Bond twice as violent, Otago study shows

Daniel Craig is the current James Bond.
Daniel Craig is the current James Bond.
James Bond films are twice as violent as they used to be, according to researchers at Otago University.

The team analysed 22 official franchise films, from Dr No in 1962 to Quantum of Solace in 2008 to test the theory that popular movies are becoming more violent.

They found that rates of violence increased significantly and there was an even bigger increase in portrayals of severe violence - acts likely to cause death or injury if they occurred in real life.

While Dr No featured only 109 trivial or severely violent acts, there were 250 violent acts in Quantum of Solace. The latter film featured nearly three times as many acts of severe violence.

In counting and classifying violent imagery in the films the researchers used a scheme modified from a US 1997 National Television Violence Study.

Violent acts were defined as attempts by any individual to harm another and classified as severe (such as punching, kicking, or attacks with weapons) or trivial violence (such as a push or an open-handed slap).

The research is newly published online in the US journal Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

Study co-author Associate Professor Bob Hancox of the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine says the popular films are seen by many children and adolescents and their increasingly violent nature is concerning.

"There is extensive research evidence suggesting that young people's viewing of media violence can contribute to desensitisation to violence and aggressive behaviour," Associate Professor Hancox said.

The increase in violent content of Bond movies likely reflects a general increase in the exposure of young people to media violence through similarly rated popular films, he said.

The latest Bond film, Skyfall, was not included because it was unreleased at the time of the study.