10 Biggest Mistakes The James Bond Series Ever Made
9. Japanese James Bond In You Only Live Twice
To fall back on the old excuse for shocking racial slurs - it was a different time. Plus, as has also been remarked time and again, the Bond franchise has never been held up as a paragon of political correctness. Even so, this was really pushing it.
1967's You Only Live Twice was the fifth Bond movie, and marked Sean Connery's temporary retirement (before his equally temporary, and perhaps misguided return on Diamonds Are Forever). It's also one of the best in most respects, thanks largely to its iconic volcano lair climax and Donald Pleasance's unforgettable turn as Blofeld.
The first four films had already established the glob-trotting element which has long been key to the franchise's global appeal. So for the fifth movie, they sent 007 to Japan, largely with the intent of capitalising on the popularity of the movies there.
However, it's one thing to dip into another culture (pardon the Bond-esque double-entendre); it's quite another to give your protagonist a temporary makeover with a view to changing his ethnicity. But that's just what they do in You Only Live Twice, with Bond adopting a Japanese identity and being married to a local girl to aid his cover story.
It's not just that putting Bond in 'yellowface' was such an awful idea; the make-up itself is terrible, with Connery looking more like a Beatle than a native of Japan. And ultimately he only wears the make-up for a few scenes anyway, so it winds up utterly superfluous. It's not enough to ruin the movie, but it is Connery's lowest moment.