James Bond is one of the most iconic characters ever put to the big screen. From the gadgets to the martinis to the cars to the locations, the films with 007 have been entertaining audiences for decades. But how do they stack up against each other? Here is how I rank them from worst to best. Note that I have not included the film ‘Casino Royale’ (1967) because it is a parody of Bond.
26. ‘Die Another Day’ (2002)
“Time to face gravity.”
Director: Lee Tamahori
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune
IMDB Plot: James Bond is sent to investigate the connection between a North Korean terrorist and a diamond mogul, who is funding the development of an international space weapon.
The worst Bond picture to date, ‘Die Another Day’ is still watchable enough despite all of its disappointments. Brosnan is in fine form in his fourth and last outing as Bond, and Pike and Yune make for colorful supporting villains. The first forty minutes or so are actually pretty decent, beginning with a slambang opening involving hovercrafts. The shot of Bond flipping a car with an ejector seat is also awesome. Unfortunately most of ‘Die Another Day’ is bogged down by stupid and overblown decisions. The invisible car, the ice palace, the satellite that shoots lasers, the Madonna song, the CGI wind-sailing scene, the performances of Stephens and Berry, and the flashy fast-mo and slow-mo camerawork are just some of the major flaws. In a way I’m thankful for ‘Die Another Day’ though as it led the producers to reboot the series and gave us one of the best Bond films in ‘Casino Royale’ (2006). Grade: C
25. ‘A View to a Kill’ (1985)
“So, anyone else want to drop out?”
Director: John Glen
Cast: Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones, Patrick Macnee
IMDB Plot: An investigation of a horse-racing scam leads 007 to a mad industrialist who plans to create a worldwide microchip monopoly by destroying California’s Silicon Valley.
The last film with Moore as Bond (he was 57 and looked it when it came out!), ‘A View to a Kill’ is his worst outing and one of the more disappointing entries in the entire series. Walken was born to be a Bond villain, but he’s not given good enough material to sink his teeth into — until the third act — as the evil plot boringly involves microchips in horses. Meanwhile Jones is a striking-looking sub-villain but has even less to do. Some of the editing here is downright choppy, too, and a lot of the action scenes manage to feel simultaneously absurd and tired. And who’s stupid idea was it to start playing a song by The Beach Boys in the middle of an intense snowmobile chase? All of that said, ‘A View to a Kill’ does have a great music score and an intense climax on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Grade: C+
24. ‘Quantum of Solace’ (2008)
“They say you’re judged by the strength of your enemies.”
Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright
IMDB Plot: James Bond descends into mystery as he tries to stop a mysterious organization from eliminating a country’s most valuable resource.
Though it has its moments, ‘Quantum of Solace’ is a mostly a letdown as a Bond film and especially as an immediate follow-up to ‘Casino Royale.’ Craig is still solid here and the film does have a thrilling plane sequence. Everything else is just bland flashiness, with excruciating quick-cut editing trying to emulate the style of the ‘Bourne’ series. The story feels rushed, the villain and his plan (controlling water supplies in Bolivia) are boring, and Bond is mostly stripped of his personality and comes across as an action-hero-of-the-week. It does have a nice nod to ‘Goldfinger’ though, with a dead woman covered in oil — instead of gold — on a bed. Grade: B-
23. ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ (1974)
“I like a girl in a bikini. No concealed weapons.”
Director: Guy Hamilton
Cast: Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams, Clifton James
IMDB Plot: James Bond is led to believe that he is targeted by the world’s most expensive assassin while he attempts to recover sensitive solar cell technology that is being sold to the highest bidder.
‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ – which is Moore’s second outing as Bond and Hamilton’s last directorial effort in the series – is an uneven entry that doesn’t really come alive until the outstanding third act. Lee makes for one of the best Bond villains as assassin Scaramanga and his dwarf henchman Nick Nack (Herve Villechaize) is memorable as well. It’s too bad the plot surrounding these colorful characters isn’t more interesting. Among the issues: Bond gets involved with kung fu in some scenes – which is more awkward than entertaining – and James makes an unwelcome return (after ‘Live and Let Die’ (1973)) as the annoying character J.W. Pepper in a subplot. Grade: B
22. ‘Diamonds are Forever’ (1971)
“…But wrong pussy.”
