The James Bond Films Rated From Worst To Best (Top 10)

In anticipation of SPECTRE, editor Jeppe Kleyngeld lists his favourite things about the James Bond series in 12 unique features. Enjoy!

Continuation of:

The James Bond Films Rated From Worst To Best (24-11)
The James Bond Films Rated From Worst To Best (24-11)

10. Never Say Never Again (1983)
Director: Irvin Kershner
Written by: Jack Whittingham (story), Kevin McClory (story), Ian Flemming (story), Lorenzo Semple Jr. (screenplay)
Cast: Sean Connery (James Bond), Kim Basinger (Domino Petachi), Klaus Maria Brandauer (Maximilian Largo), Barbara Carrera (Fatima Blush), Max von Sydow (Ernst Stavro Blofeld)

Never Say Never Again 1

Bond goes to a health centre to eliminate his ’free radicals’ on orders of the new M (played by Edward Fox). Here he stumbles on a SPECTRE plot. The evildoers manage to steal two nuclear weapons and demand money from the Western governments to return them. This only unofficial Bond film (not produced by EON Productions that owns the series) was basically made because of remake rights owned by screenwriter Kevin McClory relating to THUNDERBALL. The title of the movie is allegedly based on what Connery told his wife about playing Bond again. At the time this movie came out, the official Bond movie OCTOPUSSY was also released starring Connery’s friend Roger Moore. The films did equally well at the box office. So how is this unofficial part? Pretty good actually. It takes getting used to all these unknown actors playing familiar characters, but Connery is great as always in the lead role. The supporting cast is also a major plus; a terrific Bond girl (Kim Basinger), villain (Klaus Maria Brandauer) and – pretty rare in the Bond series – a femme fatale, wonderfully played by Barbara Carrera. NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN basically has everything you could ask of a Bond movie: the perfect location (Bahamas’), pretty girls, naughty villains, dangerous creatures (sharks) and plenty of humour and suspense. Therefore too bad Connery’s final word is ‘Never’ as he winks to the audience.

Best moment: Bond and villain Largo play a modern computerized version of Risk called ‘world domination’. Whenever you lose, the controls give you electric shocks.

9. Skyfall (2012)
Director: Sam Mendes
Written by: Neal Purvis (written by), Robert Wade (written by), John Logan (written by)
Cast: Daniel Craig (James Bond), Judi Dench (M), Javier Bardem (Silva), Ralph Fiennes (Gareth Mallory), Naomie Harris (Eve)

Skyfall 1

Bond’s 50 anniversary movie is a real blast. Audiences loved it and SKYFALL became the highest-grossing film in the Bond series. This time our favourite spy is going after a cyber-terrorist who is keen on discrediting M for something she did in the past. Much of the movie appropriately takes place in London, where MI6’s headquarter is located. The film sees the return of two recurring characters to the series after an absence of two films: Q, played by Ben Whishaw, and Eve Moneypenny, played by Naomie Harris. SKYFALL is the first Bond movie to show us more of the origin of the James Bond character, as he returns to his parents’ home in Scotland for a final showdown with bad guy Silva (Javier Bardem). Judi Dench has more screen time in this film alone than Desmond Llewelyn had in his 17 films as Q, making her portrayal of M the most common character in the series after Bond himself.

Best moment: Bond meeting the new Q at MI6’s headquarters, a very young computer Wizard. ‘You still have spots’, Bond sneers. Then Q hands him his equipment: a gun and a radio. ‘Not exactly Christmas is it?’, remarks 007. Q: ‘What were you expecting: an exploding pen? We don’t really go for that anymore. Please return the equipment in one piece.’ Brave new world.

8. Dr. No (1962)
Terence Young
Written by: Richard Maibaum (screenplay), Johanna Harwood (screenplay), Berkely Mather (screenplay), Ian Flemming (novel)
Cast: Sean Connery (James Bond), Ursula Andress (Honey Rider), Joseph Wiseman (Dr. No), Jack Lord (Felix Leiter), Bernard Lee (M)

Dr. No 1

The first ever Bond movie is a suave and engaging spy story. Everything is still fresh and original. Bond gets his hands on his trademark gun, the Walther PPK. We also witness his first flirtation with Miss Moneypenny and see him make his first kill (a disarmed man even, James Bond is a killer. That is clearly established here). It is a true delight, to see Bond take on his challenging assignment in such a professional manner. This was chosen to be the inaugural film in the James Bond series as the plot of the source novel is the most straightforward. It has only one major location (Jamaica) and only one big special effects set piece (Dr. No’s nuclear missile basis). The plot contains the highest level of mystery of the Flemming novels. Bond still really functions as detective here, working on a big case and putting all the pieces together. Connery is superb in his first turn as 007, Andress is a delightful Bond-girl and Wiseman makes a decent baddie as metal-handed Dr. No. All in all, a terrific start of the Bond legend.

Best moment: The scene in which Bond gets a night time visit from a deadly spider – a gift from Dr. No – is very tense.

Never Say Never Again 2
Never Say Never Again

Skyfall 2

Dr. No 2
Dr. No

7. Casino Royale (2006)
Director: Martin Campbell
Written by: Neal Purvis (screenplay), Robert Wade (screenplay), Paul Haggis (screenplay), Ian Flemming (novel)
Cast: Daniel Craig (James Bond), Eva Green (Vesper Lynd), Mads Mikkelsen (Le Chiffre), Judi Dench (M), Jeffrey Wright (Felix Leiter)

Casino Royale 1

Terrific reboot of the Bond series. Director Martin Campbell, who already gave us the first real modern Bond GOLDENEYE in 1995, introduces us to a fresh new 007, played by the superb Daniel Craig. On his first mission ever, Bond unravels a plan by banker and terrorist financier Le Chiffre to destroy a prototype Skyfleet airliner and crash the company’s stock prices. Bond prevents the attack. Left with a huge loss and under pressure to recoup his terrorist clients’ money, Le Chiffre sets up a high-stakes poker tournament at the Casino Royale in Montenegro. Hoping that a defeat would force Le Chiffre to aid the British government in exchange for protection from his creditors, MI6 enters Bond into the tournament. Then Bond meets British treasury agent Vesper Lynd, played by the stunning Eva Green, and quickly falls in love… From start to finish, CASINO ROYALE is truly awesome. It is full of clever references like bond winning an Aston Martin. It also contains a number of unforgettable 007 moments, like the Madagascar Foot Chase. Dear producers, keep ‘m coming like this one.

