Now that my 007 Marathon is complete, and with the 24th film in the franchise, SPECTRE, hitting theaters tomorrow, it’s time to count down my favorite Bonds and Bond films!
If there’s one thing I learned from my Marathon, it’s that there really is something for everyone in the Bond franchise. If you’re into fun, sometimes cheesy spy adventures, the later Connery years and Roger Moore era are for you! If you want something more “realistic,” you can enjoy the work of Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig. And if you’re looking for something that rests somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, you’ve got four Pierce Brosnan movies to check out.
I personally connect more with the grounded take on the franchise, and the espionage angle, rather than the world-dominating bad guys and cheesy one liners that ruled over Moore’s run. As such, it’s pretty easy to tell what my Bond ranking is:
- Daniel Craig
Craig truly represents everything I want from Bond – he’s badass, can hold his own in action scenes, and presents a layer of depth and complication to the role that no one else has been able to capture. His were also the first Bond movies that I really connected to, which might have something to do with this ranking. Either way, I hope that SPECTRE isn’t his last foray as 007.
2. Sean Connery
As bad as some of his later films got, there’s no denying how great Sean Connery is in the role as Bond. He truly set a high bar for all that would come after him, and turned the secret agent into an icon. No actor has been able to capture the amount of charisma that he brought to the role, and while he may not have as many great action or emotional beats as Craig, he’s just so damn fun to watch.
3. Timothy Dalton
I really enjoyed Dalton’s take on Bond, and was bummed to find out that he was only given two outings. I know that he wasn’t a huge hit with audiences at the time, partly because his take on the franchise was the complete opposite of Moore’s. I’d argue that he was ahead of his time, and is very much a precursor to Daniel Craig. If he’d had the chance to do more than two films (only one of which I really loved), he probably could have ended up higher on this list.
4. George Lazenby
Lazenby perhaps had the hardest job of any Bond actor, as he was the first tasked with filling Connery’s shoes. He’s often forgotten when talking about the character, simply because he only did one film, but I thought he could have been a great successor to Connery, and liked his take on the character far more than I liked Moore’s.
5. Pierce Brosnan
As I said in my GoldenEye review, Brosnan was the James Bond I grew up with, and was, for quite some time, how I envisioned the character. As it turns out, he’s fallen out of good graces with me as the years have gone by, especially now that I have all the other actors to compare. I enjoyed his take on the character enough in his early films, but he slowly began devolving into Roger Moore by the time The World Is Not Enough came around.
6. Roger Moore
Oh, Roger Moore. Look. I don’t hate the guy. He’s just not what I want from the character. He’s obviously what a lot of other people wanted, as evidenced by the seven Bond movies he starred in, but that was the era that I had the hardest time getting through in my Marathon, and his films will likely be the ones I revisit the least (the corny greatness of Moonraker not withstanding).
Here’s my ranking of all the Bond films, from best to worst!
- From Russia With Love
- The Living Daylights
- Casino Royale
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
- Dr. No
- Diamonds Are Forever
- The Spy Who Loved Me
- Quantum of Solace
- You Only Live Twice
- Tomorrow Never Dies
- Licence to Kill
- The Man with the Golden Gun
- The World is Not Enough
- For Your Eyes Only
- A View to A Kill
- Live and Let Die
- Die Another Day
What are your Bond rankings? Sound off in the comments!