James Bond Movies

An attempt at ranking the James Bond movies. Which is difficult, because I essentially like all of them (apart from... well, you'll see). So expect this to get jumbled around quite a few times in the near future.
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On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
James Bond woos a mob boss's daughter and goes undercover to uncover the true reason for Blofeld's allergy research in the Swiss Alps that involves beautiful women from around the world. (142 mins.)
Director: Peter Hunt
“ The James Bond producers have often played it safe, but they can be gamblers if they have to. 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' was made in a time of crisis, when Sean Connery had just vacated the part of 007, and it seemed that no actor in the Commonwealth was fit to fill his shoes. The producers then took a major chance by casting Australian model George Lazenby in the iconic part. The responsibility that Lazenby had to shoulder was awesome, but the Aussie - who had never played a dramatic role before - didn't seem the least bit nervous about it. He knew he could throw a punch, and he was convinced that the drama would sort out itself. The producers were less sure. As per Ian Fleming's novel, 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' would show Bond at his most vulnerable, so a little something extra was needed. Director Peter Hunt - who edited all of the Connery pictures and gave them their specific rhythm and 'sweep' - was adamant that the production team, with an untested actor in the lead role, should compensate by telling the best and most thrilling story possible. It seemed that Lazenby's shortcomings as a leading man brought out the best in the rest of the team: Michael Reed's cinematography is raw but full of colour and detail, Syd Cain created hyper-real settings in real locations, and John Barry never wrote finer music for a Bond movie. In short, 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' is a minor masterpiece. The picture moves at a rapid pace without sacrificing character development, and the action scenes in the Swiss Alps are still breathtaking. Playing him as an New York gangster hungry for recognition as European nobility, Telly Savalas is easily the best screen Blofeld, even though he's nothing like the character that Ian Fleming originally invented. Diana Rigg sears to the top of the Bond Girl ranking as Bond's coolly aristocratic and very sexy bride, Countess Tracy di Vicenzo. And Lazenby himself emerges unscathed. Still the best, and certainly the most poignant James Bond movie of them all. ” - danrabbit
From Russia with Love (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
James Bond willingly falls into an assassination ploy involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by SPECTRE. (115 mins.)
Director: Terence Young
“ Happily, the producers asked director Terence Young back for a second James Bond movie, after the success of the series opener 'Dr. No'. Young was not an auteur trying to draw attention to himself through complex long-takes or camera lenses of his own design, but he was a competent director happy to serve exciting material. More than any other director, he created a 'James Bond atmosphere' on set, making sure that there were fine wines and delicious foods on even the most remote locations, and the opulence can be seen and felt in the three Bond movies he directed. Watching 'From Russia With Love' today, it plunges you right back in the middle of the Cold War, even though Fleming's Soviet villains have been replaced by the essentially neutral war mongerers of SPECTRE. Sean Connery looks relaxed throughout, adding wry one-liners wherever he can, but at the same time he's mindful that the character of Bond doesn't evolve into an indestructable superman. That would happen later. Bond's unexpectedly sweet romance with Soviet defector Tatyana Romanowa (Italian model Daniela Bianchi in a pleasingly low-key debut) shows an agent who's slow to make up his mind. Should he allow himself to trust the girl so he can fall in love with her, or should he trust his instincts as an agent and regard her as a possible traitor? The intrigue unfolds slowly during the Istanbul scenes, and for most of its run, 'From Russia With Love' plays as part conspiracy thriller, part travelogue. But once Bond boards the Oriënt Express and finds himself facing the formidable Red Grant (Robert Shaw as one of the scariest and most physically threatening of all Bond villains), the film reaches a satisfying climax. The build up to the train fight between Bond and Grant, which owes much to Turco-Grecian wrestling, would do Hitchcock himself proud. John Barry chimes in with a score featuring a lot of brass and percussion. One of the very best James Bond movies, full of suspense, mystery and romance. ” - danrabbit
Casino Royale (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Armed with a licence to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007 and must defeat a weapons dealer in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, but things are not what they seem. (144 mins.)
Director: Martin Campbell
“ After fourty-four years and twenty films, 'Casino Royale' is a minor masterpiece of the James Bond subgenre. It is the first James Bond movie since 1979 to use not merely an Ian Fleming title or short story outline, but a whole Fleming novel as its starting point. And since it was Fleming's first novel, the producers opted to tailor the screenplay as a 'reboot' for the 007 character. Gone were the ghosts of Sean Connery and Roger Moore that always haunted Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan - this film showed Bond as a rookie 00 Agent learning his trade, already an accomplished man of action, but not yet psychologically attuned to the complexities of his job as a trouble-shooter in service of Queen and Country. The screenplay even had a romantic character arc for Bond. And of course, it had Daniel Craig as its leading man. The actor has a rough, Northern England look and attitude to him, making him ideal for the Bond-as-rookie approach. He looks great in a tux, but he sticks out among the usual guests of Casino Royale, giving him a certain Walter Mittyish quality. Also, Craig is a 007 not to be trifled with; there haven't been such vicious fight scenes in the Bond movies since the days of Connery and George Lazenby. Although 'Casino Royale' is no more or less silly than other Bond movies, it is set in a hyper-real world where people can get hurt and where the villains are less Grand Guignol than they used to be. Director Martin Campbell, who also did 'GoldenEye', certainly toughened Bond up. The stunt work is great, most notably a parkour chase through a building site - if you think about it, the whole sequence is superfluous, but it is executed with tremendous style and physical grace. Eva Green is lovely and mysterious as the love interest, Vesper Lynd, and Mads Mikkelsen uses his icy stare to great effect as the devious poker mastermind Le Chiffre. The supporting cast has Jeffrey Wright and Giancarlo Giannini as Fleming characters Felix Leiter and René Mathis, respectively. And Bond gets to - briefly - frolic with a statuesque Italian lady called Solange (Caterina Murino). A superb James Bond movie that promises a renaissance of the genre. ” - danrabbit
Goldfinger (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Investigating a gold magnate's smuggling, James Bond uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve. (110 mins.)
