It has been 60 years since Sean Connery took to the big screen to appear as secret agent James Bond 007 in the action-adventure movie, Dr. No. Within this time, there has been 25 official Bond movies, a couple of unofficial films, and plenty of gadgets, girls, and gun barrels in between.
Over this 60-year period, there has also been a collection of tunes, better known as the Bond songs. These tracks have been produced specifically to accompany the films and stretch from the famous James Bond theme, written by Monty Norman, right through to No Time to Die, performed by Billie Eilish.
Each new Bond film contains its own specific score, its own unique title track, and a collection of lyrics like no other. All of this music adds up to a trove of instantly recognisable sounds, which have enthralled and entertained audiences the world over.
And all of this music is now the subject of a new docu-film called The Sound of 007. Directed by Mat Whitecross, the film is brand-new to Amazon Prime Video from today, and arrives just in time to celebrate Bond’s 60 years on screen.
Featuring input from a wealth of leading names, ranging from composer David Arnold and lyricist Don Black, to director Sam Mendes and singer Lulu, The Sound of 007 offers an in-depth look at the back catalogue of one of the biggest and best movie franchises of all-time. Pretty much all of the songs you remember are in here, including all of the most famous ones.
Starting at the very beginning (always the best place to start), The Sound of 007 moves its way back and forth through the Bond movies, discussing the soundtracks that featured across each picture. Most of the title songs get highlighted, with a look at the words, melodies, and artists that made them such a success.
From Goldfinger and Live and Let Die, through to The World is Not Enough and Skyfall, many of the heavy hitters are included and each title song gets its moment to shine. With 25 films to cover, there’s a lot of tunes to discuss, but this docu-film does its best to cram (almost) everything in.
Because of the sheer length and breadth of the subject matter, The Sound of 007 has a great deal of material to zero in on, and perhaps its biggest crime is it simply can’t cover everything, or every title song. However, it never runs out of things to say, or people to wax lyrical about the many highs and occasional lows of the series.
Whether it is through new interviews or archive footage, the docu-film features a conveyor belt of people all ready and raring to go to talk about Bond. And for audiences, this results in a whirlwind tour of utter tuneage!
I’m a big fan of Bond, and I adore the Bond songs in particular, so I was very eager to check out The Sound of 007. I can honestly say, I wasn’t disappointed and the docu-film took me on a joyous journey down memory lane, and back again, as it served up a potted history of the music.
Due to the amount of music featured, there isn’t a great deal of time to spend on each song or each movie soundtrack, but there’s enough here and there to detail the rich tapestry of music in this series. So much care and attention goes into this important part of the franchise, that it deserves its own documentary to really show it all off.
And this documentary not only talks about the songs that made it to the screen, there’s a bit of room for a song that didn’t. There’s also a minute or so to highlight some of the artists that never got to record Bond songs, including huge names that would have been a great fit for the series.
Could this docu-film be longer and go more in-depth? Sure; but it works fine as it is.
My only real criticism, and it’s barely a criticism, is that this docu-film features next-to-no input from former James Bond stars. Other than Daniel Craig, no other 007 actors pop up to talk about the tracks to their movies, and this does feel like a missed opportunity.
But I won’t dwell on this omission, because ultimately this docu-film is a thoroughly enjoyable look back at the most extraordinary music, from an extraordinary collection of movies. If you’re interested in Bond, I don’t need to tell you to take a look.