top of page

George At 

The Movies

Love movies? Lets be friends 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

Join The Club & Never Miss A Review! 

Featured Movie Reviews

OO7: 60 years of James Bond films; All 26 ranked in order!

Updated: Aug 7, 2023



As a lifelong fan of the James Bond series, I've seen almost every OO7 adventure multiple times, although there are a few so bad that's I've only seen them once or twice (I've got you in my sights, "Die Another Day").

My love of the Bond series was born in 1973 with Roger Moore's debut, when my Dad and I saw "Live and Let Die" its opening weekend and I was jaw dropped. Moore was my first Bond, but as my teen years went on I discovered the thrills of Connery and even Lazenby's very underrated stand-alone, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service".

Nearly every Bond actor has had their highs and their lows.

Below is every 007 adventure ranked from worst to first, along with some of the more obscure artwork and legendary posters from each film.


Let's start at the very bottom, Mr. Bond.


#26 Die Another Day

Why is that every James Bond actor's final film is such a letdown? Call it the Blofeld Curse, but so far, everyone's had a license to stink.

Connery's "Never Say Never Again" saw a paunchy, toupee wearing Bond shuffling through a rote mission.

Moore's "A View To A Kill" felt like an AARP commercial wrapped in silly stunts.

Craig's "No Time To Die" was a half of a great film destroyed by a horrific last hour.

So I guess it's no surprise that 2002's DIE ANOTHER DAY is Pierce Brosnan's worst, and that's saying something.

Wait a minute, Timothy Dalton is the outlier, his second film "Licensed to Kill" has only gotten better with age, it's a very good film. (I'm not mentioning George Lazenby here, as he only made one film, "OHMSS" and it's excellent.

Brosnan's OO7 tenure was an odd period in the Bond legacy for me. I really enjoyed most of the films when they came out. Hyped up on the excitement of a new JB adventure, I would have given them all high marks in some areas. Since then, everything Brosnan did in the tux after "Goldeneye" is pretty much unwatchable for me.

You can't blame Brosnan, he looks the part, he's suave, clever and always seems to have the same ease in the role that Moore did, with occasional flashes of danger.

DIE ANOTHER DAY seems to have existed as the landmark 20th film in the series with one purpose: to load the movie with as many Easter Eggs to past films as possible. They should have spent more time actually writing an interesting movie.

The film opens well after a goofy surfing scene, with Bond sneaking into North Korea to trade diamonds for arms. Rick Yune (Olympus Has Fallen) is the best villain in the movie. He's cool, lethal and has great screen presence. He's underutilized for the rest of the film. Bond doesn't quite manage to escape and ends up being tortured in North Korea for the entire duration of the credits.

Unfortunately, we are tortured too, as Madonna's dated title song blasts repetitively in our ears. Bond's getting bitten by scorpions and waterboarded while we listen to the song. I'm not sure who's got it worse. I'm a Madge fan, but not of her work in this movie. Elton John called her song "the worst Bond theme ever" but I don't think he'd heard that Quantum of Solace mess yet.

Bond is eventually traded and released but almost everything that follows that event is nonsensical. M (Judi Dench) treats him like dirt, which seems very odd when you think back to Bond saving her in the last film "The World Is Not Enough". The only reason she's acting like this is to serve the story.

Bond starts chasing after the rogue general from North Korea and the people in his web, which leads to a spa in Cuba. Halle Berry is a welcome addition to the movie as Jinx Johnson, an American agent (CIA? Rogue?) who's after the same people as Bond.

Berry is excellent in the action scenes but is saddled with a lot of groan-inducing, sexually tinged one-liners. Her acting seems flat and monotone, but honestly, she was probably just embarrassed saying some of this dialogue. It's teenage humor level bad.

We meet another wealthy villain who "never sleeps" and parachutes in to be knighted by the Queen. (YES! That is the same Union Jack parachute we saw Bond use in the pre-title cliff jump in "The Spy Who Loved Me"! Aren't all these Easter Eggs fun? No. For me they just served as constant reminders of better Bond movies.)

He's Gustav Graves, played with cocky enthusiasm by Toby Stephens (13 Hours). Graves is a wacky Elon Musk type, building massive hotels out of ice, rocket cars and powerful satellites that shoot lasers. Hey, didn't the villain shoot lasers out of a satellite in "Diamonds Are Forever"?

Rosamund Pike made her film debut as Graves right hand woman Miranda Frost (oooh Frost how clever!!). She's insufferable, but would go on to be a great actress in films like "Gone Girl" and the exceptional "A Private War" in 2018. Like Jessica Lange and her debut in Dino's "King Kong" I'm betting Miranda prefers you don't remember her role here.

By the time Madonna showed up as a fencing instructor and Bond & Graves have a fencing duel that destroys half a club and several great works of art, I was really losing interest.

When John Cleese (who I love in many films and of course, "Fawlty Towers" but never thought he was a good fit as Q) shows up and gives OO7 an invisible car, I knew this was going to be Brosnan's "Moonraker".

Poor Moneypenny even gets embarrassed making out with a virtual Bond.

Dumb, saddled with some of the worst special effects in the series and going through the motions of much better Bond films, DIE ANOTHER DAY gets a D-.


Brosnan later said this was his least favorite OO7 film that he made. Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have admitted that they completely misjudged what the fans wanted from the franchise, and accept the blame for the outlandish tone of this movie.

Hindsight is 20/20 and this thing is a turd.


#25 Quantum of Solace

After Daniel Craig's brilliant debut as OO7 in "Casino Royale", QUANTUM OF SOLACE served up one of the most disappointing, muddled adventures in the entire Bond series.

Developed during a writer's strike, it does often feel like they've made this adventure up as they went along. Craig has said that they did create much of the story on the fly after filming had started.

The film also suffers greatly from the hand of Director Marc Forster (A Man Called Otto) and his expressed desire to create a non-Bond movie.

Great, just what we're all looking for.

The direction and editing is so manic that all the action sequences are rendered senseless and frustrating. By pulling the camera back and having any cut last longer than a tenth of a second, we might have been wowed by the action that's taking place, but it's all sacrificed in rapid cuts blurs.

Consider the opening car chase sequence. It could have been amazing and glimpses of it are, but Forster is so committed to cutting to the next angle that everything is lost but the sound and the fury.

Compounding the problem, the opening titles are set to a finger-nails-on-a-chalkboard title song by Jack White & Alicia Keys. Forster must have sat down and said, "let's create the opposite of every Bond theme, something so unpleasant that it will never be listened to again in any context." Mission accomplished. It's horrible and the title sequence is visually a step down from "Casino" as well.

A mid-film sequence with Bond tracking down the secret organization Quantum at an opera house features a post-performance gun battle in a restaurant. I think. Forster even washes out all the sound in that sequence.

Is this an episode of David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" or a James Bond movie?

Daniel Craig is in great form, looking very young compared to the most recent entrees. Craig's Bond is a lethal killing machine, with M (Judi Dench, great as always) constantly reminding him how much easier investigations would be if he didn't kill every suspect.

