James Bond Films Ranked From Worst To Best
With a whopping 24 films to its library, James Bond has certainly seen his fair share of adventures. While some entries leave lasting legacies that stand the test of time, others venture into Austin Powers territory.
With “No Time to Die,” the 25th Bond film getting closer and closer to release date, let’s see which films deserve their spot at the top and which films deserve death by laser.
Here are the 24 Bond Films Ranked From Worst to Best.
24. Quantum of Solace
A boring, incoherent mess of a film.
While many expect “Die Another Day” to be at the bottom spot, no film deserves the title of “The Worst Bond Film” more than “Quantum of Solace.”
Unlike all other entries on this list, there is simply nothing memorable about “Quantum of Solace.” The action scenes are edited so poorly that audiences can’t tell what’s going on; leaving them with a serious headache. It’s also the shortest Bond film at 1 hour and 46 minutes, yet feels like it’s never going to end.
Dominic Green may be the most inferior and weakest of all bond villains, there is nothing interesting about the lead Bond Girl Camille and the story is a jumbled, incoherent nightmare. There is simply nothing more to say about this film because it’s hard to find anything to talk about. Everything is just so forgettable here.
“Quantum of Solace” is hideous follow up to “Casino Royale” that severely hurts that films legacy overall. That’s how bad this film turned out to be.
23. Die Another Day
Bond has officially jumped the shark, or should we say iceberg.
Seriously, just look at this picture. Is this the 4th Austin Powers movie that everyone has been hoping for?
The 4th and unfortunately last film for Pierce Brosnan sees Bond windsurfing on an iceberg tsunami, escaping in his invisible Aston Martin from satellite laser beams and fighting a villain straight out of a Power Rangers movie. Doesn’t that sound fun? Unfortunately, it gets worse as Jinx (Halle Barry) easily delivers the worst performance by any Bond Girl. She and Bond have zero chemistry and you feel like Barry is reading all of her lines off of que-cards.
Additionally, the film is constantly at the mercy of terrible Blue and Green Screen effects; effects that came from a whopping 142 million dollar budget. You have to see it to believe it to understand how bad the CGI is here. Case and point, The Wind Surfing Scene will tell you all you need to know.
“Die Another Day” is borderline unwatchable. If not for a fantastic sword fight in the 2nd Act and a wonderful performance by Rosamund Pike as femme fatale Miranda Frost, Die Another Day would have easily landed at the bottom of this list.
22. Diamonds Are Forever
Sean Connery doesn’t want to be there and neither does the audience.
Connery’s final appearance as 007 would turn out to be one of the most boring films of the franchise yet.
When George Lazenby left the role after one movie, studios really wanted Sean Connery to come back as James Bond. Unfortunately, it’s extremely obvious that Connery only came back for the money as he looks extremely disinterested the entire time.
It’s a shame, because this film features one of the better Bond Girls in Tiffany Case (Jill St. John). One of the lone highlights, she’s extremely capable in holding her own; even though she’s nothing more than a damsel in distress in the final act. “Diamonds” also features stand out hinchmen Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd. The colorful assassins’ witty humor and on screen presence make this movie far more tolerable than it should be.
The biggest problem with “Diamonds” is that it’s just so painfully boring and that the plot is a big, jumbled mess.
You don’t care about the characters, you don’t care about the stakes and you don’t care about what is happening on screen. There’s not much else to say other than “Diamonds” is easily one of the most forgettable Bond films.
21. A View To A Kill
Moore was Bond for one film too many.
This picture represents the biggest problem with “View To A Kill;” Roger Moore was too old to play Bond and it shows.
It’s interesting to know that Moore got a little ol’ nip and tuck in between “Octopussy”and “A View To A Kill.” But after seeing the end results, we hope no one else went to that doctor because he did one horrible job. Moore looks like a grandpa playing dress-up and hooking up with Stacy Sutton (a Bond Girl at least half Moore’s age) is cringe and creepy.
The action is also forgettable and the stunt doubles are distractingly noticeable this time around. There’s also some ridiculously stupid moments as well, like Stacy Sutton getting kidnapped by a blimp. Seriously, a freaking blimp? How inept are you?
There are a few high points though, like villain Max Zorin (played by Christopher Walken) who is completely unhinged and a total psychopath. Walken steals every scene that he’s in and actually makes this film borderline watchable. But outside of Walken’s over-the-top performance, there’s simply no reason to watch “A View To A Kill.” A sad way for Roger Moore to retire as 007.