Director: Guy Hamilton
“ 'Goldfinger' is by no means the best James Bond movie of the lot, but it is certainly the most 'classic' entry in the series, the one that turned the 'Dr. No' formula into a well-oiled machine - a machine that has kept running smoothly for half a century. It is also the Bond movie that gets referenced the most, in fan literature as well as casual conversation, for its tremendous sense of style and momentum. Remember Oddjob's bowler hat? Bond's silver Aston Martin DB5, with optional extras installed by Q? Shirley Eaton, painted gold and left dead on a hotel bed, while John Barry sardonically mourns her on a harp? All of it was already there, suggested on the page by Ian Fleming, but first-time Bond director Guy Hamilton smelts it into movie mythology - and what's best, he seems to pull it off effortlessly. At times, 'Goldfinger' moves at the laid-back pace of a forties film noir, while the basic plot is somewhat reminiscent of a heist movie. But the film defies genre conventions by leaning towards the absurd and the macabre, setting off the violence with witty one-liners, sight gags and sexual innuendo. The ingredients of the Bond Movie Recipe are still fresh and are used inventively. The climax of the movie, set in the gold depository of Fort Knox, Kentucky, takes us from one brilliant pay-off to the next. Sean Connery is in his element, developing Bond into an Alpha Male prototype so cool that he's close to permafrost, but balancing his icy demeanor with a wicked sense of humour and moments of shy playfulness. In the titular role, Gerd Fröbe is one of the all-time great movie villains, a cheerful sadist disguised as a German Kleinburger. Honor Blackman is the main Bond girl, Pussy Galore, a honey blonde lesbian who gets 'turned' by Bond (religious right-wingers should take note). Great fun. ” - danrabbit
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
James Bond investigates the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads with the help of a KGB agent whose lover he killed. (125 mins.)
Director: Lewis Gilbert
“ Roger Moore's third James Bond movie, 'The Spy Who Loved Me', got the balance of epic action and corny humour just right. It had been three years since 'The Man With the Golden Gun', which underperformed at the box-office, and Bond was in dire need of rescue. Producer Albert R. Broccoli found the solution in crafting a Bond movie that used all the elements of Bond movies that worked in the past - a sort of greatest hits package - and then make it bigger and better still. 'Goldfinger' had an Aston Martin with special accessories? Well, 'The Spy Who Loved Me' got a Lotus Esprit that doubled as a two-man submarine. Director Lewis Gilbert was asked back to the Bond fold ten years after 'You Only Live Twice', which is unashamedly used as a blueprint for the story structure of 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. The villain's plot may be just as vague and silly as the one in the aforementioned picture, but 'The Spy Who Loved Me' proved that all the old tricks still worked. Ken Adam even found a new Seventies idiom for his production design, using oval shapes rather than rectangular ones. This was also the first Bond movie that (sort of) acknowledged Women's Lib by crafting a Bond Girl as Bond's supposed 'equal'; as KGB Agent Anya Amasova, the alluring Barbara Bach doesn't quite support that claim, ending up as just another damsel in distress during the climactic showdown. Moore is in his element flirting and bantering with her. Curd Jürgens plays the villain Karl Stromberg, with a lot less maniacal energy than one would hope for. Still, this is one of the most entertaining James Bond movies, featuring one of Moore's wittiest performances. ” - danrabbit
Skyfall (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Bond's loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. Whilst MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. (143 mins.)
Director: Sam Mendes
“ In terms of aesthetics, and development of characters and themes, 'Skyfall' is quite a game changer in the long-running James Bond series - although it doesn't quite trump 'Casino Royale' as the definitive post-Sixties Bond movie. Hiring Sam Mendes ('American Beauty') as a director is comparable to, say, engaging John Schlesinger to helm 'The Spy Who Loved Me' in 1977. But it pays off, with Mendes excelling at a logical, clear mise-en-scène for the action sequences. Daniel Craig comfortably settles into the part he was born to play, and happily Mendes provides him with a little more humour this time around. There are no crass quips, but subtle jokes that evolve out of character and situation, and they're delivered with trademark British understatement. In the Macao casino scene, Craig finally gets to do all the absurd stuff that truly tests an actor's 'Bond-ability', like seducing a courtesan while drinking a martini, and fighting off three goons while dodging Komodo dragons. The man passes with flying colours. 'Skyfall' is quite a melancholy affair, trading on the same end-of-empire anti-myths as 'Die Another Day', but exploiting them to a much more poignant effect. Gone are the days of tongue-in-cheek Union Jack parachutes, 'Skyfall' isn't frivolous about issues concerning national security - when did Bond ever have this sense of responsibility? It's the story of M (Judi Dench) as much as it's Bond's story. In the end, both story strands are intertwined, when Bond takes M to his Scottish boyhood home, to protect her against the attacks of vengeful ex-MI6 agent Silva (a scene-stealing Javier Bardem). The ways in which Bond is confronted with his childhood demons are a bit reminiscent of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, but then again, the Bond movies have always flaunted the influences of whatever was in vogue in popular culture at the time. And although the finale embraces sentiment and horror movie cliché's, it is most definitely cathartic. The fresh new takes on M, Q and Moneypenny prove that Craig's Bond will be with us for some time to come. I say bring it on. DoP was Roger Deakins, and it's safe to say that no Bond movie was shot this gorgeously since Freddy Young lensed 'You Only Live Twice'. ” - danrabbit
Dr. No (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A resourceful British government agent seeks answers in a case involving the disappearance of a colleague and the disruption of the American space program. (110 mins.)
