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R BlockThe Best of Bond:

Spectre, featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond, and the 24th Bond film produced by Eon Productions, goes live in Theaters Nov. 6

The first James Bond film, Dr. No, was released 53 years ago this month. It was mocked by many critics following its debut on October 5th, 1962 at the London Pavilion. Time Magazine described Sean Connery as “a great, big, hairy marshmallow.” Then the Vatican decried its sexual content and the Kremlin declared 007 the embodiment of capitalist evil.

These naysayers, along with the various other controversies that surrounded Dr. No, only fueled the fires of public interest and helped create what would become the longest-running action franchise in film history.

Since 1962, the secret agent’s on-screen adventures, and his insatiable bedroom proclivities, have thrilled audiences around the world while forever changing everything from mens fashion to gadgetry to the face of cinema. Whether you consider James Bond an enduring icon or a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur” as Judi Dench’s M described him in GoldenEye, there’s no denying that he’s left his mark on the world. Scorned by some filmgoers but beloved by a million times more, there’s a good chance 007 will still be defending “queen and country” another five decades from now.

Here’s a look back at some of the ingredients that have helped James Bond become a legend over the past half-century (and where you can find them yourself).

 

BEST BOND CAR: The Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger, Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, and Skyfall)

 

An obvious selection. The ageless beauty of the DB5 has earned it a role in several entries in the Bond series. There’s also all the cool gadgets it’s featured over the years, among them revolving license plates, oil slicks, hidden compartments, and an infamous ejector seat. The car is so entwined with the series and spy films in general that it was a natural pick for Finn McMissile, Michael Caine’s sleuthy character in Cars 2.

 

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1964 Aston Martin DB5

 

Where You Can Find One: Only a thousand or so were produced by Aston Martin in the early ’60s. A modified DB5 complete with machine guns and tire shredders sold at a London auction house for several million dollars in 2010. If you’re in the market for one, keep an eye on vintage car auction websites like Barrett-Jackson but you may need to double-check your expense account at MI6 first. Fully-restored DB5s typically run upwards of $400,000.

 

BEST BOND-APPROVED MARTINI RECIPE: The Vesper Martini (various films)

“I take a ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink,” Bond says in Casino Royale, the first of author Ian Fleming’s novels about the spy. On the page, 007 has downed everything from bottles of Miller Hi-Life to the finest of scotches. Both onscreen, and off, he’s best known as a martini aficionado. Here’s how to make a Vesper Martini, Bond’s premiere cocktail of choice:

 

– Three measures of Gordon’s gin
– One measure of vodka
– Half a measure of Kina Lillet (Lillet Blanc)
– Shake over ice and serve with a thin slice of lemon peel

 

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Vesper Martini

 

BEST FROSTY BOND LOCALE: Cortina d’Ampezzo (For Your Eyes Only)

The slopes at this ski resort in the Italian Alps were used in a chase scene, during which Roger Moore’s Bond evades a sharpshooter and a gang of goons zooming after him on spiked-wheel motorcycles equipped with machine guns. He eventually leads one of them down a bobsled run. By the standards set in later Bond films, the sequence is incredibly over-the-top (at one point, a bad guy literally throws his motorcycle at 007) and its cheesy brass score doesn’t help matters. The resort, however, has been an elite destination for international travellers since the late 18th century. Audrey Hepburn once frequented Cortina’s slopes and Ernest Hemingway soothed his aching soul up here after his wife lost a briefcase full of his manuscripts in a Paris train station. Cortina d’Ampezzo also hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics and was featured in Cliffhanger, Sylvester Stallone’s 1993 action extravaganza.

 

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Cortina d’Ampezzo

 

Where You Can Learn More. Check out the resort’s website,which offers plenty of details on accommodations and the region’s winter & summer-time activities.

 

BEST BOND TROPICAL LOCALE: The Ocean Club, Nassau (Casino Royale)

Daniel Craig’s Bond ran into some problems with the valet parking at this exclusive resort in the capital city of the Bahamas. It’s also where he won a DB5 in a poker game against villain Alex Dimitrios in the club’s library. The villa where Bond spends his downtime (and where he seduces Dimitrios’ girlfriend) is available for rent and it’s just as gorgeous as it appears in the film. Services include 24-hour butler service, complimentary evening canapés and a private infinity-edge pool.

 

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“One & Only” Ocean Club, Bahamas

 

Where You Can Learn More: The Ocean Club’s website offers a complete rundown on its amenities and services.

 

BEST BOND-INSPIRED GADGET YOU CAN ACTUALLY BUY: The 16GB HD Waterproof Watch Recorder

Bond used a similar watch in Octopussy but this version offers 16 GB of memory, 1080P HD resolution, and night-vision. This puppy can handle the average swimming pool but keep it out of the ocean if you go diving.
 

BEST BOND GADGET YOU CAN PROBABLY BUY IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT CONNECTIONS: The Lotus Submarine Car (The Spy Who Loved Me)

It’s the sort of thing that’s bound to come in handy if you ever find yourself driving along a pier while evading a helicopter. The modified Lotus Espirit featured in the film was created by Italian designer Giorgio Giugiaro. Tracking down one of the cars wouldn’t be too terribly difficult. Finding a military contractor to customize it with retractable wheels, fins, and missiles? Good luck with that.

 

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Lotus Submarine Car

 

BEST BOND TAILOR: Anthony Sinclair (Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, and Diamonds Are Forever)

This London-based tailor designed all of Sean Connery’s suits in his Bond films, with the exception of Never Say Never Again. The grey Conduit Cut suit that Connery helped make iconic is considered a landmark in the history of Savile Row tailoring.

 

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Anthony Sinclair Conduit Cut Suit

 

Where You Can Buy One: You’d have to book a trip to London and head to Sinclair’s in the Mayfair district, unless you get terribly lucky and find one that fits in a stateside shop. They also do events in the US so check their calendar. Learn more at their website.

 

BEST BOND GUN: The Walther PPK (Bond’s weapon of choice in the vast majority of the series)

This semi-automatic handgun, now produced by Smith & Wesson, was originally designed in 1929. It’s still considered a favorite among real-world law enforcement agents on both sides of “the pond.” Its compact size and the availability of ammunition for the gun just about anywhere in the world makes it the ideal weapon for a globe-trotting secret agent.

 

BEST BOND DVD SET: Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection

Spectre, the latest Bond film, is set to hit stateside theaters on November 6th. This should leave you with plenty of time to watch the nearly two-dozen installments preceding it, right? Get crackin’ on that. This epic Blu-ray DVD set contains all of the Bond films (minus Skyfall) along with over 130 hours of bonus features including never-before-seen content from the Bond archives. It also features several Bond films for the first time ever on Blu-ray (the list: Goldeneye, Octopussy, The Spy Who Loved Me, You Only Live Twice, The Living Daylights, Tomorrow Never Dies, Diamonds are Forever, A View to a Kill, and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service).

 

Set

 

Where You Can Buy the Set: Just about anywhere but it’s currently available on Amazon for #178.99, plus shipping.

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