With 007 in 23: 23 Days of Bond done with, time to celebrate the Bond franchise with some top ten lists for you all. Time to celebrate the best gadgets, the best Bond girls, the best themes, villains, and of course, the best Bond films. Let’s not waste anymore time, time for Top of the Crop: Bond Edition.
Best Q Branch Gadgets
10. Dentonite, toothpaste plastic explosive (Licence to Kill)- Spreads like butter in order to get the tight spaces to not be seen by the naked eye and explodes like nothing.
9. Jetpack (Thunderball)
Sure, the film wasn’t that great and the jetpack looks dated, but one can’t deny that Bond owning a jetpack is pure win.
8. Wristgun (Moonraker)– Responding to quick wrist movements, the wrist gun is fantastic for a quick shot against any foul villain.
7. Cigarette gun (You Only Live Twice)– Tricking enemies to give you back your smokes is even better when lighting up and shooting.
6. Explosive pen (GoldenEye)
Sometimes the IT guy has a habit of clicking pens that taking it to its advantage is quite explosive.
5. Laser Watch (GoldenEye)– Not even Q explained what the hell it is, but the laser watch can burn through metal for quick escapes with ease.
4. Lotus Submarine Car (The Spy Who Loved Me)– The quick escape from a chase is through the sea to investigate an explore the ocean world in style.
3. Booby Trap Suitcase (From Russia With Love)– Suitcases can fit your secrets, but luckily, this suitcase can knock foes out to keep the safe.
2. Wet Nellie (You Only Live Twice)– The helicopter is certainly not a toy, but Bond’s ultimate weapon for the air.
1. Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger)
Nothing like riding in pure style in a classic car, fully equipped to take out the baddies with machine guns, tire spikes, and ejector seat to kick out those you have no use for.
Honorable Mention: The Vanquish (Die Another Day)
The movie is tripe and the car is not the best, but that invisible camouflage feature was pretty sweet, one can’t deny not wanting it.
10. Quantum Teaser Chase (Quantum of Solace)- A badass beginning to a wildly mediocre with a full on shootout as Bond tries to escape Quantum agents.
9. Tankbusting Through St. Peterburg (GoldenEye)– Sure, Bond could have taken his BMW given to him by Q, but decided against that by taking a tank to the streets to get back Natayla.
8. Ski Free Run (The Spy Who Loved Me)
Bond takes out KGB spies in Austria while skiing and not missing a beat, finshing in a blaze of glory by base jumping with a Union Jack parachute.
7. Under Constuction Foot Chase (Casino Royale)– Bond predates Assassin’s Creed by trying to fetch his target from the streets to entering construction site leading to a spectacular fight on a crane up in the air.
6. Istanbul, Not Constantinople Chase Teaser (Skyfall)- James Bond, alongside new MI6 colleague Eve, track down the man who stole the hard drive throughout all across Istanbul on foot, in a car, and on motorbike in about ten minutes of pure glory.
5. Ski Escape from Piz Gloria (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)– The mother of all ski chases as Lazenby gets his own crowning moment of awesome by escaping Piz Gloria while taking out Blofeld’s men.
4. Scenic Route (For Your Eyes Only)– Though short at only three minutes, Bond and Melina decide to take the scenic route to escape while causing some mild property damage along the way.
3. The Ice Chase (The Living Daylights)
Bond tries to get Kara to safety only to be part of a gadget laden chase with Bond taking out and entire truck blocking the road with the Stinger missiles from his Aston Martin.
2. Land to Sea (The Spy Who Loved Me)– James Bond and Anya leave the wrath of Jaws and Stromberg’s men by engaging in a car chase with a helicopter above shooting, motorcyclists, and ending with Bond going into the sea and blowing up the copter over head.
1. Goldfinger Forest Escape (Goldfinger)
The Aston Martin gets to shine brightly in the spotlight with Bond taking advantage of smoke screen, missiles, and even the ejector seat.
Honorable Mention: The Quantum Foot Chase (Quantum of Solace)– It isn’t as stellar as the chase from Casino Royale, but deserves a mention for being one of the very few highlights from Quantum of Solace.
Best Fights, Battles and Raids
10. Scaramanga vs. Bond (The Man with the Golden Gun)- As Scaramanga himself said, it was a battle of the titans that was suspenseful and daring with trippy moments galore. Bond wins of course, but the duel itself made Golden Gun a not so bad sit through.