Director: Guy Hamilton
Cast: Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray, Lana Wood, Jimmy Dean
IMDB Plot: A diamond smuggling investigation leads James Bond to Las Vegas, where he uncovers an evil plot involving a rich business tycoon.
After sitting out on ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (1969), Connery returned for his last “official” (aka Eon Productions) Bond picture with ‘Diamonds are Forever.’ It also marked the return of director Hamilton, who hit gold with ‘Goldfinger’ (1964). Unfortunately ‘Diamonds are Forever’ is just a decent Bond flick and definitely one of the lesser Connery ones. St. John and Wood are more annoying than entertaining as Bond girls Tiffany Case and Plenty O’Toole, and the supporting villains Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd are even worse. The film does have some flavorful dialogue, a standout Las Vegas car chase, a great title song, and a solid Gray as Blofeld, but a lot of the material is cartoonish and forgettable overall when compared to superior early Bond flicks. Grade: B
21. ‘Octopussy’ (1983)
“Mr. Bond is indeed of a very rare breed… soon to be made extinct.”
Director: John Glen
Cast: Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Kristina Wayborn, Steven Berkoff
IMDB Plot: A fake Fabergé egg, and a fellow Agent’s death, lead James Bond to uncover an international jewel-smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on N.A.T.O. forces.
Moore’s second-to-last Bond outing, ‘Octopussy,’ sees the actor starting to lose interest as his age begins to show at the same time. ‘Octopussy’ has some dazzling Indian locations and a plethora of impressive stunts, keeping it entertaining enough throughout. However, the plot involving jewel smuggling and Soviet control is a bit of a muddle. The tone is also uneven as the serious moments don’t always gel with the ridiculous ones this time around. For instance, we get a thrilling car chase immediately followed by Bond in a clown costume; him yelling like Tarzan as he swings from vines in a jungle at one point doesn’t help things either. Despite such idiotic elements, ‘Octopussy’ is slickly presented and amusingly adventurous enough to work. It also features not one but two breathtaking scenes that rank among the series’ best when it comes to airplanes. Grade: B
20. ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ (1997)
“You always were a cunning linguist, James.”
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, Judi Dench
IMDB Plot: James Bond heads to stop a media mogul’s plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage.
‘Tomorrow Never Dies,’ Brosnan’s second outing, settles more into routine with its plot and humor than its superior predecessor ‘Goldeneye.’ The first hour is somewhat lackluster, and villain Elliot Carver (Pryce) and his plan to start WWIII in order to gain better media ratings is a bit lame. However, the film does have two terrific chases — one with Bond driving his car from the back seat with a remote control and the other involving a motorcycle and handcuffs — and a standout Bond girl in the badass Wai Lin (Yeoh). ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ is solid but unremarkable Bond entertainment, though the climax is full of marvelous action. Grade: B
19. ‘Thunderball’ (1965)
“Wait ‘til’ you get to my teeth.”
Director: Terence Young
Cast: Sean Connery, Adolfo Celi, Claudine Auger, Luciana Paluzzi, Guy Doleman
IMDB Plot: James Bond heads to The Bahamas to recover two nuclear warheads stolen by SPECTRE agent Emilio Largo in an international extortion scheme.
The fourth Bond outing, ‘Thunderball,’ is a bit of a letdown immediately following the exceptional ‘Goldfinger’ (1964). Its 130 minutes feel sluggish at times as the plot gets jumbled and bogs down. Plus Auger and Paluzzi look frustratingly similar at times, making it occasionally difficult to differentiate their characters from each other. The film still offers many terrific moments though, including a sensational climax that takes place under the ocean. Celi also makes for a delicious villain as number two SPECTRE man Largo, who has a fondness for sharks. ‘Thunderball’ ranks really high among some Bond fans, but for me it is a fine Connery entry while also feeling a tad overrated. Grade: B
18. ‘Moonraker’ (1979)
“I think he’s attempting re-entry, sir.”
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Cast: Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel, Bernard Lee
IMDB Plot: James Bond investigates the mid-air theft of a space shuttle, and discovers a plot to commit global genocide.
