James Bond Reference Books-News and Favorites

There are many Bond reference books out there. Which ones standout as your favorite or most memorable? For me, some of my favorites are:

The Making of OHMSS and TLD by Charles Helfenstein. I wish he would write another.

Some Kind of Hero by Ajay Chowdhury and Matthew Field. It provides enough information, while not going overboard with all the details.

A Close Look at ‘A View to a Kill’ by Andrew McNess. It proves that there is more to AVTAK than many people thought of or seen with their eyes.

The James Bond Archives by Paul Duncan. More interesting behind the scenes photos, but the stories are just interesting.

Dr No: The First James Bond Film by James Chapman. A quick read, with some interesting tidbits about the first Bond film, and things that almost happened.

Any of Sir Roger Moore’s writings on Bond. His charming humor helps with the information.

I’m hoping to read Being Bond: A Daniel Craig Retrospective by Mark Salisbury soon.


The Bond Files by Andy Lane and Paul Simpson has been by go to guide for many years. Gives a broad overview on books and films as well as more obscure stuff like the Daily Mail comic strips. My edition was published on '98 so a little out of date at this point.


Folks, we have to include the classic The James Bond Bedside Companion by Raymond Benson.


“The James Bond films” by Steven Jay Rubin.

“The Complete James Bond Movie Encyclopedia” also by Rubin.

“James Bond in the Cinema” by John Brosnan.


Definitely the “On the Tracks of 007” books, right @simon? :wink:

Also “Some Kind of Hero.” Can’t wait for an updated version and a chapter on NTTD. It might double the size of the book.


Robert Sellers “Battle for Bond” (unedited first edition) and John Griswold’s Fleming “Annotations and Chronologies” are also a must.

And I’d like to add a non-English language book (actually, it’s two books): “James Bond XXL” by Manfred Hobsch and Danny Morgenstern (two volumes, A-K and L-Z, 800 pages each), a really extensive “real” encyclopedia, which goes very much into detail (and of which I know that it was awful lot of work).


From Russia With Love (BFI Film Classics) by Llewella Chapman. Another quick analysis and historical viewpoint of an individual film. Enjoyable, and it makes you think about it a little bit deeper. I can’t wait to read the BFI Film Classics versions of The Godfather and The Godfather Part 2, soon.

Two well written books recently publicized are:

" Bond Movies: A Retrospective" by Ho Lin

" From Connery to Craig: The James Bond Film Series" by James B. Neibaur and Gary Schneeberger.


" James Bond - The Legacy" by John Cork and Bruce Scivally

" The 007 Diaries: Filming Live and Let Die" by Roger Moore

“When Harry met Cubby- the story of the James Bond producers” by Robert Sellers

" When the Snow Melts: The Autobiography of Cubby Broccoli" by Broccoli and Donald Zec

“James Bond Encyclopedia” by John Cork and Collin Stuz

" Kiss Kiss Bang! Bang!: The Unofficial James Bond Film Companion" by Alan Barnes and Marcus Hearn

" For Your Eyes Only: Behind the Scenes of the James Bond Films" by David Giammarco


Me too. This book is a real labour of love, he researched and collected about 25 years. AFAIK, the main goal from early on was to write a book. The main problem was finding a publisher (a book on a single Bond movie, and one that was not held high among the general audience at the time - pure nerd material, with no Sean Connery or Roger Moore star power…), only the advent of the internet and the option of self-publishing by books-on-demand (and the willingness of Graham Rye to help out with the design, props to him) made it possible for this one to finally see the light of day. But also I know that he won’t do another one before he reached at least break even with the first two (OHMSS and TLD), which is a long way to go.
I also know that, should the aforementioned happen one day, there were plans for (at least) two more volumes (but that was a few years ago). I know which movies he had in mind, but I’m sworn to secrecy…


“The art of Bond: From storyboard to screen: the creative process behind the James Bond phenomenon” by Laurent Bouzereau

" Nobody Does It Better: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of James Bond" by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman

" Bond Films" (Virgin Films) by Jim Smith and Steve Lavington


I definitely feel the Law of Diminishing Returns applies to Bond reference books for me. Every time one is announced, I’m all for it and every time I get it in my hands I think, “I’ve gotta stop buying these things.”

I’ll always feel the fondest for the first ones I found: Steven Jay Rubin’s “The James Bond Films” and soon after that Benson’s “Bedside Companion.” Of the two, Benson’s is the more valuable as a scholarly work, but mostly for the “novels” section as there’s too much opinion involved in the discussion of the films (and I don’t usually agree with those opinions, so there’s that). Rubin’s book is comparatively superficial but it was so exciting at the time to have a whole book devoted to Bond I didn’t even notice for a while that not one photo was an officially endorsed one from Eon.