Best moment: Well, this is CASINO ROYALE, the poker tournament – including a cardiac arrest / poisoning and a deadly staircase fight – is a real blast!

6. From Russia with Love (1963)
Director: Terence Young
Written by: Richard Maibaum (screenplay), Johanna Harwood (adaptation), Ian Flemming (novel)
Cast: Sean Connery (James Bond), Daniela Bianchi (Tatiana Romanova), Pedro Armendáriz (Kerim Bey). Lotte Lenya (Rosa Klebb), Robert Shaw (Donald Grant)

From Russia with Love 1

The best Bond film according to many. Sinister villains from SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) want to steal a special cipher machine from the Russians that can decrypt secret messages. They also want revenge on Bond for killing their operative Dr. No in the previous instalment. James is in terrific shape. He is making love in his first scene and snogging another girl in his last. The whole adventure in between is tense, sexy and exciting. It is the cat and mouse game between Bond and SPECTRE’s killer Donald Grant that captivates most. Interesting trivia: The opening scene where James Bond’s doppelganger is stalked and killed by Grant was originally written to appear later in the film. However, editor Peter R. Hunt figured it would work better as a teaser at the start of the movie, thus instigating the now-traditional pre-credits sequence.

Best moment: One of the final action scenes in which Bond is attacked by a helicopter can match the legendary airplane attack in field in Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

5. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Director: John Glen
Written by: Richard Maibaum (screenplay), Michael G. Wilson (screenplay), Ian Flemming (stories)
Cast: Roger Moore (James Bond), Carole Bouquet (Melina Havelock), Topol (Milos Colombo), Lynn-Holly Johnson (Bibi Dahl), Julian Glover (Kristatos)

For Your Eyes Only 1

After two ‘rescue the world’ missions in MOONRAKER and THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, the producers felt it was time again for a more regular spy mission without all the high-tech and gadgets. Bond goes after the ATAC – an Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator that uses an ultra low frequency to order submarines to launch missiles. The device is stolen in Greece and Bond is to find out by whom. He soon meets the gorgeous Melina who is after the same people as James for the murder of her parents. Together, they make a passionate team as they travel from Madrid to Switzerland to finally Greece. This could be the most romantic Bond film as the chemistry between the two leads is heartfelt. Director John Glen, who had previously edited and acted as second-unit director on a number of Bond films, makes this the second best Roger Moore entry with a good story, tension and dynamic action.

Best moment: James climbing a very steep mountain to get to villain Kristatos’ hide-out has Hitchcock-like tension.

Casino Royale 2
Casino Royale

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From Russia with Love

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For Your Eyes Only

4. GoldenEye (1995)
Director: Martin Campbell
Written by: Jeffrey Caine (screenplay), Bruce Feirstein (screenplay), Michael France (story), Ian Flemming (characters)
Cast: Pierce Brosnan (James Bond), Sean Bean (Alec Trevelyan), Izabella Scorupco (Natalya Simonova), Famke Janssen (Xenia Onatopp), Joe Don Baker (Jack Wade)

GoldenEye 1

After a seven year hiatus due to legal issues, Bond is back with a vengeance in GOLDENEYE. There have been a lot of changes, and they all turned out surprisingly well. Brosnan makes an excellent 007, and he gets support from a strong supporting cast. On the good side, we have Judi Dench and Joe Don Baker as terrific additions. On the evil side, Famke Janssen and Sean Bean make lasting impressions. The story revolves around the powerful GoldenEye satellite weapons that can create electromagnetic pulses. The baddies in GOLDENEYE want to use it to cause a global financial meltdown. GOLDENEYE has all the elements that make Bond movies such awesome experiences. The locations are stunning and the action sequences and effects are truly remarkable in GOLDENEYE. For instance, the opening 220 meter bungee jump at Archangel, Russia – shot at the Verzasca Dam in Switzerland – was voted the best movie stunt of all time in a 2002 Sky Movies poll, and set a record for the highest bungee jump off a fixed structure. Then there is the tank-chase through St. Petersburg that raises the bar for destructive chases. All in all, GOLDENEYE confirms that Bond, without a doubt, still has a place in modern times.

Best moment: Judi Dench does such a showstealer in her briefing of James that it surpasses all the other great moments in the film. ‘I think you’re a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War, whose boyish charms, though wasted on me, obviously appealed to that young woman I sent out to evaluate you.’ Brilliant casting.

3. Licence to Kill (1989)
Director: John Glen
Written by: Richard Maibaum (screenplay), Michael G. Wilson (screenplay), Ian Flemming (characters)
Cast: Timothy Dalton (James Bond), Carey Lowell (Pam Bouvier), Robert Davi (Franz Sanchez), Talisa Soto (Lupe Lamora), Anthony Zerbe (Milton Krest)

Licence to Kill 1

Bond loses his licence to kill when he chooses to go on a private vendetta against a drug lord who tortured his CIA-buddy Felix Leiter and killed his wife. Second and final Bond-film starring Timothy Dalton as 007. The previous one, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, was still quite humorous because the script was originally written with Roger Moore in mind. LICENCE TO KILL, on the other hand, was written tailor made for Dalton’s more solemn take on the role. Therefore, this is the most dark and violent entry in the series. It is also one of the best. LICENCE TO KILL features some of the most ambitious stunts and action sequences of any Bond movie. After the release of the film, legal wrangling over control of the series and the James Bond character resulted in a six-year long delay in production of the next Bond film (GOLDENEYE) which resulted in Dalton deciding not to return. It is also the final Bond film for actors Robert Brown (M) and Caroline Bliss (Moneypenny), screenwriter Richard Maibaum (he died in 1991), title designer Maurice Binder (he also died in 1991), director John Glen, and producer Albert R. Broccoli, although he would later act as a consulting producer for GOLDENEYE before his death.