A Bond film made during the ‘Star Wars’ (1977) craze, ‘Moonraker’ is a big, campy, and colorful flick that mixes spy and sci-fi elements. With such turns as Bond literally going to space and henchman Jaws (Kiel) falling in love and turning good, ‘Moonraker’ is outlandish and silly in ways. But it’s also a lot of fun, staying grounded enough so as not to fly off the rails as it hops around scene to scene. While Moore looks comfortable and suave this time around, production designer Ken Adams is the real star of this entry; the sets are spectacular and filled with detail. The action scenes have a lot of variety here too, with my favorites being a crazy skydiving opening and an intense fist fight on top of a gondola. Grade: B+
17. ‘Never Say Never Again’ (1983)
“Well, to be perfectly honest, there was this girl in Philadelphia…”
Director: Irvin Kershner
Cast: Sean Connery, Kim Basinger, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max von Sydow, Barbara Carrera
IMDB Plot: A SPECTRE agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated.
Due to a legal battle ending with writer-producer Kevin McClory retaining the filming rights for the novel ‘Thunderball,’ ‘Never Say Never Again’ was able to be made outside of Eon Productions. Because of being non-Eon, the film is sometimes called an “unofficial Bond entry.” All that muck aside, ‘Never Say Never Again’ is still a Bond film and marks a welcome one-off return for Connery in the role after retiring it 12 years earlier. It’s also, dare I say it, better than the 1965 ‘Thunderball’ film, being less obsessed with padding out underwater scenes. ‘Never Say Never Again’ is one of the more understated, character-focused Bond films. It features less gadgets and action scenes than usual, but it does have an awesome motorcycle chase and a lively climax in an underground temple. The film’s occasional lulls are made up for by giving us two excellent performances (Connery and Brandauer, as villain Largo) that keep things moving. Grade: B+
16. ‘For Your Eyes Only’ (1981)
“He had no head for heights.”
Director: John Glen
Cast: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Chaim Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Julian Glover
IMDB Plot: Agent 007 is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device and prevent it from falling into enemy hands.
Perhaps the most mature and clear-eyed film of the Moore era, ‘For Your Eyes Only’ is a solid if somewhat routine and forgettable Bond adventure. The film is expertly shot and features exciting stunts that feel way more grounded than what was presented in ‘Moonraker’ (1979). A highlight includes a breathtaking rock climbing scene that smartly occurs without music in order to ratchet up the quiet suspense. Some poor elements include an unnecessary opening with Blofeld, disco-inspired music during a few of the chases, and a terrible performance from Johnson as an annoying Bond-loving teenager named Bibi. Grade: B+
15. ‘Spectre’ (2015)
“It was all me, James. It’s always been me. The author of all your pain.”
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Dave Bautista
IMDB Plot: A cryptic message from James Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover the existence of a sinister organisation named SPECTRE. With a new threat dawning, Bond learns the terrible truth about the author of all his pain in his most recent missions.
The main issue with ‘Spectre’ is that it peaks early with a long opening scene that holds a tracking shot on Bond during a Day of the Dead parade. It’s an incredible and classic Bond scene. The rest of the film moves in fits and starts as Mendes’ followup to ‘Skyfall’ (2012) tries to further deepen Bond’s past. While the little bit of depth given in ‘Skyfall’ was welcome, here the development feels forced as the script tries to connect Bond to a mysterious character (played well by Waltz). Despite the problems on the writing front, Mendes still offers a lot of entertainment through his execution of the material on the directing front. All of the film looks great at least, with a car chase in Rome and a plane crash on a mountain being standout set pieces. Grade: B+
14. ‘The World Is Not Enough’ (1999)
“I thought Christmas only comes once a year.”
Director: Michael Apted
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Judi Dench
IMDB Plot: James Bond uncovers a nuclear plot when he protects an oil heiress from her former kidnapper, an international terrorist who can’t feel pain.
