Every James Bond film ranked in order
The new James Bond film, No Time To Die, is just around the corner.
Given this long tradition of pig-headed, opinionated debate over which Bond film is the best, we thought it would be appropriate to mark its upcoming release by going back through every previous Bond flick and ranking them all from worst to best.
All 24 Bond movies are now available to stream on Foxtel Now, with a pop up channel starting at 6am tomorrow and finishing on February 2.
Please note: We haven't included the abomination of 1967, aka the original Casino Royale, or the unofficial remake of Thunderball, because they're stupid and unnecessary.
24. DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002), Pierce Brosnan
Where to start with the absolute shocker that is Die Another Day? The overblown and unnecessarily complicated plot? The waste of talent that was Halle Berry? The aurally offensive Madonna theme song? Or the ludicrous giant laser sunbeam-type thingumabob?
Die Another Day is easily the worst of all the Bond movies for relying too heavily on CGI and ridiculous ice castles and not enough on actual story or character - such as actually explaining Miranda Frost's motives for betraying every sane person in the world. The 57 per cent the movie has on Rotten Tomatoes is much too generous.
23. MOONRAKER (1979), Roger Moore
Moonraker was essentially the producers' way of cashing in on the Star Wars phenomenon when they really should've left Bond's feet firmly planted on Earth, sans laser guns. The plot is too outlandish to detail other than to say Roger Moore spends much of the time running around in a yellow balloon suit.
Where the metal-teethed Jaws was effective and kind of terrifying in The Spy Who Loved Me, here he's played as a complete caricature, falling in love with his opposite and skipping through a metaphoric daisy field like a lovesick puppy. Ugh.
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22. DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971), Sean Connery
A colossal pay cheque lured original Bond Sean Connery back to the franchise for Diamonds Are Forever. Sadly, his bored performance lacks the lustre of previous efforts, and the supporting cast doesn't sparkle either.
Blofeld is back again. Yep, that old chestnut, with emphasis on the "nut". This time he's smuggling diamonds to use in an orbiting laser satellite, and for some reason that requires him to pose as the cowboy-imitating owner of a Las Vegas casino. The only thing lamer than Blofeld's plan is the bland performance of Charles Gray, the actor playing him.
Weird, hand-holding henchmen Mr Wint and Mr Kidd are supposed to act as comic relief … we think. But the only relief you'll feel watching this film comes courtesy of the closing credits.
Shirley Bassey nailed the theme song though.
21. TOMORROW NEVER DIES (1997), Pierce Brosnan
Media mogul Elliot Carver is trying to provoke an international war to give his TV news network some juicy headlines. Wait, why didn't we think of that? World War III, coming right up. Catch it all on news.com.au.
This film does have a couple of highlights. Actress Michelle Yeoh kicks Pierce Brosnan's arse as a kickarse Chinese spy. Teri Hatcher plays Bond's old flame, Paris, and she briefly threatens to give him a hint of *gasp* backstory, and even some *gulp* emotional depth, before promptly dying.
The problem here isn't the Bond girls or even Bond himself, it's the villain. Jonathan Pryce, who plays Carver, goes way over the top, which is jarring and frustrating, because a more serious portrayal could have turned Tomorrow Never Dies into something genuinely interesting.
Also, he's more obsessed with touchscreens than those weirdos who camp outside Apple stores in the rain.
20. OCTOPUSSY (1983), Roger Moore
In the best Bond movies, 007 is engaged in do-or-die games of poker or intense helicopter chases. But in Octopussy, he partakes in a little game of backgammon. Backgammon. And that's not the worst of it. The movie involves some Soviet plan to smuggle bombs hidden in stolen treasures that are bootlegged by a circus troupe owned by a woman who's the head of an octopus cult. Um … OK. That makes sense.
Moore in full sad clown make-up to disguise himself from the cops is pretty much how every moviegoer felt when the end credits rolled - like someone stole all the happiness in the world.
19. THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (1974), Roger Moore
What a colossal waste. This film took one of the world's greatest actors, Christopher Lee, gave him a villainous role he was born to play, and then sabotaged him with a ridiculous screenplay.
Francisco Scaramanga should be the ultimate Bond baddie. He's a dark reflection of 007: a deadly assassin with unmatched skills, who also happens to be the quintessential English gentleman.
So far, so good. But then, for some unfathomable reason, Scaramanga gets a third nipple, a random, solar-powered laser gun and a treacherous little manservant with a pixie's voice. That's how a deep, intriguing baddie gets transformed into a joke.
