| White dots move across the screen and expand, to form the swirling rifling of a gunbarrel. Suddenly from screen-right, a figure appears, the gunbarrel tracking along with him. When he reaches screen-center, the man turns and fires. From the top of the screen, red blood drips down, cascading over the image, as the gunbarrel wobbles and falls, fulfilling a promise made in the previous film... "James Bond has returned." |
"The gunbarrel," as it is known, was designed by Bond Titles artist Maurice Binder (pictured below), at the request of Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. In an interview with Lee Pfeiffer in 1991, Binder recalled its creation:"That was something I did in a hurry, because I had to get to a meeting with the producers in twenty minutes. I just happened to have little white, price tag stickers and I thought I'd use tham as gun shots across the screen. We'd have James Bond walk through and fire, at which point blood comes down onscreen. That was about a twenty minute storyboard I did, and they said, "This looks great!" It took a couple of hours to film it at Pinewood. I used Bob Simmons, Sean's double, to do the gun-barrel scene, as it was a silhouette."
"The gun-barrel itself was a real gun-barrel. I borrowed a gun from a shop in Piccadilly. We had to open the barrel so we could look through. We put the camera at one end and photographed it. We were having a dreadful time, and Trevor Bond said, 'Maybe we should do some pinhole photography.' So, we punched a hole in a piece of cardboard, and one end would come i n focus, but the other end wouldn't. Later when we went to (Techniscope), I had to reshoot it with Sean."  At right are screen-captures of the gun-barrels for each of the Bond actors, as well as the lone member of the Bond team who did the sequence for the first three Bond films. Every Bond film has the gunbarrel, and it generally follows the same pattern, though with each film there are minute differences, with changes in music, costuming, actors,
and other aspects (like...aspect ratios) For instance:
The first actor to appear in the gunbarrel was NOT Sean Connery, but stunt man Bob Simmons, who appeared in the first three films. Starting with Thunderball, "the man in the gunbarrel" has always been the actor portraying Bond: Sean Connery (1965-1967,and 1971), George Lazenby (1969), Roger Moore (1973-1985), Timothy Dalton (1987-1989), Pierce Brosnan (1995-2002) and Daniel Craig (2006-present).
The first three gunbarrel Bond's wore hats. Roger Moore was the first Bond to go bare-headed. Moore was also the first Bond to appear in the gunbarrel wearing a tuxedo rather than a suit (The Spy Who Loved Me), and to fire his gun with a steadying grip (Live and Let Die). Moore and Brosnan's guns both do not have smoke come out when they fire.
- George Lazenby is the only Bond to kneel when he turns and fires (significant as he is the only Bond to propose marriage), and, curiously, he is the only Bond whose image disappears when the blood washes over the barrel.
Timothy Dalton filmed his gunbarrel twice--the first was scrapped when it was thought that he jumped too far when he turned (you can see it in British teaser trailers for The Living Daylights).
Pierce Brosnan also filmed his twice-once for the ones seen in the films, but the teaser trailer for Tomorrow Never Dies
Daniel Craig shooting "The Gunbarrel" for "Casino Royale"
shows a different walk.
- The gunbarrel for Die Another Day features a CGI bullet travelling down the barrel. Damned good shot, James!
Daniel Craig's gunbarrel for Casino Royale has many distinctions. You see the man who's raising the weapon. The gunbarrel has significantly more rifling than those in the past. Craig doesn't walk across the screen, but turns from his back to the screen to face the assailant and fire. Craig does not appear in a white negative space, but a white-tiled bathroom. The blood dripping from the top of the screen has depth, is more complex in its pattern, and introduces the Title Song.
In Quantum of Solace, The Gunbarrel sequence returns, though not at the start of the film. The sequence rolls directly before the credits. The sequence was designed by a Kansas City, Missouri firm called MK12. They had previously worked with director Marc Forster on The Kite Runner and Stranger Than Fiction. They also designed the Main Titles, and the Location Graphics for "Quantum of Solace. Quantum of Solace's gunbarrel is the only time Bond is shown walking away.(Look carfully at the 'Q')"
The tradition of photographing the framing gunbarrel through a pinhole-camera was done until Binder's death in 1991. Daniel Kleinman's gunbarrels (starting with Goldeneye) are computer-generated.
Traditionally, "The James Bond Theme" plays during The Gunbarrel, although Dr.No started with a series of electronic beeps to introduce the sequence, an acknowledgement of Bond being a "computer-age" agent. The Bond theme has had differing arrangements, depending on the film's composer. John Barry traditionally used a bass guitar to play "The James Bond Theme" after Bond fires, although for Lazenby it was switched to a high-pitched synthesizer, strings forMoore, and strings and brass for Dalton. George Martin's Bond Theme Intro for Live and Let Die had more of a driving beat to it, Marvin Hamlisch and Bill Conti (The Spy Who Loved Me and For Yor Eyes Only, respectively) had more disco percussion and Conti's Bond Theme played screaming brass. Michael Kamen's introduction for Licence To Kill was more symphonic. Eric Serra went with synthesizers and sampled sounds for Goldeneye. David Arnold did not use the "guitar motif" of The James Bond Theme for his first two Bond scores, though it did appear for The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day.
- Just to clear up any misconceptions--No, it's not the "camera-thing" or the "eye-thing," it is, really and truly, a gunbarrel.
 "The Incredible World of 007: An Authorized Celebration of James Bond" by Lee Pfeiffer and Philip Lisa ©1992 by Pfeiffer and Lisa, Published by Carol Publishing Group.