Brosnan really comes into his own in his third outing as Bond, ‘The World Is Not Enough,’ an underrated entry in the series. The film started a new trend with the opening set piece connecting directly to the main plot (with a killer speedboat chase on the Thames), it gave M a bit more to do than normal, and it added a bittersweet element with Q retiring. The two lead villains have a fascinating relationship as well, with Marceau dynamite as a rare lead female villain and Carlyle creepy as a guy who can’t feel pain. Many have justifiably complained about the casting of Richards as a nuclear physicist, but she’s really not in the movie much until the second half. And she’s really the only big issue within an otherwise lively Bond adventure. Grade: B+
13. ‘The Living Daylights’ (1987)
“He got the boot.”
Director: John Glen
Cast: Timothy Dalton, Maryam d’Abo, Jeroen Krabbe, Joe Don Baker, John Rhys-Davies
IMDB Plot: James Bond is living on the edge to stop an evil arms dealer from starting another world war. Bond crosses all seven continents in order to stop the evil Whitaker and General Koskov.
The first film with Dalton as Bond, ‘The Living Daylights’ brings some welcome seriousness back to the franchise after the silliness of the last couple of Roger Moore films. Dalton is stiff at times and doesn’t always hit the humor with the right note, but he has an edge and coolness as Bond not seen before in the films; many fans say Dalton is the closest anyone has come to the Bond in the Ian Fleming novels. After a clever opening involving a training exercise, ‘The Living Daylights’ becomes somewhat dense but always engaging as the plot unfolds. The film has one of the sweetest gadget-equipped cars in the series (showing off on a frozen lake) and the climax in Afghanistan is explosive entertainment. Grade: B+
12. ‘Live and Let Die’ (1973)
“Sheer magnetism, darling.”
Director: Guy Hamilton
Cast: Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour, Clifton James, Julius Harris
IMDB Plot: 007 is sent to stop a diabolically brilliant heroin magnate armed with a complex organization and a reliable psychic tarot card reader.
With voodoo, psychics, Blaxploitation tropes, and a plot shift into drug dealing instead of global domination, ‘Live and Let Die’ is an odd but fascinating entry in the Bond canon. Moore does a solid job in his first outing in the role, though he occasionally feels out of character; he looks like a master of acting compared to Clifton James though, who plays the grating character J.W. Pepper. Kotto is a vibrant presence as villain Mr. Big and Seymour is alluring as Bond girl Solitaire. The highlights of the film are the varied and exciting chases, which include ones with a double-decker bus, a plane, and boats. And who could forget the rocking title song by Wings? Grade: B+
11. ‘No Time to Die’ (2021)
“We all have our secrets. We just didn’t get to yours yet.”
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ana de Armas
IMDB Plot: Bond has left active service. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
After multiple release delays, the excellent Craig finally got his last bow as Bond with ‘No Time to Die.’ Running for nearly three hours, it’s a bloated entry that doubles down on the Craig-era serious approach to mixed results; the finale in particular will be emotional for some, frustrating for others. Malek and de Armas do their best in underwritten supporting roles while Seydoux brings a lot of heart by returning to her role from ‘Spectre.’ Fukunaga stages everything handsomely, with the opening sequence involving a snowy landscape and a later sequence involving foggy woods being standout sections. Grade: B+
10. ‘Goldeneye’ (1995)
“Good, because I think you’re a sexist, misogynist dinosaur.”
Director: Martin Campbell
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen, Judi Dench
IMDB Plot: James Bond teams up with the lone survivor of a destroyed Russian research center to stop the hijacking of a nuclear space weapon by a fellow Agent formerly believed to be dead.
After six years off of the big screen, Bond came roaring back to cinemas with ‘Goldeneye.’ Brosnan steps into the role for his first outing with ease and Dench is very welcome as the new M. The plot working in another 00 agent (a terrific Bean) is a nice touch as well. The tank-and-car chase is spectacular and humorous, and Scorupco and Janssen add a lot of flavor as memorable and fierce Bond girls. Some of the mid-90s CGI is hopelessly dated now and the self-aware attitude (new to the series at the time) seems obvious at turns. Small complaints aside though, ‘Goldeneye’ is wild spy entertainment and is easily the best film of the Brosnan era. Bonus: It also inspired one of the greatest FPS video games of its time. Grade: A-
9. ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ (1977)
“Keeping the British end up, sir.”
