Mom and I have a long-running argument about who is the best James Bond. Don’t laugh. I bet you have debates like this in your family, too. Mom says it’s Sean Connery. I cannot agree.
“Roger Moore is the real James Bond,” I said.
Mom was incredulous. She could not believe that a well-educated, sophisticated woman like me would choose Roger Moore over Sean Connery. But I do. Roger Moore was my first Bond – A View to a Kill was the first Bond movie I ever saw – and I think everyone has a certain loyalty to her first Bond. Having seen all the other Bonds (except Daniel – it’s a personal thing), I find I would still choose Roger Moore. His Bond, with apologies to Yul Brynner, is Bond.
This Christmas, Mom acknowledged the special place in my heart that James and Roger share, and she gave me a copy of Bond on Bond, written by Sir Roger himself. The book is really a memoir of sorts, a guided tour through the Bond franchise, complete with insider stories and photos. The writing is wonderful; I feel like I’m sitting across the table from my favorite Bond. But if the pictures serve to remind me of the Bond I fell in love with all those years ago, the memoir as a whole is tailor-made for a woman on the cusp of a milestone birthday.
Roger Moore was 45 when he took up the mantle of Bond. Never too late to start doing something magical, is it? Our society starts trying to convince us that we’re too old to do things at 30 or so. I’m so inspired to hear that my favorite Bond was over 40 when he became 007.
Roger doesn’t take himself too seriously. The true joy of the book, the center of its conversational voice, is his gently self-deprecating humor. He doesn’t have anything to prove. He can look back on that remarkable period of his life, which includes Moonraker, the space movie, with the grace and confidence that can only come from someone who has thoroughly enjoyed his time in the sun but has moved on to another place, that is just as sunny in its own way.
He’s generous with praise for the other Bonds. No one’s a competitor, and no one’s an outsider (not even Daniel). Roger treats the other Bonds as if they’re part of a family. A really weird family where you might flip your car through a corkscrew turn on the way to the grocery store.
Back then, I wanted to be James Bond. Tonight, almost 30 years later, I still do.
Do I dare to open the debate here in the comments? I do. I do dare.