The rest of the movie is no better. Designated Bond girl Mary Goodnight is a clutz. Moore is forced to partake in a stupid karate fight. Urgh.
It still manages to be entertaining, but The Man With The Golden Gun was botched.
18. SPECTRE (2015), Daniel Craig
It's hard to believe that Spectre and its predecessor was made by the same director, Sam Mendes. The two movies couldn't be further apart. Where Skyfall was thrilling, Spectre was boring. Where Skyfall had emotional resonance, Spectre had as much resonance as constipation brought on by a bad burrito.
For one thing, the introduction of Blofield (Christoph Waltz) as some Wizard of Oz puppetmaster pulling the strings over the past three Bond movies was a silly bit of retcon that defied logic and worthy of every groan and eyeroll such a clumsy rewrite deserves. What should've been a triumphant return of a classic Bond villain was squandered by bad writing.
Then there was the lack of screen chemistry between Craig and Lea Seydoux, which is particularly apparent given he sizzled onscreen with Monica Bellucci earlier in the movie. How can you root for their pairing when it they're like an estranged brother and sister? No thanks.
The only saving grace is the kinetic opening sequence in Mexico, a chaotic chase through a Day of the Dead parade. Shame everything went downhill from there.
17. QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008), Daniel Craig
Quantum of Solace is both confusing and utterly confused. It begins as a direct sequel to Casino Royale, with Daniel Craig's heartbroken Bond hungry for vengeance. By the end, it's about a random villain's plot to create a water monopoly in Bolivia … or something.
It manages to confuse more than a few viewers along the way but, more importantly, this film confuses its own characters. Bond's accomplice, Camille Montes, is an unshakeable revengebot until she suddenly turns into a terrified mess at the most important moment. Bond himself flits between two different personalities: the conscientious, loyal agent and the merciless killing machine gone rogue. Pick one character arc and stick to it.
This film could have amounted to something more than a collection of explosions and other assorted loud noises. It could have been the spiritual successor to Casino Royale. Instead, everyone had to wait for the next film.
16. LICENCE TO KILL (1989), Timothy Dalton
Supposedly inspired by Pablo Escobar and the Medillin cartel, Licence to Kill was Timothy Dalton's second and final time in the role.
The film's title refers to Bond losing his get-out-jail-free card after he's suspended and turns rogue to seek revenge against drug lord Sanchez, who's fed his friend and frequent colleague Felix Leiter to a shark. This darker, edgier Bond is an avenging angel with a gun.
It's also refreshing to have a Bond girl, ex-CIA agent Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell), who's quick-witted and, at least at first, immune to Bond's charms. Bonus: Licence to Kill features a then-little-known Benicio Del Toro in his first of many drug trade films.
15. YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967), Sean Connery
With a screenplay penned by Roald Dahl, the fifth Bond movie, also known as "The One in Japan" really should've been more memorable than it was. Despite a decent start, the second half of You Only Live Twice descends into chaos with an absurd set piece about a rocket launch pad hidden inside a disguised volcano.
But it still has many redemptive aspects - it's the first time nemesis and Spectre head Ernst Blofeld is seen in his full visage, all scar-faced and shiny pate. And Aki, one of the Bond girls, actually rescues him from several scrapes, before getting killed in James's place during an assassination attempt.
14. LIVE AND LET DIE (1973), Roger Moore
Live and Let Die has one of the best Bond ditties with Paul McCartney's Wings' rock anthem consistently topping lists of theme songs.
This is Moore's first turn as Bond and he puts in a solid performance. It's also the first time Bond villains are drug traffickers rather than your typical megalomaniac bent on world domination.
Far, far from perfect, several aspects of Live and Let Die - voodoo and pimpmobiles - when viewed in the post Blaxploitation-era are highly problematic, while Solitaire losing her psychic abilities after shedding her virginity to Bond is just silly.
13. GOLDENEYE (1995), Pierce Brosnan
Spoiler alert: Sean Bean dies.
Good for him. He's found something he does well, and he's sticking to it. GoldenEye, meanwhile, does all the classic Bond stuff competently without adding anything unexpected to the formula.
Punny quips? Check. Mildly insane villain with a superweapon? Check. Fun but implausible action sequence? Here, have a tank chase through Moscow. Hench(wo)man with a distinctive quirk? Take a lady who derives sexual pleasure from murdering people with her thighs.
Brosnan slides effortlessly into the role like the smooth fox he is. He's joined by Judi Dench (enough said) and Izabella Scorupco, who plays the resourceful, intelligent computer programmer Natalya Simonova. Bean's villain, former 006 Alec Trevelyan, is essentially the series' latest attempt to pit Bond against a dark reflection of himself.
