James Bond: Best to worst

by MinorityReporter | created - 19 Nov 2012 | updated - 15 Apr 2016 | Public

James Bond is an institution in the world of film. Ever since the early 60's this secret agent has entertained the masses and some of his best movies stand as some of the best action movies of all time. There is no doubt that he is an influential figure and with the recent release of Skyfall I thought it was appropriate to look at (and rank) all of his movies. Enjoy the list!

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1. Goldfinger (1964)

PG | 110 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
87 Metascore

Investigating a gold magnate's smuggling, James Bond uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: Sean Connery, Gert Fröbe, Honor Blackman, Shirley Eaton

Votes: 148,989 | Gross: $51.08M

This movie was the benchmark for Bond films for so long. Bond is so cool in this movie he even converts a lesbian. This is the only Connery Bond movie that doesn't deal with the SPECTRE organisation and so many of the elements we connect with Bond were started in this movie. The intro theme with naked women, the theme song, the slightly outlandish henchman it all came from here and many of these exact elements were never done better than in this movie.

2. Skyfall (2012)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
81 Metascore

Bond's loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. When MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Judi Dench

Votes: 560,497 | Gross: $304.36M

It may be hype and it may go down on the list but so far I have seen Skyfall a few times already and aside from being the most beautifully shot Bond film ever (thank you Roger Deakins) it walks an almost impossible balance between the harder style laid down in the Craig movies and at the same time being completely faithful and respectful of the older movies. The last 10 minutes in particular oozed of classic Bond charm. This movie is the perfect modern Bond film.

3. From Russia with Love (1963)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
85 Metascore

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.

Director: Terence Young | Stars: Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya, Daniela Bianchi

Votes: 97,534 | Gross: $24.80M

If Dr. No started it all, then From Russia with Love cemented it. Bond was here and he was cool as hell. The story is more engaging, the acting is top notch and the action is simply spectacular. In particular one scene is to this day one of the best most intense brawls ever caught on film. Many Bond purists consider this the best and I can definitely see why.

4. Casino Royale (2006)

PG-13 | 144 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
80 Metascore

Armed with a license to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007, and must defeat a private banker to terrorists in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, Montenegro, but things are not what they seem.

Director: Martin Campbell | Stars: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright

Votes: 508,070 | Gross: $167.45M

After the ridiculous Die Another Day the Bond franchise had become so convoluted and unrelatable that a change was needed and that change came with Casino Royale. Daniel Craig nearly matched the suave intensity of Sean Connery and the story was much more relatable and cool. After seeing this I wanted to be Bond again, a feeling I hadn't experienced in a long time. Tense, exciting and irresistible.

5. Dr. No (1962)

Approved | 110 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
78 Metascore

A resourceful British government agent seeks answers in a case involving the disappearance of a colleague and the disruption of the American space program.

Director: Terence Young | Stars: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Bernard Lee, Joseph Wiseman

Votes: 125,374 | Gross: $16.07M

Considering that this was the one that started it all, it has taken me a long time and repeated viewings to truly appreciate this movie. I think it is because it is so dramatically different from many of it following movies of which I had seen many before I saw this but Connery is just so raw and charming and the tension in some scenes are palpable that it has become one of my favorite Bond movies of all time.

6. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

GP | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
59 Metascore

A diamond smuggling investigation leads James Bond to Las Vegas, where he uncovers an evil plot involving a rich business tycoon.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray, Lana Wood

Votes: 80,416 | Gross: $43.82M

For some reason people seem to dislike this Connery Bond movie the most and while I can see that it has some plot holes and is the goofiest of Connery's movies, it is also the most fun. From gay hitmen to Blofeld clones, I have to admit that I love all of it.

7. GoldenEye (1995)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
65 Metascore

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.

Director: Martin Campbell | Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen

Votes: 211,285 | Gross: $106.60M

Pierce Brosnan's first outing in the tux is also by far his best and critics of the Craig movies consider this to be the best modern Bond movie. Even though I don't agree I can understand where they come from as GoldenEye is a terrific Bond movie with probably the most interesting relationship between Bond and the villain. And who can resist Famke Janssen's killer thighs - simply fantastic.