9. Fort Knox Battle (Goldfinger)
Goldfinger got another thing coming in the form of Felix Leiter and the army charging in to take down Goldfinger’s men at Fort Knox.
8. Bond vs. 006 (GoldenEye)– After having to deal with Alec throughout the entire film, they come to blows on an antenna cable high above the satellite dish in a battle of former brothers of MI6.
7. Mr. Stamper’s Opus (Tomorrow Never Dies)- Bond fights off this Red Grant clone by delivering an ass whooping after having to deal with strong menace.
6. In The Mouth of Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me)– James Bond faces Jaws once more at the end of the feature ready to face him off. Bond uses his magnetic personality (aka a magnet) to drop him into the shark tank below.
5. Next Time, Take The Elevator (Casino Royale)– James Bond gives some associates of Le Chiffre a reason to take the elevator next time by using his fists to deliver a British style ass whooping.
4. Volcano Ninja Raid (You Only Live Twice)
James Bond calls upon Tiger Tanaka’s ninjas to invade Blofeld’s hideout to destroy it and give the ninjas time in the spotlight.
3. Bond’s Oddjob (Goldfinger)– Oddjob and Bond meet face to face in Fort Knox resulting a a silent duel to the death with Oddjob smacking Bond into walls and dying by electrocution when receiving his hat Bond tossed.
2. Red Grant vs. Bond (From Russia With Love)– The build-up to these two facing one another spanned the entire film in suspense, so when it happened, it was quite the treat as they fought in only two small rooms yet took advantage of their space as the first true battle of the titans.
1. The Battle of Piz Gloria (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
It may have been hard to top You Only Live Twice’s volcano battle, but OHMSS did it in a climatic battle with Draco’s men firing, Bond sliding down on ice shooting away, and Tracy, captured by Blofeld, kicking ass from the inside of the hideout.
Honorable Mention: Skyfall Falls (Skyfall)- Mr. Silver and his men tear down Bond’s childhood home in a blaze of glory. Bond helped with the destruction. A true highlight, but not as great as the ones listed.
Best Bond Theme Songs
10. ‘For Your Eyes Only’ by Sheena Easton
Sheena Easton’s theme for For Your Eyes Only is different from other Bond themes and becomes remarkable in its own way by straying from the standards. It is soft, graceful, and beautiful and feels real setting up the film perfectly in some strange way. Truly spectacular.
9. ‘Skyfall’ by Adele
Adele brought back a return to form for Bond themes with this dark soulful ballad that seems to be unlike Adele’s previous works. The theme sets the tone perfectly and delivers by throwing back to Shirley Bassey wonderful tunes of yesteryear combining elements of the classic James Bond theme.
8. ‘Diamonds Are Forever’/’Goldfinger’ by Shirley Bassey
Two great ones from Shirley Bassey that I couldn’t even decide which was better. ‘Goldfinger’ remains her classic magnum opus of Bond tunes setting up a delightful theme for our villain, but ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ is on the same league describing diamonds as something greater than love itself and was the best part about it’s feature. Bassey set the standard for Bond themes to come after and made them legendary.
7. ‘A View to a Kill’ by Duran Duran
Duran Duran brought in 1985 Bond to new heights with a new wave style Bond theme for a new era. It’s fresh (for 1985), lives up to not only the Bond theme stanadards, but Duran Duran’s style as well. It is a pop epic setting up the craziness that is A View to a Kill.
6. ‘The World is Not Enough’ by Garbage
Garbage’s ‘The World is Not Enough’ is a spectacular song oozing with seductive and nearly threatening vocals by Shirley Manson setting up the character of Elektra King within the film. Often considered the first song done from the villain’s perspective.
5. ‘You Know My Name’ by Chris Cornell
How do reintroduce a character everyone already knows? Describe everything about James Bond without saying his name. Chris Cornell gave a proper reintroduction to Bond with a thrilling symphonic rock epic a la ‘Live and Let Die’ declaring that you already know who James Bond is.
4. ‘Licence to Kill’ by Gladys Knight
James Bond and Gladys Knight is the equivalent good sex for the ear to hear. Soulful and beautiful and, oddly, a love song for a Bond theme that is bombastic, fluid, and epic in every sense of the word with Gladys belting it out hitting the highest of high notes.
3. ‘Live and Let Die’ by Paul McCartney and Wings
Paul McCartney decide to prove Bond’s Beatles insult in Goldfinger wrong by providing the first true rock song for a James Bond film that shift from soft and hopeful to manic rhythms of epic to light in fun out of nowhere. McCartney and Wings introduced the rock song theme.
