Her Majesty's Real Secret? The Best Bond Girl

Ah yes, the Bond Girl: She signals glamour, danger and sizzle, though the very term itself smacks of the chauvinist attitude toward women that’s dogged the series since the Sean Connery days. But if the line between sexy and sexist was often crossed, it just wouldn’t be a Bond film without the added charms of a buxom babe or two (or three) to fall into the arms of Britain’s top secret agent. James Bond, after all, is an expert in foreign affairs — of all kinds. The best Bond girls offer more than just sex appeal — they’re allies or enemies in the fight against evil, and sometimes both.

The Best
There’s a good case to be made for Miss Moneypenny, the patient secretary at MI6 who constantly flirted with Bond but never seemed to capture his undivided attention. But the ultimate Bond Girl has to be the Countess Tracy Di Vicenzo, 007’s love interest in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” played by Diana Rigg. Why? Because of all the women who’ve passed through the life of James Bond, she’s the only one who actually got the playboy philanderer to make a commitment and marry her.

The Worthy
Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress): When she rose out of the surf in a white bikini in front of an amazed Connery in “Dr. No,” this shell-collecting bombshell with a taste for revenge single-handedly created the whole concept of a Bond Girl.

Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman): This “Goldfinger” pilot was the first of Bond’s female co-stars to equal him in brains, skill, and confidence — all of which made her one of Bond’s most formidable foes — and allies.

Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach): Bond discovers that Mother Russia has a lovely — and deadly — daughter, when he teams up in “The Spy Who Loved Me” with this Soviet spy with the improbable codename of Agent XXX.

Vesper Lynd (Eva Green): When the Bond series rebooted with “Casino Royale” in 2006, Daniel Craig’s more human, damaged take on Bond was matched by his beautiful but complex and tragic companion.

Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh): This Chinese spy from “Tomorrow Never Dies” played by martial-arts star Yeoh was a real kick to the head — mostly for her foes.

Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen): Long before Janssen went bad as the Dark Phoenix in the “X-Men” movies, she showed she could do crazy-evil in “GoldenEye” as a sex-crazed assassin whose thighs were deadly weapons.

May Day (Grace Jones): Sexy-dangerous punk rocker Jones, who had already appeared nude on one of her album covers, took a turn in “A View To A Kill” as a steroid-pumped villain who switches her allegiance to Bond when she realizes her lover, evil mastermind Max Zorin (Christopher Walken), is perfectly willing to kill her too.

Elektra King (Sophie Marceau): Bond’s women have often been treacherous, but his “The World Is Not Enough” co-star turned out not only to be evil, but the movie’s megalomaniacal chief villain.

Jinx (Halle Berry): When Berry appeared in “Die Another Day,” there was talk of spinning off her own series of adventure movies. Then came “Catwoman.” Oops.

The Worst
Christmas Jones (Denise Richards): For sheer ridiculousness, there’s nothing that beats “The World Is Not Enough” casting Richards as a nuclear physicist — let alone one who inspired one of James Bond’s most shameless sex puns: “I thought Christmas only came once a year.” Groan.

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