Top 007 Movies per Bond
Ian Fleming's spy novels spawned the cinematic juggernaut that has certainly earned its place in motion picture history. There are 23 films total comprising the main franchise and another 2 existing that were not MGM productions (Although Never Say Never Again was purchased in 1997 by the studio). Across the series, there are 6 different castings of 007 and a plethora of Bond women. It’s also worth noting that David Niven played the agent in the lesser-known Casino Royal, which was not part of the MGM releases and virtually nonexistent to a casual fan.
So lets talk Bonds. With such a wide array of movies comprising the franchise, there is obviously a good blend of gold and crap. I’m not going to review the whole franchise or I’d be working on this for weeks. Between the actors playing Bond, gadgets, women, villain(s), locations, music score, and an endless list of other factors, I could spend over a year rambling on. So we’re going to narrow it down.
This is my best Bond movie per actor, throughout the entire MGM franchise. I won't delve too deep into the plots, but highlight why I think that each is worthy of holding the title of number one amongst each actor. Hope that you enjoy it and don’t forget to vote on your favorite Bond actor at the bottom.
Sean Connery - Goldfinger
If you've read my Top 10 Movie Sequels that Surpass the Originals then you already knew this one would undoubtedly be on here. This was the Bond that propelled the 007 agent into the mainstream and established many of the familiar attributes that we now associate with the franchise. Its got everything that makes an entry memorable and distinguishable in a catalogue of installments.
The villains are interesting and unforgettable, as Goldfinger is center stage. But we can't forget about the evil mastermind's oversized, hat-wielding henchman, Oddjob. The showdown between the enormous man and Bond during the climatic showdown at Fort Knox is epic and has you rooting for James to just beat the hell of the guy.
As most people consider him one of, if not the best Bond, Connery is at his finest here. He brings an elegance that few other Bonds can replicate, while maintaining that badassness that we all expect.
With the overall grandeur of the plot, the infusion of Bond's gadgets and the Aston Martin into the franchise, awesome soundtrack, and a lead lady sporting the name Pussy Galore, how could you not consider this classic one of the best.
George Lanzenby - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
The only Bond in the main franchise to only be featured once, there obviously aren't many choices when it comes to George Lanzenby. This is largely the result of a strained relationship between Lanzenby and the director.
Although certainly not the best, this installment demonstates Bond's huuman side. Married for only a few short hours and losing his wife leaves even the hardened 007 nearly broken. The biggest issue with this one is Lanzenby, as he brings little to the role and is downright dull at points.
I don't highly recommend this one as you can spend your time better. After all, there are far better in a sea of Bond films. But if you haven't and you're looking to complete the franchise or see a new face as 007, give it a watch.
Roger Moore - The Spy Who Loved Me
With the deadly assassin Jaws (recently deceased Richard Kiel), the beautiful Barbara Bach as agent XXX, and a catchy opening theme song, The Spy Who Loved Me is by far my favorite Bond movie to feature Roger Moore.
While the main villain and his oceanic hideout are interesting, no one would argue that the assassin, Jaws, is what's memorable. His oversized stature and deadly bite give even Bond a run for his money. Every encounter with this brute is suspenseful and even a little nerve wrecking. Not to mention, Where else can you see a man with enlarged steel teeth fatally bite an actual shark.
While the overall musical score in the movie is exactly what you'd expect, the traditional opening song is another story. It's one of the few older Bond themes to still grace the radio and leave me craving a re-watch every time. Have a watch and listen for yourself, The Spy Who Loved Me Opening.
Although Bond has teamed up with operatives before and even other women, there's an interesting chemistry between the British and Russian agent. This especially holds when we see Bond kill the Russian spy's lover at the movie's opening. It isn't until the two are working together that she learns the truth. But if you haven't seen this one, the less said about it, the better. XXX possesses all the familiar qualities of a Bond girl, in addition to the same life-ending skills as the British agent. Very few other films can make being a KGB Commie sexy.
Timothy Dalton - License to Kill
This one was a tossup, as I enjoy Dalton's grittier performance of Bond and the more realistic styles of his entries. However, License to Kill stands out since it's one of the rare instances when Bond's lethal designation is revoked and where the agent is not fulfilling a mission for MI6, but for his own personal reasons.
Another aspect that makes Dalton's Bond stand out is that the villains are more grounded in the real world and not evil geniuses with aspirations of world dominance.
With that said, both Dalton films are definitely worth watching, especially for any fan of Ian Fleming's novels. Timothy Dalton himself stated in an interview how he actually sat down and read the books in preparation. Now that's commitment and it certainly shows.
Pierce Brosnan - GoldenEye
Brosnan introduced a new generation to the British secret agent and threw Bond back into the spotlight. Undeniably the most praised and best received in Brosnan's legacy, GoldenEye is one hell of a ride and proved that the spy's days on the big screen were far from over. With an excellent cast, well written story, and an update to established character, Goldeneye is one of my personal favorites and still warrants an occasional watch.
The characters in this movie are all relatable and established properly throughout the course of the film. Brosnan is believable as the death-defying British spy and does a commendable job. The two lead ladies are interesting enough, with the more provocative of the two being Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen). With her sexual assassinations and deadliness, Bond has his work cut out for him.
But the main reason to watch this movie is for the classic rivalry between James and the film's main antagonist. So, SPOILER ALERT! The first time watching this I had no idea that Bond's partner, who is seemingly executed during a mission at the flick's opening, would become his greatest nemesis. It's spy v spy, with a showdown aboard the skeletal structure of a giant antenna. The finale is a battle of 00s, with the two former partners exchanging barrages of gunfire and just beating the shit out of each other. Overall, I regard this as one of the best of the modern installments and credit it with updating the franchise for the current generation of moviegoers.
Daniel Craig - Casino Royal
Although the noticeably different in appearance from his predecessors, Craig does continue Brosnan's trend of packing a punch in his first addition to the series. It had been only two years since Brosnan's final installment disappointed fans, when 007 was brought back with the non-traditional Daniel Craig donning the license to kill.
Craig brings a charisma to the character never before seen, which reflects the thrilling action-heavy movie that he's in. Sure, every Bond partakes in their fare share of action, but the stunts alone in this movie distinguish it from its predecessors. It's fast-paced, with a heavy emphasis on running and physicality. However, don't fall into the misconception that more action comes at the expense of a well-written story, because that is certainly not the case. All around it's top notch and the infusion of the poker tournament only adds to Bond's badassness.
Not to mention the ever attractive Eva Green plays Craig's lead lady and love interest, Vesper Lynd. Although there are obviously some exceptions, there are typically two types of Bond girls. The ones who assist with whatever area of expertise they specialize in (Natalia and Christmas) and those that are as lethal as the British spy himself. However, Vesper is one that stands out as she falls somewhere in the middle, but does not appear as disposable. Meaning, when the movie concludes, she won't be one that he just screws and discards. I won't ruin anymore if you haven't seen it.