2. ‘Nobody Does It Better’ by Carly Simon
Carly Simon’s ‘Nobody Does It Better’ from The Spy Who Loved Me is a love song like no other combining the sounds of what a Bond tune should be but giving a soft rock spin on it that Rita Coolidge failed at giving for Octopussy. It’s romantic and gorgeous beyond belief perfecting the Bond love theme formula.
1. ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ by John Barry and His Orchestra
John Barry, longtime composer of the James Bond series, made his magnum opus in the form of ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ by providing the right tune and style to convey all that is Bond without saying a single word. Every time the theme kicks up in the film, it gets one excited ready for Bond to take on the mission at hand and made the various chases throughout memorable. Hell, the entire score for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is remarkable making the music steal the entire show.
Honorable Mention: ‘All The Time in the World’ by Louis Armstrong
This lovely love tune appears during a loving montage in the feature and remains one of my favorite love songs by jazz legend Louis Armstrong. This might be my wedding song in the future, folks. And of course…
How can we forget the James Bond Theme from Dr. No, the most iconic theme in cinema? A true legend in its own right.
Best Bond Henchmen
10. Tee-Hee, performed by Julius W. Harris (Live and Let Die)
One would think having a pincher claw for a hand wouldn’t be terrifying, but Tee-Hee uses it to his advantage by being terrifying himself. No one would not want that man to crush the groin area.
9. Nick-Nack, performed by Herve Villchaize (The Man with the Golden Gun)
Once off Fantasy Island and Herve Villechaize becomes a dangerous little man ready for the kill at the orders of his boss Scaramanga. A nasty bugger, but a fun henchman.
8. Xenia Onatopp, performed by Famke Janssen (GoldenEye)
A rough Bond girl using foreplay as a means to kill men with her thighs, she was quite the lover in the room. A femme fetale who orgasms when killing others making her the craziest Bond girl ever.
7. Mr. White, performed by Jesper Christensen (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace)
It is hard to tell if Mr. White is a henchman or not, but since he was working with Le Chiffre, he qualifies. Mr. White is the modern day hench with a cold heart attitude that doesn’t care for others, only himself and his needs. He even kill Le Chiffre just because of a deal gone wrong. He never went on to be a full fledged villain, which is quite a shame.
6. Fiona Volpe, performed by Luciana Paluzzi (Thunderball)
This saucy minx took advantage of Bond and everything about him from trying to kill him, sleep with him, and nearly leaving him for dead. Luckily, Bond being Bond just kills her and leaves her for dead instead, but she set the precursor for Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye by being one vicious bitch.
5. Baron Samedi, performed by Geoffrey Holder (Live and Let Die)
Baron Samedi, the first true invincible Bond henchman (sorry, Boris) by being a voodoo preist and constantly coming back to life. Bond even shoots the bastard in the head, puts him in a coffin, and by the end, Baron is on the front of Bond and Solitaire’s train laughing away. Geoffrey Holder, being a dancer and award winning stage director, owns his role.
4. Necros, perfromed by Andreas Wisnieski (The Living Daylights)
Sure, we’ve had ton of Red Grant clones, but Necros manages to deliver the same sense of unease Grant delivered. By approaching his enemies and straggling them with his headphones playing The Pretenders, Necros makes sure it is the last thing you ever hear and he sends you off to meet your maker once and for all. Also, he nearly destroyed MI6 so that’s something.
3. Oddjob, performed by Harold Sakata (Goldfinger)
Silence is truly deadly with Oddjob and his truly incredible strength ready to kill Bond. Oddjob remains one of the deadliest foes by painting Jill Matheson in pure gold paint, killing her sister with his hat, and even hurting Sean Connery in real life (You don’t hurt Connery dammit). Oddjob is your man.
2. Red Grant, performed by Robert Shaw (From Russia With Love)
Red Grant is a henchman out of a Hitchcock film by playing his part perfectly by being friendly with Bond at first, but turning into a menace to kill him on the train. Robert Shaw’s performance makes Grant so memorable for being intriguing and intimidating that the audience knows he is trouble before Bond knows. Grant is a legend of strength and pure terror.
