- "East? West? Just points of a compass, each as stupid as the other. I'm a member of SPECTRE."
"SPECTRE. Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, Extortion."
- ― Dr. No and James Bond
Dr. Julius No was a fictional nuclear scientist and operative of the secretive criminal organisation, SPECTRE, who used his knowledge and wealth to threaten a U.S. rocket launch. The villain was based on the literary character who first appeared in the 1958 Ian Fleming novel, Dr. No, and was portrayed by the late Canadian actor, Joseph Wiseman, in the 1962 film of the same name. The first main antagonist in the EON Productions film series, No was also referenced in its sequel, the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love. He later appeared in numerous videos games adapted from the franchise, including GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (2004) and 007 Legends (2012). As the first main antagonist in the film series, No helped set up some of the characteristics of later villains and as such is still sometimes recognized as one of the best villains in the series.
Dr. Julius No is a brilliant scientist with an implied Napoleon complex. He is of Eurasian ancestry, as a self-described "unwanted child of a German missionary and a Chinese girl of a good family". He later "became treasurer of the most powerful criminal society in China", in this case, the Tongs. He then "escaped to America with $10,000,000" of Tong gold bullion; using it to fund his subsequent criminal activities on Crab Key, Jamaica. He specialised in atomic energy, costing him both of his hands, which were replaced with crude, metal bionic appendages. These new hands were strong enough to crush a metal figurine with ease, but were lacking in manual dexterity. He offered his skills and expertise to the Americans and Soviets, but was rejected. In revenge, No joined the criminal organisation SPECTRE. Unlike his literary counterpart, the cinematic Dr. No appears as a slim, middle aged Caucasian man with slightly epicanthal eyes, due to his Chinese heritage. Closely shaven and his dark hair always neatly combed back, the well groomed Doctor dressed himself in equally well-tailored, cream coloured Nehru suits.
Dr. No learns from his associate, local geologist Professor R.J. Dent, that British Secret Service agent John Strangways has been investigating his activities on Crab Key; obtaining suspiciously radioactive rock samples from the island. This prompts No to deploy his enforcers, the Three Blind Mice, to kill the inquisitive Strangways and his secretary Mary Trueblood. Fellow British spy, James Bond, is subsequently sent to Jamaica by his superior M to investigate their murders. Hoping to keep Bond from intruding on his business, Dr. No gives both the Mice and Dent orders to eliminate him. However, Bond manages to survive and kill his would-be assassins. He then sails with local fisherman Quarrel to investigate Dr. No's radioactive activities on Crab Key. There, they encounter shell diver Honey Ryder, who confides that she believes that Dr. No was been responsible for the death of her father when he went shell diving at Crab Key and didn't return. No zealously protects his privacy on the island using a flame-throwing tank the locals fearfully refer to as a 'dragon'. Quarrel is subsequently incinerated by the vehicle, whose crew take Bond and Honey captive.
The pair are held in Dr. No's bauxite mine lair, finally meeting the Doctor face-to-face in his personal sub-aquatic apartment; lavishly decorated with a large concave ocean-window, and the recently stolen Goya painting. Dining with his helpless prisoners, No recounts his life story and explains his scheme to electronically sabotage the U.S. Project Mercury spaceflight program on behalf of SPECTRE. When his operation on Crab Key is concluded, he will destroy the island, and move on to another target. Disappointed by Bond's lack of appreciation and vision, the infuriated Doctor has 007 beaten and thrown in a cell. While No prepares to topple the rocket from his control room, Bond escapes captivity and disguises himself in a hazmat suit. No mistakes him for one of the engineers, presenting the spy with an opportunity to overload the facility's atomic reactor. As the reactor proceeds to melt down, Dr. No faces Bond in a last ditch effort to salvage his plans, but to no avail. In their ensuing struggle, the two men fall onto a platform descending into the bubbling reactor coolant. Bond manages to climb to safety, but Dr. No's is unable to pull himself up using his prosthetics and is boiled to death.
In the aftermath of the failed scheme, SPECTRE Head Number One, orders his operatives, Rosa Klebb and Tov Kronsteen, to conceive a means of humiliatingly assassinating Bond, partly to avenge the death of their colleague, Dr. No.
The 2004 video-game GoldenEye: Rogue Agent explores an continuity separate from any established canon, in which Dr. No has not met his demise at the hands of 007, and commands an army of soldiers, tanks and helicopter gunships that resemble V-22 Ospreys. Three years prior to the game's events, the protagonist, MI6 operative Hunter, was severely wounded while on assignment investigating Dr. No; who personally fired the shot that cost him his right eye. After being dismissed from MI6 for "reckless brutality", the agent is recruited by Dr. No's rival, Auric Goldfinger. Breaking rank with their shared criminal organisation (strongly implied to be SPECTRE), Dr. No declares war on Goldfinger. A specific reason is never given why he sought to destroy Goldfinger's operations. No's troops attempt to steal his recently developed super-weapon; the OMEN (Organic Mass Energy Neutralizer). He is foiled by Hunter (now known as GoldenEye), who is subsequently sent to assassinate the Doctor in Hong Kong. However, GoldenEye is betrayed by his Triad contact and narrowly escapes.
