British secret agent James Bond has it all: Looks, charisma, a high paying job with plenty of excitement. But what makes him truly special is his ability to dodge bullets. 4662 bullets avoided to date, with more to come later this year…
Gordon Stranger from the Solomon Islands has gone through all 22 Bond films and counted the number of shots fired at 007 in response to a question from New Scientist about the probability of Bond surviving for so long.
There is some ambiguity over how many gunshots have been fired at James Bond because, in many gunfights, it is not clear who the shots are aimed at. However, by my reckoning, in the 22 Bond films to date, there have been at least 4662 shots fired at our hero. A static well-aimed shot would almost certainly have proved lethal, but assuming all 4662 were “on the run”, the probability of a single fatal shot is about 5 per cent. That is, the chance of a single shot missing is 0.95, and hence the probability of all shots missing is 0.954662 or 1.4 × 10-104, which is as close to zero as makes no difference.
Apart from gunshots there have been 130 dastardly attempts to kill Bond. Factor that in, and you have a really small probability. For the record, Bond has also slain 198 villains, creating yet another bizarre improbability.
Of course, with Skyfall set to hit cinemas later this year, we’ll have to see those figures recalculated to factor in the countless near-death experiences Daniel Craig goes through in his third Bond film.