Best moment:
Many, but the final chase in the mountains is unforgettable.

2. Goldfinger (1964)
Director: Guy Hamilton
Written by: Richard Maibaum (screenplay), Paul Dehn (screenplay), Ian Flemming (novel)
Cast: Sean Connery (James Bond), Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore), Gert Frobe (Auric Goldfinger), Shirley Eaton (Jill Masterson), Tania Mallet (Tilly Masterson)

Goldfinger 1

‘Everything he touches turns to excitement’, states the tagline on the USA-poster. Well it’s true. GOLDFINGER is the terrific third entry in the Bond series and the second to have the main villain’s name as title. GOLDFINGER is daring in scale and ambitious in plot. No longer is James merely doing detective work, he has to prevent a mass slaughter and economic catastrophe. The girls, the villains, Connery… they all run like a Swiss clockwork in a movie that entertains and thrills throughout its running time. Visually, the film is great (the girl covered in gold scene for example is magnificent) and the beautiful ‘Goldfinger’ theme music supports the exciting action. This is also the first Bond movie that features lot’s of gadgets and high tech stuff, which was appreciated by the fans. In short; a near perfect Bond experience!

Best moment: Bond nearly getting castrated by an industrial laser in Goldfinger’s foundry is terrifying.

GoldenEye 2

Licence to Kill 2
Licence to Kill

Goldfinger 2

1. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Written by: Richard Maibaum (screenplay), Christopher Wood (screenplay), Ian Flemming (characters)
Cast: Roger Moore (James Bond), Barbara Bach (Major Anya Amasova / Agent XXX), Curt Jurgens (Karl Stromberg), Richard Kiel (Jaws), Caroline Munro (Naomi)

The Spy Who Loved Me 1

This one has it all; terrific locations (Austria, Egypt, Sardinia), dynamic action, sinister villains and an intriguing save the world plot. Bond teams up with his beautiful Russian counterpart Anya Amasova and together they must discover the location of a submarine tracking device and stop whoever is using it. From the first to the last minute, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME thrills and entertains. Nobody does it better indeed. This entry was also creator Ian Flemming’s favourite, together with GOLDFINGER and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.

Best moment: Difficult, but the introduction to central villain Stromberg is superb. His ‘house’ is the jawdropping sea city Atlantis where we witness him feeding his secretary to the sharks, assassinating two other accomplices and assigning the terrible killer Jaws.

The Spy Who Loved Me 2
The Spy Who Loved Me

Read also:

10 Best Credit Sequences
James Bond: 10 Best Title Sequence

10 Greatest Villains
James Bond: 10 Greatest Villains

10 Most Memorable Deaths
James Bond: 10 Most Memorable Deaths (Caused by Bond’s Adversaries)

- SPECTRE poster


The James Bond Films Rated From Worst To Best (24-11)

In anticipation of SPECTRE, editor Jeppe Kleyngeld lists his favourite things about the James Bond series in 12 unique features. Enjoy!

24. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Director: Guy Hamilton
Written by: Richard Maibaum (screenplay), Tom Mankiewicz (screenplay), Ian Flemming (novel)
Cast: Sean Connery (James Bond), Jill St. John (Tiffany Case), Charles Gray (Blofeld), Lana Wood (Plenty O’Toole), Jimmy Dean (Willard Whyte)

Diamonds Are Forever 1

After actor George Lazenby left the franchise after ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, producers Saltzman and Broccoli tested other actors, but the studio – United Artists – wanted Sean Connery back, paying a then-record 1.25 million dollar salary for his return. They also brought back director Guy Hamilton. Since he had turned GOLDFINGER into gold, they figured he could do the same with diamonds. His approach was the same; Shirley Bassey sings the title song and a criminal mastermind has a major blackmail scheme to carry out. Unfortunately, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER turned out to be one of the worst Bond movies: definitely the worst with Connery. It is the campiest film of the bunch and the plot is full of loop holes. Also most of the action scenes fail to impress. A chase in a moon buggy is downright ludicrous. So is the Bambi and Thumper scene. More importantly, the characters fail to capture the imagination. This is especially the case with Charles Gray playing Blofeld and the Bond girls Plenty O’Toole and Tiffany Case. A positive point is that there is plenty of humour. Despite the quality issues, the film did very well at the box office.

Best Moment: Bond’s confrontation with Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint at the end on the ocean cruiser is priceless. He sets Mr. Kidd on fire, who then jumps overboard. Mr. Wint follows with a bomb between his legs that explodes mid air. ‘He certainly left with his tail between his legs.’

23. Thunderball (1965)
Director: Terence Young
Written by: Richard Maibaum (screenplay), John Hopkins (screenplay), Jack Whittingham (original screenplay and story), Kevin McClory (story), Ian Flemming (original story)
Cast: Sean Connery (James Bond), Claudine Auger (Domino), Adolfo Celi (Emilio Largo), Luciana Paluzzi (Fiona), Rik van Nutter (Felix Leiter)

Thunderball 1

After a spectacular pre-credit and underwater title sequence (the first of Maurice Binder’s opening titles sequences created in the form that they would become most famous for), featuring Tom Jones singing ‘Thunderball’, we find main bad guy – the eye-patch wearing Emilio Largo (number 2) –entering a SPECTRE meeting. We learn that he is assigned to steal two atomic weapons and demand a large sum of money in return. Bond is send to Nassau (capital of the Bahamas) to find out where the weapons are kept and retrieve them. Apart from the spectacular opening, THUNDERBALL is probably the dullest and one of the least memorable Bond movies. It is overlong and most of the action takes place underwater, which is frankly not the most exciting concept in the world, despite its technical excellence. A shame because the budget for this Bond film was more than the combined budgets of the first three Bond films. Definitely a step back from the previous instalments.

