The 25th James Bond Movie, No time to diepremiering this weekend in the US, the return of the iconic secret agent got us thinking about the futuristic gadgets and vehicles introduced to the series by Q, MI6’s resident R&D expert. They’ve been an essential part of what makes the 007 movies so special and unique, and without Q, who is James Bond anyway?
Okay, he’s also a super-fit, death-defying super-agent playboy – but the classic Bond movies weren’t just defined by slogans, lovers and villains.
While the movies starring current Bond actor Daniel Craig have brought back the gadgets and put a darker, more brooding spin on the character, there’s still plenty of love for the wonderfully ridiculous gadgets that have characterized the franchise over the decades. Here are 20 of the wildest Bond gadgets from over five decades of movies.
Single Digit Sonic Agitator — Die another day (2002)
This tiny ring emits a high-frequency sound that shatters any kind of glass – even the bulletproof variety. Handy for James, the villain in the film has a penchant for trendy, transparent glass floors.
Shark Bursting Pellet — Live and let die (1973)
This one requires some explanation. Q originally developed these compressed gas pellets as an anti-shark system – the idea was that Bond could shoot them in a shark’s mouth and blow the beast to smithereens before it ate him alive. Bond ends up using the bullets against the movie’s villain, Dr. Kananga, in an epic hand-to-hand brawl at the end of the film. Basically, Bond shoves one down Kananga’s throat, making him… well, see for yourself.
Flamethrower Bagpipes — The world is not enough (1999)
This one is actually a twofer. The bagpipe is not only a flamethrower, but it also doubles as a machine gun. Bond never uses it in the movie, but he certainly doesn’t pass up the opportunity to make a lame pun about it right after the demonstration: “I suppose we’re all going to have to pay the piper someday, right Q?”
Rocket cigarette — You only live twice (1967)
This one gets Bond from a decent pickle. When he is caught by the film’s villain, Blofeld, he is told that he will be murdered soon. (Does that sound familiar?) Bond accepts his fate, but asks to smoke one last cigarette before being sent off. Unfortunately for Blofeld’s henchmen, this particular cigarette has an insane rocket in it!
Ski Pole Rifle – The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Q seems to have a pretty straightforward philosophy: wherever Bond goes, you just have to figure out how to hide a gun in the objects he’ll be using. Are you going to the Bahamas? Better give him a snorkel gun. Cuba? Fast! Give him some rocket propelled exploding cigars! The Swiss Alps? Give that man some ski pole guns!
Grenade Launcher Pen – Never Say Never Again (1983)
I feel a little sorry for Fatima on this one. After all the badassery she showcased in the movie, she was eventually penned out. Granted, it was a ballistic pen with an explosive tip, but it was a pen nonetheless. That must be embarrassing.
The “Boombox” – The Living Daylights (1987)
This one shows a deep understanding of the 80s. ‘Oh, don’t mind me; I’m just a normal dude just walking down the street blasting my tunes on a boombo – bam!”
Palm Sensitive Walther PPK — Casino royale (2006)
This one isn’t exactly crazy or outlandish, but it might be the coolest gadget Daniel Craig used during his time as 007. It’s pretty simple – just Bond’s favorite firearm equipped with a special biometric lock, so it only fires if he holds it . Very useful, Turn right?! (We feel cheated that this pun was not used in the film.)
Omega Seamaster laser watch — Golden Eye (1995)
High-tech watches are a staple of the Bond franchise, and this is arguably one of the coolest 007’s ever owned. Oddly enough, though, it’s not the first laser watch the franchise has seen. Bond wore a special laser-equipped Rolex in the 1983 film Never say never again.
Mini Dive Tank — Thunderball (1965)
This gadget is actually two small tanks of compressed air, designed to fit easily into a pocket of a suit. This ultra-compact dive gadget made its debut in Thunderballbut has appeared several times since — most recently in The world is not enough (1999)†
“Dentonite” Explosive Toothpaste — Permission to kill (1989)
Compared to Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton’s 007 didn’t really get that many super cool gadgets — but this one almost makes up for it. It’s essentially a tube of plastic explosive hidden in a not-so-subtle tube of “Dentonite” branded toothpaste.
X-ray screens — The world is not enough (1999)
Pierce Brosnan had some of the coolest gadgets the Bond franchise has ever seen – mainly because CGI and special effects were so much better in its day. These X-Ray shades are a perfect example.
Laser Polaroid — Permission to kill (1989)
This is arguably one of the cheesiest moments in James Bond history. He and Q are almost frustrated when CIA agent Pam Bouvier unknowingly tries to take a picture of them, but instead takes a stunning realistic laser beam right at their heads.
Rolex Submariner — Live and let die (1973)
The 1973 Rolex Submariner was one of Bond’s most versatile gadgets. Not only did it have a spinning dial that works like a small circular saw, but it also had a ridiculously powerful electromagnet that could deflect bullets. The electromagnet eventually saves Bond’s ass, as it allows him to summon the aforementioned shark pellet from afar – which he then shoves into the villain’s mouth, causing it to explode.
Trick Briefcase — From Russia with love (1963)
This thing was basically the Swiss Army Knife of briefcases. It was equipped with all kinds of hidden compartments and tricks, including knives, a rifle and even a tear gas dispenser. Bond wasn’t fond of the device when it was first offered to him, but M urged Bond to take the case anyway.
Taser phone — Tomorrow never dies (1997)
This Ericsson concept phone had a ridiculous amount of different features. It was a stun gun, a fingerprint scanner, a lock pick, and even a flip-up remote for Bond’s BMW 750iL. It seemed crazy when the movie came out, but with the right accessories, you can do all this with a modern smartphone.
jet pack – Thunderball (1965)
We love this one because it’s so bad by today’s standards. Is it just us, or does it look like it’s made from a bunch of air vents and an old go-kart belt?
Underwater jet package — Thunderball (1965)
This one was pretty sweet, but let’s face it – why bother putting flippers on your feet when you’ve got something like this on your back?
Avalanche ski jacket — The world is not enough (1999)
Avalanche protection systems exist in the real world, but they are usually just backpacks with two large air bladders in the back. That’s not nearly as cool as this jacket that inflates to form a cocoon around you. Q was on to something with this one.
Alligator Submarine — octopussy (1983)
This is absolutely the most brilliant thing Q Branch has ever come up with. Period of time.