Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

<< Media systems: their evolution and innovation

Popular culture as narrative of the James Bond: 007 films - an exploratory study

Phil C. Pretorius (University of Johannesburg, ZA)



For any given audiovisual production to even think of returning for a sequel, follow up episode or even another season, it is absolutely essential to adapt to the actualities of the time. The success of for example the longest running television sitcom i.e. The Simpsons could be directly as a result of the adopting of actuality themes and popular culture products and characters.

For any film though to continue with a single sequel already rings the death knell. This is the reason why film stars very seldom return for a sequel to a successful film.

The aim of this research is to establish the use of popular culture in the narrative applications of the James Bond films. It focuses on how these applications of popular culture affects the characters, themes and narratives, form, style and actors of the Bond films.

To keep up with the constantly changing and demanding film industry, the producers had to give up their hopes of keeping the action real (real actors doing real stunts), when the first CGI effects was used for the first time in the latest James Bond installment, Die Another Day.

The aim is further to determine how the James Bond franchise has survived for more than 40 years with 20 record breaking installments and five different leading actors.

This exploratory study incorporates the following questions:

  • Could the use of poplar culture in the James Bond: 007 films ad to the success of the franchise?
  • Is there a clear shift in the narratives of the James Bond: 007 films that correlate with the popular culture of the time?
  • What are these popular cultures? (E.g.: Actors, worldwide actuality and political themes, artifacts, special effects, etc.)
  • How have these popular cultures changed over the relevant 40 years of the James Bond franchise?
  • How has the change in leading actors influenced the franchise?

Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-08-28