Thursday, November 8, 2012

Skyfall nods, tributes and references

Skyfall is the twenty-third entry in the official EON James Bond 007 film series. Skyfall was released in 2012 and stars Daniel Craig as Ian Fleming's James Bond 007 and co-stars Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw and Albert Finney. 2012 is exactly fifty years since the first James Bond film, Dr. No, was released in 1962. The producers of Skyfall have made several tributes and celebration of this anniversary including in-film nods and references. In that regard, Skyfall followed in the steps of 2002's Die Another Day, which made explicit nods and references to the previous Bond films. Here are a few references in Skyfall that I noticed. Did you spot any others?

Note: Spoilers below


  • James Bond was created in part as a sort of modern day Saint George; a knight in shining armor to defend Great Britain and slay sinister dragons. Ian Fleming stated this himself as well as alluding to this in the novel Goldfinger, and this interpretation has been made by many literati and readers worldwide. James Bond encounters some decorative dragons in Skyfall as well as surviving a trip to the pit of real komodo dragons.
  • James Bond is Scottish as he was in the Fleming novels, which was a tribute by Ian Fleming to Sean Connery's performances.
  • As seen in the obituary for James Bond in the novel You Only Live Twice, James Bond's parents are Andrew Bond and Monique Delacroix Bond. Their tombstones are visible in Skyfall.
  • Ian Fleming's Diamonds Are Forever begins with scorpions dueling with barbs. Bond plays chicken with a scorpion in Skyfall.
  • Plot similarities with the novel The Man With The Golden Gun.
  • A bisexual villain takes a liking to James Bond in For Special Services and Skyfall alike.
  • Silva offers Bond a shot of 1962 (50 year-old) scotch as they target practice. The EON official James Bond series turned fifty years old in 2012.
  • At the end of the film, the James Bond 007 logo appears and specifically pays tribute to this milestone of cinema.
Dr. No
  • In Dr. No, James Bond notices a famous stolen Goya painting of the Duke of Wellington next to the stairs in Dr. No's dining area, which is why Bond was surprised to notice it as he passes it while going up the stairs. In Skyfall, Silva runs a confidence trick on the black market where stolen art is put up on sale and the bidder is killed after the money is collected. Patrice kills an art buyer in Shanghai while Sévérine is in the same room. The artwork is a painting called "Woman with a Fan" (1919) by Amedeo Modigliani, which was stolen in 2010. 
  • James Bond receives new equipment from the armorer, Major Boothryod, and quartermaster ("Q") in Dr. No. This equipment is a reliable Walther PPK. Ditto in Skyfall when Bond meets Q.
  • The main villain, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), lives and operates on an island he controls much like Dr. No's Crab Key island. 
  • M's new office at the end of the film is identical to the one used from Dr. No to Licence to Kill by the characters portrayed by actors Bernard Lee and Robert Brown, respectively. 
  • In Dr. No, Crab Key is guarded by a terrifying "dragon," which is really a tank shaped like a fire-breathing dragon. This scares away superstitious locals. In Skyfall, Bond visits a lavishly lanthorn'd casino in Macau with a dragon motiff. 
  • In Dr. No, James Bond, Quarrel and Honey Ryder fight against the dragon artillery tank while Skyfall finds James Bond fighting a heavy thug in a zoo with real and very dangerous komodo dragons.
From Russia With Love
  • The pre-title sequence features what appears to be James Bond dying. In From Russia With Love, it was an imposter in a S.P.E.C.T.R.E. training exercise. In Skyfall, he survives and lives a quiet life for a brief period of time.
  • The Red Grant-style villain of a heavy with blonde hair to go against the tawny-haired agent 007. Robert Shaw portrayed Red Grant in From Russia With Love while Javier Bardem portrayed the eccentric, wild haired blonde Silva in Skyfall.
  • Skyfall Lodge's priest hole was reminiscent of the secret tunnels of allied intelligent agents in From Russia With Love.  
  • Rose Klebb makes Tatiana Romanova uncomfortable with homoerotic flirtations during an interview in From Russia With Love while Silva attempts to make James Bond uncomfortable in Skyfall by touching him during an interrogation. 
  • In Skyfall, Bond escorts M to a safe hiding place and ditches the company car for the classic Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger including the red button for passenger ejection.
  • When Bond sees the new Quartermaster in Skyfall, he says, "You must be joking."
  • The traveling in an Aston Martin among the high altitudes in Scotland is reminiscent of Bond's Aston Martin stalking Goldfinger's Rolls Royce through the Swiss Alps in Goldfinger.
  • The way Bond presses against the shower as he makes love with Sévérine is reminiscent of him with the nurse Patricia in Thunderball.
  • Bond picks up clues about Sévérine based on tattoos the same way he did in Thunderball with Count Lippe.
  • The prominent buck statue on top of the castle in the pre-title sequence is similar to the one featured on top of the engraved sign for the Skyfall Lodge in Skyfall. 
You Only Live Twice
  • The pre-title sequence features what appears to be James Bond dying. In You Only Live Twice, it was a staged death to fool S.P.E.C.T.R.E. into believing James Bond is eliminated and no longer a threat. In Skyfall, Bond survives and lives a quiet life for a brief period of time.
