James Bond Gun Barrel Sequences

Everyone knows the James Bond gun barrel sequence. It’s a trade mark of the film series and a Bond film just wouldn’t be a Bond film without one. Here are some of the Gun Barrel sequences and comparisons.

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Connery Period

It might come as a bit of a shocker for some that the first James Bond gun barrel sequence didn’t have Sean Connery at all. It was in fact a stunt-man by the name of Bob Simmons. You will also notice that Bond used to wear a hat back in the day which is quite stylish in its own right.

Connery didn’t get to shoot the gun barrel sequence for himself until Thunderball and this was done mainly since the film had a different aspect ratio than the first three films.

Simmons’ iconic gun barrel sequence had him do a little hop which always seemed really funny to me for some reason. Otherwise, his shooting position is fairly respectable. Connery’s own shooting stance isn’t anything special but you’ll notice that Bond had a tendency to bend one knee while shooting in many of the early gun barrel sequences.

George Lazenby

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is an oddity of a film, not only since it starred an actor who only donned the part once, but also because it intercuts with Connery’s stint as Bond. I really wouldn’t have minded if Lazenby had played Bond more than just once because his quirky delivery had its strengths.

His gun barrel scene is also a bit of a quirk in its own right.

For one thing, Lazenby is the only other Bond to wear a hat in his gun barrel sequences. This tradition ended once Roger Moore assumed the role. Secondly, Lazenby’s gun barrel sequence has a funny treadmill effect. When the gun-barrel first appears over him, he is seen walking in place before he starts moving and he keeps on walking even once he reaches the middle of the frame. Probably the most notable aspect of Lazenby’s gun barrel sequence is his shooting position which is down from one knee. It’s a little hammy but kinda cool at the same time.

The last oddity is that the blood which comes down at the end actually wipes him off the screen, leaving the centre of the gun barrel empty.

Roger Moore

It might not even be that surprising that Moore had to redo his gun barrel sequence at some point, given he’s played the role more times than anyone else. Just like with the Connery Bonds, the gun barrel sequence had to be shot twice because of the changing aspect ratios between the earlier and later Moore Bond films.

What both Moore and Daniel Craig have in common is that they’re the only Englishmen to have ever played Bond and that they are the only two actors who ever got to do the gun barrel sequence more than once. Most people are bound to have seen the Moore gun barrels before so there’s really nothing special I can add to the description. I notice that the early version of the gun barrel doesn’t have quite a pristine background but on the other hand, the later version looks too obviously like it was shot in a studio, so I guess I prefer the first version myself.

Moore ditched the hat that Simmons, Connery and Lazenby wore before him. I also have to note how Moore wobbles slightly when he fires the gun and he’s also the only Bond-actor to hold the gun with both hands. However, it’s already public knowledge that Moore was actually very gun-shy which probably explains these elements, plus holding the gun with both hands is actually a fairly sensible thing to do.

Timothy Dalton

Timothy Dalton only got to play Bond twice which I think is a crime and a shame considering how good of an actor he is. Here’s a little tidbit, Dalton was actually offered the role already when Connery first retired, but refused because he considered himself too young for the part. Dalton had his second chance when the producers of Remington Steel prevented Pierce Brosnan from taking the role.

The Dalton gun barrel scene is quite nice, I like his swanky stance and the fact that he went back to firing the gun with one hand. This could very well be my third-to-fourth favorite version of the gun barrel sequences, but unfortunately Dalton’s follow-up made itself hard to match…

Pierce Brosnan

Of course, since Brosnan was the Bond while I grew up, I tend to associate him most with the role. At the same time I happen to think that his version of the gun barrel sequence is the smoothest, cleanest and most intense. As a minor technical detail, this was the first time the gun barrel effect wasn’t just a still image but made with CGI which looks really nice.

Plus, I just love Brosnan’s entrance. He walks quickly, turns sharply and fires with one arm. It’s fast, sleek, it’s awesome. Brosnan’s stance is just full of confidence and that quick turn looks intense, like he’s really shooting at somebody.

Unfortunately they did add some rather cheesy things to it in later Brosnan films, like a CGI bullet that flies through the barrel. Other than that though, it’s really cool.

Daniel Craig

Danny Craig has only been in two Bond films and he already has two gun barrel sequences. We all knew it had to be reshot after Casino Royale, since it wasn’t really possible for them to reuse it.

The Casino Royale version is, however, really cool. It’s the first time that the context of the gun barrel sequence is explained and it just goes well with the more gruff look and attitude of Craig’s Bond. Admittedly it looks kinda cheap with the bathroom tiles in the background but its original and they kept it nice and stylish with the black and white footage.

However, it was inevitable that Craig had to re-shoot the gun barrel sequence in the classic style at some point and thankfully he did so for Quantum of Solace. Craig’s traditionally shot gun barrel sequence is very nice and reminds me of the Brosnan version in a good way. He’s also got the similar swank as Dalton. I think the CGI blood in both of these gun barrel scenes comes down a little too fast but there are no other gripes with these…

Except that in QoS the gun barrel scene only came before the credits. That was just not cool. In my view the gun barrel scene belongs at the beginning of the film. I hope they remember this for Craig’s upcoming Bond appearance.