Shortly afterwards, No's assassin Xenia Onatopp leads an assault on Goldfinger's Midas casino in Las Vegas; the goal of which is the theft of the OMEN from its underground vault. After the assault falters, Onatopp retreats to Dr. No's military staging area at the Hoover Dam, where she organizes a defence of the structure. No attempts to keep the authorities away from the Dam by threatening to detonate a seismic bomb. However, GoldenEye and Oddjob manage to bypass Xenia's security and prematurely detonate the bomb; causing the dam to disintegrate and annihilate No's men. Searching for the location of Dr. No's island of Crab Key, GoldenEye is dispatched to the organization's underwater auction house, bank and blackmarket, The Octopus in a bid to retrieve the navigation coordinates from the lair's computer system. He is eventually sent to Crab Key, where he confronts Dr. No. During their duel, GoldenEye uses his mechanical eye to sabotage the island's nuclear reactor, causing it to electrocute Dr. No.
Multiplayer game appearances
Dr. No, using the likeness of Joseph Wiseman, has also made appearances in several James Bond video games as a playable multiplayer character, starting with the 2005 game From Russia with Love. In 2010, he would appear as one of 12 prominent characters in GoldenEye 007's "Classic Conflict" multiplayer mode. As a character-specific bonus, Dr. No's bullet-proof cybernetic arms grant him benefits including enhanced weapon accuracy and reload speed. Oddly enough, the character model sports only one cybernetic hand (likely a reference to Dr. Strangelove). The same is true for 007 Legends.
- "The successful criminal brain is always superior. It has to be."
- ― Dr. No's most famous quote.
Cold-tempered, always thoughtful and absolutely unscrupulous, Dr. No seemed convinced of his intellectual superiority. To achieve his ends, he did not hesitate to step on corpses and ruthlessly eliminate anyone who got in the way of his plans or who ventured near his private island. He was also refined and elegant and was surprisingly welcoming to Bond and Honey Ryder during their stay at his base. In addition, like other higher ranking SPECTRE agents who would appear in later films, Dr. No was intolerant of failure as he severely reprimanded Professor Dent after several failed assassination attempts on Bond's life.
Weapons & Vehicles
Behind the scenes
Ian Fleming wanted his friend Noël Coward to portray No, but the latter answered the invitation with "No! No! No!" Fleming also considered that his step-cousin, Christopher Lee, would be good for the role, although, by the time Fleming told the producers, they had already chosen Joseph Wiseman for the part. Lee would later go on to star as Francisco Scaramanga, the main antagonist of The Man with the Golden Gun. Swedish actor Max von Sydow was also offered the role as Dr. No, but decided to turn it down. He would later appear as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the unofficial James Bond film Never Say Never Again. Producer Harry Saltzman picked Wiseman because of his performance in the 1951 film Detective Story, but later in his life, the actor viewed the film with disdain, and preferred to be remembered for his theater career. Wiseman had special make-up applied to evoke No's Chinese heritage.
- His first name Julius is never mentioned in the film.
- Although he is the main antagonist, No only makes a personal appearance in the climax. His voice could be first heard at the start of the second half of the film.
- An initial draft of the screenplay of the film was rejected because the scriptwriters had made Dr. No a marmoset.
- In the German dubbed version of the movie, Dr. No works for an organization called GOFTER ("Geheime Organisation für Terror, Erpressung, und Rache" = secret organization for terror, blackmail and revenge). Therefore, in the German translation in From Russia with Love, the members of SPECTRE (Phantom in the German version) refer to him as their partner instead of their member as in the German version, the organization has a different name than the one in previous movie.
- No also makes a brief appearance in Crack the Case, a 2012 Heineken beer commercial to promote the release of the twenty-third Bond film, Skyfall.
- No, along with many other characters from early 007 films, was featured in the opening sequence of 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
- Dr. Julius No
- Dr. Julius No (Literary)
- Dr. Julius No (James Bond Jr.)
- Dr. Julius No (World of Espionage)
- Multiple authors. (1996). James Bond 007: The Ultimate Dossier (CD-ROM). Dr. No Profile: Eidos Interactive. ISBN 0-7928-3274-4.
- (1962). Dr. No (DVD). Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Event occurs at 1:28:48.
- (1962). Dr. No (DVD). Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Event occurs at 1:28:55.
- GoldenEye: Rogue Agent: Instruction Booklet. Electronic Arts, 2004, p.4.
- Goldeneye: Rogue Agent: Official Strategy Guide (Prima's Official Strategy Guides), Prima Games, 26 November 2004, p.4
- GoldenEye 007 Reloaded: character load-out screen overview. Activision, 2010
- "The Total Film Interview – Christopher Lee", Total Film, 1 May 2005.
- "Max von Sydow, star of The Exorcist and Game of Thrones, dies aged 90", The Telegraph, 9 March 2020.
- "Joseph Wiseman: Actor of stage and screen who played the title role in the 1962 James Bond movie 'Dr. No'", The Independent, 27 October 2009.
- Joseph Wiseman Biography (1918-2009). mi6-hq.com (October 20, 2009).
- McLellan, Dennis. "Joseph Wiseman dies at 91; actor played villain in first Bond film starring Sean Connery", Los Angeles Times, October 21, 2009.
- (1999). Inside Dr. No Documentary [DVD]. MGM Home Entertainment.
- Duncan, Paul (2021). The James Bond Archives 007, Ajay Chowdhury. ISBN 978-3-8365-8294-0.
- James Bond Has to 'Crack the Case' for Heineken Ad. nextmovie.com (2012-09-21).