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Film / Dr. No

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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 that started it all.

Dr. No is the first film in the Eon Productions James Bond series and the first cinematic adaptation of Ian Fleming's literary hero (based off the novel of the same name), directed by Terence Young and starring Sean Connery. Monty Norman composed the score, and John Barry arranged what would become the franchise's iconic theme. It came out on October 7, 1962 in the UK and had limited releases in the US in 1963.

After a British agent and his secretary are murdered in Jamaica and their files about the mysterious Dr. No are stolen, MI6 sends their best agent, James Bond, codename 007, to investigate.

As the first film of the series, Dr. No was produced on a low budget, and it lacked some of the traits that would become iconic about the franchise, but it nonetheless set the groundwork.

Followed by From Russia with Love.

Dr. No contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the book, Honey is described as beautfiul, but her nose is broken (she even sells her shells to pay for the operation).
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: The film implies that Dr. No lost his hands in an experiment. In the book, they were cut off by the Tongs who tortured him to get back the money he stole from them.
  • Adaptational Context Change: In the novel, Puss Feller got his name from his legendary fight against an octopus. In the film, Quarrel mentions that he wrestles alligators, thus rendering his name meaningless.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Felix Leiter meets Bond for the first time, though not in the novel, even though the character had been created and appeared in prior Bond novels.
  • Adaptational Job Change: For Dr. No:
    • In the novel, he works for SMERSH. In the film, he works for SPECTRE. He has just as much disdain for the East and the West, as they both rejected his services.
    • In the novel, he was a medical doctor. In the film, he's a nuclear physicist.
    • In the novel, he dealt in bird guano as his cover story. In the film, he runs a bauxite mine.
  • 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 glamuor, sophistication, sex appeal, and danger.
  • Adaptational Self-Defence: The original script called for Dent to get shot right off the bat, but execs chewed them out and the scene was changed so that Dent actually fires a gun's worth of missed bullets into a decoy before Bond interrogates him and picks him off. One snafu with this is that they took a line verbatim from the book for the new version of the scene, even though it made no sense anymore (in the book, the scene relied on Dent using a six-shot revolver; in the movie, he now has an automatic that should have held at least one more bullet).
  • Adaptational Species Change: In the novel, the villains try to kill Bond by placing a centipede in his bed. The filmmakers felt that a tarantula would present a more obvious danger.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the novel, Honey is a lot more savvy and capable, managing to rescue herself.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: The film follows the novel pretty closely, though it also takes scenes from Casino Royale (Bond using a strand of hair to see if someone's been in his room and his first meeting with Felix Leiter) and The Spy Who Loved Me (Bond fooling an assassin with the three-pillow trick).
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In the novel, Honey collects seashells in the hopes of paying for the surgery to get her broken nose fixed. The film omits this, thus implying that she collects shells simply to make her living.
  • 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.
  • Affably Evil: Dr. No treats James Bond to dinner and shows him around his evil lair!
  • All There in the Manual: The photographer's name is revealed in the novel as Annabelle Chung.
  • All There in the Script: The charred trees in the area where Bond confronts the Dragon Tank are part of the sanctuary for rare birds that Dr. No has disrupted. All mention of the sanctuary was deleted from the final film.
  • America Saves the Day: All Leiter does is pick Bond up after he escapes Dr. No's lair. And even then, he's on a boat flying the white ensign (the flag of the Royal Navy).
  • 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 film is named after the Big Bad, Dr. No himself.
  • 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.
    • Played with later when a maid babbles cheerfully over the confusion caused by exactly when Bond was going to be captured.
      "We simply didn't know when to expect you. First it was teatime yesterday, and then dinner, and it was only half an hour ago that we really knew you were on your way."
  • Anti-Climax: Dr. No gets punched. Fight over.
  • 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 has mechanical hands, having lost his hands in an accident during his research into radioactivity. His mechanical hands can crush stone to powder, but can't grip a vertical beam well enough for him to lift himself out of the reactor's cooling tank.