Best Moment: Mr. Largo has a special pool for sharks in the garden of his mansion. Lovely creatures they are.

22. Moonraker (1979)
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Written by: Christopher Wood (screenplay), Ian Flemming (novel)
Cast: Roger Moore (James Bond), Lois Chiles (Dr. Holly Goodhead), Michael Lonsdale (Hugo Drax), Richard Kiel (Jaws), Corinne Cléry (Corinne Dufour)

Moonraker 1

After the success of science fiction classics STAR WARS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, the producers felt it was time for a Bond movie in space. The budget was two times higher than its brilliant predecessor THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (also directed by Lewis Gilbert), but the quality of this film is far less unfortunately. The plot is too absurd, and the comedy feels a bit forced and overplayed. There is plenty to enjoy however. Especially a series of memorable action scenes. When Bond and Dr. Goodhead are attacked in a cable car by Jaws at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro for instance. There is also a spectacular Amazon chase by speedboat, a water struggle between James and a deadly anaconda, and a climatic battle in space. The special effects are without a doubt very impressive. And as purely an escapist film, MOONRAKER succeeds gloriously.

Best Moment: The scene in which a baddie tries to assassinate James in a centrifuge chamber (used for astronaut training) is hard to watch. Very, very tense. Luckily James has armour piercing darts in his wrist shooter.

Diamonds Are Forever 2
Diamonds Are Forever

Thunderball 2

Moonraker 2

21. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Written by: Bruce Feirstein (screenplay), Ian Flemming (characters)
Cast: Pierce Brosnan (James Bond), Jonathan Pryce (Elliot Carver), Michelle Yeoh (Wai Lin), Teri Hatcher (Paris Carver), Ricky Jay (Henry Gupta)

Tommorow Never Dies 1

A media tycoon is creating his own headlines by attempting to cause a war between Britain and China. Bond has 48 hours to prevent World War III. After the spot on Bond translation to modern times GOLDENEYE, the makers had a difficult task with this one. Although it gets nowhere near that last movie, it still offers everything you can reasonably expect from Bond 2.0 in terms of action, humour and spectacular stunts. However – and maybe that’s fitting for an instalment about the media – it is somehow the most unbelievable story out of the series. The original title of the film was ‘Tomorrow Never Lies’, but a typo on an early script draft was adopted by the producers, and TOMORROW NEVER DIES became the title instead. The movie is dedicated to long time Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, who died in 1996.

Best Moment: The love angle with Teri Hatcher is short, but does have strong emotional impact. It actually gives us some more insight in James’ way with woman.

20. Quantum of Solace (2008)
Director: Marc Forster
Written by: Paul Haggis (written by), Neal Purvis (written by), Robert Wade (written by)
Cast: Daniel Craig (James Bond), Olga Kurylenko (Camille), Mathieu Amalric (Dominic Greene), Judi Dench (M), Giancarlo Giannini (Rene Mathis)

Quantum of Solace 1

QUANTUM OF SOLACE opens where CASINO ROYALE ended. Bond kidnapped baddie Mr. White – who works for a mysterious crime syndicate – for interrogation. His employer seems to be way bigger than MI6 expected, and Bond has to go after one of the leaders. Under the cover of an environmental welfare group, this Dominic Greene is buying desert land in Bolivia, where he wants to exploit the water supply. QUANTUM OF SOLACE has a distinct look and feel to it, almost as though it is a Bourne movie. It is nowhere bad, but does not excel in anything either. Daniel Craig is once again fantastic as Bond though. As the first ever direct sequel in the series, Craig has commented: ‘We felt we needed to tie up the loose ends from CASINO ROYALE and make sure people realize we are back making Bond movies. For me it is about creating something that is going to stand alone but if you put the two films together, you are going to have an incredible experience because you will see one continuous story.’

Best Moment: The death of Rene Mathis is very tragic: ‘Forgive Vesper. She gave everything for you.’

19. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Director: Guy Hamilton
Written by: Richard Maibaum (screenplay), Tom Mankiewicz (screenplay), Ian Flemming (novel)
Cast: Roger Moore (James Bond), Christopher Lee (Francisco Scaramanga), Britt Ekland (Mary Goodnight), Maud Adams (Andrea Anders), Herve Villechaize (Nick Nack)

The Man With the Golden Gun 1

A dangerous hitman with three nipples is after Bond. Nobody knows what he looks like, so Bond traces the golden bullet that he used to kill agent 002 back to him. Then he discovers this hitman called Scaramanga, is the central player in a bold power move to take control of the global energy market. Not the usual Bond film in terms of plot and structure. The energy crisis storyline was inspired by media stories of such current events of the time. Elements of martial arts were added to the plot, because martial arts movies were extremely popular at the time. Therefore Bond has to face kung fu artists and sumo wrestlers. THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN especially scores points for the excellent supporting characters. Christopher Lee’s performance was praised and his Scaramanga has been called ‘the best characterised Bond villain yet’. There are also two remarkable Bond-girls: Britt Ekland and Maud Adams. It seems that the makers did not intend to make this the biggest and greatest Bond film ever, which works in its advantage. It’s very entertaining, pretty funny and reasonably suspenseful. And the locations in Thailand are to die for.

Best Moment: A scene you are not likely to forget is the cork-screw car jump. Terrific.

