James Bond movies are not where you’d most expect to find examples of virtue.
But there are two scenes about virtue that have always fascinated me in Goldfinger (1964), the third installment and arguably one of the best in the whole saga.
“I Never Joke About My Work, 007”
This line is delivered by Q (played by Desmond Llewelyn) just after he’s introduced 007 (Sean Connery) to his famous Aston Martin DB5 equipped with an array of gadgets and weaponry. Just as he is illustrating the ejector seat feature, 007 quips “Ejector seat? You’re joking!”, to which Q stares back completely unamused and calmly but sternly replies: “I never joke about my work, 007”.
This shows just how dedicated Q is to playing his role serving Queen and country. To him this is an ordinary workday and he takes every task very seriously. Q is not the movie’s hero but he understands what St. Josemaría Escrivá would say: by doing his daily work well and responsibly, not only will he be supporting himself financially, but he will also be contributing in a very direct way to the development of society, he will be relieving the burdens of others and maintaining countless welfare projects, both local and international, on behalf of less privileged individuals and countries (Friends of God, 120).
A humbling moment for Mr. Bond and an opportunity to learn from his Quartermaster.
And speaking of agent 007’s moments…
“Discipline, 007, discipline”
In this scene, James Bond is now chasing the eponymous villain Goldfinger. He’s driving his Aston Martin DB5. He is then momentarily distracted by the young attractive woman (Tania Mallet) driving a convertible that has just overtaken him.
We can clearly see what his first impulse is: to interrupt the chase for Goldfinger and endeavor in the more exciting chase of a new female conquest.
While James Bond is the hero of the movie, what comes next is perhaps the clearest display of true heroism from MI6’s agent: he decides to dominate his urges and stick to his mission, reminding himself what he must practice: “Discipline, 007, discipline”.
No combat, no explosions, no girls. Not a witness but the fourth wall. 007’s finest moment is a heroic minute made up of a short sentence and a strong will.