Director: Terence Young
“ And then there was James Bond. It is only proper that 'Dr. No' takes place mostly on the sunbleached beaches of Jamaica, where Ian Fleming invented the literary character. The production team that would make Bond a success was set from the word go: producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, men with big cojones and even bigger ideas; director Terence Young, who allegedly modelled Bond on himself; editor Peter Hunt, who sacrificed all unwritten continuity laws for the sake of pacing the chills and thrills; production designer Ken Adam, who gave a chic, ironic 1960s spin on the Expressionist architecture that he remembered from Weimar cinema; composer John Barry, who gave Bond his signature sound and often supplied a romantic texture to scenes where there really wasn't any; and of course, Sean Connery, the actor who invented James Bond for the screen. If 'Dr. No' is in some ways a spoof of the espionage thriller, Young and co play it with a relatively straight face. Connery is determined and hard as nails, looking sexy in his Saville Row suits and wearing his hat like Frank Sinatra. 'Dr. No' really unwinds as a detective story for most of its run, and then segues into a Fu Manchu / science-fiction flick in its final half hour. But most of the familiar elements that were going to build into a lasting formula had been introduced or were at least hinted at. Ursula Andress was a boy's wet dream as the bikini-clad Honey Ryder, the first in a long line of Bond Girls. She is, in a way, preceded by Zena Marshall, who plays the sexy vixen, Miss Taro, in old-fashioned oriental make-up. Joseph Wiseman also gets to don the false eye-lids as the titular character, the evil scientist Dr. Julius No. Yes, 'Dr. No' has dated pretty badly in spots; but it still has an appealing rawness and simplicity going for it. It is not to be missed. ” - danrabbit
Thunderball (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
James Bond heads to The Bahamas to recover two nuclear warheads stolen by SPECTRE agent Emilio Largo in an international extortion scheme. (130 mins.)
Director: Terence Young
“ 'Thunderball' was supposed to be the First James Bond Movie not once, but twice: in 1959, Ian Fleming himself tried his hand at a 007 screenplay, but he made the mistake of adapting the material into a novel without crediting his writing partner and intended producer Kevin McClory. The matter was settled in a bitter court case. Three years later, Bond producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman wanted to use the epic canvas of 'Thunderball' for their own James Bond debut, but they shied away from a lawsuit and opted for the smaller-scale 'Dr. No' instead. In 1965, one year after Fleming's death, Broccoli and Saltzman reached a deal with McClory and 'Thunderball' would finally become the Fourth James Bond Movie. Bond once again fights SPECTRE, in the shape of piratical nuclear blackmailer Emilio Largo (a very macho Adolfo Celi). Most of the big action scenes take place under water, featuring scuba equipment and harpoon guns. Although undeniably spectacular and novel, and at times even poetic, director Terence Young rightly complained that those scenes were in fact 'un-Bondian', because people move very slowly under water and there is no way to speed up the proceedings in a visually pleasing way. 'Thunderball' suffers from these pacing problems, and ironically, the film is at its best in smaller, quieter moments. Sean Connery has great romantic interludes with Claudine Auger as the alluring French socialite Domino Derval, and especially with Luciana Paluzzi as Italian femme fatale Fiona Volpe. Due to the work of Terence Young, the director of 'Dr. No' and 'From Russia With Love', 'Thunderball' still has a lot of atmosphere and wit going for it, especially when compared to some of the later Bond movies. Co-producer Kevin McClory never learned his lesson, coaxing back Connery and remaking 'Thunderball' as 'Never Say Never Again' in 1983 - lethargic underwater sequences included. ” - danrabbit
You Only Live Twice (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked. (117 mins.)
