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Film / Dr. No


Unseen man: I admire your courage, miss?
Sylvia Trench: Trench. Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, mister—?
Unseen man: Bond. [lights cigarette] James Bond.

The one where it all began.

Dr. No is the first James Bond film, starring Sean Connery. After a British agent and his secretary are murdered in Jamaica and their files stolen, Bond is sent to investigate. As the first film of the series, it lacked many of the traits that would become iconic of the franchise but nonetheless set the groundwork.

Not to be confused with Ron Paul.note 

Dr. No contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: While Honey is still described to be beautiful in the book, she also has a busted nose.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Occurs during the iconic scene where Honey Ryder comes up out of the sea and walks up the beach. As generations of short-changed Bond fans have pointed out, in the novel, Honey Ryder is only wearing a diving mask and her knife belt when she emerges from the ocean. In the film, Ursula Andress wore a white bikini that has become associated with her character and the idea of the Bond girl as a symbol of glamor, sophistication, sex appeal, and danger.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Double-subverted. When Bond tries to escape his cell through the vent, he gets shocked when he touches the grill. However, he tries again by using his shoe to push it out and succeeds in escaping. As a nice touch, he experimentally taps the grill at the other end with his feet to make sure it isn't electrified.
    • Also justified in the novel. It's designed to be a part of a Death Course.
    • And the reason it's so wide? It's not an air vent; it's a water vent, as Bond learns to his dismay.
  • Animal Assassin: The poisonous spider (in the film) or centipede (in the book) which gets dropped into Bond's room, as well as the one Honey put in her landlord's bed after he raped her in the book (in the film, she says she uses a black widow spider).
  • Antagonist Title
  • The Anticipator: Bond and company dive behind a dune at Crab Key as a boat crewed by Dr No's henchmen motors round the bay. One of the men shouts out, 'Come on out. We know you're there. We've been expecting you' to Bond.
    • Though it's implied he's not sure, and is just trying to bluff anyone there into coming out.
  • Anti-Hero: Bond ruthlessly executes Dent even though his gun is empty. No such event occurs in the original novel, nor in any of Fleming's novels. Word of God is that the killing was added to the film strictly to illustrate the concept of "licence to kill" and that it doesn't just mean shooting in self-defence.
  • Artificial Limbs: Dr. No's Robot Hands.
  • Artistic License Biology: Or possibly Science Marches On, depending on what they knew in the 1960s; tarantula venom is only about as powerful as a bee-sting, and certainly not fatal.
  • Artistic Licence Nuclear Physics: A lesser example of this trope, since the overloading of Dr. No's reactor doesn't produce a nuclear explosion (which Bond and Honey would never have had a prayer of surviving in a speedboat), but it does produce a big enough explosion to total No's complex and the surrounding area, something that wouldn't happen with even the most catastrophic meltdown.
  • Badass Boast: Pussfeller gives one when Leiter introduces him to Bond.
    Leiter: "That's Pussfeller, he owns the place."
    Bond: "I hope he cooks better than he fights!"
    Pussfeller: "Nobody died from my cooking...yet."
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played straight with Honey. Averted with Bond, who ends up in a bad shape after getting beat up by No's guards.
    • Not employed in the novel, where her broken nose (from her rape) is a key identifier.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Bond's driver.
  • Big Bad: Dr. No himself.
  • Big Red Button: The large wheel that Bond turns to set the reactor to danger level. It is admittedly rather more tiresome and less prone to accidental self-destruction than a button.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Apparently, when the movie came to Japan, the title was translated first as We don't want a doctor.
  • Bond One-Liner: "What happened?" "I think they were on their way to a funeral!"
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Compared to a lot of later villains in the series, Dr. No isn't actually too bad in this regard. The only major error that he makes — though it does prove to be the one which ultimately leads to his defeat — is not having Bond killed the instant it became apparent that he didn't have the slightest interest in defecting to SPECTRE.
  • *Click* Hello: Done several times
  • Clipboard of Authority: The sheaf of papers Bond picks up while infiltrating the reactor room.
  • Clothing Damage: Bond's shirt gets ripped during the climax in Dr. No's lair.
