Best James Bond Movies
The James Bond films are both the longest –running and most commercially-successful movie franchise in history. With 22 movies released from 1962 to 2008, and the newest one coming out in 2012, the James Bond franchise has made a total of over $ 12 billion. Over this period of time, 6 actors have donned the mantle of the great Ian Fleming character; with Daniel Craig being the latest. While undoubtedly a very popular franchise, James Bond has suffered from its fair share of less-than-great films. For this reason, we have compiled a list of the highest viewer and critic-rated Bond films.
# 5 - Goldeneye (1995)
Unlike the other films on this list, “Goldeneye” was not based on Ian Fleming’s work, but was written specifically for the screen. Starring Pierce Brosnan in his first Bond role, “Goldeneye” takes a silly script to great heights by making a very entertaining film. Much like the majority of the films before it, “Goldeneye” sees Bond escape situations he shouldn’t, defy laws of nature, and come up against villains who are very ineffective at actually killing him, but at this point we have come to expect and ignore these things, especially with the charismatic Brosnan in the lead.
The plot itself focuses on the attempts of a Russian crime syndicate to steal the controls of a powerful satellite system, which has the ability to fry electronic equipment in a designated area. Bond must stop them, and in turn, face a ghost from his past; agent Alec Trevelyan, played by Sean Bean. Complete with memorable villains, beautiful women, one-liners, and fun action sequences, “Goldeneye” is a highly satisfying action-oriented film.
# 4 - Casino Royale (2006)
“Casino Royale”, based on the first James Bond book written by Ian Fleming, brought the franchise back on its feet after a decade of weak films. Starring Daniel Craig in his first run as the titular character, the film takes viewers back to the beginnings of James Bond, as he takes on his first mission after gaining “00” status. Pitted against the villainous Le Chiffre, banker for the world’s terrorists, Bond must use not only his special training, but also his mind to win a high-stakes poker tournament. Filled with terrific action sequences, a smart script, and great acting, "Casino Royale" easily makes it into the top 5.
Furthermore, the film is also a very important part of the entire franchise, as it redefined the way Bond was viewed and portrayed. Whereas all the films beforehand introduce us to the classy and suave special agent, “Casino Royale” shows us a much grittier, cold side of 007, which is also much truer to the books. Instead of changing up the whole Bond formula, the film simply updates the franchise for the 21st century – giving it the much-needed realism lacking from previous entries.
Top Three - Dr. No (1962)
The film that started it all, “Dr. No” sits nicely in the top three. Starring Sir Sean Connery as James Bond, perhaps the best Bond actor there ever was, “Dr. No” is based on Ian Fleming’s 6th novel of the same name. In this film, Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the death of a British operative, who was involved in a CIA case regarding radio jamming of American rockets. Bond’s investigation puts him head to head with the evil Dr. No, a crazed scientist bent on world domination.
Well written with excellent dialogue, Dr. No set the standard for all Bond films that followed, with Connery’s classy portrayal of Agent 007, a beautiful “Femme fatale” character, great action sequences and of course a compelling villain. Interestingly enough, Dr. No had the smallest budget of any Bond Film, yet was so successful it launched the franchise which has lasted for nearly five decades.
From Russia with Love (1963)
Based on the fifth book, “From Russia with Love” contends with only “Goldfinger” for the number one spot. Starring Sean Connery in his second Bond role, the film takes the Bond formula of "Dr. No" and refines it even further, with more action sequences, better music, and of course a more classy, suave Bond. This time around, Bond is up against the evil organization “SPECTRE” that we are introduced to in the first film. SPECTRE seeks to steal a decoder device which would allow it to access Russian state secrets, and it is up to Bond to find it first. Showcasing two great villains, Rosa Clebb and Red Grant, along with the now typical femme fatale, “From Russia with Love” does almost everything right, and as such remains as good of a film today as it was almost 50 years ago.
Based on the seventh book by Ian Fleming, “Goldfinger” is often regarded as the best of the series, but is in very close running with “From Russia with Love”. Much like its predecessor, “Goldfinger” takes the successful elements of the previous films, and builds on them for one final time, resulting in even more beautiful women, greater tension, action, and a gadget-filled Aston Martin. Starring Sean Connery in his third Bond role, “Goldfinger” pits Bond against one of the most memorable villains of the franchise – Auric Goldfinger. Auric, a rich and powerful gold-loving man, plans to steal the gold from Fort Knox, in order to ruin the world economy. As per usual, it is up to Bond to single-handedly stop the villain. Much like the first 2 entries in the franchise, "Goldfinger" remains a classic to be appreciated.