  • Artistic Licence – 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. Not to mention the black widow spider Honey uses to kill the man that raped her. Black widow bites are generally not lethal to healthy adults. However, the bite can be extremely, debilitatingly and agonizingly painful...
  • 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.
  • Ascended Extra: Although the novel only mentions Miss Taro in passing, the character's role was greatly expanded and embellished for this film.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Firstly, Professor Dent attempts to assassinate Bond by placing a tarantula in his bed, but he manages to overcome it. Then, the Three Blind Mice attempt to run him off the road, but he outmanoeuvres them. Finally, Dent tries to shoot him in bed, but Bond foils him with the three-pillow trick and kills him.
  • 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, who takes a cyanide capsule disguised as a cigarette when Bond tries to interrogate him.
  • Big Bad: Dr. No is the main antagonist of the movie.
  • 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 Black Guy: The "Three Blind Mice". Unfortunately for Strangways, they were just faking blindness so they could shoot him in the back.
  • "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: "How did it happen?" "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.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. Bond hides behind the door as Professor Dent fires several shots into blanket-covered pillows on the bed. Bond disarms him and the two converse, but Bond "carelessly" allows Dent to retrieve his dropped pistol — which clicks on an empty chamber. Bond doesn't even flinch and says "That's a Smith and Wesson, and you've had your six." before killing Dent.
  • The Burlesque of Venus: Both fans and critics have likened Honey Rider's emergence from the sea in a white bikini to Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, a painting which depicts the goddess Venus, having emerged from the sea as a full-grown woman, arriving naked at the sea-shore.
  • *Click* Hello:
    • Bond defeats Quarrel and Puss Feller and backs out of the room, only for Leiter to stick a gun in his back.
    • Bond surprises Professor Dent by hiding behind a door while he empties his gun into a bed.
  • 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.
  • Convenient Decoy Cat: A flock of birds saves the protagonists from Dr. No's guards.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: The climactic battle takes place in a room being flooded with coolant from a nuclear reactor. Dr. No survives long enough in the superheated coolant to desperately claw for a way out even when submerged above his head, and Bond is unharmed despite being mere inches away from the coolant.
  • Cool Guns:
    • Bond uses an FN Model 1910 pistol to assassinate Professor Dent after "he's had his six". It is worth to note that the props department was unable to find a suppressor for Bond's PPK, so they had to use a Model 1910 with a fake suppressor that simply slid into the barrel instead. They were able to find an appropriate suppressor for the PPK in time for From Russia with Love.
    • Quarrel takes a Colt Police Revolver to Crab Key.
    • A henchman uses a Bren Gun to fire at Bond, Honey and Quarrel as they take cover behind a sand bank.
  • Counting Bullets: When Dent attempts to kill Bond while he's sleeping.
  • Coup de Grâce: Bond's shooting of Professor Dent, who after being shot down receives an extra bullet in the back, for safety. (An act that does not occur in any of the novels.) Reportedly the original edit of the film had Bond shoot the man six times but this was considered excessive. Reportedly, this scene was added primarily to illustrate the "licenced to kill" aspect of the character given most other killings by Bond in the film were of the self-defence or "heat of battle" variety and not cold-blooded. The scene was controversial with Bond fans to the extent that nothing similar would be attempted again until Casino Royale (2006).
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Dr. No boils in the cooling pool of his nuclear reactor.
  • 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.
  • Cutlery Escape Aid: When Honey is dragged away to be handed over to Dr No's guards, Bond jumps to his feet only to get a gun shoved in his back. Bond puts down the bottle he was going to use as an Improvised Weapon, but Dr No then tells him to also put back the dinner knife he palmed during this moment of distraction.
  • Cyanide Pill: Mister Jones kills himself with a cyanide 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.
  • Dangerous Clifftop Road: A SPECTRE mook pursues Bond up a mountaintop road. Bond escapes by driving his convertible under a crane whose arm is across the road. The mook isn't brave enough, swerves to try and miss the crane, and goes over the side of the embankment and explodes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: SOOOOO many.
