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Martin Adam Pavlík
October 6, 2021, 12:17pm
Reading time: 11:24

TOP 10 Bond Ranking: Which 007 Films are the Best Ones?

The twenty-fifth film in the James Bond series called No Time to Die arrived to theaters only recently. We decided to reflect on the Bond legacy by ranking the best films about the 007 agent.

Martin Adam Pavlík
October 6, 2021, 12:17pm
Reading time: 11:24
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TOP 10 Bond Ranking: Which 007 Films are the Best Ones?
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“Vodka, Martini. Shaken, not stirred.” He always knew exactly what he wanted and how he wanted it. Problems kept creeping up constantly, but he never made too much of it. Professional, perfectly trained to complete the mission no matter what it takes. He's also a typical British gentleman.

 

 

Always clean-shaven, well-groomed, elegant suited, confidently performing gentleman, with a penetrating look and ingenious sense of humor. It's always been his specialty to make a funny comment at just the right time. Either to impress the most beautiful woman in the room, or to distract his enemies.

 

His character was first created by the writer Ian Fleming in 1952, in the book Casino Royale. The film was directed by Terence Young ten years later. At that time, the first Bond film called Dr. No was created and this is where the notoriously known quote of the character appeared the most famous announcement during the performance of the character was heard today: “Bond. James Bond.” First one to portray the fearless 007 agent in MI6 with a licence to kill on behalf of Her Majesty, was the charismatic, six-foot-tall Sean Connery.

 


Since then, Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig have also appeared in the role of James Bond. For almost sixty years has this legendary character kept us entertained and on our toes. Let's take a look together at which of the Bond films have added the most originality and workmanship to the series. The ranking is very subjective, so don't forget to write your top ten in the comment.

 

This article contains spoilers!

  

10. A View to a Kill (John Glen, 1985)

Mysterious experiments, KGB power games, jump from the Eiffel Tower, burning elevator escape, horse chases, fire trucks... The last film in the series with Roger Moore in the role of James Bond is a wild ride. Definitely one of the most memorable conclusions in the series - an airship flight and a battle of life and death with axes on the Golden Gate Bridge. Flawless. Everything is taken to a a whole new level this time by the demonic Christopher Walken in the role of cold-blooded Zorin together with the horrifying Grace Jones, who portrayed May Day. Her furious, murderous look is epic. Tanya Roberts as a fragile Bond girl almost seems angelic, next to these two.

 

 

Roger Moore brought even more charm to the role of Agent 007. He also incorporated more humor and relief to the whole series than his predecessor. While Connery was a typical rough dude, ready to do whatever is necessary to get what he needs, even if it takes slapping women for example. At first glance, Moore was more of a charming, kind gentleman who wouldn't hurt a fly. Only fought when it was really necessary. He preferred to handle everything verbally with jokes. Of course, worst come to worst, he could also shoot bullets between the eyes of his opponents.

 

 

The director John Glen in particular has built a specific atmosphere here. He left an indelible mark in the Bond World. First he stepped in as the editor of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979). Later on, he sat in the director's chair making For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983), A View to a Kill (1985), The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989), bringing a breath of fresh air to the series. Wind of change. With his index finger upright, he reminded us that with the advent of the new age, it was time to break free from conventions.

9. Thunderball (Terence Young, 1965)

 

Total old school classic is absolutely groundbreaking considering its time, thanks to the extensive and demanding underwater shooting. The result? A visual gem. The epic, narrative fights of two camps underwater with harpoons are fantastic, at times even unbelievable. Like a thrilling escape from a shark in a pool. Cameraman Ted Moore must have been sweating bullets, but today we can be grateful for the result.

 


James Bond versus the uncompromising, one-eyed influential multimillionaire Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi). The whole plot revolves around a hijacked plane, murders, poison gas, dangerous bombs, 100 million pounds worth of diamonds and many other complications. The MI6 agent isn't bored this time around either. Still, it's nothing he wouldn't be able to handle. What's most exciting about this one? Definitely Connery's great performance (also in terms of stunts), humorous escape on a jetpack, chases full of explosions or the beautiful Claudine Auger, who's definitely not the type to let others walk all over her.

 

8. Octopussy (John Glen, 1983)

Octopussy is, I guess, the most feminist Bond movie. This is where the card turns. While in most of the previous works, almost all women were necessarily dependent on the help of the agent and were supposed to appear more or less "for decoration", in Octopussy Bond would not have a chance to survive without their help. Finally, Glen was the one who showed that women, too, can fight well, aim precisely and hit the target. Defeat the biggest guys or even save the world from disaster.

 

 

It's eccentric, experimental, provocative, exotic, exciting and simply big. Camels, elephants, monkeys, tigers, crocodiles, clowns and hidden bombs. One big circus. Fun and captivating. According to Glen, everyone also had fun on set during filming.