Director: Lewis Gilbert
“ At some point during the considerable running time of 'You Only Live Twice', M solemnly informs James Bond that this mission is 'the Big One'. No matter how many Bond movies came after, in some ways, 'You Only Live Twice' will always remain the Big One. Was it because Ken Adam built a set of a hollowed-out volcano on Pinewood's back lot, in order to accomodate a huge battle scene between goodie and baddie ninjas? Or was it because director Lewis Gilbert and cinematographer Freddie Young lensed Japan, Bond's most exotic travel destination yet, with all the Cinemascope splendor of a David Lean or an Anthony Mann? 'You Only Live Twice' is like a boy's fantasy of a James Bond Movie, a live-action spectacular with every formula ingredient pushed to the limit. There are some miscalculations: it is a little overlong; the movie features the big reveal of Bond's arch-nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but the part is miscast with an otherwise fine actor, Donald Pleasence; the seduction scenes look dutiful and a little joyless; and Sean Connery, who at this point in his career was looking forward to making a Shakespeare movie, seems more than a little bored with it all. The Japanese leading ladies Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama are thrown away a little, but German B movie actress Karin Dor makes a cool femme fatale as Helga Brandt, the secretary with the 'healthy chest'. 'You Only Live Twice' also features the first outer-space scenes in a James Bond Movie, which visibly date from before Stanley Kubrick's special effects innovations, but they're atmospheric nonetheless. Despite the gripes, a highly entertaining James Bond Movie on an epic scale. ” - danrabbit
Licence to Kill (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
James Bond goes rogue and sets off to unleash vengeance on a drug lord who tortured his best friend, a C.I.A. agent, and left him for dead and murdered his bride after he helped capture him. (133 mins.)
Director: John Glen
“ 'Licence to Kill' brings the two Timothy Dalton James Bond movies full circle. In 'The Living Daylights', Bond was portrayed as a man who really wasn't sure whether he still liked his job as a glorified state assassin. In 'Licence to Kill', Bond actually quits the Secret Service, in order to pursue a personal vendetta. In so doing, he trades the Cold War for the War on Drugs. His target is Colombian drug baron Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi), the sort of cocain kingpin one could spot every week in episodes of 'Miami Vice'. Davi is a clever actor however, and he succeeds in making Sanchez a most enchanting villain, who is more than a match for Bond. The story culminates in one of the greatest prolonged action sequences of all the Bond movies, a mountain road chase involving several highly flammable Kenworth tanker trucks. Dalton is energetic and credible throughout, demonstrating how Bond would handle himself in the very unlikely scenario of him being a free agent out for vengeance. Bond screenwriters eventually became so fond of this ploy that they used it in several of the Pierce Brosnan pictures and in one of the Daniel Craig pictures. The Bond Girl duo is wonderful: Carey Lowell plays pilot Pam Bouvier, one of those few Bond Girls who actually supports the claim of being 'Bond's equal'; her role is also a bit of an excuse for Talisa Soto's part as Lupe Lamora, a bubble headed gold digger who uses sex to get what she wants. 'Licence to Kill' is not as exotic or fantastic as some of the earlier Bond movies, and its graphic violence seems overly influenced by pictures of the 'Die Hard' mould. But despite a lot of critics claiming they didn't recognize their favourite British hero, 'Licence to Kill' is still vintage James Bond. ” - danrabbit
The Living Daylights (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
James Bond is living on the edge to stop an evil arms dealer from starting another world war. Bond crosses all seven continents in order to stop the evil Whitaker and General Koskov. (130 mins.)
Director: John Glen
“ It has become a bit of a cliché to regard Timothy Dalton as 'Ian Fleming's James Bond'. But in all fairness, he did go the distance. Dalton went through all the Fleming novels with a fine comb, treating them with the kind of reverence normally reserved for Shakespeare or Pinter, and used what was on the page for his interpretation of 007. Most Bond fans found him to be too earnest and too morose, but that's in synch with the dominant moods of Fleming's work. Despite his dark side, Dalton's Bond can also be an appealing figure: a closet romantic, capable of great acts of chivalry when called upon. Director John Glen, on his fourth Bond assignment, seems reinvigorated by the Welshman's debut. 'The Living Daylights' is more tautly directed than the last two Moore pictures, despite an overly complex, labyrinthine plot that largely ignores glasnost and throws Bond smack in the middle of the Cold War again. John Barry has written a more synth-oriented score that seems to underline the new direction; sadly, it was to prove his last piece of 'million dollar Mickey Mouse music' for the Bond movies. 'The Living Daylights' is not without its flaws. Some of the one-liners and sillier action sequences seem left over from earlier drafts of the screenplay, when a possible Roger Moore come-back was still on the cards. Instead of giving us one central, powerful villain, it gives us a handful of weak ones. Dutch actor Jeroen Krabbé plays the most intriguing of the lot, boorish Soviet General Giorgi Koskov, who seems to blow with the wind and changes sides at least three times over the course of the movie. As the cellist Kara Milovy, Maryam D'Abo harkens back to Tatiana, the nubile heroine of 'From Russia With Love'. Bond always had a soft spot for rescuing women from the Eastern Block. One of the better James Bond movies of the Eighties. ” - danrabbit
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Agent 007 is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device and prevent it from falling into enemy hands. (127 mins.)