Tommorow Never Dies 2
Tomorrow Never Dies

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Quantum of Solace

The Man With the Golden Gun 2
The Man with the Golden Gun

18. Die Another Day (2002)
Director: Lee Tamahori
Written by: Neal Purvis (written by), Robert Wade (written by), Ian Flemming (characters)
Cast: Pierce Brosnan (James Bond), Halle Berry (Jinx Johnson), Toby Stephens (Gustav Graves), Rosamund Pike (Miranda Frost), Rick Yune (Zao)

Die Another Day 1

DIE ANOTHER DAY was released 40 years after the first Bond movie DR. NO and 50 years after the writing of the first James Bond novel by Ian Flemming: ‘Casino Royale’. It has quite an a-typical start for a Bond film. After a botched assassination attempt on a North Korean colonel, Bond is imprisoned in North Korea for two years. The bearded and skinny James is then traded for terrorist Zhao, much to the discontent of M. When his 00-status is revoked, Bond makes a deal with the Chinese secret service. They want him to go after terrorist Zao who killed three of their agents. Bond travels to Cuba where he meets, and immediately makes love to Jinx (Hale Berry). They both get involved in a plot involving gene-therapy, a new destructive super satellite, and an enemy from Bond’s past. DIE ANOTHER DAY looks too much like a videogame – with matching CGI – to feel like a real Bond movie. What is has going for it are two beautiful dames (besides Hale Berry, Rusamund Pike is delicious as Miranda Frost), stunning locations, and some great action.

Best Moment: Halle Berry’s character walking out of the ocean: a beautiful reference to Honey Rider doing the same in DR. NO 40 years earlier.

17. Octopussy (1983)
Director: John Glen
Written by: George MacDonald Fraser (screenplay), Richard Maibaum (screenplay), Michael G. Wilson (screenplay), Ian Flemming (stories)
Cast: Roger Moore (James Bond), Maud Adams (Octopussy), Louis Jourdan (Kamal Khan), Kristina Wayborn (Magda), Kabir Bedi (Gobinda)

Octopussy 1

A fake Fabergé egg and a fellow agent’s death lead James Bond to uncovering an international jewel smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy. Bond discovers there is more to this plot than meets the eye. A power hungry Russian general plans to set off a nuclear bomb on an American army base in Berlin, that is supposed to cause nuclear disarmament in Europe, leaving Europe’s borders unprotected from Russian invasion. The film has a highly enjoyable start, but the story becomes a bit silly halfway. Not that a Bond-plot needs to be very believable, but there are limits to what the viewer’s mind can endure, and these limits are tested quite a lot here. The action however is A-grade. OCTOPUSSY, the 13th James Bond movie in the Eon Productions series, was released in the same year as the rival James Bond production NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN which showcased the return of Sean Connery to the role. OCTOPUSSY made 187 million dollars worldwide, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN made 160 million dollars. Last Bond film to reveal the name of the next Bond film during the end credits, namely FROM A VIEW TO A KILL (the ‘From’ was later dropped from the title).

Best moment: The race against the clock to prevent a nuclear bomb from exploding at the end is maybe a cliché, but it is very well executed.

16. The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Director: Michael Apted
Written by: Neal Purvis (screenplay), Robert Wade (screenplay), Bruce Feirstein (screenplay), Ian Flemming (characters)
Cast: Pierce Brosnan (James Bond), Sophie Marceau (Elektra King), Robert Carlyle (Renard), Denise Richards (Dr. Christmas Jones), Robbie Coltrane (Valentin Zukovsky)

The World is Not Enough 1

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH is an improvement over the previous instalment with Brosnan, although it is still a long way from GOLDENEYE. The film’s plot revolves around the assassination of oil magnate Sir Robert King by the terrorist Renard, and Bond’s subsequent assignment to protect King’s daughter Elektra, who has previously been held for ransom by Renard. During his assignment, Bond unravels a scheme to increase petroleum prices by triggering a nuclear explosion in the waters of Istanbul. The best thing about THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH are the Bond girls. Both Denise Richards and Sophie Marceau are delicious. The villain however, a madman who can’t feel pain, doesn’t really work. Tension is also lacking because cutting off the West’s major oil supply doesn’t seem such a terrible idea. Until the release of DIE ANOTHER DAY in 2002, this was the highest grossing Bond film of all time ($361,832,400).

Best moment: Bond killing Elektra King is a powerful scene. ‘I never miss’.

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Die Another Day

Octopussy 2

The World is Not Enough 2
The World Is Not Enough

15. The Living Daylights (1987)
Director: John Glen
Written by: Richard Maibaum (screenplay), Michael G. Wilson (screenplay), Ian Flemming (story)
Cast: Timothy Dalton (James Bond), Maryam d’Abo (Kara Milovy), Jeroen Krabbé (General Georgi Koskov), Joe Don Baker (Brad Whitaker), John Rhys-Davies (General Leonid Pushkin)

LIVING DAYLIGHTS, Timothy Dalton, (poster art), 1987

A new actor playing Bond: Timothy Dalton. He has the right looks, voice and charisma to play the role, and does a great job. The plot of THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS involves the supposedly turned KGB-agent Koskov (a hilarious Jeroen Krabbé) who seduces the British government to eliminate a Russian general through false information. Koskov’s real motivation for getting rid of the general is that he is interfering with his lucrative partnership with American arms dealer Brad Whitaker. Together these two men are supplying various wars of liberation. Bond, who is assigned to eliminate the general, smells something fishy, so he starts an investigation during which he meets Koskov’s attractive mistress Kara. Strong entry in the series and the last to feature a classic spy scenario involving the Russians. Interesting trivia: Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean were both considered to play 007 in this film, but ended up in GOLDENEYE eight years later. Brosnan as Bond and Bean as 007’s opponent in that film Alec Trevelyan. Dalton would return one more time as Bond in LICENCE TO KILL.

Best moment: The Cello Case Chase.

14. Live and Let Die (1973)
Director: Guy Hamilton
Written by: Tom Mankiewicz (screenplay), Ian Flemming (novel)
Cast: Roger Moore (James Bond), Yaphet Kotto (Kananga / Mr. Big), Jane Seymour (Solitaire), Clifton James (Sheriff Pepper), Julius W. Harris (Tee Hee)

Live and Let Die 1

The first Bond starring Roger Moore is a very decent movie featuring beautiful dames, voodoo and plenty of action. Bond goes after Dr. Kananga, the scary prime minister of a Caribbean island whose plan is to set up a massive heroin trade to the USA. He wants to give two tons of the drugs away for free to double the number of addicts and then seize the opportunity to lead a heroin monopoly. Bond gets aid in his mission from his old CIA-pall Felix Leiter and psychic card reader Solitaire. Roger Moore turns out to be a formidable lady killer (‘Felix told me there would be moments like this’) and he plays the role a little lighter than his two predecessors with a lot of humour. This is the only James Bond movie to ever have a supernatural theme. Is also reminds of a typical 70’s blaxploitation film, especially the scenes shot in the city of New Orleans. Great Bond film and miles better than director Hamilton’s last one DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER.