There's a powerful moment after OO7's trailed a suspect to Haiti that breaks out in a lethal fight to the death, spilling out onto a patio. Bond kills the man with two lethal jabs of jagged glass and then cradles him as the man bleeds out. With casual glances over the patio to make sure no one's watching and a hold that shows respect for his dying opponent, it's as tough and deadly as Bond's ever been in the series.

In contrast, the villains have rarely been this weak in any Bond film.

The main baddie is a French industrialist stealing water. Ooooooh. Evil.

Mathieu Amalric plays him with such a lack of intensity that I'd be more afraid he was going to chastise me for ordering the wrong cheese than I would be scared of his plans for world domination.

Olga Kurylenko is very good as Camille, outstanding in an underwritten role inspired (knocked off?) by Carole Bouquet's revenge minded Melina in "For Your Eyes Only".

Poor Gemma Arterton is saddled playing a field office operative names Strawberry Fields who ends up splayed across Bond's bed covered in gold, oh wait, I meant oil. Death by gold was inventive when it happened on "Goldfinger" in 1964. Decades later, it's a sad nod to earlier, better OO7 adventures.

Jeffrey Wright is excellent as Felix Leiter, as is Giancarlo Giannini returning as Rene Mathis from "Casino Royale". In their moments with Craig, the film comes to life. Briefly, but it has a pulse.

The large-scale action sequence conclusion is fair, but Craig's final scenes here are better, setting up the next, best film in the entire series, "Skyfall".

Wallowing alongside "Moonraker" in the trash heap of James Bond films, QUANTUM gets a D.


#24 Never Say Never Again

The summer of 1983 was, in theory, a huge year for OO7 fans. Warring producers were determined to win the summer, each with their own Bond films.

Albert R. Broccoli had Roger Moore in "Octopussy" and Kevin McClory had won his lawsuit for the right to create a remake of "Thunderball".

He enticed Sean Connery to return to the role of Bond for one last time in NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN.

It's an odd entry in the Bond canon, feeling at once like a tired knockoff and yet all too familiar as its the same story we know in Thunderball.

This time, Largo is played well by German actor Klaus Maria Brandauer from "Out of Africa" and "Mephisto". He's a great actor and he's terrific at being absolutely mad in the role.

Kim Basinger is not very good as Domino, saddled with a very bad 80's wardrobe. Speaking of wardrobe and being mad, check out what Barbara Carrera (Embryo) wears as Fatima Blush. She's not very good either, pailing next to the much more seductive menace of Lucianna Paluzzi as Blush in "Thunderball". She and Connery had real chemistry in that film. Nearly 20 years later, Connery doesn't seem to have any chemistry with anyone on screen.

52 years old when they filmed, he can still toss out a great one liner, or deliver the perfect facial expression, but he seems strangely disconnected, not even on screen for long boring stretches of the film that suffer without him.

Edward Fox (Day of the Jackal) is great in almost everything he's in, but he seems more like an eccentric great aunt complaining about her tea than he does anything resembling M.

The great Max Von Sydow (The Exorcist) is wasted as Blofeld, reduced to stroking a cat and running conference calls.

But wait, is the music score good? No, its horrible. Michel Legrand can write a great film score, "Ice Station Zebra" for example. But his music here is cheesy, all wrong and forgettable. Only Eric Serra's godawful score for "Goldeneye" is worse within the OO7 legacy.

There's little action, bad special effects and in the middle of it, poor Sean, looking a little too old for all the action. Good toupee though.

When Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) is a highlight as Bond's international connection, you know you're in trouble.

The release of the film ended up getting intentionally delayed, so that Connery's film was released in the fall, about four months after Moore's entry.

"Octopussy" won both the box office battle and the long term critical match up, being by far the more highly regarded Bond entry than Connery's last time in the role.

Connery should have stuck to his instincts and made "Diamonds Are Forever" his Bond swan song. NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN never finds the right key, stumbling its way to a D.


#23 Moonraker

Where do I start with one of my least favorite OO7 movies ever, Moonraker?

Let's start with the good:

Great pre-title sequence with the hijacking of the Moonraker space shuttle right off the RAF 747 transporting it to England.

Great title song sung by Shirley Bassey (her third Bond title song after Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever).

Great Bond music score by John Barry, beautiful photography by Jean Tournier....and that's about where the good stuff ends.

Apparently running out of creative gas and wanting to capitalize on the late seventies Star Wars craze, the producers made a rare misstep and decided that James Bond must now be in outer space.

Hack writer Christopher Wood takes everything you like about Bond movies (boat chases, gorgeous spies, exotic locations, car chases, outlandish weapons, witty comebacks) and jumbles them into a screenplay so episodic and silly that it just collapses.

You only have to hear that the sexy and clever Pussy Galore from Goldfinger has been replaced here by dull, monotone Lois Chiles as Dr. Holly Goodhead to realize that any sophistication has left the building.

Great special effects and a rousing space battle in the last 20 minutes is completely deflated by the fact that James Bond is in the middle of it. What the hell is he doing up there?

Oh boy, they've also brought back giant villain JAWS and given him a blonde, pigtailed love interest. A huge hit back in 1979 and a very sad day for big Bond fans like me! They got the ship back on track nicely with the next film, For Your Eyes Only, and its a good thing. Even James Bond couldn't survive too many more cartoonish, hackneyed adventures like this one.

If the movie was half as good as the poster....

Alas, it's a silly, desperate, goofy D.


#22 No Time To Die

NO SPOILERS.

After a very long 18-month delay, Daniel Craig’s final film as James Bond OO7 has finally hit theatres. A great group of friends gathered last night to see it on the big screen at an AMC Dolby Cinema.

NO TIME TO DIE sounds great, looks fantastic and the first two hours are a thrilling adventure, loaded with enough Bondian references to satisfy even the most rabid fan, a group with which I’d happily identify. But at 163 minutes, that leaves a very troublesome final act that I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

The film starts out perfectly. We meet a young girl and her mother, relaxing in a secluded, snow covered home. A strange, masked figure appears in the distance and then looms closer in a menacing, violent and suspenseful sequence that immediately tells us that Director Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) is going to take this Bond into new territory.

We then flash forward to James Bond and Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) living a life far removed from Bond’s days as OO7. This is a laid-back Bond, enjoying their life together with one eye always glancing behind him for adversaries.

A visit to Vesper’s grave in the stunning Italian city of Madera kickstarts the film when a bomb explodes and the forces of Spectre surround Bond. What ensues is one of the best pre-title sequences in the entire series, an all-out foot, motorcycle and car chase as Bond and Madeleine attempt to escape. Convinced that Madeleine knew Spectre was coming, OO7 puts her on a train and walks out of her life.

Transition to another great Daniel Kleinman visual title sequence and a superb title song from Billie Eilish. Perfection.

Flash forward five years and our bad buy emerges, stealing a lethal virus that can be engineered to target specific people. While M (an excellent Ralph Fiennes) and Moneypenny (the underused Naomie Harris) deal with that madness, we globe trot to Bond, relaxing in his Jamaican home living a life of solitude.

