The 25th James Bond film, No Time To Die, premieres this weekend in the U.S., and the return of the iconic secret agent got us thinking about the futuristic gadgets and vehicles introduced to the series through MI6’s resident R&D expert, Q. They’ve been an essential component of what makes the 007 films so special and unique, and without Q, who is James Bond, really?
OK, he’s also a super-fit, death-defying super-agent playboy — but the classic Bond films weren’t only defined by catchphrases, lovers, and villains.
Although the films featuring current Bond actor Daniel Craig have scaled back the gadgetry and offered a darker, more brooding spin on the character, there’s still plenty of love out there for the wonderfully ridiculous gadgets that have characterized the franchise over the decades. Here are 20 of the wildest Bond gadgets from more than five decades of films.
Single Digit Sonic Agitator — Die Another Day (2002)
This little ring emits a high-frequency sound that shatters any kind of glass — even the bulletproof variety. Conveniently for James, the villain in the film has a penchant for trendy, transparent glass floors.
Shark-Bursting Pellet — Live and Let Die (1973)
This one requires some explaining. Q originally developed these compressed gas pellets as an anti-shark system — the idea being that Bond could shoot them into a shark’s mouth and blow the beast to smithereens before it ate him alive. Bond actually ends up using the pellets against the movie’s villain, Dr. Kananga, in an epic hand-to-hand brawl at the end of the movie. Basically, Bond shoves one down Kananga’s throat, causing him to … well, see for yourself.
Flamethrower Bagpipe — The World is Not Enough (1999)
This one is actually a twofer. Not only is the bagpipe a flamethrower but it also doubles as a machine gun. Bond never uses it in the movie, but he definitely doesn’t pass up the opportunity to make a cheesy pun about it right after the demonstration: “I suppose we’ve all got to pay the piper sometime, right Q?”
Rocket Cigarette — You Only Live Twice (1967)
This one gets Bond out of quite the pickle. When he’s caught by the film’s villain, Blofeld, he’s told he will soon be killed. (Sound familiar?) Bond accepts his fate but asks to smoke one last cigarette before he’s dispatched. Unfortunately for Blofeld’s henchmen, this particular cig happens to have a freaking rocket in it!
Ski Pole Rifle — The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Q seems to have a pretty straightforward philosophy: Wherever Bond is going, you simply figure out how to hide a gun in whatever objects he’ll be using. Going to the Bahamas? Better give him a snorkel gun. Cuba? Quick! Give him some rocket-propelled exploding cigars! The Swiss Alps? Give that man some ski pole guns!
Grenade Launcher Pen — Never Say Never Again (1983)
I kind of feel bad for Fatima in this one. After all the badassery she exhibited in the movie, she was ultimately taken out by a pen. Granted, it was a ballistic pen with an explosive tip — but it was a pen nonetheless. That’s gotta be embarrassing.
The “Boom Box” — The Living Daylights (1987)
This one demonstrates a deep understanding of the ’80s. “Oh, don’t mind me; I’m just a normal dude just walkin’ down the street and blastin’ my tunes on a boombo — bam!”
Palm-sensing Walther PPK — Casino Royale (2006)
This one isn’t really crazy or outlandish, but it’s arguably the coolest gadget that Daniel Craig has wielded during his time as 007. It’s pretty straightforward — just Bond’s favorite firearm outfitted with a special biometric lock, so it only fires when he’s holding it. Pretty handy, right?! (We feel cheated that this pun wasn’t used in the film.)
Omega Seamaster Laser Watch — Goldeneye (1995)
High-tech watches are a staple of the Bond franchise, and this one is arguably one of the coolest 007’s ever had. Oddly enough, however, it’s not actually the first laser watch the franchise has seen. Bond wore a special laser-equipped Rolex in the 1983 film Never Say Never Again.
Mini Scuba Tank — Thunderball (1965)
This gizmo is basically two tiny tanks of compressed air, designed to fit easily into a suit pocket. This ultra-compact scuba gadget made its debut in Thunderball, but has made multiple appearances since then — most recently in The World is Not Enough (1999).
“Dentonite” Explosive Toothpaste — License to Kill (1989)
Compared to Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton’s 007 didn’t really get that many supercool gadgets — but this one almost makes up for it. It’s essentially a tube of plastic explosive concealed inside a not-so-subtle tube of “Dentonite”-brand toothpaste.
X-Ray Shades — The World is Not Enough (1999)
Pierce Brosnan had some of the coolest gadgets the Bond franchise has ever seen — mostly because CGI and special effects were so much better during his time. These X-Ray shades are a perfect example.
Laser Polaroid — License to Kill (1989)
This might be one of the cheesiest moments in all of James Bond’s history. He and Q almost get fried when CIA agent Pam Bouvier unknowingly tries to snap a picture of them but instead shoots a stunningly realistic laser beam right at their heads.
Rolex Submariner — Live and Let Die (1973)
The 1973 Rolex Submariner was one of Bond’s most versatile gadgets. Not only did it have a spinning watch face that works like a tiny circular saw, but it also had a ridiculously powerful electromagnet that was capable of deflecting bullets. The electromagnet ends up saving Bond’s ass at the end, as it allows him to summon the previously mentioned shark pellet from afar — which he then shoves into the villain’s mouth, causing him to explode.
Trick Briefcase — From Russia With Love (1963)
This thing was basically the Swiss Army Knife of briefcases. It was equipped with all kinds of hidden compartments and tricks, including knives, a rifle, and even a tear gas dispenser. Bond didn’t think much of the contraption when it was first offered to him, but M urged Bond to take the case with him nonetheless.
Taser Phone — Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
This concept phone from Ericsson had a ridiculous number of different functions. It was a stun gun, a fingerprint scanner, a lock pick, and even a flip-open remote control for Bond’s BMW 750iL. It seemed crazy back when the movie was released, but with the right accessories, you can actually do all this stuff with a modern smartphone.
Jetpack — Thunderball (1965)
We love this one because it’s just so bad by today’s standards. Is it just us, or does it look like it’s made from a bunch of dryer vent tubes and an old go-kart seatbelt?
Underwater Jet Pack — Thunderball (1965)
This one was pretty sweet, but let’s be real here — why would you go to all the trouble of putting flippers on your feet if you’ve got something like this strapped on your back?
Avalanche Ski Jacket — The World is Not Enough (1999)
Avalanche protection systems do exist in the real world, but they’re typically just backpacks with two big air bladders on the back. That’s not nearly as cool as this jacket that inflates to form a cocoon around you. Q was onto something with this one.
Alligator Submarine — Octopussy (1983)
This is definitely the most brilliant thing Q branch has ever dreamt up. Period.