One of the most celebrated entries in the Bond series, Skyfall, was a critical and box office success. Directed by Sam Mendes and starring Daniel Craig as 007, Bond 23 marked the 50th anniversary of the franchise.
Skyfall begins with Bond on a mission in Istanbul, where he’s tasked with retrieving a stolen hard drive that contains the identities of all NATO agents embedded in terrorist organizations. But things go awry when he’s accidentally shot by fellow MI6 agent Eve Moneypenny (played by Naomie Harris) and presumed dead.
As Bond goes into hiding, a new villain emerges: Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem), a former MI6 agent who seeks revenge on M (played by Judi Dench) for betraying him years ago. Bond is forced out of hiding and returns to London to stop Silva’s plan to destroy MI6 and kill M.
Along the way, Bond is aided by a young Q (Ben Whishaw) and a resurrected Miss Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), as he battles Silva and tries to save M from his clutches. The film is packed with thrilling action sequences, plenty of nostalgia, and some memorable performances from its cast.
The movie received widespread acclaim for its fresh take on the Bond formula while staying true to the character’s roots. It grossed over $1.1 billion at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing Bond film to date.
In this blog post, we’ll dive deeper into the plot and characters of Skyfall and take a look at the best scenes, to see what makes it such a standout entry in the Bond franchise.
In Istanbul, 007 James Bond and field agent Eve Moneypenny chase after hired gun Patrice, who has stolen a hard drive containing information about undercover agents. They chase Patrice in cars initially, but then Patrice steals a motorbike, so Bond takes one too as the chase goes up onto the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar.
The chase ends up on the roof train, but Bond is shot in the shoulder by Patrice as he tries to jump onto Patrice’s carriage. They start fighting hand-to-hand on top of the moving train.
Meanwhile, further up the line, Eve takes position with a rifle, ready to take out Patrice, but with Bond and Patrice in a close fist fight, it’s tough for Eve to get a clear shot. By radio, M orders Eve to take the shot anyway, and she does, but unfortunately, she hits Bond who plunges into the river below. Bond is believed to be dead, and Patrice gets away with the hard drive.
Fast forward three months, M faces a public inquiry about the mishandling of the hard drive theft, resulting in Gareth Mallory, Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament and an ex-SAS officer, pushing her towards retirement.
Despite M’s insistence on her usefulness, MI6’s systems are compromised, and M receives a taunting message just before the MI6 headquarters is blown up. Bond, having taken advantage of his supposed death to retire and drink a lot of alcohol on an island retreat, learns of the attack and heads back to London to help.
In London, Bond meets M at her home, where she informs him that he’s been officially declared dead and his belongings placed in storage. He asks to rejoin the service, and M tells him he’ll have to pass tests to become a field agent again. Bond is taken to MI6’s new underground base, and his evaluation starts.
Having been drinking heavily for 3 months, Bond isn’t in great shape physically, and even struggles to regain his sharpshooting skills. He painfully removes some shrapnel left in his shoulder from Patrice’s gunshot and sends it for analysis.
Bond goes to see M and meets Eve again. After shooting Bond, she’s been suspended from fieldwork and is now helping Mallory. In M’s office, she greenlights Bond’s return to action, and instructs him to head to Shanghai, pinpoint Patrice’s employer, retrieve the hard drive, and eliminate Patrice.
Bond meets Mallory for the first time, who advises him not to mess up his new mission. He then heads to a meeting with the new MI6 quartermaster, Q, who supplies him with a radio beacon and a Walther PPK handgun that can only be fired by Bond.
In Shanghai, Bond tails Patrice to a skyscraper in the city center. From his car, Bond witnesses Patrice shoot the security guard with a suppressed firearm before entering the elevator.
Bond hitches a ride by clinging to the underside of the elevator cab, following Patrice to a server room on his floor. There, Patrice assembles a sniper’s rifle and cuts a hole in the window to take aim at an elderly Chinese businessman in the building opposite.
As Patrice fires, Bond intervenes and grapples with him for control of the weapon. In the scuffle, Patrice is pushed out of a broken window, and he plunges to his death. Bond looks through patrcie’s bags and sees a casino chip that leads him to a casino in Macau.
Mallory assigns Moneypenny to assist Bond in his inquiry, and she turns up at his hotel. They share some intimate moments as she shaves Bond with a cut-throat razor, and Bond tries to seduce her, but Moneypenny changes the mood.
