Top 10 James Bond Movies
For over 40 years, James Bond has been a role model for men worldwide. What’s most interesting about this fictional character is his lasting power. Children want to be Superman and I remember when I wanted to be Ron Jeremy… hey, didn’t we all? But these were only phases.
James Bond is a guy that every man wants to be, at every age. He’s got the coolest gadgets, he travels to exotic locations, and he sleeps with every gorgeous woman he encounters without ever feeling the need to call them the next day. But most of all, 007 is all about style and charm.
So in the spirit of Bond, allow me to take you through the top 10 movies of the James Bond series. To make this a fair list, I will only consider official Bond movies, which means that Casino Royale (1967) is not eligible.
Live and Let Die (1973)
Following the mysterious death of several British intelligence agents, James Bond (Roger Moore) is sent to investigate. He soon discovers that the murders all share some common traits: Mr. Big/Kananga (Yaphet Kotto) and his powerful Harlem drug trade. Bond finds an ally in beautiful Tarot card reader Solitaire (Jane Seymour), and it’s off to the Caribbean to save the world.
Live and Let Die is very ’70s, which makes the movie somewhat dated when viewed today. It’s one of the more cartoonish movies in the franchise, as Moore, in his first outing as Bond, doesn’t seem to take anything seriously. Voodoo is prominently featured, which lessens the impact of the film for some. On the other hand, the stunts are awesome and the Paul McCartney (with Wings) theme song ranks among the best.
Best scene: There’s a Louisiana speedboat chase that is amazing, especially when the boat jumps over the causeway and crashes into the police car.
Licence to Kill (1989)
After his American friends are attacked on their wedding day because Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) seeks revenge for a drug bust, Bond (Timothy Dalton) wants his own payback and quits MI6. With the assistance of gorgeous pilot Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell), 007 must track down the drug lord to South America to assassinate him and his henchman, played by a young Benicio Del Toro.
This movie has unjustly received a bad rap. Of course, it’s dark, humorless, and doesn’t benefit from the best of the James Bond actors, but Timothy Dalton managed to perfectly convey what Ian Fleming originally intended to do with the character: portray a cold-blooded professional killer. In addition, Licence to Kill boasts two of the most beautiful Bond Girls, Carey Lowell and Talisa Soto, to ever appear together.
Best scene: After a brutal fight in the drug lord’s headquarters, there’s an exciting chase involving tanker trucks and an airplane.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
James Bond (George Lazenby) is on the trail of his archenemy, SPECTRE leader Ernst Blofeld (Telly Savalas). On his journey, he meets a criminal named Draco who might have some information. The price? Bond must marry Draco’s daughter Tracy (Diana Rigg). While he gets to know the young woman and eventually falls in love with her, Bond must stop Blofeld from unleashing ghastly germ warfare on the planet’s population.
Unquestionably, former male model George Lazenby is the worst actor to have ever portrayed the British secret agent, which is unfortunate because this movie is one of the best in the series. There’s an emotional depth in this Bond flick that no other outing in the franchise captured, with Bond getting married and shortly after becoming a widower. An absolutely underrated gem.
Best scene: The entire ski sequence — and the bobsled chase in particular — is heart-pounding.
In the first 007 movie after the fall of the Soviet Union, Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is out to stop criminals from stealing the codes to a dangerous Russian electromagnetic weapon known as “GoldenEye.” With computer programmer Natalya Siminova (Izabella Scorupco), he must stop assassin Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) and her boss, who happens to be a former colleague of Bond’s.
In this film, Brosnan proves he has the necessary charisma to be an exceptional 007. He has great chemistry with M and Q, and the gadgets are pretty cool. It’s also impressive that Famke Janssen holds her own against Bond, both in terms of character and acting. No other villain in this franchise gets an orgasm when killing people.
Best scene: There’s a whole chase sequence where the British spy must evade an army of killers, and it culminates in Bond stealing a tank in the streets of Moscow.
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
A British spy ship inadvertently sinks with a secret weapons system called ATAC onboard. Soon, James Bond (Roger Moore) and the Russians are both out to salvage the device. To assist Bond in his quest, which takes him to Italy and Greece, Bond teams up with Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet), whose parents were assassinated by a spy working for the Soviets.
