Search   |  Advanced

Research Summary

Alcohol Use Disorder in a Secret Service Agent: Commander James Bond, 007

James Bond is seen as a role model and his drinking is often portrayed in a glamorous light. UK investigators read all 12 original full-length James Bond novels and recorded his alcohol consumption. In total, 123.5 days were described; on 36 days there was no alcohol consumption due to hospitalization or incarceration.

  • Bond abstained on 14% of days when he was able to drink.
  • Average drinks per drinking day was 9 standard 12 g US drinks.
  • Maximum consumption in one day was 33 drinks (in From Russia With Love, day 3).
  • He had hangovers and drank while working, before driving; on one occasion this precipitated a crash-related hospitalization. Bond’s period of peak consumption followed the death of his wife.
  • He scored 3 on the CAGE alcoholism screening questionnaire, consistent with a moderate to severe alcohol use disorder (C: feels better drinking less; A: becomes annoyed when his drinking is challenged by his boss “M”; E: has an “eye opener” [reported in Thunderball and Living Daylights]).
  • The investigators hypothesize that he was unable to stir drinks as a result of an alcohol-related tremor that led him to prefer his drinks shaken, despite the fact that this is not the ideal preparation of vodka martinis.


The novels were read by only one investigator each; drinking was all by self-report and some was estimated (e.g., when the description was “serious drinking” or “a visit to a bar”); and results may not generalize beyond the British Secret Service. Nonetheless, it appears likely that this agent drinks excessively and has an alcohol use disorder, not ideal for a role model. Clinicians should have a high index of suspicion for unhealthy alcohol use in spies, others employed in high-stress jobs, and fictional characters. Richard Saitz MD, MPH


Johnson G, Guha IN, Davies P. Were James Bond’s drinks shaken because of alcohol induced tremor? BMJ. 2013;347:f7255.