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Volume 4, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN: 2045-5852
  • E-ISSN: 2045-5860



The James Bond film franchise has attracted much criticism for its depiction of women. The casting of Judi Dench as M, however, signalled the series’ potential to interrogate its own sexism. This article argues that Casino Royale (2006) by Campbell – the fifth film starring Dench as M and the first starring Daniel Craig as Bond – effects the most significant revision of gender roles in the franchise to date. Taking us back to the beginning of his career, Casino Royale reconfigures Bond as fallible, vulnerable and psychologically unstable, a man struggling to secure his identity as 007. Playing a much more significant role than she did in the Pierce Brosnan films, M criticizes Bond’s weaknesses and mistakes, but she also contributes in important ways to shaping his identity-in-process in her complex role as boss/mentor/mother. Nevertheless, in Quantum of Solace by Forster (2008) and Skyfall by Mendes (2012), M’s power over Bond is contained within a familiar ideology of motherhood, which subordinates her to the active male agent. Furthermore, this article contends that in Skyfall the series reverts to its tradition of undermining, containing and erasing powerful women by killing off the female usurper and restoring MI6 to a male-dominated space.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Casino Royale; gender; James Bond; Quantum of Solace; Skyfall; women
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