Director: John Glen
“ After 'Moonraker', there was nowhere to go but down for James Bond - down to earth, that is. After some deliberation, Roger Moore stayed on to play 007 in a somewhat grittier and tougher mode, although he never dispensed with the charm and the quips. John Glen, editor of three previous Bond movies, was promoted to the rank of director. He would eventually lead 007 through the entire Eighties, serving as long as US President Ronald Reagan. It was a period in which Bond would become a dependable institution rather than an exciting supplier of thrills. No matter how hard Glen's movies tried to keep the Cold War alive, it seemed clear to everyone that Bond's days as a Cold Warrior were drawing to a close. However, 'For Your Eyes Only' still has a certain freshness to it. By scaling down the proceedings, all the production departments - from designers to stunt people - had to become more creative, and it shows. The climactic scenes, with Bond scaling a perilous rock face in the mountains of Greece, is very suspenseful stuff indeed, reminiscent of World War II adventures like 'Where Eagles Dare'. It is probably the first and last time that Moore's Bond seems to be in any real physical danger. Moore adopts a fatherly attitude towards his main Bond Girl, Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet), who is out to avenge the death of her parents and probably needs a father figure more than a lover. When was Bond ever this mature? He even resists the lustful charms of teenage athlete Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson), offering to 'buy her an icecream' instead. The villain is Julian Glover - once a would-be Bond himself - as the slimy double-crosser Aris Kristatos. The score, by Bill Conti of 'Rocky' fame, is heavily Disco and Moog influenced, which leads to some pleasant and a few rather unpleasant surprises. All in all, a more than decent James Bond movie, featuring Moore at his best. ” - danrabbit
GoldenEye (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
James Bond teams up with the lone survivor of a destroyed Russian research center to stop the hijacking of a nuclear space weapon by a fellow agent formerly believed to be dead. (130 mins.)
Director: Martin Campbell
“ This is the first James Bond movie I saw in the theatre, so it's hard to really be objective. At the end of 'Licence to Kill' (1989), the final credits read 'James Bond Will Return', but in the six years that followed, it seemed to dawn on the world that he likely wouldn't. What was the use of a Cold War secret agent without a Cold War? So, when 'GoldenEye' was announced, I was ecstatic, as were a lot of Bond fans who had given up hope of ever seeing their hero on the silver screen again. The attitude of the producers to the material was flip: James Bond had not changed, it was the world around him that had changed. The new female M (Judi Dench), a champion of diplomacy and Political Correctness, even reprimanded our man for being 'a sexist, mysogynist dinosaur'. For the rest, 'GoldenEye' ticked all the boxes: a casino in Monte Carlo, a chase featuring an Aston Martin, a femme fatale, a villain's headquarters deep in the Caribbean jungle, etc. Pierce Brosnan made a decent, though undistinguished debut as Bond. He has a firm grip on the one-liners and he wears the clothes well, since he looks exactly like the sort of 'James Bond types' that do modelling work for gentleman's magazines. Director Martin Campbell has made the most of a rather messy screenplay. He has chosen a warm, glossy look for the film that gives it a sense of nostalgia, and Campbell has concentrated on the energy and rhythm of the action rather than the scale - apart from the dreadful St. Petersburg tank chase, that is. The rapport between Bond and the villain, his former ally 006 (Sean Bean), is quite good. And the film has the best duo of Bond Girls from the Brosnan era: as sexy computer nerd Natalya Simonova, Izabella Scorupco naturally upstages Brosnan, and former model Famke Janssen gives her all as the warped siren Xenia Onatopp (yes, this is still a Bond Movie). All in all, 'GoldenEye' is rather a mixed bag, seeming a lot less glorious now than it did in 1995. ” - danrabbit
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A diamond smuggling investigation leads James Bond to Las Vegas, where he uncovers an evil plot involving a rich business tycoon. (120 mins.)
Director: Guy Hamilton
“ Is 'Diamond Are Forever' the gayest James Bond movie of them all? Bond squares off against a homosexual pair of hit-men and a lesbian pair of bodyguards, and Ernst Stavro Blofeld (now played by a mincing Charles Gray) behaves like he's starring in Noël Coward's 'Private Lives', cigarette holder and all. The arch villain even engages in a bit of cross-dressing! And to top it all, the action mostly takes place in the trashy glitter venues of Las Vegas. James Bond movies have always ripped off the cinematic trends of their days, and it seems logical that 'Diamonds Are Forever' is a nod to the camp aesthetic that gained mainstream recognition with television series like 'Batman' and 'The Monkees'. It's odd that this particular movie, which ventures confidently towards comic-book absurdity, should be Sean Connery's sixth and last in the official EON series. But the actor seems to be having a ball. Connery doesn't look a day under 40 (which he was during shooting), but he was never more relaxed and witty as Bond than in this picture. A lot of the gags and stunts seem to be in deliberate poor taste, and screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz possesses the old camp knack for making sure that not everyone in the audience is in on the joke. Suffice to say, 'Diamonds Are Forever' is just too much fun to condemn. Jill St. John is Bond Girl Tiffany Case, a golddigger with a fondness for cursing in American slang. And John Barry rises to the camp challenge with a sensational score, using woodwinds, strings and a lot of irony. ” - danrabbit
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
James Bond is led to believe that he is targeted by the world's most expensive assassin while he attempts to recover sensitive solar cell technology that is being sold to the highest bidder. (125 mins.)