Life-long friend and CIA agent Felix Leiter (the always great Jeffrey Wright) drops in asking Bond to help him with a mission in Cuba for old time’s sake. It seems that mission might have ties to Spectre, Blofeld (who’s still locked up Hannibal Lecter style in prison) and Dr Obruchev, the scientist behind the theft of the virus. At the same time, Bond meets the new agent that replaced him as OO7 when he left five years earlier, Nomi, played in true kick-ass form by Lashana Lynch.

What follows is by far the best sequence of the film. With Nomi on his trail, Bond arrives in Cuba to meet Leiter and the beautiful agent that will help him, Paloma. Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049, Knives Out) is stunning and a sheer fun as Paloma. This 20-minute sequence is everything you want in a Bond movie. It’s violent, action-packed, funny, sexy and exciting as hell.

At this point, the plot starts to get more complicated and to say much more would be to spoil surprises. So instead, let’s talk about the great, the good and the bad.

Daniel Craig is excellent. He approaches the entire film knowing its his last time up to bat and he swings hard and nails it.

The fight sequences are great. There is one gun & hand-to-hand fight up a spiral staircase in the villain’s lair that’s done in one seamless take and its fantastic. It must have taken Fukunaga, Craig and the stunt team weeks to rehearse. It’s a jaw dropper.

A chase scene that continues into a foggy forest is brilliantly staged and shot, ending in a tribute to a famous Roger Moore scene in “For Your Eyes Only” that gets your blood going.

Hans Zimmer’s music score is the best Bond score in years. He’s got a leg up in that department because he samples John Barry’s all-time best movie soundtrack from “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. Savvy Bond viewers will recognize many other references to OHMSS.

The production design is excellent, paying obvious and jaw dropping tribute to some of Ken Adam’s greatest sets from “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “You Only Live Twice”.

Ben Whishaw is back and better than ever as Q, delivering some of the biggest laughs in the film. Bond’s return to headquarters and the scene in Q’s apartment are standouts.

David Dencik is hilariously great as Dr. Obruchev. He nails every throwaway line and is the funniest, strangest secondary villain since Alan Cumming as Boris in “Goldeneye”.


But about that two-hour mark, a pivotal secondary character is introduced that feels forced and manipulative. Things start to get more muddled.

Some of Bond and Madeleine’s scenes feel more like a Hallmark Christmas movie than a Bond flick. Bond declaring his love one time is okay. Multiple times feels light years away from Ian Fleming’s creation.

Rami Malek’s villain Lyutsifer Safin becomes a major plot point and as much as I like Malek, he feels like a watered-down Dr. No / Blofeld / Depp/ Phantom of the Opera whose entire motivation is built on a house of cards/sins-of-the fathers trigger point that never rings true. He’s also so small you feel like someone could break him in half at any point. Malek’s occasionally menacing, but he’s never scary.

All the plot mechanics grind together into a conclusion that feels more hollow, manipulative, and frustrating than emotionally powerful. I sat there stunned and trying to wrap my head around it.

Today, I’m left with the disparaging feeling that the filmmakers were torn between the desire to make OO7 more “woke” while still trying to appeal to the aging, five-decade fans of the legendary film series.

Craig’s fantastic in the movie from start to finish, but James Bond doesn’t nearly cry two or three times in one adventure. Bond kicks ass, Bond’s a loner and a hard drinking killing machine.

By the end of the film, James Bond isn’t James Bond anymore, he’s Jimmy Bond at the PTA meeting or down the block building a treehouse.

But he’s not James Bond.

The very final shot of the movie, the car, the photography, the music used, which I won’t detail here as it could be a spoiler for loyal fans, nearly saved the ending for me, it’s pretty flawless.

When the next reboot comes, will they move the series back to an earlier Cold War era, when everything about James Bond was okay to enjoy? Or has political correctness forced us to a time where we must swallow a woke OO7? I hope not, because the final third of NO TIME TO DIE nearly buries the excellent first 2/3 of the film.

Continuing down this path could bury the series.

I’ll give NO TIME TO DIE a C- (A+ for the first two hours and an F for the finale). It’s no Skyfall.

After the credits, the final words on screen (as always) are JAMES BOND WILL RETURN.

Will he….will he???


#21 A View to a Kill

Roger Moore officially overstayed his welcome by one film with the dismal OO7 entry from 1985, A VIEW TO A KILL.

Starting off with a decent pre-title sequence that is ruined when the filmmakers choose to play the Beach Boys over a key stunt moment, the first forty minutes of the film are boring.

James Bond is investigating horse racing!

It hardly seems worthy of Her Majesty's secret service, but it gives the aging Lois Maxwell a reason to wear a big hat and moon over James.

Eventually the horse leads us to industrialist Max Zorin, played with strange, maniacal ticks by Christopher Walken. His loyal henchwoman is Mayday, played by Grace Jones, who makes Walken's acting choices seem positively dull. She overemotes every emotion as if she is in a play and worried the back row doesn't know what she's feeling.

By the time master thespian Tanya Roberts enters the scene and screams and whines "James!" forty different ways, you are begging for the mess to end.

As always, the Bond producers deliver some terrific action set pieces, including a free fall jump off the Eiffel Tower, a battle on top of the Golden Gate Bridge and an underground mine set on the scale of the volcano from "You Only Live Twice".

Without a story though, the whole thing falls flat and you're left watching an uncomfortably older Moore bed beautiful women in their 20's...awkward....

Duran Duran's title song and John Barry's score are 80's greats, but Moore's last film as Bond is just a tired, boring retread of every Bond film before it.

The series next film would deliver Timothy Dalton in a much more serious take on the role, which after this goofy mess was beyond welcome.

The only view from here is mediocrity and for me, it ranks as the second Roger Moore Bond film of all time after "Moonraker" and gets a C.


#20 The World Is Not Enough

The Brosnan Bonds suffered a rapid decline after his promising OO7 debut in "Goldeneye". His third outing, 1999's THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH is an odd balance of strong performances dragged down by a horrific one, great action scenes stifled by being shoehorned into an over complicated plot and a growing sense of deja vu.

The film's opening sequence is decent, with Brosnan effortlessly cool as he chases as assassin down the Thames in a high speed boat chase.

In the first sign of trouble, the film inserts a "funny" shot of Bond straightening his tie underwater when his mini jet boat goes UNDERWATER to avoid a crash. It's the first alarm that things are starting to slip dangerously into the crap-cartoon elements that made "Moonraker" the biggest turd in OO7 lineup.

We meet the daughter of our murdered oil magnate, Elektra King, very well played by Sophie Marceau. Her oil pipeline seems to have angered environmentalists, Russians and one Megalomaniac in our villain Renard, really well played by Robert Carlyle, but given so little to do in the screenplay that he seems more like an annoying neighbor than a great screen bad guy.

Judi Dench is excellent in an expanded role as M and Robbie Coltrane is hilariously perfect in his recurring role as Valentin Zukovsky.

