The 15 Most Cringe-Worthy James Bond Puns
James Bond, as conceived by author Ian Fleming, is a suave but professional secret agent who doubles as an assassin. He is cold, detached and is, in Fleming's words, "an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department."
Clearly, there's enough room for interpretation in there to assume he was also deeply fond of boner jokes, because that's exactly what filmmakers did with the character once he started being portrayed by swarthy British types on the silver screen. As you'll see, some of the Bond double entendres were almost physically painful.
Christmas Comes Once A Year
Bond is in bed on top of Dr. Christmas Jones, a brilliant nuclear scientist convincingly portrayed by Denise Richards, who, like all brilliant female nuclear scientists, looks like a supermodel and dresses like Lara Croft.
Then James says, "I thought Christmas only comes once a year."
The saddest part is knowing the entire reason they named her "Christmas" was so they could set up that orgasm joke at the end of the movie. So in the Bond world, girls can grow up to be nuclear physicists, but they still get stripper names.
Bond girls (as you'll see) tend to get worse names than this, and Christmas was probably something like "Vixen McLegs" or "Chesty Evildoer" in earlier drafts. Then, they thought up the joke and went back in with Microsoft Word and reverse engineered all the "Aslyn Boobsaplenty" entries into "Christmas Jones." Yes, screenwriters get paid good money to do things like that.
Groan Factor: 4.5
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The Inflatable Villain
Film: Live and Let Die
In this amazing scene, Bond is wrestling with bad guy Kananga in a shark-infested pool when he causes Kananga to imbibe an air capsule. Instead of just spitting it out (since it's clearly just in his mouth and not lodged down his esophagus) Kananga gets a panicked look on his face, inflates like a balloon, flies up to the ceiling and explodes. This is witnessed by Bond's love interest, Solitare, who nonetheless asks Bond, "Where's Kananga?"
Bond replies, "Oh, he always did have an inflated opinion of himself."
We know what you're thinking. We made this whole bit up, or confused it with something that happened in a Road Runner cartoon. But, no, what might be the silliest death scene in just about any movie in history, did in fact take place in Live and Let Die. Perhaps you would like to see it for yourself.
What makes the double entendre especially ridiculous is that Solitare witnesses the events before she asks Bond where Kananga is. There are all sorts of better questions she could ask, such as, "How the fuck did Kananga just turn into a human balloon and explode on the ceiling?"
What's even more maddening is the fact that Bond's reply doesn't answer the question. "'Where's Kananga' you ask? I killed him by inflating him, and he's over there in the shark tank, and on the walls and ceiling." That's the right answer. Replying that Kananga had an inflated opinion of himself is like a friend asking you if you've seen where he left his gloves and replying, "Your gloves are fuzzy."
Groan Factor: 5
On his way to rescue love interest Dr. Holly Goodhead (that's her character's real name, we're sorry), James Bond tangles with the bad guy's boa constrictor and kills it with a ballpoint pen that's really a hypodermic needle.
Hugo Drax asks, "Why did you break up the encounter with my pet python?"
Bond says, "I discovered it had a crush on me."
What makes this especially cringe-worthy is that Hugo's line is so transparently a set up that exists for no other reason than to facilitate the groan-inducing pun. Does Drax really not know why Bond killed the snake rather than allow it to kill him? Would a normal person reply, "because it was trying to kill me?"
And what of Bond, who by making this retarded attempt at humor is inadvertently implying that the snake had romantic feelings for him? They probably didn't want to explore the subject of bestiality in their big-budget spy movie, but they wrote themselves into it and now they have to live with the result.
And, so do we.
Groan Factor: 5.5
Oddjob Blows a Fuse
Bond and Henchman Oddjob, who kills people by throwing his sharpened hat at them, are engaged in a battle royale at Fort Knox. Bond throws Oddjobb's hat at him but it gets lodged in security bars. Oddjob reaches for it just as Bond grabs a conveniently located live power wire large enough to single-handedly light up most of Las Vegas. He electrifies the bars, frying Oddjob to death.
In response to this turn of events a General asks, "Where's your butler friend?"
Bond replies, "Oh, he blew a fuse."
If you don't know, "He blew a fuse" was slang in the '50s and '60s for losing one's temper. Audiences these days probably think Bond was implying that Oddjob was a robot, which is the only circumstance where that pun has even the most tenuous connection to logic.
We should note that this was Bond's second failed attempt to make a good electrocution joke. Earlier in the film, Bond knocks a bad guy into a tub of water and tosses an electric heater in with him, electrocuting the poor dope instantly. As he walks away, Bond mutters "Shocking ... positively shocking," a line so lazy it makes the blown fuse thing look ingenious by comparison.
Groan Factor: 5.5
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Boner reference No. 1
Film: Die Another Day
Bond is getting a fencing lesson from Madonna, who looks like an S&M grandma with a poodle haircut.
