Best James Bond movies, ranked

What is your number 1 007?

It’s a deeply personal question influenced by many uncontrollable factors: Who played James Bond when you were a kid? What movies did your father show you? Are you a pro-gadget or an anti-gadget? Can the main character even call himself 007 if Shirley Bassey doesn’t sing his theme song?

Whether a great – or terrible – Bond film is highly subjective. But that’s not going to stop me! Here, I rank 25 movies from the 007 franchise, from worst to best.

25. ‘Die Another Day’ (2002)

And fans complained about the exaggeration of Roger Moore’s later films! Pierce Brosnan’s final journey from 2002 begins with Bond being tortured in a North Korean prison camp for a year and only gets worse from there.

Pierce Brosnan and Bond Girl Halle Berry "die Another Day."
Pierce Brosnan and Bond girl Halle Berry in ‘Die Another Day’.
©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collectio

24. ‘A View to a Kill’ (1985)

You’ll start to notice a trend that the last time an actor played Bond is often the worst. The authors throw everything at the wall to distract from the fact that their 007 is disillusioned, sleepy and, frankly, a little long in the tooth. Roger Moore was 58 when he was having an affair with 29-year-old Bond girl Tanya Roberts, who died the same year. Sure we get Grace Jones’ incredible May Day and Duran Duran’s great title track, but the plot about a real estate tycoon from San Francisco is impossible to follow.

23. ‘Quantum of Solace’ (2008)

Daniel Craig’s second film was a broken settlement that was thrown in the trash and then retrieved by a dumpster diver. The secret organization Quantum, which we later learn – ooh – is a sub-sect of SPECTER, was vague and uninterrupted. It established Craig’s 007 as this angry dude who desperately wants revenge.

22. ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ (1997)

I know Brits hate the press, but a media mogul as a Bond villain? Bleach.

21. ‘The World Is Not Enough’ (1999)

The Bond girl is Dr. Christmas Jones, played by Denise Richards (“Christmas came early!” Bond says at one point), and the villain is a Frenchman who can’t feel pain because he has a bullet in his skull. The film is best described by the band that sings the title track: Garbage.

20. ‘Spectre’ (2015)

“Spectre” dazzles us with a galvanizing opening action sequence set in Mexico City during the Dia de los Muertos festival. Then it pops an Ambien. Like Craig’s fourth film “Quantum of Solace” there’s an inexcusable miss—just a snooze.

19. ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ (1971)

Sean Connery returned to the franchise for big bucks after Australian actor George Lazenby’s Skaddled. But you get the impression that their era was over. The vintage Las Vegas scenes do not suit the actor’s sophisticated personality. What speaks loudest is that the most enduring part of “Diamonds” is Bassey’s famous title track.

Sean Connery returns to the series he made famous "diamonds are Forever."
Sean Connery returns to the famous series in “Diamonds Are Forever”.
Courtesy Everett Collection

18. ‘License to Kill’ (1989)

The end of the Cold War was hard on Bond, and we still see its effects in many series villains today who have a personal score rather than a grand cause. The villain here is Franz Sanchez, a Latin American drug lord. Out of the limelight? Yes. A rolling good time? No.

17. ‘Octopussy’ (1983)

“Octopussy” was the moment we knew it was time to bow down to Moore, as his movies started to look like a lost Season 9 episode of “Dynasty.” Maude Adams returns here to play a Bond girl for the second time in a decade (what?!) and a very important plot point involves Fabergé eggs. The pre-title scene is a riot, though: Moore’s gentle Bond lands a small plane next to a Southern gas station and says, “Fill that up, please.”

16. ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ (1974)

People love to play hard, but it’s harmless, stupid fun on Moore’s second go-round, “The Man with the Golden Gun.” Honestly, I’m a singularly rich sharp-shooter (extraordinary Christopher Lee) and “Zee plane! Zee plane!” Whatever “quantum” it was, the guy from the “imaginary island” on it.

15. ‘Live and let die’ (1973)

“Live and Let Die” would stand as a great Bond film were it not so retrospectively offensive. Set mostly in the Caribbean and New York’s Harlem, the film borrows blaxploitation tropes of the 1970s and includes a whole lotta voodoo. Nevertheless, Yafat Koto, who died in March, was a sly scoundrel as Dr. Kananga. And Jane Seymour’s Tarot Card Reading Solitaire is one of the most unusual Bond girls ever.

14. ‘Dr. No’ (1962)

It wasn’t easy going at first, and Connery hadn’t figured out the role yet. The film is best known for the bikini-clad Ursula Andress emerging from the Jamaican sea.

13. ‘No Time to Die’ (2021)

Craig’s final move is an explosive game-changer, and a respectable way to bow down to white Bond.

Timothy Dalton turns a cello case into a sled "the living daylights."
Timothy Dalton turns a cello case into a sled in “The Living Daylights.”
© Joint Artists/Courtesy Everett

12. ‘The Living Daylights’ (1987)

Let’s talk about Timothy Dalton. He’s a much better super spy than you think. Was he more serious than his predecessors? Sure, but next to Craig he’s Ronald McDonald. He made just two entries and his first, “The Living Daylights”, was his best. The funniest happens when Bond and his KGB agent/cellist friend sledge his cello case across national borders.

