BLOG: The JAMES BOND Rankings . . . .

Published on: June 30, 2020

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The James Bonds

I did a fun interview with Jason Cilo on the Full Cast and Crew Podcast. The topic: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. We covered a bunch of ground on the merits of OHMSS and the amazing story on the rise and departure of George Lazenby (which is worth the watch of “Becoming Bond” on Hulu all by itself). That discussion is below- it’s worth it!

For those looking for some good escapism, here is my ranking of Bonds by tier:

The Best of the Series

  • Goldfinger (It ticks all the boxes- great theme song, great villain, great henchman, great car (and gadgets), great plot, cool locales and Connery)

The Next Tier

  • Dr. No (The original- it’s a little clunky, but you can tell right away that Sean has the makings. Dr. No is a terrific introduction to villainy and Ursula Andress is a neutron bomb coming onto the shore) . . . bonus points for Jack Lord as Felix Leiter
  • From Russia With Love (This one really starts to cook- great locales, good simple plot and the best fight scene in the whole series with Connery and the brutal Grant (Robert Shaw) going at it on the train.
  • Thunderball (The series is getting large and this is our first glimpse at Blofeld- lots of great moments- and my favorite theme song from Tom Jones)
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (The Lone Lazenby . . . a little ponderous at times, but one of the best endings of the series. Oh what might have been)
  • For Your Eyes Only (Roger Moore’s best- fun but a nice glimpse of brutality at times. A nice comeback after the cartoony direction the series had taken)
  • Casino Royale (Daniel Craig’s debut- and what a debut! Brutal, tense and great characters everywhere)

Good, but with Some Issues

  • You Only Live Twice (Big and fancy for it’s time, Blofeld reavealed, cool Japan setting and some great moments)
  • Goldeneye (Brosnan’s introduction – well done, although a little overwrought at times.)
  • Live and Let Die (Moore’s debut . . . politically incorrect and cartoony in spots, but good touches and
  • The Spy Who Loved Me- A Great Opening Scene and a first half that crackles, it becomes a bit of a parody at the end, but a fund ride)

Fun, but Lots of Holes to Look Past

  • A View to a Kill- Moore’s swansong- he has definitely lost a step, but Grace Jones and Christopher Walken are worthy entrants
  • Octopussy- This one has lots of holes, but Robert Berkoff and Robert Jourdan work well and Maud Adams makes this enjoyable
  • Diamonds Are Forever
  • License to Kill – tough brutal bond – underrated and a terrific villain in Robert Davi.
  • Living Daylights (Dalton’ s debut and it starts off with one of the best pre-credit scenes in the series . . . it tails off but still solid)
  • Quantum of Solace (beautifully shot, though not well regarded by many fans . . . I like it- one of my guilty pleasures)
  • Skyfall (Everyone likes this one . . . I find it overrated)
  • Spectre (Less than the sum of its parts as it shouts out to the past without breaking much new ground)
  • Man with the Golden Gun (Very slow in the middle and in full vartoon mode- but the showdown with Scaramanga is one of the best in the series)- My nomination for the movie that should get remade.

Tough even for a Diehard to Recommend

  • Never Say Never Again (Thunderball-Lite – I’ll watch it because of Connery, but he is credible in this by about 5 minutes . . .)
  • Moonraker (Full cartoon mode added with Star Wars focus group shennanigans)
  • The World is Not Enough (Brosnan – The script and reliance on CGI just kill the fun)
  • Die Another Day (Ditto)
  • Tomorrow Never Dies (Ditto)

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