The Worst to Best James Bond Films

I have to admit that composing this list was a lot of fun, it is however the last post in my Bond week series as Skyfall has now been released in the UK! Thanks to everyone who read through these posts, the one last Bond related post that I’ll be writing is a Skyfall review so look out for that in the coming days.
For now though, read on for my ranked Bond film order:

22. Octopussy (1983) – Just really dire,  case in point -this is the one where Roger Moore’s Bond dresses up as a clown. The only good thing here is that we get to see a bit more of Q than usual, but it needs a lot more than that to save this one.

21. Moonraker (1979) – As bad as Bond in space is, at least you can kind of go along with it to an extent, it’s just about got enough interest points in it to raise it above Octopussy, and plus it has a great pre-credit sequence.

20. The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) – A particularly boring and disappointing addition to the series, especially so because it wastes Christopher Lee – this should have been great but winds up as one of the all-time worst Bond films.

19. Die Another Day (2002) – A very promising start is all but erased by this film’s exponential decline into both the ridiculous and the bland, continuing on until it collapses as a broken down parody of itself. It manages to avoid being at the bottom of the pile however because for a while it is actually rather good.

18. Diamonds Are Forever (1971) – A silly film that features a rather annoying supporting cast and Sean Connery at his worst as Bond (unless you count Never Say Never Again). It’s all rather lackluster and forgettable but the title song is good – I’ll give it that.

17. Thunderball (1965) – Too much underwater action, too little of anything remotely exciting. It has a good henchman in Fiona Volpe but once she’s out of the way there’s not very much left of interest. The entire finale is a let down but overall it’s still more entertaining than Diamonds Are Forever

16. Licence To Kill (1989) – I’m a big fan of Dalton’s Bond, but much less so the films he was given – particularly this one. It’s good for allowing us to see the vengeful side to Bond’s character, but it deviates a little too far from the formula and ends up feeling too much like Miami Vice rather than Bond. It’s still an interesting one to watch though.

15. Quantum of Solace (2008) – A misstep for the franchise but one that had some decent elements to it, both Bond girls were good, Craig continues to really impress, and I actually like the title song by Jack White. Unfortunately it’s plagued by a weak script and what is in my opinion a really uncomfortable way of filming action scenes, but still its fairly enjoyable.

14. A View To A Kill (1985) – Christopher Walken is a great villain here, but then again when isn’t he? Sure Roger Moore is too old by now, but he is still fun in his final outing and brings almost enough charm to make you forget that the women he is seducing are young enough to be his granddaughters. The action sequences alternate in quality dramatically, but always remain entertaining on some level; The Beach Boys song played over the ski chase is almost unforgivable, but then again I can somehow embrace its cheese just long enough to get through that moment in the film.

13. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) – There’s a lot to like here; the title song, the alpine chase, the genuine romance, but then again it also has George Lazenby.This one’s a mixed bag but generally speaking it’s an enjoyable one, it features the strongest Bond girl of the franchise, but you do have to get over a rather dry and dull lead actor.

12. You Only Live Twice (1967) – I have a special place in my heart for Nancy Sinatra and so that helps when placing this one fairly highly, but it also has Little Nellie and Donald Pleasence working in its favour! This film remains enjoyable throughout, even if some areas are slightly lacking; James Bond turning Japanese is hardly a series highlight for example, but the film manages to overcome many of these slight let downs and still ranks highly in my opinion.

11. The Living Daylights (1987) – Dalton’s first outing as Bond has perhaps a strange mixture of his own style mixed in with some remnants of Moore’s, but that still makes for a very entertaining film. The opening pre-credit sequence is great, and the film continues on a similarly high level right up to the credits. It doesn’t have classic status but does come close.

10. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) – The only thing that this one is lacking is a compelling villain, everything else though is pretty spot on. We have Barbara Bach as our Bond girl, Richard Kiel as the legendary Jaws, and a plot that’s completely ridiculous – but it’s embraced and handled in such a way that it’s acceptable for a Bond film. A great example of Roger Moore’s era.

9. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) – Arguably it has too much action for a Bond movie but I love it. Brosnan is, as always, great in the role, and as my friend has already pointed out in this review (here), the plot isn’t nearly so silly as people make out. An often under-appreciated Bond film.