She says, "I see you handle your weapon well."
James Bond counters, "I have been known to keep my tip up."
The whole Madonna cameo is a little weird in the first place, having come off her film-destroying roles in Swept Away and The Next Best Thing.
But anyway, there's Bond, making one of his signature wiener jokes, not to a Bond girl like Denise Richards, but to a woman who no one has thought of as a sex symbol in 15 years. We get the feeling we could stick Bond in the same room with Cloris Leachman and within five minutes he'd be saying, "So, would you like to hear about my boner?"
Groan Factor: 6
Boner Reference No. 2
Bond has just been playing cards with Xenia Onatopp, who is assumably the final draft of a character that was originally named "Xanadu Missionary Position", when they decide to talk about Bond's favorite subject: his boners.
Bond says, "It appears we share the same passions. Three anyway."
Onatopp replies, "I count two. Motoring and Baccarat."
Card Dealer interjects, "Huit pour la banque. Seven; Madame wins."
Onatopp says, "I hope the third is where your real talent lies."
Bond says, "One rises to meet a challenge."
It's such a labored set up, that it seems hardly worth the trouble. If you have to include a corny double entendre in your movie (and you don't) you should never interrupt it with other dialogue. The audience tends to forget what everyone's talking about, so that when this line comes around your friends will have to lean over to you and ask, "wait, are they still talking about boners?"
Yes. Yes, they are.
Groan Factor: 6
Film: The Living Daylights
Bond is suspended on a large cargo net hanging out the back of an extremely large plane flying over the Afghanistan desert. Bad guy Necros is there, too, punching Bond as their net flops around. Necros makes the fatal error of grabbing onto Bond's boot with both hands, and Bond cuts the laces, sending Necros to his rather silly death, as he continues to hold onto the boot as he plummets. Did it slow his descent? We hope so.
Kara Milovy (who is piloting the plane)says, "What happened?"
James Bond answers, "He got the boot."
This is another one of Bond's strained uses of a phrase no one really uses anymore, such as "he bought the farm" or "go over like a lead balloon." In this instance, getting the boot is similar to being voted off one's favorite reality show--if on the reality show losers were discarded from the cast via being dropped out of a plane with nothing but effeminate British military footwear.
But, mostly this is painful because up to this point in the movie Timothy Dalton was really an excellent Bond--serious, focused--a fresh back-to-basics for the character. Probably some studio exec saw a rough cut of the film and said, "add boner jokes!" This line was the compromise.
Groan Factor: 6.5
Head for Heights
Film: For Your Eyes Only
Bad guy Locque, who looks like a cross between Peter Fonda and The Incredible Mr. Limpet, is stuck in his car teetering on the top of a precipitous cliff.
Bond kicks the car's tire and it falls off the cliff with Locque still inside, after which Bond remarks pretty much to no one, "He had no head for heights."
Wait, is that even a saying? "He had no head for heights?" Again, we have to assume that's an old person saying that's been out of use since the 1940s or so, because we've never heard it outside of For Your Eyes Only. It's a bit abstract, kind of like saying, "he had no genitals for water skiing" after castrating a bad guy while motorboating.
This would also make more sense if Bond had somehow decapitated the bad guy at a great height, but he didn't. Given the body count of anonymous henchmen in Bond films, it seems like a waste to use up that line in a situation that didn't really apply. He should have waited until he was fighting with someone on top of a helicopter.
Groan Factor: 7
Bond has just defeated the bad guy and thwarted his evil plan to start a new race of super humans on a space station. The American and British authorities make visual contact with Bond in an attempt to congratulate him on his success, but instead find Bond and Dr. Holly Goodhead (sigh) going at it like zero-g minks under a space blanket. The Minister of Defense and Q have this exchange:
The Minister of Defence says, "My God, what's Bond doing?"
Q responds, "I think he's attempting re-entry, sir."
This one isn't spoken by Bond, which is nice for a change, and actually it's kind of funny in a guilty Billy Madison sort of way. Obviously re-entry refers to entering Earth's atmosphere from space, but we can all see what clever thing Q did with that there. When taken literally this is actually one of the more graphic Bond double entendres. And because it's spoken by wrinkly Q, one should probably just try not to think about it at all.
Groan Factor: 7
Film: License to Kill
Bond's friend Felix Leiter just got married, but on Leiter's wedding night, he and his wife get kidnapped by bad guy Sanchez. Leiter gets fed to a shark, who eats part of his legs. Bond discovers Leiter's maimed body in a room. Attached to the body is a note that reads:
"He disagreed with something that ate him."
The idea was to let the audience know that in Sanchez, Bond has finally met his match, double entendre-wise. But changing it from "something he ate" to "something that ate him," ruins the meaning because how would you agree with something that ate you?
To make this work, you'd almost need Leiter to have run into, say, a genetically modified baboon trained in the art of debate. Leiter challenges him on several points, and the baboon flies into a rage and eats him. Thus, "He disagreed with something that ate him." See, there's a pun the whole audience can enjoy.