Side note: Duran Duran’s Title Sequence is the best Bond title sequence. So this film at least has that going for it.
20. Tomorrow Never Dies
Fun but generic.
From here on out, every Bond film listed is at least a decent film, starting with Brosnan’s second outing; “Tomorrow Never Dies.”
The best way to describe this film is that it’s an extremely watchable film on a Sunday afternoon with nothing to do. But that’s really all this film is; a time waster. The producers clearly wanted to up the anti and valued action (and there’s a lot of it) over a compelling story. The plot is nothing special honestly. Bad guy wants to start a war so Bond must stop him. Granted, most Bond plots are simple, but this one is way too simple. Going from point A to point B the entire time with no twists, excitement or cleverness.
“Tomorrow Never Dies” does have a few strong points, like the handcuff motorcycle chase and the mobile phone car chase. Then there’s the main villain Elliott Carver (played by Jonathan Pryce) whose having the time of his life. He’s a media mastermind, using the News to progress his evil schemes and you can clearly see that Pryce is having a blast in this role. It’s unfortunate that this film didn’t use the concept of media propaganda to it’s full potential or we might have had something special here.
“Tomorrow Never Dies” is a fun, watchable action film; no more, no less. It unfortunately gets lost with all the other generic action films of the ’90s and James Bond deserves better than that.
19. Dr. No
Sorry, but this film is extremely dated.
“Dr. No” is dated, simple as that. The very first Bond film is highly regarded amongst film enthusiasts and fans alike as one of the best Bond films out there. Now it’s time to take off the rose-tinted glasses.
When Sean Connery says “Bond…..James Bond” for the first time, it gives you goosebumps, like this guy really is the coolest man in the room. Sean Connery deserved to play 007 and completely embodies how a 00 agent should look and act. (At least for that time period). But outside of Connery and the novelty that this is the first James Bond film, Dr. No is an outdated product of the 1960s. Many creative choices don’t hold up, unlike future Connery outings Goldfinger and Thunderball.
For starters, Joseph Wiseman playing Dr. No is highly distracting. Dr. No is supposed to be Chinese, yet this film has an Englishman playing the main villain; even though all of his Henchmen are Asian actors. It was a normal thing back in ’60s Hollywood, but that doesn’t make it any less distracting. Then there’s the first Bond Girl, Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress). Yes, the shot of her rising from the beach is an iconic shot of cinema (and young boy fantasies) but no matter how much she waves her combat knife around, she’s a damsel distress and adds nothing to the film outside of looks.
“Dr. No” is a staple of the Bond franchise, this can’t be ignored, but it simply does not hold up today.
18. For Your Eyes Only
Roger Moore’s most average outing.
This is the Bond film that may be the most difficult to talk about because it’s just so average.
“For Your Eyes Only” does nothing amazing nor terrible and it’s just kind of there. The action is fine, the story is fine, the acting is fine and overall this film is fine. The main highlight is an extremely enjoyable countryside car chase that leads to some of the more humorous tongue and cheek moments of the franchise. Seeing Bond wreck havoc through little European towns was quite enjoyable.
Additionally, you also have a decent Bond Girl in Melina Havelock (Carol Bouquet) who is driven by revenge after her parents are killed by Aristotle Kristados (Julian Glover); the main villain of the film. It’s an extremely compelling motivation and you feel the grief that’s driving her throughout the film.
If not for the awful secondary Bond Girl Bibi (Lynn-Holly Johnson) with her extremely obnoxious teenage Valley Girl personality, “For Your Eyes Only” may have gone up a couple spots on this list. But as it stands, “For Your Eyes Only” is the least memorable Bond Film.
17. From Russia With Love
The franchise was still figuring out what it was.
Normally you would find “From Russia With Love” much higher on Bond rankings. But honestly, the franchise was still figuring out what it was.
To be fair, this film is far more watchable than “Dr. No” thanks to an intriguing plot, a Bond Girl that does more than just look good for the camera and introduces the first Bond Henchman, Red Grant (Robert Shaw).
Grant is an imposing figure and proves to be a formidable opponent for 007. He even has his secret watch garrot wire which ads to some of the great action set pieces of this film. The train fight in particular, is a true white-knuckle showdown that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Additionally, Bond Girl Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) provides some playful banner with Connery, making their relationship one of the more entertaining romances of the Connery Bond films.