Director: Guy Hamilton
“ Is it possible to hate a James Bond movie that has Roger Moore and Christopher Lee going mano a mano? Of course not. Lee is one of the definitive Bond villains as high-priced hit man Francisco Scaramanga, who wields a golden gun and sees himself as a sort of Prince of Assassins. 'The Man With the Golden Gun' is, however, a deeply flawed film. It is Guy Hamilton's fourth and last Bond movie, and while he milks the setting of Scaramanga's island headquarters for all its mystery and visual splendor, he paces the film so leisurely that the suspense gets lost. Also, the film suffers from a few corny gags and a few throwaway characters too many. The Swedish Bond Girl duo of Britt Ekland (as Mary Goodnight) and Maud Adams (as Andrea Anders) is sexy and alluring, but their characters seem more like an afterthought. The producers also make the mistake of forcing scenes on Moore that would have worked better with Connery, like the one in which he cruelly interrogates Andrea. Whereas 'Live and Let Die' trailed the Blaxploitation hype, 'The Man With the Golden Gun' takes a few of its cues from the Hong-Kong chopsocky school of filmmaking - also a mistake, since Moore doesn't possess the physical prowess to do anything impressive in those scenes, so he just stands there while others chop and socky. The title song by Lulu is easily one of the worst in the series (perhaps it should have been replaced with that Alice Cooper tune of the same name). Still, despite all the shortcomings, it's the richest 'travelogue' Bond since 'You Only Live Twice', and the two leading men keep you entertained. ” - danrabbit
Live and Let Die (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
007 is sent to stop a diabolically brilliant heroin magnate armed with a complex organization and a reliable psychic tarot card reader. (121 mins.)
Director: Guy Hamilton
“ It's easy to knock Roger Moore, because he was always so intent on describing himself as an actor of very limited talent and range. True, he doesn't possess Sean Connery's larger-than-life charisma; his presence is best enjoyed when limited to a television screen. But Moore had a a twinkle in the eye and a mischievous smile, that resonated with audiences of the Seventies. He was the rascal of the Bonds, a Playboy Club card carrier who preferred a Monte Cristo to a Morlands cigarette, and seduced nubile ladies as if his life depended on it. Often, it did. And if he was responsible for inspiring the Bond writers to produce some of the naffest comedy in the James Bond saga, who else could have made such stuff even remotely bearable? Exactly. Moore is a class act. Hands off him. His first Bond movie, 'Live and Let Die', pits him against an all-black gang of heroin kingpins. The gang was in Ian Fleming's original novel, but here it is used as an excuse to get in on the then-current Blaxploitation boom. I can't help it, but I like the scenes in which Bond sticks out like a sore thumb in Harlem. The voodoo backdrop is rather exotic, there's a terrific scene in a crocodile farm, and George Martin's funky score keeps the adrenaline pumping. Yaphet Kotto makes Dr. Kananga a powerful villain, posing a considerable physical threat to Moore, who is a rather light and slow fighter. Bond Girl honours go to Jane Seymour, as the fortune teller who is robbed of her 'sight' when Bond takes her virginity - weirdly, this could well be Bond's most morally despicable action in the entire series. All in all, a decent Bond debut for Roger Moore. ” - danrabbit
Quantum of Solace (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
James Bond descends into mystery as he tries to stop a mysterious organization from eliminating a country's most valuable resource. All the while, he still tries to seek revenge over the death of his love. (106 mins.)
Director: Marc Forster
“ Were we disappointed by 'Quantum of Solace' only because it followed the triumph of 'Casino Royale'? I don't think so. 'Quantum of Solace' most of all bears the scars of the 2008 Writer's Strike; the screenplay had to be 'fixed' on set on a daily basis, and the movie never recovered from it. In 'Casino Royale', the viewer was aligned with Bond from the start, through a subtle and clever character arc. 'Quantum of Solace' is set up as a direct sequel, but director Marc Forster seems intent on detaching us from Bond right away, stripping him of most of his dialogue and fragmenting his actions in a hectic editing style that owes much to the Jason Bourne pictures of Paul Greengrass. Forster makes Bond's heroics seem merely cruel and pointless. 'Quantum of Solace' is the first Bond movie with an environmental theme. It is also, probably, the first anti-establishment Bond movie, with Bond openly questioning US/UK relationships. I don't think that stuff belongs in a Bond movie - 007 is ambiguous enough as he is. The villain, Dominic Greene, is crafted as a coward and a weakling, and Mathieu Amalric succeeds in playing him thus - what a waste. Olga Kurylenko is the Bond Girl Camille Montes, who has revenge on her mind and thus only shares a coy kiss with our hero. Gemma Arterton plays the more traditional 'fun' Bond Girl (she's called Strawberry Fields!), but she's killed off almost instantly in a scene that clumsily nods to 'Goldfinger'. That said, the opening chase alongside Lake Garda and the rooftop chase through Siena are smashingly good fun. If only there was more of it. ” - danrabbit
Moonraker (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
James Bond investigates the mid-air theft of a space shuttle and discovers a plot to commit global genocide. (126 mins.)
Director: Lewis Gilbert
“ 'Moonraker' is the narrative extreme that the James Bond movies were inevitably heading for since the early Seventies, arguably even since 'Goldfinger': a campfest with lots of silly gags and goofy characters, dressed up as a big science-fiction movie. Of course, if not for the excesses of 'Moonraker', we would never have gotten Bond's 'return to earth' in Roger Moore's last three Bond movies and the two Timothy Dalton pictures. So, I guess we have to be grateful. And we can enjoy 'Moonraker' as a guily pleasure to boot. It was the rise of the 'Star Wars' phenomenon that urged producer Albert R. Broccoli to abandon his plans of filming 'For Your Eyes Only' and pick a Fleming novel with a space theme as his next project. One can appreciate this strategy; if he wanted to keep teen bums in seats, he had to ride the crest in some way. The result is a Bond movie with alluring locations in Venice and Brazil, some marvellous trompe-l'-oeils by Ken Adam (especially his 'Mondrian set'), a rich, string-based John Barry score that is nothing short of a career highlight, and some very clever analogue visual effects work by Derek Meddings. It also features the return of Richard Kiel's giant steel-toothed henchman Jaws, now a figure of fun, sort of like Chewbacca. The real villain of the piece is the subtly malicious Michael Lonsdale as Hugo Drax, who has Hitlerian visions of genocide and eugenics. Roger Moore remains stoically cheerful throughout, raising eyebrows and ladies skirts while he strolls from scene to scene. Main Bond Girl duties are performed by Lois Chiles, her of the hoarse voice and Texas drawl, as sexy CIA Agent Holly Goodhead. No other James Bond movie works so well in some spots and fares so very badly in others. That in itself makes it worth a viewing. ” - danrabbit
Octopussy (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A fake Fabergé egg and a fellow agent's death lead James Bond to uncover an international jewel-smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on N.A.T.O. forces. (131 mins.)
