Today marks the Blu-ray and DVD release of Spectre, the latest instalment in the James Bond franchise. To mark the occasion we talked staff writer Robert Finn with watching every single James Bond movie and giving us his top five picks. Luckily for him, he is our resident Bond guru and as such had watched most of the films already.
It should be noted that this list only includes the EON produced films. Anyone who is a fan of Connery’s 1983 Never Say Never Again will be disappointed to not find that film on this list. Likewise, if there are any fans of Niven’s 1967 Casino Royale, they will be in the same predicament as those for.
#1. From Russia With Love, Sean Connery, 1963
The second instalment of the Bond franchise and, according to the majority of the actors who have played Agent 007, the best Bond film. The amount of intensity and physical violence make up for the near complete lack of humour. Connery is as suave and sexy (for the ladies…and maybe for some men too) as ever; and the Bond girl (the sexy Italian Daniela Bianchi) is top notch. Overall, the best film, hands down.
#2. The Living Daylights, Timothy Dalton, 1987
No humour, all intensity and bruteness. The fans missed Moore, yet Dalton’s Bond is recognized as the greatest likeness to the character that Ian Fleming created in his novels. Without giving too much of the plot away: Russia evil, Bond good and bad, Bond girl needs to be kissed, and in the end, sex. Traditional Bond through and through.
#3. Dr. No, Sean Connery, 1962
The first Bond film ever, and one of the greatest. The most legendary scene of the whole Bond franchise occurs at the beginning of the film: Sylvia Trench, losing at a game of cards. Bond, as always, winning: Ms. Trench asks his name. Bond, lighting up a smoke, closing his lighter says, as smoke issues forth from his mouth, “Bond, James Bond”. The ladies must love this! The men, of course, love the beautiful Honey Rider, the first ever Bond girl played by Ursula Andress. A little known fact is that Fleming, after seeing Connery’s Bond, made Bond Scottish.
#4. Skyfall, Daniel Craig, 2012
To some, this is the epitome of Bond films. It is easy to see why: Craig is built as a Greek statue, as he was in Casino Royale (2006), the action is intense, the plot intense, and the villain, Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem, is, you guessed it, intense. But there is less character depth to Bond in this film: M is overblown in her role as a boss and almost becomes a parent. Perhaps this is a substitute mother for Bond after Llewelyn’s death as Q?
#5. Live and Let Die, Roger Moore, 1973
This movie is just weird. The characters are weird, the plot weird, and J.W. Pepper, weird as well. But Moore, unlike in previous appearance as 007, is both handsome and refined (not to mention, as always, hilarious). Voodoo, marijuana, New York, and a young and hot Jane Seymour wrapped all into one. It’s almost a dream come true. Only one visible problem with the whole movie- it’s too damn long (over 2 hours).
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, George Lazenby, 1969
The only film where Bond cries: his wife is shot and killed after they were just married. Also, this is the only Bond film in which Lazenby acted. He chose to go down different paths after the film was produced, never to be famous as Connery or Moore. He was a one hit wonder; but not a bad one. The movie is edgy, and the villains particularly villainous. Bond’s wife is pretty damn good looking, and Lazenby does cut a nice figure in a tux. However, like Moore’s Live and Let Die, it is superfluously long.