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Daniel Craig clocks up the most mileage as James Bond

by Dr Richard Carter, Data Scientist, The Data Lab

It was in the summer of 1977 that it all began. My family was on holiday in the Isle of Wight when my father took me to the cinema to watch The Spy Who Loved Me. I only have one real memory of that day, but what a memory: a white Lotus Esprit barrelling down a jetty and launching off into the blue Mediterranean. From that moment on I’ve had a life-long obsession for all things James Bond which borders on the unhealthy. I can name theme songs, characters, actors, directors, cars, their number-plates, you name it. For most of the films I can reel off large sections of dialogue verbatim. Yes, it really is that bad!

My first piece of data science on the films was back in 2012. I took their ratings from IMDB and learned, to no real surprise, that there was negative trend in the time series of the films’ scores. Armed with this knowledge I went to watch the newly-released Skyfall with my hopes well and truly reigned in, but was delighted when it exceeded both my primitive model’s expectations and my own.

When Spectre came out last year I saw it as an opportunity for some more data science, and one thing I had never seen calculated are the distances travelled by Bond in each of the 24 canon films. What follows is a real labour of love. Armed with my own knowledge and cross-checked against several online plot summaries – The Bond Film Informant, The James Bond 007 Wiki and Wikipedia – I noted the various locations where Bond is present. For each of these I discovered the latitude and longitude, then calculated the mileage for each leg using the Haversine formula for distance between two points on a globe.

To my own surprise I can reveal that after the release of the latest film Daniel Craig’s incarnation has now travelled further than any of the other actors to have donned the famous dinner jacket. Although Craig has only appeared in four films he now sits atop the most-travelled list.

Actor Films Countries Miles
Daniel Craig 4 15 71,804
Roger Moore 7 18 70,163
Sean Connery 6 17 50,208
Pierce Brosnan 4 16 48,688
Timothy Dalton 2 10 17,530
George Lazenby 1 3 4,955

Craig still has some catching up to do when it comes to the number of countries visited, however. He currently sits in 4th position on 15, behind Brosnan (16), Connery (17), and Moore (18). The total distance covered in all the films is approximately 263,000 miles, equivalent to over ten times around the world! The film with the greatest amount of mileage is Quantum of Solace, even though at 106 minutes it has the shortest runtime of all the Bond movies.

Film Miles
Quantum of Solace 25,588
Diamonds Are Forever 24,866
Casino Royale 21,472
Die Another Day 21,192
Moonraker 19,877
Octopussy 16,385
The Living Daylights 16,243
Skyfall 14,926
Tomorrow Never Dies 11,305
Goldfinger 10,866
Spectre 9,817
A View to a Kill 9,275
GoldenEye 9,404
The Man with the Golden Gun 8,482
Live and Let Die 7,122
The Spy Who Loved Me 6,924
The World Is Not Enough 6,786
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 4,955
Dr No 4,841
Thunderball 4,804
For Your Eyes Only 2,999
From Russia With Love 2,513
You Only Live Twice 2,319
License To Kill 1,287

A closer inspection of the six different actors’ routes reveals some interesting features. Roger Moore travelled into space at the end of Moonraker (shown as a dotted line and not included in this analysis), whereas George Lazenby’s sole outing On Her Majesty’s Secret Service did not even leave Europe.

When it comes to locations there is an obvious winner. The UK features in all but two films: You Only Live Twice and License To Kill. Overseas destinations are led by the US (9 films) and Italy (7). There are some suprising omissions from Bond’s travels too: he has yet to visit Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, for example, or any of the Nordic countries bar Iceland.

The character has twice visited Scotland. The first shows a naval base in The Spy Who Loved Me, whilst the second was a return to Bond’s family home for the conclusion to Skyfall.

(Click on the image to see a larger version)

Postscript

So which are the best Bond films, I hear you ask? Well whatever IMDB or anyone else will tell you they’re quite evidently:

  1. The Spy Who Loved Me
  2. Skyfall
  3. Goldfinger

with honourable mentions to From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and Casino Royale. And the best James Bond? Well for me it has to be Sir Roger.

Remember, you don’t always need data science to prove a point; you can sometimes take the expert’s opinion on trust!

Dr Richard Carter works for The Data Lab as a data scientist. The Data Lab is a Scottish Innovation Centre with hubs in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen with a remit to generate significant economic, social and scientific value from data.

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