The big thing working against this film however, is pacing. This film spends way too much time in certain locations, killing the flow and making the movie seem much longer than it actually is. The final fight is also extremely anticlimactic. Come on, Bond vs an old woman? Please.
Don’t be mistaken, “From Russia With Love” is a good Bond film and its success would pave the way for Connery’s best films as 007.
Doing too much.
“Spectre” is a film that had the misfortune of peaking too early.
The opening tracking shot is all one fantastic take and makes you think that you’re about to get one of the best Bond films ever. Alas, that was not to be because the rest of the film spends way too much time trying to tie everything together, instead of telling a coherent story.
“Spectre” had all the ingredients for a fantastic film. Christoph Waltz was cast as Blofeld, Lea Seydoux played Bond Girl Madeline Swann, Dave Batista played Henchmen Mr. Hinx and Skyfall director Sam Mendes would return to the director’s chair. You would think that this would be a home run right? But where “Spectre” falls flat is when it tries to have its cake and eat it too. Trying to tie the previous three Craig Bond films together while attempting to be its own thing muddles the plot and makes “Spectre” extremely difficult to follow.
Outside of the unnecessary world building is an extremely heavy handed plot about cyber security and freedoms. Every time the film cuts back to focus on this plot, it stops the film dead in its tracks. After a while, you really start to feel that 2 hour and 30 minute run time.
That’s not to say this is a bad film, it just fails to balance its ambitions while trying to meet all of the high expectations previously set by Skyfall. Daniel Craig is still at the top of his game, there is another amazing action scene on a train, Madeline Swann is one of the better Bond Girls and Christoph Waltz (for the little time he is on screen) shines as Blofeld.
Here’s to hoping that “No Time To Die” is a fitting swan song for Daniel Craig as 007.
15. You Only Live Twice
What the heck is that??
Yes, that is Sean Connery attempting to impersonate a Japanese man so he can take a bride and gain access to the islands where Blofeld is hiding. You read that correctly.
This plot point is so ridiculously offensive and wildly racist that it’s flat out uncomfortable to sit through. We don’t know what the producers were thinking but this is often considered one of the lowest points of the franchise. It’s a shame because everything outside of this subplot is pretty fantastic.
For starters, you have one of the best Bond stories with one of the best Bond villains. Donald Pleasence as the cat-stroking Blofeld is one of the most iconic and memorable villains in cinema history. With his eye scar and secret volcano lair, he’s been one of the most parodied and inspirational villains of all time. The action is also quite good with the helicopter chase and volcano infiltration coming to mind.
“You Only Live Twice” is one of the better early Bond films with many iconic moments. But no matter how good the rest of the film is, the terrible subplot with Bond Girl Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama) and Japanese James Bond stands out like a sore thumb. Otherwise, this could have easily been a Top 10 Bond Film.
14. Live and Let Die
The Sean Connery impersonation film.
Roger Moore’s first outing as 007 is an uneven experience just as much as it is a memorable one.
On one hand, you can see the franchise taking a fun and enjoyable route and on the other, Roger Moore is trying to be the best Sean Connery impersonator out there. What we are left with is an extremely enjoyable experience that tries holding on to the past far too often; instead of trying to be its own thing. At the time, Sean Connery WAS James Bond and it was thought that no one else could play the character.
Along came Rodger Moore to prove that there was life after Connery. This is the only time where Moore would play it 100% straight, instead of the tongue and cheek style that his Bond films were known for. For the most part, it works but other times it feels like nothing more than an imitation.
Additionally, “Live And Let Die” contains some of the more memorable henchmen like the Voodoo God Baron Samadi (Geoffrey Holder) and the mechanical one armed Tee Hee (Julius Harris). It also features one of the more innocent Bond Girls in Fortune Teller Solitaire (Jane Seymour), whose future gazing powers are abused by heroin dealer Kananga (Yaphet Kotto). Each character would have their time to shine and each became memorable in their own ways; mostly Baron Samadi for his cameo in the Nintendo 64 game, GoldenEye.
Overall, “Live and Let Die” is an extremely enjoyable but uneven film that doesn’t truly play to Roger Moore’s strengths.
A film that completely commits to its absurdity.
Roger Moore’s “Moonraker” is one of the most absurd films in the Bond franchise.