Now that we think of it, "disagreed with something he ate" would have been perfect for the one earlier where Bond killed the guy by shoving the air capsule in his mouth. That guy did disagree with something he ate. Really, how hard is this?
Groan Factor: 7.5
Getting the Point
Bond is having his final showdown with bad guy Vargas on board Vargas' luxury yacht, which is named the "Disco Volante." And, why not? Anyway, Vargas gains the upper hand and is about to shoot Bond when love interest Domino arrives and shoots Vargas in the back with a spear gun.
Bond says, "I think he got the point."
Vargas probably did get the point; the point you were trying to make is that he should die via spear to the spinal column. He totally understands that, now. But, spears are pointy too ... wait, that statement has a double meaning! Bond, you manslaughtering fool, you! What will you think of next?
Groan Factor: 8
Boner Reference No. 3
Film: A View to a Kill
Bond is investigating bad guy Max Zorin's horse racing racket when he meets Jenny Flex, horse trainer-type.
James Bond says, "Well my dear, I take it you spend quite a lot of time in the saddle."
Jenny Flex replies, "Yes, I love an early morning ride."
James Bond then responds, "Well, I'm an early riser myself."
As you see from the clip (the exchange is near the beginning), we have sexual innuendo delivered as if they're talking about the geological features of Nebraska.
We've come a long way as a society from Bogart and Bacall sultrily exchanging innuendo over cigarettes to Roger Moore and Allison Doody discussing sex as if it was as exciting as a variable interest-bearing mutual fund. Bond is so bored by the idea of sex at this point that the obligatory pun is a chore for him. "Yeah," he'll say, yawning and glancing at his watch, "I get boners a lot."
Groan Factor: 8
Boner Reference No. 4
Film: Diamonds are Forever
Bond and Plenty O'Toole ("Named after your father, perhaps?" remarks Bond) are making out when Plenty almost completely undresses and walks into the bedroom. Bond picks up her dress and turns around to find some henchmen are pointing guns at him.
James Bond says, "Well, I'm afraid you've caught me with more than my hands up."
Too much information, especially coming from a Sean Connery who, no matter what women thought of him in the '60s, probably looked like a cross between a leprechaun and Chewbacca when naked.
Groan Factor: 9
The Horrible Pun Marathon
Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Maybe, we should call this one The Spy Who Made Constant Double Entendres For the Entire Movie, So Much So That No One Can Remember The Plot and Just Thinks It Was a Movie About Double Entendres. There are so many double entendres in The Spy Who Loved Me it's impossible to just single one out.
Bond (in a romantic mood)says, "When one is in Egypt, one should delve deeply into its treasures."
In another scene, M asks where Bond is. Moneypenny replies, "He's on a mission sir. In Austria."
M responds, "Well, tell him to pull out. Immediately!" (Cut to Bond having sex with a woman).
Elsewhere, Maj. Anya Amasova asks, "What happened to Kalba? (He was killed by being severely bitten by metal teeth--don't ask.)"
Bond answers, "He was cut off--permanently."
Also when referring to Jaws (the henchman with metal teeth), Bond says, "He just dropped in for a quick bite." Then later, when Bond has Jaws restrained with a large magnet, says, "How does that grab you?"
And finally, when Bond is discovered having sex with rogue agent Anya and Sir Frederick Gray asks, "Bond! What do you think you're doing?"
Bond replies, "Keeping the British end up, sir."
Wow. It's like the last four hours of The Matrix Revolutions, where the squid robots come pouring through the tunnel into Zion and a guy just stands there screaming and shooting them for about 73 solid minutes of screen time: the double entendres just keep coming.
Groan Factor (cumulative): 9.5
Film: Tomorrow Never Dies
Bond is bragging to Moneypenny about bagging his Scandinavian language tutor.
Bond says, "I always enjoyed learning a new tongue."
Moneypenny replies, "You always were a cunning linguist, James."
Wait ... is she suggesting James Bond went down on her at some point in the past? That's a perfectly natural act between two consenting adults, we suppose. And, maybe it's our problem that the frat-boy innuendo seems par for the course for a man but cringe-worthy when coming from the mouth of a woman who looks like a matronly Reba McIntire.
We admit it. We're not ready for middle-aged woman innuendo, mostly because it brings up dark memories of dad walking into the kitchen and saying, "I've got the new fridge. I'll pull around and bring it in that way."
Mom then says, "You always did like putting it in the back door."
Then they'd give each other that hungry, knowing look. We'd stare at them over our cereal, not quite sure what was going on, but feeling the chill of something horrible having passed unseen through their conversation.
Thanks for the mental image, Mr. Bond.
Groan Factor: 10
If you liked this article, check out our rundown of The 5 Worst Lines of Dialogue (From Movies That Don't Actually Suck) .