Daring, bold, sexy and violent, Dr No gave birth to a cinematic icon and gave a voice to Fleming's complex super spy.
From Russia with Love (1963)
Dr No may have been the tasty starter, but from Russia with Love would provide us with the delicious main course. This is Connery at his best in a gritty, almost Hitchcockian Bond outing.
Goldfinger remains one of the most fun, creative and engaging films of the entire series. So many of Bond's visual and narrative elements were born here, and have remained a core part of every Bond movie since 1964.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
With a viewing public hooked on Connery's vision of James Bond, George Lazenby was never going to have an easy ride as the new Bond. But, trust me, On Her Majesty's Secret Service is easily one of the best Bond films of them all. Its style, action, score and story, sublime on nearly every level.
Live and Let Die (1973)
Roger Moore's Bond debut never receives the praise it deserves. It may not be perfect, but Live and Let Die is a wild ride as Bond is dragged into the 1970s in style. Its story both embracing the blacksploitation trend of early 70s cinema while giving birth to a whole new Bond in the hands of Moore.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Undoubtedly the strongest of Roger Moore's Bond films, The Spy Who Loved Me is an action-packed rollercoaster ride that houses one of the best Bond openings in history. This is 70s Bond in full swing, and it's a wonder to behold.
The Living Daylights (1987)
Timothy Dalton's introduction as Bond couldn't have been more welcome in 1987 after the final lacklustre years of Moore. But was the public ready for Dalton's edgy return to Ian Fleming's Bond? At the time, the jury was out, but looking back, Dalton was the perfect 007, and The Living Daylights was a near-perfect Bond movie.
License to Kill (1989)
By 1989 Bond was competing with Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and a range of dark gritty action epics. Therefore, in response, License to Kill decided to go big, go dark or go home. The result was the first 15 certificate Bond movie and, in my opinion, one of the best. License to Kill was Bond reborn, many of its themes ejected under Brosnan only to return under Craig.
Casino Royale (2006)
It took a long time for a worthy version of Fleming's Casino Royale to hit our screens, but finally, in 2006, we got the adaptation we had all long desired. But, even more than this, we got a new Bond, and wow, what a Bond. Craig strips the character back to his literary roots while at the same time modernising him. The result is a genuinely stunning 21st Century Bond and an exhilarating slice of espionage and action.
The film that marked the 50th Anniversary of Bond on screen is undoubtedly one of the series most striking, visually delicious and compelling. Here Craig finds his feet as he homes his version of Bond to perfection in a spy-thriller that oozes energy from the outset. This is Craig's Bond at his best, alongside a stunning ensemble cast and electrifying action set pieces.
No Time to Die (2021)
Craig's final outing as Bond has more than a fair share in common with Lazenby's On Her Majesty's Secret Service. In fact, links back to the 1969 movie are peppered throughout this emotional powerhouse of a film. Delayed significantly by COVID 19 No Time to Die not only provides Craig with a fitting, loving and action laced exit, it does something no other Bond film has attempted. Now, of course, I have no intention of spoiling that for anyone who has yet to see this incredible swansong. But, let me just say this, No Time to Die is not only one of Craig's best outings as Bond, its a film that left me in tears. And that hasn't been achieved since 1969.
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