Coming off the success of “Star Wars,” the producers of James Bond decided to put 007 into space. Box office-wise, it worked, becoming the most profitable Bond film until “GoldenEye.” However, the decision to put Bond into space makes “Moonraker” a love it or hate it film. There is no middle ground because this is as ridiculous as it gets.
But remember, this is a Roger Moore Bond film and you completely buy the fact that his James Bond would go into space. Had it been Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan, Moonraker would have failed spectacularly. Case and point, “Die Another Day” with it’s satellite laser beams.
In typical Roger Moore fashion, the main villain Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale) wants to wipe out all of humanity and start a new world order from the view of his space station. Adam and Eve style. It’s ridiculous in every sense of the word but it makes for one hell of a fun time. Henchmen Jaws also makes a welcome return after “The Spy Who Loved Me” and Roger Moore is still at the top of his game.
“Moonraker” would be higher on this list had Bond Girl Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) been more charismatic and had the film not made several terrible creative decisions (Double-Take Pigeon, Jaws Love story). “Moonraker” is still a darn good time though and well worth a watch.
12. The Living Daylights
Competent, solid fun.
Timothy Dalton gets an unfair bad rap.
Sandwiched in between Moore and Brosnan, Dalton suffers from the same fate as George Lazenby; a forgotten Bond actor smushed in between two iconic ones. It’s unfortunate that Dalton only got to play Bond twice because in both outings, he’s quite fantastic.
Dalton’s Bond films were grounded and gritty before the audience knew they wanted grounded and gritty. It only took “Die Another Day” to make them realize that and “The Living Daylights” was a much needed tonal shift after the hilariously awful “A View To A Kill.” Here, 007 goes up against Russian arms dealers in a film that feels like it borrowed its 3rd Act from “Rambo 3.”
That’s not an insult, because “The Living Daylights” is pure fun from start to finish even if the movie does go full 80s action in the end. The Final Act packs so many explosions and gunfire in the final 15 minutes that you would think you’re watching “Commando.”
The film’s only main problem are the villains. American Arms Dealer Brad Whitaker (Joe Don Baker) and KGB Agent Necros (Andreas Wisnieeski) are horrible and forgettable. You will forget their names 30 minutes after watching this film.
If you can accept the major shift in tone, “The Living Daylights” is a fun 80s action romp that, while not doing anything particularly amazing, does everything good enough to stand out from the rest of the pack.
11. The World Is Not Enough
A compelling Bond film brought down by one awful performance.
If someone ever says one bad performance shouldn’t affect a movie overall, quickly give them a copy of “The World Is Not Enough;” because that’s exactly what Denise Richards does to this film.
Denise Richards as Christmas Jones is horrendous and ruins every scene that she’s in. Her line delivery is so wooden that she gives Tommy Wiseau a run for his money in the bad line delivery department. There’s simply no way around this, Denise Richards deserved her Razzie Award because she’s nothing other than a distraction in an otherwise incredible Bond film.
Brosnan is at the top of his game, putting in a performance that rivals “GoldenEye” and you really feel his commitment to this character. The film also brings back a fan favorite Valentin Zukovsky, who provides some badass moments as well as some gut-busting humor. Then there are the villains, Renard (Robert Carlyle) and Elecktra King (Sophie Marceau), who are some of the most compelling villains with one of the more believable plans during the Brosnan films.
King suffers from Stockholm Syndrome to Renard and you’re actively rooting for Bond to save her from his mind games. There’s also a compelling love story between King and Bond and you buy the fact that he falls for her. King should have been the only Bond girl, because Christmas Jones completely takes away from the high stakes that this romance has created.
“The World Is Not Enough” is a fantastic James Bond film brought down by one truly terrible performance. Simple as that.
The most “Roger Moore” Bond film of the franchise.
When fans think of the Roger Moore films, they think of silliness, campiness and over the top absurdity. “Octopussy” is exactly that and we are so thankful for it.
“Octopussy” is Roger Moore’s 6th film and honestly, should have been his last for multiple reasons. One, he was getting up there in age but audiences could still buy the 55-year-old as the 00 Agent. Two, unlike the boring “A View To A Kill,” “Octopussy” takes the silliness and ramps it up to 10 without jumping the shark like “Moonraker.” Simply put, “Octopussy” is a blast.
You got Roger Moore disarming nuclear weapons while dressed as a circus clown. Then there’s knife throwing circus performers. Oh, can’t forget Bond sneaking into an enemy base hidden in a crocodile boat. Top it all off with Bond making ghost sounds while scaring the bad guys and screaming like Tarzan as he swings on vines.