  • Decontamination Chamber: Used to cleanse Bond and Honey Rider of radiation. Shoulders-Up Nudity is used while they're being hosed, since the screen covers them from the shoulders down. When she gets out Honey wears a flesh-coloured towel in an ineffectual attempt to convince the audience she is nude and then dons a Modesty Towel.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the novel, Bond uses a crane to bury Dr. No under a mountain of guano where he is crushed/suffocated. In the film, Bond knocks him into the boiling water of his reactor pool, and his metal hands make it impossible for him to get a grip on the wet metal of the gantry and he slides beneath the water.
  • 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.
  • Dramatic Ammo Depletion: Professor Dent tries to assassinate James Bond while in his sleep. However, the 007 agent knew of this, and set up a fake dummy in his bed. Dent shoots the dummy 6 times, and the real Bond catches him. When Dent pulls his gun again and tries to shoot, the gun clicks empty, prompting James Bond to call him out on his mistake, and kill him.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Bond knocks out one of Dr. No's workers and steals his radiation suit so he can infiltrate the nuclear reactor room.
  • Driving a Desk: There's a particularly egregious shot of a nervous Sean Connery being pursued by a car that appeared at least twice as large as his own.
  • Drowning Pit: How Dr. No tries to dispose of Honey Ryder. (the scene was originally planned to follow the book, where hungry crabs attacked 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 Instalment Weirdness: They had just $1 million to spend, so the film is rather subdued (it helps that the franchise loves Sequel Escalation).
    • The film has no Cold Open, with the opening credits immediately following on from the Bond Gun Barrel.
    • The film does not have a "theme song" as virtually all the subsequent films would have, instead the Bond Theme itself plays over the opening credits.
    • The design of the opening credits is weird compared to the later formula. The Bond Gun Barrel is scored with electronic wheeps, with the Bond theme starting only after the shot, but this film's particular arrangement makes it sound out of order compared to the ones in later films. Then the circle becomes part of the still colourful 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. There are no silhouettes of naked women; instead we have silhouettes of fully clothed dancers (female and male), as well as the three actors portraying the aforementioned assassins.
    • The Bond theme is not reserved for dramatic action sequences as it would be in later films; it is used in scenes such as Bond lighting a cigarette while introducing himself, and Bond arriving at the airport.
    • Q is only called by his name — Major Boothroyd. He lacks the snarky dynamic with Bond that he would develop in later films. There are no major "gadgets" here, either: Q Branch sends Bond an ordinary Geiger counter and issues him a new pistol. He is also played by Peter Burton here, in his only appearance. In contrast, Desmond Llewelyn would take over the role starting with From Russia with Love and would continue playing it all the way up to The World Is Not Enough, appearing in a total of 17 filmsnote .
    • Bond's killing of Dent. 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.
      • 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 and the uncut version of the scene hasn't been shown since 1962.
    • 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.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Dr. No has an elaborate nuclear facility but it's not clear that it was underground. Although fairly likely, given that it explicitly is in the book and in the film they dine in a glass-windowed room below the waterline and thus presumably underground as well.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Doctor No himself, working for SPECTRE.
  • Establishing Character Moment: James Bond has a few. One is the ever famous gun barrel, and the other is killing Professor Dent in cold blood.
    Bond: That's a Smith and Wesson... and you've had your six.
    • More iconically, when we first meet Bond at a casino, winning a card game.
      Bond: I admire your courage, Miss...
      Sylvia Trench: [writing a check] Trench, Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mister...
      Bond: [lighting a cigarette] Bond, James Bond.
  • Establishing Character Music: 007's theme music goes hand-in-hand with his introduction and his catchphrase.
  • 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 Cannot Comprehend Good: Dr. No explains his motive to join SPECTRE, claiming that it's led by geniuses, rudely dismissing 007 as a "stupid policeman", only for Bond to correct him that SPECTRE is actually led by "criminal brains".
  • Evil Cripple: Dr. No lost his hands in an industrial accident and replaced them with mechanical ones.
  • Evil Genius: Professor Dent (one of Dr. No's henchmen). Also Doctor No himself.
  • Evil Plan: Dr. No's plan is to topple American rockets from his island base as part of a mission from SPECTRE, probably with a hostile foreign power as a client.
