The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 95: James Bond Special 1

Premier Date: January 16, 2008

In this episode the MythBusters began testing various myths inspired by James Bond movies.

An electromagnet hidden in a wristwatch can deflect bullets.

busted

Jamie built an electromagnet that could fit inside a wristwatch and mounted it near a target. Next they fired bullets at the target, making sure that the bullets passed close by the electromagnet. However, the wristwatch-sized electromagnet was not powerful enough to change the bullet’s trajectory. The Mythbuster then upgraded to a larger and more powerful electromagnet, but it still couldn’t deflect the bullet. Finally, the Mythbusters resorted to using a series of thirteen super powerful permanent rare earth magnets, which only deflected the bullet by a minor amount. The Mythbusters explained that a magnet’s energy decreased exponentially the farther away you are from the magnet. Plus, in order to be powerful enough to stop a bullet, an electromagnet would need an enormous amount of energy that couldn’t possible be contained within a wristwatch, which makes most of the magnet scenes in Bond films impossible.

(Based on Bond’s wristwatch in Live and Let Die.)

A person can shoot a propane tank and make it explode.

busted

First, the Build Team decided to test whether it was possible to breach a propane tank with Bond’s 9mm handgun. They found that 9mm rounds were not powerful enough to breach the tank, but shotgun shells and .30 caliber rifle rounds were more than enough to pierce the tank. They then fired armor piercing rifle rounds at a tank filled with propane, but could not get the tank to explode. Not even tracer rounds were successful. Finally, the Build Team resorted to extreme measures. They found that the only sure way to make a propane tank explode was to use high explosive or a high powered Gatling gun firing incendiary rounds. The Build Team concluded that Bond (and most people) would not normally have access to such weaponry, busting the myth.

(Based on a scene in Casino Royale.)

A speedboat jumping off a ramp and flying through the air can survive the landing and continue driving.

plausible

The Mythbusters obtained a boat which was identical to the model Bond used in the movie. They then converted it so that it could be remote controlled and built a makeshift ramp in Yosemite Lake. They even put a barge with a car under the ramp to simulate the exact scene from the movie. Adam drove the boat at the ramp at a speed of 45 miles per hour, but lost control of the boat at the last second. As a result, the boat managed to clear the car, but flipped in the process. However, seeing that there was no visible damage to the boat, the Mythbusters decided that the myth was plausible.

(Based on a scene in Live and Let Die.)