Yes, they're all good, as is Brosnan as Bond, the near perfect blend of suave, dangerous and lethal. But...oh man....in a performance so bad that she makes Tonya Roberts look good, Denise Richards plays Dr. Christmas Jones, a nuclear physicist. That's great casting. Huh?

She's horrible. My grandson has read the back of juice boxes with more passion two minutes after waking up than she delivers in her dramatic moments.

Do we really need another Bond movie in which a submarine is a key part of the conclusion? I would think that "The Spy Who Loved Me" had that covered. It feels repetitive and old.

And didn't "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and "The Spy Who Loved Me" pretty much cover ski chases? This time, Bond and Elektra are skiing when jet skis with machine guns are parachuted onto the same mountain to set up a chase. Really? Jet skis with parachutes? Oye.

Then there is a massive attack on Zukovsky's caviar factory that is well staged and shot, but has so little to do with the plot, it feels like they sat around a table and said "this part is boring, let's throw in an action sequence". Blech.

It's kind of a shame, because Brosnan, Marceau and Carlyle are all very good, deserving of a much better film.

David Arnold's music score has grown on me, its decent, as is Garbage's theme song.

Too long and far too unoriginal, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH is a lesser Bond adventure and gets a C.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Brosnan would do one more in 2002, 'Die Another Day". And I thought THIS one was repetitive.....



#19 Tomorrow Never Dies

I've said before that OO7 films are like wine. Some get better with age, others are just as you remember them, and others go very bad between viewings.

Like every other Brosnan Bond except "Goldeneye", 1997's TOMORROW NEVER DIES is almost unwatchable with the exception of several scenes.

Recycling the "let's pit countries against each other in a manufactured war" from "You Only Live Twice" thirty years earlier, this entry finds media mogul Elliot Carver in control of the TV and print (remember print?) media, seemingly knowing world events before they even happen.

Carver is well played by Jonathan Pryce, (Evita, Game of Thrones) spending billions to create war between China and the UK.

The film has several things going for it. Brosnan is game in his second outing as Bond. As adept with a machine gun or a Walther as he is with one-liners, he certainly looks the part.

Michelle Yeoh has a major role as his Chinese counterpart and she is terrific in the role. Her action scenes are first rate and she and Brosnan have a great give & take comfort.

But the film around then fails in so many ways.

After a decent, taut opening sequence at an Arms Bazaar, the producers made the disastrous last minute decision to replace the excellent KD Lang theme song "Surrender" (which can still be heard over the end credits) with the lame, boring Sheryl Crow song named for the film. It's one of the worst theme songs ever and after Tina Turner's killer "Goldeneye" theme, a big step backward.

OO7 films live and die on their henchmen. Goldfinger had Oddjob, Mr. Big had Baron Samedi, but Carver has Stamper, a boring muscleman with zero stage presence save his too small t-shirts.

Carver's wife Paris is played by Teri Hatcher, who looks terrific, has some decent moments with Bond but barely registers before she's killed off in service of the predictable screenplay.

Even Judi Dench is wasted with little to do as M but wring her hands over Bond's republic serial-like last minute escapes.

David Arnold's music score was a welcome return to tradition, but rather boring in retrospect.

There are a couple moments in the middle of the film, including Bond escaping in his remote control BMW and a decent motorcycle/helicopter chase through China, that temporarily breathe some life into the proceedings, but for the most part, the film just plays as a tired, weak shadow of previous, much better entrees in the series.

Alas, with only the second film of his four film tenure, Brosnan had already seen his best days in his debut. Of course, we had no idea how much worse things would get two years later with "The World Is Not Enough".

TOMORROW pales next to OO7's yesterdays and gets a C.


#18 The Man with the Golden Gun

1974's THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN was rushed into production immediately after the success of "Live and Let Die" and finds Roger Moore in a sophomore slump after that big hit. It's got a great villain in Scaramanga, a million dollar a kill hit man, played with style, class and danger by Christopher Lee. It's got a very good Bond girl in Maud Adams as Andrea and its got spectacular locales in Thailand & Hong Kong and a beautiful music score by John Barry. BUT, it also bungles with a goofy second Bond girl in Britt Ekland as Mary Goodnight, the most hapless agent ever. Herve Villechaize is just strange and hard to understand as pint size second villain Nick Nack and the script makes its biggest mistake in bringing back Louisiana sheriff JW Pepper (Clifton James) who just happens to be in Thailand on vacation where he runs into OO7. The whole exercise seems a bit forced, the dialogue is silly and the whole early 70's kung fu craze is a very odd fit shoehorned into the plot. The film ALMOST recovers in it's last twenty five minutes from the moment James Bond heads to Scaramanga's island to the conclusion, but a lesser script in the series damn near fells Bond faster than a hit man ever could. Great production design/silly story. The bullets may be golden, but this OO7 entry is bronze at best. We'll give it a C.


#17 Octopussy

In 1983, there were warring Bond flicks in the theatre, Sean Connery's one-time 80's return to Bond, "Never Say Never Again" and the official OO7 entry, OCTOPUSSY.

It's by far the superior film of the two, won the box office battle and was probably Roger's last great time in the role before his tired final "View" on the role.

Roger Moore is comfortable and having fun as Bond. The terrific pre-credits sequence puts Bond in a mini airplane with missiles tracking him and the stunt and explosives team doing heroic work.

Bond is tracking fake Fabergie eggs (strange plot hook) that lead him into worldwide adventures around a jewel smuggling ring.

In retrospect, the film is a bit of a ying and yang between great Bond moments and all the elements that made 007 films fade in importance in the late 80's and early 90's.

The title sequence is composed of repetitive, tired Maurice Binder designs but is accompanied by a pretty decent Bond song, "All Time High" by Rita Coolidge.

The villain of the piece Kamal Khan, played by Louis Jourdan is pretty lame and non-threatening, but his female sidekick Magda is played with style by the gorgeous Kristina Wayborn.

Maud Adams is beautiful and very good as Octopussy, but the circus setting feels like a limp rip-off of Pussy Galore's Flying Circus.

The Russian power play subplot adds some nice tension, but it's led by a seriously over-acting Steven Berkoff as General Orlov.

The entire final act aboard the train, with Bond battling bad guys over/under and across a long circus train is very good, but then the film stumbles by staging a tense scene around disarming a nuclear bomb by having Bond in complete clown make-up.

Can you imagine Sean Connery in clown makeup? Nope. I can't either.

The stunt teams are amazing and the final aerial fistfight on top of Kamal's plane is fantastic.

John Barry's music is superb throughout.

This is a classic compared to the mess of "A View To A Kill' that would follow it, but when you have Roger Moore sneaking across a river in a robot alligator, you start to sense that the writers are getting desperate.

With a license to have fun and still provide some thrills, Octopussy ranks somewhere in the middle of the Bond library and gets a B-.


#16 Thunderball

The fourth James Bond film and one of the biggest box office blockbusters of all time, THUNDERBALL comes in somewhere in the middle of the pack in 007 films for me.

