Magnets Featured in James Bond Films, Part One

Magnets Featured in James Bond Films, Part One -Bunting-Buy Magnets

Some of the most creative ideas about magnets have come from the silver screen. In movies, television, and comic books, magnets have been featured as the power behind some truly incredible gadgets and gizmos. One of the most interesting masters of magnets has been Agent 007—James Bond. In fact, magnets have so frequently played a starring role in the James Bond movies that this will be the first blog in a multi-part series examining magnets in the world of James Bond.

Magnets have Helped James Bond Escape from Certain Doom

From Russia with Love (1963)

In “From Russia with Love,” the second film in the Broccoli & Saltzman franchise, Sean Connery played James Bond with a stylish attaché case in hand. This leather case, supplied to him by the brilliant “Q,” was no ordinary briefcase. Instead, it was a state-of-the-art gadget that contained a magnetized tin of talcum powder concealing a tear gas cartridge. The case was designed so that when it was opened with the latches in the wrong position, the tear gas bomb inside would explode. When Bond was confronted by Spectre villain Donald “Red” Grant, Bond had to rely on the teargas canister exploding in the face of his adversary. If not for this clever trap, Bond may not have been able to defeat Grant.

Now, could this work in real life? Well, it would probably be easier today than it was in 1963. You see, in 1963, powerful neodymium magnets had not been invented yet. This means that Bond would have had to rely on weaker ferrite or alnico magnets to attach the tin to the inside of the case.

You Only Live Twice (1967)

Sean Connery starred as James Bond for the fifth time in this film, with a screenplay written by Roald Dahl. In this film, Bond finds himself and his ally Aki being chased by a carload full of gunmen as they speed down the road in a Toyota 2000 GT. Just when things start to look particularly dire, the two are saved by Tiger Tanaka, the head of the Japanese Secret Service. Tanaka orders a large two-rotor helicopter to their rescue, but this is no ordinary helicopter. The helicopter is carrying an enormous electromagnet, which is lowered onto the car of the villains. As the villains are lifted higher and higher into the air, the helicopter carries them away from the road and over the ocean. Suddenly, the electromagnet is shut off, and the gunmen, trapped in their car, fall helplessly into a watery grave.

Of this scene, associate producer William Cartlidge was quoted as saying, “I remember script conferences where the idea was to think of as many outrageous suggestions as you could, and this was one of them.”

Is this idea as bizarre as Cartlidge implies? On one hand, it’s not completely crazy. Electromagnets are commonly used in the scrap metal recycling industry to move cars from place to place during the recycling industry. On the other hand, electromagnets capable of lifting cars are quite heavy, and it’s questionable whether or not a small helicopter could realistically carry a large electromagnet in addition to the car the magnet picked up. Additionally, all electromagnets must be connected to a power source—we’re not sure exactly how this electromagnet is being powered.

But, part of the fun of film is that it presents us with larger than life thrills!

If you are interested in learning more about electromagnets—which you may or may not wish to connect to a helicopter—contact today. And, stay tuned for the next blog in our James Bond series!