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Is OSS 117 a pale imitation of James Bond?
When you watch the latest OSS 117 films, you see a secret agent who travels around the world to accomplish missions and who is also a seducer. So whether you like OSS 117 or not, you think: "But it's just a parody of the first James Bond films!" Indeed, there are a lot of similarities between James Bond and OSS 117. But is OSS 117 really a French humour copy of the very British James Bond?

Who is James Bond?

First, who is James Bond? It is very rare that someone does not know. He is as well known as Rambo or Indiana Jones.

The character was created by the British writer and former spy Ian Fleming. The first James Bond novel was published in April 1953. He wrote most of the James Bond stories, but others also wrote some of them afterwards. The series consists of 12 novels and collections of short stories written by Fleming, as well as many other novels written by different authors. There have also been a multitude of film adaptations of the stories as the film series that everyone knows has 25 films starting with the famous James Bond 007 vs. Dr. No in 1962 with Sean Connery. There are also 3 films considered as independent.

The character James Bond is British. He is a British secret service spy with Scottish and Swiss origins. He has the well-known serial number 007. But why 007? Well, the first zero means that he has the license to kill, the second that he has already done so and the 7 means that he is the seventh agent to receive this license.

Who is OSS 117?

So who is really OSS 117, this so-called James Bond copy?

OSS 117 is a fictional character created by the French writer Jean Bruce whose name is Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath. The stories were written by Jean Bruce and then his wife Josette, and also his children François and Martine. The first novel was released in August 1949, 4 years before the first James Bond novel. The series counts more than 265 novels. It is not Jean Bruce who wrote the most, but his wife Josette Bruce, almost twice as many. There have also been some film adaptations since 1957, so always before the first James Bond movie. There were 9 films about OSS 117 and 5 others considered as independent. The last films released from the 2000s with Jean Dujardin are parody comedies. However, this is not the case with the previous films.

The character OSS 117 is a secret agent. In the books, he is an American spy of French origin, although in the latest films, he is a French man working for the French secret service. He has worked for different organizations. He first worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) from which comes his OSS 117 number and the name of the series, then other services such as the CIA.

Who copied who then?

So, of course, James Bond is more famous and has been much more successful than OSS 117, but the first novel based on OSS 117 came out before the first novel about James Bond. So OSS 117 is not a copy of James Bond. So is it maybe the other way around?

Answer: No, since James Bond is inspired by the life of its author Ian Fleming who was a former British spy. However, the latest OSS 117 films clearly benefit from the success of the James Bond films.

So there are many similarities between these two characters but neither is really a copy of the other. It would be like comparing Sherlock Holmes to Hercule Poirot. Each has his own style, each has his own methods, each has his own origins.

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