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Tennyson Quote from Skyfall (New James Bond)

The Tennyson Poem Scene

Screen caps from Skyfall


The Quote

Though much is taken, much abides; and though

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Ulysses - Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)


The quote was spoken by M during her appearance in front of the tribunal court investigating the various problems within MI6. Without giving away too much of the plot of Skyfall, the quote is given while intercutting between Bond racing through the streets of London, chasing the villain of the film, Silva. Delivered perfectly without a bit of concern, even though her aide beside her is trying to encourage her to leave the proceedings.

Tennyson - Ulysses

You can read the full poem of Ulysses at PoemHunter.

It little profits that an idle king,

By this still hearth, among these barren crags,

Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole

Unequal laws unto a savage race,

That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

Ulysses is one of Tennyson's more well-known poems. Tennyson finished the poem on October 20th, 1833, however, it was not published until 1842 in his second collection of poems. Tennyson was rather infamous for editing his poems after being published, but "Ulysses" remained unchanged through the years by his hand. The only changes being made were how the poem have been formatted. Originally, it was to be structured as four paragraphs. Subsequently, it has been published in both three and four paragraphs. The break in the structure of the poem causes the reading of it to be different depending on whether it is published in three or four paragraphs.

To read more about the poem, its structure and meaning, Wikipedia is a great starting point.

Skyfall Reviews

Reviews for "Skyfall" have been mainly favourable, from the fans and critics alike. There are some exceptions, however. The movie rating site Rotten Tomatoes rates the movie at a 91% approval rating for both the critics and general audience members.

Mike Lasalle wrote (San Francisco Chronicle):

"Skyfall" is a different kind of Bond movie, one that works just fine on its own terms, but a steady diet of this might kill the franchise. One "Skyfall" is enough.

Richard Corliss wrote (Time Magazine):

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The cool accomplishment of Skyfall, 23rd in the Broccoli franchise, is that it seems a necessary, rather than mandatory, addition to the year's popular culture.

Glen Lovell wrote (Cinema Dope):

.. a bang-up job of interweaving arty visuals. dour backstory, in-jokes, and, for the series faithful, heartfelt comings and goings ... Bardem is the best (read most twisted) franchise baddie since Heath Ledger's Joker.

Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun) wrote:

Just as Christopher Nolan gave rebirth to the Batman movies in "The Dark Knight," here is James Bond lifted up, dusted off, set back on his feet and ready for another 50 years. And am I completely misguided when I expect to see Miss Moneypenny become a Bond girl in the next film?


A Play with Shadows

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles

We will stand tall

And face it all together

At Skyfall

When Adele’s smokey voice starts singing the title song for Skyfall, I felt chills run down my spine. It is such a perfect song to introduce the Bond story we were all about to witness, both in terms of its lyrics and its melody. The way her voice rises and then falls to disappear echoes the mood of the movie: a play with shadows.

Read more at Four Sides.

Skyfall - Adele

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


James McCullough (author) from Kelowna, British Columbia on November 14, 2012:

Casino Royale was really all about the Bond character and what makes him who he is. Quantam Solace was a bit of a step back, but Skyfall gets the Bond story back on track. Excellent film.

William E Krill Jr from Hollidaysburg, PA on November 13, 2012:

I found it to be refreshingly different in focus; far more personal in the development of the character. This is a Bond that has emotion, has history, has a new humanness.

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