And You Thought It Would Fail: The protagonist was an unknown, and the book series did not have much recognition. Therefore, United Artists gave the film a miniscule budget, and for the US release it premiered in the Midwest prior to the big cities, since UA feared it wouldn't find much of an audience. It had a decent run, leading to the even more revered sequel From Russia with Love, and finally a third movie, Goldfinger, a smash hit that made Bond a cultural landmark.
The music from this film helped popularize the reggae/ska music scene in Great Britain. The film's location manager Chris Blackwell, seen dancing in the scene at the club, is the founder of reggae powerhouse Island Records.
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.
Tarantula bites are painful, but hardly lethal. (For that matter, even black widow bites aren't as lethal as Honey Rider makes out.)
Honey's incredible naivete and ignorance (she seriously believes the tank is a dragon?!) is not endearing, nor is her incredibly dumb way of trying to prove to Bond it could be a dragon.
Note that Quarrel also thought it was a dragon, so she wasn't alone in that. They also thought the same in the book.
In the book Honey has the physical body and sexual urges of a fully-grown woman but the mentality and naivete of a child. This is also combined by the fact that she never went to school, raised herself after being orphaned at a very young age and had little to no regular human contact. The problem with the film is that they keep in the key scenes from the book such as the battle with the tank, but leave out the context as to why an adult would be so easily fooled by such a pathetic forgery.
Also, the Dragon in the film was a flame-throwing armored car painted with some eyes and teeth, which didn't make it look very convincing. The book had the group being attacked by a truly massive tank—for starters, it had airplane tyres and it had huge fins and a neck and head to make it look like a dragon, with flames coming out of the head's mouth.
Quarrel was seen as a very progressive black character at the time the film came out, as he is a competent and loyal informant for the CIA who accompanies Bond in Storming the Castle. He still has loads of fans today, but modern viewers have been known to be put off by his being more fearful than Bond and the scene where Bond tells him to carry his shoes.
The use of Yellowface for every major Chinese character is cringeworthy today, but Dr No and his associates are portrayed as dangerous and competent villains who are Worthy Opponents for Bond.
Fan Nickname: Ursula Andress as "Ursula Undress" due to her famous bikini scene. She was actually cast after the producers saw her in a wet t-shirt contest.
Fashion-Victim Villain: the radiation suit Dr. No wears in the reactor scene. Almost literal since he dies wearing it.
Idiot Plot: James Bond's sabotage of the reactor would have been short-lived if Dr. No had even one armed guard in the control room with them note Although the argument could be made that having guns inside a nuclear reactor is just as bad of an idea, if not worse, or if all the rad-suited workers had rushed Bond en masse instead of fleeing and leaving Dr. No to fight him alone note Although one can possibly forgive them for wanting to put as much distance between themselves and a nuclear reactor about to blow as possible. It is also hard to credit that a nuclear reactor could be designed with so few safeguards that all that is necessary to blow it up is turning one dial too far to the right.
Inferred Holocaust: Yeah, uh, Bond? You kinda just caused a mini-Chernobyl in the middle of the Caribbean.
Magnificent Bastard: Dr. Julius No is one of SPECTRE's top operatives and a man of charm and charisma who rules Crab Key, Jamaiaca with his two metal fists. Seeking to disrupt a shuttle launch from America, No outplays everyone sent to the area until Bond's arrival, and even for much of the film Bond is entirely within No's power, only surviving thanks to outwitting No's assassins. When encountered by Bond, No reveals how he completely outwitted the Tongs after crawling up from nothing in Hong Kong as the son of a German missionary and a Chinese woman. Joining SPECTRE, No seeks to help overthrow the orders of east and west blocks alike, and remains one of the most dynamic and striking villains Bond ever faces.
The clear plastic suit Dr. No wears at the end of the film looked hilarious long before Austin Powers parodied it.
Monty Norman's jazzy, bouncy score can seem somewhat out of place after hearing John Barry's work in the later Bond entries, often coming across more like something you'd expect to hear in a Pink Panther film. It's especially pronounced in the spider scene, where it tries a little too hard to sell the danger of the situation, and the climatic fight between Bond and Dr. No.
Honey's utterly ridiculous argument as to why dragons could be real.
Narm Charm: The car driving the Three Blind Mice explodes for no reason while its rolling down a shallow hill. Really entertaining.
Vindicated by History: Dr. No was the first of Fleming's novels to receive heavy criticism, mainly for lacking the realism of the previous books and having fantastical elements instead. Nowadays, it's one of the most popular and beloved novels in the series, thanks to sharing a lot of elements with the movies.