Back when Quantum of Solace was released, Scene-Stealers sitegoer Will Dawson wrote a list that about the Top 10 Worst James Bond Movies. Its amazing that even many years later people still talk about the list and it ignites a passionate debate within people of what is the worst 007 film of all time. With this new list, in the wake of the hugely successful Skyfall, Will is hoping to start another discussion on the other side of the coin. What are the best James Bond films of all time?
If you have a Top 10 list you’d like to contribute, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s Will with his list of the Top 10 Best James Bond Movies:
Honorable Mention: Casino Royale (1967) – Sure, this movie was a parody and not an official Bond film, but it’s so crazy and over the top it deserves an honorable mention. You have to love the fact that this movie has David Niven, Peter Sellers and Woody Allen all playing variants of James Bond throw in Orson Welles as the Bond villain, you got yourself a pretty damn funny movie.
Many people have criticized Timothy Dalton as Bond, but personally I believe Dalton was the closest to Ian Fleming’s original Bond as portrayed in the novels (at least until Daniel Craig came along). This film follows Bond as he battles the Soviets in Afghanistan with the help of the Taliban (it was the mid-1980s when the Afghans were fighting the Soviets). Although the film has its faults, such as an annoying Bond Girl (Maryam D’Abo), the action is tight and Dalton brought a new intensity as Bond that was sorely lacking during the Roger Moore years.
Although sometimes derisively referred to as “Bond meets Miami Vice,” License to Kill has to be one of the most underrated Bond films. This films plot follows Bond as he attempts to get back at the drug dealers that had roughed up Felix Leiter. Bond’s personal vendetta ends up making him become a rogue agent and he has to work only with help from Bond Girl Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell) and Q. Although the film can be slow, I applaud the fact that the filmmakers took the story in a different direction and made Bond a man that was both vulnerable and intense. Trivia fun fact: This is the first film of Benicio Del Toro‘s; he plays Bond Henchman Sanchez.
James Bond underwater? Hell yeah! Thunderball has sometimes been criticized for its slow pace and ridiculousness, but you have to admit that the underwater battle scene is pretty damn amazing. Throw in a couple of amazing Bond Girls like Domino (the very hot Claudine Auger) and Fiona (the also hot Luciana Paluzzi) you got the makings of one epic Bond movie. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the movie has a memorable villain in Largo (an eyeptahced Adolfo Celi) and features one of the best Bond theme songs as sung by the immortal Tom Jones.
The one Roger Moore film that got everything right, The Spy Who Loved Me has everything going for it as a Bond film: Great action scenes, beautiful women, and a good plot. In this one, Bond teams up with Soviet Agent X (Barbara Bach, aka Mrs. Ringo Starr) in order to see who has been hijacking British and Russian submarines. Throw in a couple of good Moore one-liners and the appearance of Jaws (Richard Kiel) you have one of the best Bond films of the entire series.
Pierce Brosnan’s first bond film and his best, this featured incredible stunts, great chase scenes and a great supporting cast. Throughout the film, Bond has to locate the Goldeneye satellite from preventing it falling into the hands of his old partner Alec Treveylan (Sean Bean), who is one of the most underrated bond villains of all time. Bond also has to match wits with the aptly named Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) who likes to be “on top of things”. While having all these great characters, the film is also notable for including the first appearance of Judi Dench as M, who is by far the greatest M the series will ever have.
The most recent Bond film on the list, Skyfall is by far one of the Best Bond films of all time and has eclipsed everything that most of the series has done. Rebounding from the mediocre Quantum of Solace, the filmmakers made sure to get back to what people loved most about a Bond film: great action scenes, great plot and great villains. Seriously, Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva has to be one of the most disturbing Bond villains the series has ever had. Throw in the return of Moneypenny, M (Dench, in her last appearance of the series), and a cameo from the Aston Martin DB-5, you have all the workings of a great Bond film.
The first Bond film I ever saw and the first of the series, Dr. No is already assured of a place in the top five just for the shot of Ursula Andress coming out of the water in a bikini. While this is an admirable scene, the rest of the movie is also pretty great. Sean Connery shines in his first appearance as James Bond, showing us a good balance between the intensity of Fleming’s Bond as well as the personal charm that Connery invigorated into the character. In this adventure, Bond has to travel to Jamaica and uncovers a vast conspiracy headed by the eponymous villain. While more recent reviews suggest Dr. No being terrible, I love the fact that it set the tone for the rest of the series and it still is one of the best Bond films in the series.
This one really surprised me — like many, I initially thought Daniel Craig was a bad choice to play Bond and that it was wrong of the filmmakers to be rebooting the story with no Q, gadgets or other trademarks that the Bond series was known for; thankfully I was wrong and Casino Royale is perhaps one of the best Bond films of the entire series. Casting the supporting character actor Daniel Craig as Bond was a stroke of genius. Like Timothy Dalton, Craig brings a new intensity that was lacking from the previous Bond (in this case Brosnan), but unlike Dalton, Craig has more personal charm and charisma. Additionally, Vesper Lynd (the stunning Eva Green) ranks as my personal favorite Bond girl: she is intense, charming and mysterious, something that many other Bond girls have been sorely lacking. The film also focuses on more realistic stunts and plot points, things that were missing from the Brosnan-era Bonds. Overall, a great film, and one that established Daniel Craig as the second-best Bond behind Sean Connery.
The Bond film that established all the trademarks (gadgets, cars, villains, girls, etc.) Goldfinger might arguably be considered one of the greatest Bond films of all time. In this film, Bond takes on super villain Auric Goldfginer (Gert Fröbe) and his henchman Oddjob (Harold Sakata, who has one of the best weapons in the series: a hat that can kill people). Additionally, Bond also hooks up with Pussy Galore (the immortal Honor Blackman), considered by many to be the greatest Bond Girl in history. For featuring all of the above, plus great action sequences, and the first appearance of the Aston Martin DB-5, Goldfinger is widely regarded by some to be the greatest Bond film of all time, but it falls short to the next film on our list…
Yes, this is the best Bond film of all time and I will tell you why it beats Goldfinger: the film uses a more realistic story and does not include an over the top villain. In this one, Bond has to hook up Tatiana Romanova (Dainela Bianchi) to defeat the SPECTRE organization. While in the adventure they encounter villain Red Grant (Robert Shaw), a SPECTRE agent that has been trained to mimic Bond in everything and make his match. This makes Shaw’s villain the best Bond Villain of the series: the fact that he is not a caricature but can go toe-to-toe with Bond on any occasion. Throw in great locations, great sequences and the best characterization of Bond by the immortal Sean Connery, From Russia With Love is by far the best Bond film of the entire series and the one in which all other future Bond films will be judged.
Will Dawson lives in Detroit, MI where he watches way too many bad movies and goes to Grad School. He is trying to start a movie blog but is currently either too busy/lazy.