Director: John Glen
“ Although his love scenes are a bit creepy, Roger Moore is still good value in his sixth and penultimate James Bond movie. Whenever I watch 'Octopussy', I always think of those James Brolin screentests that were conducted to scare Moore into accepting another one-picture deal, and I feel grateful that Moore once again chose to sign the dotted line. In this movie, Bond travels to a colonial fantasy version of India, full of snake charmers, creepy animals and sari-clad femmes fatales. The finale of the picture however takes place in grim East Germany. Of course, as this is a Bond movie, it's still a fantasy East Germany, run over by power-hungry Soviet generals (one of whom is the wonderfully hammy Steven Berkoff, who, according to legend, auditioned in a full samurai outfit). 'Octopussy' is a very uneven Bond movie, with director John Glen delivering taut suspense in some scenes, and badly fumbling the tension in others. In the end, this is one of those Bond movies that will probably be best remembered for its stunts and gadgets. Maud Adams plays the titular role, a jewel smuggler with connections that reach as far as the Kremlin, and the character gets quite a build up. Just when Adams has overcome that silly character name, she is rather roughly seduced by Bond and becomes just another damsel in distress. Bond also has a dalliance with Magda (Kristina Wayborn), Octopussy's second in command, who somehow seems more interesting. French charmer Louis Jourdan plays Prince Kamal Khan, one of the most amusing villains in this or any other Bond movie. ” - danrabbit
Never Say Never Again (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A SPECTRE agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated. (134 mins.)
Director: Irvin Kershner
“ Can we really be angry at Kevin McClory for remaking 'Thunderball' as a stand-alone James Bond Movie for Warner Brothers? At least it gave us the chance to marvel one last time at Sean Connery as 007, aged 52 during filming and playing the part in a self-mocking mode that only he and Roger Moore could get away with. Apart from Connery having a blast, 'Never Say Never Again' (was there ever a cuter title for a Bond movie?) is a mixed blessing. It was rumored that the great Francis Ford Coppola secretly doctored on the script, but even he couldn't breathe life into a project that was hamstrung by legal restrictions. McClory and director Irvin Kershner ('The Empire Strikes Back') couldn't use any of the Bond iconography used in the 'official' Cubby Broccoli series, apart from the dreadful 'Thunderball' underwater sequences. The finished product liberally borrows ideas from 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and other New Hollywood movies, making this by far the most 'Americanized' Bond movie of the lot. While most of the Broccoli Bond movies manage a somewhat timeless quality, 'Never Say Never Again' seems badly dated by fashions and trends of the time, resembling a glossy 1980s television commercial at times. The real joy of the movie is in the acting. Edward Fox and Alec McCowen do splendid re-inventions of M and Q respectively, and the Bond Girl front is ably represented by Kim Basinger, in an early role as a surprisingly demure Domino Petacchi, and Barbara Carrera, who plays femme fatale Fatima Blush in such bad taste that the campy fun rubs off on the audience. Best of all is the brilliant Austrian ham actor Klaus Maria Brandauer, as the insane computer era villain Maximilian Largo. He makes a great foil for Connery's old-pro macho glory. ” - danrabbit
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
James Bond heads to stop a media mogul's plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage. (119 mins.)
“ The basic story formula for 'You Only Live Twice' (1967) had already been re-used as a blueprint for 'The Spy Who Loved Me' (1977) and 'Moonraker' (1979). So why not update it again for the Nineties? Instead of a Cold War era maniac, the villain in 'Tomorrow Never Dies' became a media mogul, and instead of world domination or a new master race, he desired global exclusive broadcasting rights. The weapons remained the same: nuclear missiles. It's a nice enough twist, and the media satire plays well for most of the film, but the movie seldom comes to life. Pierce Brosnan walks through his second James Bond movie looking like a pan-European yuppie in a BMW - still not terribly convinced that he's actually playing the part. Director Roger Spottiswoode was formerly an editor for Sam Peckinpah, and at times, the editing has a visceral quality to it. But apart from a scene in which Bond hears his own death reported on the news, we can really predict this movie scene for scene. The media mogul villain Elliot Carver is played by Jonathan Pryce, who tends towards the theatrical, but is never encouraged to really go all the way. The Bond Girl is another 'Bond equal', in the guise of Chinese Agent Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh). She can do chopsocky, but doesn't generate any chemistry with Bond, so they really could have been in separate movies. Also unable to supply sparks is the second Bond Girl, Teri Hatcher as Bond's former flame Paris, who is now married to Carver. This situation promises an interesting menage à trois, but we never understand why Bond was so touched by Paris in the first place, and she is disposed of before you can say 'sacrificial lamb'. 'Tomorrow Never Dies' is lacking in almost every respect. It's like a Roger Moore movie without Moore and with a bit more graphic violence. ” - danrabbit
A View to a Kill (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
An investigation of a horse-racing scam leads 007 to a mad industrialist who plans to create a worldwide microchip monopoly by destroying California's Silicon Valley. (131 mins.)