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Cast: Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Curd Jürgens, Richard Kiel, Caroline Munro
IMDB Plot: James Bond investigates the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads with the help of a KGB agent whose lover he killed.
Moore’s third and best Bond film, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ is a rollicking time from beginning to end. Moore is looser this time around than in his first two entries, but it’s Jürgens as villain Stromberg, Kiel as his henchman Jaws (who ironically kills a shark with his teeth), and Bach as Anya (a smart, self-sufficient Bond girl and one of the best) that help elevate the material. The hold-your-breath opening ski jump, outlandish villain plan, top-notch production design, Lotus car that can go underwater, and beautiful photography on Egyptian locations are all highlights as well. This is a very fun and suspenseful Bond outing with great characters. Biggest fault: a lot of the sexual innuendos that Bond spouts off in the first half fall very flat. Grade: A-
8. ‘License to Kill’ (1989)
“In my business you prepare for the unexpected.”
Director: John Glen
Cast: Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Benicio Del Toro
IMDB Plot: James Bond goes rogue and sets off to unleash vengeance on a drug lord who tortured his best friend, a C.I.A. Agent, and left him for dead and murdered his bride after he helped capture him.
‘License to Kill’ might just be the most underrated Bond film, ahead of its time and full of a skillful edge not seen again till the Daniel Craig era. Some reviewers attack it for not having much humor or sexiness in comparison to earlier Bond flicks, but to me those issues are minor. The plot takes some refreshingly different turns from the Bond formula, turning the agent rogue and making his mission more personal and revenge-based. The main baddie being a drug lord instead of wanting to destroy the world is also a welcome angle, with Davi perfectly menacing as Sanchez; Del Toro also shows up in one of his earlier roles as a tough henchman. The action scenes are gripping and more grounded than usual as well, with the final semi-truck showdown delivering plenty of edge-of-your-seat thrills. Dalton also settles in with a better performance than with his previous work in ‘The Living Daylights’ (1987). Grade: A-
7. ‘You Only Live Twice’ (1967)
“Oh the things I do for England.”
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Cast: Sean Connery, Mie Hama, Donald Pleasance, Akiko Wakabayashi, Teru Shimada
IMDB Plot: Agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked.
The fifth Bond outing, ‘You Only Live Twice,’ found screenwriter Roald Dahl (yes, that Roald Dahl) and director Gilbert making some major changes to the Fleming novel it’s based on. This one is silly and extravagant at times, but it’s also fun and inventive. The highlights include an exciting helicopter battle, Nancy Sinatra’s haunting title song, terrific Japanese locations, cool gadgets (including a cigarette baby-rocket), and a climax inside a volcano in which Bond and Blofeld finally come face to face on-screen. Low point: when Bond tries to pass himself off as a Japanese man with unconvincing hair and makeup; it looks pretty racist. Grade: A-
6. ‘Dr. No’ (1962)
“I think they were on their way to a funeral.”
Director: Terence Young
Cast: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman, John Kitzmiller, Jack Lord
IMDB Plot: A resourceful British government agent seeks answers in a case involving the disappearance of a colleague and the disruption of the American space program.
The very first Bond film released (but actually based on the sixth Bond novel), ‘Dr. No’ is a lean, simple, and unpretentious adventure that only becomes a bit jumbled in its final act. It introduces series regular supporting characters but also delivers terrific one-film characters like the mysterious title villain (Wiseman), the sexy first “Bond girl” Honey Ryder (Andress), and the funny sidekick Quarrel (Kitzmiller). ‘Dr. No’ contains beautiful Jamaican exteriors and features the famous shot of Ryder emerging from the ocean in a bikini. The movie doesn’t have its own title song or make use of gadgets, but it did introduce the main surf rock-like theme song by Monty Norman and other signature elements of the series. Plus it instantly made Connery a huge star – and it’s easy to see why. Grade: A-
5. ‘From Russia with Love’ (1963)
“Red wine with fish. Well that should have told me something.”
Director: Terence Young
Cast: Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Daniela Bianchi, Pedro Armendarez, Lotte Lenya
IMDB Plot: James Bond willingly falls into an assassination ploy involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by SPECTRE.
