All* the James Bond films ranked

*EON only. Never Say Never Again and Casino Royale 1967 don’t count.

With Sean Connery recently celebrating his 88th birthday and the news that the 25th Bond film will be delayed and possibly recast, it seemed like time to reflect on what Bond has been. If Daniel Craig does leave, and I hope he does at least one more, then it will be a good opportunity to re-evaluate what a modern James Bond film can and should be. 

Can he still be relevant? This is a question that is asked every time they change actors. James Bond doesn’t have to be relevant. Every single film is ludicrous and irrelevant. That’s the fun. He isn’t a reflection of a real person, he’s the fantasy of Ian Fleming. A heightened caricature of what he wanted an MI6 agent to be – typically, a spy whose name becomes common knowledge is a piss poor spy.

The Roger Moore films took irrelevancy to the extreme and made some of the worst films in the series. Or the best. I guess it depends on what you want from your Bond. Even Connery’s version started to push James further towards the winking, gurning nonsense of the 70s and 80s, with only Timothy Dalton given licence (I thank you) to reimagine the character as a gritty, determined spy. Pierce Brosnan’s iteration was neither here nor there, with only Goldeneye being genuinely worthwhile. A boring Bond is worse than a silly one and Brosnan seemed to make no actual choice about what he wanted the character to be. Daniel Craig’s version returned the character to the callous one of the books, but his films have also been patchy overall.

My idea for the next film, if Craig doesn’t return, would be to make it a period piece. A true, John Le Carre-style that focusses on spycraft and espionage. Something that doesn’t rely on a supervillain and can connect with people through peril that feels genuine. 

The List. 

Few topics are as divisive as who the best James Bond is. Some people’s first James Bond is always their favourite, for others, it is the Bond of their childhood. Unless the answer is Sean Connery, then you’re all wrong. 

Come at me, bro. 

RankingTitleYearDirectorBond
1From Russia with Love1963Terence YoungSean Connery
2Casino Royale2006Martin CampbellDaniel Craig
3Goldfinger1964Guy HamiltonSean Connery
4The Living Daylights1987John GlenTimothy Dalton
5GoldenEye1995Martin CampbellPierce Brosnan
6Skyfall2012Sam MendesDaniel Craig
7Dr. No1962Terence YoungSean Connery
8Diamonds Are Forever1971Guy HamiltonSean Connery
9You Only Live Twice1967Lewis GilbertSean Connery
10A View to a Kill1985John GlenRoger Moore
11Moonraker1979Lewis GilbertRoger Moore
12Spectre2015Sam MendesDaniel Craig
13Licence to Kill1989John GlenTimothy Dalton
14The World Is Not Enough1999Michael AptedPierce Brosnan
15The Spy Who Loved Me1977Lewis GilbertRoger Moore
16Quantum of Solace2008Marc ForsterDaniel Craig
17For Your Eyes Only1981John GlenRoger Moore
18Thunderball1965Terence YoungSean Connery
19Live and Let Die1973Guy HamiltonRoger Moore
20The Man with the Golden Gun1974Guy HamiltonRoger Moore
21Octopussy1983John GlenRoger Moore
22Tomorrow Never Dies1997Roger SpottiswoodePierce Brosnan
23On Her Majesty’s Secret Service1969Peter R. HuntGeorge Lazenby
24Die Another Day2002Lee TamahoriPierce Brosnan

All* the James Bond films ranked

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