James Bond is one of the most famous heroes in the world of fiction. Able to defeat an assortment of villainous enemies, get any lady he wants, and enjoy his life wining and dining in expensive casinos, it seems like he is the quintessential debonair man. Yet, this glamorous exterior is hiding something dark right beneath the surface that is glaringly obvious when you look closely enough – just exactly how much does James Bond drink?
One study by a pair of medical doctors in the UK set out to find out the answer to that question. Published in the prestigious British Medical Journal, the study investigated James Bond’s alcohol consumption throughout the original run of novels rather than the less precise movies. What they discovered was that booze drinking in James Bond is a serious problem. In fact, the issue is so severe that the secret agent would probably not be able to carry out his job. Read on to see just how debilitating Bond's drinking would truly be.
The results of the study were truly astonishing. Over the course of the 88 days that are accurately described within the novels, the spy drank a staggering 1,150 units of alcohol – the equivalent of 1,150 shots of whiskey or vodka. That meant that on an average day Bond was drinking 92 units per week, about the same as one and a half bottles of wine per day on his own.
Although the average is excessive on its own, Bond also had periods where he would drink less and significantly more than normal. During the course of Man With the Golden Gun, for instance, the spy only manages a mean alcohol consumption of 41 units a week. Yet, that is dwarfed by You Only Live Twice as he is able to knock back a weekly average of 132 units. At his worse moments, Bond drank 225 units in a week and even consumed 50 units in a single day.
The study found that during the course of the novels they were able to accurately assume Bond spent 48.5 days free of alcohol. That figure is misleading, though, as for many of those days 007 was physically unable to consume any alcohol for a variety of reasons. The researchers concluded that for 36 of those days, the spy was either incarcerated by a villain, in a hospital recovering, or otherwise incapacitated. This leaves just 12.5 days when he actually chose not to drink at all.
The study took approximately six months to carry out in total as the researchers had to read each of the original 14 James Bond novels. To make it a little less time-consuming they split the books up evenly between them and then went through each page to note down every instance the spy consumed any alcohol. They then analyzed this data along with whether it was consumed on a “described day” so that they had a definite time scale to allow them to work out a weekly and daily average.