 

"When you shoot a film, it takes six months, and it’s very important keep the morale of the crew up top, all the time, and keep them on their toes, and keep them enthusiastic. With Roger, it was essential, and everyone on the set just loved him, though he’d cost me half an hour a day with his little practical jokes. [Laughs]" the British director recalled during the fiftieth anniversary of the films about Agent 007.

7. Spectre (Sam Mendes, 2015)

Honestly speaking, James Bond wouldn't have had a job and wouldn't be such a hero if he didn't have a real villain up against himself. Insidious, disturbing and bloody evil. Blofeld, head of the secret organization called Specter, had potential to be the best villain in the series from the very start. Calm, yet extremely sinister, exemplary psychopath. He was first portrayed by the excellent Donald Pleasence.

 

 

The signature characteristics of his is a bald spot, a disfigured face, and a white cat in his hands. The most memorable actor who appeared in the role of Blofeld was undoubtedly the brilliant Christoph Waltz, introduced to us by Mendes in the film Specter. Although he managed to get Bond on his knees in this film, he couldn't break him with a trap that he wouldn't be able to get out of. In any case, their mind games are a highlight of the entire film. The carnival intro, helicopter fight, first escape from the Specter headquarters or final search for Madeleine are a few of the best scenes you can see here.

 

However, Daniel Craig doesn't have the best memories from the making of this film, because he broke his leg during it, according to USA Today. But that's not all of it. According to Insider, Craig also accidentally broke his colleague Dave Bautista's (also an MMA wrestler) nose during a great fight scene on a train and ran away in fear of returning it. "I threw a punch and hit him on the nose," Craig said in the Graham Norton show. "I heard this crack and I was like 'Oh God no' and ran away. I thought he was going to come after me, but he was so sweet," the actor added with a smile, pointing out that Bautista is much more robust and taller than him.

 

6. No Time to Die (Cary Joji Fukunaga, 2021)

The bridges are burned. No way out. All that was left were the sobbing spectators in the cinema with tears in their eyes, reminiscing over all of the beautiful and unforgettable moments that Daniel Craig brought to us over the years. He will be dearly missed and some will only realize with time how much. Forever he'll be the most believable Bond with a human face, which doesn't act like an emotionless machine. One that's as real as he can get.

 

Source: Forum Film

 

It was bound to happen that he'd run into an opponent who'd catch and break him at once. The thought alone that he would never be able to touch his wife and daughter again, because it would take their lives away, has persuaded him to resign. Exposing unimaginable pain, choosing death instead. He still accepted his destiny with humility and a smile on his face, as he always did.

 

 

Fukunaga closed one large chapter carefully, while cleverly opening a new one (casting a new 007 agent in the role of a new spy, a black woman on top of it, had to really mess with some conservatives, which is great). At the same time surprising, shocking and sincerely moving the audience like no other Bond director. The moment when the villain Lyutsifer Safin finally takes the chance and sprays Bond with poison deadly to his family, it causes some serious chills. Unforgettable. Heartwrenching.

5. Golden Eye (Martin Campbell, 1995)

Sean Bean & Pierce Brosnan in Golden Eye (1995) Source: United Artists

 

Pierce Brosnan embodied a combination of Connery's toughness, arrogance, coolness and patience with Moore's humor and charm. His seductive look was irresistible to any woman. However, he was fully aware that he could not fall in love. That didn't fall within the scope of his work. He demonstrated this perfectly later in the film One World Is Not Enough (1999), shooting a bullet into the heart of the traitor Elektre King without a single hesitation. She naively believed that he wouldn't be able to harm her precisely because of his feelings for her.

 

Either way, the Golden Eye brings first-class action entertainment from the very first minute. The first and best Bond Film with Brosnan in the main role is dynamic and exciting until the very last seconds. You could watch it on repeat with the same dose of enthusiasm. Absolutely flawless. The tank chase is just as mad as it's brilliant and is only surpassed by the Craig era.

 

Izabella Scorupco & Pierce Brosnan in Golden Eye (1995) Source: United Artists


We get to hear some cold-blodded words from one of the best characters in the history of Bond films - M by Judi Dench - for the first time. With an absolutely cold expression on her face, while drinking whiskey together in the office, she tells Bond: "Good, because I think you're a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War. "

 

4. Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964)

Every camera movement, every scene, every Connery's facial gesture is the essence of what Bond stands for. After 1964, all directors wanted to make something similar. Even the directors who didn't need it at all, such as Glen, Campbell or Mendes, later got inspired by Hamilton. He has managed to create a total masterpiece. Unforgettable atmosphere, Bond's elegance and style down to a tee. On top of that, it's set the bar for many other spy film directors. Showed them how it's done.

 

Source: Universal Artists


The billionaire Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) is suspected of storing tons of stolen gold in an unknown location. Bond finds out that Goldfinger's plans go even beyond that and that they must be stopped. Attack on the American base in Fort Knox would bring economic chaos in the whole world. Thus here begins the chess game between the two, which ends with a famous and spectacular final.