1. Jaws, performed by Richard Kiel (The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker)
Richard Kiel brings the human element into Jaws by making him not only comedic, but a true threat at the same time. Jaws mixes the elements of Red Grant, Oddjob, and Baron Samedi (seriously, how can Jaws not die) becoming something Roger Moore’s Bond can not face. Jaws even came to Bond’s defense after Hugo Drax didn’t deem him perfect for his society. Bond having a baddie such as threatening as Jaws on your side is just perfect.
Honorable Mention: Mr. Stamper, performed by Gotz Otto
A grea tribute to Red Grant, but should have focus more on being a menace than just getting a body count
Best Bond Villains
10. Elektra King, performed by Sophie Marceau (The World is Not Enough)
Some may have their complaints about The World is Not Enough as a whole, but for me personally, Elektra King was the best part, playing the act of damsel in order to fulfill her needs. She used her Stockholm Syndrome to take hold of her former kidnapper to help her carry out her plans and became the greatest bitch in the Bond series. I love it all.
9. Dr. No, performed by Joseph Wiseman (Dr. No)
Dr. No is the one who started it all and a perfect fit. The build-up to Dr. No is so great that once we, the audience, finally see him, he lives up to our expectations with his cold demeanor and no care attitude. A pure menace just in his presence with a plan I’m still not clear on.
8. Francisco Scaramanga, performed by Christopher Lee (The Man with the Golden Gun)
Scaramanga is the epitome of cold assassin rivaling Roger Moore’s take on James Bond’s light hearted self. Armed with fantastic shooting skills and his golden gun that can kill someone in one shot, Scaramanga is quite the threat in quite a mediocre Bond feature.
7. Le Chiffre, performed by Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale)
The first villain of the new Bond timeline, Le Chiffre is a calm man that is quite intriguing and threatening. Le Chiffre has the skill of a professional poker player and the mind of a madman with a eye that tears up blood constantly due to damage. When you get him off the poker table, he is a ball buster…literally, he nearly destroyed Bond’s balls.
6. Elliot Carver, performed by Johnathan Pryce (Tomorrow Never Dies)
His plan is terrible, his ego is too big for his britches, but Carver is one crazy megalomaniac media mogul. Not only does he wants to run the entire media industry, he made a submarine and has a team that is devoted to making stories come first on his paper by bringing them to reality and nearly starting World War III. Only an insane man would be able to pull it off and Carver does.
5. Raoul Silva aka Mr. Silver, performed by Javier Bardem (Skyfall)
Mr. Silver, a former MI6 agent, comes in nearly a half hour in the film in one of the greatest Bond villain entrance with a speech ready. Silver is clearly still distraught from the torture he faced, but is genius hacking into MI6 and stealing their secrets and cover names of agents. Silver wants M dead and MI6 gone, but goes back in forth from kind to pure insane asylum material.
4. Alec Trevelyan, Agent 006, performed by Sean Bean (GoldenEye)
Another former MI6 agent who wants Bond dead and gone, but is the first to be a rogue agent ready to destroy the world. Alec is a man seeking vengence of Bond for screwing him over and the master of pointing out cliches to the point you want this man dead, but that is what makes Alec such a threat. He knows exactly how Bond and every mission works and can be one step ahead of the program.
3. Max Zorin, performed by Christopher Walken (A View to a Kill)
A villain from a So Bad, It’s Good Bond feature, but luckily, Max Zorin falls in the good category by being a frightful and powerful enemy. Zorin with a plan simliar to Goldfinger’s, but only slightly more stupid, Zorin makes you believe it can work by being an ice cold threat to everyone around him, especially James Bond. It also helps that Christopher Walken plays him because only Walken could play such a over the top character become such a foul enemy ready for the kill.
2. Auric Goldfinger, performed by Gert Forbe (Goldfinger)
His acts are legend in Bond lore from trying to blow Fort Knox to kingdom come to radiate gold for himself and nearly slicing Bond’s personal Walter PPK in half with a laser. Goldfinger may not seem like the most intimidating of Bond’s rogue gallery, but is one of the most memorable more for his actions than his actual being.
1. Ernst Starvo Blofeld, performed by Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas, and Charles Gray (From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever)
Blofeld is the villain with the most presence and most number of film appearances and was esstially Bond’s Lex Luthor to his everyday Superman. Though originally in the shadows, finally seeing him for the first time was outstanding and the build-up to who he was surpassed Dr. No. Charles Gray was the worst of the bunch performing him resorting him to a joke, but before that, Blofeld was a true threat ready to send SPECTRE to rule the world and everything around it.