  • Collapsing Lair: After Bond overrides the nuclear reactor, Crab Key goes kaboom.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: DC Comics published an adaptation of the film in the early 1960s. Strangely, it was published as part of its Showcase series, which generally featured superheroes.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Apparently hiding behind a sandbank will protect you from bullets fired by a vehicle-mounted machine gun!
  • Convenient Decoy Cat: A flock of birds saves the protagonists from Dr. No's guards.
  • Counting Bullets: When Dent attempts to kill Bond while he's sleeping.
  • Crushing Handshake: Averted—"Forgive me for not... shaking hands ..." He later demonstrates his mechanical hands' impressive strength by crushing a gold statuette.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: M's line about Bond replacing his Beretta was a reference to the novel From Russia with Love (and the whole scene is part of a larger portion explaining why Bond is given an "easy task" in the novel, where the Strangways incident goes without attention for weeks before they act on it). Of course, its film adaptation wasn't released yet, rendering it referenceless.
  • Cyanide Pill: A henchman uses a suicide cigarette.
  • Damsel in Distress: Honey Rider at the end of the movie.
    • Subverted in the book - she was tied up with the threat of being eaten by a swarm of crabs. She knew the crabs were harmless, and let them swarm over her; her distressed attitude was over what would happen to Bond.
  • Deadpan Snarker: SOOOOO many.
  • Decontamination Chamber: Used to cleanse Bond and Honey Rider of radiation. Honey wears a flesh-colored towel in an ineffectual attempt to convince the audience she is nude.
  • Dirty Communists: Regarded by the producers as a Dead Horse Trope by the time the movie was made, so the The Man Behind the Man was changed to SPECTRE.
  • The Dragon: Professor Dent to Dr. No.
  • The Dreaded: Dr. No.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: How Bond infiltrates Dr. No's nuclear facility.
  • Drowning Pit: How Dr. No tries to dispose of Honey Ryder.
    • What Could Have Been: The original scene would've involved hungry crabs attacking her, but it was cut as they couldn't get them to be menacing enough...which, interestingly enough, was exactly what saves her in the novel.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: They had just $1 million to spend, so it's rather subdued (it helps that the franchise loves Sequel Escalation). Also, Q is only called by his name — Major Boothroyd. There are no major "gadgets" here, either: Q Branch sends Bond an ordinary Geiger counter.
    • Bond does possess a glow-in-the-dark watch; these were relatively uncommon at the time, as the only glow-in-the-dark pigment then available involved radium, which is both expensive (accounting for rarity) and radioactive (accounting for its ability to trigger a Geiger counter).
    • Q is described as being the armorer, so technically the film's main gadget was the Walther PPK that Q gives Bond.
    • Bond's killing of Dent qualifies. No such scene occurs in any of Fleming's novels, but because the film version of Bond was promoted as a character who "kills who he pleases, when he pleases, how he pleases", and the novel actually has very little in the way of Bond killing people, this scene, along with a later sequence in which Bond knifes a guard for no real reason other than to have Bond give some justification in dialogue for his actions when Honey acts shocked, were added. Connery's Bond never acted this way again, though Moore and Dalton had a few Pay Evil unto Evil moments, and it's become normal operating procedure for the Craig version.
      • What Could Have Been: In the film Bond shoots Dent off the bed, then delivers a second shot to the back of the still-breathing bad guy. As originally filmed, Bond actually emptied his entire magazine into Dent (echoing the "You've had your six" line), but this was cut as being too violent. Even today, how many shots Bond fires on screen (one or two) depends on who is broadcasting the film.
    • Miss Taro always has the dubious distinction of being one of the only Bond villains to be arrested for her crimes rather than killed by Bond, an ally of his, or some ridiculous circumstance of her own making.
    • The opening in particular is weird compared to the later formula. There is no Cold Open. The Bond Gun Barrel is scored with a weird space-age ditty, with the Bond theme starting after the shot. Then the circle becomes part of the still colorful and artistic credits. And given there's no theme song per se, at a certain point the music changes to a calypso rendition of "Three Blind Mice", culminating in the eponymous assassins changing from silhouettes to the movie characters.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Doctor No himself, working for SPECTRE.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The hearse following Bond blows up when it runs down a cliff. Then changes from a Cadillac to a cheaper LaSalle.
  • Evil Genius: Professor Dent (one of Dr. No's henchmen). Also Doctor No himself.