Bond and Moneypenny head to the casino and he cashes in the chip, which gets him attention from the security and a woman called Sévérine. She’s working as a hostess and goes to chat with Bond, who identifies her tattoo, and deduces she was once a sex slave and is now working for the criminal who “rescued” her.
Bond requests to meet her boss and promises to kill him and free Sévérine from his control. She warns Bond about him, and she tells him the security will kill him after he leaves. However, if Bond survives, he should head to see her on her yacht and she will then have faith that Bond may be able to kill her boss.
Bond outsmarts the attack and heads to Sévérine on her yacht. They make love before they head to a deserted island near Macau to meet with her boss Raoul Silva. When they arrive at the island Silva’s henchmen capture Bond and Sévérine.
Bond is tied down in a large hall full of computer servers, as Silva comes down to introduce himself. He’s a former MI6 agent who was betrayed by M, which he says resulted in his imprisonment and torture by the enemy.
Silva then became a cyberterrorist and masterminded the hacking of the system and the attack on the MI6 headquarters in London. Bond and Silva thren head to a courtyard where Sévérineis tied up and injured.
Silva places a small glass of whiskey on Sévérine’s head, and tells Bond to shoot the glass off her head. Bond’s hand trembles, causing him to miss the shot, so Silva steps up and shoots her dead.
Bond then overpowers Silva’s henchmen and Bond gets Silva at gunpoint as MI6 helicopters notice Bond’s radio signal and close in to arrest Silva. They take Silva back to London and lock him inside the MI6’s new subterranean base ready to be sent to HMP Belmarsh.
Silva is incarcerated in a sophisticated solitary confinement cell, and M interrogates him regarding his assaults. But he demands to why she abandoned him, and then reveals to her his disfigured face, which resulted from his hydrogen cyanide capsule’s failure to terminate him. It destroyed much of his upper jaw, teeth, and left cheekbone, which means he has to wear a prosthetic.
M tells Bond Silva’s real name is Tiago Rodriguez, who was a brilliant agent, but he started going rogue, so M surrendered him to the Chinese government in exchange for numerous imprisoned agents and a peaceful handover of Hong Kong.
She then instructs Bond to examine Silva’s laptop while she goes to a public hearing about the ongoing issue. Q tries to decode Silva’s laptop but unintentionally grants it access to MI6’s system, enabling Silva to break free.
Q quickly realizes it was all planned by Silva so he can get revenge on M. Bond and Q head to Silva’s cell, but he has already gone free after the laptop opened the system. Bond pursues SIlva through the London Underground, as he heads to the public hearing to assassinate M.
Silva and his two accomplices arrive at the tribunal building and open fire on the security guards at the checkpoint. Bond isn’t far behind, but by the time he arrives Silva and his men have entered the courtroom, wildly shooting.
The hearing goes into panic as a few people are shot dead. Silva then sees M and has a clear shot at her, but Mallory pushes her to the ground and is shot in the left shoulder by Silva.
Bond enters the tribunal building, and he exchanges fire with Silva and his men. Bond spots a pistol on the ground and kicks it over to Eve, who emerges and fires suppressive shots at Silva.
Mallory takes out one of the henchmen, before Bond shoots at a pair of fire extinguishers, creating a smokescreen to obscure Silva’s vision. Silva kills a bystander and escapes outside to his awaiting getaway car, which speeds away just as Bond reaches the outside.
Bond then takes M to safety, and into hiding. His plan is to take her up to Skyfall, the home he grew up in up in the Scottish Highlands. They head there in the Aston Martin DB5, which M isn’t pleased about. He jokingly tells her to stop complaining or he’ll use the ejector seat on her.
Bond directs Q and Bill Tanner to create a digital breadcrumb trail for Silva to follow them up to Skyfall, which Bond will prepare for his arrival. When they get there. Skyfall’s gamekeeper, Kincade is there. He shows M around the old building, showing her the tunnels and traps, and they all set some booby traps for when Silva arrives
The first lot of Silva’s henchmen arrive and they fall victim to the booby traps, the DB5’s machine guns, and Bond and Kincade’s efforts. Unfortunately, M is struck in the abdomen by a stray bullet.
Silva arrives with his second wave of men via helicopter. Bond directs Kincade and M to flee through the tunnel while he takes them on. Silva launches furious firepower and hand grenades into Skyfall, but Bond uses some dynamite to detonate two gas canisters, resulting in the destruction of the helicopter, significant portions of the house, and the deaths of all but Silva and two of his men.