Honorable Mention: Rosa Klebb, performed by Lotte Lenya (From Russia With Love)- Rosa Klebb wasn’t really much of a threat (except for her knife shoes), but gave rise to Red Grant ready for the kill.
Best Bond Girls
10. Melina Havelock, performed by Carole Bouquet (For Your Eyes Only)
Melina Havelock, not only beautiful and stunning, but ready to seek vengeance on the death of her parents. Melina combines strength in her character and determination to attempt to succeed on her revenge. She comes across Bond seeking out the man who crossed her parents and team up to seek him out. She set the precursor for independent Bond girls to come after and succeeding.
9. Solitaire, performed by Jane Seymour (Live or Let Die)
Solitaire, the virgin fortune teller, provides beauty and grace by becoming a fantastic Bond ally. Solitaire joins Bond after de-virginizing her (way to go, Bond) to help him get rid of Kananga and Mr. Big once and for all by being the perfect bait to help Bond get Kananga and help locate where he is for Bond to defeat him. Solitaire is fantastic and Jane Seymour has never been better (and even at her older age, still is gorgeous).
8. Pam Bouvier, perfromed by Carey Lowell (Licence to Kill)
From the often bashed films, Licence to Kill (which I really enjoyed), Pam Bouvier is confident, strong, and cares more about getting the mission done than Bond. Bouvier cares for Bond and truly falls head over heels for him, even to the point she wants to kick Lupe’s ass for sleeping with him. Bouvier and Bond made a fantastic duo, but Bouvier seemed to be stronger than Bond himself.
7. Honey Ryder, performed by Ursula Andress (Dr. No)
The first Bond girl who made an impression by coming out of the water and whetting Bond and the men in the audience’s appetite. Honey Ryder brings light to be the first being a strong ally to Bond by helping him defeat Dr. No, before being captured for bait. She started the term Bond girl and that in itself deserves a spot on her.
6. Pussy Galore, performed by Honor Blackman (Goldfinger)
One of the most famous Bond girls due to her name alone being not so nice to mention in polite company, Pussy Galore is a delight. The first lesbian or possibly bisexual Bond girl who changes after being subdued by Bond to his side to take down Goldfinger’s plot. Pussy shines when she is teasing Bond and tormenting him with her sexual prowess. Certainly one Pussy no one should give up.
5. Anya Amasova, performed by Barbara Bach (The Spy Who Loved Me)
Anya Amasova aka Triple XXX of the KGB is assigned to find out who stole the Soviet submarine while searching for who killed her lover. She is teamed up with Bond to find Stromberg who has taken the subs and they both fall for one another. Of course, Triple XXX herself ain’t so bad at the agent business clearly being on the same level as Bond to the point she can kill him, but doesn’t. Anya is the first Bond girl in the same league of Bond ready to get the job done.
4. Tracy Bond aka Teresa Draco, performed by Diana Rigg (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
Bond’s first true love came in the form of Teresa Draco in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service who is Bond’s true equal. Tracy loves this man, plain and simple, and the chemistry is immense going from a mild bout of disgust (Bond slapped her!) to getting married until she is killed in a drive by shooting of her wedding day. Diana Rigg is beyond gorgeous and manages also to kick some ass during the Piz Gloria battle. Tracy Bond, one of the best.
3. Wai Lin, performed by Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies)
Wai Lin is a badass, surpassing the Bond girls before by coming into her own and even denying Bond the first time around. Combined with the hard edge of a martial artist and the beauty of grace of Michelle Yeoh (the woman is beautiful, you can’t deny it), Wai Lin is capable of handling things herself that she didn’t even need Bond to help her. Hell, why couldn’t we just have a film around her? She is the best character in Tomorrow Never Dies, even outshining Brosnan’s Bond. Wai Lin, the first true ass kicking Bond girl that can do no wrong.
2. Titana Romanova, performed by Daniela Bianchi (From Russia With Love)
Tatiana Romanova is near perfection by being both beautiful and strong. Loyal to what she believes in, Tatiana still is under Rosa Klebb’s rule but falls for Bond almost instantly and remaining by his side every step of the way as she defects to the west. Also, Tatiana seducing Bond remains one of the greatest seduction scenes in film without resorting to full frontal nudity. To others, she might not be the best, but personally, one of the best of the Bond girls.