Director: John Glen
“ For twelve years and seven James Bond movies, Roger Moore had reigned supreme, and by the time of his 'retirement' from the 00 Section he probably had as many fans as Sean Connery. Aged 57 during the shoot of 'A View to a Kill', Moore was abhorred to find that the mother of his latest Bond Girl co-star was a few years younger than he was. He and producer Albert R. Broccoli decided it was time to move on. To camouflage Moore's advancing years a little, the costume department supplied him with casual leather jackets; the stunt department supplied him with able stand-ins that could ski, jump, ride, fight and run; the casting department supplied him with hip co-stars like pop singer Grace Jones; and the music department arranged for a title song by the insanely popular New Romantic outfit, Duran Duran. Of course, all these things only served to make Moore look older, and it's a good thing that 'A View to a Kill' is his Bond swan song. The plot is highly derivative of 'Goldfinger', using Silicon Valley microchips as a replacement for the gold bars in Fort Knox. The pacing of director John Glen has progressively slackened during the run of his three films with Moore, and 'A View to a Kill' at times nearly grinds to a halt. There's a few nice set pieces, such as a climactic scrap on top of the Golden Gate Bridge, which is cleverly executed. Christopher Walken supplies the film with some much-needed energy as the insane villain Max Zorin, the product of a Nazi steroid experiment. But even an eminent character actor like Walken cannot disguise that the material is stale. Tanya Roberts gives a one-note performance as geologist Stacey Sutton, who is said to be the main Bond Girl, but whose relationship with Bond is - understandably - more of a father-daughter nature than of a sexual nature. ” - danrabbit
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
James Bond uncovers a nuclear plot when he protects an oil heiress from her former kidnapper, an international terrorist who can't feel pain. (128 mins.)
Director: Michael Apted
“ Both Sean Connery and Roger Moore really hit their stride by the time they made their third James Bond movies. Pierce Brosnan never quite cuts it in 'The World Is Not Enough', but he has an overly melodramatic screenplay working against him. Bond expresses himself through action, the character should never get bogged down in the soap opera antics that the screenwriters force upon him here. Allegedly, Bond falls in love with rich oil hereiss Elektra King, played by the beautiful Sophie Marceau. If only our hero knew his Greek mythology. 'The World Is Not Enough' starts out in familiar territory, with lots of explosions, property destruction and policemen being humiliated. After that, the film starts taking itself incredibly serious, weaving nationalist revolutionaries, anarchist terrorists and Black Sea oil barons into a vast and complicated plot. The film, lensed by Adrian Biddle, just looks glum. Director Michael Apted seems to have scarcely bothered over the action sequences, which he left to the same Second Unit that's been churning out these scenes since the John Glen days. Apted doesn't even have an eye or an ear for Bond's world of pseudo-sophistication - a scene in a casino is just thrown away. Robert Carlyle, a striking actor, is equally wasted as the villainous Renard, who has an intriguing gimmick: due to a bullet in his brain his senses are being killed off, rendering him immune to pain, but also to pleasure. As second Bond Girl, we have Denise Richards as nuclear scientist Dr. Christmas Jones, and it's not really clear if she's in on the joke. If a sentimental scene with Q is one of the best things in the picture, you know you have a loser on your hands. ” - danrabbit
Die Another Day (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
James Bond is sent to investigate the connection between a North Korean terrorist and a diamond mogul who is funding the development of an international space weapon. (133 mins.)
Director: Lee Tamahori
“ Pierce Brosnan's fourth and final James Bond movie marked the fortieth anniversary of the film character. It was meant to be a wild celebration, a greatest hits package in the tradition of 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. But Brosnan looks old and tired from his very first close-up, as if he's ready to walk away from it any second. Was there ever a Bond actor so bored with it all? In 'Die Another Day', Bond fights a conspiracy in North Korea, one of Bush's Axis of Evil nations. As could be expected, our hero jumps on the War on Terror bandwagon with great eagerness - finally he's on to a lasting worldwide conflict to replace the Cold War that birthed him. But the producers are still in the self-mocking 'GoldenEye' mode. Wherever he goes, Bond is told that he is a dinosaur, a joker, and a fraud. We tend to believe the message. The heroine, NSA Agent Jinx Johnson, is played by Halle Berry, and we are introduced to her through some absurdly unsophisticated flirtation on a Cuban beach. After sex, she just turns into a generic action figure. Rosamund Pike compensates a little as the intriguing Miranda Frost. A lot of the faults of 'Die Another Day' can be blamed on director Lee Tamahori, who pushed for more CGI effects and an editing style straight out of advertising. In the best part of the movie, Bond does some old-fashioned swashbuckling with the villain, Sir Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens). And then Madonna pops up, uttering naff one-liners. Could this be the worst James Bond movie of all time? Very probably, yes. ” - danrabbit