The name’s Green. Jon Green. Today I’m going to show you how to speak like James Bond. That means Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and of course, Daniel Craig. It’s for your eyes only, so keep watching. Plus, I’ll give you the one phrase that you really have to get exactly right. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Now first let’s establish the single most important rule and fact about James Bond and his accent.
James Bond is English and well-educated so aim for an English RP (received pronunciation) accent. What we really call Standard Southern British English nowadays.
In fact, when you analyse all the actors who have played Bond, it’s a real mixed bag. Firstly, they are not all English, secondly they all played the role in their style of Bond, so these factors influence their accent.
We’ll be looking at the Eon Production Bond films and the actors and their accents. Now, as I never use other people’s videos or films without their permission, simply click on the links in the description to check out the trailers or clips.
1.Sean Connery - So he is actually Scottish from, Edinburgh, but James Bond is English, so for the role he adopted quite a neutral RP English accent, You can hear this in the line from the trailer to You Only Live Twice where he says ‘what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this’. Now there is one famous feature of his accent, where he tends to say ‘sh’ instead of ‘s’, from time to time you might hear 'Miss Moneypenny’. Also, many people have pointed out that Scottish elements to his accent creep in during his later films, but to be honest that still fits in with the plot as Ian Fleming himself rewrote Bond’s heritage to include Scottish after seeing Connery’s performance.
2.George Lazenby - He only portrayed Bond once in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. Now, he was Australian so he too had to adopt an English RP accent which he does pretty well. I’ve put the opening scene from the film in the description and in it you can here him say ‘this never happened to the other fella’ here you could argue that fella is Australian as fellow would be more accurate in RP.
3.Roger Moore - You could say the quintessential English gentleman. He was born in London and he had rather a posh RP accent, which he didn’t have to adapt much for the role of Bond as this was his natural stage accent .He seamlessly fits into the role with his ‘my name’s Bond, James Bond’ as you can see in the trailer to Live and Let Die. His accent is more elegant and refined than his predecessors, and he has a distinct melody to the way he speaks. In the Spy Who Loves Me as he pushes someone to his death after getting the information he wanted he declares ‘ what a helpful chap’.
4.Timothy Dalton - He also was well-spoken, not as posh as Roger Moore, but definitely had a clear RP accent. Although not born in England he clearly has a trained actor’s accent. In the trailer to the Living Daylight’s, when he replies ‘believe me our relationship is strictly professional’.
5.Pierce Brosnan - Pierce Brosnan has a mixed heritage, having American and Irish blood but he also lived in London where he picked up his English accent. He went for a super smooth version of Bond and he does a fair job at the RP accent, although some comments I’ve read say that his Irish accent or twang comes through from time to time.
6.Daniel Craig - So Daniel Craig is the tough no-nonsense Bondl. He’s considered the more down-to-earth Bond and it is definitely reflected in his accent. He has a more contemporary version of RP which is quite neutral ( a bit like mine - now why wasn’t I ever asked to play Bond?!). Plus, Craig was born in England so he is really the second English Bond, so therefore his accent is obviously convincing. Hear how he says ‘Aston Martin’ with a longer vowel sound.
The point we really don’t know is what accent did Ian Fleming (the author of Bond) envisage for Bond when he wrote the books? Bond himself had Scottish and Swiss family heritage but he went to Eton,served high up in the military and lived in Kent, So we could assume that his refined RP accent was down to his well-bred family, education and time spent in England.
So to summarise. In order to speak like James Bond you need:
1.A version of the English RP accent - with less emphasis on the poshness nowadays. Dropping occasional ts is acceptable these days.
2.Speak direct and to the point - don’t mince your words.
3.Use your humour - a bit of dry wit never goes amiss in a Bond film - although are they more serious these days? Another good question to answer.
So what do you think? Who is your favourite Bond and what do you think of their accents? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.
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All I have to do now is to say this is Commander Green signing off from duty.
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hi! it's jon.
Welcome to my blog of free tutorials explaining different British accents and areas of pronunciation. It's a complement to my video channel with video scripts, lessons and sometimes extra info not included in some videos. Click on the image to go to the video.