Professor R. J. Dent was a fictional professional geologist who worked in a lab in Kingston, Jamaica. He also secretly worked as a henchman for evil scientist and SPECTRE operative, Dr. Julius No, who was attempting to sabotage missile launch programs with a high powered radio beam, powered by a nuclear reactor on his private island Crab Key. Dent is the central antagonist in EON Productions' 1962 film, Dr. No, and was portrayed by the late British actor Anthony Dawson.
John Strangways, a field operative of the British Secret Service, had collected some samples from Crab Key (Dr. No's island) and sent them to Dent to be analyzed. A worried Dent alerted No, and Strangways and his secretary Mary Trueblood were later assassinated by The Three Blind Mice, three others No's enforcers. When James Bond arrives in Jamaica to investigate Strangways' disappearance, he first meets Dent at Queen's Club, where he and Strangways had often played cards with Pleydell Smith and General Potter.
Bond notices that Dent was the only person who had seen Trueblood, and suspectes that he is involved with the assassinations. Later, Bond interviews Dent about a receipt from Dent's practice he found in Strangways' office. He also questionnes him about some samples Strangways had sent to be analyzed and Dent says they were uninteresting and he threw them out. He also tells Bond that they were definitely not from Crab Key.
Suspicious, Bond later tests Quarrel's boat for traces of radiation using the geiger counter he requested earlier. He notices that there are abnormally high levels of radiation where Strangways had loaded the rocks, which signals to Bond that Dent is a liar. At the same time, Dent goes to Crab Key during the day when ordered never to, just to warn Dr. No about Bond discovering the samples. Dr. No soon informs him that if Bond reaches the island he would be held responsible. He is given a tarantula to murder Bond. During the night, Bond is awoken by the spider and narrowly escapes death by killing the spider with one of his shoes.
The next day, Miss Taro, who is also working for Dr. No, invites Bond to her house to lure him into a trap. He is chased by The Three Blind Mice but manages to escape, killing them and arriving at his destination. A surprised Taro answers the door and when she receives a call from Dent, she tells him that Bond is with her. Dent tells her to keep him there so he could come along later and kill him. Bond suggests going out for dinner and calls for a cab. However, he has actually called Government House and Taro is arrested.
Bond waits for Dent, putting some pillows under the sheets of the bed to make it look like he is sleeping. Dent opens the door and shoots the decoy. However, he turns around and sees Bond in a chair with his weapon with a silencer on it aimed at Dent. Dent tells him that Dr. No is behind the whole master plan and while Dent's gun is on the floor, he uses his leg to get it. He uses the gun and fires the trigger, but realizes too late that he used all of his bullets. Bond casually remarks "That's a Smith and Wesson. And you've had your six."
Bond coldly shoots him. As he lies on the floor, he shoots him again, killing him.
Behind the scenes
Dent's death scene was controversial because it showed James Bond killing a man in cold blood. Even though Ian Fleming had conceived the character as one who is authorized to commit such actions, in none of his novels is Bond shown acting in this manner. According to James Bond: The Legacy, the filmmakers needed a scene to illustrate the "licensed to kill" concept and in fact had originally filmed the scene to show Bond firing several more bullets into Dent (more directly illustrating Bond's "you've had your six" remark), but ultimately removed all but the first two shots. Some televised broadcasts remove Bond's second shot.
- Dent does not appear in the Dr. No novel and is exclusive to the film. There is a professor character in the novel, but his name is not given and he is not implied to be working for the enemy in any capacity.
- Anthony Dawson met director Terence Young when he was working as a stage actor in London, but by the time of the film's shooting, Dawson was working as a pilot and crop duster in Jamaica.
- Dawson also portrayed Ernst Stavro Blofeld in From Russia with Love and Thunderball, although his face was never seen and his voice was dubbed by Eric Pohlmann.
- He is only the second villain (after The Three Blind Mice) that is killed by James Bond.