  • 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.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Dr. No and everyone else in the control room completely fail to look at Bond's face through the hazmat suit's window, or notice that his height, build, and walk doesn't match Chang's, whose suit Bond appropriated.
  • 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.
  • Fatal Flaw: Dr. No and his Mad Scientist tendencies, and the fact that he dismisses 007 as a "stupid policeman". As Bond sums it up:
    World domination. The same old dream. Our asylums are full of people who think they are Napoleon. Or God.
  • 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.
  • Floral Theme Naming: The staff in No's Elaborate Underground Base include a pair of female warders named Sister Rose and Sister Lily. The theme extends further, with his mole in Government House being Miss Taro (taro is a species of edible tropical plant).
  • Friendly Target: Quarrel.
  • Gilded Cage: The first cell James Bond and Honey Ryder are put in is like a five star hotel.
  • A Glass in the Hand: Dr. No crushes a golden Buddha statue with his metal hand to intimidate Bond.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Honey dons a pair of capri pants and a tunic-style top to attend a dinner with Bond, Dr. No, and company. After the dinner, Bond is beaten up by No's henchmen and Honey is dragged away; when next we see her, she's chained up in a flooding basin, still wearing the top but without the pants.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: SPECTRE receives its first mention here as a nebulous criminal organization which Dr. No is a part of.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Averted. James Bond is dining with Dr No and at one point grabs a bottle as an Improvised Weapon, only to freeze when a guard shoves a gun in his back.
    Dr. No: That's a Dom Perignon '55, it would be a pity to break it.
  • 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 stab him with a poisoned blade (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). He also simply twists and yanks the suppressor, whereas the threads are too fine for such an action.
  • 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.
  • Holding Hands: When Dr No invites them to dinner, Honey holds Bond's hand for reassurance, only to notice his palm is sweating as much as hers (it's the first Bond film, so the No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine trope is freaking them both out).
  • Hollywood Healing: Quarrel gets his face slashed with a broken flashbulb, drawing blood. He appears completely undamaged in all subsequent scenes.
  • 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. Downplayed during Strangways' assassination at the start of the film, as the Three Blind Mice's silenced pistols produce loud "thud" noises which are much more in line with (albeit still quieter than) how a real silencer would sound.
  • 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 Did What I Had to Do: Bond invokes the trope after he knifes a guard and Honey gives him the What the Hell, Hero? treatment.
    • Some latter-day reviews film point out that there is actually little plot justification for Bond killing this particular man, other than continuing to establish the "licence to kill" aspect of 007 in a way Ian Fleming never did in his books. (According to Word of God this is why Bond is shown murdering Professor Dent earlier in the film, again an event never depicted by Fleming.)
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Averted. The diabolical doctor's base from which he aims to upset the balance of terror between the USA and the USSR through missile toppling is called... Crab Key.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Honey is led away by the guards and Dr. No taunts Bond about what they will do to her.
  • 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.
  • Iconic Outfit:
    • Honey Ryder's white bikini.
    • Dr. No's white Nehru suit.
  • Idiot Ball: Bond himself does it twice: multiple times in his hotel room and by murdering Professor Dent rather than capturing him for interrogation.
  • Improvised Weapon: The Photographer hurts Quarrel with a broken flash-bulb. Aside from drawing blood, it has little effect on him.
  • 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.
  • Island Base: Dr. No's Base is on Crab Key, albeit more of an Elaborate Underground Base.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Bond disarms Professor Dent and holds him at gunpoint. As Bond looks away, Dent gets his pistol back and tries to fire, but it's empty, leading Bond to remark "That's a Smith & Wesson, and you've had your six.", and shoots him.
  • 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: The first time Bond meets Felix Leiter and Quarrel.
  • Last Grasp at Life: The last we see of Dr. No is his hand trying to grasp a metal support beam as he drowns in the cooling tank of a nuclear reactor.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Bond's investigation leads him to Quarrel, who's already working with CIA agent Felix Leiter. Because Leiter saw Bond leave the airport with one of Dr. No's men, Quarrel attacks Bond; their fight is broken up when Leiter arrives to clarify the whole mess.