1. Vesper Lynd, performed by Eva Green (Casino Royale)
Vesper Lynd is the first Bond girl in the novels and the best in the film series. The reboot changed the standards of Bond and Vesper is no exception. She doesn’t fall in love with him at first sight, it slowly builds with some banter back and forth, teasing one another, and building. She is strong willed and able to continue on, but emotional when in a panic after witnessing Bond beat the ever loving crap out of some bad guys. Eva Green performs Vesper not as a fantasy like the other Bond girls, but a woman you can meet and obtain in reality. The connection feels real between her and Bond that once it reaches the conclusion of Casino Royale, the viewer is left broken. To me, that is what makes Vesper the best Bond girl of all time.
Honorable Mention: Camille Montes, performed by Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace)
As I said in my Quantum of Solace review, Olga Kurylenko I can never get mad at because she appears in crap and winds up being a highlight due to her performance. Being the second Bond girl of the rebooted series, she provides a hint of Melina and the softness and beauty of Tatiana. I can’t bring myself to hate her.
Now for a quick list of the Five Worst Bond Girls
- Christmas Jones (Denise Richards) from The World is Not Enough– The worst of the worst. No emotion, no personality, and only hired for beauty over her acting. Terrible in every way.
- Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) from Diamonds Are Forever- The equivalent of letting a dummy act without the ventriloquist, wooden and just there.
- Susan Sutton (Tanya Roberts) from A View to a Kill– Her screaming ‘James!’ was like a cat screaming in the middle of mating: unbearable.
- Jinx (Halle Berry) from Die Another Day- The one good thing about this performance is at least it wasn’t Catwoman. That is no compliment.
- Mary Goodnight (Britt Elkland) from The Man with the Golden Gun- Just watch The Wicker Man. She is much better in that.
And before we get to the Best Bond Films, here are the Five Worst Bond Films
- Die Another Day- It’s the anniversary movie that references every movie, beats you over the head with it and craps all over the franchise.
- Diamonds Are Forever- The first film to turn Bond into a farce with poor acting, poor pacing, and a overdone piss poor plot.
- Octopussy- The ‘So Bad, It’s Good’ film that is just miserable and bad in every way imaginable.
- Moonraker- James Bond in space. I repeat: JAMES BOND IN FUCKIN’ SPACE…and it’s boring.
- Thunderball– Never have I wanted to fall asleep during a film and I’ve seen all four hours of Gone With the Wind
Best Bond Films
10. Dr. No (1962)
The first Bond film providing the first Bond girl, the first Bond villain, and a wide variety of first. Dr. No feels like true spy storytelling that engages the audience in an experience as Bond faces off against the nefarious Dr. No. With a great pace and tight knit story, Dr. No is a great start for the Bond series as a whole.
9. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
The best Roger Moore outing as Bond is filled with the spectacle of Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice and the humor that Live and Let Die tried to achieve at and failed. It’s fun and exciting because it is filled with fantastic action sequences including the Lotus Submarine Car, lovable characters such as Jaws, and a romance that doesn’t feel completely forced.
8. You Only Live Twice (1967)
Some may call it ridiculous and over the top and one of the worst of Connery’s time as Bond, but that is what makes You Only Live Twice so enjoyable. The story may seem unbelievable with Bond essentially teaming up with ninjas after dying, but with a tight script by Roald Dahl, it all comes together and plays out to fantastic results with one of the most adventurous Bond outings to date.
7. Goldfinger (1964)
The Bond film that assembles every Bond trope you love mixing the serious nature of Dr. No and From Russia With Love and setting up for the over the top, elobrate gadget laden adventures of the future. Goldfinger brings in the action and the Aston Martin everyone loves. Considered to be the best Bond films by tons of fans and it is not very hard to see why.
6. The Living Daylights (1987)
Timothy Dalton’s introduction to Bond is the perfect Bond film for the late 80’s. Jam packed with spectacular action set pieces from the ice chase to the climatic plane fight against Necros to light hearted romance and jokes throughout, The Living Daylights is a must watch for anyone, even if they aren’t a Bond fan.
5. GoldenEye (1995)
GoldenEye ushered in a new era of Bond for the 90’s with a suaver take on Bond and a more self-aware view of the Bond universe. Sure, the constant pointing out of the cliches can be annoying, but as the film plays the trope straight, it is more of a love letter to the series than a mean spirited take. Providing the action you love (once again, the tank chase is to die for) and taking its plot and villain serious while being fun, GoldenEye is a pure joy. If only more of the Brosnan Bond films were like this one with the exception of Tomorrow Never Dies.
