some posh birds bit of rough. :D
    I too didn't notice anything "Austrailian" in Lazenby's voice. I honsetly think he did a
    great job. -{ after all at one time only correct english would he heard in movies. With
    terrible attempts at Regional accents, like "Co*k-A-Knees" from London in old 50s films :))
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • zaphod99zaphod99 Posts: 1,405MI6 Agent
    Personally I love a girl with a posh accent, I'd love to be some posh birds bit of rough. :D
    I too didn't notice anything "Austrailian" in Lazenby's voice. I honsetly think he did a
    great job. -{ after all at one time only correct english would he heard in movies. With
    terrible attempts at Regional accents, like "Co*k-A-Knees" from London in old 50s films :))

    I am a Posh Girls bit of rough!
    Of that of which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence- Ludwig Wittgenstein.
  • hehadlotsofgutshehadlotsofguts Durham England Posts: 2,075MI6 Agent
    Personally I love a girl with a posh accent, I'd love to be some posh birds bit of rough. :D
    I too didn't notice anything "Austrailian" in Lazenby's voice. I honsetly think he did a
    great job. -{ after all at one time only correct english would he heard in movies. With
    terrible attempts at Regional accents, like "Co*k-A-Knees" from London in old 50s films :))

    George's Australian accent came out in a few scenes. The scene where Bond is taken to see Draco ("mystery tour, eh?") and the interrogation scene with Blofeld ("They'll find an antidote!").
    Have you ever heard of the Emancipation Proclamation?"

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  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    It's all over the place guys! The very first scene on the beach, he says 'G'day Sheila! Me name's Bond, James Bond! This beach would be great for a barbie!'

    Okay, it's more his jaunty, upbeat delivery throughout the film. The best delivery of those one liners come with a downwards inflection.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • FiremassFiremass AlaskaPosts: 1,910MI6 Agent
    For me there are two definitive voices of James Bond and it’s gotta be Connery and Moore.

    Sean Connery IS Bond. Not sure what else I can say about that.

    Not so much the first two Roger Moore films because he doesn’t quite have the dynamic range yet, like he’s a little too self-assured and unfazed by anything. However, he would continue to improve and I find Octopussy especially enjoyable to listen to. From “Now there is a lady” to “Let me go dammit! There’s a bomb in there!” he just has like the best voice.
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  • superadosuperado Regent's Park West (CaliforniaPosts: 2,554MI6 Agent
    Firemass wrote:
    For me there are two definitive voices of James Bond and it’s gotta be Connery and Moore.

    Sean Connery IS Bond. Not sure what else I can say about that.

    Not so much the first two Roger Moore films because he doesn’t quite have the dynamic range yet, like he’s a little too self-assured and unfazed by anything. However, he would continue to improve and I find Octopussy especially enjoyable to listen to. From “Now there is a lady” to “Let me go dammit! There’s a bomb in there!” he just has like the best voice.

    I recently watched Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in "The Trip to Italy" and "The Trip to Spain" and watching the pair impersonating SC and RM is a testament to how cool these two Bonds sounded!
    "...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....
  • zaphod99zaphod99 Posts: 1,405MI6 Agent
    superado wrote:
    Firemass wrote:
    For me there are two definitive voices of James Bond and it’s gotta be Connery and Moore.

    Sean Connery IS Bond. Not sure what else I can say about that.

    Not so much the first two Roger Moore films because he doesn’t quite have the dynamic range yet, like he’s a little too self-assured and unfazed by anything. However, he would continue to improve and I find Octopussy especially enjoyable to listen to. From “Now there is a lady” to “Let me go dammit! There’s a bomb in there!” he just has like the best voice.

    I recently watched Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in "The Trip to Italy" and "The Trip to Spain" and watching the pair impersonating SC and RM is a testament to how cool these two Bonds sounded!

    I think they both have very strong characteristics which make them easy to impersonate and lampoon. To my mind Daniel does not have this, I can't imagine how he could be impersonated. However that does not stop his voice for being very good for Bond nonetheless.
    Of that of which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence- Ludwig Wittgenstein.
  • hehadlotsofgutshehadlotsofguts Durham England Posts: 2,075MI6 Agent
    superado wrote:
    Firemass wrote:
    For me there are two definitive voices of James Bond and it’s gotta be Connery and Moore.

    Sean Connery IS Bond. Not sure what else I can say about that.

    Not so much the first two Roger Moore films because he doesn’t quite have the dynamic range yet, like he’s a little too self-assured and unfazed by anything. However, he would continue to improve and I find Octopussy especially enjoyable to listen to. From “Now there is a lady” to “Let me go dammit! There’s a bomb in there!” he just has like the best voice.

    I recently watched Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in "The Trip to Italy" and "The Trip to Spain" and watching the pair impersonating SC and RM is a testament to how cool these two Bonds sounded!

    I saw a clip of Steve Coogan on Jonathan Ross Show, impersonating the Bond actors. This was before DC played the role. The thing that annoyed me, was that George Lazenby, was forgotten.

    There is a clip on Youtube. I'll post it if i can find it
    Have you ever heard of the Emancipation Proclamation?"

    " I don't listen to hip hop!"
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,196MI6 Agent
    zaphod99 wrote:
    I think they [Connery and Moore] both have very strong characteristics which make them easy to impersonate and lampoon. To my mind Daniel does not have this, I can't imagine how he could be impersonated.
    Craig's style is maybe more visual. The walk, and especially the thing where he leans in close and gets in people's faces when he talks. You'd have to incorporate both of those to convey Craig's Bond.
    But practice saying the lines "do I look like I give a damn?" and "I think I'll call you C". What are some other iconic CraigBond lines? seems like theres a bit of lipcurling as he delivers them, with an unflinching glower. He's considerably scarier than the previous Bonds.
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