How many James Bond characters does Austin Powers caricature? After making his big screen debut, Ian Fleming’s James Bond quickly became a cinematic icon, earning worldwide fame throughout the era of Sean Connery and beyond. And any time a movie character finds such status, parodies aren’t too far behind. 007 has been endlessly lampooned over the decades – on the big screen, television, online, and even on stage – but none have captured the inherent ridiculousness of Bond’s world like Mike Myers with Austin Powers. Homing in upon every quirky Bond-ism in the book, Austin Powers works equally as a love letter as it does a parody, enjoyed by 007 aficionados and Bond beginners alike.
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It’s testament to Austin Powers‘ success that Mike Myers’ buck-toothed spy has become almost as famous as the fictional creation he’s based on, bringing a unique selection of catchphrases and mannerisms to the table. As part of the joke, most of Austin Powers‘ main cast are heavily based on characters from the James Bond movies, either visually, in their personalities, or both. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Austin Powers in Goldmember all contain characters (villains, mostly) Bond fans will immediately recognize before they’re doubled-over in laughter.
Interestingly, Austin Powers‘ success is partly responsible for the harder-edged Daniel Craig movies James Bond has released in recent years, with 007 moving as far away as possible from Mike Myers’ comedic impersonation. Here are the character parodies who helped make that happen.
Austin Powers – James Bond
Of course, it comes as no shock that Austin Powers is a parody of James Bond himself. Taking the rough outline of a legendary British spy, Austin Powers adds a whole bunch of UK stereotypes to the 007 formula (dental hygiene and all the rest), and accentuates the unabashed randiness of Bond to bed-shattering levels. James’ promiscuity is an ever-present component of Fleming’s character, and Austin amplifies this quality for comedic effect, with Mike Myers’ protagonist solely concerned with finding new female conquests. Interestingly, Austin Powers satirizes Bond’s less-than-respectful attitude towards female companions by making Powers far more gentlemanly.
Though James Bond is a product of the 1960s, this barely comes across in his character, rampant sexism aside. But 007’s swinging sixties era is another element Austin Powers dials up to eleven. The Bond parody is a classic 1960s “hippy” touting free love, making peace signs, and letting his chest hair stand out proudly. Despite an exaggerated appearance and uncontrollable sex-drive, Austin is just as deadly and dedicated to thrills as James Bond, and looks effortlessly cool(ish) while doing it, usually dropping a punny quip along the way.
Vanessa Kensington/Felicity Shagwell/Foxxy Cleopatra – Bond Girls
Austin enjoys the company of three different female leads in each of his movie adventures – Elizabeth Hurley’s Vanessa Kensington, Heather Graham’s Felicity Shagwell, and Beyoncé’s Foxxy Cleopatra. Though none of that trio are direct rip-offs for any specific Bond girl, they all incorporate elements of women from 007’s extensive history. Kensington is perhaps closest to Diana Rigg’s Tracy – an upper-class girl who falls for Bond’s charms and finally “tames” him into tying the knot. Also like Tracy, Vanessa dies shortly after her and Austin’s wedding, although his reaction is much different to Bond’s. Felicity Shagwell is partially inspired by The Spy Who Loved Me‘s Anya Amasova, although their personalities are totally separate, and Foxxy is based more on the “Blaxsploitation” movies of the 1970s.
Nevertheless, all three female Austin Powers leads serve as parodies of the Bond girl formula. They fall for Bond’s charms, aid him in the field, and play-up how wonderful the film’s hero is. In the case of Felicity Shagwell, the tongue-in-cheek moniker plays on Bond girls being named after sexual innuendos, such as Holly Goodhead and Xenia Onatopp. One could argue that, despite being the parody, Austin Powers generally serves its female characters better than James Bond.
Dr. Evil – Ernst Stavro Blofeld
As further proof of Austin Powers‘ pop culture impact, try spinning around in a chair with a cat on your lap the next time someone enters a room. Whether they compare you to Blofeld or Dr. Evil will reveal all you need to know about them as a person. So popular is Austin Powers‘ incompetent antagonist, Mike Myers’ villain has overtaken Blofeld in terms of recognition, even if Evil Ernst did come first. Devising an enemy for Austin Powers’ movie debut, parodying Blofeld was the only possible choice, and Dr. Evil is arguably the funniest like-for-like James Bond impersonation in the entire trilogy. The high-collared suit, the feline companion, the volcano lair, the table of minions, the nuclear ransom scheme – almost every aspect of Dr. Evil is swiped directly from 007’s world. The twist is in Dr. Evil being squeamish, pathetic, and usually out of his depth as an evil overlord.
Though predominantly inspired by Blofeld, Dr. Evil’s “I expect them to die” line is originally uttered by Goldfinger.