8. The Living Daylights (1987)

PG | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
60 Metascore

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.

Director: John Glen | Stars: Timothy Dalton, Maryam d'Abo, Jeroen Krabbé, Joe Don Baker

Votes: 75,028 | Gross: $51.19M

After the increasingly goofy antics of Roger Moore Timothy Dalton came along and gave us a much more human Bond. It could even be argued that his version is the most relatable and The Living Daylights is his best performance as Bond. Aside from being a good Bond movie The Living Daylights is also just a really good cold war thriller.

9. Thunderball (1965)

PG | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
64 Metascore

James Bond heads to The Bahamas to recover two nuclear warheads stolen by SPECTRE agent Emilio Largo in an international extortion scheme.

Director: Terence Young | Stars: Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi

Votes: 88,638 | Gross: $63.60M

Returning after the phenomenal Goldfinger, Connery and co. continued in much of the same style as its predecessor and director Terrence Young, who also directed the first two Bond movies, gave us the most epic Bond yet. Our hero comes closer than ever before to the organisation known as SPECTRE and it is a terrific ride all the way through.

10. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

PG | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
54 Metascore

Agent 007 is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device and prevent it from falling into enemy hands.

Director: John Glen | Stars: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson

Votes: 77,918 | Gross: $62.30M

After the abysmal Moonraker, the producers had a bit of a realisation, albeit brief, that Bond needed to be more grounded (pun intended) and the result is this thriller that, in spite of a somewhat unceremonious dealing with Blofeld, is a much more realistic and therefore much more relatable Bond.

11. Quantum of Solace (2008)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
58 Metascore

James Bond descends into mystery as he tries to stop a mysterious organization from eliminating a country's most valuable resource.

Director: Marc Forster | Stars: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench

Votes: 356,580 | Gross: $168.37M

Repeated viewings have increased my appreciation for this film. Despite taking far too many liberties with the Bond licence, there were some moments of genuine brilliance in this movie. For instance, Daniel Craig has probably never been better as the main character and the action scenes were truly engaging. You could argue that too many things lack for this to truly be called a Bond film but as a movie in its own right I really like it.

12. The World Is Not Enough (1999)

PG-13 | 128 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
57 Metascore

James Bond uncovers a nuclear plot when he protects an oil heiress from her former kidnapper, an international terrorist who can't feel pain.

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards

Votes: 166,690 | Gross: $126.94M

Aside from having to suspend my disbelief that Denise Richards could be a scientist this was actually a really entertaining Bond movie and far superior to others Brosnan ventures. The story was engaging and cool and Brosnan even showed some hitherto unseen edge as the character.

13. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

PG | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
43 Metascore

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.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams

Votes: 80,276 | Gross: $20.97M

Moore's second time in the tux turned out to be even better than his first, mainly due to the rivalry between Bond and Scaramanga (played aptly by film legend, Christopher Lee). The scenes were crisp and full of good humour and it still maintained enough of a serious tone to actually be engaging and tense when it needed to be.

14. Live and Let Die (1973)

PG | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
55 Metascore

007 is sent to stop a diabolically brilliant heroin magnate armed with a complex organization and a reliable psychic tarot card reader.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour, Clifton James

Votes: 81,408 | Gross: $35.38M

Roger Moore's first movie as 007 is one of his best because the director and the actor realised that he was NOT Sean Connery (something they would forget in subsequent movies). For instance, his delivery of the "Bond, James Bond." line was drastically different from Connery's and he also never ordered his signature drink. Overall it works quite well and Live and Let Die is an entertaining and well thought out Bond movie.

15. You Only Live Twice (1967)

PG | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
61 Metascore

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.

Director: Lewis Gilbert | Stars: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tetsurô Tanba

Votes: 81,717 | Gross: $43.08M

In my opinion, this is the weakest Connery Bond movie. The whole changing into a Japanese person was just completely unnecessary and the female lead was just so obviously not an actress. On the positive side, this movie finally let the audience see Blofeld (and in his best guise I might add) and Connery was still a terrific Bond.

