The Best Couples in the Bond Films

Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,522MI6 Agent
I was trying to think of happy romantic couples portrayed in the Bond films, and there aren't many. Bond doesn't take his relationships seriously and rarely has good chemistry with the women in his films. Villains often usually abusive to their girlfriends. Here is a list of the couples in the Bond films that I can think of are happiest together (even if one of them dies):

Bond and Tracy
Mr Wint and Mr Kidd
Jaws and Dolly
Bond and Aki
Anya and Sergei
M and her husband in Casino Royale
Columbo and Lisl
Timothy and Iona Havelock
Margaret Thatcher and Dennis
JW and Maybelle Pepper

There are also a number of promising couples, some of which show great chemistry or passion from both sides, but are ultimately problematic relationships for one reason or another:

Bond and Kara
Bond and Octopussy
Bond and Elektra
Bond and Vesper
Bond and Madeleine
Felix and Della
Zorin and May Day
Zora and Vida with the man they both love
The wedding couples Bond crashes in Live and Let Die and A View to a Kill

I'm not including any relationships that are abusive or lack any chemistry, which is what most relationships in the Bond films are. But chemistry is all subjective anyway, so I'm curious to see what others think of this topic.
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Comments

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    Not a lot by the sounds of things!

    You've missed out a couple of crucial ones: Blofeld and Irma Bunt. Now this sort of have legs in the Fleming novels as the order went OHMSS then YOLT and she popped up in the sequel (of sorts).
    It's not clear in the film of OHMSS of course that the two are really a couple. Bunt is older than Telly's depiction of Blofeld though along with 'black don't crack' you could go with 'bald don't get old'... All the same the two are together in the final scene and it is a little remarked fact that it is surely Bunt who 'takes the bloody shot' not Blofled yet no justice ever is meted out to her, not least cos Lazenby departed and that was the end of that.

    Electra and Renard is another couple with an intriguing dynamic. Perhaps more could have been made of her manipulative ways were it not for the fact that Bond himself gets played by her a bit too easily.

    But it's interesting to point out that couples aren't much of a thing in the films. You could have all sorts of villains that are lovers or husbands and wife. Initially, most Bond villains were a bit asexual as if that was the source of their mania. Even Goldfinger didn't really cop off with Pussy. Hang on, we have Largo and Domino, there's a couple right there.

    But it seems couples in a Bond film mess up the footloose and fancy free vibe of the films and maybe even open a can of worms for couples in the cinema. I mean, I find Wint and Kid hilarious but it's possible a gay couple watching that might think, hmmm, not so cool as my man does treat me a bit in that commanding, offhand and controlling way. The depiction could sow discord.

    Oh, there's Mr Big and Solitaire, and Carver and Paris. Again, the example of coupledom is problematic and Bond has to come between them. In the latter, the producers didn't like it because Bond was nicking a bloke's wife, so it was adulterous and so on.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,522MI6 Agent
    Not a lot by the sounds of things!

    You've missed out a couple of crucial ones: Blofeld and Irma Bunt. Now this sort of have legs in the Fleming novels as the order went OHMSS then YOLT and she popped up in the sequel (of sorts).
    It's not clear in the film of OHMSS of course that the two are really a couple. Bunt is older than Telly's depiction of Blofeld though along with 'black don't crack' you could go with 'bald don't get old'... All the same the two are together in the final scene and it is a little remarked fact that it is surely Bunt who 'takes the bloody shot' not Blofled yet no justice ever is meted out to her, not least cos Lazenby departed and that was the end of that.

    Electra and Renard is another couple with an intriguing dynamic. Perhaps more could have been made of her manipulative ways were it not for the fact that Bond himself gets played by her a bit too easily.

    But it's interesting to point out that couples aren't much of a thing in the films. You could have all sorts of villains that are lovers or husbands and wife. Initially, most Bond villains were a bit asexual as if that was the source of their mania. Even Goldfinger didn't really cop off with Pussy. Hang on, we have Largo and Domino, there's a couple right there.

    But it seems couples in a Bond film mess up the footloose and fancy free vibe of the films and maybe even open a can of worms for couples in the cinema. I mean, I find Wint and Kid hilarious but it's possible a gay couple watching that might think, hmmm, not so cool as my man does treat me a bit in that commanding, offhand and controlling way. The depiction could sow discord.

    Oh, there's Mr Big and Solitaire, and Carver and Paris. Again, the example of coupledom is problematic and Bond has to come between them. In the latter, the producers didn't like it because Bond was nicking a bloke's wife, so it was adulterous and so on.

    I thought about mentioning Blofeld and Bunt, but there’s really no indication in the film that they are a couple, and I don’t think it’s valid to compare the characters in the book to the film.

    The others I left out because they’re not couples, except for Paris and Elliot. Mr Big and Largo both kept their women as slaves. Those are hardly couples. Le Chiffre had his woman, whom he abused. Elektra used Renard. He thought they were a couple but she didn’t. Kara also thought Georgi was her boyfriend, but I’m not sure he thought of her quite the same.

    Paris and Elliot or Solange and Dimitrios were couples that were both unhappy together, which is why I left them out. I was trying to show that there’s little true happiness between partners in Bond. There are a lot of concubines and cheating.

