Contributed by: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin

(June 20, 1915–September 7, 1994): Urbane Irish film director and screenwriter who directed three of the best films in the 007 series: Dr. No, From Russia with Love, and Thunderball. Since he was the first director on the United Artists series, he was very much responsible for setting the style of the films and guiding Sean Connery in the role that made him an international star.

In many ways, Young was James Bond. While Ian Fleming was serving his country as an intelligence officer, Young was a dashing young tanker with the Irish Guards Armoured Division. Like Fleming, he was a connoisseur of the finer things in life—gourmet meals, expensive wines, beautifully appointed homes, travel, and adventure. He always surrounded himself with an eclectic group of artists, authors, filmmakers, and other VIPs who appreciated his keen wit, sense of humor, and boyish enthusiasm for filmmaking. When he was tapped to direct Dr. No, Young had been reading Fleming’s novels for years and thus was very familiar with the world of 007. Combining Young’s sophisticated talents with the contributions of American screenwriter Richard Maibaum and editor Peter Hunt, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman created a true hybrid of early-1960s filmmaking: a stylish international film series with well-crafted production values and action sequences that American audiences could appreciate. In 1977, Young noted with pride that he “directed the first James Bond film (Dr. No), the best James Bond film (From Russia with Love), and the most successful James Bond film of all (Thunderball).”[1]

One of Young’s earliest films was about the Irish Guards and was titled They Were Not Divided (1950). It featured several actors who would become players in the Bond series, including Peter Burton, Anthony Dawson, Desmond Llewelyn, and Michael Brennan. His involvement with Broccoli and Maibaum dated back to the Alan Ladd World War II adventure Paratrooper (1953), a.k.a. The Red Beret. Born in Shanghai, the Cambridge-educated Young started his career as a screenwriter, making his film debut on director Brian Desmond Hurst’s The Fugitive (1939) a.k.a. On the Night of the Fire, which he adapted from F. L. Green’s novel. His first original screenplay was Hurst’s Suicide Squadron (1941). Young made his film directing debut on Corridor of Mirrors (1948), a mystery drama that featured future Bond players Christopher Lee and Lois Maxwell.

[1] Terence Young, interview by Steven Jay Rubin, London, June 25, 1977.


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