Sean Connery convinced us all that to be a totally kickass spy all you needed was a nice suit, a martini and a wang that did your thinking for you. But where Bond stopped to make sure his Aston Martin was looking its best before taking out his one nemesis and his gimmick-laden crony, there are real-life spies who etched their names in history with the sheer size of their balls.
Richard Sorge was an expert marksman, fluent in several languages and sported a Ph.D. in political science (because every spy should be able to distract you with a speech on the sociopolitical impact of poverty while he shoots you with a poison wrist-dart).
He was recruited by the Soviet Union and has even been referred to as "Stalin's James Bond," though it was in a French newspaper who said it and God only knows what their standard for that title is.
When Hitler came to power in 1933, Sorge was sent to Japan to assess any threat towards to the Soviet Union. Through his network, Sorge learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor months before it happened and even the exact date of Operation Barbarossa (the Nazi invasion of the USSR). And he did it all without a single snowmobile chase (that we know of).
File photo of Sorge from the Covert Super Spy Newsletter.
So his info gave the Soviets a huge advantage, right? Well, Stalin, being a prick, dismissed Sorge as "a little shit who has set himself up with some small factories and brothels in Japan." Sorge turned out to be right, of course, and millions of Russians died. You should always pay attention to little shits in Japanese brothels.
Go on, suck my dick, Stalin.
Then, when Stalin was afraid the Japanese would follow the Nazis into the USSR, Sorge managed to photocopy reports that proved Japan was not going to invade. This meant the USSR army could throw all its might at the German Nazi invasion, and may have turned the tide of the entire war.
But, you can only steal so many massive secrets before someone finally catches on. Sorge was captured and then offered to the Soviets three times in exchange for Japanese prisoners, but no one took them up on the offer. Sorge never admitted who he worked for, even under torture. After three years he was hanged.
If not for Sorge, it's entirely possible the Nazis would have won, and to this day Russia would likely be a festering heap of sausage and oom-pah bands. In 1964, the Soviets finally acknowledged him as one of their own and commemorated his service by putting his face on a stamp. He probably would have preferred not being hanged.
Favorable Comparison to Bond: Disapproving Superiors
The most badass thing you'll ever lick.
Whenever Bond fails (always temporarily of course), it's always because some higher-up disapproves of his sexily unorthodox methods. Sorge was a victim of the same "he's just too goddamn manly to be trusted" discrimination, only in his case, instead of a matronly M clucking her tongue at his wandering penis, it was Joseph fucking Stalin.
Fritz Joubert Duquesne's utterly insane story starts before his spy days. If somebody decided to do a JJ Abrams Star Trek-style "young James Bond" movie, it would pretty much play out like this guy's life.
He was a South African who fought in one of their wars against the British. He was captured and, knowing wang can solve any problem, seduced the daughter of one of the guards to gain freedom. He then made his way to England where he convinced them to let him join the army and got stationed back at South Africa, with the intention of thoroughly fucking things up from the inside. Keep in mind, he wasn't spying on anyone's behalf at this point. He was working as a saboteur just to be fucking doing it.And then, shit got real...
Already pissed at the British for locking him up, his hate rose to a boiling point when he returned to his parent's farm in South Africa and realized the British Army had killed his sister, sent his mother to a British concentration camp and the entire place was littered with unsold Robbie Williams' CDs ensuring nothing would ever grow on the land again.
Cracked Fact: Robbie Williams was in English boy band "Take That" and therefore deserves endless mockery.
As revenge, Duquesne planned to completely destroy Cape Town, where Lord Kitchener, the man responsible for what happened to his family, was staying. He recruited 20 men to begin his tour of destruction, but was betrayed by the wife of one of his cohorts and wound up imprisoned again. He managed to escape the death penalty by giving away secret South African codes (they were bullshit), receiving life imprisonment instead while his 20 men were forced to eat English food and then shot.
After the war, they made the mistake of releasing Duquesne. Still holding a grudge over the whole "slaughtered sister" thing, he headed to Scotland, tracked down Kitchener and sabotaged his boat, killing him.
Moral: Don't fuck with Duquesne, he'll find you eventually.
Wait, we're not done. High on life but low on people to kill and now a very wanted man, he faked his death by writing his own obituary in the New York Times and told the world he'd been killed by legions of Amazonian natives wanting to steal his treasure (his first choice was saying he'd wrestled 30 tigers and then was sexed to death by 50 pornstars from the future, but it had been used by a different madman a week earlier). Duquesne then disappeared.
