From the very first James Bond film, Dr. No, which turns 50 today, gadgets have played a major part. No idea is too ridiculous for the Q Department to try out—man-eating couches, decapitating tea trays, telephone boxes that deploy airbags when you call France, leg cast missiles, bagpipe flamethrowers—but the good ones were part of what makes Bond, James Bond. Plus he has to be able to keep up with villains armed with dagger shoes and razor-sharp teeth.
For the sake of this list, we’re ignoring vehicles (see the Best James Bond vehicles coming later today) and sticking with gadgets that can be carried.
10. TV Watch – Octopussy
We’re still waiting for Apple’s iWatch. Bond went all Dick Tracy in Octopussy, though he didn’t always quite stay on-mission with it.
9. Deadly Briefcase – From Russia With Love
Just another day at the office for 007 meant the need for a rifle with infrared telescope, ammo, throwing knives and some Gold Sovereigns for lunch money. And if anyone tries to mess with his stuff, they get a face full of tear gas.
8. Mobile Phone – Tomorrow Never Dies
This prototype Ericsson flip-phone included a few features that never made it to the R380, which came out soon after—like the 20k Volt stun gun/electric lock opener, the fingerprint scanner, the antennae lock pick and the BMW remote control.
7. Cigarette Darts – You Only Live Twice
When are the kids going to learn—smoking kills.
6. Garrote Watch – From Russia With Love
The first watch that was more than a watch wasn’t issued to Bond. Used by villain Red Grant in an attempt to strangle Bond, it was ultimately the cause of his death. Not the first time a villain’s gadget was used against him.
5. Bowler Hat – Goldfinger
When Oddjob arrived on the Bond scene, viewers started to understand what they were in for with this series—namely henchmen who weren’t content to just shoot their victims dead, because decapitating them with a lethal bowler hat is much more creative.
4. Steel Teeth – The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker
Not sure these qualify as a gadget, but anything that allows a man to bite sharks and bite through metal cables is pretty nifty. Nifty enough to earn the henchman a rare second appearance in a Bond film.
3. Rolex Watch – Live and Let Die
The coolest 007 watch comes from the most gadget-heavy of the Bond films, back when he still sported the Rolex Submariner. Equipped with an electromagnet and a rotating saw, this gift from Moneypenny saved our hero from a pool of sharks.
2. Ski Pole Gun – The Spy Who Loved Me
In the universe of 007, every pen, cigarette and camera might be capable of killing you, but one of our favorites was the ski pole.
1. Rocket Pack – Thunderball
We were promised jetpacks.