James Bond remains one of the most iconic figures in UK literature and film, having made his debut in the novels of Ian Fleming in the 1950s and subsequently emerged as a hero of the silver screen the following decade.
Now an action-packed, modern day action man that has been dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age, Bond’s evolution has established a template that will help the franchise to break new ground in the future.
Bond has also been an influential character through the ages, popularising everything from forgotten casino games such as Baccarat to cash poker and Blackjack. While Bond’s impact as a character cannot be denied, however, attempting to rank his finest film adventures is extremely challenging that something that demands a great deal of forethought.
We are keen to attempt this significant challenge, however, so here is our carefully cultivated list of Bond’s best movie instalments:
5. The Spy Who Loved Me
This film saw Roger Moore reprise the iconic role of Bond, with the suave and occasionally glib Englishman polarising opinion during his time. He hit a high in the hit film The Spy Who Loved Me, however, combining elegance and razor-sharp wit to outwit the latest super-villain to threaten world peace.
If nothing else, the film is famous for the appearance of metal-toothed Jaws (brilliantly portrayed by Richard Kiel), while Bond girl Barbara Bach retained an exotic look that added some aesthetic quality to the movie.
4. You Only Live Twice
It is hard to argue with the fact that Sean Connery remains the best Bond of all times, with many of the greatest films to date featuring the charming (and yet down-to-earth) Scotsman. While You Only Live Twice has unfortunate racial undertones that would make the film cringeworthy in the modern age, it must be judged as a product of its time and one that has a high-octane, thrilling narrative.
Throw in the wonderful Donald Pleasence as the villainous mastermind Ernst Blofeld, and you have film dynamite that is ready to explode!
3. Casino Royale
This represents our first and only departure on the list, as we deviate from the traditional Bond template and embrace the new in the form of Daniel Craig. Craig also polarises opinion as Bond, primarily because his films have ushered in new era and copied the action-adventure template established by modern-day hits such as The Bourne Identity.
With cheesy gags, tired narratives and outdated soundtracks replaced in an altogether grittier and more believable incarnation of Bond, this film deserves plaudits for its courage alone. It also helped to popularise casinos and English poker sites, in an age where gambling was undergoing a major evolution.
2. From Russia With Love
This 1963 hit is the second on our list to feature Sean Connery as Bond, has the gruff Scotsman is drawn into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that takes in countries such as Italy and Turkey.
This film hit many of the right notes in terms of plot and pace, while it is also noticeable for the inclusion of contrasting, Hitchcock directional qualities such as a slow-burning plot and explosive, occasionally brutal, action scenes. This is quite a viewing experience, and years ahead of its time in terms of concept.
At number one is the irrepressible Goldfinger, which secure Sean Connery a hat-trick and the indisputable status as the greatest ever Bond. Just the third instalment of the current Bond franchise, this film set the template for all future films to follow and established a standard in terms of gadgetry, action scenes and Bond’s innate fusion of charm and steel.
No single actor embodied this better than Connery, and Goldfinger remains the best example of a Bond film to date!