  • Little Useless Gun: Bond originally carried a Beretta 418 (.25 calibre) before switching to his signature Walther PPK. Behind the scenes, the change happened after one Geoffrey Boothroyd – for whom the character who would become Q would be named – wrote to Fleming objecting to the use of the Beretta and, after some back-and-forth, suggested the Walther.
    M: This damn Beretta again. I've told you about this before. You tell him — for the last time.
    Armourer: Nice and light — in a lady's handbag. No stopping power....
    M: You'll carry the Walther. Unless you'd prefer to go back to standard intelligence duties?
    Bond: No, sir. I would not.
    M: Then from now on you carry a different gun. Show him, Armourer.
    Armourer: Walther PPK. 7.65mm with a delivery like a brick through a plate-glass window. The American CIA swear by them.
    • The film version, ironically, gets it backwards; in that scene, Bond is instead turning in a Beretta 1934 in .380 ACP, which M continues to disparage as he proceeds to force Bond to use a lower-caliber weapon (not that it matters too much, since the actual Walther used in the film was the larger PP in the same caliber as the M1934). Calibre size is not the only reason he has to turn it in, at least, as his Beretta had jammed on him and he was wounded as a result (in the preceding book, From Russia With Love, it became stuck in a holster when Bond attached a suppressor to it, allowing him to be stabbed with a poisoned knife; this was not included in the film version, as the chronology was changed between films, what with Dr. No being the first one adapted).
  • The Load: Honey Rider. Oddly enough, she isn't widely hated among James Bond fans, partly because she was the first main Bond Girl, but she really is the single most superfluous Bond girl in the entire film series—yet is consistently ranked as the best, a position clearly earned solely because she's the first and still very attractive. The film makers were usually pretty good in making the Bond girls in the series of at least some nominal importance to the plot of each film (even if, in the case of Mary Goodnight, their only importance is as The Millstone), but Honey is of no importance whatsoever. She shows up late in the film, tags along, and does nothing of any consequence. The film takes the time to give her the same backstory from the novel (Dr. No killed her father, she received all her education by reading the whole encyclopedia, she murdered her rapist, etc.) but again, none of that has any impact on the rest of the film. She exists solely to be the Distressed Damsel (and even that comes across as an afterthought) and for Fanservice. The latter, Ursula Andress does very, very well, which is the third reason she isn't widely hated.
    • Interestingly, the novel has Honey as much less of a Load-she escapes from Dr. No's planned Death Trap without Bond's help, gives Bond helpful tips so he doesn't kill himself by accident on Crab Key (for example, drinking the island water could give you fever) and acts as a truly fantastic spotter as Bond drives the Dragon tank to safety.
  • Logic Bomb: In the German version, the Bond One-Liner (after the Three Blind Mice crashed down the cliffs) was slightly altered from its English original version.
    "What happened there?"
    "They were in a hurry to attend their own funeral in time."
  • Mauve Shirt: Quarrel, ironically wearing a Red Shirt. Killed by a flamethrower tank painted to look like a dragon.
  • Mexican Standoff: Bond outwits Professor Dent by hiding behind the door while Dent attempts to kill him in his room. Bond has the assassin drop his gun on a rug and sit down while he interrogates the man. Bond would occasionally take a drink during the conversation, which the assassin used to slide his gun closer to him by dragging the rug. Eventually, the assassin regained his gun and pointed it at Bond, saying that they are now at a standstill, to which Bond casually shrugs and simply shot the guy. It should be noted that the assassin had used all of his bullets earlier shooting the bed which he believed contained Bond. As Bond knew this fact, it was easier for him to react calmly to a gun pointed at him.
  • Mickey Mousing: Done each time Bond whacks the tarantula with the butt of his gun.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Murder of a British agent → Dr. No's SPECTRE operation to destroy American missiles.