After the glorified silliness of Moonraker (1979), it’s refreshing to see Roger Moore being serious. In fact, this is one of the most realistic films in the series. The gadgets are all believable and the action sequences, while breathtaking, are still somewhat sane; it’s a welcome change of pace. Interestingly, Countess Lisl von Schlaf is portrayed by Cassandra Harris, Pierce Brosnan’s late wife.
Best scene: Bond must climb a cliff to get to the villain’s lair while Melina and some outlaws watch helplessly.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Both a NATO and Soviet submarine inexplicably vanish and a megalomaniac who lives under the sea has a new technology to track submerged vessels. After some initial bickering, Bond (Roger Moore) must join forces with KGB agent Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach), also known as “Triple-X.” Going from Egypt to the Alps, they will have to face the terrifying and seemingly indestructible Jaws (Richard Kiel).
You can really feel Roger Moore coming into his own in his third Bond outing. With larger-than-life action, this is a true 007 epic. There’s just the right balance of personal conflicts and political intrigue that makes The Spy Who Loved Me the quintessential Bond movie. It’s over the top, yes, but Moore has enough charm to pull it off.
Best scene: Bond shows Anya what his new Lotus can do during a dangerous car chase that forces them to use the car as a submarine.
From Russia with Love (1963)
With Dr. No dead, the leader of SPECTRE wants revenge against the operative who killed him, James Bond (Sean Connery). To that effect, he’s lured to Istanbul, where he thinks a Russian defector has a cipher machine for him. Along with Tatiana Romanov (Daniela Bianchi), 007 must elude the assassins while trying to take possession of the cipher machine.
This second movie in the series is rather slow-paced but extremely (and relatively) realistic. Apparently, the reason this story was chosen for the second installment is because President Kennedy admitted it was one of his favorite books. From Russia with Love marks the first appearance of Q and his gadgets, and interestingly, there’s no “Bond, James Bond” line. Still, the plot is easy to follow and always fun to watch.
Best scene: There’s an exciting moment when Bond is attacked in his train compartment and must fight a vicious assassin.
The Bank of England has discovered that someone is stockpiling vast amounts of gold, and James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to investigate. Gold dealer Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) becomes the prime suspect. With the help of Oddjob (Harold Sakata), who kills people by throwing his hat, and Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), a sexy and deadly pilot, Goldfinger plans on raiding Fort Knox.
There aren’t a lot of people who don’t consider this movie one of the best in the franchise and a classic in its own right. The plot is especially awesome because Goldfinger — who is widely considered one of the best villains in film history — doesn’t want to steal the American gold, but rather render it radioactive in order to give more worth to his own stash. It’s one of the wittiest Bond films and features the coolest Aston Martin you’ll ever see. And to top it off, anyone can see how it inspired many of the scenes and characters of Mike Myers’ Austin Powers series.
Best scene: When Bond is strapped to a table and has a laser inching toward his crotch, it’s a very tense moment for every male in the world.
SPECTRE is at it again, only this time, they steal a British bomber loaded with two nuclear weapons onboard. They plan to detonate the nukes unless NATO pays them $100 million in ransom. James Bond (Sean Connery) goes to the Bahamas and enlists the help of the lovely Domino (Claudine Auger) to defeat the evil Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi).
This is a long, fast-paced movie that contains more gadgets and bikini-clad women than the previous Bond movies. The plot is intricate and it intensifies with every scene, the action sequences getting bigger every time. No wonder they remade this story for the unofficial Connery comeback, Never Say Never Again (1983).
Best scene: The climax is certainly the best part, as Bond must take on SPECTRE’s army of henchmen in a very well choreographed underwater battle.
Dr. No (1962)
Here is the movie that started it all. Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to Jamaica to find out why a fellow secret agent was killed. He discovers that the death is linked to a puzzling energy wave that interferes with U.S. missile launches. With the gorgeous Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), he soon finds out that a madman known as Dr. No has plans for world domination.
Sean Connery’s portrayal of the role not only established the actor as a star, but also as an icon. He’s ruthless and tough, but never without humor. His portrayal also comes very close to that of the man depicted in Ian Fleming’s novels. This film was extremely successful and launched an entire franchise, even though the gadgets and the pre-title sequence (featuring a song with the particular film’s title) hadn’t yet made an appearance.
Best scene: Who can forget that memorable shot where Ursula Andress saunters out of the water in that sexy white bikini?