Soon after, I found a second-hand copy of the first version of John Brosnan’s book and devoured it eagerly even though much of it was spent summarizing plots (no longer necessary in the age of home video). I searched for years to find the 2nd edition that would update the chronology through Moonraker (even though I was pretty sure he would dump on Roger, which he did).

Since then, the books have gotten longer and more lavishly illustrated, often on higher quality paper, but for me also progressively less interesting. Part of it is doubtless having already heard so many of the stories and part of it is that as the series moves on, less and less of each book interests me. When “Legacy” came out, I thumbed through it, realized fully one fourth of the book dealt with films I didn’t much care for, and put it back on the shelf (I eventually bought it on the cheap, second-hand). I did get Taschen’s “Archives” book but the same effect set in: I breezed through the chapters on the Connery to Dalton eras, slogged through Brosnan over the course of a few months and finally came to a dead stop halfway through QoS, with the rest of the book as yet unfinished to this day.

I think I’m fondest of the books that focus on one little corner of Bond’s world, like Roger’s LALD “Diary,” Helfenstein’s labor of love OHMSS tome, John Glen’s “For My Eyes Only” and so on. Plus I have an odd fondness for “Adrian Turner on Goldfinger,” a quaint little “A to Z” formatted book that I bought in a Canadian bookstore just to have something to read on a plane and ended up really enjoying.

Another oddball favorite, though not exactly a “reference” per se, is DK’s “Secret World of 007” featuring creatively drawn cross-sections of various lairs and vehicles from the films in the spirit of Stephen Biesty’s books about ships and buildings. It’s probably meant for kids, but I love it.

I should also say that it’s always a trade-off where Eon’s involved. I find officially approved books are usually better illustrated and benefit from access to their vaults, but it’s usually the “non sanctioned” ones that are the most fascinating and revealing, by a long shot.

And it’s not a book per se, but a few years ago Cinema Retro did a wonderful and very fat (maybe 128 pages?) square-bound magazine tribute to Doctor No that I really enjoyed. I wish they’d do similar ones for the other series, but as I don’t think that one has completely sold through to this day, it seems unlikely.


A forgotten and German book on the movies up to Moonraker (with a revised edition containing a chapter on FYEO), Michael Scheingraber‘s „Die James Bond-Filme“ was my first go-to book as a young teenager. It was mainly giving synopses of the movies, coupled with the author’s opinions on them, and some basic ideas about the structure of a Bond film. It had only a few black and white photos, but it was published in the DIN A 4 format, and here I really learned about all the previous films (having been introduced to Bond via TSWLM) before I could see them all on the big screen during the „James Bond Film Festival“-weeks during the summer, with every week offering another movie in chronological order, or during reruns in obscure theatres around my hometown.


A German Bond reference library without that one is incomplete. In our genaration, this certainly was most German Bond fan’s first one (not mine, mine was the Heyne/Kocian book). :laughing:


Yes, yes, that one was my second Bond book! And, of course, the one published by Cinema! And the Cinema „sonderedition“ for Moonraker!

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Virgin film - Bond films. Worth it for the essays alone.


The Definitive Story Of You Only Live Twice: Fleming, Bond and Connery in Japan by Graham Thomas. A unique look at many individuals who have spent time in Japan. Many looks at how the country is iconic for James Bond, literary and cinematic. Bonus points for including Raymond Benson and The Man With The Red Tattoo. I wish they would update it to include Dynamite Comics’ Felix Leiter and possibly Kim Sherwood’s 00 trilogy.

Hopefully I will be picking up My Life As A Mankiewicz by Tom Mankiewicz and Robert Crane. Published posthumously, it should have some interesting Bond information.

There is also a nice French book full of colorful cartoon-like drawings, really very funny!
It’s a kind of encyclopedia and it’s called: “Le Dico Secret de James Bond”.

Also another French book " James Bond, le dico" from Philippe Durant has a lot of nice colour pictures, but I have no idea if it is a good read, or not, my French is not that good.


Ok, so far, so good, but…
there are also books written about Bond and his movies, which are awfull and this is one of the worst!

If you thought “Some Kind of Hero” was badly edited… forget it:

“James Bond: Behind the tuxedo”,

beats it by a mile in that regard. It’s awfull bad! The original language of the author is Spanish and it looks like this book was translated by Google, or any other translate machine. It’s so bad I could’t read one page. I tried reading the beginning, the end, several pages in the middle, but no way I could read one simple page, that was too much asking of myself.

To give an example: in just one sentence a subject could change gender and from singular to plural and back again.

Don’t judge a book by its bad Google translation. It still could be a good read in the original language. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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