Yes, this is the kind of movie you’re in for.
“Maud Adams” returns for her second Bond film after playing a small role in “The Man With The Golden Gun” and provides a great performance as Bond Girl Octopussy. “Louis Jourdan” and “Kabir Bedi” play villains Kamal Khan and Gobinda and are one of the more underrated villain/henchmen duos of the franchise. Combine the villains, the over-the-top action and the silly humor; and you got one heck of an adventure.
There’s no denying it, “Octopussy” is one outrageous blast of a film.
An iconic femme fatale steals the show.
Some may think it’s shocking to see most of Connery’s filmography in the bottom half of this list. Honestly though, it’s justified because many of his entries are either bad, dated or contain many “What were they thinking” moments. Not the case with “Thunderball,” as this film is absolutely fantastic.
What sets “Thunderball” apart from other Connery Bond films is shire the sense of scale and epicness. It feels like a big, grand undersea epic, armed with some really well choreographed underwater sequences. “Thunderball” is also the first Bond film to have 2 excellent Bond girls, love interest Domino Vitali (Claudine Auger) and femme fatale Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi).
Domino doesn’t just provide good looks and a typical love interest for Bond, she also brings emotional weight to her actions. These actions bring out the best in Bond, to the point where he has to hide his emotions because he feels something for her. A truly rare site to see 007 lower his guard.
Then there is Fiona. The henchwoman who gives Xenia Onatopp a run for her money as the best femme fatale of the franchise. She commands every scene she’s in, always having control and always having 007 right where she wants him. She even overshadows the main villain Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi) who is truthfully not all that memorable. This is Fiona’s movie and she deserves it.
“Thunderball” is a contender for the best Connery Bond film of the franchise and set the stage for how epic and big Bond Films could be at that time.
8. The Man With The Golden Gun
An underappreciated Roger Moore gem.
The initial reception to this film is quite puzzling.
Historically, it’s been regarded as one of the low points for 007 and upon rewatch, it’s fortunate to say that those critics have lost their minds. This film succeeds because it smartly played to the strengths of Roger Moore, allowing his Bond to distinguish himself from Connery’s and because of that, “The Man With The Golden Gun” is a triumph.
As mentioned recently, this film played to the strengths of Moore as an actor after “Live and Let Die” made the mistake of trying to make Roger Moore a Sean Connery impersonator.
“Golden Gun” introduced the light-heartedness, the jokes and the sly one-liners that Roger Moore was known for. The new direction made for an extremely fun, exciting and sometimes silly take on the character of 007. However under all the light-heartedness lurked one of the greatest Bond villains of all time, Francisco Scaramanga played brilliantly by the late Christopher Lee.
Scaramanga is a super assassin who’s one main desire is to take out 007 himself and it’s kill or be killed. It’s a simple, effective and brilliant plot that all leads to a fantastic and satisfying Third Act. If not for the overly misogynistic treatment of Bond Girl Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland) “The Man With The Golden Gun” would be Top 5 Material.
“The Man With The Golden Gun” is an underrated and underappreciated James Bond entry that deserves more love than what it got.
The film where the franchise found it’s identity.
The film that defined the franchise for decades and Sean Connery’s finest outing as James Bond.
Despite being released in 1964, “Goldfinger” holds up incredibly well unlike “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love.” The main reason for this is the improved production value, the story and the incredible characters; specifically villain Auric Goldfinger and his Henchman Oddjob.
Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) is one of the most interesting Bond villains with one of the the most compelling villainous plans; make Fort Knox’s gold reserve unusable and collapsing the U.S economy. Simple and straight forward. He doesn’t want to rule the world or even steal a bunch of money; he wants to make others suffer. But he couldn’t complete his plans without his loyal guard Oddjob (Harold Sakata). Armed with his razor rimmed top hat, Oddjob is physically imposing to 007 which leads to one of the most memorable fights of the franchise. Without a single line of dialogue, Oddjob became an icon.
Despite all of these praises, “Goldfinger” has one major fault that keeps it out of the Top 5; Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman). Normally she’s considered one of the most memorable Bond Girls, however upon rewatch, Bonds treatment of her is quite off-putting. There is one scene in a barn where Bond essentially overpowers her to have his way with her and she gives in. It’s flat out disturbing.