  • Expy: Doctor No is a somewhat scaled back Fu Manchu. Oddly, resembling the Devil Doctor from his earliest appearances when he was just a high ranking member of the Si-Fan rather than its leader.
  • Fake Shemp: That's not Sean Connery in the gunbarrel opening sequence, but rather his stunt double, Bob Simmons. Connery didn't appear in the sequence until Thunderball.
  • Fanservice: The famous scene of Honey Rider rising from the ocean in a bikini.
  • Female Gaze: The receptionist from whom Bond picks up the keys to his Cool Car is very clearly staring at his ass when he leaves.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Dragon-tank has one installed, to further sell it as a real deal.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: A pair of scenes are taken almost verbatim from the novel, but with the guns replaced by ones that make no sense for the scenes in question.
    • The alleged 6-shot Smith & Wesson Dent uses (which correctly should have been a revolver) is actually a suppressed 7+1 Colt 1911 automatic, the slide of which locks back after the sixth shot anyway, and then returns to battery on its own after it initially leaves Dent's hands. Additionally, Smith and Wesson didn't manufacture a 1911 at the time anyway. Especially strange because the production crew did have Smith and Wesson revolvers on hand.
    • The Beretta M forces Bond to surrender is the M1934 in .380 ACP. In the books, Bond carried a 418 in .25 ACP, which got caught on his holster when he attached a suppressor, allowing his enemy to shoot him (here, it's stated to have jammed). It's replaced by a Walther PP, in the same caliber, but is stated to be the shorter PPK in 7.65mm, which would in fact be inferior to the M1934. When he shoots Professor Dent, he is inexplicably using an FN 1910 in the calibre, with a (fake) suppressor mounted (the film's armourer could not find a suppressor that would fit the PP).
  • Handy Cuffs: When Bond is captured by the crew of Dr. No's "dragon".
  • Hazmat Suit: Dr. No's radiation suit.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The metal hands of Dr. No do not have enough grip to allow him to climb out of the superheated pool of water.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Bond and Professor Dent's handguns with silencers are whisper quiet when fired. But when Dent fires on an empty chamber, the "click" is much louder than the silenced gunshots.
  • Hong Kong Dub: Due to the large amount of dubbing that takes place (including every female character except Moneypenny), this inevitably tends to happen on occasion. The worst offender is the commander of the gunboat that opens fire on Bond, Honey and Quarrel, as not only is his dub very hit-or-miss, he even has the "bullhorn" effect on his voice when he's meant to be talking without it.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: When Bond and Quarrel arrive on Crab Key, Bond orders Quarrel to hide the canoe. Quarrel takes a swig from his vessel, assesses the situation, then takes another.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Bond taunts Dr. No when they're eating dinner.
  • Idiot Ball: Bond himself does it twice: multiple times in his hotel room and by murdering Professor Dent rather than capturing him for interrogation.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Honey's argument for why dragons are real.
    What do you know about animals? Did you ever see a mongoose dance? A scorpion with sunstroke sting itself to death? Or a praying mantis eat her husband after making love?
    • This is based on a variant of If Jesus, Then Aliens - there are many things in nature not considered "natural" or rational (superficially), ergo, there's nothing that says that dragons can't exist.
    • The book explains her reason for thinking this as a result of her orphaned upbringing and lack of education, leaving her with the mentality of a child. Scenes demonstrating this were left out of the final draft of the screenplay.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: See Pre-Mortem One-Liner.
  • Just Between You and Me: A not too blatant example, since the US had worked out before the events of the film that their rockets were being toppled; they just didn't know who the culprit was, and Bond works out by himself that Dr. No is responsible. However, Dr. No also freely gives away the existence of SPECTRE, who Bond and, presumably, MI6 had been totally ignorant of until that point. In fairness, he only told him because he was trying to recruit him, and Russia and China definitely know because they keep doing business with them (No is on a mission for SPECTRE, but it is strongly implied that they were hired by Red China; No even has an army of Chinese henchmen), so its not so bad if half the world knows anyway.
    • A subversion with Professor Dent. Bond asks him who he's working for, and Dent replies: "Well, you might as well know as you won't live to use the information. I'm working for-" before grabbing his gun and attempting to shoot Bond. Sadly for him, he's had his six.
  • Kidnapped by an Ally
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Bond and Quarrel, who's working with CIA agent Felix Leiter.