He had to explain his disappearance somehow, goddammit..
Eventually he was caught and arrested for a different crime. Hiding his true identity, because who gives a shit who's going to prison as long as someone is, he pretended to be paralyzed so he'd be sent to a prison hospital. Ask yourself, if you had to fake being paralyzed, how long do you think you could keep it up?
Duquesne did it for two freaking years.
Then, somehow, Duquesne cut off the bars in his window, jumped to a nearby building, climbed a six-foot wall, a fence with eight-foot iron spikes and then fled.
He was clearly Iron Man.
Years passed, and Duquesne was still pissed at the British. So pissed that when World War II came around, he decided to help the Nazis by doing the thing he loved best: freelance spying. He formed the infamous Duquesne Spy Ring, which ended up being the largest espionage ring ever broken up in U.S. history. Duquesne would die at the age of 78, and probably went wiping his ass with the flag of Britain.Favorable comparison to Bond: First 60 Years of His Life
Bond may plays by his own rules, but he was ultimately acting on behalf of her majesty. Duquesne was like a pinball fueled by angry testosterone. Granted, being a blind angry ball of sex is what landed him on just about the worst side of history possible. But right up until he became a Nazi spy, he lived to show us what history would have looked like if Maximus, Jason Bourne and Rambo hated the British as much as George Washington.
Born Margaretha Zelle, she became Mata Hari in 1903 when she found out another dancer had stolen her first choice of names, Titsa Flappin. She danced for only the best and ended up sleeping with many of her customers, including a German prince, the Dutch Prime Minister and probably all three Stooges.
Except for poor, poor Shemp.
Hari's spy career only began when an officer she loved needed an eye operation, and they were short on funds. It's a sad state of affairs when a hooker needs to moonlight as something else to make money.
Being Dutch and therefore allowed to travel freely during World War II--and also well acquainted with high ranking German officials--the French persuaded her to spy on the Germans.And then, shit got real...
You see, the Germans were on to her, and fed her false information as well as healthy doses of penis. When she returned to Paris, the French refused to pay her for what they realized was useless intel. Things got worse when the French intercepted a German message from Mata Hari and deduced she was actually a double agent! Holy shit, somebody make us a flowchart here.
You couldn't handle this fucking chart, you pansy.
Many believe the Germans actually intentionally blew her cover, maybe an act of revenge for not indulging in all their weird German fetishes. Either way Mata Hari was arrested by the French, who said her spying had led to the deaths of 50,000 soldiers.
Deviant German porn, according to our Google research.
While awaiting her execution, Hari danced for her jailers and regaled them with risque stories about her past (because skanky chicks in prison don't have much else to do). At the same time, however, she was scheming an escape plan. She came up with three:
First, a former lover, who happened to be an aviator, promised to break into prison, and fly her out. Second, a nobleman who lost all his money boning her proposed bribing the shooting squad to use blanks and bury her very close to the ground, where he would come along and dig her up later. Third, Hari's doctor would say she was pregnant, and under French law, a pregnant woman cannot be executed. The French, unaware that they had an international reputation as limp-wristed wusses who couldn't get anything done, managed to carry off the execution before any of her plans could play out.
Refusing the customary blindfold, Hari walked to the yard where 12 men were waiting for her, the only time in her life such a thing happened that didn't end with her sitting on an inflatable cushion for a day afterwards. As the men raised their pistols, she decided to strip, convinced they would not shoot someone as beautiful as her.
She turned out to be wrong about that and her body was donated to a hospital, where it was kept preserved. It was only in 2007 they realized her head was missing, and possibly had been for 30 years. Best not to think about why someone might only take the head and leave everything else.Favorable Comparison to Bond: Has a Gifted Vagina
If SPECTRE had tailor made a spy to take down Bond, they couldn't have done much better than Mata Hari. Sure, they threw the occasional double crossing femme fatal at Bond, but those ladies would always tip him off by doing something transparently evil, or break down and confess. Mata Hari's allegiances were so amorphous that people are still arguing about whose side she was on. It's likely that if Hari had existed in the Bond universe, she would have been rescued from the firing squad at the last second by a tuxedoed man flying a bulletproof hang glider.
Born in 1869 to a poor family, Yevno Azef ventured out to make some cash by joining Okhrana, the secret police force of the Russian Empire. Since everyone needs to shine somehow, his specialty was infiltrating political parties that posed a risk to the Empire, gaining the trust of the leaders and then stabbing them right in the asshole.