  • Misidentified Weapons:
    • A minor but rather jarring moment from the otherwise quite good film. When the script reads, "That's a Smith & Wesson, and you've had your six!", it's probably a good idea to make sure the man Bond is saying this to is holding a revolver. Not a Colt M1911, one of the most recognizable semi-automatic pistols ever made and which almost everyone knows has a seven round magazine. And on top of this, Smith and Wesson didn't even manufacture a 1911 variant at the time. Even more perplexing is that Smith and Wesson revolvers were used later in the film, making it questionable why the props department chose to use a 1911 in the first place.
      • Definitely a mistake, and an even more perplexing one because after the 6th shot is fired, when Dent steps into the room, you can clearly see the slide locked back, showing that he IS out of rounds, and it would have been totally appropriate for Bond to point this out instead of the 'Smith and Wesson' line.
  • The Mole: Miss Taro is an agent of Dr. No who works as a secretary in Government House, passing classified information on to him.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. No: Very evil and a Mad Scientist to boot.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Honey shows a lot of skin through the movie, including spending a long time in a bikini. Especially in that iconic introduction shot of her emerging from the sea.
  • 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:
    • The messenger M sends to get James Bond in the club asks the attendant to give Bond his card.
    • While in the club Bond gives Sylvia Trench his card (which has his phone number on it) and asks her to call him if she'd like to go out with him.
  • Mythology Gag: Dr. No chastises Bond for trying to attack him with a bottle of Dom Perignon '55, to which Bond says "I prefer the '53, myself." This refers to the fact that the third Bond novel, Moonraker, was first published in 1955, while the first Bond novel, Casino Royale, was published in 1953. This gag gets echoed in The Man with the Golden Gun, as Bond arrives at Scaramanga's island, with Nick Nack offering Dom Perignon '64, with Bond saying "I prefer the '62, myself.", which referenced the fact that the third Bond film, Goldfinger, was released in 1964, while this first Bond film was released in 1962.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: As indicated up in Establishing Character Moment - this is one of the iconic franchise tropes that began with the very first movie. Though interestingly, Bond is the second character to do it - Sylvia Trench is the first.
  • Napoleon Delusion: Invoked; Bond mocks Dr. No's thirst for power by remarking that western asylums are full of people who think they're Napoleon — or God.
  • 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: In his first scene, Bond tips both the dealer and the doorman at Le Cercle with 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: After Bond and Honey Ryder are captured by Dr. No's guards, Dr. No invites them to dine with him. He and Bond have a leisurely conversation, with Dr. No explaining his background and plans, complimenting Bond's intelligence and trying to recruit him to join SPECTRE. Bond responds by insulting him, so Dr. No orders his guards to torture him. 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 understand Bond better.
  • 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.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Dr. No's first scene has Professor Dent report to him in a cavernous room. No is offscreen, but his eerily calm-yet threatening voice is enough to have Dent fear for his life.
  • Now It's My Turn: Professor Dent is sent to kill Bond, but Bond makes it look like he's lying in bed asleep, and the assassin shoots the bed six times before Bond reveals himself. The bad guy drops his gun, and Bond politely interrogates him as he lowers his guard momentarily to light a cigarette. The bad guy quickly picks his gun back up and attempts to shoot Bond.
  • Nude Coloured Clothes: When James Bond and Honey Rider are in the Decontamination Shower, the latter steps off wearing a flesh-coloured towel in a failed attempt to make her look nude.
  • Obfuscating Disability: The Three Blind Mice, assassins working for Dr. No who pretend to be blind.
  • Obviously Evil: An organization named "SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion" is not probably going to be a charity. note 
  • One Dose Fits All: Bond and Honey both pass out from drugged coffee provided by the villain. Honey does feel the effects first, but only by a few seconds despite being much smaller than Bond. Strangely, there were already captured and no real explanation for why they were drugged is given.
  • 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.
  • Overclocking Attack: Bond overheats a nuclear reactor so it blows up and ruins Dr. No's plan. It seemingly doesn't matter that it would cause serious environmental damage. It is James Bond, after all.
