Is Agent 007 a hero or an anti-hero?

Hero? Anti-hero?

So is James Bond a hero or an antihero? If you think the answers is easy, think again. Not even the co-chiefs of Eon Productions, whose personal fortunes stem from 007, agree.

Michael G. Wilson, who has worked on the Bond film series longer than anyone, is in the anti-hero camp. In an INTERVIEW WITH USA TODAY EARLIER THIS YEAR Wilson said, “There are plenty of imitators, but Bond really is the first one that was an anti-hero.” He again calls Bond an anti-hero in the new Everything Or Nothing documentary.

Barbara Broccoli, Wilson’s half-sister and the other co-boss at Eon, did an interview published last week at AIN’T IT COOL NEWS. This was her take on Bond: “He’s a classical hero, but he’s very human.”

Back on Feb. 1 WE DID A POST about Wilson’s remarks. It got a mixed reaction. One respondent wrote, “Bond of the novels was definitely an anti-hero, in my opinion, as was the Connery Bond of the first two films.” This person posted a YouTube video of a clip from Dr. No where 007 shoots Professor Dent, Dr. No’s lackey, in cold blood. Another said Bond was an anti-hero because he smokes, kills and “uses women.” Others wrote that Wilson misunderstands the Bond character or that 007 is a hero, but “a Cold War hero.”

As we presented on Feb. 1, this is the definition of anti-hero, according to Dictionary.com:

noun, plural an·ti·he·roes.
a protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure, as nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose, and the like.

A less-evil mobster


By that definition, you could argue the label is more befitting of, say, Michael Corleone in The Godfather. He’s less evil than the leaders of the other mobs because he doesn’t want to get into the drug business. But, arguably at least, he’s not really a heroic figure.

Some have argued Bond is a hero, but a tarnished one (he does kill after all). He’s a patriot who, when he kills, does so for what he believes is a higher cause. Then again, John Le Carre would disagree, as would followers such as Robert MacNeil, the former PBS newsman.

We suspect none of this will settle the issue. As we noted before, when the two co-chiefs of Eon come down on different sides, that suggests the matter is one people will disagree about.

2 Responses

  1. Bond doesn’t always kill for a higher cause. Sometimes he kills for revenge. Also, he can be a cold-blooded manipulator of women. So, he falls in the anti-hero camp for me.

  2. […] is a subject the blog has explored before and the answers remain […]

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