What are the best Bond books on the films?

Would be interested to hear which books people regard as the best in the film series, analysing each movie and discussing. Also if fans prefer the photo books or more text in detail etc. I have a few myself which are excellent, one is only Bond 1-16 or 17. Another includes up to Die Another Day or Casino Royale. Which do fans recommend most, especially ones including the Craig era? Which are the best, please discuss.. i will reveal my book titles a little further into the thread and see who has them.


  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,703MI6 Agent
    edited November 2021

    When I was a kid the original edition of John Brosnan's 'James Bond In The Cinema' (DN - DAF) was my most treasured book. One publication which I since rate highly is James Chapman's 'Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History Of The James Bond Films' (DN - CR06). Books like these which offer critical opinion and analysis are, for me, more interesting reads than the 'officially licensed' variety, even though the latter are usually rich in visual material. I'd also recommend Mark O'Connell's 'Chasing Bullets: Memoirs Of A Bond Fan' (DN - SF... not necessarily in that order!) for a personal and witty retrospective.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent

    I liked Chapman's Licence to Thrill, as well. my copy only goes up to Tomorrow Never Dies, so look for the update if you have a choice. As well as analysing each film by various criteria, he gives a lot of history and context. He traces the development of the spy thriller in literature and film before getting to Dr No, and explains what the British film industry was like at the time. He wrote another book I like even better, called Saints and Avengers, about the ITV spy shows of the 1960s (I like it better because I did not know so much about the subject matter), and one on Hitchcock's spy films which I do not have.

    Raymond Benson's James Bond Bedside Companion has a short chapter of facts and opinion for each film up til mid80s, but nothing so rigorous as Chapman's analysis. And lots of other info besides, lots of details of how Fleming wrote each book. We've discussed Battle of the Bonds many times before, which is about the history behind one specific film. But I never have found a copy for myself.

  • RevelatorRevelator Posts: 411MI6 Agent
    edited December 2021

    Some Kind of Hero is likely the best and most comprehensive oral history of the Bond films. The definitive history will have to wait until EON fully opens up its archives to researchers, but Taschen's The James Bond Archives benefits from partial access.

    As far as analyses, Chapman's book has been mentioned twice, and I'm not sure it has any peers, though there have been several collections of academic essays on the Bond phenomenon.

    As for Battle of the Bonds, it's worth owning for anyone interested in the making of Thunderball and Never Say Never Again but suffers from being heavily biased toward Jack Whittingham and makes an unconvincing case that he deserves credit for the success of the series.

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