Best moment: The trip to the crocodile farm is very memorable. This is the place where Tee Hee lost his hand and Bond makes a very narrow escape from the hungry monsters.

13. A View to a Kill (1985)
Director: John Glen
Written by: Richard Maibaum (screenplay), Michael G. Wilson (screenplay), Ian Flemming (story)
Cast: Roger Moore (James Bond), Christopher Walken (Max Zorin), Tanya Roberts (Stacey Sutton), Grace Jones (May Day), Patrick Macnee (Sir Godfrey Tibbett)

A View to a Kill 1

The final Roger Moore Bond is not the best, but certainly not the worst either, although Roger Moore disagrees. The plot has a lot of similarities with GOLDFINGER, since it is also about a stark mad industrialist who wants to disrupt a market (in this case the computer chip market) in order to profit from it. Christopher Walken is brilliant as Max Zorin, the evil business genius who plans to make a killing by flooding Silicon Valley. This entry has a lot of humour, a near perfect Roger Moore who can dream the role by now, and many classic images, such as Grace Jones (Zorin’s helping hand) base jumping from the Eiffel Tower. Roger Moore celebrated his 57th birthday during filming, making him the oldest actor to play Bond. Moore said that he decided to end his run as James Bond when he realized that co-star Tanya Roberts’s mother was younger than he was. This film itself was also intensely disliked by Moore. He did not consider this to be a real 007 movie. On the scene where Christopher Walken was machine-gunning hundreds of people, Moore said, ‘That wasn’t Bond, those weren’t Bond films. It stopped being what they were all about. You didn’t dwell on the blood and the brains spewing all over the place.’ He also said in his autobiography that he felt there was no chemistry between himself and Tanya Roberts, and he felt a genuine dislike of Grace Jones.

Best moment: The climax on top of the Golden Gate Bridge is very memorable.

The Living Daylights 2
The Living Daylights

Live and Let Die 2
Live and Let Die

A View to a Kill 2
A View to a Kill

12. You Only Live Twice (1967)
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Written by: Roald Dahl (screenplay), Harold Jack Bloom (additional story material), Ian Flemming (novel)
Cast: Sean Connery (James Bond), Akiko Wakabayashi (Aki), Mie Hama (Kissy), Tetsurô Tanba (Tiger Tanaka), Teru Shimada (Mr. Osato)

You Only Live Twice 1

Bond faces SPECTRE once again and this time he has to deal with its leader Blofeld (Donald Pleasence) directly. After the secret service faked Bond’s death to get his enemies off his back, he travels to Japan in order to find a hidden base. From there, a secret enemy is supposedly launching a space craft that is trying to provoke a war between Russia and the United States. In Japan, Bond makes a new friend – Tiger Tanaka – who introduces him to Japanese culture and woman.
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE begins in rapid pace, delivering dynamic action, heroism and humour. Then it slows down a little to end in an all out action sequence. Some special effects are a little outdated, but the settings and scope of the film is still impressive by today’s standard. Connery totally nails the 007-part once again and Pleasence’s version of Blofeld – including the nasty facial scare – is genuinely chilling.

Best moment: The final battle in SPECTRE’s underground base is quite spectacular.

11. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Written by: Richard Maibaum (screenplay), Simon Raven (additional dialogue), Ian Flemming (novel)
Cast: George Lazenby (James Bond), Diana Rigg (Tracy), Telly Savalas (Blofeld), Gabriele Ferzetti (Draco), Ilse Steppat (Irma Bunt)

On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1

ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE attempts to take the James Bond series into a new direction. Following the decision of Sean Connery to retire from the role after his fifth Bond-movie YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, Eon Productions selected the unknown actor and model George Lazenby for the part. The idea was to take a more realistic approach to the spy genre. As director they hired Peter R. Hunt, who had served as a film editor and Second Unit Director on previous films in the series. Producers Broccoli and Saltzman believed his quick cutting had set the style for the series. The story revolves around Bond frantically searching for his arch enemy Blofeld, who has been missing for two years. He gets help from a powerful industrialist, who in return want Bond to marry his troublesome daughter. Bond refuses, but does fall in love with the girl afterwards. He subsequently tracks down Blofeld (now played by ‘Kojak’ Telly Savalas) in Switzerland, where the evil leader of SPECTRE runs the Bluechamps Institute for allergy research, a cover for another one of his evil plans that involves sterilising the world’s entire food supply. A violent confrontation follows. The new approach to structure and story, as well as the different actors and even new theme music, give the movie a very different feel than we’re used to by now. This takes some getting used to, but the second half is non-stop entertainment. Lazenby misses Connery’s roguish charm, but he makes a sympathetic hero nonetheless. The famous climax of ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE is still shattering.

Best moment: Apart from the mountain pursuit and tragic ending, the invasion of Blofeld’s mansion and the following chase by bobsled deserves credit for the dynamically shot action.

You Only Live Twice 2
You Only Live Twice

On Her Majesty's Secret Service 2
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Continue reading:

The James Bond Films Rated From Worst To Best (Top 10)
The James Bond Films Rated From Worst To Best (Top 10)

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James Bond: 10 Best Pre-Credit Scenes

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James Bond: Top 10 Vehicles

Top 10 Gadgets
James Bond: Top 10 Gadgets

James Bond: Top 10 Gadgets

In anticipation of SPECTRE, editor Jeppe Kleyngeld lists his favourite things about the James Bond series in 12 unique features. Enjoy!

