Saturday Movie Review – “Dr. No”

Here’s a classic Bond flick, in a review that was written before the call to prioritize went out. We’ll let that run a couple more days, in case we have weekend-only readers, and then post our interpretation of the results for confirmation and feedback.

Cast and Crew

Sean Connery as James Bond
Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder
Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No
Jack Lord as Felix Leiter
Bernard Lee as M
Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny

Screenplay by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood and Berkely Mather, based on the Ian Fleming novel.
Directed by Terence Young.

Complete information is available from this IMDB page.

Buy from:
or as a part of the James Bond Ultimate Edition Vol. 4.

Past movie reviews can be found here.


In the first big screen adaptation of James Bond, the British agent heads to Jamaica investigating the disappearance of a fellow operative. While there, he discovers a plot involving a technologically advanced base of operations for a sabotage operation.

High Point

“Make sure he doesn’t get away.”

Low Point

That looked like a dragon to the locals? Man, those locals are dumb.

The Review

This was the first in a very influential series of movies, and deserves originality credit for that. Unfortunately, it’s also an adaptation from books, so I’ll give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were few, but often poor, particularly when the tarantula is crawling “on” anyone with a visible face, and when we see Bond driving the car while being chased. I give it 3 out of 6.

The story is written well enough. We can see why Bond follows the trail where he does, though it’s never completely clear exactly how their activities were sabotaging the space program. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is well done. Sean Connery is often quoted as the best Bond actor, and I can see why. (I personally prefer Craig and Brosnan, but not by a wide margin.) He’s got the look and the confidence. He also has a dangerous edge in this movie I didn’t see from him in later movies. (I haven’t seen them all yet, but give me some time, and I will.) His supporting cast, unfortunately, isn’t as strong. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response was a bit tame, partly because the last Bond movie I saw was “Casino Royale” two weeks ago. This was from the original era, with distinctly slower pacing and more on screen espionage, with less on screen combat and action. Also, without knowing how this group was causing “big trouble” for the American space program, it’s hard to figure out exactly why Bond’s actions disabled their plans, since the countdown finished before things really wrapped up. I give it 4 out of 6.

The production was unique for the time, as it was one of the first movies to use the mid-movie chase sequence outside of the “screwball comedy” genre. Spy films existed before this, but Bond made them popular through a combination of writing and visual styles. The gun barrel opening and very distinctive theme music both appear here for the first time. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is almost the archetypal classic Bond. Give him a few more gadgets and a different car, and you’ve got everything we’ve come to expect from a pre-Brosnan Bond flick. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Dr. No receives 29 out of 42.

One reply

  1. Ah, the good old days
    Nevermind the dragon. This move harkens back to the Olden Days of cinema, when an Asian charater would be played by a white actor.

    And there’s the "A million dollars, Mr. Bond!" line. Maybe you could setup that kind of pad for $1mil in the ’60s, but not today! No matter his dragon looked crappy.

    Now, I’m as non-sexist and pro-women as the next, uh, woman, but the high point for this movie definitely needs to include Ursula Andress coming out of the water. It’s a classic cinema moment.

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