I would admit that it’s a bit too late to come out with this, but the critical acclaim showered unto the recent James Bond installment, “Skyfall” only served to validate the longevity of Ian Fleming’s most beloved creation, Royal Navy Commander James Bond, CMG, RNVR (click “Read More” to see how all six Bonds stack up)
For a long-lived franchise, James Bond has proven its reliability; practically every single one installment has been a box-office hit, recouping production costs many times over. There were a few clunkers in the bunch (Moonraker, for ostensibly trying to cash in on the space-action appeal of Star Wars; and Licence To Kill, which was just plainly – and uncharacteristically – dull for a Bond film), but most Bond films have managed to satisfy whether through exotic locations, gadget porn, timely plots or Bond Girls.
Here’s my personal list of Top Five James Bond movies, based upon being a long-time fan of the franchise in general:
- Casino Royale
- You Only Live Twice
Why Goldeneye, so to say? For starters, not only was it a fitting introduction for Irishman Pierce Brosnan in that iconic role, it also managed to perfectly situate Bond in the context of social changes – Dame Judi Dench, in her first term as M, cuts him down as a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War”.
Nothing is likewise more priceless than the irony of a Bond movie filming in Russia, being what was once known as the USSR was instrumental in fueling the rivalry which made him vital in keeping the global status quo.
Both Skyfall and Casino Royale deserve runner-up honors, primarily since Daniel Craig brings a hyper-masculine buzz to the character due to his sheer physicality (most evident in Skyfall). As a reboot, we see Bond more often than not left to his own devices, largely shorn of his gadgets and physically unencumbered by designer threads; we see his initial cynicism of his assignment under M (still played by Dench) developing into a highly-guarded trust by the time Skyfall rolls in.
However, if I were to choose who played Bond best, nobody can beat Sir Sean Connery KBE. Even when Ian Fleming himself disapproved of casting the Scots ex-milkman/bodybuilder as 007, calling him an “overgrown stunt-man”, his natural charisma and laconic delivery of come-ons makes James Bond literally leap out of the screen. Of his turns as Bond, Connery shines best in Goldfinger, where he foils an economic sabotage plot involving Fort Knox itself, and You Only Live Twice, where he is sent to Japan to uncover the disappearance of American & Soviet spacecraft in the area.
Goldfinger 1964 trailer
You Only Live Twice 1967 trailer
The verdict is still open – AFAIK, Craig is still contracted for one more Bond film….