Despite this, Goldfinger is still a staple of the franchise and launched the Bond Films into must-see cinema; becoming an instant classic.
007 vs 006, Agent vs Agent and it’s never been done better.
In 1995, after a 6 year hiatus and legal disputes, 007 was back and with him, a classic of 90s action films.
After moving on from Timothy Dalton, studios decided to go with an up and comer, Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan was tough and brooding but also suave and cunning. He was the complete package.
Brosnan’s first outing may have been his most difficult though, because he would have to square off against one of his toughest foes yet; his friend and former partner 006 (Sean Bean). The conflicting ideologies and emotional connection between the two agents would lead to one of the best storylines of the franchise, capped off by one of the greatest 3rd Acts of any Bond film.
“Goldeneye” also features some of the most memorable villains and side characters. Characters like hacker Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming) with his hilarious “I am invincible!” One Liner, the tough and capable Bond Girl Natalya (Izabella Scorupco), the first appearance of Valentin Zukovsky and femme fatale Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssan). Xenia steals the show with her dominatrix like attitude and her deadly thighs, used to squeeze the life out of her victims. Guess if someone were to meet their end, that would be the best way to go.
“GoldenEye” is not just a fantastic Bond film but an incredible action film overall. Successfully reviving a franchise that had fallen on hard times and became one of the most recognizable films of the mid 90s.
5. License To Kill
One of the most under appreciated films ever made.
A film that gets an unfair bad reputation because it takes the James Bond formula out back and throws it to the sharks. A decision that divided fans and critical alike, which is unfortunate because “License To Kill” is a near-masterpiece.
Timothy Dalton returns once again, delivering an all-time performance as a rage-fueled, revenge driven Bond after his newlywed friends are wronged by a cartel Drug Lord, Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi). This is the least composed we’ve ever seen Bond as he rejects MI6 and goes on his own personal vendetta.
This is a story that will divide audiences because “License To Kill” is less James Bond and more Miami Vice meets Jason Bourne. You see heads exploding, thugs falling into meat grinders and villains being lit on fire. But it works and James Bond went dark and gritty before audience’s knew they wanted dark and gritty with “Casino Royale.”
“License to Kill” is also rounded out with incredible supporting characters. Sanchez is a brutal and underrated main villain. His henchmen Dario is played by Benicio Del Toro in one of the first acting roles of his career and even Wayne Newton makes a briefly hilarious appearance.
But the shining star is Bond Girl Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell), who earns the title of the best Bond Girl of the franchise. Not only is she a strong female agent but she and Dalton have incredible chemistry and you genuinely feel like they would fall in love with one another. She’s simply everything you want in a Bond Girl: tough, confident, smart, capable and sexy. She is the complete package.
“License To Kill” deserves a second chance because it took chances that turned this film into one of the best Bond films of all time.
4. Casino Royale
Back to basics done to perfection.
The film that saved the franchise after the abysmal “Die Another Day.”
Interestingly, “Casino Royale” had its own share of casting controversy when it cast blonde-haired actor Daniel Craig. The amount of backlash that Bond fans gave to this casting choice were close to the levels of Michael Keaton as Batman and Heath Ledger as Joker. This is yet another example of why fans should never be allowed casting input because Craig silenced all doubters.
Craig is an inexperienced 007 who uses his license to kill recklessly. This makes for some interesting and intense action set pieces, which are easily some of the best in the franchise. The parkour chase, the stairway fight, the airport chase; they’re all fantastic. But the best parts are when Bond is squaring off with the villainous Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) in a high stakes poker game.
Le Chiffre needs to pay back money after Bond thwarted his plans and he must win this game or die. That’s it, that’s his plan. It’s not to rule the world or steal nukes, it’s to save himself from assassination; and it’s masterfully executed.
Additionally, we get the incredible Bond girl Vesper (Eva Green), Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and Judi Dench back as M. Every character plays a purpose, every plot point matters and no time is wasted on pointless subplots.
“Casino Royale” is a Masterpiece that took James Bond back to basics when it needed it most. If not for “Quantum of Solace” staining Vespers story, this may have been Number 1 on the list.
3. On Her Majestys Secret Service
The most underrated Bond actor in the most underrated Bond film.
The best Bond film of the 1960s is unfortunately the one that is talked about the least.