  • Little Useless Gun: Bond's Beretta. He's ordered to swap it for his icon Walther PPK.
  • Looping Lines: Every single woman in the film (barring only Lois Maxwell) is overdubbed by the same actress, Nikki van der Zyl.
  • Mauve Shirt: Quarrel, ironically wearing a Red Shirt. Killed by a flamethrower tank painted to look like a dragon.
  • Mexican Standoff: With Professor Dent.
  • Mickey Mousing: Done each time Bond whacks the tarantula with the butt of his gun.
  • The Mole: Miss Taro, Dr. No's spy in Government House.
  • Mugged for Disguise: How Bond gets the radiation suit he needs to infiltrate the reactor room.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Since it's Bond's first movie, the Leitmotif is used for everything, including arriving at the airport and driving by the coast.
  • My Card: Occurs twice in the gambling club.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: The first on-screen appearance of SPECTRE. Doctor No explains what the organization is about.
  • Newspaper-Thin Disguise: When Bond arrives at the airport in Jamaica, the henchman surveilling the airport is hiding behind a newspaper.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Bond tips the doorman at Le Cercle one of his wads of cash winnings, a hint that he doesn't really care about the money, simply the thrill of play.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Bond and Honey really should have died from radiation sickness after the events of the movie. The entire island was contaminated, and they were rather close to that nuclear meltdown at the end.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: That poor tarantula.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: The Trope Maker, to be codified in Goldfinger, which also provided the line the trope is punnily named from. Justified in this instance, since Dr. No is trying to at least understand Bond better, and possibly even recruit him into SPECTRE.
  • No Name Given: The three black assassins are only known as "Three Blind Mice" after the song that plays in their introduction.
    • M's name is never revealed, even though Bond states it to the receptionists in Dr. No's base (It's hidden in the narrative). Indeed, although Fleming would do so in his books, the original M's full name would never be revealed in the films (his first name, Miles, would be uttered in The Spy Who Loved Me); not until Skyfall would an M's complete name be revealed.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Dr. No's reactor. The entire island was radioactive because of it. Also, all Bond had to do to blow the whole thing up was to turn a wheel, which doesn't seem very safe to say the least.
  • Noodle Incident: The mission that ended with Bond hospitalized because his gun jammed (in the book, this refers to the previous novel's Cliffhanger ending, where his Berretta, fitted with a suppressor, got caught on his holster).
  • Not My Driver: Subverted when Bond checks on the driver (he's supposed to be arriving quietly and unannounced) and finds out he's a phony, then deals with him.
  • Obfuscating Disability: The Three Blind Mice.
  • Only One Name: Q is identified by the last name Boothroyd, which will also be used to identify him in The Spy Who Loved Me. His first name would never be revealed on screen.
    • Fans would have to wait 50 years to find out what Moneypenny's first name was. Not even Fleming revealed it.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "That's a Smith and Wesson. And you've had your six."
  • Red Right Hand: Dr. No's mechanical metal hands. Although they're moderately maneuverable and super strong in the film, they're little more than crude pincers in the novel.
    • Their explanation differs between book and film. In the book, his hands were cut off by the Tong; in the film, they were damaged in his radiation experiments.
  • Reed Snorkel: Used by Bond, Quarrel and Honey Rider to avoid Dr. No's guards.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: Quarrel initially assumes Bond is just a nosey enemy, and leads him into an ambush when Bond tries to find out more about what happens to Strangways. Leiter gets in on it before all the misconceptions are sorted out.
  • Same Language Dub: Ursula Andress has a very thick accent, so she was dubbed not once but actually twice in the movie. Nikki van der Zyl dubbed all of her dialogue, while the calypso was sung by Diana Coupland. Indeed, van der Zyl dubbed the voices of several of the women, including the original Bond girl, Sylvia Trench; the secretary to Strangways, Mary Trueblood; and Camera Fiend Annabelle Chung.
    • You can hear the original voice of Eunice Gayson (Sylvia) in one of the original trailers for the film.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Sylvia Trench in Bond's suit in his apartment. Guess what happens when Bond comes in.
  • Shout-Out: The title character was Fleming's tribute to the iconic Yellow Peril villain Fu Manchu.
  • Sleeping Dummy: Bond uses several pillows under the covers of his bed.
