Orientalism and the James Bond Villain

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Throughout the long string of James Bond films there have been a slew of James Bond villains for Bond to stand as opposition to. Many of the early Bond villains are interesting depictions of Orientalism.

Orientalism is a form creating an “other” and in doing so bolstering the image of the “us” who in this case would be the British. These cultures bolster their own usually by creating intellectual and social authority over Middle Eastern, Asian, and North African cultures as well as other countries besides the U.K.

Characters such as General Chang of “Tomorrow Never Dies,” Emilio Largo of “Never Say Never Again,” Dr. Kananga of “Live and Let Die,” and General Medrano of “Quantum of Solice,” all create a multi-cultural villain vision of the world outside the U.K. and United States. In this way we can see the James Bond films as a form of propaganda that creates a vision of British superiority. None of these villains, despite their level of skill, can defeat the suave British spy. His superiority is displayed through his cunning ability to foresee their wrongdoing, and ability to always defeat the villain. These representations of reality, coupled with an already Westernized view of the world, could create and maintain a Western superiority conception in it’s viewer.

I am not implying that Bond films are evil or ill intentioned, but I think that many movies portray cultures outside their own as being evil, flawed or sub-par.

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