Honey Ryder is the iconic Bond girl from the 1962 film Dr. No. Played by Swiss-German actress Ursula Andress, Honey is one of the most memorable and influential characters in the James Bond movie series.
With her unforgettable entrance emerging from the Caribbean Sea in a white bikini and dagger in her belt, Honey Ryder made a lasting impression on audiences and cemented her place in pop culture history.
In this biography post, we will explore the character of Honey Ryder, her role in the film and book, and take a look at her lasting impact on the Bond franchise and beyond.
Honey Ryder in Dr. No Movie
Honey Ryder is a character in both the novel and movie Dr. No. In the novel, she’s called Honeychile Rider, but her first name was shortened and surname adapted for the film.
Honey Ryder’s iconic entrance in the film is one of the most iconic scenes in the world of James Bond. She emerges majestically from the Caribbean Sea at Dr. Julius No‘s Crab Key Island wearing nothing but a white bikini and clutching two large seashells while her wet blond hair gleams golden in the sunlight.
She first sees James Bond, played by Sean Connery, when he joins in singing Underneath the Mango Tree. She’s startled when she notices him, and asks if he’s looking for shells, to which Bond says, ‘No, I’m just looking’ – referring to looking at the beautiful figure in front of him.
Honey Ryder in Popular Culture
Of course, the first main Bond girl was more than just beauty, as she helped Bond in his mission to foil the psychotic Dr. No’s plan for world domination.
Honey Ryder is a beachcomber making a living selling seashells in Miami, and she’s actually on the island fishing for shells and investing her father’s death after he died there.
Earlier in her life, she became a victim of the abusive landlord, who raped her, and she tells Bond how she got her revenge by planting a black widow spider in his mosquito net, which consequently killed him, slowly.
After her father’s murder, Honey had to fend for herself and became the independent character that we meet in the film. At first, she is unwilling to accept orders from Bond and is aloof with him. When Quarell tells Bond Dr. No’s henchmen have seen them, Bond orders Honey to leave, but her boat has been damaged, which she blames on Bond being there. Bond promises to get her a new one once they get back to Kingston.
Honey then joins Bond and Quarel in their hunt for Dr. No. Honey isn’t afraid of any person, but she does freeze when confronted by what she thinks is Dr. No’s dragon. Quarell also freezes when under attack by the “dragon”, which turns out to be a flame-throwing tractor.
Bond and Honey Ryder are then captured, decontaminated and imprisoned in Dr. No’s lair. Both are given tranquilizer-laced coffee which leaves them unconscious. The next day they’re invited for lunch with Dr. No, who tells them about his plans and hopes Bond will join SPECTRE.
Dr. No tells them of his mission on Crab Key, that he’s determined to destroy the island and move onto a different target. Angered by Bond’s lack of admiration and foresight, the Doctor has Honey locked up and orders that 007 be beaten and impounded in a cell.
Dr. No prepares to launch his next missile, but Bond escapes from his cell, sabotages the nuclear pool reactor and foils Dr. No’s plan to foil America’s latest missile launch.
Dr. Julius No and Bond fight which eventually leads them onto a platform that’s going down into the bubbling reactor coolant. Bond frees himself and climbs to safety, but because of his prosthetics hands, Dr. No can’t grip and he falls into the nuclear pool and is boiled to death.
As panic sets in everyone is trying to escape before the place explodes, Bond rescues Honey from being slowly drowned. As the laboratory explodes, everyone is jumping in the sea, but Bond keeps his promise and gets Honey a new boat, by hijacking a small fishing boat.
The pair then escape the island and set sail to sea, until they run out of fuel and are left stranded in the in the middle of the Caribbean sea.
Honey Ryder then asks Bond what they’re going to do, to which Bond replies, ‘Well we can swim, or…’ ‘Or what?’ enquires Honey, before James tells her to ‘Come here…’
They’re then found by Felix and a Royal Navy boat, who offer to tow them to safety. But as Honey passionately kisses Bond, the suave spy unties the tow so they can enjoy more privacy. And that’s the last we see of Honey Ryder in Dr. No the movie.
How Honey Ryder Differs from the Novel
Honeychile Rider plays a bigger part in the Dr. No novel, and we know much more about her. As in the film, she’s very independent, but in the novel it’s her dream to become a call girl in New York, something Bond advises her against it.
