James Bond Has a 'Severe, Chronic' Alcohol Problem, Researchers Conclude
Shaken or stirred, all that booze only fuels his risky behaviors, from high-stakes gambling and fights to car chases and unprotected sex.
Image courtesy of MGM
Other than the confirmation that Daniel Craig will be adjusting an expensive pair of cufflinks for the fifth and final time, and that new director Cary Fukunaga is frantically rewriting the script, there aren’t a lot of details surrounding the next James Bond movie, which will be the 25th in the franchise.
Regardless of the plot details, or whether or not Rami Malek will be cast as the villain who will inevitably be defeated in the final 15 minutes of the film, one thing that feels safe to assume based on the history of the 007 flicks is that Bond will be borderline drunk on high-dollar cocktails when he’s fighting, boning, and doing other things that are required of British spies. But that—the drinking part—is a huge problem, at least according to researchers from New Zealand’s University of Otago.
In a recently published (and extremely tongue-in-cheek) paper called “License to Swill,” the four authors conclude that Bond has a “severe chronic alcohol problem” and should consider “seeking professional help” so he can better handle his on-the-job stress. They arrived at this conclusion after watching the 24 previous Bond movies, and determining that he had 4.5 drinking events per film.
Those beverages—shaken, stirred, or otherwise—didn’t stop him from engaging in a lot of risky behaviors, including (but not limited to) high-stakes gambling, fights, car chases, flying helicopters, operating nuclear power plant machinery, having contact with dangerous animals, and a lot of sex, sometimes with women who were actively trying to kill him. (“It is highly probable that much of his sexual activity is unsafe, as he never discusses barrier contraception and does not appear to have condoms at hand (particularly when having spontaneous sex underwater),” the authors note.)
Bond’s drinking has remained reasonably consistent, regardless of the film’s time period or of the actor playing him, but Bond attained his highest-ever estimated blood alcohol content during 2008’s Quantum of Solace.
“During a private flight, the bartender notes Bond has drunk six ‘vesper martinis’. Based on the bartender’s detailed description of the ‘vesper,’ we estimated [...] an estimated blood alcohol level of 0.36 g/dL,” the study explains. “Bond’s movements seem slower than usual but he speaks without slurring. It would take about 24 hours for his liver to metabolise this amount of alcohol, and his job performance would be impaired the following day.”
The authors evaluated Bond’s alcoholism as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and he met six of the Manual’s 11 criteria. By their assessment, Bond has “severe” alcohol use disorder.
So how should Bond handle his boozing? The study suggests that he shouldn’t have to deal with it alone. “Bond’s workplace should be a more responsible employer by referring him to work-funded counselling or psychiatric support services for managing his alcohol use disorder,” it advises. “These services should also determine whether he has any post-traumatic stress after killing so many people and having been tortured so often.” The paper also says that maybe Bond should have “more field support” and a revised job description that might not put him in as many high-stress situations.
Oh, and condoms, Jimbo. Don’t forget the condoms.