My Inaugural Ranking of the Bond Films

This list is based on a shootout series, whence I paired films and asked, “which would I rather watch?”

The first third is amazing. The middle third are all fine, and so the ranking between them matters a bit less, so long as it’s clear they are all in the muddle. The bottom third I really don’t like to watch much at all, and the ranking of their stinkiness does matter, i.e. I think I’ve seen Diamonds Are Forever all the way through maybe twice in my life and I really, really hate every frame of it.

  1. Goldeneye
  2. The Living Daylights
  3. Skyfall
  4. The Man With The Golden Gun
  5. Moonraker
  6. Tomorrow Never Dies
  7. Casino Royale
  8. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

  9. Spectre
  10. The Spy Who Loved Me
  11. Quantum Of Solace
  12. Licence To Kill
  13. Octopussy
  14. A View To A Kill
  15. Die Another Day
  16. Live And Let Die
  17. Never Say Never Again (unofficial)

  18. The World is Not Enough
  19. You Only Live Twice
  20. Dr. No
  21. Goldfinger
  22. For Your Eyes Only
  23. From Russia With Love
  24. Thunderball
  25. Diamonds Are Forever

Discussion: The Connery films of course are iconic, but frankly, boring. I couldn’t care less about his game of golf with Auric Goldfinger, nor the chitchat in Russia With Love, nor the slooooow scuba in Thunderball. They are dated, and I’d rather watch something else on the whole. In fact, not only that, I think I’d rather not watch them at all, really. I can watch the spectre and goldfinger and volcano lair clips on YouTube if I really want to see some highlights. Now, Tim Dalton’s Living Daylights has always, ALWAYS! been my favourite for too many reasons to name, but in compiling this list I realised that I – just barely – more fondly think of and more broadly grin at the Goldeneye mayhem from my impressionable preteen years. That film’s 90s charm is INVINCIBLE! This effect carries over to Tomorrow Never Dies, (delicious!), but by the time I was 10 years old I could tell World Is Not Enough was crap. Die Another Day (my first Bond seen in cinemas) however I will watch gladly because it goes SO bonkers. He has an invisible car, guys. But then again, I haven’t actually seen it for a while. Moore’s madder mid-seventies jaunts are near the top purely for their goddam bravado; the less quirky ones of his era tend toward the bottom the more they opt for seriousness. Craig has the benefit of all that went before, plus some great writers and directors, resulting in a very respectable outing with all four near the top. And while OHMSS is by no means one of the best films, I think Lazenby is probably the best Bond – yeah, that’s right I said it. He’s the only one I actually believe could do this job in real life. Everybody else is clearly an actor acting in a movie.

Altogether, by average Moore and Craig seem to perform best in my estimation, but I’m going to eyeball it and not actually crunch the numbers. Each Bond (but Connery) has one or two in the top third, so really everybody is a winner. If there is a trend to extrapolate here, perhaps it’s merely that the further they stray from Flemming’s mysogyny and racism, the better I like ‘em.

I look forward to your sure-to-be interesting comments. Andrew.

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