Stuntman Bob Simmons in Dr. No's gun barrel sequence"I had to design a title for Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli to show them just what I wanted to do. I figured the gunshot thing across the screen would be effective. I had these little white price stickers, and I put them on a black storyboard. I thought it would be a good idea to look down the gun barrel and see James Bond as he walked out, firing at you. And then the blood comes down the screen, you see? They liked the idea, but it didn't come to life until I filmed it." ― Maurice Binder reflects on the creation of Dr. No's title sequence.
The gun barrel sequence is an iconic opening to every official James Bond film james bond tuxedo daniel craig beginning with the first, in 1962. The sequence is credited to Maurice Binder, a famous title designer who created the opening titles for 14 Bond films. The look of the sequence was bond achieved with a shooting through a real gun barrel.
In the sequence, a series of white dots scroll across the screen from (the viewer's perspective) left to right. Upon reaching the extreme right of the screen, the dot changes to the view through the barrel of a gun. The gun barrel is seen from the assassin's perspective — looking down at a walking James Bond, who quickly turns and shoots; the scene reddens (signifying the spilling of the gunman's blood), the gun barrel dissolves to a circle, and the film begins.
Evolution of the sequence
Dr. No Opening Title Sequence
Bob Simmons: 1962–1964
Because Binder had designed the gun barrel sequence to feature Bond only in silhouette, with a non-widescreen aspect ratio, he used stunt man Bob Simmons, rather than, to film the scene.
Simmons hops slightly as he pivots to assume the firing position and, following the blood wash, the dot becomes smaller and jumps to the lower right-hand corner of the frame before simply vanishing.
In, the white dot stops mid-screen and the credit line " & present" appears across the dot. The text is wiped and the dot continues the sequence. The sequence is accompanied by a soundtrack of electronic noises and then numerous notes that sound like they are being plinked from a wind-up jack in the box; the latter is cut short by the gunshot. The "" then plays very loudly, albeit with the first portion, featuring the theme's faced plucked electric guitar riff, is truncated. The gun barrel sequence in Dr. No segues directly into the credits, a grid matrix of large-scale, bright and rapidly changing coloured circular dots against a black background. This version, without the electronic noises or the Saltzman-Broccoli credit line, was also used in and.
Sean Connery: 1965–1967
Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice
For, the aspect ratio of the films was changed to a Panavision anamorphic format and so the gun barrel sequence had to be reshot, this time with Sean Connery in the role. It is also the first gun barrel sequence in which the white dot segues to the film's pre-credit sequence, opening up to reveal the entirety of the scene.
Bond wobbles slightly while firing his gun as he adjusts his balance from an unstable position and he bends over to fire. Although the sequence was shot in colour for Thunderball, it is rendered in black and white for.
George Lazenby: 1969
George Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service
With a new actor,, in the role of James Bond for, a third sequence had to be filmed. As with Thunderball, the sequence was once again shot in colour.
In this rendering, the white dot stops mid-screen and the credit line "Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli Present" appears, much as it did in. The James Bond theme keeps playing though. As the barrel begins to move and when it stops centre-screen, Bond is walking to position for around a second before turning and shooting as the camera tracks with him, resulting in a "treadmill" effect. Lazenby is the only Bond who kneels down to fire; this is also the only version where the descending blood completely erases Bond's image, leaving only the red circle. In this version, the gun barrel is awash with prismatic splashes of light.
Sean Connery: 1971
When Sean Connery returned to the role of Bond for (1971), the gun barrel sequence filmed for Thunderball was used. As with You Only Live Twice, the sequence was rendered in black and white, but was given a bluish tint. As in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the barrel is awash with prismatic splashes of light, which this time ripple through it. Unlike On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the splashes of light are erased by the descending blood. This was the last time the sequence was rendered in black and white until. This is also the last gun barrel sequence in which Bond wears a hat.
Roger Moore: 1973–1974
Roger Moore in Live and Let Die
With the introduction of, and the use of a 1.85:1 matted aspect ratio, a fourth sequence was shot. It was used for just two films: and. Moore wears a business suit and uses both hands to fire his gun, his left hand bracing his gun arm. This is the first gun barrel sequence in which Bond is not wearing a hat. The dots that start the gun barrel in The Man with the Golden Gun are blue but in subsequent releases the dots are white.