10. Acid Pen
Acid Pen
Why Great?
In his Indian department, Q hands Bond a special fountain pen. When one twists the top, a highly concentrated mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acid comes out. Dissolves all metals. Not spectacular, but very handy in certain situations.

9. Special Suitcase
Special Suitcase
Why Great?
Q’s first gadget for Bond, how could we not include this one? This suitcase contains plenty ammo, a sniper riffle, a knife and gold coins. It also has a canister of mace hidden inside for if the wrong chap happens to open it (this happens to villain Donald Grant). What more could 007 want on his mission to Turkey?

8. Rocket Cigarette
Rocket Cigarette
Why Great?
While captured in his arch enemy’s volcano base, Bond asks permission to smoke a cigarette. Against his better judgment, Blofeld permits this. Unfortunately for Blofeld and his men, one in particular, the cigarette is able to fire a rocket-propelled bullet.

7. Ordinary Lighter
Ordinary Lighter
Why Great?
Given to Bond for being best man at his friend Felix Leiter’s wedding. This may not be one of Q’s fancy gadgets, but it does save his life. Bond uses the very high flame it produces to set fire to a gasoline drenched bad guy who is about to kill him.

6. Magnetic Watch
Magnetic Watch
Why Great?
This watch designed by Q Branch has a very special feature on it. When you pull out a button it turns into a hyper intensified magnetic field. It is powerful enough to deflect the path of a bullet at long range, or so Q claims. Bond uses the watch several times in the movie. First, at M’s spoon (which he does not appreciate). Later, to attract a metal boat when he is surrounded by crocodiles, only to find out it is attached to a short rope. Later he uses it to pick up a very useful dummy bullet. An extra feature is a motorized knife that can cut through rope when your hands are tied by enemies.

5. Wrist Shooter
Wrist Shooter
Why Great?
This handy device allows James to shoot very effective darts by simply making the right wrist muscle movements. Q supplies him with five red-tipped cyanide-coated darts, causing death in 30 seconds and 5 blue-tipped armour-piercing darts. ‘Very novel Q, you must get them in stores before Christmas’, Bond comments. Laugh it up James, both types of darts save your life once in the movie.

4. Key Ring
Key Ring
Why Great?
This special key ring releases stun gas by whistling the first bars of ‘Rule, Britannia’. The gas disorients any normal person for about 30 seconds. ‘How do I blow up the room, whistle ‘God Save the Queen’? Bond jokes. The keys are useful as well as they can open 90 percent of the world’s locks.

3. Dentonite Toothpaste
Dentonite Toothpaste
Why Great?
The latest in plastic explosives. Very useful when you want to assassinate a drug lord who’s behind armed security glass. A cigarette functions as detonator and Bond is also supplied with a sniper riffle disguised as camera. Many thanks, Q.

2. Pen Gun
Pen Gun
Why Great?
The Pen Gun is a projectile weapon disguised as a fountain pen. In NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, 007 is equipped by Q with a Mont Blanc 149 fountain pen emblazoned with a Union Jack flag on the barrel. The pen’s nib is actually an explosive rocket. Q notes that the weapon is not perfected yet, leading to a delayed explosion when used in the field. This happens indeed later in the movie when Bond shoots a small rocket inside of the SPECTRE villainess Fatima Blush. Despite the delay, it does explode and only a pair of smoking spike heels remain of Fatima.

1. Class 4 Grenade Pen
Class 4 Grenade Pen
Why Great?
The most lethal pen in the world. Three clicks arms the four-second fuse. Another three disarms it. ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’, Bond remarks. ‘Thanks to me they were right’, answers Q.

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10 Greatest Licensed Kills
James Bond: 10 Greatest Licensed Kills

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James Bond: 10 Most Memorable Deaths (Caused by Bond’s Adversaries)

Top 20 Action Sequences
James Bond: Top 20 Action Sequences

James Bond: Top 20 Action Sequences

In anticipation of SPECTRE, editor Jeppe Kleyngeld lists his favourite things about the James Bond series in 12 unique features. Enjoy!

20. Space Invaders
Space Invaders (Moonraker)
Clearly inspired by the massive box office hit STAR WARS that came out two years before MOONRAKER. Although nowhere near the amazing Death Star climax of A NEW HOPE, it is a spectacular space battle in which military style astronauts help Bond to take out the space station of uber villain Hugo Drax.

19. Slippery Slope
Slippery Slope (The Living Daylights)
Long and exciting chase sequence in which Bond and the attractive cellist Kara have to outrun the Russian army. They start out in a laser and rocket charged Aston Martin, and later switch to a cello case. According to IMDb, the cello was specially made of fibreglass, and fitted with control handles on the sides and skis underneath. During filming, the case would tend to topple over as Timothy Dalton was heavier than actress Maryam d’Abo who plays Kara.

18. Saigon Chase
Saigon Chase (Tomorrow Never Dies)
Crowded markets are always fun for fast pursuits. Bond takes fellow agent Lin on a motor bike and they drive through the streets of Saigon, while being chased by trucks and a helicopter. Very fast and furious.

17. Swiss Course
Swiss Course (For Your Eyes Only)
Bond goes skiing along the scenic Swiss route and takes some palls along with him. Eric Krieger is one of them, a German skiing champion who also happens to work for the KGB. James proves again to be the best skier around. During the pursuit, he navigates a bobsledding track and a massive ski jump.

16. Delhi Chase
Delhi Chase (Octopussy)
When filming a Bond-movie in India, a tuk-tuk pursuit through the crowded streets of New Delhi is a must. The result is an exciting and especially funny action scene filled with stunts (the tuk-tuk is a well-equipped company car). Features many bad guys with knives and throwing stars, and also camels, beggars and elephants. Lots of roepies save the day eventually.

15. Carmageddon
Carmageddon (Die Another Day)
Bond drives against the Korean terrorist Zao on the icy slopes of Iceland. Both their cars are equipped with more guns and explosive toys than even the most high-tech videogame can come up with, so that ensures entertaining combat. Ends with a spectacular chase through the ice palace. Bond eventually wins due to the adaptive camouflage feature of his Aston Martin.