    I think that a proper villainous couple where both partners are equals, like Wint and Kidd, would be a great thing to have in the films.
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  • tsholdtshold TorontoPosts: 149MI6 Agent
    Interesting post, Matt - some good food for thought! I always thought Bond and Vesper was a great match - felt more natural to me than Bond and Tracy.
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  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,522MI6 Agent
    tshold wrote:
    Interesting post, Matt - some good food for thought! I always thought Bond and Vesper was a great match - felt more natural to me than Bond and Tracy.

    Interesting. I never felt much chemistry in the film between Bond and Vesper, but that's probably because I've never found Craig convincing as a romantic lead and the dialogue between them is awful. But in the story I think they're a terrible couple because Vesper betrays Bond. That leaves a sour taste in my mouth. At least Bond didn't cheat on Tracy after they were married. ;)
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  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    Couples can be all kinds, not just sexual. Jules and Vincent in Pulp Fiction sort of operate as a couple hence the one's annoyance when the other gets religion and threatens to go off and leave him to his own devices. It's not overt, but...

    You don't really ever see such a pair of hitmen like that in Bond, do we? I mean there was Jaws and that bald bloke but you couldn't call them a team. It doesn't last, does it!
    Antoine de Caunes and Jean-Paul Gaultier were two presenters of a show called Eurotrash. These agreeably camp French presenters I always thought would make a good pair of hitmen in a Bond film. Likewise Matt Lucas and David Walliams, the two Little Britain stars who could don disguises as two hitmen.

    And Matt S is right to suggest that having a villainous pair of say husband and wife would bring a new dynamic to Bond villainy. Early on it was implied that the villain's asexuality was his key characteristic, as it allowed him to channel his energy into his horrid plans. But that trope has gone on a lot hasn't it.

    That said, having a couple as villains... I can see why the filmmakers might not do that. Mainly, there's a danger they might become more interesting than Bond himself or that the couple in the audience might relate more to them than Bond who let's face it is always open to charges of being a Billy no mates who has no friends and has never settled down.
    It would almost might come across as two young singletons (Bond and his gal) breaking up the marital and settled set up of another couple. There are all sorts of reasons on paper why it wouldn't look like that, and yet in practice that's how it might look.

    So the villainous couple thing I see better as hitmen, or two brothers etc, or villainous father and son or so on.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,522MI6 Agent
    The hitman couple thing was done very well with Wint and Kidd.

    Haven’t the villains always been more interesting than Bond? Great villains like Scaramanga, Sanchez and Zorin are fascinating characters. Fleming coloured his villains more than Bond.

    I think it helps if we can sympathise with the villain sometimes, as it can make for a more interesting story. Trevelyan and Elektra are set up as people we should like before we learn more about them.

    Bond has formed partnerships and friendships with others, but they’re never as devoted as a romantic relationship can be. That’s what the Bond films lack. Villains rarely form any sort of partnership. Jaws and Sandor are merely coworkers under the employ of Stromberg.
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  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    I think there may be something fundamental to the Bond concept that there are no happy couples?

    Fleming we know started writing the series because he had just gotten married relatively late in life and wanted an escape from his wife!

    And in his books, Moonraker in particular, it is discussed that Bond cannot live happily ever after with a woman and still be a spy. That book ends with Gala Brand giving up her career to marry, and it seems like whenever Bond himself gets close he has to do the same thing.
    Maybe its true for all these characters? If any of them had a happy married life they would no longer feel the need to fight all these battles.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    (Searches around for the :x button for caractacus Potts' comment, realises he has been on Twitter too long.... :))
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,237MI6 Agent
    I'd like to think that Bond carried on a thing with Sylvia Trench in between missions all the way through Connery's original run...
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  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,802Chief of Staff
    Yes, definitely.
  • OrnithologistOrnithologist BerlinPosts: 486MI6 Agent
    Interesting topic.

    I think some "problematic" couples can have good chemistry, and vice versa. Happiness (whatever that is) would simply lead to less interesting stories, especially in the spy/action genre.

    Some more thoughts:

    Bond and Paris Carver - good chemistry in my view, but then again she is (unhappily) married and dies because of Bond. Still I like her role in TND.
    Bond and Madeleine - zero chemistry, not only because of the age difference. I found her pretty boring so far, to be honest...
    Bond and Vesper - I enjoyed their dialogues when I first saw CR, but I'm not a native English speaker and have since realized that they are quite contrived. Nonetheless, Bond falls in love with Vesper, which is unusual for him and therefore interesting, but she betrays him (in the movie, too!) and dies... making him "put on his armor", emotionally, ever since.

    Some Bond girls that have not been mentioned:

    Bond and Natalya - their relationship isn't explored too much and probably ends soon after the movie, however I like her character and they get along fine once she starts trusting him?
    Bond and Camille - just wanted to include her as a (rare?) exception of a stunningly beautiful woman Bond doesn't couple with, another element of the (underrated) QoS that shows his character development (unless these scenes were cut due to the strike of course :)) ) .
    "I'm afraid I'm a complicated woman. "
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  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,546MI6 Agent
    I think it was Dostojevskij who wrote: "All happy families are alike, but every unhappy families are different."
    (completely from memory, I can even be confusing the Russian authors)
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