“My name is Bond, James Bond.”
If ever there was a hero figure closely associated with bubbly, it has to be Bond, Ian Fleming’s fictional British Secret Service agent. Apart from Guy Hamilton’s Diamonds are Forever (1971), the divine brew appears in all 25 of the Eon Productions Bond films, with six brands stealing the limelight as the series progresses.
In Dr No (1962), James Bond 007 (played by Sean Connery) grabs a bottle off the dinner table to use as a weapon. “That’s a Dom Perignon ’55 – it would be a pity to break it,” says the ice-cool Dr No.
In Terence Young’s From Russia with Love (1963), it’s Taittinger that takes Bond’s fancy – at a lovers’ picnic with girlfriend Sylvia Trench, and aboard the Orient Express with irresistible Soviet Spy Tatiana Romanova. Mercier Champagne also gets a look-in: note the advertisement in the dining car.
Dom Perignon then makes a comeback in Guy Hamilton’s Goldfinger (1964) and the film he directed ten years later, The Man with the Golden Gun. In one of that film’s most famous sequences, vicious contract killer Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) shoots the cork off a bottle of Dom Perignon when James Bond (Roger Moore) lands his seaplane at Scaramanga’s island.
Other Big Brand Champagnes meanwhile make an appearance across the intervening decade: in Terence Young’s Thunderball (1965) where Bond sticks to Dom Pérignon but his arch-enemy Emilio Largo, Spectre’s Number Two, seems to prefer Veuve Clicquot; and in Peter Hunt’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) where Bond (played by George Lazenby) is offered a glass of Moët & Chandon.
Roger Moore, the “third” James Bond, then teams up with the House of Bollinger in Guy Hamilton’s Live and Let Die (1973). The story goes that the friendship between Albert “Cubby” Brocoli and Bollinger’s then president, Christian Bizot, brought their two families together. “Bolly” appears in all of the films from Lewis Gilbert’s Moonraker (1979) onwards, giving Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig the chance to enjoy some of Bollinger’s best vintage Champagnes.
James Bond also features in two films outside the official franchise: John Huston’s comedy spy film Casino Royal (1967) and Irving Kershner’s Never Say Never (1983). Casino Royal shows people drinking Taittinger and Veuve Clicquot, the brand Orson Welles insisted on drinking when puffing on a giant Havana cigar. In Never Say Never, Sean Connery celebrates his final James Bond performance with Dom Perignon Champagne.
Note that the 007 character as originally imagined by author Ian Fleming was already a big fan of bubbly, specifically Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot, Bollinger, Dom Pérignon, Krug and Pommery. In homage to Fleming’s brainchild, the Johnny English spy spoof series likewise gives a pivotal role to Champagne – in this case a misplaced role that further shows off the slapstick antics of Rowan Atkinson as the titular anti-hero.