Keeping his end up: James Bond's 10 most unforgivable puns

Guy Lodge

Groan-worthily lewd double entendres are as much a trademark of the James Bond franchise as martinis, tuxedos and tricked-out sports cars, but they haven’t exactly flourished in the Daniel Craig era: the first blond 007 has largely given the agent a sterner, more businesslike mien relative to the japery of Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan.

Advance word is that the next Bond adventure, No Time to Die, will see lascivious innuendo making a comeback, with the presence of Phoebe Waller-Bridge as screenwriter (and the Fleabag creator knows her way around a good sex reference). One allegedly leaked line sounds like standard old-school Bond: “Get it up, get it up!” implores a passenger in a seaplane that Bond is struggling to fly, to which the spy drily responds: “I’ve never had a problem with that before.” Can it compete with the 10 most shameless, unforgivable Bond double entendres?

10. “That’s because you know what I can do with my little finger” (Casino Royale)
A rare and early attempt from Craig, delivered in response to Vesper Lynd’s compliment that if all that was left of Bond was his smile and his little finger, his manliness would be intact. You can see why he veered away from this sort of thing.

9. “I’m sure we’ll be able to lick you into shape” (Live and Let Die)

Roger Moore’s first outing as Bond announced him as a dab hand in the rich tradition of the Bond pun, delivered to a self-doubting female CIA agent.

8. “I have been known to keep my tip up” (Die Another Day)
How did it take James Bond until 2002 to make a fencing-sword joke? Pierce Brosnan, the natural heir to Roger Moore, deserves extra credit for delivering it to an utterly po-faced Madonna.

Roger Moore and Barbera Bach in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Photograph: www.ronaldgrantarchive.com

7. “Just keeping the British end up, Sir” (The Spy Who Loved Me)
Admittedly, Brosnan’s Die Another Die quip was a blatant rehash of this Moore classic from the punniest of all Bond entries – the first of three from the film.

6. “It’s just the right size … for me, that is” (From Russia With Love)

To be honest, this barely qualifies as a double entendre: Tatiana Romanova complains about the size of her mouth, before our man gallantly comforts her.

5. “Well, tell him to pull out, immediately” (The Spy Who Loved Me)
A directive given by M, upon learning that the agent is, er, on duty in Austria. Cut, of course, to Bond in bed with his latest fancy.

4. “When one is in Egypt, one should delve deeply into its treasures” (The Spy Who Loved Me)
Roger Moore’s 1977 outing really was an innuendo banquet; this simple but effective line is basically the only reason for Bond to do all that globetrotting.

Related: Get your hands off my double entendres! Is the smutty pun now under attack?

3. “I’m up here at Oxford brushing up on a little Danish” (Tomorrow Never Dies)
The double innuendo is terribly strained but Brosnan delivers it with enough throwaway panache to make up for the same film’s unforgivable rehash of the old “cunning linguist” punchline.

2. “I think he’s attempting re-entry” (Moonraker)

Delivered by a technician as Bond and the CIA astronaut Holly Goodhead (of course) are discovered on video after assorted spaceship complications, doing the deed in zero gravity.

1. “I thought Christmas only comes once a year” (The World is Not Enough)
To name a nuclear physicist Christmas Jones for no reason other than this ludicrous final line represents a ne plus ultra in franchise shamelessness.