  • An obituary for James Bond is written by M in Skyfall.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
  • Daniel Craig as James Bond is wearing special Tom Ford cuff-links which feature his family crest and motto. These pieces of Bond's ancestral history are discussed in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Diamonds Are Forever
  • In Skyfall, Bond hitches a ride on a lift from the outside just as Bond did in Diamonds Are Forever while in Las Vegas.
  • Scorpion use in both films.
  • The phrase, "Smell a rat," is used in both films.
Live And Let Die
  • James Bond escapes from a menagerie underneath the Macau casino in Skyfall by jumping and stepping off of a Komodo dragon's back ala Bond with alligators in Live and Let Die.
The Man With The Golden Gun
  • Silva is an eccentric, freelance cyber-terrorist and assassin living on his own island with a beautiful but abused mistress who wishes to leave him. This is similar to Francisco Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun. 
  • Sévérine's background is similar to Andrea Ander's in The Man With The Golden Gun and they are both shot by their partner in front of James Bond.
The Spy Who Loved Me
  • Silva is a hulking villain with a prosthetic, albeit realistic looking, jaw similar to the villain Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me. When this prosthetic jaw of Silva is removed, he looks deformed ala Jaws as his capped teeth are in.
  • See The Spy Who Loved Me.
For Your Eyes Only
  • Bond hands Tanner the shrapnel from Patrice's shots in a baggie and says "For her eyes only," in regard to giving the results to M.
  • The main villain is offed by a well-thrown knife to his back in both Skyfall and For Your Eyes Only.
  • Q says in Skyfall that exploding pens are not on Q-branch's agenda anymore. Q offers Bond an explosive discharging pen in Octopussy. See Goldeneye.
  • Fights atop the roof of a speeding train between Bond and henchmen in both films.
The Living Daylights
  • Bond refuses to kill an armed woman. Kara in The Living Daylights and Sévérine in Skyfall.
Licence To Kill
  • Q gives Bond a handgun in Skyfall which only fires with his hand's signature just like the sniper rifle in Licence To Kill.
  • The title sequence of Skyfall ends with a zoom on James Bond's eye much like Goldeneye's title sequence ending with a zoom on the golden eye.
  • Skyfall features a yacht named "Chimera," which looks like the "Manticore" yacht from Goldeneye. In mythology, a manticore is a beast similar to the chimera.
  • The statues on Silva's island are similar to the scraps of Soviet art littered around Janus' meeting grounds.
  • Janus and Silva both have two-faces.
  • Silva shares many similarities with Alec Trevelyan: they are both former MI6 agents with great talent who feel betrayed, seek revenge, are aware of M, Q and other members of the staff, scarred faces from accidents they received on duty (Silva's is only noticeable without his prosthetic jaw), assumed dead by MI6 and awarded a star on MI6's Memorial Wall, etc.
  • Both films make mention of James Bond being orphaned.
  • Q says to Bond, "What did you expect, an exploding pen?" a nod to the Parker Jotter grenade in Goldeneye. Also see Octopussy.
  • Sévérine's look and mannerisms were partially inspired by Goldeneye's femme fatale, Xenia Onatopp.
  • In Goldeneye, M says, "Unlike the American government, we prefer not to get our bad news from CNN." Guess where James Bond finds out of an attack in Skyfall.
  • Goldeneye's title derives from the real-life home of author Ian Fleming as well as a WWII mission. Skyfall's title derives from the childhood home of the protagonist, James Bond.
The World Is Not Enough
  • Cuff-links translate to "The World Is Insufficient." See On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • MI6 headquarters is attacked with a bomb in both films.
Die Another Day
  • Invisible cars are found in the background of every scene. 
  • Scorpions, albeit of a different species than in Skyfall, are featured in the title sequence.
Casino Royale
  • Bond warns Eve not to touch her ear just as he did in Casino Royale with Carter in Madagascar.
  • Bond's retort to Silva's strapping him to a chair, "What makes you think this is my first time?" could be a way of disarming Silva's attempt to make him feel uncomfortable and intimidated or it might be a reference to Le Chiffre's torture of James Bond while strapped to a chair in Casino Royale.
Quantum of Solace
  • Silva attempts to persuade M to commit double-suicide much the same way Bond briefly considers doing with Camille in Quantum of Solace.


  1. Don't know of this is a reference, but at the end of OHMSS, Bond holds a dead woman (his wife) in his arms and cries. This is identical to what happens with M at the end of Skyfall.

  2. Well, I know "Never say never again" is not an "official" Bond movie, but there's a HUGE reference to that film. In NSNA, James Bond, played by Sean Connery, is forced to take a lot of tests to probe he's able to return to field work. Same as Daniel Craig in Skyfall. There's a funny line when a Doctor tells him he need an urine test and showed 007 a small cup from some distance asking: Can you fill up this up? And Bond replies: From here?

  3. I think there's another reference from "The World Is Not Enough", although I'm not sure:
    In both films, M are pursued by the villiains, though in Skyfall she's the center of the plot while in TWINE she's another more victim of Renard-Elektra's plot.

  4. Bartender "shakes" his martini. He says "perfect" a reference to shaken not stirred.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Did I see Timothy daulton in the skyfall music opening scene?