  • Perverted Sniffing: Bond himself sniffs Miss Taro's towel after he surprises her by making it to her apartment alive and she goes to pick up the telephone.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: A major reason why this was the first Bond story to be adapted is that many of the stories have Bond travelling all over the world, which would either require expensive location shooting or trying to stage the location in UK, which easily ends up looking cheap and unconvincing. The production company went with the former option, and Dr. No was deemed a relatively inexpensive story because Jamaica is the only location involved outside of UK.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "That's a Smith and Wesson. And you've had your six."
  • Product Placement:
    • The teaser trailer was pretty much a love letter and advertisement for the Walther PPK.
    • The scene where Bond meets Leiter for the first time prominently features a large stack of cases of Red Stripe beer.
  • Race Against the Clock:
    • 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.)
  • Rape as Backstory: Honey tells Bond that after her father was made to disappear by Dr. No, their landlord let her stay on for a while without paying. Then one night he raped her. She avenged herself by putting a female black widow spider in his bed, which fatally bit him.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil
    • And so an agonising death by spider bite in response is...understandable.
    • Honey is dragged off to be used by the guards. When Bond finds her though she's chained up in a Drowning Pit with her tight-fitting dress intact, so maybe Dr No just said this to taunt Bond or test his reaction.
  • 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.
  • Revealing Cover-Up: Dr. No's assassination attempts are what convinces Bond that he and his base are behind everything. Alright, Dent's incompetence and Strangways' death helped.
  • 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.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Francisco de Goya's Portrait Of The Duke Of Wellington can be seen hanging on the wall in Dr. No's lair; Bond clearly recognises the painting. In Real Life, this had been stolen from the National Gallery in London in August 1961, several months before filming began — so the clear implication in the film is that Dr. No was responsible for the theft note . The painting was returned in 1965.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Quarrel, who ends up killed by the "dragon".
  • Scare Chord: Every time Bond hits the tarantula with his gun, there's a scare chord. The first time it just seems a little cheesy, but after that the scene starts to be funny.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Bond is told that Dr. No keeps his private island "private" by the presence of a dangerous fire-breathing dragon that kills any trespassers on his property. It turns out to be a tank painted to look like a dragon, and armed with a flamethrower. Partly justified in that the tank doesn't show up until it gets dark, so it's harder to figure out its true nature.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Once Bond sets the nuclear reactor to overload, every single one of Dr. No's henchmen immediately bails, leaving No to fight Bond by himself.
  • Sealed with a Kiss: Bond and Honey make out in a rescue raft while throwing away the mooring rope tying them to a Coast Guard ship.
  • Security Cling: Honey clings to Bond's arm when riding the elevator to Dr No's lair. In a variation, Bond readily admits that he's as scared as she is (given that it's the first Bond film, he's not as used to the idea of villains inviting him to dinner instead of just shooting him, so is feeling rather creeped out).
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: When Bond and Miss Taro start kissing and sink back on her bed, the camera pans up and the scene cuts over to a rotating fan.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Sylvia Trench in Bond's shirt in his apartment. Guess what happens when Bond comes in.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Honey bathes in an island stream wearing a white shirt with nothing on underneath it.
  • Sexy Surfacing Shot: The famous scene of Honey Rider rising from the ocean in a bikini.
  • Shameful Strip: It is implied that Dr. No's guards did this to Honey off-screen, as when Bond rescues her at the end, she is barefoot and pantsless.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Felix Leiter compliments Bond's suit and asks about his tailor.
  • Shout-Out: The title character was Fleming's tribute to the iconic Yellow Peril villain Fu Manchu.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    Dr. No: The Americans are fools. I offered my services, they refused. So did the East. Now they can both pay for their mistake.
    Bond: World domination. The same old dream. Our asylums are full of people who think they're Napoleon. Or God.
  • Sic 'Em: When Professor Dent goes to tell Doctor No that Bond knows about Crab Key, No orders Dent to kill Bond and gives him an Animal Assassin tarantula to carry out the deed.
  • Sleeping Dummy: Bond uses several pillows under the covers of his bed.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Bond realises just a fraction too late that the coffee waiting in his room in Dr. No's "mink-lined prison" has been drugged.