  • Spiders Are Scary: A mook plants a tarantula in Bond's hotel room at night, clearly the most terrifying thing in the world judging by the shrill soundtrack music and the obvious pane of glass between the spider and Sean Connery. In the book it was a centipede known by Bond to be deadly - guess he hadn't read up on all the arthropods...
    • As Cracked pointed out, it would have been more effective to put a guy in there. With a gun, although Dr. No was at least attempting to be discreet, as he also sends someone to poison a basket of fruit delivered to the same room earlier on.
  • Spiteful Spit: Miss Taro to Bond after he has her arrested.
  • Spy Ship: This goes back to this: Quarrel runs a simple fishing boat, but he helps out secret agents all the time.
  • Tank Goodness: The "Dragon".
  • Time Marches On:
    • Shortly before the movie was made, Goya's "Portrait of the Duke of Wellington" had been stolen from a museum. It was a very high-profile crime that had recently seen that painting splashed across every newspaper, newsreel, and telecast, so the movie-going audience was quite familiar with it. (The painting would not be recovered for several more years.) In a moment of inspiration, the filmmakers placed a reproduction of the painting very prominently in Dr. No's lair, and had Connery do a brief double-take as he passed it. According to the commentary track, this gag elicited a good thirty seconds of laughter from the theatrical audiences. Modern audiences don't even realize there's a joke there.
    • Dr. No was considered new and shocking when it was made—not just for the violence of Bond shooting the unarmed Professor Dent, but for the style of editing it used. Cutting to and from movement and using fades as scene transitions had not been seen before. These editing tricks are old hat now, but there was a definite sense the movie gloried in "breaking the rules" back in the day.
  • Token Trio: Bond, Honey and Quarrel on their journey through Crab Key.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Not entirely, but the trailer does give vast amounts of information, in the same order as it happens in the film.
  • Unbuilt Trope: The formula is barely there - only in the next two many mainstays start to appear.
  • What Happened to the Three Blind Mice?: The "Three Blind Mice" assassins appear only three times in the movie: killing Strangways, killing his secretary, and taking the shot at Bond that gets spoiled by the car headlights. Then they simply vanish from the story, never to be seen again. (They were probably in the hearse that goes off the road, given that they had used it in the course of murdering Strangways, but they are not shown to be in it at that point. The omission is probably a result of the movie's budget and time crunches; there were some shots they simply did not have the chance to get, and that might include inserts of the Mice in the hearse.) This is a sharp contrast to later Bond films in which each movie's idiosyncratic assassin henchmen usually die on screen in interesting ways.
  • What the Hell, Hero? A bit of irony: Bond does this with Honey when she describes how she murdered a man who raped her by putting a black widow spider in his bed, causing him to die over the course of a week. "I wouldn't make a habit of it" he says, shocked. But later, after Bond somewhat unnecessarily stabs one of Dr. No's men to death, Honey acts shocked and asks why he had to kill the man.
    • Viewers used to the more light-hearted Bond films (pre-Daniel Craig) often have this reaction to the Dent shooting scene.
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Averted and lampshaded.
    Dr. No:"That's a Dom Perignon '55, it would be a pity to break it."
  • Yellowface: Dr. No himself is half-German and half-Chinese. He is played by a white Jewish actor. In fact, in this movie, every Asian character with a substantial role is played by a white actor in yellowface. Unfortunately, this makes it blatantly obvious from the moment we see her that Miss Taro is The Mole.
  • Yellow Peril: Dr. No, though he's only half-Chinese. Fleming intended him as a homage to Fu Manchu.
  • You Have Failed Me: Subverted; Dr. No deals with Professor Dent's failure to kill Bond simply by having him resort to an Animal Assassin and hope for the best. When that fails, he's lucky to be captured and killed by Bond during an attempt to deal with him personally.
  • You Have 48 Hours:
    • Leiter tells Bond the investigation has to go ahead before the next space programme launch, but it's never a major factor in the plot other than getting Bond and Quarrel to Crab Key.
    • Bond tells Leiter that if he's not back in 12 hours, to send reinforcements. However, Bond is gone considerably longer than 12 hours, but there is no sign of such reinforcements arriving. (A scene in which Dr. No forced Bond to radio Leiter and call off the reinforcements ended up on the cutting room floor.)