9. The Knife Shoe
A lot of love has been given for James Bond’s gadgets but what about his antagonists? From Russia With Love featured the memorable Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya) as the villain. She’s a ruthless colonel and Soviet counter-intelligence operative, as well as a SPECTRE double agent(!), who required her own range of surprise weaponry. Disguised as a housekeeper, she gets the jump on Bond near the end of the film, aiming a gun at him before she is disarmed by Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi). But it’s what’s hidden in her shoe that has become far more iconic for fans of the series and gives her the edge in the ensuing conflict.
While the shoes themselves look basic, they pack a small flick knife at the tip, which is concealed in the sole. She brandishes this weapon on Bond, with the blade coated in poisons designed to finish the job. He fights her off with a chair before Tatina lands the final shot, firing Klebb’s own gun. While the use of the gadget might not have been too effective considering its in quite a difficult location to harness, it is also tricky to defend against and might have landed a lucky shot on one of 007’s legs. As a piece of cinema history it is thus a classic design that spoke to the shock factor in the climatic scene.
8. Dentonite Toothpaste
A Bond movie wouldn’t be complete without explosives. All manner of situations require a little dynamite to help an agent on their way, and Q usually had an ingenious method to hide these lethal gadgets in plain sight. For License To Kill, the movie took an unexpected approach, relying on a household item. However, unlike other equipment from the series, this was not based on a real-world brand.
His Majesty’s Secret Service had transformed a tube of toothpaste into an explosive device. Comedically titled Detonite, the false branding alluded to the contents within. It’s terrifying that someone could have mistakenly used this product as was intended, but James Bond took advantage of the gadget when he made an assassination attempt on Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi). While his goal was unsuccessful, the toothpaste itself destructed without issue. A cleverly disguised cigarette packet became the detonator in another spectacular design choice.
7. The Watches
It’s a bit of an honorable mention, but James Bond doesn’t go anywhere without his trusty watch. Throughout the saga he has featured some of the top-of-the-line wristwatches, many of which are based on real-world products. Of course that makes the concept even cooler for viewers, who could very well own one of these items (hence the high price many watchmaker companies pay to have their wares included). However, as is often the case with Bond’s gear, these accessories aren’t always what they appear to be, with Q kitting them out with some useful upgrades.
For instance, The Spy Who Loved Me saw Bond using a digital watch that allowed for printable messages to be sent to him; a technology that clearly predicted genuine advancements in the smart device world. Famously, 007’s Rolex Submariner in Live and Let Die featured a small buzzsaw that allowed him to cut his way out of imprisonment, while the wrist piece also contained a tiny electromagnet.