Bond then joins Kincade and M in escaping through the tunnel, but Silva spots Kincade’s flashlight as they head up towards the chapel. Silva chases them and back up out of the other end of the tunnel, so does Bond.
Bond takes a shortcut over a frozen pond, but Silva and his two men attempt to stop Bond. He dispatches the first henchman and kills the second by shooting the ice so they both fall into the lake and he drowns him beneath the ice, as Silva heads up to the chapel.
Bond reaches the chapel to discover Silva urging M to shoot them both and end their suffering. Bond then throws a knife into Silva’s back, killing him and freeing M of his threat. However, she’s gotten so weak from the bullet wound, she collapses and slowly dies in Bond’s arms.
After M’s funeral, Eve Moneypenny formally introduces herself to Bond. They had never exchanged names, so she introduces herself and explains her decision to retire from field operations and become secretary to Mallory, the newly appointed M. Bond meets with Mallory and expresses his readiness to resume work.
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall
You either loved or loathed Daniel Craig for the direction Bond was taken in under his tenure. That said, Skyfall is one of the best Bond movies and Craig plays the part fantastically well, delivering a powerful and dynamic performance as the iconic spy.
One of the standout elements of Craig’s portrayal of Bond in Skyfall is the depth and complexity that he brings to the character. In the film, Bond is living a life of excess, indulging in three months of drinking and sex before returning to work.
As he returns to work, Bond finds himself out of shape and facing his most challenging mission yet. But despite the odds against him, Craig delivers an electrifying performance as he fights to save M from the dangerous Raoul Silva.
His action scenes are always well delivered, and in the pre title sequence where he’s chasing Patrice is certainly a memorable scene. The motorbike chase across the tiled roof of the Grand Bazaar makes for some great moments.
However, Skyfall really hits home with some emotional impact when Bond is unable to save his boss, M, played by Judi Dench. As he cradles her in his arms, she tells him at least she got one thing right in her life alluding to sticking by Bond.
Overall, Daniel Craig’s performance in Skyfall is a tour de force. Bond is a different character under Craig, but the actor always plays the part very well.
Bond Villains in Skyfall
Born Tiago Rodriguez, Raoul Silva, was a man of many faces. Little is known about his early life except for the story he relates to James Bond about his grandmother teaching him how to rid an island of rats.
Rodriguez had a career in the Intelligence Service, where he was stationed in Hong Kong from 1986 to 1997. However, he went rogue and started hacking the Chinese government networks, which led to M sacrificing him in exchange for the release of six agents held by the Chinese government.
During his time in captivity in China, Silva attempted to take his own life using a Hydrogen Cyanide implant, it failed to kill him and instead left him physically and mentally scarred. His upper jaw was severely damaged, causing his left cheek to sink, his eyes to become bloodshot, and his speech to become slurred and raspy.
His teeth had melted away, leaving him with a need for a prosthesis to replace them and to inflate his left cheek, presumably to help him breathe. He also had rotten decaying gums, and the few remaining teeth were mutilated and deformed. He only blames one person for this: M.
Years later, Silva improved his hacking skills and built a criminal empire. He caused a fake leak at a chemical plant on Hashima Island to claim it as his base of operations, and he rigged the 2011 national Ugandan elections while manipulating the stock market to cripple economies around the world. His numerous cyber exploits granted him near-limitless money, power, and resources, making him a force to be reckoned with by the time he crossed paths with James Bond.
In 2012, Silva has stole a hard drive containing the identities of every NATO agent and delivered it to M. He then posted videos online revealing the identities of the undercover field agents and threatened to post more every week. He later bombed M’s office, killing eight MI6 agents.
He and Bond first meet when Bond goes to his deserted island lair. He has Bond and Sévérine arrested on arrival. He introduces himself to Bond whose tied to a chair, and he acts provocatively towards Bond.
Silva murders Sévérine in front of Bond but 007 manages to overcome his henchmen and alert MI6 who come to the island to arrest Silva. But it’s all part of Silva’s plans to get close to M. He’s arrested, taken to MI6 HQ, and is close to M.
He’s locked in a special solitary confinement cell, and he manipulates the computer network to open his doors allowing him to escape. He then heads to a public hearing where M is and tries to kill her. Bond thwarts his plan and takes her up to Scotland.