Connery is in fine form as Bond, tracking down two nuclear warheads stolen by Spectre, who is bribing the UN for diamonds in return for the surrender of the bombs. But for every strong point such as the opening pre-credits sequence, there is a weak point like the overlong underwater sequences that seem to drag on forever. John Barry's music score is great, but Rick Nutter as Felix Leiter displays some of the worst acting in the series (until Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist many years later...). Claudine Auger, a former Miss France is stunning and terrific as Domino, but Adolfo Celi is wooden as the villain, Largo.

It's easy to savor the good parts mentioned above, as well as Tom Jones theme song over Maurice Binder's classic title credits, any scene with Luciana Paluzzi (can my friend sit down here? She's just dead...) and Connery at his smoothest. The concluding explosion when Largo's yacht explodes is one of the biggest ever on film, it shattered windows many miles away in the Bahamas. I wish all of the film was that big of a blast. I'll roll Thunderball a B-.


#15 For Your Eyes Only

It's hard to believe that all of us Bond fans thought FOR YOUR EYES ONLY was a "major reboot" of the series back to more serious ground after the ridiculous OO7 in space antics of that Moonraker stinker.

But in 1981, this was a much more serious stance for Roger Moore as he battles smugglers and mother Russia over control of a submarine tracking device (hey didnt that get stolen in Spy Who Loved Me too? running out of ideas folks?).

So let's talk about the film's strengths:

* Topol is a charming villain/ally and makes the most of his role as Columbo.

* The ski chase is terrific and when a bobsled, Bond on skis and a pursuing motorcycle all end up in the bobsled run, its a lot of fun

* The mountain climb in the closing sequence is suspenseful and really well done.

* Moore is in pretty fine form and does bring a harder edge to Bond, of course in hindsight, he looks like Jerry Lewis next to Daniel Craig

*Bill Conti's music score is pretty good, very 80's, but pretty damn good.

And now for the bad and really bad;

*The opening sequence with Blofeld and his cat and Bond in the helicopter. Played for laughs, its a horrible waste of a classic screen bad guy. At one point he is trying to tell Bond what he'll do if 007 just lets him go and he yells to Bond: "Let me go Mr Bond! I'll buy you a delicatessen, in stainless steel!" One of the worst lines ever in a Bond movie. What the hell does that even mean? Horrible.

* The other bad guy, Kristatos played very middle of the road by Julian Glover. Bland, boring and never dangerous.

* Lynn Holly-Johnson, three words that should never be mentioned alongside the word actress. Makes Lois Chiles in Moonraker look like Meryl Streep.

* Another submarine sequence, really?

* Sheena Easton's title song.....zzzzzzzzzz

* Unfunny, silly closing sequence with Margaret Thatcher lookalike that wipes out all the right moves toward a more serious movie before it.


Back in 1981, I loved this movie.

Now, meh.

It's still a hell of a poster though!

A middle of the road B- entry in the Bond legacy.


#14 Diamonds Are Forever

After a one movie break, Sean Connery came back to the role of James Bond in 1971's DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. This was the first Bond movie to be shot mostly in the USA and the first with co-screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, who brought a lot more humor to the screenplay than past Bonds. OO7 is in good form here, with lots of classic moments including the Dune Buggy chase, the Mustang Mach 1 chase through Las Vegas, Bond scaling the outside of the Whyte House and Jill St. John as Tiffany Case. As a Bond fan, I'll always have trouble with Blofeld in drag, the small scale of the climax aboard the oil rig and some of the lame special effects, but they're outweighed by the thrill of seeing Connery back in action, Shirley Bassey's great theme song, John Barry's excellent score and Lana Wood as Plenty O'Toole. (named after her father perhaps?) Did you know that John Gavin (Sam from Psycho) was already cast as the new James Bond when Connery agreed to come back one more time, so Gavin walked away with his paycheck? This would be Connery's last time as Bond in the official 007 series, with Roger Moore taking over in 1973's Live and Let Die. Diamonds is Connery in the prime of 1970's cool, licensed to thrill in his last performance as Bond. Until Craig, there would be no equal in the role. Diamonds sparkles with a B.


#13 The Living Daylights

It's easy to forget back in 1987 what a seismic change in the world of OO7 it was to go from the light comedy of Roger Moore to the serious, broodingly dangerous James Bond portrayed by Timothy Dalton in his debut, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS.

Dalton has always been a "love him or hate him" actor in the role he only played twice. I think he's a refreshing change after the geriatric antics of Moore in the middling "View To A Kill".

Dalton makes an action packed entrance as Bond in the pre-title sequence, chasing a bad guy all over the island of Gibraltar to great effect.

Soon Bond is off on one his more complicated plots involving a defecting Russian General, arms dealers, a SMERSH plot to kill the double O agents and an adventure with Afghanistan rebels.

Stuck in the middle of all these factions is Russian cellist Kara Milovy, played by Maryam d'Abo as an intelligent, if somewhat dull Bond girl.

Director John Glen, a veteran of the series as director since "For Your Eyes Only" two films before, brings a more serious tone to the film to match Dalton's interpretation and for the most part, it works well.

Oddly, the most ineffective parts of Dalton's performance are when he is asked to play it light or happy, which usually comes off as awkward.

When he's serious, he's a damn good Bond. Until Daniel Craig came along, I thought it was a strong, threatening take on the character. Post Craig and three decades later, it comes off softer.

The good:

* The Aston Martin car chase through and around snowy terrain, escaping Russian troops and tanks with plenty of gadgets and firepower.

* The stunt team and the opening free fall jump to Gibraltar, along with the fantastic closing airborne sequence with Bond and Necros battling on the back of and outside a massive airborne transport plane. The midair climax is one of the best Bond sequences of all time.

* John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark) as General Pushkin. Humorous, strong and dangerous, its a great performance that plays well off Dalton.

* The Afghanistan sequences featuring Art Malik as Kamran Shah, with Bond and the rebels fighting the Russians.

* John Barry's music score throughout the film.

* Dalton himself. This was a HUGE step forward for Bond in the 80's and Dalton does a great job bringing danger and serious consequences back into the series after the lightness of Moore overwhelmed his earlier, better films.

The bad:

* Joe Don Baker's goofy arms dealer Brad Whitaker and his army man display conclusion. A dumb idea poorly executed.

* The new Moneypenny, Caroline Bliss, completely devoid of personality. When she offers to lend Bond her Barry Manilow music collection, a little part of me died of boredom.

* aHa's title song and Maurice Binder's uninspired title sequence, one of the series weakest.

* John Terry (who?) as Felix Leiter. Dull and badly acted, its no wonder they brought back David Hedison as Leiter in the next film.

Overall, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS is a nice step back to quality to the Bond films in the history of the series and a solid OO7 adventure.

We'll give Dalton and the film a solid B+.


Followed two years later in 1989 by LICENSE TO KILL.


#12 License to Kill

Bond films can be like bottles of wine. They can go very sour on the shelf when you revisit them (most of the Brosnan films) or they can turn into something really special over time, like 1989's LICENSE TO KILL.