Other risks to The Empire.
The job paid extremely well, had fun perks like ass stabbing and everything was smooth sailing until he was instructed to penetrate the Social Revolutionary Party.And then, shit got real...
Azef discovered the Combat Organization, a terrorist sub-group of the Revolutionary Party that assassinated government officials. While still on the payroll of the secret police, he joined the terrorist group and quickly rose through the ranks. Eventually he set up the leader and ultimately replaced him, in much the same way Mr. Furley replaced Mr. Roper on Three's Company.
Also like Furley, Azef had 2,000 highly trained guerrilla fighters willing to die for him. Using them, he drew up a plan to kill the Russian Head of Police because fuck that guy. At the last minute Azef had to leave town, probably for some sort of clambake with friends, and sent someone else to carry out the assassination, with 100 of his men as backup as overkill had yet to be invented.
Azef got to enjoy his double-life as both cop and criminal for a while until both sides began to suspect a traitor. Members of the Combat Organization eventually voted to have him killed, demonstrating turn of the century Russia's piss poor workplace dispute resolution methods, and an informer revealed to the police that he was a terrorist. The guy pretty much lost all of his friends at once.
Just like Double Impact, and Van Damme's career.
Put on trial before he could be killed, the court had decent evidence against him but even if he escaped jail time, they knew the Combat Organization was waiting. In a stroke of brilliance, Azef invented the "I'm totally good for it, dude" distraction by assuring the court he had irrefutable evidence of his innocence. And he'd bring it with him the next day.
We like to think at least one dude in the courtroom the day after, looking at his watch about an hour after Azef never returned, was genuinely shocked and hurt that he'd been scammed.Favorable Comparison to Bond: Execution of the Double, Double Cross
What if in the next Bond film, we learn that James had been working as a double agent for SPECTRE the entire fucking time. Sure, it would make him a lot less likable, but you'd also have to wonder how any light ever escaped the gravitational field emitted by his massive balls.
Chapman deserted the British Army in search of adventure that involved less bangers and mash and more screaming insanity. He took a job as a safecracker and began robbing mines and stealing dynamite to blow up safes he couldn't crack because uncooperative inanimate objects need to be taught lessons when they show you up.
Eventually the law caught up with him and Chapman was sent away to an island that was taken over by Germans during WWII.And then, shit got real...
The Nazis, apparently one step away from recruiting French hobos, recruited Chapman as an agent which was better than the alternative of being a Nazi prison bitch. He was parachuted into England where he promptly went to MI5 and offered his services as a double agent.
Although MI5 initially had doubts about his unpatriotic track record, he made a deal to get pardoned for his crimes and to keep any money he made off the Nazis, they accepted his proposal because fuck Germany.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill: "Fuck Nazi's up their stupid asses!"
So what did Eddie do to deserve a place on this list? He killed Hitler. Or he could have. You know, if they'd let him.
Eddie's Nazi spy handler had told him to go to England and blow up some factory. He said as a reward, when he came back to Germany he'd be placed in the first or second row in a Nazi rally. Hitler would be right there, in easy killing distance for a man like Chapman.
He told his contacts at MI5 and begged for them to let him take Hitler's ass out. He did this knowing the mission would to be a one-way trip for him, since even if he succeeded the guards were going to congratulate him by outfitting his body with some new orifices.
Despite MI5 thinking that the plan could work, it was ultimately turned down by Winston Churchill, some historians suspect because of "a longstanding government policy against assassinating foreign heads of state."Favorable Comparison With Bond: Disapproving Superiors Part Deux
Remember when we talked about how Sorge was deemed too manly to be trusted by Joseph Stalin? Remember how you thought you couldn't get any manlier than that?
Manlier than THIS?
Well Chapman hatched a plan that was deemed out of bounds by Winston Churchill, and the plan was a suicide mission to kill freaking Hitler. The specific reasons for Churchill's veto were never declassified, so we'll go ahead and assume it was the part where Chapman busted out his laser watch, cut Hitler in half before banging that hot Nazi chick from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as the entire Nazi party looked on in horror.
For more stories involving steel testicles, check out The 11 Most Badass Last Words Ever Uttered and 7 People Who Cheated Death (Then Kicked It In The Balls).
And check out our Top Picks to see Gladstone's Bond impression (it's pretty awful).
Instagram influencers are often absurd.
Well, this is terrifying.