She’s Jamaican in the novel, albeit from a long line of colonial ancestry. At five years old, she was left with no one but her black nanny when the home of her parents home went up in flames. She then took to living in the cellar of her nanny’s until the age of 15, and we learn this is where she was raped.
She also suffered from a broken nose in the assault, and this was one of the reasons she became a shell diver, to pay for plastic surgery to fix her nose.
As in the movie, Rider and Bond are captured by Dr. No, but the Bond villain attempts to execute Honeychile Rider by tying her up near rocks to be devoured alive by crabs. She is aware, however, that they’re not too keen on human flesh and will avoid attacking her altogether.
Different to the movie, Rider escapes herself, and when her and Bond flee Crab Key Island, Bond is unconscious, and so she sails them both back to Jamaica in a canoe. She also looks after his wounds until he gets to a hospital.
As the story is ending, Rider reveals she’s changed her mind and won’t move to New York. Instead she intends to stay in Jamaica and work in the Natural History Museum. At the end of the novel, they both have differ at Rider’s place and they share a night together, before Bond leaves Jamaica.
Ursula Andress was a Swiss/German actress and sex symbol who rose to fame in the 1960s. She was born on March 19, 1936 in Ostermundigen, Switzerland.
Andress’ mother was German, while her father was a Swiss diplomat. She spent her early years traveling around Europe with her family, and as a result, she was fluent in several languages, including English, German, French, and Italian.
After leaving school, she went to Paris to study art, then went to Rome, where she did some nannying. In 1955, when she was 19, she moved to Hollywood, California.
After arriving there, and had relationships with Hollywood stars Dennis Hopper and James Dean. She also had an affair that year with actor/director John Derek, who left his wife Pati Behrs and children to be together with the then 19-year-old Andress. They ended up marrying.
Andress struggled to get any acting work at first, but got her big break in the James Bond film Dr. No. Emerging from the sea in a white bikini, became one of the most iconic moments in film history and cemented her status as a sex symbol.
Other actresses considered for the role included Julie Christie, who was rejected because her breasts weren’t big enough, and Martine Beswick, who was rejected because she lacked experience. Ursula Andress was only cast for the role of Honey Ryder about 2 weeks before filming started, after Albert R. Brocolli saw a picture of her.
After Dr. No, Andress appeared in a number of films, including Bond parody Casino Royal (1967 version, not the Daniel Craig film), Fun in Acapulco with Elvis Presley, and Clash of the Titans.
In addition to her acting career, Andress was also known for her beauty and style. She was often described as one of the most beautiful women in the world, and she graced the covers of numerous magazines, including Vogue and Femme.
Since the 1980s, she has appeared in less movies. Her last role was in 2005 in St. Francis Birds Tour starring as a Madonna. She hasn’t officially retired, but the 86 year old has moved from the US and now lives in Rome and Swiss town Gstaad.
Random Facts About Honey Ryder in Dr. No
Ursula Andress was offered the role of Honey Ryder after the producers saw pictures of her in a wet t-shirt contest.
Because of her heavy accent, her voice was dubbed in Dr. No by voice artist Nikki Van der Zyl.
Andress won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year in 1964 for her appearance in Dr. No.
In the novel she comes out of the sea wearing only a belt, and no bikini.
The white bikini she famously wore in the film sold at auction for £41,125.
Ursula was paid $10,000 for her role as Honey Ryder
Her entrance in Dr. No was voted No.1 in The 100 Greatest Sexy Moments of movies.
There’s a music band called Honey Ryder. The British rock/folk band scored 2 Top 40 hits in the late noughties (2000s) with their first 2 singles.
Honey Ryder – The Original Bond Girl
With her unforgettable beach entrance and alluring beauty, Honey Ryder is an iconic character in the world of James Bond. She’s a strong, independent woman who exudes confidence and fearlessness.
Although she only had a few scenes in Dr. No, Honey was able to make a lasting impression and remains an inspiring and beloved character in Bond history.
Whether you’re a fan or not, Honey Ryder has made an undeniable mark on popular culture and will continue to do so for years to come. Honey Ryder remains one of the most famous Bond girls ever created.