 

 

Goldfinger is a truly iconic film, which works even as a separate unit outside the series and belongs to the golden fund of world cinematography. Among other things, we get to see the improved Aston Martin DB5 (a car without which we can no longer imagine Agent 007) for the first time ever, with a lot of "tweaks", taken care of by another cult character Q (played by the unforgettable Desmond Llewelyn). The British daily Independent recently called the film the second best Bond film ever.

 

 

3. Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012)

The most breathtaking intro, with Bond accidentally catching a bullet from Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) during a fight scene and falls off the bridge into the water. The beautiful song by Adele already indicates that it will be a precise masterpiece shot with immense emotion. Skyfall is a sort of a mellow ballad and return to the roots. However, not formally, but story-telling-wise. It reveals Bond's past to us like no other film before, and it's certainly enjoyable. Suddenly he's no longer just a number, but a full-fledged human being.

 

 

Although it was a thin line, the result is almost perfect. Not only do we get introduced to one of the most slick, disgusting and scariest villains so far (Silva, played by Javier Bardem, who literally causes nightmares with his looks here), but it is also a beautiful farewell to Judi Dench, who portrayed the character M. The conclusion is as emotional as it gets. Very much needed.

 

Daniel Craig Judi Dench Source: MGM

 

The skilled Mendes played his role perfectly, until his health was almost at stakes. According to Indiewire, he said that when he remembers his Bonds, his stomach shrinks every time. The director told The Sunday Times, "It’s just so hard. You feel like the England football manager. You think, if I win, I’ll survive. If I lose, I’ll be pilloried. There is no victory. Just survival.” According to the Oscar-winning director, there are simply too many fans around the world to satisfy everyone. "Everyone has their own version of it in their head," Mendes added.

2. Licence to Kill (John Glen, 1989)

Timothy Dalton & Benicio Del Toro in Licence to Kill (1989) Source: United Artists

 

To say that John Glen is the best Bond director ever would probably be a bit of an overstatement, but he's definitely the most daring. He went against the stream despite all the criticism and dissatisfaction of fans who could not imagine Agent 007 other than a flawless muscular alpha male. Already in the late 1980s, Glen attempted to significantly humanize Bond and bring the so very much needed emotions to the series. He did well in the previous, great The Living Daylights (1987).

 

 

The licence to kill completely deviates from the rules so far and it's an unconventional, exceptionally rough ride. Forget the sweet and nice spy story, this is a bloody, uncompromising, dark film about revenge, humor aside. The focus is on unwritten rules, immense internal anger, in which even Her Majesty's interests lose importance. Bond is a total rebel here, and he couldn't care less about any rules and missions in this film. He won't find any peace of mind until he avenges the murder of his friend Felix Leiter.

 


Although this might bother several lovers of rather traditional Bond classics from the sixties or seventies, it's also the most interesting in the context of the whole series and revives it in an unprecedented way. Moreover, it's extremely original. The top action thriller is very similar to other 80's cult works about revenge, such as Rambo: First Blood, Mortal Weapon 2 or Robocop.

 

Not to mention Timothy Dalton's brilliant performance. "But of all my films, I think Timothy was probably the best actor, per se, certainly the most accomplished Shakespearean actor, with wonderful stage work. And we all felt that we had to tailor the script for him, in a much darker, more dramatic direction, " Glen himself told Den of Geek in 2012.

1. Casino Royale (Martin Campbell, 2006)

James Bond Source: Universal Pictures

 

Opening song by Chris Cornell, Mads Mikkelsen as the one-eyed main villain, Eva Green as the Bond girl and Martin Campbell, who is not afraid to get loose on the director's chair. After this announcement, it already forcasted the best Bond movie ever. And Casino Royale is truly the absolute pinnacle.

 

Mads Mikkelsen Source: MGM

 

This most fundamental restart of the series, which cleverly referred to Glen's Licence to Kill, brought precisely constructed characters, strong female roles and a chilling story. At the same time, many captivating and unforgettable scenes such as torture, crane fighting (where Daniel Craig overcame his fear of heights) or the premiere in Venice.

 

Source: MGM

 

What Peter R. Hunt didn't achieve at the end of the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), with Bond crying after killing his wife shortly after their wedding, was compassion for the protagonist, emotion and sadness. Campbell, on the contrary, managed this brilliantly in Casino Royale. We suddenly really see Bond's eyes, but first and foremost we feel his pain like never before as he looks at the helpless drowned body of his beloved Vesper and realizes that she is gone forever.

 

After introducing Craig as the new Bond, many fanatic fans of Agent 007 wouldn't accept it. Over time, however, it turned out that the films with him in cast are the strongest, the most authentic and among the best of all time. At the same time, they visibly changed Bond's approach to women and pointed out the character's toxic masculinity. It wasn't only Craig changing this legendary series. Bond has changed him too. "James Bond has changed my life immeasurably – 99 per cent of it for the better. I could never imagine being where I am today without James Bond. " the 53-year-old actor revealed for British GQ.

 

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Thumbnail: United Artists
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