“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” is far superior in every way to both “Diamonds Are Forever” and “You Only Live Twice.” Yet because it’s not Sean Connery as the lead, it gets unfairly pushed aside. This is an unpopular opinion, but George Lazenby was better than Sean Connery.
Yes, George Lazenby for his only Bond outing was nothing short of fantastic in the role. He had wit, charm, humor and a much more physical presence than Connery. You felt that he was capable of taking down multiple thugs at a time without breaking a sweat. That’s not a knock on Connery, but outside of the Oddjob and Red Grant fights, Connery looked like he was going through the motions.
Complimenting Lazenby is one of the best Bond Girls put on screen Tracy Draco (Diana Rigg), who would also turn out to be the love of his life. They have genuine chemistry and like Electra King, you buy that they would fall in love with each other. It’s a romance that very few bond films have been able to accomplish. Blofeld also makes his return, this time played by Telly Savalas.
This is a performance that gets overshadowed by the more iconic Donald Pleasence. Yes, Donald Pleasence is far more iconic, but Savalas was superior in every way. He was calm but intimidating, cunning but tactical, friendly but frightening. Savalas is the perfect Blofeld and the perfect James Bond villain.
“On Her Majesty Secret Service” is one of the most beautifully shot Bond films with one of the best Bond stories ever told. It’s big, it’s epic and it was truly ahead of its time. Give this film a chance, it deserves one.
A perfect Bond Film where the cinematography becomes its own character.
It always comes down to either “Casino Royale” or “Skyfall” as the best Daniel Craig Bond film. This time, the winner is “Skyfall.”
After the abysmal “Quantum of Solace,” the franchise was in need of a facelift. On came director San Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins; a match made in heaven. Mendes would make the choice of breaking Bond down only to have him rise from the ashes like the Phoenix.
After a failed mission, Bond would go off the grid, throwing away all of his commitments to the British government. It’s only after MI6 is threatened that Bond decides to come out of hiding. It’s a bold choice that takes a deep dive into his psyche. Allowing audiences to understand the mindset of Bond, what he values and what MI6 means to him.
But with every great story, there’s a great villain. Javier Bardem as Raul Silva is perfect. A former 00 Agent who felt betrayed by M and MI6 goes after Bond to try and sway him to his side. Making him question who he can trust and question who MI6 truly values. It’s compelling, suspenseful and leads to one thrilling, cinematic climax.
Then there’s the cinematography. Roger Deakins is a genius and this is his grand masterpiece. Every shot is crafted with such precision and each frame tells it owns story. This is the film that should have won Deakins his first Oscar; not Blade Runner 2049. The Shanghai Silhouette Fight supports this statement.
The film also reintroduces Q (Ben Whishaw), as well as leaning back towards the fantasy elements by bringing the gadgets back into the fold; though nothing as outrageous as an exploding pen.
“Skyfall” deserves artistic praise of the highest order and is a masterpiece of modern cinema.
1. The Spy Who Loved Me
“Nobody Does It Better”
Like the name of Carly Simon’s Title Sequence Song, no Bond film did better than “The Spy Who Loved Me.” This is the Bond film where everything went right.
Roger Moore’s delivers by far his best performance as 007. Moore has the perfect balance of humor, physicality and seriousness that James Bond is known for. Every single one-liner hits the mark and will leave you bursting with laughter. He also has the best gadgets, like an underwater car and his ski pole gun which both take place during incredible chase sequences. But no Bond film is complete without an incredible ensemble.
That ensemble includes a Top 3 Bond Girl in Russian Agent Triple X (Barbara Bach). This is the only time were Bond has a partner throughout the majority of the film who also happens to be his equal. Their back and forth banter make for some hilarious situations when they’re forced to problem solve together.
Whether they like it or not, Bond and Triple X would require their best efforts to take down the ocean-loving villain Karl Stromberg (Curd Jürgens), who is hellbent in starting a new world order. However, the true threat was Stromberg’s terrifying henchmen Jaws (Richard Kiel).
This massive 7’2 giant is armed with superior strength and a set of metal teeth that can chomp their way through anything. Kiel steals every scene that he’s in and provides an on-screen presence that has been matched only by Oddjob.
“The Spy Who Loved Me” is the complete package and has everything a fan of this franchise could want. Great action set pieces, an amazing Bond Girl, an iconic henchman, a solid villain, a great story, gut busting humor and an overall sense of fun and adventure.
Simply put, “The Spy Who Loved Me” is The Greatest Bond Film Ever Made.