Basil Exposition – M
Throughout the James Bond series, M is reliably on hand to send 007 on whichever mission demands his expertise. The MI6 chief explains the situation, gives Bond a lead, and points him toward the next disaster. In essence, M provides the James Bond movies with plot exposition for the audience’s benefit. So, when Austin Powers came to parody the character, it made total sense to rename M “Basil Exposition.” Played by Michael York, Basil is Austin’s boss, popping up to offer helpful plot points and move Powers onto the subsequent phase of the story. The gloriously obvious way in which he performs this task pokes fun at M’s function as a James Bond plot device. Although the role is now associated mostly with Judi Dench, M had traditionally been an older male in the classic movies, just like Austin’s Basil.
Frau Farbissiner – Rosa Klebb
In the long line of James Bond underlings, From Russia With Love‘s Rosa Klebb stands out as one of the best – a hard and ruthless Russian agent serving loyally by Blofeld’s side. Natural fodder for Austin Powers‘ satirical gaze, Mindy Sterling apes Klebb throughout the trilogy as Frau Farbissiner. Though she’s German instead of Russian, Farbissiner shares a deliberate visual likeness to Rosa Klebb, and shows the same overriding European nationalist sensibility, albeit toward a different country. Since Klebb herself has much in common with Irma Bunt (from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), Farbissiner acts as a parody of her also, especially in terms of the Frau’s more personal relationship with Blofeld.
Number 2 – Largo
James Bond and Austin Powers both have trouble getting rid of Number Twos during their respective misadventures. Appearing in Thunderball, Emilio Largo is Blofeld’s “number 2” at SPECTRE, in charge of blackmailing governments and organizations across the world. Largo also wears an eyepatch, though the audience never learns exactly why. In the Austin Powers movies, Number Two is played by Robert Wagner. Not only does he wear an eyepatch, but Two has also taken care of Dr. Evil’s assets during his time away, and represents another ever-present ally alongside the Frau. In a direct mirror of the Thunderball scene where Bond and Largo first encounter each other, Austin and Number Two play a tense game of Blackjack in the first movie.
Goldmember – Auric Goldfinger
The titular villain of 1964’s Goldfinger, Auric Goldfinger is a renowned international criminal with an unhealthy obsession in shiny yellow metals. Played by Gert Fröbe, Goldfinger is undoubtedly the most famous of 007’s villains not called Blofeld, so it came as no surprise when Austin Powers gave the character a phallic update in 2002’s Goldmember. Aside from the name and a passionate love for gold (or in Goldmember’s case, “gooooooold“), the two characters possess little else in terms of common ground – certainly not in comparison to Blofeld and Dr. Evil. In a neat Easter egg, however, Goldmember does wield a golden gun, nodding to Christopher Lee’s Bond villain, Scaramanga.
Nigel Powers – The ACTUAL James Bond
If Austin Powers is a comedic manifestation of James Bond’s unrelenting 1960s masculinity, his father Nigel (played by Michael Caine) represents a truer Bond, far similar to the original character in his tone and personality. Though he might share many a trait with his son(s), Nigel is a suave, older secret agent for the British secret service, not even remotely as ostentatious and overblown as Austin. Consequently, Caine’s characters falls closer to Roger Moore’s incarnation of James Bond, showing the bad guys “how it’s done” and charming his way through a procession of different women in spite of his advancing years.
Alotta Fagina – Various
Featuring in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Alotta Fagina is introduced alongside Number 2, lured in by Austin’s charms, but shockingly revealed to be in league with Dr. Evil all along. The name is obviously a nod to Pussy Galore for reasons that hopefully don’t need explaining, but the character also includes traits from a litany of other Bond girls. She borrows a double entendre Tiger Tanaka quote from You Only Love Twice, and her cover is virtually identical to that of Helga Brandt from the same movie. Alotta’s arc, however, is more akin to that of Fiona Volpe – Largo’s secretary from Thunderball.
Random Task – Odd Job
Throw a thesaurus at James Bond villain Odd Job and you get Austin Powers‘ Random Task. Dressed very similarly to his counterpart, Task shares Odd Job’s love for dangerous clothing, but instead of relying on a razor-sharp hat, tosses his shoes around.
- No Time to Die/James Bond 25 (2021)Release date: Oct 08, 2021
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Craig Elvy (2836 Articles Published)
Craig first began contributing to Screen Rant in 2016, several years after graduating college, and has been ranting ever since, mostly to himself in a darkened room. Having previously written for various sports and music outlets, Craig’s interest soon turned to TV and film, where a steady upbringing of science fiction and comic books finally came into its own. Craig has previously been published on sites such as Den of Geek, and after many coffee-drenched hours hunched over a laptop, part-time evening work eventually turned into a full-time career covering everything from the zombie apocalypse to the Starship Enterprise via the TARDIS. Since joining the Screen Rant fold, Craig has been involved in breaking news stories and mildly controversial ranking lists, but now works predominantly as a features writer. Jim Carrey is Craig’s top acting pick and favorite topics include superheroes, anime and the unrecognized genius of the High School Musical trilogy.