4. Skyfall (2012)
50 years after the release of Dr. No, the franchise is still alive and going off into a promising future with Skyfall. Surpassing both GoldenEye and the wretched anniversary film Die Another Day, it is great to know Skyfall takes everything we loved about James Bond and improves on them while introducing new styles and revamped characters to appear in the rebooted timeline. From the return of the Aston Martin to spectacular chase sequences to a downright serious and suspenseful approach to the typical Bond villain and plot, Skyfall pays homage to the past to move forward and become its own entity. Certainly one of the best of the best.
4. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Thought I first gave it a 4.75 out of 5, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service started to grow on me as one of the top 5 Bond features by playing everything the previous established straight and even introducing a true romantic lead that Bond can connect with. Lazenby may not be the best acting wise, but the film makes up for that with the best action scenes in any Bond feature and the musical score that is sets the entire film up to being one hell of a fun ride. It’s down to Earth and well made and a joy to watch. EON Productions once said if they had to save a Bond feature for future generations and to that I say, I hope the future generations love it as much as I did.
2. Casino Royale (2006)
Reboots are a hard sell and rebooting such an icon of cinema and pop culture is the biggest of risks until Casino Royale put all the worrying behind by being a dark realistic take on the character much closer to the novel and prevailed at doing so. Casino Royale brought back the Bond that was seen a bit in From Russia With Love with new life and a harder edge a la Timothy Dalton. The story is fantastic with the most suspenseful card game in film, a harsher and gritty story rivaling Licence to Kill, and a romance that blossom with Vesper in the vein of Tracy in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Of course, it still delivers the action fans love, the Bond girls to swoon over, and a villain that makes a lasting impression on the audience. It is not only one of the best Bonds, but one of the best films I’ve seen in a very long time.
1. From Russia With Love (1963)
There were talks may back when the film series was first starting out that Alfred Hitchcock himself could have directed a Bond feature, but there really isn’t a need for him to have ever directed one since From Russia With Love feels like the Bond film he would have made. From Russia With Love is a true thriller of espionage with suspense, a clever romance, and even being frightening at times due to Red Grant’s presence. Everything seem to come together with a great mix of action and thrills that engage you and make you experience something that even surpasses the expectations of just a simple Bond film into something greater. From Russia With Love is not only the best Bond films, but one of the greatest films ever made.
Honorable Mention: Licence to Kill (1989)
I have heard every complaint about Licence to Kill from ‘it feels too much like Maimi Vice’ to ‘it’s too violent for a Bond film’ to ‘Dalton is terrible and this film is awful for not being close to anything before it’. To that I say, that isn’t really a bad thing. Sometimes, you have to break out of the same old standbys to try something and see if you can accomplish it. To most, this film is failure in their eyes, but to me personally, I think it triumphed in breaking away from the standbys (not all of them of course) and gaining its own identity. Give it a rewatch and see if the opinion before still remains.
That about does it for the Top of the Crop Lists this time around as we explored the world of Bond, but one final tribute to those we lost who filled the series with joy and stood by Bond’s side no matter the cause or the mission.
Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny) 1927-2007
The always gorgeous and simply amazing Miss Moneypenny stood by Bond as he traveled the world, waiting for him to return and providing great back and forth. Lois Maxwell made Moneypenny a strong ally to Bond who could never turn away from him.
Bernard Lee (M) 1908-1981
As Bond’s boss, M sent Bond out of his most dangerous assignments ranging from escort mission to even going up into the space. Bernard Lee set the standard for what M was and could be.
Desmond Llewelyn (Q) 1914-1999
Q gave Bond the best gadgets Q Branch could provide from the Walter PPK, the Aston Martin, wrist guns, and even the ridiculous yet practical exploding pen. Desmond Llewelyn appeared in more Bond films than any other and holds a special place in the hearts of many Bond fans.
Aston Martin DB5 (The Aston Martin DB5) 1964-2012
The Aston Martin DB5 took the Bond world by storm by providing Bond with missiles, machine guns, and the ejector seat for killing the mook passenger with ease. The Aston Martin DB5 was killed in action while helping Bond defeat Mr. Silver and his men.
And even though it isn’t a Bond alie, we can’t forget…
The Igauna from Licence to Kill (Franz Sanchez’s Iguana) 1989-2001
Even though your screentime was short, we will never forget how random and out of place you were in Licence to Kill.
The end, but James Bond will return for fifty more years