The second Bond film – ‘From Russia with Love’ – finds 007 in Turkey, caught in a battle between Russians and locals and still finding time to have sex with four different female characters (including two gypsies at the same time). Bond, you dog, you. The writing is a step up from ‘Dr. No’ (1962) in terms of character interactions, but the first two acts do feel a tad scattered at times (is the gypsy camp scene really necessary?). Bianchi is an alternately fun and clingy Bond girl as Tatiana, but the film finds an awesome side villain in Grant (Shaw) – who has an exciting and memorable fight scene with Bond on a train. Also throw in the tactical suitcase (the first Bond gadget on film) and some thrilling third act helicopter and boat battles and you have yourself one damn fine Bond adventure. Grade: A-
4. ‘Skyfall’ (2012)
“Orphans always make the best recruits.”
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris
IMDB Plot: James Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. When MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.
After the disappointing ‘Quantum of Solace’ (2008), Bond came roaring back to life with ‘Skyfall’ for the 50th anniversary of the character being on the big screen. Bond gets some welcome character depth this time around and his relationship with M is deepened. He also takes on Silva, a villain who has a past connection to M; Silva is played with delicious menace by Bardem. Silva’s plan in the plot gets a little muddled, but other than that this is an excellent Bond outing from top to bottom. Mendes directs the film with serious skill, while legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins crafts plenty of beautiful images. I especially love the climax that takes place at a certain dilapidated house in a remote area. Grade: A
3. ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (1969)
“He had a lot of guts.”
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Cast: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas, Ilse Steppat, Lois Maxwell
IMDB Plot: James Bond woos a mob boss’s daughter and goes undercover to uncover the true reason for Blofeld’s allergy research in the Swiss Alps that involves beautiful women from around the world.
This sixth film in the franchise is the one that has Lazenby in is his first and only outing as Bond. While Lazenby is decent but occasionally stiff in the role, ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ is still one of the best Bond films overall. The writing is surprisingly thoughtful at times, the Swiss Alps action set pieces are stunning even to this day, and Rigg makes for arguably the best Bond girl as Tracy — who is also the only one Bond ever marries. This is a more serious entry than its predecessors and feels ahead of its time, with a surprisingly emotional ending that’s the cherry on top. Grade: A
2. ‘Casino Royale’ (2006)
“That last hand… nearly killed me.”
Director: Martin Campbell
Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright
IMDB Plot: Armed with a license to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007, and must defeat a private banker to terrorists in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, Montenegro, but things are not what they seem.
Just when we thought ‘Die Another Day’ might be a downhill signal for the series, ‘Casino Royale’ showed up and rebooted Bond in a fresh, grounded way. The film is exceptionally written and directed, taking Bond into darker and more human and serious territories as it explores his origin with MI6 but also not losing the suave and playful charm of the character and his dialogue. Right from his debut here, Craig shows he is maybe the best Bond aside from Sean Connery. Green (as the complex Vesper) and Mikkelsen (as vulnerable villain Le Chiffre) add a lot of spark to the film as well. The action sequences are tight and intense too without ever becoming absurd or effects-flashy like in some of the earlier entries. Some of the editing in the middle of the film has awkward touches and Jeffrey Wright has next to nothing to do as the new Felix Leiter, but other than those quibbles this is a masterful Bond film. Grade: A
1. ‘Goldfinger’ (1964)
Director: Guy Hamilton
Cast: Sean Connery, Gert Frobe, Honor Blackman, Shirley Eaton, Harold Sakata
IMDB Plot: Investigating a gold magnate’s smuggling, James Bond uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve.
The quintessential Bond movie, ‘Goldfinger’ is great entertainment from beginning to end and established many aspects of the series that have lasted into modern times. Full of memorable images, lines, and characters (this is the one with the hilariously named Pussy Galore (Blackman)), the film perfectly balances interesting storytelling and exciting filmmaking. Connery is in peak form here, and Frobe and Sakata are unforgettable villains as Goldfinger and his henchman Oddjob. Even after all these years, ‘Goldfinger’ holds up as a top-tier Bond film. Bonus: Shirley Bassey’s title song is still arguably the finest of all the tunes in the series. Grade: A+