Bond at 60: every Bond movie ranked best to worst

Best James Bond films - James Bond and Honey Ryder in Dr. No
One of the best James Bonds films is undoubtedly Dr. No. But 60 years on is it the best? (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Everyone has an opinion on what the best James Bond films are. And also which ones are the worst! 

James Bond is celebrating its 60th anniversary and therefore it's the perfect time to look back.

Dr. No, the very first Bond movie, was released on 5 October 1962. But where does the original rank in our list? And what about No Time To Die, the latest in the long-running series. As fans of the series, we should add that every Bond movie has something going for it! 

We've stuck to the official Bonds, so no Never Say Never Again (1983), which to be frank isn't a huge loss.

Checking out our guide will give you something to do before we find out who the next James Bond is!

As to when we will see a new James Bond movie, the latest is we have quite a big wait. Series producer Barbara Broccoli said about the character: "We're working out where to go with him, we're talking that through. There isn't a script and we can't come up with one until we've decided how we're going to approach the next film because, really, it's a reinvention of Bond."

Here's our verdict...

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25. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Christopher Lee in The Man with the Golden Gun

Christopher Lee is brilliant as Francisco Scaramanga — shame about the rest of the movie. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Great title. Great villain. But, sadly, not a great film. Christopher Lee is terrific as assassin Francisco Scaramanga, aka the man with the golden gun. The movie goes up several gears every time he's on-screen, but the rest of it is largely forgettable. It does, though, feature a quite wonderful stunt where Bond's car does a full 360 in mid-air to clear a river. And the Bond v Scaramanga shoot-out is entertaining at the end.

24. Live and Let Die (1973)

Bond in Live and Let Die

How's Bond going to get out of this one? (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Roger Moore's first outing as 007 is entertaining enough while still very much at the bottom of our list. Bond battling a drug lord isn't nearly as much fun as him trying to destroy a volcanic lair. The theme song performed by Wings is probably the best thing about the whole movie.  Well, that and the scene where Bond uses some nifty footwork to escape some very hungry crocodiles.

23. Die Another Day (2002)

Die Another Day Graves and Bond confront at fencing

Die Another Day has its moments. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Is the invisible car ridiculous? Yes, but it’s also a lot of fun. What’s really a drag is the rather downbeat opening. Nothing quite adds up and there are far too many crazy stunts. However, there are some great lines, especially… Bond: "You know, you’re cleverer than you look". Q [John Cleese]: “Still, better than looking cleverer than you are” Ouch! 

And yes, this is the one where Madonna is a fencing instructor. The less said about that the better, but this film isn't nearly as bad as people remember. Judi Dench is always good value as M, while Tophy Stephens makes a half decent villain as Gustav Graves. Plus Rosamund Pike and Halle Berry have their moments.

22. Moonraker (1979)

Bond in Moonraker

Bond in action in space! (Image credit: Eon productions)

Hmmm. Hugo Drax makes a rather dull villain, while Jaws, brought back after sparkling in The Spy Who Loved Me, completely loses his menace and even falls in love! All the fighting in space is fairly laughable, at least Q gets to make a good gag at the end. The theme song is rather dreary to boot. 

21. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Roger Moore in For Your Eyes Only

Roger Moore's 007 takes aim. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

After the craziness of Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only feels unusually serious for a Roger Moore Bond. The plot's pretty good, with a neat twist. Moore, though, sparkles as Bond when there's plenty of jokes about and this film rather lacks them. The attack on the clifftop monastery base is good fun at the end. While Sheena Easton's theme song is a corker.

20. The World Is Not Enough (1999)

Bond with Q in the World Is Not Enough

Desmond Llewelyn in his last appearance as Q. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

An enjoyable Pierce Brosnan adventure, which sees the relationship between Bond and Judi Dench’s M develop. Robbie Coltrane makes a welcome return as Zukovsky, and there’s a slightly bizarre cameo by Goldie! Robert Carlyle doesn’t excite as the villain, but the relationship between Bond and Elektra King makes the film. Notable for sadly being Desmond Llewelyn’s last appearance as Q. Llewelyn played the role in 17 of the movies.

19. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Bond on the 'moon' in Diamonds are Forever

Bond and space doesn't mix well. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Sean Connery was tempted back for one last outing as 007 (not counting Never Say Never Again!). Should he have bothered? Well, he's still great as 007 even though it's not as magical as his earlier performances. Charles Gray as Blofeld is sadly about as scary as Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers film series. In fact, this is arguably the worst villain of the lot. Great theme song though performed by Shirley Bassey. 

18. A View to a Kill (1985)

A View to a Kill

Zorin and May Day team up against Bond. (Image credit: Eon productions)

Blimey, Roger Moore is looking a bit old by this point, can he actually climb all those stairs on the Eiffel Tower?! Still, Moore remains great fun in his final outing. And the whole thing is hugely helped by Christopher Walken and Grace Jones being fab as baddies Max Zorin and May Day. While it sags a bit in the middle, the ending over the Golden Grate bridge is spectacular and Duran Duran’s theme tune is a corker.

17. No Time to Die (2021)

No Time to Die

No Time to Die sees Daniel Craig make his final 007 appearance. (Image credit: MGM)

The first 15 minutes are absolutely brilliant and then... well, it slows down and never quite recovers in a movie that is way too long. Daniel Craig is enthralling throughout but again the baddie is forgettable. Plus, the whole tone of the film is so downbeat, come on we want some fun! As for the ending, well we won't spoil it other than to say "why do that"? Perhaps this was one Bond film too many for Craig.

16. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Bond and Wai Lin in Tomorrow Never Dies

Bond and Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) ride into action. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Doesn’t match the zip of Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as Bond in GoldenEye, but is still very watchable. You have to love the remote-controlled car, while Jonathan Pryce makes a decent villain as media baron Elliot Carver. However, the best part of the film is the wonderful Dr. Kaufman, a deliciously meticulous assassin who’s somehow highly amusing! He delights in telling Bond how brilliant he is before, obviously, winding up dead.

15. Quantum of Solace (2008)

Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace didn't quite live up to Daniel Craig's first outing, Casino Royale. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

At just one hour and 46 minutes, this is easily the shortest of Craig's Bond outings and the short length does inject some pace into the action. With Bond on another revenge mission, his investigation leads him to Dominic Greene, who's part of the mysterious Quantum organisation. Never comes close to the heights of Casino Royale, but still very watchable.

14. Licence to Kill (1989)

Bond and Pam Bouvier in Licence to Kill

Bond in a spot of bother. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Erm, perhaps Timothy Dalton's 007 gets a bit too serious. Bond is out for revenge and it's great when Q finally pops up as it gives it a bit of light relief. Still, it's a pretty good thriller, and watch out for a young Benicio del Toro as a henchman. Dalton also makes a highly engaging Bond, but sadly this was his last outing.

13. Octopussy (1983)


Hang on James! (Image credit: Eon productions)

Terrific fun right from the start, especially the scene where Bond almost gives a government official a heart attack by bidding thousands for a Fabergé egg! And it's hard to argue with a film that ultimately sees Roger Moore dressed up as a clown while he attempts to disarm a nuclear bomb! Even Q gets in the act here, helping Bond out by flying into battle on a hot air balloon. There's also a great action scene on top of a train that has echoes of the train sequence in Paddington 2.

12. You Only Live Twice (1967)

Donald Pleasence as Blofeld in You Only Live Twice

Donald Pleasence is brilliant as Blofeld. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

The screenplay by Roald Dahl sees Bond head to Japan to investigate why American and Russian spacecraft keep going missing. A certain Ernst Stavro Blofeld is behind the plot and is here wonderfully played by Donald Pleasence, who remains the best Blofeld. You can actually imagine him trying to take over the world!

As Bond and Blofeld come face-to-face at last, the master villain tells 007: "You only live twice Mr Bond." 

The rather ponderous middle section of the film stops it ranking higher up our list. But it has a great ending as Bond sets about destroying Blofeld's volcano lair.

11. Spectre (2015)

Spectre Day of the Dead opening

Masked killer: Spectre opens in quite magical fashion. (Image credit: Eon productions)

Contains spoilers! Yep, it was cinema's worst kept secret that Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) was returning and seeking world domination, as ever. However, ultimately the baddie side of the film doesn't quite live up to expectations. 

The rest of the tale, though, is enthralling as Bond seeks to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Léa Seydoux is great as Dr Madeleine Swann, who reluctantly partners Bond. Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), Q (Ben Whishaw), and M (Ralph Fiennes) all slowly work out Bond might be onto something.

Special mention must go to the brilliant opening sequence which sees Bond hunt down a foe in brutal fashion in Mexico City on the Day of the Dead.

10. Thunderball (1965)

Largo and Bond in Thunderball

Fancy a swim in my nice pool, Mr. Bond? (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Connery is still on fine form as SPECTRE's latest dastardly plan sees them nicking two atomic bombs. Well, one is never enough! Emilio Largo is a suitably menacing villain and you certainly wouldn't want to take a dip in his shark pool! The jetpack is a lot of fun, but the underwater fight scenes drag somewhat, while the speeding boat scene at the end hasn't aged well.

9. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

George Lazenby in his one film as 007. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Is George Lazenby any good as Bond? Well, his one effort certainly goes down as one of the best Bond films.

The late Diana Rigg is truly magnificent as Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo — a glamorous name completely ruined when Bond calls her Tracy! It's the one where Bond falls in love, of course, and this makes it the only 007 film (maybe Skyfall?) that is genuinely sad as Tracy slips away from him. 

There are some great stunts and Telly Savalas is good value as Blofeld. Not sure about all the scenes with 007 in a kilt and Lazenby at the end of the day is no Sean Connery. However, he does make for a different type of Bond and maybe he was the right man for this story.

8. Skyfall (2012)

best James Bond films - Bond and Silva in Skyfall

Bond in trouble. (Image credit: Eon productions)

This film really comes alive in its final act as Bond and M head to Skyfall, his childhood home. Silva, a brilliant villain played by Javier Bardem, then launches a huge attack on Skyfall as he tries to gain revenge on M. It leads to some brilliant scenes between Bond and M leading up to the unthinkable happening. Add into a mix a great theme song from Adele and you have a corking Bond. 

7. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Bond and Triple X in The Spy Who Loved Me

Bond and agent triple X joing forces. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Easily Roger Moore's best Bond movie. And it's worth a top 10 spot just for the moment Bond looks like he’s about to plunge to his death only for his Union Jack parachute to shoot out! Still the best stunt. 

There’s so much to enjoy — from a great villain in Jaws to the fabulous moment the underwater car emerges on a beach and 007 cooly lobs out a fish!

Much of the action also takes place in Egypt, with the pyramids acting as a great backdrop. Plus Roger Moore and Barbara Bach, who plays Soviet agent XXX, have a great chemistry.

6. Dr. No (1962)

best James Bond films - Sean Connery as Bond for Dr. No

Sean Connery looking effortlessly cool as Bond in Dr. No. (Image credit: Eon productions)

Sean Connery is introduced as Bond in one of cinema’s truly iconic scenes. "I admire your courage, Miss, er…” "Trench, Sylvia Trench, I admire your luck, Mr…" "Bond, James Bond.” Magic! 

Connery just oozes class as Bond; while Ursula Andress is great as Honey Ryder with Joseph Wiseman suitably villainous as Dr. No. It’s a shame we don’t see a little more of Dr. No, who berates Bond for being “just a stupid policeman".

5. GoldenEye (1995)

best James Bond films - Bond and Natalya in GoldenEye

Pierce Brosnan peaked in his first film as Bond. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Pierce Brosnan’s first and best outing as 007 opens in spectacular style as he bungees jumps off a dam and the film cracks along at a ferocious pace. Great turns by Sean Bean and Robbie Coltrane only add to the enjoyment. Plus we get our first introduction to Judie Dench’s brilliant M. 

Throw in some great gadgets from Q, a belter of a theme tune sung by Tina Turner, and you've got yourself one of the best James Bond films going. Oh, and the GoldenEye computer game for the Nintendo 64 was rather special.

4. Casino Royale (2006)

Daniel Craig Casino Royale

Daniel Craig quickly proved the doubters wrong. (Image credit: Daniel Craig in Casino Royale)

Before its release there was some grumblings over whether Daniel Craig would be any good as Bond, well he gave his critics an emphatic answer! He's fantastic as Bond and gives real depth to the character as he falls for Eva Green's Vesper Lynd. Mads Mikkelsen is also a great villain as Le Chiffre, who turns out to be a terrible poker player. Add in the memorable foot chase across scaffolding, and you have one of the best Bond films of all-time.

3. The Living Daylights (1987)

Timonthy Dalton in The Living Daylights

Timothy Dalton arrives as Bond. (Image credit: Eon productions)

OK, this might be controversial. But The Living Daylights is brilliant! And we reckon it deserves to be this high on our best James Bonds films list!! Timothy Dalton makes an exceptional debut as 007 and it's a shame he only ended up making two films. 

After the fun of Roger Moore, he brings a seriousness back to the part and heads off on a cracking Cold War thriller. And there’s fun too, check out a baddie dispatching people with explosive milk bottles! Plus we love Bond hurtling down a snowy hill in a cello case. Inspired!!

2. Goldfinger (1964)

Best James Bond films - Goldfinger

Bond and Pussy share a kiss at the end of 'Goldfinger'. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Auric Goldfinger is our favorite villain, and he has the honor of delivering the best line in the whole series. As Bond has a laser beam heading for a very uncomfortable place, he pleads with Goldfinger: "Do you expect me to talk" to which Goldfinger smirkingly replies: "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die." 

There's a string of great scenes between the pair, especially their golf match, which ends with hat-throwing henchman Oddjob crushing a golf ball! Throw in Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, Shirley Bassey's cracking theme song, and an audacious raid on Fort Knox and you have all the ingredients for a fantastic Bond movie.

1. From Russia with Love (1963)

Grant, Tatiana and Bond share a meal in From Russia With Love.

Grant (posing as Nash), Tatiana and Bond share a meal shortly before the epic fight scene. To Bond's horror, Grant has red wine with fish! (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Bond at its very best. Sean Connery is on top form as 007, delivering some magical lines, particularly declaring: "She had her kicks" after the demise of knife-kicking baddie Rosa Klebb. It also has arguably the greatest plot of the series as SPECTRE devilishly plays MI6 against the Russians to acquire a Lektor machine. 

It's also notable for the first appearance of Blofeld (although you don't see him fully) in the movies and Desmond Llewelyn as Q. And to cap it all off there's a quite brilliant fight sequence on a train between 007 and assassin Grant. Perfection.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!