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Licence to swill: Academics argue James Bond has ‘a severe alcohol problem’

Researchers from New Zealand and the UK have published a study in the Medical Journal of Australia’s Christmas issue which they say proves that Ian Fleming’s fictional character James Bond has “a severe chronic alcohol problem”.


Researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand and the University of Oxford in the UK engaged in the taxing pursuit of watching 24 James Bond films in order to describe the patterns of alcohol use.

Charting the change over six decades, the authors of the report, entitled Licence to swill: James Bond’s drinking over six decades, noted that Bond has a total of 109 ‘drinking events’, with a mean of 4.5 events per film. This, they noted, meant that his blood alcohol level was around 0.36 g/dL, which is “sufficient to kill some people”. His peak binge totalled 24 units of alcohol which equated to 6 vesper Martinis, shaken not stirred.

Based on these findings, the report concluded: “There is strong and consistent evidence that James Bond has a chronic alcohol consumption problem at the “severe” end of the spectrum.

“He should seek professional help and try to find other strategies for managing occupational stress. His workplace (MI6) needs to become a responsible employer and to refer him to support services, and to change its own workplace drinking culture”.

The tongue-in-cheek article also noted that Bond satisfied six out of 11 criteria necessary for those suffering with a severe alcohol use disorder.

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Bond’s drinking was reported to be particularly dangerous in view of the activities he chose to engage in following a Martini or two. These included: getting in a fight, driving vehicles (including in chases), high stakes gambling, operating complex machinery or devices, contact with dangerous animals, extreme athletic performance, and sex with enemies, sometimes with guns or knives in the bed.

Among the trends charted across the decades included a “decline using alcohol as a weapon”. This, the researchers stated, usually involved the use of bottles in fights, but alcohol was used as a vehicle in drug delivery and for starting fires.

In contrast, there was an increase in alcohol-related product placement, with brands such as Champagne Bollinger being associated with the films. The article also noted, however, that throughout the films, Bond’s Martini consumption had remained “fairly stable over time”.

To read the full report, please click here.


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