Image Anaylsis

            I chose to do my image analysis paper on the James Bond Movie Goldfinger.   This is the third James Bond movie released in the year 1964.  It was created by writer Ian Fleming.  The character James Bond is an agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service.  He is a spy that works for them in order to gain information about villains who want to take over the world in some way.  In the movie Goldfinger the Bank of England sees that someone is stockpiling a lot of gold and suspects that international gold bullion dealer Auric Goldfinger is involved.  James Bond is called to investigate the situation and eventually finds out about operation grand slam; a plot to take over Fort Knox and steal the gold bullion from the vault. (Goldfinger)  Bond has to identify the mastermind behind this scheme and stop the operation from happening.

            The first scene starts out with James Bond exploring the hotel he arrives at and he observes a girl belly dancing for guys. This is the first sign of sexism in the movie.  It depicts how the lady is expected to dance for men for their pleasure.   This scene leads to a James bond walking in on the girl taking a bath.  Right away if one pays attention to the movie you get a sense of sexism.  This is not the last scene of sexism in the movie. There are some throughout the whole movie.  The next scene that depicts sexism is when James Bond sneaks into Goldfinger’s hotel room and finds a girl working for Goldfinger in the act of spying on them playing cards.  Goldfinger is playing a game of gin rummy against someone and he is paying a girl to look at the other player’s cards from his hotel room to tell him what moves he should make.  Bond, being the womanizer that he is, winds up having sex with the lady later that night.  After this, Bond goes back to his headquarters where the special testing lab is for the spy equipment and right away it is noticeable that there are all guys working in the lab.  Not one girl works in the lab and I think this is a good example of how this movie shows sexism.  When the maker of James Bond’s high tech spy equipment shows Bond his car, he shows him radar in his car and makes the remark, “I can stop off for a quick one during route.”  When he says this, it shows his attitude towards woman and how he is sexist towards them.

            In the 1960’s this was common behavior towards woman. They were just not as respected by men like they are now and if it wasn’t for the women’s rights movement of the 1960’s it could possibly still be this way today.  The women’s rights movement raised awareness to everyone that woman should be treated equally to men.   One of the major events that happened in the 1960’s that gave women power was that the Food and Drug Administration approved birth control pills (Dicker).  These pills were taken by women to control whether or not they wanted to get pregnant.  Just a few years before the movie Goldfinger came out, in 1961 President John Kennedy established The President’s Commission on the Status of Women and appointed Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman (Dicker).  This was a big deal for woman because it proved to men that a woman can be appointed to an important position just like men usually were.  Specifically this commission documented discrimination against woman in the workplace and made recommendations for improvement including fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave, and affordable child care (Dicker).  Later in 1964 when the movie Goldfinger was introduced, the Civil Rights Act was introduced which barred discrimination in employment on the basis of race and sex.  It also established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC to investigate complaints and issue penalties (Nojeim).  Even though the movie Goldfinger did a very good job portraying what American life really was like in the 1960’s there was a movement to provide equal rights to race and gender in America, It was just slowly starting out at the time. 

            Besides the issue of sexism that this movie portrays about American culture at that time, there was also another cultural problem in American that the movie portrayed very well.  The other obvious cultural observation that I was shown in the movie Goldfinger was that of racism.  In American in the 1960’s there were still very high racial tensions.  Schools were segregated between whites and blacks, there were separate entrances to establishments like stores for example for blacks and whites, and also there was no chance at all for black people to obtain the jobs that white people could have.  One of these jobs that was impossible for black people to have been acting.  In the movie Goldfinger, there were not any black people playing any major roles. All of the major roles went to white men, and the only other race I seen in the movie were Chinese people who were playing smaller roles.  The Chinese people in the movie worked for the white man Goldfinger.  Sure the movie wouldn’t be possible with these smaller roles but it points out the discrimination to other races other than whites that was in American culture in the 1960’s.  The movie portrays the culturally common belief of the 1960’s that whites were superior to other races and that men were superior to women.  In the 1960’s one thing that the movie did not show was the uprising of racial and gender equality in America.  I did not expect it to show this because it is an action movie, not a movie intended to raise awareness about equality.

            The exclusion of blacks playing major roles in this movie was not by chance or any mistake it is just because of the way of life back in 1964. This did not happen in James Bond Films but in other movies as well.  They were not considered equal to white people in the 1960’s along with women.  People were fed up with the way our culture was and that’s when movements started to happen to change the way society treated women and minority races.  Racial segregation in the United States was defined as the legally or socially enforced separation of African Americans from other races.  Racial segregation was usually physical separation of whites and blacks in public places like stores, or even restrooms, but at one time in the U.S Army black units were usually separated from white units even though they were led by white officers (Nojeim).  The awareness of racial segregation is credited greatly to a man named Martin Luther King Jr.  He was an African American civil rights activist who made speeches to Americans about how there should be equal rights to all races.  In the same year the movie Goldfinger was introduced, King was the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace prize (Nojeim).  If it wasn’t for him, the segregation that was shown in this movie would have been around much longer or even still be around today.  Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4 1968 in Memphis Tennessee (Nojeim). 

Analyzing this movie I saw how segregation in America even played a role in the production of movies.  The two major topics of discussion that I found in this movie were that of female segregation, and racial segregation against blacks.  James Bond movies are very popular in America.  There have been a total of 22 produced since the year 1963.  With all of the attention that these movies get and how they were very popular in the 1960’s they set examples that people would follow.  Goldfinger was an action- packed movie that attracted young men to it. There is nothing wrong with this besides boys seeing how James Bond treated women.  The boys watching these movies would see how James Bond used woman for pleasure and since he was the beloved spy who saved a lot of people they would look up to him as a hero, and this could possible let boys think that it is alright to treat woman the way James Bond did.  I never thought about this until now since I never analyzed these movies when I watched them but I can see how they can set an example to some people.  Fortunately I never got the impression that James Bond was a womanizer and that it is cool to use woman but it is easy to see that it is very possible for a young man to get that impression from the movie Goldfinger.  Over time with the awareness of equal rights of woman and blacks you can see the transition that these James Bond movies went through.  Now days in more recent James Bond movies there are a lot more black people playing major roles in them and there is even a woman actress named Halle Berry that stars with Pierce Brosnan in the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day (Die).  With all that being said, I think the American culture of 1964 was very accurate with the James Bond Movie Goldfinger, and the transition of the way females and blacks are displayed in the James Bond movies over the years are accurate with the culture in America.


                                                                                 Work Cited

Dicker, Rory C. A History of U.S. Feminisms (Seal Studies). New York: Seal P, 2008.

"Die Another Day (2002)." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). 18 Mar. 2009 <>.

"Goldfinger (1964) - Plot summary." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). 18 Mar. 2009 <>.

Nojeim, Michael J. Gandhi and King The Power of Nonviolent Resistance. New York: Praeger,