8. The World Is Not Enough (1999) – People can never seem to get over Denise Richards’ Dr. Christmas Jones, and whilst I’m certainly not going to defend her role, there is a lot to enjoy in this film without getting hung up on the poorly acted Bond girl. From the great action in the opening boat chase, to one of the best villains in Sophie Marceau’s Elektra King, and don’t forget the comedy provided by Robbie Coltrane – there’s so much to praise in this entry, it’s another unfairly besmirched Brosnan film.

7. Dr. No (1962) – A classic adventure and the first of the official series, at times it doesn’t always feel quite like a Bond film as we have come to know them, but regardless this one is up there with the best of them.

6. For Your Eyes Only (1981) – This is Moore’s version of Casino Royale, after Moonraker just went too over the top things had to be brought down into a more gritty realism. I really enjoy this approach although I can understand why so many people don’t. If you have missed this one then I highly recommend checking it out, the darker side to Moore’s Bond makes for interesting viewing, even if you end up not liking the film itself.

5. Goldfinger (1964) – So many iconic moments are contained here, and it’s the one which really set the template in stone for all future entries into the franchise. The film has a great sense of fun, a classic score, over the top villains, and the Aston Martin DB5! It’s one of the best Bond films, and showcases Connery when he was completely in command of the role.

4. Live And Let Die (1973) – Yes it has ridiculous moments in it, but for Moore, this film is one of his most toned down and believable entries. It has Jane Seymour as our Bond girl, my favourite title score of the series, a buyable plot from the villain, and also has a lot of fun mixed in. I can see why some wouldn’t rank this so highly; but I can manage to blot out flaws such as Sheriff W. J Pepper, and I just really enjoy this film’s tone and vibe.

3. Casino Royale (2006) – I’ll admit that I was one of those people who, for no real reason doubted Craig before even seeing him in the role, and I again was one of those who was then knocked sideways when I saw Casino Royale. It rebooted the franchise superbly bringing a great energy and freshness with it, and now continues to really hold up against multiple re-watches. It also has the best ending out of all the Bond films – man I just love how this one ends. It’s a fantastic Bond film.

2. From Russia With Love (1963) – The most realistic entry in the franchise to date; it has a great plot where Bond isn’t presented as a superman but as someone who can make mistakes, someone who can be kept in the dark and tricked. It also features Robert Shaw as one of the series’ best villains, and has a fantastic fight sequence aboard the Orient Express. The franchise’s formula hadn’t yet been completely solidified allowing for a slightly different, but still recognisable Bond film.

1. GoldenEye (1995) – The best of the best; it has four excellent villains, a great theme song, fantastic action, and I continue to stand by Pierce Brosnan as the best of the Bond’s – he is fantastic here in his debut 007 performance. There’s really nothing that I would criticise about this entry – it’s the most perfect Bond film yet.

Thank you very much for reading through my list here, please leave any comments below about your own ranking, or just on whatever you think is wrong with mine. I hope you have enjoyed reading this week’s string of posts, and once again remember to look out for my review of Skyfall in the coming days!

19 comments

  1. Nice picks, but I disagree on Thunderball. I think it’s one of the best James Bond films. I agree with your choices of Goldfinger, To Russia with Love, GoldenEye, and Casino Royale at the top.

    1. We will have to agree to disagree about Thunderball – I’ve given it several chances and I’ve never had my initial impression improved upon. Cool, I guess Live and Let Die is a strange one to have in my top five – but then I really enjoy it.
      What would you replace it with?

      1. Live and Let Die would make my top ten and it’s my favorite of the Moore Bond films. I think I might put Dr. No in there.

    2. Ah it’s good to hear that about Live and Let Die, and an interesting choice with Dr. No – I wouldn’t place that one higher than 6th (I struggled picking between that and FYEO) but it’s certainly a good one.
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Imagine if ‘Casino Royale’ was, instead, entitled: ‘Royale with Cheese’. Nice picks – can’t really comment properly (as may be apparent) without seeing pretty much ALL of them again; but I agree with ‘Goldeneye’, ‘Royale’, and ‘Tomorrow’ being among the top.

    1. Thank you, have you read Christian’s review of Tomorrow Never Dies?
      Also if it were entitled Royale with Cheese it would no doubt be an even more violent Bond film, and instead of quick one-liners James Bond would talk for hours on pop-culture, and drugs. Although Tarantino was in talks to direct Casino Royale, I’m not sure that it would have been a good move for the franchise.

  3. Like the list, my no 1 and 2 are the same as yours. Loved goldeneye..

    1. Great! Not enough people rate Brosnan highly enough but I think he is fantastic as Bond with GoldenEye being a cut above the others. Do you rate Craig highly?