Roger Moore: 1977–1985
Roger Moore in Octopussy
The anamorphic format was reinstated for The Spy Who Loved Me, necessitating a fifth version of the sequence. Moore's Bond wears a dinner suit rather than a business suit and again uses both hands to fire his gun. This rendering would feature in all Moore's subsequent films in the series, for a total of five appearances, the most uses of the same footage to date. In this version of the sequence, unlike previous and later incarnations, the prop gun held by the actor is never actually fired, as can be determined by the lack of gunsmoke following the shot. Uniquely, in the sequence that opens, the white dot does not slowly expand to reveal the opening scene, but simply vanishes from the centre of the screen. It is also noticeable that the background of this version of the sequence is tinted, rather than the usual white. The tint changes with every Moore film., for example, features an eggshell tinted background whereas the background in has a strong shade of buff.
Timothy Dalton: 1987–1989
Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights
In (1987), fires with only one hand unlike Moore, and leans towards the right of the screen, crouching slightly. This sequence was reused in (1989) but with a different theme composed by the late. These were the last to be presented in non-computer-generated format and the last to be designed by Maurice Binder before his death in 1991.
Pierce Brosnan: 1995–2002
Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye
Following Maurice Binder's death in 1991, Daniel Kleinman became the designer of the Bond opening graphics. Beginning with (1995), the barrel was computer-generated (but still resembles the original images of the barrel itself) emphasising light and shade variations in the rifling spiral as the reflected light shifts with the gun's movement. Like Dalton, Brosnan shoots one-handed. Unlike the previous Bonds, he remains bolt upright as he fires, with his gun arm extended straight at the camera. The blood in this sequence is noticeably darker and falls faster than in previous incarnations; in keeping with this new pace, the main melody line of the James Bond Theme is omitted in all of Brosnan's gunbarrel sequences, save for Die Another Day (additionally, in GoldenEye, a one-off radical rearrangement of the theme is used which is not immediately recognizable).
For (2002),, the film's director, requested that a CG bullet be added into the sequence, which is seen zooming from Bond's gun towards the viewer and disappearing, suggesting that Bond has fired straight into his opponent's weapon.
Daniel Craig: 2006
Daniel Craig in Casino Royale.
Daniel Craig shooting the gun-barrel sequence.
The gun barrel sequence was revised again for 's first portrayal of Agent 007 in (2006). Unlike previous installments, the gun barrel sequence does not open the film as a standalone segment: it is part of the plot. Having committed the first kill on his way to becoming a Double-O agent, Bond stops to pick up his gun from the floor but his victim,, who is a henchman of rogue MI6 section chief, recovers and seizes his own weapon. As Fisher brings his pistol up to shoot Bond in the back, the frame shifts instantly to the gun barrel perspective; Bond spins around to outshoot his opponent. Like Dalton and Brosnan, Craig shoots one-handed.
This sequence differs considerably from previous versions: it is incorporated into the film's narrative; it begins with Bond standing stationary (although he was walking toward the door before turning); it is not filmed against a blank white void and it includes the person whom Bond shoots. In keeping with the black-and-white theme of the pre-title sequence of the film, it is also the first to be presented in monochrome since (1971) and the first in which Bond is wearing neither a business suit nor a dinner suit.
Furthermore, the computer-generated rifling is microgroove rather than the traditional eight rifling grooves, and the blood comes down the screen quickly, not in a wave, but in rivulets. This is also the first gun barrel sequence without some variation of the "" as, instead, it is accompanied by the opening bars of the film's theme song, "".
Daniel Craig: 2008
Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace.
A redesigned and more traditional-looking gun barrel sequence is reinstated for (2008). As the result of a late decision – after a was cut by director – it is placed at the end of the film, immediately preceding the closing titles, resulting in some cinema-goers rising to leave as soon as it began.
This version of the sequence was created by design house MK12, which had replaced Daniel Kleinman as main title designer for the film. The white dot moves through the frame noticeably faster than the previous versions and opens much faster as well. The rifling of the barrel is entirely new with grooves set farther apart than the traditional image used until Die Another Day. Notably, the single dot and its trailing images that traditionally precede the gun barrel sequence also appear in flashes during the opening titles, transforming into letters in the credits, such as the 'C' in the name of actress.
Daniel Craig described filming the sequence as "probably the scariest bit [of working on Quantum of Solace]. We did it twice. We did it once and it didn't work, so we did it again. I just thought, it has to be right and it has to be aggressive and it has to work." When the blood runs down the frame after Bond's gunshot, the red circle shrinks and moves to the left of the screen, reminiscent of the first three films' versions and then forms part of the letter 'Q' in the film's title, as it appears on screen. Bond, in silhouette, then turns to his right and walks out of the shot, inside the red Q. In reference to the "aggressive" aspect of the sequence, Craig moves swiftly through the sequence, noticeably faster than his predecessors. Like Dalton and Brosnan, Craig shoots one-handed.
