Bond, James Bond, the action hero known from Jaipur to Tokyo and Boston to Sydney. The series is over 60 years old, and has been watched by millions, possibly billions worldwide.
In fact, in the United States, it might be easier to ask who hasn’t seen a James Bond movie. Someone did, with the following results:
- Approximately 11% of men had never seen a James Bond film
- 20% of females answered that they hadn’t seen any of the series
Bond has appeared in many guises, elevating the careers of Hollywood names such as:
- Sean Connery
- Roger Moore
- Pierce Brosnan
- Daniel Craig
Although the iconic role has evolved through the ages, the character is still much loved by young and old. The most recent edition, No Time to Die, took over $119million on its first weekend, without even opening in China.
Why is Bond so popular?
There are a number of reasons that Bond is still loved worldwide after all these years. Different elements make up the films that people come back for.
- He’s a secret agent
Bond works for MI6, a British secret service agency. This is where his 007 tag comes from – his number in the agency, he is not called by name.
Espionage is a cool industry, and everyone loves the secretive element. The fact that he can slip over borders easily and blend into crowds.
He protects the innocent (mostly), is quick-thinking and fast on his feet.
Anyone with a license to kill is thrilling, especially when we know he’s after the bad guys. Bond also has to speak several languages for his role, and gain people’s trust easily.
Many of Bond’s rivals live the high life on ill gotten gains. As a result, Bond has to dabble in that world, yet he does it so well.
A bit of glamour on the big screen goes a long way. Everyone wants a peek at how the other half live.
It’s a fact that the James Bond films brought casinos to life for many. Some would never have seen the inside of a casino except in a Bond film.
Playing slingo on Rainbow Riches Casino might be an everyday occurrence now, but seeing a Monte Carlo casino is not. The cache of being able to play in one of these hallowed halls is quite particular.
Bond has been seen playing games such as:
Casinos make a wonderful backdrop for Bond, because of the high stakes and dramatic decor. The swish of a red curtain, running down a grand staircase, crashing down a great chandelier are classic Bond.
In Octopussy, we see Bond at the Lake Palace, a dazzling white palace on Lake Pichola in India. In The Man With the Golden Gun, a 20-metre tall islet called Ko Tapu is a dramatic setting for Bond.
Many people have been fascinated by Bond’s gadgets in each movie. The first action hero to truly embrace technology, we’ve seen him with:
- Exploding pens
- Submersible cars
- Machine guns extending from headlights
Some of these hadn’t actually been developed in real life when Bond used them. Q’s cool inventions are a huge draw for some of the series’ biggest fans.
Some films in the series are preferred over others. But which are categorically ranked as best, and which come further down the list?
Bond films: ranked
- Never Say Never Again (1983)
Released in 1983, this remake of Thunderball isn’t part of the original series. It stars Connery but it’s a poor outing for the actor, and Bond.
- A View to a Kill (1985)
Roger Moore plays Bond, and even with Grace Jones and Christopher Walken as baddies, it doesn’t save this camp film.
- Diamonds are Forever (1971)
It has some comic moments, but Sean Connery in the murky world of diamond trading doesn’t fully delight.
- Die Another Day (2002)
It opens well, testing Bond with a torture scene, previously unseen, however the plot doesn’t hold up.
- Casino Royale (1967)
A fantastic cast including Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress and Woody Allen star in this caper that hasn’t aged well.
- The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
Christopher Lee as baddie Scaramanga is excellent, but Moore doesn’t feel fully comfortable as Bond.
- Octopussy (1983)
Octopussy is a worthy opponent, and there are fantastic action scenes here, but it doesn’t raise the bar.
- The World is Not Enough (1999)
The world’s oil supply is at risk here, and Bond must come to the rescue. Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist lets this down.
- Quantum of Solace (2008)
This film began filming without a completed script, and it shows. It was a disappointment after Daniel Craig’s first film as Bond, Casino Royale.
- Moonraker (1979)
There’s no denying that this film is fun, but it has scenes in space, which is a stretch for Bond.
- License to Kill (1989)
Playing a darker Bond, Timothy Dalton shows elements of a later Bond, which the world wasn’t ready for.
- Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
An astounding opening sequence and thrilling effects raise this higher than it might have been. Typical Bond vs madman.
- Spectre (2015)
Spectre goes in hard but doesn’t bring it home. Craig is muted against Christoph Waltz’s terrifying Blofeld.
- For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Moore plays a down-to-earth Bond in this movie, racing to find precious British cargo.
- The Living Daylights (1987)
Based on an Ian Fleming story, this had definite high points, including Dalton’s more sombre Bond.
- Live and Let Die (1973)
Bond investigates the death of three former agents, and a voodoo subplot emerges. Moore’s first Bond role.
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
George Lazenby plays Bond in a film that stays relatively faithful to Fleming’s material.
- No Time to Die (2021)
It’s not Bond at his most daring, and some despised the ending, but it’s suitably realistic in ways.
- You Only Live Twice (1967)
The first introduction to archrival Blofeld, this has plenty of special effects and impressive locations to gobsmack viewers.
- Thunderball (1965)
Considering inflation, this is one of the biggest Bond films ever. It’s a fantastic book adaptation.
- Goldeneye (1995)
Bond was modernised for a new audience, and he has to face off against a former ally.
- Dr. No (1962)
The strength of this pared back movie lies in its final sequence, which features mechanical dragons.
- Skyfall (2012)
An attack on MI6 puts Bond at the centre. This film is one of the most moving, yet delivers on action too.
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1967)
With a scary looking Jaws as an enemy, and an emotional subplot, this is a strong contender.
- Goldfinger (1964)
This firmly established certain Bond tropes, including gadgetry and crazy henchmen. It also has a superb title song.
- Casino Royale (2006)
Slick, a little scary and oh-so-21st century, Bond came back more exciting than ever with a brilliant villain, Le Chiffre.
- From Russia With Love (1967)
Oozing with intrigue and packed full of glamour, this is the ultimate Bond movie. The Orient Express scene stands the test of time.
Some may argue or disagree, and it could even be said that the top five are all worthy of top place.