Timothy Dalton's second and final time in OO7's tuxedo, the film was an attempt to return to the much harder tone of the Ian Fleming novels.

It's by far the most violent Bond film, opening with drug lord Sanchez (Robert Davi) flying into the Florida keys to catch his girlfriend Lupe (beautiful but bland Talisa Soto) with another man.

Sanchez proceeds to cut out the man's heart and whip Lupe, quite a shift in tone from any previous Bond film.

Bond and Felix Leiter (David Hedison returning to the series 16 years after his Leiter portrayal in "Live and Let Die" and doing a hell of a job) are on the way to Felix's wedding but take a pre-credits detour to capture Sanchez.

The pre-title sequence is one of the weakest of the entire series, with it's strongest feature being composer Michael Kamen's music score, blah stunts and a strange mix of tones.

The good news is, the film gets much better from there.

Gladys Knight's theme song is an underrated ballad, rolling nicely into the wedding reception and night, violently interrupted by an escaped Sanchez and his thugs.

Felix is kidnapped, fed to sharks yet kept barely alive and dumped back in Bond's lap as payback from Sanchez for his capture.

This sets Bond off on a relentless path of revenge. M revokes his license to kill, his role as a double-O and any attachment to the British government.

Bond becomes a one man army, winding his way into Sanchez's organization by cleverly following the money trail all the way to the top.

Along the way, he meets Carey Lowell as Pam Bouvier, a tough, resourceful and beautiful agent with questionable loyalties but on the same trail to Sanchez.

A very young Benicio del Toro is Dario, Sanchez's vicious henchman, Anthony Zerbe is a shipping magnate deeply involved in the drug trade and Wayne Newton is Professor Joe Butcher, a TV evangelist doubling as a key part of Sanchez's drug sales.

Newton reminded me a lot of Jimmy Dean's similar type role in "Diamonds Are Forever" and he brings a few laughs to a very serious film.

The action sequences are first rate, including a twenty minute finale in which Bond commandeers one of a string of huge gasoline tankers and manages to stage incredible vehicular mayhem on a mountainside full of dangerous switchbacks and some of the biggest explosions ever caught on film.

There's one scene in the finale where a pickup truck catches fire and flies off a mountain road, OVER a low flying plane in pursuit of the tankers. It's a great moment in a brilliant action sequence.

When this hit theatres, it was one of my least favorite Bonds. Maybe it was the switch in tone to much more serious fare.

It's odd that I was so resistant to that change to a more serious Bond in '89, but I was SO ready for it when Daniel Craig took the reins in 2006 with Casino Royale. Maybe I was so rooted in Roger Moore's films of the seventies I grew up on, it was too much of a change, but after the growing weaknesses of the Brosnan films, I was ready for Craig to bring the spy back to reality.

Looking back, its funny to realize how much I disliked this one, only seeing it once for many years.

It was released in the summer of 1989 and was crushed at the box office by "Batman" with Michael Keaton and the first "Lethal Weapon".

Watching it now, its one of the best told stories of the series, with a screenplay co-written by Richard Maibaum (From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball) that allows Bond to infiltrate Sanchez's operation by planting the seeds of doubt and mistrust rather than explosives.

Dalton is terrific throughout, having moments of true joy and happiness with Felix before becoming obsessed with avenging his life long friend and going VERY dark for the rest of the film.

Long before 'Spectre" the film also puts Q in the field to help a rogue OO7 and its Desmond Llewelyn's biggest role and best performance, showing a terrific bond with Bond.

Serious, violent and exciting, LICENSE TO KILL has improved with age. The original teaser poster tag line was "His bad side is a dangerous place to be".

That's an understatement suffered by anyone that gets in the way of OO7.

License to Kill gets an A.


Followed by the longest break between OO7 films in history as producers dealt with legal battles and the box office failure of this film, Bond would reemerge six years later with a new face in GOLDENEYE.


#11 Dr. No

DR NO started it all on the big screen for 007 back in 1962. This was the smallest budget film in the James Bond series, but the producers make it look pretty rich! So much to like about this first Bond flick, starting of course with Sean Connery's debut. Connery nails it from the first scene to the last, with the perfect blend of toughness and humor that no one has been able to match in the role. Favorite moments: Connery's "Bond, James Bond" uttered the first time you see him on screen, Ursula Andress rising from the ocean in that legendary bikini, Wiseman's Dr. No who set the tone for every Bond villain to follow, Monty Norman/John Barry's James Bond theme, Bond battling the tarantula in his bed, beautiful Jamaica locales and Jack Lord (pre-Hawaii Five-O) as Felix Leiter. He was so cocky when they asked him back for "Goldfinger" that he demanded a HUGE pay raise and lost the role....and went on to become Steve McGarrett! DR NO is really enjoyable, nostalgic and a solid A- to kickoff my favorite Film Series!


#10 You Only Live Twice

One of my favorite Bond movies, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE delivers everything you want in a Bond flick. Let's see: exotic locales: Japan & outer space.

Great villains: This is the first time we actually see Ernst Stavro Blofeld after glimpses of the white cat stroking bad guy in Thunderball. Donald Pleasance plays him with great style and menace. Just try to watch him now and not think of Mike Meyers and Dr. Evil, a direct play off of Pleasance in this film.

A great villain's lair: Blofeld's operation takes place entirely in a hollowed out volcano in Japan, actually the biggest and most expensive movie set ever built at the time, in 1967. At the cost of a million dollars, designer Ken Adam gives us a full size rocket ship, helipad, working monorail and a whole lot to blow up!

Classic Connery lines: 'The things I do for England" "I might just retire here..."

and so many terrific 007 moments including Little Nellie's mini helicopter battle over Japan, Bond's "death" and burial at sea, Nancy Sinatra's great theme song and the exciting ninja invasion of the volcano.

This is one of John Barry's best Bond scores and new 007 director Lewis Gilbert brings a light touch. Connery announced that this was his LAST Bond film and that he would never play Bond again. Of course James Bond would return in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" two years later with a distinctly different look. You Only Live Twice is a great Bond film, filled to it's volcano top with action, wit, beautiful women and bad guys. A 007 A grade.

(This is the first Bond film we watched in our new BOND 50 collectible Blu-Ray set and the sound and picture are amazing. Fully digitally remastered, this is like seeing the films newly released in theaters. The sound, DTS Master 5.1 will blow you away!)


#9 Goldeneye

In 1995, OO7 fans had suffered the longest drought in the series history after legal entanglements and MGM's bankruptcy stalled production on the next installment.

On top of that, the last entry, 1989's "License To Kill" had floundered at the box office against 'Batman" with Michael Keaton and the first "Lethal Weapon" film.

In November of 1995, Bond fans and audiences alike swarmed to a brand new OO7 in GOLDENEYE.

Pierce Brosnan had, by far, his best effort in the role in his debut here. The film starts perfectly, with a great pre-credit title sequence that teases us with glimpses of Bond before finally seeing Brosnan in action, alongside Alec, 006, at a Russian dam/power plant.

