The James Bond Movies Ranked

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19. A View to a Kill (1985)

Despite the missteps that plagued his late Bond tenure, Roger Moore did finish strong with A View to a Kill. Or, at the very least, he went out with a bang. A San Francisco-set caper, with Christopher Walken and the alluring Grace Jones as his foes, with big set pieces and a theme song from Duran Duran. It was such a big affair that it became the first Bond film to premiere outside the UK. Fun fact. While Roger Moore would later come out to say that it was his own least favorite Bond, it holds a place in many hearts for being one of the most violent. Walken’s Max Zorin was a real piece of work. But A View to a Kill is not without its problem. Aside from a grande climactic action sequence include a zeppelin and the Golden Gate Bridge, all the other action in the movie was poorly choreographed and with a then 58-year old Moore executing them, they were mostly laughable. It was a not-so-great Bond movie that had all the right ingredients, it just didn’t have the right man in the 007 suit. It’s no wonder that Moore passed the torch to Timothy Dalton two years later. (Neil Miller)

18. The Living Daylights (1987)

While most fans acknowledge Casino Royale as a turning point in the Bond franchise, let’s not forget that Craig was actually the second actor to be pitched as Bond for the modern era. Interviews leading up to the film’s release touted Timothy Dalton as bringing back a sense of realism and danger to the franchise. The Living Daylights director John Glen even went so far as to refer to Dalton as “the best actor we’ve ever had in the role.” And Dalton is great in his first outing as Bond; it’s just the rest of the movie that suffers from being behind the times. By the end of the film, Bond has effectively forced a talented musician into a codependent relationship and given backing to a nascent terrorist cell. The Living Daylights also marked the first of three appearances by Joe Don Baker, despite the fact that his character dies in the final twenty minutes. Does any of that sound like progress to you? (Matthew Monagle)

17. The World Is Not Enough (1999)

At the turn of the century, Bond was in a weird spot and this movie vibrates with the energy of that confused state of existence. It was obsessed with the MTV generation, inserting Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones, a nuclear physicist who aids Pierce Brosnan’s Bond in his mission. In their attempt to turn the classic Bond Girl archetype on its head and make her an intelligent, well-rounded character, they made it laughable. Richards was just plain bad. But, Eon’s quest to find a more youthful audience for 007 did lead to one of the better theme songs, the titular tune by Garbage. The one thing that makes The World is Not Enough a sort of guilty pleasure among Bond fans is its bombastic high-wire act. There are elements that feel very classic, like Bond’s relationship with Q and the film’s commitment to swinging big on its action set pieces. And there were elements that have been replicated in more modern Bond films, like 007’s very personal and protective nature when it comes to M, something we saw again in Skyfall. If it accomplished anything, The World is Not Enough was a good transitional piece. Unfortunately for Pierce Brosnan, that meant transitioning from the progressive mid-90s films to the shiney, completely incoherent Die Another Day. (Neil Miller)

16. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

This is the moment in between two decidedly weird turns for Roger Moore’s James Bond. It benefited from a course correction following Moonraker in which the producers wanted to bring Bond back to his roots. It was a more grounded thriller with some nice tropical locations and a dash of revenge. And Roger Moore in a chase scene on a set of skis. That was like, his favorite thing to do as James Bond. What it lacked in dramatic punch ‐ and it lacked quite a bit of dramatic punch ‐ For Your Eyes Only made up for with a lot of really fun action. It may be one of the clunkiest films of the franchise, but there’s little sense in denying that it did find that grounded, practical action sweet spot that was sorely needed following Moonraker. (Neil Miller)

15. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Brosnan’s best entry was also his first, but this follow-up is a solidly entertaining adventure and his last good one before driving the franchise off a cliff with Dr. Christmas Jones and an invisible car. The villain here offers a fine commentary on corrupt media, and while he’s not threatening on a personal level he provides an interesting display of corporate power. The biggest draw in this film though is the addition of Michelle Yeoh as a confident and competent equal to Bond. Brosnan’s films belong in the Connery/Moore camp as slight entertainment of varying quality, and this is a good example of that. (Rob Hunter)

14. You Only Live Twice (1967)

I’ve always found the name of the Bond girl, played by Mie Hama, to be the funniest. Kissy Suzuki is no rival to Pussy Galore in its sheer ridiculousness, but it is good for a chuckle. What’s not so great for a chuckle is You Only Live Twice’s strange racial elements, in which Sean Connery’s 007 fakes his own death and travels to Japan, where he is disguised as a Japanese man (complete with a really bad yellowface makeup job) while he investigates the hijacking of an American spacecraft. Weird racial politics aside, this Bond adventure does have one of the most iconically sinister-looking villains in Donald Pleasence’s Ernst Blofeld and it accounts for one of the franchise’s most horrific deaths (when Number 11 is tossed into a pool of piranhas). There are ninja armies, too. And you can’t really go wrong with Bond and ninjas. That’s just how things work. (Neil Miller)

13. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Moore’s second outing once again paired him with director Guy Hamilton, and while I’m no fan of Hamilton’s Connery Bond films he continued to redeem himself with the more jovial and charismatic Moore. The story is once again a bit smaller and more personal in scale as it builds its man vs man dynamic, and it gets the villain right straightaway with the casting of Christopher Lee. A pretty stellar car chase and epic river jump highlight the action while Britt Ekland and Francoise Therry (as the terrifically named Chew Mee) elevate the visual appeal of Bond girls. (Rob Hunter)


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