11. ‘You Only Live Twice’ (1967)

Before travel was made affordable for the average human being, and any suggestion of the Internet was practically witchcraft, Bond films were instrumental in helping viewers escape to distant places. “You Only Live Twice”—the screenplay of which was randomly penned by Roald Dahl—is one of the best for jet-setting off the couch. We have left for Gibraltar, the Bahamas and beautiful Japan.

10. ‘Moonrekar’ (1979)

James Bond enters outer space "Moonraker."
James Bond goes to outer space in ‘Moonraker’.
© Joint Artists/Courtesy Everett

“Moonrekar” is a wrongly maligned film. Reviews at that time were quite positive, but today people cannot get over the fact that Bond goes to space for a few minutes. Never mind that it features the series’ best henchman since OddJob in “Goldfinger” — Jaws — and a jaw-dropping aerial opening sequence.

9. ‘Thunderball’ (1965)

Admittedly “Thunderball” isn’t my personal favorite, but it propelled Bond to megahit status at the box office. And the Aston Martin DB5 is a kickass car.

8. ‘Casino Royale’ (2006)

Bond fans never breathed a sigh of relief after “Casino Royale.” Our hope and faith were dashed by the pitiful “Die Another Day” and we wondered if there were any drops of vodka left in the old martini glass. Oh yes they were. Craig’s inaugural controversy revived the franchise by bringing it back to its roots and introducing the brilliant Eva Green as Vesper Lind.

7. “Only for Your Eyes” (1981)

There’s not a lot of ink in “For Your Eyes Only,” but it is Moore’s most cut-off and high-stakes film. The plot is par for the course — a British ship controlling a weapons defense system is sunk — but Carol Bouquet’s Melina Havelock’s determination to avenge her parents’ deaths is scorching.

6. ‘Skyfall’ (2012)

The Bond persona hadn’t been explored so deeply since “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” and “Skyfall”, which ends at his childhood home, allowing Craig to do the real acting he’s always wanted. . That it was also Judi Dench’s final turning point as M and a title track by Adele claiming “Skyfall” made “Skyfall” feel like a real phenomenon that Bond hadn’t done in years.

Daniel Craig goes back to Bond's roots "sky fall."
Daniel Craig returns to Bond’s roots in ‘Skyfall’.
© Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Eve

5. ‘GoldenEye’ (1995)

It all started off great! Brosnan’s first Bond film was a return to form for the series, ending a six-year hiatus after Dalton’s departure. The Russians were the villain, a nymphomaniac henchman named Xenia Onatopp and a strong infusion of Brosnan’s “Remington Steele” charm that Dalton didn’t have. Too bad it’s the only successful Bond film he’s made.

4. ‘From Russia with Love’ (1963)

Connery hits his stride with his second film, which introduces us fleetingly to Spector and Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Also, you don’t often find as good an actress in the Bond franchise as the one in Lotte Lenya, but the legend here is Blofeld’s No. 3, playing Rosa Kleb.

3. ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ (1977)

After “Live and Let Die” (offensive by the minute) and “The Man with the Golden Gun” (funny but silly), Moore eventually earned his spot at the Bond firm with the excellent “The Spy Who Loved Me”. To date, its opening sequence, in which Bond haphazardly jumps off a cliff only to open a Union Jack parachute, is the most exciting of the series. Carl Stromberg’s underwater lair, Lotus Esprit; Introducing Jaws – All Spectacular.

Sean makes a gruesome discovery in Connery's classic scene "gold Finger."
Sean Connery makes a gruesome discovery in a classic scene from “Goldfinger.”
Courtesy Everett Collection

2. ‘Goldfinger’ (1964)

When most people think of 007, “Goldfinger” comes to mind: the gold-plated bomb in a Miami hotel bed; Strong theme music by Bassi; “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”; And, of course, Honor Blackman’s Pussy Galore (“I must be dreaming!”). This is Connery’s No.

1. ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (1969)

The best Bond movie is the one most casual fans have never heard of. They certainly don’t know squat about Lazenby, who played 007 just once. (See the documentary about him, “Being Bond,” on Hulu.) But it’s the connoisseur’s pick for the top spot. The writing and plot, in which Bond infiltrates Blofeld’s Alps hideaway pretending to be a genealogist, are the series’ finest. Diana Riggs Tracy is the most layered and sweet Bond girl ever. And no 007 will ever end as poignantly as “OHMSS” did. Oh, and by the way, Lazenby made a hilarious Bond. Contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t fired – the film took a smidge of money. He just didn’t want to come back.

George Lazenby's only appearance as James Bond "on her Majesty's Secret Service."
George Lazenby’s only appearance as James Bond was in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”.
Courtesy Everett Collection


Leave a Comment