James Bond: revolting?

May 29, 2022 by Joshua
in Nonjudgment

There are two types of political revolution, at least. One changes the type of government. The American Revolution replaced a monarchy with a democracy. The other changes the person in charge but keeps the system. Many coups result in the second type. I’m not sure they qualify as revolutions, but people call them revolutions.

What does James Bond have to do with revolutions? I recently saw the last James Bond movie, No Time to Die. I counted six bad guys, or five bad ones and one would-be good guy whose hubris caused the big problem.

The main bad guy is Lyutsifer Safin, who kills people left and right, builds the lair Bond has to infiltrate, and so on. He even engineers killing the second bad guy Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who is the bad guy in many Bond movies. Third is Primo, Safin’s henchman who tries to kill Bond many times; Bond calls him cyclops. Fourth is the scientist Valdo Obruchev, who engineers the weapon of mass destruction, then enthusiastically collaborates with Safin. Fifth is Logan Ash, who works for Safin, infiltrates the CIA, kills his boss, and tries to kill Bond and his girl. M drove developing Obruchev’s weapon, naively not first realizing how else it could be used beyond his intended purpose, so I’d say he qualifies as unwittingly abetting the bad guys. All six are white men.


The 007 appellation goes to a black woman. Q turns out to be gay, or at least not straight. Moneypenny is again a black woman. Felix Leiter is again a black man. Paloma, the CIA agent who helps him at the Spectre party in Cuba, is a woman, as is Madeleine Swann.

Bond is the only white man who is a good guy as well as the only good guy who is a straight white man and he sacrifices himself for all the other good guys and the rest of the world. Who else dies? Safin, Blofeld, Primo, Obruchev, and Ash, as well as the overwhelmingly white male cast of bad guy soldiers. Only M survives, riddled with guilt. Otherwise, all who aren’t straight white men survive.

I’m interested less in the fictional Bond characters, more in the producers and decision-makers who created the movie.


Colonialism, the world wars, and much destruction in western history saw white men driving a lot of it. Let’s say for the sake of argument that their whiteness and maleness caused them to act this way, which seems the definition of racism and sexism, but we’re just exploring here. Say white men promoting sexism and racism created a sexist, racist system dominating the world, or at least the media.

Say we want to end systemic sexism and racism: a revolution As part of doing so, if we looked at movies and saw white men overrepresented, we might want all races and sexes represented proportionately.

Has No Time to Die contributed to this revolution? The numbers show no proportionality: all the bad guys are of one sex and skin color. None of the good guys but two are of that sex and skin color, but one is gay and the other dies. Nearly all deaths are the same sex and skin color.

No Time to Die seems to represent the second type of revolution, which is to say, not a revolution, but just changing the people in charge. How else can we see it but as sexist and racist as before, now just denigrating the group supposedly causing the sexism and racism in the first place?

For those of us who oppose racism and sexism, how do we view the sexism and racism in No Time to Die? How do we view the producers and other decision-makers who created what the numbers show to be a sexist and racist work?


Many people probably see non-male, non-whites in prominent roles as positive. This view ignores or misses that it didn’t decrease how much it divided characters by sex and race. What else can we conclude except that the people driving the movie’s casting weren’t trying to reach equal representation or equality, but something like revenge or simply changing the names but retaining the system?

I found some lists of all James Bond movies’ villains and henchmen. This list of sixty-two shows

  • The top 6 are white men (100%)
  • 17 of the top 19 are men (89%)
  • 35 of the top 37 white (95%)

Overall, No Time to Die, matches or increases the sexism and racism of the bad guys, which would be impressive if not so sexist and racist.

This page of 104 henchmen and villains shows more non-white non-men, but mostly in sidekick roles.

What does it take to try to achieve equality?

I searched “no time to die sexism racism” and the top response was an article, Never mind the explosions–how sexist is No Time to Die?, has the subtitle “The new Bond movie is keen to highlight more positive gender credentials.” What’s positive about overwhelming sexism and racism? Because it’s the other way it’s positive? It describes this Bond as “the equal opportunities Bond,” yet there are not equal opportunities to be a good guy, nor even to live.

What does it take at least to try to achieve equality, not repeating sexism and racism?

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