Who is broccoli in the James Bond movies?

James Bond, the suave British secret agent created by Ian Fleming, has been thrilling audiences for over 50 years in books and on the big screen. One of the most iconic aspects of the Bond franchise is the interesting and unusual names given to many of the characters. One name that has puzzled fans over the years is “Broccoli” – who is this mysterious Broccoli that pops up in reference in several Bond films? Let’s explore the history behind this curious moniker.

The Origins of “Broccoli”

The name Broccoli in the Bond films refers to Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli, one of the original producers of the Bond movie series. Broccoli obtained the film rights to Fleming’s Bond novels in 1961 along with his partner Harry Saltzman. Together they formed Eon Productions and produced the first Bond blockbuster, 1962’s Dr. No starring Sean Connery as 007.

Broccoli continued as a producer on every Eon Bond film up until his death in 1996, including classic films like Goldfinger, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice. His influence on shaping the Bond film franchise into a legendary pop culture phenomenon cannot be overstated. But how did this prolific producer end up with the vegetable-inspired nickname “Broccoli”?

The Origins of the Nickname

The name Broccoli has its roots in Albert Broccoli’s family heritage. He was born in New York to Italian immigrant parents who had the surname “Brocco.” According to Cucina Italiana magazine, “brocco” means shoot or stalk in Italian, referring to plants like broccoli. When Albert’s father immigrated to America, he changed the family name to “Broccoli” to better assimilate in their new home.

Young Albert thus grew up with the distinctly vegetable-esque surname Broccoli. His classmates nicknamed him “Cubby” during his school days, and the moniker stuck with him throughout his life. So while his last name lent itself to food-based nicknames, Cubby was how he was known to friends and co-workers in the film industry.

Broccoli References in Bond Movies

Producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman decided to have a bit of fun with Broccoli’s famous last name. They inserted cheeky references to broccoli into several early James Bond films:

  • From Russia with Love (1963) – Bond (Sean Connery) and Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) encounter enemy agents on the Orient Express. When the head conductor asks their names, Bond slyly answers, “My name is James Bond. And this is my wife, Caroline…Caroline Broccoli.”
  • You Only Live Twice (1967) – While visiting Osato Chemicals under the guise of a potential business partner, Bond (Sean Connery) introduces himself as “Robert Sterling, Universal Exports” to a receptionist. She replies, “I’m so pleased to meet you, Mr. Sterling. I’m Moneypenny, Miss Moneypenny.” Bond answers, “You’re a bit late. As a matter of fact, my appointment is with Mr. Broccoli.”
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) – While searching for his archnemesis Blofeld, Bond (George Lazenby) gets into a car at a ski resort under the pretense of buying it. When the bemused driver asks his name, Bond replies “Broccoli. James Broccoli.”
  • The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) – Bond (Roger Moore) flies to Macau to meet someone who can lead him to the film’s villain Scaramanga. When asked his name at reception, he cheekily answers, “Broccoli. Mr. James Broccoli.”

These tongue-in-cheek references were included as an homage to producer Cubby Broccoli. He often inserted self-referential humor into the Bond films, and these playful uses of his last name are a testament to his wit and good nature.

Why Broccoli Stopped Appearing in Later Films

For many years, it was a fun tradition for Cubby Broccoli to have Bond use his last name as a quick cover identity in certain scenes. However, the Broccoli name drops ceased after 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun.

There are a couple reasons for this:

  • After nine films, the in-joke was becoming a bit overused.
  • Harry Saltzman sold his stake in Eon Productions after 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun, leaving Cubby Broccoli as the sole producer. Without his long-time partner Saltzman, Broccoli may have wanted to downplay the self-referential humor.
  • Many fans and critics were starting to consider the light-hearted Moore films as too silly compared to the original Connery films. The Broccoli name drops added to this overly comedic tone.

While Cubby Broccoli continued as producer until his death in 1996, his famous last name disappeared from Bond’s onscreen cover stories after its ’70s heyday. However, the legacy of “Mr. Broccoli” lives on among hardcore James Bond fans who appreciate his iconic contributions to building the 007 cinematic juggernaut.

Bond Producers After Cubby Broccoli

Cubby Broccoli’s daughter Barbara Broccoli and stepson Michael G. Wilson took over as producers of the James Bond series after Cubby passed away in 1996. They control Eon Productions today and have shepherded the Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig eras of Bond films.

Producer Years Active Notable Films
Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli 1962-1996 Dr. No, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice
Harry Saltzman 1962-1974 Dr. No, Goldfinger, Thunderball
Barbara Broccoli 1995-present GoldenEye, Casino Royale, Skyfall
Michael G. Wilson 1979-present Moonraker, Octopussy, Spectre

Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson have kept Bond relevant into the 21st century while maintaining connections to the series’ roots, such as casting Daniel Craig in the grittier 2006 film Casino Royale. Despite changing times and tastes, the Broccoli family has kept Bond thriving as one of cinema’s most enduring franchises.

The Legacy of “Broccoli” in Bond Lore

While the Broccoli name may have disappeared from Bond’s onscreen aliases, it remains cemented in James Bond lore. Longtime fans look back fondly on Cubby Broccoli’s playful tradition of working his last name into the scripts. It demonstrated his lively spirit and passion as the cinematic shepherd of 007’s globe-trotting adventures.

The in-jokes were a unique way for Broccoli to put his stamp on the Bond series. The Broccoli references remain a fun testament to his warm personality and sense of humor. They are an integral (if obscure) part of the history of Bond’s cinematic success.

So now when you hear “Broccoli” mentioned in an early Bond film, you’ll know it refers to the legendary producer who helped shape 007 into the pop culture icon he remains today. It’s a quirky legacy that lives on among the cars, girls, gadgets, and action that define Bond’s classic cinematic appeal.


Cubby Broccoli’s larger-than-life last name left a modest but meaningful mark on Bond movie history. The playful use of his surname in early films reflected his wit and self-deprecating nature. Along with partner Harry Saltzman, Broccoli built the hugely successful Bond film franchise from the ground up. His legacy continues through the work of his daughter Barbara Broccoli and stepson Michael G. Wilson.

The Broccoli name drops are a fun insider’s wink to long-time fans. They reveal the quiet humor and personality of the producer who commanded the Bond crew behind the scenes. After Cubby Broccoli passed away in 1996, the Broccoli references faded from the films. But they live on as a testament to this special producer’s integral role in shaping Bond into the pop culture powerhouse known the world over.

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