  4. Very interesting post! Looking forward to your take on Skyfall!

    1. Cheers man! Sorry I missed this comment of yours, have you now seen Skyfall and if so what did you think?

      1. Yes. I watched it yesterday. I liked it a lot. I thought it could’ve used a little more action but I was very satisfied with the movie, overall. The acting was superb. Bardem was a great, creepy villain.

    2. I’ve just read your review and I’m glad that you liked the film!
      I guess I can see your point, but I was so wrapped up in the film and certain plot points, that I didn’t notice. It’ll be interested to bear your point in mind when I rewatch it on DVD.

  5. So now you have seen Skyfall, would you reconsider the list? I don’t know but Skyfall has both the good and the bad. Hard to make a decision for me. To the list, I agree with your rank for Golden eye and Casino Royale but If I were you, I would make Casino the second nott he third. It has a strong plot, great characters and possibly the best action thriller in all of Bond series. So why not?

    1. It’s hard for me to say without seeing Skyfall again, but I’ll say it would come in at fourth place just below Casino Royale.
      As to why I rank From Russia With Love higher than Casino Royale; I think that FRWL has the best fight sequence in any Bond film, has a fantastic villain (better than Casino Royale’s), the plot is also very, very good. I will agree that the characters in Casino are better than FRWL but overall I think Casino is just a little worse, only a little though.
      Thanks for commenting!

  6. moviewriting · · Reply

    Brilliant list, I can’t believe you managed to get through them all though! I listen to the Empire podcast and it sounded like they really struggled doing a pre-Skyfall Bondathon! I’m sorry to admit I’ve hardly seen any of the pre-Pierce Bond films, but really glad to see Casino Royale and Goldfinger in your top five!

    1. Thanks, it was quite a challenge even whilst being a lot of fun!
      It would be interesting to hear what you think of From Russia With Love then (if that’s one of the ones that you haven’t seen), it’s pretty far removed form the Pierce Bond film’s approach, with its focus being on actual espionage rather than explosions and martinis!
      Goldfinger may just have been edged out of the top five by Skyfall… I don’t know it’s so difficult to order them! I would certainly need to see it again when it comes out on DVD before I could make a solid decision.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Pretty accurate rankings there, yeah. I’ve got a few minor quibbles – Thunderball is definitely my least favourite, as I can’t really point to a single thing I like in it.
    I’m pleased to see Live and Let Die ranked so highly (have to say though, I wouldn’t have placed it above Goldfinger); on the first day of my Bond marathon, we watched the first 8 films, & my attention had been flagging ever since Thunderball, but Live and Let Die was just completely invigorating, much better than I remembered it, & you’re right, it’s quite down-to-earth & gritty as Moore’s Bond goes. Sheriff Pepper & the Kananga-balloon majorly let it down, but it’s seriously cool, yeah.
    I wouldn’t have rated For Your Eyes Only nearly as highly; its approach is cool, & Melina Havelock is pretty awesome, & the climbing sequence is just as tense as, say, the Moonraker opening, or The Living Daylights’ finale, or the Moonraker cable-car sequence, & it completely shows up Thunderball in terms of underwater photography, but it has 2 of the all-time worst things in Bond (you know the ones), & certain stretches are a little dull.
    I’d also have put The World is Not Enough higher – I’ve been really impressed as to how deep & emotionally rich it is – & Casino Royale a little lower. But yeah, there’s nothing I majorly disagree with here, which is nice.

    1. Cheers, I figured that you would at least take issue to Thunderball :D
      Live and Let Die and Goldfinger gave me quite a bit of trouble when I had to order them; ultimately I prefer the villain, theme song and Bond Girl from LALD, to name three things off the top of my head. But they are pretty close.
      The opening and closing of the film are low points for the series yeah, but I really like the rest of the film in between, the word ‘stretches’ seems a little harsh – moments are a little slow going I admit, but they really are only moments, and generally I think this film is pretty great.
      I know your thoughts on The World is Not Enough and you have some pretty good points, but I’m happy with where I’ve placed it, maybe I could shift it and Dr. No around but I don’t think that it deserves a place in the top five. Ha, no I love Casino Royale, in fact for me it really pushes for its place as the second best Bond film. I still stick by From Russia With Love, but can completely understand why some people rate it as the all time best film, and there is a strong case for Craig being the best Bond actor.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,123 other followers

%d bloggers like this: