Everyone has an opinion on what the best James Bond films are. And also which ones are the worst!
With No Time To Die finally reaching cinemas across the world, we thought it was the perfect time to run down the Bonds, from worst to best. 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. We've also not included No Time to Die as we need to let the hype settle to see where that should fit in the list.
24. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Great title. Great villain. But, sadly, not a great film. Christopher Lee is terrific as 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.
23. Live and Let Die (1973)
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 volcanoic 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.
22. Die Another Day (2002)
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. Less said about that the better, but this film isn't nearly as bad as people remember.
21. Moonraker (1979)
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.
20. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
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.
19. The World Is Not Enough (1999)
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.
18. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
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. Great theme song though performed by Shirley Bassey.
17. A View to a Kill (1985)
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 pretty good too.
16. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
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)
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 organization. Never comes close to the heights of Casino Royale, but still very watchable.
14. Licence to Kill (1989)
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)
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)
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. 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)
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)
Connery is still on fine form as SPECTRE's latest dastardly plan sees them nicking two automatic 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)
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.
8. Skyfall (2012)
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)
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!
6. Dr. No (1962)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Auric Goldfinger is our favourite villain, and he has the honour 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)
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 is a Senior Digital Content Editor with over 15 years experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest soap spoilers and television news for Whatsontv.
Before working for Whatsontv, David spent many years on 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 on 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.
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!
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