James Bond's top five elaborate death scenarios

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Among the most instantly recognizable and enduringly popular scenes from the James Bond movie franchise are the elaborate death traps put into place for the protagonist by a seemingly endless array of antiheroes. The sadistic and convoluted plot devices create dramatic tension, or at least amuse audiences, and invariably result in 007's extraction via deus ex machina. Inspired by the James Bond Film Series, which begins tonight at the Mayan Theatre, we put together this list of a few of our favorites.

5. Live and Let Die crocodile farmLive and Let Die

features one of the best Bond theme songs, written by Paul McCartney, and later covered to satisfactory effect by Guns N' Roses. It also features a totally awesome crocodile farm, which is used to excellent effect as an elaborate death trap by the evil Kananga and his one-armed henchman, Tee Hee Johnson. Bond, being the totally awesome superspy that he is, knows the difference between gators and crocs, and also knows just how to escape the sadistic scenario: by skipping along the animals' backsides to safety.

4. The Man with the Golden Gun hall of mirrors In The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond and his nemesis, Scaramanga, the Man with the all-powerful, one-shot-kills Golden Gun, prepare for a final showdown on the beach -- an old-fashioned pistol duel. Bond turns, takes the requisite twenty steps, and turns again to shoot -- but Scaramanga, like the rat bastard he is, turns tail and runs back inside his lair -- a hall of mirrors replete with wax statues. Bond begins to navigate the deadly hallways, trying to discern which reflection is the real Scaramanga. Wisely, Bond decides to pose as a wax statue of himself, thus able to kill Scaramanga rather easily.

3. Live and Let Die shark tank

Sharks make an ominous appearance in many Bond movies, but it's in

Live and Let Die

(again --

Live and Let Die

just had an unprecedented amount of great elaborate death scenarios) that 007 and his sexy counterpart, Solitaire, are about to be lowered into a shark tank by the evil Kananga, at least before Bond miraculously gets his hands on a shark gun. He shoots Kanaga, who floats to the top of the cave like a balloon and explodes. The silly scene was famously spoofed in the first Austin Powers movie.

2. Goldfinger laser beam

Who can forget the part in Goldfinger where the eponymous bad guy tethers Bond to a gold table under a laser beam, which then slowly begins to cut the table in half? The then-new and largely-unknown-outside-of-science electromagnetic radiation technology delighted contemporary audiences, and the scene featured one of the franchises' most memorable lines: "Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die." (


plays at the Mayan on Tuesday, August 23rd.)

1. Dr. No nuclear reactor It was the first Bond film, Dr. No, that set a precedent for the franchise's use use of elaborate death traps. After failing to kill Bond with a cyanide-laced cigarette and a big, venomous spider, Dr. No captures Bond, who is then locked in a holding cell to await execution. See for yourself how Bond escapes tonight, when Dr. No plays at the Mayan (at 7:00 and again at 9:45). Here's a hint: It involves a nuclear reactor.

Follow us on Twitter!

Like us on Facebook!

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.