Kicking off with a bungee jump off the top of the dam and ending with Bond riding a motorcycle off a cliff full speed to try and catch a pilot-less airplane, it was a great start.

Brosnan quickly establishes himself in the role, witty, suave and looking every bit the part, he's effortless and a much lighter touch than Timothy Dalton's underappreciated serious take on Bond in the previous two films.

As Bond delves into a complicated globe hopping plot surrounding a new Russian satellite weapons system called Goldeneye, we meet a new M (Judi Dench in her first film in the role she would play for 18 years, through "Skyfall") a strong new Bond girl Natayla (Izabella Scorupco) a great new Bond villainess Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen with her thighs that are non-licensed to kill) and the great Sean Bean as 006/ Alec that re-emerges later in the film in a key role.

Goldeneye gets a lot of things right.

* A fantastic title sequence (Daniel Klienmann's first, taking Maurice Binder's classic style into a new century while paying homage)

* A classic title song written by Bono and The Edge and sung by Tina Turner

* Several big action set pieces with a Russian Tank chase through downtown St Petersburg and the conclusion atop a massive satellite dish

* The right mix of girls, gadgets, martinis and action to let you know OO7 was going back to a traditional fun Bond style

Brosnan makes it look easy and seems born for the role, tossing off one-liners, beating up bad guys and brandishing weapons of all sizes.

The only truly bad piece of the film is Eric Serra's horrible music score, all timpani's and synthesizers and lacking all the John Barry brass and big orchestrations that make a Bond film. It sits along Michel Legrand's godawful "Never Say Never Again" score as OO7's most off key music scores.

Director Martin Campbell proves the right man to launch Brosnan as Bond, just as he would be the right director again 11 years later to kickoff Daniel Craig's tenure in "Casino Royale".

He sets Bond on the right path. Too bad the writers would let Brosnan down with lesser and lesser scripts as his films went on.

But his first is definitely a terrific Bond film that made all of us OO7 fans breathe a sign of relief back in 1995.

Goldeneye gets an A. (Shaken not stirred please...)


#8 Spectre

Waiting for each new Bond flick for a lifetime OO7 fan like myself is like the days before Christmas morning when you are a kid. The anticipation is palpable.

When you finally get to open up that gift, will it be an ugly knit sweater (Moonraker) or the perfect new bike you've always wanted (Skyfall)?

The great news is that the shiny new toy that is SPECTRE is a terrific gift with about 50 additional presents inside for true Bond fans.

As the films opens, James Bond (Daniel Craig, the all time best OO7 now adding a bit more humor to the role without ever slipping into comedic Roger Moore buffoonery) is in Mexico City, tracking a bad guy through a massive Day of the Dead celebration.

For me, it's the best opening sequence in Bond history, with 12,000 extras, a full size celebration and the cameras & Bond swirling in and around the real crowd. Yes, CGI effects can create anything, but there is a palpable difference here, as the filmmakers move OO7 and his target through those 12,000 folks.

In the opening 20 minutes, any true Bond fan will be giddy, between the opening gunbarrel sequence with Craig doing the classic pivot and shoot, the entire Mexico City opener and terrific opening credits by Daniel Klienmann that continue to reference Maurice Binder's classic titles, while making them modern and effortlessly sexy and cool.

Bond is called back to London, finds himself at odds with M (Ralph Fiennes) and the emerging younger head of a new department, C (Andrew Scott) who is dead set on ending the "antiquated" double-O program and replacing it was a massive, worldwide, nine-nation digital surveillance network.

With a bit of help from Q and Moneypenny (Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris, both excellent) OO7 heads out to continue to follow the trail that started in Mexico City.

To give away too much plot detail from that point would take away from the clever script by returning writers John Logan and Neil Purvis (Skyfall).

Safe to say that Bond runs into enemies old and new, that the previous M's death still haunts him (Judi Dench continues to impact the films) and a fine new villain emerges in Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) who is much more than the standard bad guy.

The Bond women are terrific here, including Monica Bellucci as the widow Lucia and Lea Seydoux as Madeline Swann. We are a long way from the horrible days of Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones here. These women are terrific actresses and can hold their own against Bond.


But here's the real thrill of SPECTRE for true Bond fans.

There must be 50+ references, some obvious and some VERY subtle to the past film legacy within the film. It's like a massive carpet of Bond Easter eggs to discover throughout.

There's a terrific fight on a train between Bond and great new henchman Hinx (Dave Bautista) that references the Bond/Grant fight in "From Russia With Love", but there's also a much more subtle reference to Goldfinger's opening scene that happens in the seconds before the fight begins.

There are major ties between bad guys here and classic villain portrayals in "You Only Live Twice" down to identical make up and wardrobe.

The funeral and post funeral Lucia scene have the same exact DNA as the "JB" funeral and post-funeral scene that opens "Thunderball".

One example of a very obscure tie-in, and the moment that I realized the film makers were going very deep to provide some fun for Bond fans:

In the opening Mexico City sequence, Bond is battling bad guys on a helicopter. At one point, that helicopter make a complete loop overhead a crowded square. At the top of that loop, Thomas Newman's score (terrific again throughout, playing up the classic Bond themes loud and proud) makes a quick and quiet reference to the infamous slide whistle effect that John Barry used during the 360 degree car roll in "The Man With the Golden Gun". It was legendary as Barry's biggest regret in all his Bond film scores. Newman calls it out here, but in a subtle way to nudge OO7 fans while being completely oblivious to the casual viewer.

I can't wait to see this again to see how many more references are right in front of me.

So many people this opening weekend are saying, "It's not as good as Skyfall", "It's not Skyfall".

I agree. "Skyfall" remains my all-time fave Bond film, the perfect blend of story, action and Craig's true emergence as the best Bond ever.

But SPECTRE is terrific! Definitely in my all time top 10 OO7 films.

At two and a half hours long, it never lags, delivering a smart and clever plot with real consequence for Bond.

I remember walking out of "Skyfall" and saying, "Okay, they now have M, Moneypenny and all the pieces in place, now I hope they make the next film just a great Bond adventure".

Director Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig deliver that and then some. It's a big, exciting, shiny present under the tree. I can't wait to unwrap it again later this week and see what else I find.

Spectre gets an A.


#007 Live and Let Die

1973's LIVE AND LET DIE was not only the first James Bond movie with Roger Moore. It was my first exposure to 007 as a 12 year old boy. It was amazing and I was hooked immediately! I have great memories of my Dad and I seeing every Bond movie we could find after 1973, it was our favorite thing to do together. I remember them all vividly. Moore brings a lighter touch to Bond in this, the first of his seven films in the role. It's very much rooted in the early 70's and you can see the huge popularity of Blaxploitation films of 1972 like Shaft and Superfly influencing the story. Yaphet Kotto plays Dr Kananga, a Jamaican diplomat with lethal ties to Mr. Big and millions of dollars in heroin. Jane Seymour debuted as Solitaire, a tarot reading Bond girl for the ages. The first 45 minutes sets up the story and the last hour plus is one action set piece after another, all brilliantly executed by 007 stunt teams. Live and Let Die features a 20 minute boat chase, Clifton James as Southern sheriff JW Pepper, Bond escaping from planes, alligators, cars without drivers, shark filled tanks and the clutches of many bad guys.