Bond leaves some breadcrumbs for Silva who follows them up with the sole intention of killing M. There’a major showdown at Skyfall Lodge, and Silva completely destroys the ancient building. He sees M heading towards the chapel and follows her there.
Silva captures M and torments her, offering her the gun to kill both of them, hoping to drag her down with him. Bond storms into the lodge and hurls a knife into Silva’s back, causing him to writhe in agony before staggering towards Bond and collapsing dead.
Raoul Silva is played by Spanish actor Javier Bardem, and is regularly voted as one of the best Bond villains for his performance in Skyfall.
Bond Girls in Skyfall
Sévérine is an enigmatic and seductive woman. She’s played by Bérénice Marlohe, and we first see her assisting terrorist Patrice in an assassination of an art dealer. Bond thwarts the assassination and kills Patrice, seen by Sévérine, who leaves the scene with her bodyguards.
Bond follows the trail of a casino chip he found in Patrice’s bag to the Macau casino, Sévérine awaits his arrival to claim the money. Bond spots her leaning against a staircase banister, and after a brief conversation, Sévérine teases Bond for a drink.
The two become acquainted, and Bond guesses that Sévérine is a sex slave captive of a powerful figure whom she fears. He vows to help her escape and asks her to join forces in finding the man in the shadows.
She tells him the bodyguards are going to kill him and if he survives this, he should goto her yacht and she will show him where her boss is. Bond overcomes the guards and goes to see Sévérine walking in on her taking a shower.
The pair now in close quarters, Sévérine reveals the extent of her trauma from being a victim of the Macau sex trade. The next day head to her boss’s island in her yacht and as they approach, she is clearly terrified.
When they arrive at the isalnd, they’re ambushed, and Sévérine is beaten for her defection. Silva interrogates Bond and takes him outside to find Sévérine bloodied and bound to a collapsed statue. Silva hands Bond an Antique Percussion Cap Pistol and challenges him to shoot the glass off Sévérine’s head, Bond misses far to her left, but Silva shoots Sévérine squarely in the head, killing her.
Little is known of Bond’s lover. She’s the woman whose in bed with him during his three month hiedaway on the desert island. She is making love with Bond after lying in bed while Bond is drinking a beer. As soon as Bond hears about MI6 being attacked he gives up his hideaway life and we never see her again.
She’s played by Tonia Sotiropoulou, and she’s credited as Bond’s lover, and we only see her in the bed scene. Therefore, we don’t know if she’s his girlfriend during his three month stint or a prostitute. Either way, she’s technically a Bond girl.
Best Scenes in Skyfall
Skyfall has many fantastic scenes but one of the best is when Silva and Ma re reunited with the cold and calculated Silva locked in a special cell.
Javier Bardem’s portrayal of the villain is both poetic and terrifying. He’s so calm but ruthless, and when he’s telling M about what she made him do to himself is a harrowing scene. When he was locked away in China he attempted suicide with some Hydrogen Cyanide.
Watch the scene
This blew his face open and disfigured him, which he reveals by removing his false teeth and pulling the prosthetic mouth and cheek piece out. As Silva takes it out his cheek collapses into a hollow, grotesque, almost zombified look.
It’s a stunning and impressive way to showcase his disfigurement. What makes the scene even more compelling is how M is implicated in the creation of this monster. It adds another layer of complexity to the immoral world of espionage, and highlights M’s brutal decision making.
Skyfall – Up There with the Best of Bond Movies
Bond 23, Skyfall was a game-changing addition to the James Bond franchise. After the criticism targeted towards Bond producers for the previous movie, Quantum of Solace, they really fired back with this one.
Daniel Craig was at his best and Javier Bardem as the main villain was absolutely terrific in every way. Their battles in both discussion and physical were memorable.
The reintroduction of Moneypenny, but as a field agent was a masterstroke. As was the new young Q. His more hands on approach was welcome and his meeting with Bond offered some humor during a serious movie. Mallory’s transition into becoming M was also perfectly played out during the course of the film.
Judi Dench as M played her biggest role, and she mastered it. Her ruthless nature was evident at the beginning which almost got Bond killed, and it came back to haunt her as Raoul Silva tried to exact his revenge. It showed a vulnerable M that we’d never seen before, but it made the plot really interesting.
Overall, Skyfall proved to be a standout entry in the Bond canon. It’s not only the best of all Daniel Craig Bond films, but up the with the best in the entire catalog, and it is certainly worth watching again and again.