The initial shot of the opening title sequence to "" is meant to resemble the gunbarrel sequence.
Daniel Craig: 2012
Daniel Craig in Skyfall
Yet another redesigned gunbarrel was used for the 2012 film. Although director had originally intended to place the gunbarrel at the start of the film, he felt that it would be better placed at the end, as in. The film's opening shot instead harks back to the gunbarrel, with Bond emerging into a corridor, pointing his gun directly at the camera, accompanied by the first two notes of the. Mendes recalled, "I tried very hard to put the gun barrel at the beginning and my intention was always to do that. If you see the film, the film starts with Bond walking down a corridor towards camera and lifting a gun. And of course the gun barrel is him walking, stopping and lifting a gun. When I put the two together, it looked ridiculous!"
Like with Quantum of Solace, the blood is dark red and runs down the frame in rivulets. However, Bond moves across the screen substantially slower (at a similar speed to the pre- sequences.). Like Dalton and Brosnan, Craig shoots one-handed. After the blood runs down the frame, the screen fades to black, before being replaced by a title card with a small gunbarrel logo celebrating fifty years of Bond films, and the text "James Bond Will Return" underneath.
Daniel Craig: 2015
Daniel Craig in Spectre
The sequence appears at the start of 2015 film utilising a refined version of the the original Maurice Binder design after a 13 year absence, but uses similar blood effects to Craig's two earlier Bond movies. The lighting then adjusts, soon after Bond fired his gun, silhouetting Bond's figure as the blood falls down. Like Dalton and Brosnan, Craig shoots one-handed.
- The first time that the was used with the sequence was in From Russia with Love. Dr. No used the James Bond Theme as the film's main opening theme, after the gun barrel sequence. Dr. No is also the only film to feature the scene at both the beginning and end (as a still shot).
- and are the only movies to only feature the sequence in the film's conclusion. Quantum is also the only film to have Bond visibly walking after shooting.
- is the only movie to incorporate the sequence into the film's narrative, to have the sequence begin with Bond standing stationary (although he was walking toward the door before turning), not shot against a blank white void (instead the bathroom wall behind Bond is seen) and it includes the person whom Bond shoots.
- From Dr. No to, the sequence featured Bond wearing a hat, as was the style of that time period. This was dropped after the films adopted a new aspect ratio for.
- From to, the sequence featured Bond wearing a dinner suit (tuxedo).
- In Casino Royale, the sequence featured Bond wearing casual attire.
- Starting with Quantum of Solace, the sequence featured Bond wearing a business suit.
- Roger Moore and Daniel Craig are the only Bonds to film the sequence more than once. Moore did his twice - originally for Live and Let Die, and again when the aspect ratio changed for. Daniel Craig did his thrice, first the Casino Royale one, which integrates with the plot; and two traditional versions for either of the successors.
- is the only Bond who completely kneels down to shoot the gun barrel. He also walks when the gun barrel stops, giving a treadmill-like effect and when the blood trickles down, he disappears.
- Roger Moore is the only Bond who fires the gun with both hands.
- During the opening of both and, the white dot stops roughly in the middle of the screen and the line " and Present," appears surrounding the dot. The text then wipes away and the dot continues on with the rest of the sequence.
- Only Dr. No and Casino Royale don't feature the during the sequence - the former has the theme start after Bond fires, and the latter goes into "" instead.
- In pop culture, especially 007 parodies, the gun barrel sequence is used countlessly. Such examples are Garfield and Friends, The Simpsons, American Dad!, Robot Chicken, Sonic X, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, MAD, Taxi 3, The Muppets, SpongeBob SquarePants amongst many others. This comes to show the notoriety of the gun barrel.
- Although not visually shown, this sequence is repeated in the Alex Rider novel, Scorpia Rising. In the book, Julius Grief taunts Alex Rider, claiming that the latter can't kill him. Alex gives him a chance to live, but Julius's final attempt to kill Alex forces Alex to turn and shoot him in self-defense.
- Pfeiffer, Lee & Lisa, Philip (1995). The Incredible World of 007: An Authorized Celebration of James Bond. Boxtree, 200.
- Lane, Andy & Simpson, Paul (1998). The Bond Files: The Unofficial Guide to the World's Greatest Secret Agent. Virgin, 145.
- (English). Retrieved on 2008-11-02.
- (English). Archived from on 2011-05-21. Retrieved on 2008-11-06.
- Watt, Andrew. "", 30 October 2012.
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