This James Bond Film Has The Highest Body Count

When it came to how my country wanted the rest of the world to perceive it in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, we picked two fictional characters to represent us during the festivities. The first was Rowan Atkinson playing a Mr. Bean-like character, daydreaming about beating the beach runners in "Chariots of Fire," and the second was a government assassin with over 350 kills to his name. 

Danny Boyle's major coup for the spectacular ceremony was persuading Queen Elizabeth II to make her acting debut opposite Daniel Craig in the short film entitled "Happy and Glorious," in which Bond escorts her majesty to the Olympic stadium by helicopter. On arrival, the 80-something monarch daringly parachutes in to join the party to the famous James Bond theme.

The fact that the Queen agreed to do a skit with Bond in the first place shows how much of a national treasure 007 had become, and the billion dollar box office made by "Skyfall" later that year didn't hurt his global reputation much either.

In many households, Bond movies are regarded as family viewing, good old-fashioned escapist fun. The consensus seems to suggest that the films are totally fine for kids aged between nine and eleven, despite the mass destruction and wanton disregard for human life. Sure, the carnage is generally offset by the mostly breezy tone (until we get to Craig's tenure, at least) but there's no escaping the fact that for a national icon, James Bond kills a shedload of people.

The big question is, which Bond movie is the deadliest?

This was supposed to be fun...

I thought this article would be an enjoyable piece to write. Then I started looking at all the varying body counts online, and I aged about five years in two hours of research.

First port of call was the flashy feature from "Time" entitled "The 370 Ways to Die at the Hands of James Bond," published to celebrate the release of "Spectre," but half of it was behind a paywall. Next up was the far more old-school website for the James Bond Museum in Nybro, Sweden, which also went as far as "Skyfall" and had the total kills for Bond at 369.

One death difference. 

This sent my brain into overload. All it took was one mis-count in one of those big action sequences where dozens of no-name goons are getting gunned down or exploded, but which one was correct? Neither cited their source... did they actually sit down and try to count literally every kill? If so, who missed one death, or counted one too many?

Next up was an article in The Guardian, with figures only as far as "Quantum of Solace." They quoted a source, "All Outta Bubblegum," a website promising to "provide accurate kill counts for action films and action hero actors." Surely these guys know their stuff, right?

So all we need is a simple bit of math. They've got Bond's kills up to 352 by "Quantum of Solace," so let's check out their "Skyfall" tally...

26 kills for Bond. B*ll*cks. That gives me 368.

So who do I trust? The esteemed Time with 370? The James Bond Museum with 369? Or the website dedicated to actually counting kills in action movies with 368?

This is all before I get into which movie has the highest body count...

So just pick one source and stick to it...

This is getting ridiculous, I thought. This is only supposed to be a lighthearted, throwaway pop culture piece, and here I am getting myself tied in knots. So let's just pick one source and stick to it!

I picked "All Outta Bubblegum," thinking this is their raison d'être, after all. All I have to do is add their "Spectre" and "No Time to Die" totals to give us a complete set of data and we're cushty. Or so you'd think, anyway.

For their "Spectre" character kills, they have 232 for Bond... wait, what?

Under the heading "Blofeld's Base," it says: "Bond shooting the gas pipe causes the entire base to explode blowing up 195 of Blofeld's men."

Where did that number come from? That's very specific! I watched the scene and the whole building just goes up in a ball of flame, with no way to count how many goons get burnt alive inside. It suspiciously sounded like a figure pulled out of thin air. 

Then I spotted something else. The site has the number of kills by all characters adding up to 237, but their grand total is 236. In desperation, I find a "Spectre" body count video – also from "All Outta Bubblegum." The total? 235.

This was supposed to be fun, I grimly said to myself again...

So, which James Bond film has the highest body count?

Well, working with somewhat dodgy data, I think it's safe to say that "Spectre" is the deadliest Bond movie. Maybe. The total of 232 Bond kills, even allowing a bit of give and take on that dubious gas explosion mass murder, is still far more than the next highest body count on the list.

For that, you need to go all the way back to 1967 and Sean Connery's fifth outing as 007, "You Only Live Twice." This is the film where the series departed from reality altogether, with Donald Pleasance stroking his cat in his volcano lair while stealing spacecraft to trigger World War III — the sort of excess that "Austin Powers" would lampoon so well 30 years later. Both the James Bond Museum and The Guardian article have the film at 196, with most of the deaths coming in the spectacular action sequence when ninjas launch an assault on Blofeld's hidden base.

So let's just double-check that with this YouTube video entitled "You Only Live Twice (1967) Kill Count", I thought...

Total: 132

Looking in the mirror, I noticed that I'd developed wrinkles and gray hairs that weren't there a few hours ago. So I decided to call it.

Since I don't like that gas explosion figure at all, and "You Only Live Twice" is a much better film than "Spectre," I'm declaring it the James Bond film with the highest body count with 196 deaths. I'm going to ignore that YouTube video, because if it's correct, then "The Spy Who Loved Me" would be next with 147... or would it?