  • Somewhere, an Entomologist Is Crying:
    • Professor Dent tries to kill James Bond by putting a very large tarantula in his bed while he slept. Even if it bit him (it didn't), it would've just hurt a lot.
    • Honey tells Bond that she killed her landlord after he raped her by putting a female black widow on his bed, and that it took the guy a week to die. She got very lucky: contrary to urban legend, black widow bites are rarely fatal to humans.
  • 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.
      • Except a man with a gun is used in Thunderball, and is no more effective against Bond.
  • 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.
  • Standard Female Grab Area:
    • Photographer Annabelle Chung doesn't show much resistance once she is grabbed by her arm.
    • Bond drags off the receptionist who he forces to show him where the guards took Honey this way.
  • Tank Goodness: The "Dragon".
  • Time Marches On:
    • Several months before the movie was made, Goya's "Portrait of the Duke of Wellington" had been stolen from the National Gallery in London. This was a very high-profile crime which saw the painting splashed across every newspaper, cinema newsreel and TV news broadcast, so a British movie-going audience in 1962 would have been quite familiar with it. In a moment of inspiration, Production Designer Ken Adam painted a copy and placed it 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.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Honey when picking out clothes from the dressed shortly after waking up after being drugged. When Bond walks in on her, she clutches the dress to her chest to cover herself.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Not entirely, but the trailer does give vast amounts of information, in the same order as it happens in the film.
  • Trick-and-Follow Ploy: Had the mooks not confirmed they were on Crab Key by firing at Bond from a search boat and later unleashing the "Dragon," they might have been able to go through with their plans.
  • Tuckerization: This film marks the first appearance of the character Major Boothroyd (later played by Desmond Llewellyn and known simply as "Q"), based on fan and gun expert Geoffrey Boothroyd who informed Fleming the .25 Beretta 418 he had James Bond using was a wimpy ladies' pistol. (This also formed the basis for Bond's forced gun upgrade in the book and this movie.) The real-life Geoffrey Boothroyd appears in a vintage featurette on the Dr. No DVD and Blu-ray, in which he demonstrates the relative stopping powers of the two Bond guns, plus his own favourite, a Ruger .44 Magnum.
  • Unbuilt Trope: The formula is barely there. No gadgets, cool cars and the kills are fairly simple and direct — only in the next two many mainstays start to appear.
  • Unexplained Accent: Why Dr. No, a German-Chinese man from Shanghai, has a crisp English accent is never explained. It can't just be written off as actor Joseph Wiseman's own, since he was from Queens and sounded it.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The series begins with the murder of secret service agent John Strangways.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dr. No loses his temper after Bond foils his plans to sabotage American missile tests and desperately tries to kill 007, but falls into a vat of boiling radioactive water.
  • Visible Boom Mic: The shadow of a boom mic is visible on the hotel room wall behind Bond, just after the room service attendant hands him his martini.
  • Weaponized Camera: Photographer Annabelle Chung cuts Quarrel's face with a broken flashbulb. It doesn't do her much good.
  • We Can Rule Together: Played with. Dr. No says that he was impressed by Bond's skills and was considering offering him a job. Unfortunately, Bond has pissed him off way too many times, so instead he's going to have him tortured and imprisoned. In fairness, Bond also offered Dr No the opportunity of working for the West, only for Dr No to inform Bond that both sides of the Cold War had already rejected his services.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: 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.
  • 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."
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Bond has an understandably harsh reaction to a tarantula in Dr. No that climbed up his legs (while he was in bed) then across his shoulder. 007. Licence to smash.
    • It wasn't just acting either; Sean Connery was so deathly afraid of spiders, that he wouldn't do the scene without a sheet of plexiglass separating him and the spider.
  • Wicked Cultured: Dr. No spent one million dollars on an underground fish tank, and stole Goya's portrait of Wellington.
  • Yellowface: 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 a subsequent attempt to deal with him personally.
  • You're Insane!: "World domination. Same old dream. Our asylums are full of people who think they're Napoleon. Or God".


Dr. No

[Trope Namer] The original gun barrel sequence from the first James Bond film. Accept no substitutes.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / BondGunBarrel

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