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Why Do All the Best "Bond Girls" Have All the Best Worst Names?

By Rob Payne | Lists | November 9, 2012 |

By Rob Payne | Lists | November 9, 2012 |

Most likely, the convention of naming the female characters in James Bond movies with spectacularly silly names started because: Hey, it was the 1960s, man. Sure, they’re fun and that’s the point, but some truly great parts have been marred by some truly preposterous character names that can cause even the most mature academician to giggle like a schoolboy. Of course, not all of these roles are created equal — and some are more equal than others — so let’s take a look and see just how bad some of these good-to-great Bond Girls are.

Honey Ryder, Dr. No (1962)
The ultimate “Bond Girl” merely by being the first, setting a precedent for insane levels of attractiveness and terribly awesome names. Thankfully her almost utter uselessness to the plot did not become part of the overall template for Bond Girls in the future.
Bond Girl Status = 3 Walther PPKs out of 5
Name = Somewhat Embarrassing, passable for strippers or Little Debbie snack cakes.

Pussy Galore, Goldfinger (1964)
A totally different kind of sexiness from Ursula Andress, Honor Blackman was beautiful and brilliant, making her the first Bond Girl who could stand toe-to-toe with 007 himself. When you know the actress’s name, it becomes crystal clear how she was able to go by “Pussy Galore” convincingly and without winking at the camera.
Bond Girl Status = 4 Walther PPKs out of 5
Name = Unsuitable for any serious person, except, maybe, obese transgendered porn stars.

Domino, Thunderball (1965)/Never Say Never Again (1983)
Depending on the movie, Domino is either a long suffering crime boss’s mistress or kind of a rube. Either way, she’s gorgeous and deadly with a pointy sea-based weapon.
Bond Girl Status = 3 Walther PPKs out of 5 (averaged)
Name = Respectable if not confusing, but best reserved for uninteresting mutant assassins.

Tiffany Case and Plenty O’Toole, Diamonds are Forever (1971)
The former is more in the vein of (a wackier) Pussy Galore and the latter (an underused) Honey Ryder, so this might be the start of a proper naming convention for strong vs. weak Bond Girls. The fact that Bond failed to broker a ménage a trois is a source of shame neither he nor Sean Connery can escape to this day.
Bond Girl(s) Status = 3.5 Walther PPKs out of 5 (averaged)
Name(s) = Perfectly normal and perfectly ridiculous, respectively.

Solitaire, Live and Let Die (1973)
Why do Bond Girls named after classic tabletop games for children work with, or sleep with (or both), the enemy? No clue. A very young (but not too-young) Jane Seymour assures that we don’t care, meanwhile also distracting us from the fact that she’s one of the most abused women in the entire franchise.
Bond Girl Status = 3 Walther PPKs out of 5
Name = Goofy, but totally justifiable if she’d been played by a young Pam Grier.

Holly Goodhead, Moonraker (1979)
After Domino, Tiffany Case, and Solitaire it seemed like maybe Bond’s beauties would start receiving names that wouldn’t be the most embarrassing things to write on a college or job application. Then we get Goodhead, Holly Goodhead. She’s an American spy who is Bond’s equal in every single way but surname.
Bond Girl Status = 4.5 Walther PPKs out of 5
Name = Laughably bad for a spy, pretty great for a sex advice columnist.

Octopussy, Octopussy (1983)
Combining the best traits of all the previous Bond Girls - stunningly beautiful, whip smart, criminal mastermind with a heart of gold - it’s no wonder Maud Adams gets titular billing here. Sadly, that makes it the only Bond movie you have to hide from your and your friends’ kids. Unless you want to have That Conversation much earlier than anybody wants.
Bond Girl Status = 4.5 Walther PPKs out of 5
Name = When you’re the leader of your own cult and criminal empire, you can go by whatever absurd title you want.

Xenia Onatopp, GoldenEye (1995)
Famke Janssen was my first Bond Girl and, thus, the one to which I compare all the rest - no offense meant to Izabella Scorupco, but she didn’t mercilessly kill dudes at the height of their sexual ecstasy. Onatopp was smart, gorgeous, deadly, legitimately funny, and her name was more than a pun, it was her weapon of choice. Scha-wing.
Bond Girl Status = 5 Walther PPKs out of 5
Name = Not too shameful, and she’d fit in under the big top of Octupussy’s inner circus quite well.

Wai Lin, Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Besides beauty and brains, not many Bond Girls can honestly be described as brawny. Brassy, maybe. Ballsy, for sure. But Michelle Yeoh was the first one who wasn’t a villain and could legit easily kick your ass both in and out of bed.
Bond Girl Status = 3 Walther PPKs out of 5
Name = My in-depth research skills tell me her name means something like “jade forest,” which sounds like a character Pam Grier could play today.

Jinx, Die Another Day (2002)
Honestly, I’m mostly including Jinx because Halle Berry is the best thing to happen to swimwear since, well, Ursula Andress. (Or Daniel Craig, if that’s to your liking.) She had all of the qualities for a great Bond Girl, but the entire film is a joke and should never be seen by anyone. That’s what Google Image search is for.
Bond Girl Status = 3 Walther PPKs out of 5
Name = I mean, come on. It can’t be a coincidence that MGM completely reconfigured the franchise after this one, can it?

Vesper Lynd, Casino Royale (2006)
Completely classing up the Bond Girl mystique, Eva Green sets a new high bar for the ladies that will follow. Like most of the other stand-outs, Vesper is just as (probably more) intelligent as our intelligence agent, just as clever, and perhaps the most alluring even without ever appearing in only a bikini or her underpants. She was so good, they had to kill her off at the end - spoiler alert - otherwise there wouldn’t be a need for any future Bond Girls as long as Daniel Craig wears the tux.
Bond Girl Status = 5 Walther PPKs out of 5
Name = While certainly uncommon, it doesn’t lend itself to sniggering 12 year-olds. Plus, the way Eva Green says “Vesper” is enough to make the name work even if it meant “hemorrhoid pimples on a dog’s anus.” Hell, she could probably make that sexy, too.

With names like Severine and Eve in Skyfall, Bérénice Marlohe and Naomie Harris will hopefully be breaking the mold of great yet puntastically named Bond Girls. Because, let’s be honest, “Strawberry Fields” was one step too camp for Quantum of Solace, and “Camille” was barely memorable at all.

Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. He would like to put Olga Kurylenko on the list, but he genuinely can’t remember a thing about her besides this poster.