It's very 70's, very dated and still very fun. This still holds my lifetime record for the movie I saw the most in the theaters at a whopping 13 times. Did I tell you that this turned a 12 year old boy into a lifelong James Bond fan?! Still an A after all these years. And how about that Bond poster, still my favorite artwork of all the 007 films.


#6 From Russia With Love

1963 brought us the second and one of the best James Bond films, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. It's amazing this film is nearly 50 years old. The photography, writing, music and editing still hold up beautifully. Connery really becomes BOND here, adding his dry wit, style and class to the role. There are so many great sequences here, including the great fight aboard the train between Bond and Grant (Robert Shaw) that still ranks as one of the all-time best fight sequences, Lotte Lenya as one of the strangest and most lethal Bond villians with a wicked pair of shoes, Daniella Bianchi as Tatiana, the girl fight at the gypsy camp and the first appearance of Q. The writing and serious tone were probably never equaled until Daniel Craig's debut in Casino Royale. This is a film classic AND a Bond classic! A



#5 Casino Royale

As we enter the summer of 2023, waiting for the next James Bond to be announced, it's a great time to revisit one of the best films of the series, CASINO ROYALE.

Daniel Craig's debut as OO7 is one for the ages. Craig brings a Connery-like toughness to the role, leaving a wake of dead bodies behind him as he takes on his first assignment.

He's tough, quick with a comeback or a smile, but absolutely the most lethal Bond ever.

The film starts off with a cold, black & white prologue featuring the two kills that earn Bond his OO7 status. It's a perfect start that leads into an all-time great title sequence by Daniel Kleinman, set to Chris Cornell's thrilling them song, "You Know My Name".

We then move immediately on to Bond on the trail of a suspect through and over a construction site and into a foreign embassy. Professional Free-runner Sebastien Foucan is incredibly elusive as the suspect and the action reaches dizzying heights as they run up over construction cranes and back down into buildings.

M (the brilliant Judi Dench) gives Bond his first of many reprimands while putting him on the money trail of a terrorist organization.

In world-class, Ian Fleming style, Bond begins globe hopping where the money leads him.

He starts off in the Bahamas, where he meets Solange (a stunning Caterino Murino) to get close to her boyfriend, who's almost immediately off on a terrorist mission to Miami.

The Miami Airport terror plot is one of the best scenes in the film, with Bond battling a bad guy about to take down a massive jetliner. Director Martin Campbell (The Mask of Zorro), the stunt teams and miniature unit are all first class and there's not a moment of the entire scene that doesn't feel real.

Bond follows the trail to Montenegro and the South of France where he meets CIA counterpart Felix Leiter for the first time (the always brilliant Jeffrey Wright) as well as Her Majesty's finance department courier Vesper Lynd, perfectly embodied by Eva Green. Craig and Green have flawless chemistry from their very first meeting on a train to their final scenes in Venice.

A massive amount of terrorist funds are about to be washed through a high stakes, impossibly elegant poker game at the Casino Royale. Bond squares off against the terrorist financier La Chiffre, menacingly played by Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Doctor Strange). When your eye weeps blood, it gives you quite a leg up in the menacing villain department. Mikkelsen is an all-time great OO7 baddie.

Director Campbell manages to make a 40-minute mid-film sequence revolving around a card game exciting by dropping in plenty of cutaway fights and an especially harrowing sequence in which Bond if poisoned at the table.

Craig is a bad-ass throughout. It's an absolute shame what happened to him in the role in the 15 years that followed. He went from ruthless killer & blunt instrument to PTA Dad during his 5 film arc. The last half of "No Time to Die" is shameful for this Bond diehard.

This film and "Skyfall" were the best of Craig, but all the goodwill of his 2006 debut here was wasted with its immediately sequel 'Quantum of Solace", a short, confusing mess that served as Craig's low.

There's a lot to love about Casino Royale. It's about as good as Bond gets on film.

David Arnold's music score is far better than any or his work on the Brosnan films.

Paul Haggis' script polish in tandem with great work from OO7 regulars Neal Purvis & Robert Wade sets up a great mission, cracking with great one-liners and surprising emotion.

Mr White debuts and Jesper Christensen is great in the role, before the character got murky due to too many forced plot twists in future films.

Giancarlo Giannini is excellent as Rene Mathis, a local agent whose allegiances seem all too fluid. Giannini and Craig have great rapport, playing off each other with great style.

Nominated for the most BAFTAs in Bond history (9 including Craig as Best Actor) this was the biggest box office hit ever for OO7 until "Skyfall" surpassed it.

This IS James Bond. Loaded with great action, strong good and bad guys, jaw dropping locations around the world, beautiful women and incredible cars, this is the OO7 that fans have celebrated on the big screen since 1961.

Director Campbell launched Brosnan as Bond with Pierce's best film, "Goldeneye".

He returned here for Craig's debut in one of Daniel's two best films in the tuxedo.

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson better be calling him right now to helm the first adventure of ________________ as our favorite agent with a licensed to kill.

CASINO ROYALE is a great thriller and a superb Bond movie. It gets an A+.


#4 The Spy Who Loved Me

1977's THE SPY WHO LOVED ME is classic OO7 and everything you want in a Bond flick. Back when James was less serious and more fun, Roger Moore really nailed the character in this, his third outing.

Featuring one of the series best opening sequences, Bond skis off a huge cliff into a free fall for a LONG time before opening his Union Jack parachute. It's a GREAT stunt and kicks things off in style.

Follow that with a sexy title sequence to the strains of Carly Simon singing "Nobody Does It Better" and you are pretty much in Bond heaven after ten minutes.

This was Cubby Broccoli's first time as the sole producer and he throws every bit of the budget at the screen.

Barbara Bach is wooden (but who cares) as Bond's female equivalent in the KGB, forced to work side by side with Bond when both countries lose nuclear submarines to the evil Stromberg, played nicely by a suave Curt Jurgens.

Richard Kiel makes his first appearance as JAWS and is menacing in a silly way (does he bite people like vampires, or what's up with that?) and there are many classic Bond moments.

The Lotus that becomes a submarine when Bond drives it off the dock, the scenes at the Pyramids, the terrific villain's lair Atlantis rising from the ocean complete with shark pools and helipads and the last 25 minutes aboard the giant, submarine stealing tanker are terrific.

Marvin Hamlisch's score is sometimes great, sometimes very 70's and occasionally silly, but its a minor complaint in this well made Bond classic!

Many great memories of this one, including seeing it on a road trip in Albuquerque with my brother-in-law opening weekend back in 1977.

Roger Moore's finest hour as James Bond. Nobody Does It Better indeed! An A+ and one of four Bond films in my Top 100 of all time.


#3 Goldfinger