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James Bond: a beginner’s guide to the franchise

The spy who loved us all is back for yet another international adventure that is sure to get the heart racing and the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up.

“Spectre,” the 24th installation in the James Bond movie franchise, and the fourth starring “Blonde Bond” Daniel Craig, will hit theaters Friday. After opening early (Oct. 26) in the U.K. — naturally — the film saw ticket sales of $80.4 million, making it the highest grossing premier week in U.K. box office history. Its predecessor, “Skyfall,” had a $77.7 million opening week.

To put that in perspective, the final Harry Potter movie previously held that record at $36.9 million. But Bond is not unaccustomed to the spotlight, even despite his occupation

Ian Fleming first brought Bond to life in the 1953 novel “Casino Royale.” Published at a time when most everyday British Readers carried a ration book on every shopping trip, the earliest Bond novels represented a much-needed escape for readers. 

While Bond ate avocado pears and sipped mimosas on a beach in Jamaica, most British subjects simply dreamed of such luxuries. The novels saw widespread and international fame in Fleming’s lifetime and have remained popular with the several generations following the author’s death.

In 1962, then-unknown Sean Connery brought the operative to life and added a sexiness to the character at which the novels had only been able to hint.

And thus, a cult-like following was established.

For those who may not have the chance to watch the entire 23-movie collection before Friday’s premier, here is a crash course in James Bond.

The look

Though several Englishmen — and a handful of Scots — have played the iconic role, and in various ways, they have all agreed on one thing: a well-tailored suit is a must. 

The movies skips around in time in terms of Bond’s development, but the most recent iteration of “Casino Royale” revealed the character’s initial introduction to his signature tuxedo and bowtie. 

Bond just isn’t Bond without the tux.

The Car

Though Craig’s bond can be seen driving a Ford around Jamaica in “Casino Royale,” Bond is better known for the Aston Martin Vanquish. The legacy, which began with Connery, has been revisited throughout the series.

An iconic and sexy set of wheels, the Vanquish, like Bond, has a few secret talents that cannot be forgotten. Dame Judy Dench’s M recalls the function of a certain little red button immediately when Craig’s Bond threatens her for complaining too much.

The Drink

Shaken, not stirred.

The iconic phrase that redefined sophisticated Martini drinking the world over was born to accompany the Vesper, a drink Bond creates in “Casino Royale.”

“Dry Martini … three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over rice, and then add a thin slice of lemon peel.”

Over-21s: eat your heart out.

The Girls

Bond Girls are famous for more than their mile-long legs and seductive curves. Often, some of the strongest and more important characters in a Bond flick are women.

Also of note: their names. Top three most hilarious (and real) Bond Girl names: Pussy Galore, (Dr.) Holly Goodhead and Chew Mee.

The Gun

Bond is a master of hand-to-hand combat. He can handle a knife and kill a man with a top hat. But what is a secret agent without his firearm?

Through dozens of re-imaginings of the Bond universe, the Walther PPK has remained the same. In “Casino Royale,” though, it was slightly updated to only accept Bond’s fingerprint to fire.

The catch phrases

The name is Bond. James Bond.    

At this point, there’s hardly any point in calling him a secret agent since he introduces himself to everyone he meets. Granted, most of the people who meet Bond find themselves dead by the end of the movie.