These are all good ingredients, and mixed together they form a solid movie, but GoldenEye never really surpasses the sum of its parts. It's competent. It's entertaining. It's just nothing special.
12. A VIEW TO A KILL (1985), Roger Moore
Roger Moore was truly ancient when he starred in A View To A Kill. Well, he was 57. In dashing secret agent years, that's ancient. The movie undoubtedly suffers as a result, but it does have some redeeming features, the most obvious of which is Christopher Walken's delightfully insane performance as Max Zorin.
Here's the thing about Bond films: the villain is just as important as the hero. Think of Rosa Klebb, Auric Goldfinger, Le Chiffre, or even Telly Savalas's Blofeld. Zorin isn't quite in that bracket, but he comes close, and in the process he elevates a movie that's otherwise pretty mediocre.
Throw in one of the series' best theme songs, from Duran Duran, and a climactic fight atop the freaking Golden Gate Bridge, and you're left with something that's surprisingly watchable.
11. FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981), Roger Moore
A British sub equipped with the technology to order missile attacks is sunk in the Mediterranean. Bond goes in after a failed attempt to retrieve the wreckage ends up with a dead British marine biologist. The super sleuth chases after the men responsible along with the peeved-off daughter of the killed biologist, who happens to be handy with a crossbow, culminating in a fight-out in a monastery atop a mountain.
The fifth out of seven films with Moore in the lead, Moore played this one with a lot less camp - thank god - while a car chase in a little yellow Citroen and a scene where Moore and Carole Bouquet is tied up and dragged behind a speeding boat are genuinely thrilling.
10. THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999), Pierce Brosnan
It may be hard to overlook Denise Richards playing a nuclear scientist called Christmas Jones but if you do, there are solid double crosses in a politically charged plot about oil pipelines, plus an enjoyable and intense high-speed boat chase on the Thames.
But what makes The World Is Not Enough the best Pierce Brosnan-era Bond is the depth of the villains. Sophie Marceau as oil heiress Elektra King is ambitious and duplicitous, but also burdened with a childlike vulnerability and daddy issues, while Renard (Robert Carlyle), the man who can't feel pain, is brought down by his feelings and emotions. Oh, the irony.
9. THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977), Roger Moore
The movie Jaws was released in 1975. It was about a gigantic shark that killed people with its, you know, jaws. Two years later, the Bond series introduced a gigantic new henchman called Jaws, who killed people with his jaws. Make of that what you will.
The Spy Who Loved Me represents the peak of Roger Moore's era. It's cheeky without being utterly stupid (most of the time), and Bond is still quite a few years away from qualifying for the pension. It also includes perhaps the coolest Bond "gadget" of all time: a car that turns into a submarine.
Barbara Bach's Russian agent is called Agent XXX, which is about as cringe-worthy as Pussy Galore, and villain Karl Stromberg's plan to steal a pair of nuclear missiles feels like a poor man's Spectre plot, but otherwise this is a solid entry in the series.
8. THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (1987), Timothy Dalton
Timothy Dalton's debut as Bond sought to rein in the ridiculousness of the Moore years, and the result was a film that went back to basics. There's no wild plot for world domination here, just an arms dealer double crossing people to get rich.
Some have called Dalton the Daniel Craig prototype, and you can certainly see why. His Bond is surlier and colder than previous versions of the character. Sadly, he's also less charismatic, but that doesn't grate as much here as in the humourless Licence to Kill.
Maryam d'Abo's professional cellist has some good chemistry with Grumpy Bond, and she saves The Living Daylights from its generic villains. But there's an awkward sequence near the end, as Bond allies himself with the leader of the Mujahideen … who is essentially Osama bin Laden. Oops.
7. THUNDERBALL (1965), Sean Connery
Modern audiences may find the extended underwater sequences a tad overlong but when Thunderball came out in 1965, it was something never before seen on the screen - synchronised scuba divers in a full-on harpoon battle. Add a frenzied shark attack, a manic chase through a street parade in the Bahamas and villain Emilio Largo holding the world at gunpoint with stolen atomic bombs for £100 million ransom (chump change, today).
Thunderball was remade, outside of the official Bond canon, as Never Say Never Again with Connery in 1983, but the original is definitely the best.
6. DR NO (1962), Sean Connery
The first Bond flick holds up remarkably well, given its age. Some of the series' classic elements are already there: a weird, evil guy with an overelaborate plan, for instance.