16. Spectre (I) (2015)

PG-13 | 148 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
60 Metascore

A cryptic message from Bond's past, sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the Secret Service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind S.P.E.C.T.R.E.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes

Votes: 322,947 | Gross: $200.07M

I am in shock, the director behind one of the best Bond films, the best Bond actor since Connery and the actor who played Hans Landa as the villain couldn't deliver a movie that was better than just plain average.

17. Licence to Kill (1989)

PG-13 | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
58 Metascore

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.

Director: John Glen | Stars: Timothy Dalton, Robert Davi, Carey Lowell, Talisa Soto

Votes: 79,918 | Gross: $34.67M

Dalton is really underrated as Bond. He actually tried to bring the character back to its roots and his second film has some of the darkest scenes ever in a Bond film. It actually seemed a little too dark at times almost like it forgot to have fun. Benicio del Toro was superb, however.

18. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
52 Metascore

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.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode | Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher

Votes: 159,046 | Gross: $125.33M

Brosnan's second time in the tux is a mixed bag. There were some really cool action scenes (especially the motorcycle chase), Brosnan was still really charming and it actually had a pretty good story. But the villain was just so completely un-threatening and it was just too goofy at times.

19. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

PG | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
55 Metascore

James Bond investigates the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads, with the help of a K.G.B. Agent, whose lover he killed.

Director: Lewis Gilbert | Stars: Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Curd Jürgens, Richard Kiel

Votes: 83,022 | Gross: $46.80M

Some consider this Moore's best outing as Bond. I actually find it a little ridiculous. The villain's scheme is, even by Bond standards, ridiculous. On the more positive side, this movie introduced Jaws as a secondary villain, the female lead was really cool and Moore actually seemed to have found his own style as Bond.

20. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

PG | 142 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
61 Metascore

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.

Director: Peter R. Hunt | Stars: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas, Gabriele Ferzetti

Votes: 65,761 | Gross: $22.80M

I know that this is a favorite of the critics but I have seen it several times now and I just can't get into it. It is overly long, bloated and unengaging. In fact I keep falling asleep when I try to see it. George Lazenby does his best but he is just doesn't fit the tux nearly as well as Connery. It does have some pretty cool action scenes and the ending is surprisingly emotional for a Bond flick.

21. Octopussy (1983)

PG | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
63 Metascore

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.

Director: John Glen | Stars: Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Kristina Wayborn

Votes: 80,477 | Gross: $67.90M

I know that Moore's movies are already too represented in the bottom five but Octopussy really wasn't that engaging. It is way better than both Moonraker and A View to a Kill but it drags a lot at times and some blatant continuity errors detract from this otherwise decent Bond venture.

22. A View to a Kill (1985)

PG | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
40 Metascore

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.

Director: John Glen | Stars: Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones

Votes: 74,414 | Gross: $50.33M

By the time this movie came out Moore had been to old to play the character for years and when he bedded young women it seemed more creepy than cool. Moreover, Moore seemed more concerned with spouting unfunny jokes than propel the story forward. Christopher Walken was weirdly cool but he couldn't save the film from itself.

23. Moonraker (1979)

PG | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
66 Metascore

James Bond investigates the mid-air theft of a space shuttle, and discovers a plot to commit global genocide.

Director: Lewis Gilbert | Stars: Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel

Votes: 75,780 | Gross: $70.31M

Far and wide considered to be one of the worst Bond films and it is deserving of its reputation. Moore had by this time done 3 movies as Bond and he seemed really complacent by the time this movie came out. Sure it has some impressive effects considering its age but it feels rushed and unengaging.

24. Die Another Day (2002)

PG-13 | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
56 Metascore

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.

Director: Lee Tamahori | Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Rosamund Pike, Toby Stephens

Votes: 180,806 | Gross: $160.94M

Its a shame to have to put this movie here because I actually like Pierce Brosnan as Bond. Sure he doesn't have the same edge as some of the other actors who played the character but he has all the charm. Die Another Day, however, is an inconsistent, overblown mess of a movie. From exploding ice castles to invisible cars, this movie exemplified everything that had gone wrong with the Bond franchise and why it was necessary to reboot.