The team of researchers — from University of Otago, New Zealand — were led by Professor Nick Wilson, a medical doctor and public health specialist, and analyzed every movie in the 24-title series. It has gone on to win the Medical Journal of Australia's Christmas competition.
The study concluded Bond is seen on-screen imbibing alcohol a grand total of 109 times — an average of 4.5 drinks per film — and his tipple regularly extends beyond martinis, including champagne and beer. This sybaritic penchant amounts to a "severe" and "chronic" drinking problem, they find — and has a tendency to coincide with Bond's most reckless behavior.
"Chronic risks include frequently drinking prior to fights, driving vehicles (including in chases), high-stakes gambling, operating complex machinery or devices, contact with dangerous animals, extreme athletic performance and sex with enemies, sometimes with guns or knives in the bed," the paper finds.
As a result, Bond meets over half the criteria for alcohol use disorder as defined by the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-5 classification system for mental disorders.
Dr. No Restraint
The booziest Bond movie is 2008's Quantum of Solace, in which the titular protagonist drinks six "vesper" martinis — a gin and vodka-based cocktail which substitutes Kina Lillet for vermouth.
That particular binge-drinking session amounted to 24 units of alcohol, enough to produce a potentially fatal blood alcohol level of 0.36 grams per deciliter, and almost high enough to cause a coma, heart failure or even death.
However, in one James Bond novel, researchers Bond drinks 50 in a single day-"a level of consumption which would kill nearly everyone". Reference to Bond's problematic drinking is made within the franchise itself too, they observed — in one scene, a medical scan reveals his liver to be "not too good", while in another an MI6 personnel report on Bond stated "alcohol and substance addiction indicated".
They also had a suggestion for MI6, suggesting it be a more responsible employer and refer him to work-funded counselling or psychiatric support services for managing alcohol use disorder. These services should also determine whether he has any post-traumatic stress after killing so many people and having been tortured so often.
It's not the first time 007's hedonistic habits have been the subject of academic inquiry. A 2013 British Medical Journal study found the spy's alcohol intake places him "at high risk of multiple alcohol-related diseases and an early death" and noted his ability to function "is inconsistent with the physical, mental, and indeed sexual functioning expected from someone drinking this much alcohol."