But the one thing everyone remembers is Ursula Andress, in that bikini, on that beach. It makes us forget about things like the slow-moving plot, or the unspeakably lame "dragon" that pops up for no apparent reason.
Having said that, the more iconic moment is actually right at the start of the film, when we're introduced to "Bond … James Bond" for the first time. He's playing cards in a casino, and winning easily. Half of the films since have included a seemingly obligatory casino scene.
Dr No is the ultimate trend setter, and for that reason alone, it deserves a place high on our list.
5. SKYFALL (2012), Daniel Craig
From Adele's sultry voice in the opening sequence to that fight against the neon billboards in a Shanghai skyscraper, Skyfall had no shortage of thrills or high calibre action.
But it's actually a deeply personal chapter and, more than anything else, it's Judi Dench's film. In her valedictory appearance, Dench's M is targeted by a rogue former MI6 spy under her tutelage (a deliciously devilish Javier Bardem) and Bond has to pull out all the stops to try to save his mother-figure/boss.
Skyfall also peels back the layers on Bond's elusive background and childhood, giving the audience a better understanding of what drives the secret agent.
4. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963), Sean Connery
From Russia With Love plays on the Cold War-era distrust between the Western powers and the Soviet Union. Or should that be Spectre plays on that distrust by using the two against each other as the evil organisation tries to get its hands on a Russian decoder device. It's a classic espionage film that treks across Turkey, Croatia and Venice, picking up more than a few visual cues to Hitchcock along the way. The showdown aboard the Orient Express is a particular highlight.
Sean Connery is absolutely on-form as the smooth and charismatic 007 in his second go in the Bond chair while villains Klebb and Red Grant are some of the most memorable in the franchise.
3. GOLDFINGER (1964), Sean Connery
Goldfinger boasts the best Bond actor at his peak, alongside the series' greatest villain. If Sean Connery spent more time doing stuff instead of lounging around as a pampered prisoner for a huge chunk of the movie, it would probably be at the top of our list.
That's a criticism of the writers, not of Connery's performance. He's indecently suave here. His puns are at their punniest. He's ordering his first dry martini, unzipping his wetsuit to reveal an unspoilt tuxedo, and calmly explaining the science of a plane cabin's air pressure while someone points a freaking gun at him. Smoooooth.
Meanwhile, Auric Goldfinger is a brilliant, intriguing character, far removed from the list of cardboard cutouts who have appeared so often in Bond films. His plot to raid Fort Knox and screw up the world's economy is actually kind of original. And he gets an iconic line of dialogue too: "No Mr Bond, I expect you to die."
Throw in Oddjob, the hat-throwing henchman, plus a woman named Pussy Galore who somehow manages to avoid becoming a joke, and you're left with a piece of cinematic gold.
2. ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE (1969), George Lazenby
Highly underrated, the tightly paced OHMSS follows Bond as he tracks down Blofeld to the Swiss Alps. There, he has to foil a Manchurian Candidate-style brainwashing operation that threatens the world with a biowarfare event while tearing down the mountainside in an incredible ski chase.
Australian George Lazenby has always been judged too harshly for his sole portrayal as Bond, even though his greatest crime was that he wasn't Sean Connery. Lazenby's Bond was actually more like the athletic, raw and emotional Bond we've come to associate with Daniel Craig. Diana Rigg as Tracy Bond is arguably the best Bond girl in the franchise - she was classy, sassy and the only woman Bond loved in the pre-Craig era.
1. CASINO ROYALE (2006), Daniel Craig
Plenty of fans doubted Daniel Craig's ability to play Bond when he was announced as Pierce Brosnan's replacement. Casino Royale blew those doubts away. It's the most complete film of the franchise, with a perfectly paced plot, gorgeous cinematography, and characters who have compelling depth.
The most important element is Craig's performance. Casino Royale resets the James Bond story, taking it all the way back to his very first days as 007. Craig's Bond is cocky and talented, yes, but he's also rougher around the edges than we're used to, and more vulnerable.
Think of the scene where Bond finds Eva Green's Vesper Lynd curled up in the shower, distraught, and comforts her. Can you imagine Roger Moore pulling off such a tender moment? Brosnan? Connery, even? No. Craig adds something the others always lacked.
That emotional depth feeds into his two key relationships, first with mother figure M, and then with Eva Green's Vesper. Across 24 movies, Bond has fallen in love just three times, in Casino Royale, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Spectre. It's no coincidence that we've ranked two of them at one and two.
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