- "My orders are to kill you and to deliver the Lektor. How I do it is my business. It'll be slow and painful..."
- ― Red Grant to James Bond.
Donald "Red" Grant was a fictional professional assassin employed by the secretive criminal organisation, SPECTRE. The secondary antagonist in the 1963 James Bond film, From Russia with Love, he was portrayed by the late British actor, Robert Shaw, and was based on the character Donovan Grant from Ian Fleming's 1957 novel of the same name, although he was subtly reworked for his transition from the page to the big screen. Bearing the likeness of Shaw, Grant would later be re-imagined for Electronic Arts' 2005 video game adaptation of the film and makes also an appearance in the 2012 video game, 007 Legends, but only as a multiplayer character. Red Grant was also subsequently re-imagined for the 2015 mobile game James Bond: World of Espionage. Along with Oddjob and Jaws, he is one of the most iconic henchmen in the Bond franchise and served as archetype for many futurs henchmen in the film series.
- "Donald Grant, convicted murder. Escaped from Dartmouth Prison in 1960. Recruited by SPECTRE in Tangiers in 1962. Excellent!"
- ― Rosa Klebb reading Grant's dossier.
Donald Grant was once convicted of murder and imprisoned. In 1960, however, he was able to break out of Dartmoor Prison and two years later was recruited by the international criminal organisation SPECTRE and from then on trained as an agent and assassin. He proved to be an extremely capable and cold-blooded fighter without inhibitions and was therefore considered a promising talent by SPECTRE.
During Grant's training (supervised by Morzeny), however, SPECTRE begins to look at a new mission. The goal is the heist of a Soviet Lektor deciphering machine, which is to end up in SPECTRE's hands through the manipulation of the Soviet and British intelligence services. To this end, the supposed Soviet defector Tatiana Romanova - who in turn believes she is feeding false information to the enemy - is to hand over the Lektor to MI6 agent James Bond during a trip on the Orient Express. Because of his outstanding achievements and his position as an elite agent, Grant is chosen by SPECTRE number 3 Rosa Klebb on the orders of Ernst Stavro Blofeld to eliminate both Bond and Romanova and rob the Lektor. To make sure, Klebb personally travels to the SPECTRE training camp at their island training facility where she has Grant's skills demonstrated. Once satisfied, she instructs Grant to travel to Istanbul, Turkey, the next day to await further instructions. As requested, Grant arrives in Istanbul the next day, where he is to wait for first contact between Romanova and Bond.
- "I get a kick out of watching the great James Bond find out what a bloody fool he's been making of himself. We're pros, Mr. Bond."
- ― Grant mocking Bond.
After Bond has disembarked to meet MI6 ally Ali Kerim Bey, Grant overpowers and kills a Russian agent who has been shadowing 007, leaving the body outside the Soviet embassy to make it appear as if the man was killed by Bond. This is already intended to create initial tension. An attempted assassination of Kerim Bey, which in turn is to be blamed on the Russians, fails, however. As it is vital to SPECTRE's plans that Bond survives, Grant then continues to shadow the British and shoots a Soviet assaillant led by Krilencu into a camp of militant Roma allied with Kerim Bey. Also the following day, Grant secretly proves to be Bond's guardian angel by killing an enemy agent shadowing Bond in the Hagia Sofia without his knowledge.
Confrontation onboard the Orient Express and Death
- "The first one won't kill you. Not the second. Not even the third. Not till you crawl over here and KISS MY FOOT!"
- ― Grant before fighting Bond.
Eventually, however, Bond and Romanova steal the Lektor from the Russian Consultation and, together with Kerim Bey, attempt to escape the country on the Orient Express. However, Grant has anticipated this and shadows them onboard the train, murdering Bey and the Russian spy Benz and makes it look as if the two had killed each other. Finally, the assassin impersonates another British agent, Captain Norman Nash, (whom he had murdered at the train's stop in Zagreb) to gain Bond's trust. At dinner on board the train, Grant drugs Romanova by spiking her wine with chloral hydrate. After the pair help Romanova back to Bond's carriage compartment, the criminal operative renders Bond temporarily unconscious with a blow to the head and disarms him. Grant then reveals his identity and scheme to Bond, presenting an 8mm film recording of Bond and Romanova making love in his Istanbul hotel, as well as a forged letter, ostensibly written by Tatiana, threatening to turn the film over to the news press unless he marries her.
Trying to stall for time, Bond asks for one last cigarette, but Grant refuses. Knowing that the assassin has taken his wallet, Bond offers to pay for a cigarette with 50 gold sovereigns hidden in his attaché case. Grant allows Bond to retrieve them. Knowing how the attaché case works, Bond opens it the correct way (by turning the latches inward before opening), and retrieves the gold sovereigns. With a clear hint of greed, Grant asks if there are more gold sovereigns hidden in the late Captain Nash's case. Bond tricks Grant into opening Nash's case the incorrect way, which detonates a tear gas cartridge, momentarily stunning him, and giving Bond a chance to lunge at his captor. After a brutal fight between the two adversaries in the train compartment, Grant attempts to strangle Bond with the garrote wire concealed inside his wristwatch. Bond takes advantage of his Q Branch attaché case again by producing a hidden, flat-bladed throwing knife and stabs Grant in his left arm, and then strangles Grant with his own garrote. 007 subsequently retrieves his wallet and money from Grant's coat saying, "You won't be needing this... 'old man.'"
In 2005, Red Grant appeared in the video game adaptation of From Russia with Love. His game portrayal roughly follows that of the film, albeit adding in new scenes to make the game more action-oriented, as well as giving him a female assistant named Eva Adara and changing his affiliation. Due to legal issues that plagued the EON Productions series of films from 1963 to 2013, the criminal organization SPECTRE was renamed Octopus. Grant is their chief assassin and follows Bond throughout the game, similar to the film. He gains 007's trust and boards the Orient Express, where he shoots Kerim Bey and proceeds to meet with Bond in the dining car. After failing to murder him there, Grant unleashes his men on Bond and escapes with the Lektor device through a train station in Zagreb. After a firefight, a defeated Grant stumbles onto the tracks, and is seemingly hit by a train. Later, Bond encounters Grant at Octopus' base of operations. The assassin descends from the control centre ceiling in an octopus-like apparatus. Bond attacks the war machine, and it eventually explodes. Grant crawls from the wreckage and, mocking 007's British principles, attempts to shoot him; only to be shot first, avenging slain ally Kerim Bey.
Behind the scenes
- The character of Red Grant, from his strong blond man appearance, serves as archetype for many henchmen of the Bond film series, including: Hans, Peter Franks, Erich Kriegler, Necros and Stamper.
- Red Grant is an Ulsterman of a Irish Republican background in the book, but this is not mentioned in the film.
- Grant's fight with Bond has been hailed as one of the best fights of the franchise.
- Joe has eye of the Tiger. The Visitor (10 August 2004).