“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.”


This bullet catcher’s #TopFiveBonds challenge was taken up by folk across the globe and showcased the fun home-made creativity, brilliantly divergent opinions and personal passions folk have for all things Bond.

April 2023 marks the seventieth anniversary of the first publication of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale – a literary work that launched a legend, a pop culture icon and a British hero still adventuring across the printed page, cinema screens and headlines the world over.

So, this bullet catching Bond advocate had a mission challenge for all of us to turn our Fleming favourites into a fun celebration, pictorial tribute and survey of our man James in his anniversary year.

Photo / Alice Dryden

“Everyone has the revolver of resignation in his pocket.”


The mission was easy.

Simply draw up a 3-2-1 list of your Top Three Bonds as written by Ian Fleming. Jot them down, take a photo of your written list (or create any visual you like) and post a photo or image of your choices by using the #TopThreeBonds hashtag on any or all of your social media accounts.

The more loved an old Bond Pan paperback was the better as Bond readers were encouraged to dust off that cherished first edition, new Folio print gift or even screengrab a Fleming eBook. Many were confident in their faves, threw in some celebratory Fleming quotes, showcased their guilty pleasure cover art, and any Fleming novel or short story was valid.

This bullet catcher then sought out the world’s #TopThreeBonds hashtags across all the leading social media platforms, collated the results and from around one hundred responses the full run-down of folk’s favourite Ian Fleming works on this 70th anniversary is determined.

And the anniversary survey was aptly supported by Charlie Higson. The original Young Bond author for Ian Fleming Publications Ltd., Charlie threw his own #TopThreeBonds into the mix just as was announced that he is to mark the seventieth anniversary of Casino Royale, the birth of Bond and King Charles III’s coronation with a brand new and wholly contemporary Bond story, On His Majesty’s Secret Service.

Photo / Charlie Higson
Photo / Sean Longmore

So fourteen rankings for Ian Fleming’s fourteen literary Bond bullets…


“Mr Scaramanga looked up at him under lizard eyelids. ‘No. If you figure the evening’s not going so good, make it go better. That’s what you’re being paid for. You act as if you know Jamaica. Okay. Get these people off the pad.’ It was many years since James Bond had accepted a ‘dare’.”

Photo / Fleming Never Dies


“Because people are very careful with the secrets of their own business doesn’t mean that they’ll be careful with the secrets of yours.”

Photo / Mark O’Connell
Photo / Being James Bond

12 / THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1962)

“He was about six feet tall, slim and fit-looking. The eyes in the lean, slightly tanned face were a very clear grey-blue and as they observed the men they were cold and watchful. The narrowed, watchful eyes gave his good looks the dangerous, almost cruel quality that had frightened me”.

Photo / Edward Biddulph
Photo / Stuart Clubb


“The first thing he noticed was that Las Vegas seemed to have invented a new school of functional architecture, ‘The Gilded Mousetrap School’ he thought it might be called, whose main purpose was to channel the customer-mouse into the central gambling trap whether he wanted the cheese or not.

ian fleming
Photo / CineKompass

10 / FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1960)

“I think it’s the same with all the relationships between a man and a woman. They can survive anything so long as some kind of basic humanity exists between the two people. When all kindness has gone, when one person obviously and sincerely doesn’t care if the other is alive or dead, then it’s just no good.”

Photo / The Culture of Bond
Photo / Christian Kemp

9 / GOLDFINGER (1959)

“Bond always mistrusted short men. They grew up from childhood with an inferiority complex. All their lives they would strive to be big – bigger than the others who had teased them as a child. Napoleon had been short, and Hitler. It was the short men that caused all the trouble in the world.”

ian fleming
Photo / 007 Intrepid
Photo / Pat Carbajal


“I’ve found that one must try and teach people that there’s no top limit to disaster-that, so long as breath remains in your body, you’ve got accept the miseries of life. They will often seem infinite, insupportable. They are part of the human condition.”

ian fleming
Photo / Abraham Kawa
Photo / Dudes of the Night

7 / DR. NO (1958)

“The licence to kill for the Secret Service, the double-0 prefix, was a great honour. It had been earned hardly. It brought James Bond the only assignments he enjoyed—the dangerous ones.”

ian fleming
Photo / The Bond Experience
Photo / Commando Bond
Photo / Mark Mawston

6 / THUNDERBALL (1961)

“What’s the good of other people’s opinions? Animals don’t consult each other about other animals. They look and sniff and feel. In love and hate, and everything in between, those are the only tests that matter. But people are unsure of their own instincts. They want reassurance. So they ask someone else whether they should like a particular person or not.

ian fleming
Photo / Trevor Baxendale
Photo / James Foye

5 / LIVE AND LET DIE (1954)

“You start to die the moment you are born. The whole of life is cutting through the pack with death. So take it easy. Light a cigarette and be grateful you are still alive as you suck the smoke deep into your lungs. Your stars have already let you come quite a long way since you left your mother’s womb and whimpered at the cold air of the world.”

ian fleming
Photo / Urban Expat
Photo / Kevin Kochanski


“The double 0 numerals signify an agent who has killed and who is privileged to kill on active service.”

ian fleming
Photo / Titus James
Photo / Christian Evangelista
Photo / Matt Raubenheimer
Photo / Reuben Wakeman

3 / MOONRAKER (1955)

“He shrugged his shoulders to shift the pain of failure – the pain of failure that is so much greater than the pleasure of success.”

ian fleming
Photo / Fenna Geelhoed
Photo / Bond Up North
Photo / My Bond Life

And then something curious happened when tallying up the stats…

We have a joint number one!

1 / CASINO ROYALE (1953)

“Above all, he liked it that everything was one’s own fault. There was only oneself to praise or blame. Luck was a servant and not a master. Luck had to be accepted with a shrug or taken advantage of up to the hilt. But it had to be understood and recognized for what it was and not confused with a faulty appreciation of the odds, for, at gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck. And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared”

Photo / Licence to Tweet
Photo / The Culture of Bond
Photo / James Bond Classified


“When the odds are hopeless, when all seems to be lost, then is the time to be calm, to make a show of authority – at least of indifference”

Photo / The Culture of Bond
Photo / Pat Carbajal
Photo / Weary Sloth
Photo / Really 007

A massive thanks to all the world’s agents, book and Bond fans who successfully completed the mission. It was not possible to credit and name everyone’s dossier or photo efforts, but each and every effort helped mark Double O-Seventy years of spy-making brilliance, readership and adventure.

JAMES BOND AT 70: 007 writers and experts share their favourite Ian Fleming books and quotes / Yahoo Entertainment Exclusive / Mark O’Connell

The new editions of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels are available now from Ian Fleming Publications Limited.