Tatiana Romanova is one of the most memorable characters from the 1963 James Bond film, From Russia with Love. So much so, she’s gone down in the pantheon of Bond girls after capturing the hearts and minds of viewers with her beauty, charm, and intricate involvement in a high-stakes plot against 007.
In this character bio, we’ll explore the character’s backstory, her role in the film, and the talented actress, Daniela Bianchi, who brought her to life on the big screen. So grab your shaken-not-stirred martini, and let’s embark on a thrilling journey into the world of espionage, glamour, and intrigue that is Tatiana Romanova’s legacy.
Tatiana Romanova in From Russia with Love
A former ballerina, Romanova is stationed at the Soviet Embassy in Istanbul, where her commanding officer, Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya), manipulates her into thinking she’s on an important mission for her country.
Tatiana “Tania” Romanova, played by Italian actress Daniela Bianchi and voiced by British actress Barbara Jefford, is a Soviet army corporal and cipher clerk who becomes a pivotal figure in a plot to take revenge on James Bond.
Romanova is devoted to her country and enthusiastic about participating in what she believes to be an important mission. However, she’s frightened of Klebb, who tells her that her life depends on accepting the mission.
In reality, she’s a pawn in SPECTRE’s scheme to discredit and humiliate the British Secret Service by setting up Bond with her.
When she arrives in Istanbul, Romanova reaches out to Ali Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendáriz), sharing her intentions to defect from the Soviet Union and bring the valuable Lektor with her, provided that James Bond aids the operation. She tells him that she’s fallen in love with Bond after seeing his picture in a classified file and desires to live with him.
Both M (Bernard Lee) and Bond suspect this to be a setup, but the potential reward is too tempting to ignore, so Bond travels to Istanbul and establishes contact with Bey.
Bond goes to his hotel room, and discovers Romanova walking across the room, wearing nothing but a black velvet choker, as she climbs into his bed. She’s immediately smitten with Bond and they make love unaware they’re being filmed. The tape is specifically intended to bring shame upon MI6 and disgrace Bond as retribution for the death of Dr. Julius No.
Now that Tatiana has fallen for Bond she really does want to defect and go live in England with Bond. With assistance from Ali Kerim Bey, Bond and Romanova make their daring escape from the Soviet embassy in Istanbul.
They board the Orient Express, headed for Italy. Along the way, they confront SPECTRE assassin Donald ‘Red’ Grant (Robert Shaw), who drugs them but Bond gets the better of him, and he and Tatiana then head for the safety of Venice and Western Europe.
In Venice, they have a final encounter with Klebb, who’s now disguised as a maid. At this point, Romanova is torn between her loyalty to her country and her feelings for Bond. Klebb orders Tatiana out of the room at gunpoint and is just about to shoot Bond, when Tatiana knocks the gun out of her hand.
Klebb then tries to kill Bond with her venom coated, dagger-tipped boot, but Tatiana reaches for the gun and shoots Klebb, saving Bond’s life and overcoming her biggest fear: Rosa Klebb.
The film concludes with Bond and Tatiana Romanova in a boat on the Grand Canal in Venice. Bond retrieves the film reel of their intimate moment, and lifts it up to see what’s on it. He begins to laugh, so Tatiana asks him what’s funny.
Bond throws the reel into the canal and tells her, ‘let me show you instead,’ as the two slide down in a passionate embrace in their gondola.
Italian actress and former model, Daniela Bianchi is best known for her portrayal of Bond girl Tatiana Romanova in From Russia with Love.
She was born in Rome to parents hailing from Sirolo, Marche in Central Italy. The daughter of an Italian Army colonel, Bianchi studied ballet for eight years and later worked as a fashion model.
Daniela Bianchi claimed the first runner-up position in the 1960 Miss Universe contest and was awarded Miss Photogenic by the press. Her film career started in 1958, with her first uncredited role in In Case of Adversity that same year.
She won parts in a few other Italian films, before her big break in only her fourth film, From Russia with Love (1963). After her casting as Bond Girl Tatiana Romanova, Bianchi appeared in some French and Italian films, with her last being Scacco internazionale in 1968. Among her later films was Operation Kid Brother (also known as OK Connery and Operation Double 007), an English-language James Bond spoof starring Neil Connery, the younger brother of Sean Connery.
Daniela Bianchi’s only role in an American production was a three-part Dr. Kildare story titled “Rome Will Never Leave You.” Bianchi retired from acting in 1970 to marry Genoan shipping magnate Alberto Cameli, with whom she shares a son, Filippo Cameli.
Tatiana Romanova – A Defector and a Hero Bond Girl
Tatiana Romanova remains an iconic and unforgettable Bond girl, whose allure and enigmatic presence in From Russia with Love left a lasting impact on fans of the James Bond series. The talented Daniela Bianchi brought this complex character to life with finesse and grace, making Romanova a truly memorable figure in the Bond universe.
As Bond girls go, she’s definitely one of the favourites of many. And while she is certainly beautiful, Tatiana is much more than that. She has to put up with a lot from some crazed henchmen and of course Rosa Klebb and comes out of it a hero.
Here’s to more Bond girls like Tatiana Romanova.
Tatiana Romanova FAQs
Tatiana Romanova is a fictional character from the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love, based on the character from Ian Fleming’s 1957 novel of the same name. She’s a Soviet cipher clerk who becomes entangled in a plot to take revenge on James Bond.
Italian actress Daniela Bianchi portrayed Tatiana Romanova in From Russia with Love.
During the film she certainly talked of their future life in England, but they never married. The last we see of her is when they lay down in the gondola. Bond has only ever been married once and that was to Teresa “Tracy” Di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Yes, due to her heavy Italian accent, Daniela Bianchi’s voice was dubbed by British actress Barbara Jefford in the film.
Tatiana Romanova was a Soviet Army corporal and a cipher clerk at the Soviet Embassy in Istanbul. She was initially a ballerina before joining Soviet Army Intelligence.
While initially used as a pawn by the villains, Tatiana Romanova ultimately becomes a heroine by helping Bond and turning against her manipulative commanding officer, Rosa Klebb.
Daniela Bianchi is an Italian actress and former Miss Universe contestant, best known for her role as Tatiana Romanova in the James Bond film From Russia with Love.
Bianchi continued to act in French and Italian films until 1968. She retired from acting in 1970 after marrying a shipping magnate, Alberto Cameli.
No, Bianchi did not appear in any later James Bond films. However, she did star in a James Bond spoof titled Operation Kid Brother alongside Sean Connery’s brother Neil.