14. Swamp Run
Swamp Run (Live and Let Die)
A long chase by speedboat through the New Orleans bayou is one hell of a chase. Bond steers his boat through land, roadblocks, water blocks and wedding buffets. The chase was originally written in the script as just ‘Scene 156 – The most terrific boat chase you’ve ever seen’. Bond’s speedboat jump made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for its distance of 110 feet, a record that stood for three years. Sheriff J.W. Pepper makes his debut as the purchaser (he returns in the following Bond-film THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN).

13. Downhill Racer
Downhill Racer (The World is Not Enough)
While skiing, Bond and oil magnate Elektra King are attacked by four parahawks. Armed with machine guns, grenades and rocket launchers, they make it pretty difficult for James. However, since he is the best skier in the world, he outsmarts them. But then they have to survive an avalanche…

12. Battle of Scotland
Battle of Scotland (Skyfall)
This climatic battle takes place at James’ parents old country house in Scotland, where Albert Finney helps Bond and M dispose of dozens of bad guys using old hunting rifles and explosives. One can’t help to think about HOME ALONE during this scene, but it’s an impressive work of destruction nonetheless with quite some humour adding to the enjoyment.

11. The Italian Game
The Italian Game (The Spy Who Loved Me)
After a visit to bad guy Stromberg in Sardinia, Bond and love interest Major Anya Amasova get chased by a collection of baddies; cars (with Jaws among the passengers), motorcycles and a helicopter. After getting rid of several of them, including pushing Jaws’ car down a cliff which he survives, Bond and Amasova take the car for a dive underwater. There they blow the chopper out of the sky and deal with several enemy underwater vehicles. The sequence ends with them going back ashore at a beach to the astonishment of the beach guests.

10. Showdown at Scaramanga’s Maze
Showdown at Scaramanga's Maze (The Man with the Golden Gun)
At the start of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, villain Scaramanga demonstrated how well he knows his way around in his fun palace. And he can shoot too. Bond’s Walther PPK (6 shots) versus Scaramanga’s golden gun (1 bullet): an exciting duel. 007 is supposed to be Scaramanga’s masterpiece, but after a suspenseful cat and mouse game, Bond defeats him by pretending to be his own wax image.

9. Vertigo
Vertigo (A View to a Kill)
Spectacular climatic action scene of A VIEW TO A KILL. Bond fights psychopathic villain Max Zorin and a zeppelin on top of the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco. Lot’s of thrills and heart stopping moments in this one.

8. Liparus Shootout
Liparus Shootout (The Spy Who Loved Me)
Bond and several submarine crews are held prisoner on supertanker Liparus. Bond manages to break free the crew and a massive shootout erupts with villain Stromberg’s men. Director Lewis Gilbert likes to end Bond films in this fashion, since he did so in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, and would do so again in MOONRAKER (see 20). This one is the best though. It is a very exciting action scene with loads of explosions and bullet riddled baddies.

7. Flying High
Flying High (The Living Daylights)
While his girlfriend Kara is at the wheel of a transport plane, Bond is fighting baddie Necros while hanging out of the back of the plane. Oh, then there is also a bomb about to go off. Suspense filled flight that ends beautifully with Bond using the bomb to help out a group of Afghan freedom fighters.

6. Madagascar Foot Chase
Madagascar Foot Chase (Casino Royale)
This must be the best purchase on foot ever committed to celluloid. In Uganda, Bond chases a terrorist through jungle and a construction site. The suspect moves like a tiger, but Bond – on his first mission ever – earns his stripes here as a true action hero. The literal highlight is a showdown on a huge crane, in which Bond keeps his head way cooler than his audience.

5. Tank Escape
Tank Escape (GoldenEye)
To hell with subtlety. Bond steals a T-55 tank and chases down Russian baddie Ouromov through the streets of St. Petersburg. There is plenty of damage done. This sequence took around six weeks to film, partly on location in St. Petersburg and partly at Leavesden Studio in London. It is still regarded as one of the most iconic action scenes in the James Bond legacy.

4. Mountain Pursuit
Mountain Pursuit (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
The James Bond legacy brought us the finest skiing action in cinema history, period. The sequence in which 007 and his fiancée Tracy are chased by Blofeld and his Austrian thugs in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE is a prime example. Two highlights: The first one happens when one of Blofeld’s men falls into a snow machine and he gets sprayed all over the slope. Bond remarks: ‘He had a lot of guts’. Classic Bond! The second highlight is Blofeld causing a massive avalanche that fails to kill Bond and Tracy, but does kill three of own men.

3. Train Fight
Train Fight (From Russia with Love)
007 takes on killer Donald Grant in a moving train. This is a very exciting struggle in the narrowest of settings. Filmed in 1963, but still looks quite realistic. As often, Bond wins due to a gadget from Q; a knife hidden in his suitcase. Grant makes a formidable enemy though.

2. Sky Battle
Sky Battle (You Only Live Twice)
Bond is flying his ‘Little Nellie’ over a volcanic area in rural Japan, looking for clues of a secret hidden base. Out of nowhere, four hostile helicopters appear. Bond has to use every available weapon on board to fight them off, including heat seeking missiles, aerial mines and flame guns. ‘Little Nellie got a hot reception’, Bond comments. ‘Four big-shots made improper advances, but she defended her honour with great success.’ Beautifully photographed action sequence that still stands tall decades after it was filmed.

1. Highway to Hell
Highway to Hell (Licence to Kill)
Now this is one chase you’ll never forget. 4 trucks filled with highly explosive kerosene, truckloads full of baddies, 4 stinger missiles and a small airplane. Those are the ingredients of this highly ambitious and explosive sequence. Bond performing a wheelie to avoid a missile is just one of the amazing stunts featured in this scene. Action cinema doesn’t get any better than this.

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James Bond: Top 10 Vehicles

10 Greatest Villains
James Bond: 10 Greatest Villains

10 Greatest Henchmen
James Bond: 10 Greatest Henchmen