How old were you when you saw your first James Bond Film? The very first film that I ever watched was Goldfinger, where Sean Connery helmed the titular role in the third installment of the franchise. I was about seven years old, and I recall being absolutely petrified (that’s not a joke, I was petrified) when James Bond stumbled upon the first victim that was covered in Gold Paint. To this day, I still get chills when I hear the creepy music over the reveal.
Obviously, I grew older and started to follow the franchise with more of an interest. I am one of those people that find myself getting extremely attached to film characters. Let this be known, there is a reason why I am probably one of the six people on the planet who has not watched the entire Game of Thrones season. Seriously, I started watching that show because of Sean Bean. Look how that turned out for me.
Luckily enough, I got to see all of my ‘Bond’ men fight bad guys, take extreme leaps and win over the heart of a pretty lady in the end. James Bond is without a doubt, a film icon that will go down in history. It is a name that people will continue to recognize through the decades. In celebration of the continuous images and teasers for ‘No Time To Die’, the newest installment in the series, I decided to journey down memory lane and rank the Bond men based on how well they fell into the role. (In some cases, this is a literal statement).
So what factors into the ‘ranking’ of characters, Jules? Well, as an actress and film producer there are several things I look for in an actor. I seek out that thirsty desire to capture the character like only THAT individual can. I love seeing actors dedicate themselves to make sure they get into their role, especially the ones that dive into a method acting route. For example, Mark Whalberg attending Navy Seal training to get into the role of Marcus Luttrell – incredible!
Here’s my ranking of the bond men, starting from the bottom and working to the top.
7. Timothy Dalton
Years: 1987, 1989
Films: The Living Daylights, License To Kill
Unfortunately, someone had to be on the bottom of the list. Although he has a sharp look, I feel as though out of all the James Bond actors – there wasn’t a strong enough performance here. Perhaps it had a lot to do with the fact that the two films he was in weren’t the greatest in the franchise. Had he been the lead in Die Another Day or another flick, maybe he would have stood out much more to me. I think that Dalton as an actor has brought much talent to the plate, but James Bond was in the beginning of his acting career and he has grown tremendously since then. I would love to see him come back in a bond film but this time, perhaps as a villain. How cool would that be?
6. David Niven
Films: Casino Royale
Did you know there was a Casino Royale before Daniel Craig took over the role in the modern day film? If you haven’t checked this one out, I highly recommend it. Obviously it is a bit dated, being a 60s film, but come on, it’s a BOND film. I admire David Nivey’s more ‘classy’ approach to the Bond character. Even though he was a bit older than your typical James Bond, he still serves up the role pretty well… not number 1 well, but very nicely!
5. George Lazenby
Films: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
I have to say, I found George Lazenby’s portrayal of the Bond character to be quite unique. A lot of fans and film-folk will say that he what they always envisioned the Bond character to encompass. Arrogant but Suave. Classy by Snobby. Athletic and Swift. Looking back on his performances now, it is interesting to see the twist of the stereotypical ‘spy who fell in love’ performance. I mean, if I were a super spy, love would be the last thing on my mind. (Perhaps that’s why I’m not a super spy… or am I?) All that considered, his deliverance of the role is a special treat. I highly recommend checking out his performance if you have not.
4. Sean Connery
Year: 1962–1971, 1983
Films: Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice, Bond in Diamonds Are Forever, and Never Say Never Again.
He’s classy. He’s suave. He’s a badass. For many James Bond fans, Sean Connery was their very first. (As mentioned earlier, he was mine). When most people think of the James Bond character, for those of us who aren’t millennials, we are prone to thinking back t Sean Connery. Perhaps he had the most PR as the ‘new’ James Bond, or maybe he was essentially just in better movies. Either way, I rank him in the middle of the list.
3. Roger Moore
Films: Live and Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View To Kill
If there is one thing that Sir Roger Moore has captured, it is the sophisticated manner that comes along with being a top notch spy – like James Bond. Known as the ‘Generation X’ bond, one could argue that Moore had some of the best ‘fight’ scenes, and he delivered them with phenomenal intensity. I mean… not every man can deliver proper swagger while running across the backs of a bunch of alligators; but Roger Moore certainly did!
2. Daniel Craig
Films: Casino Royale, Spectre, Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, No Time To Die
Taking up a ‘mantle’ in this day and age is no easy feat, but Daniel Craig has done an excellent job at doing so. He has a very different look from the Bond men that we have gotten used to in the past decades and I have to admit, I do like the change in appearance. He doesn’t fit the ‘classic’ bond formula – and I really like that. Essentially, he’s carved out his own legacy. If you have seen all proceeding films – then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Not only does he have a great look, but he brings about a blunt snakiness to the character that I absolutely believe works for him. In all of his films, Daniel Craig makes a compelling performance and I’m sure all the gentlemen proceeding him believe that he has done a spectacular job at carrying the character to this new day and age.
1. Pierce Brosnan
Films: GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Die Another Day, The World Is Not Enough
To me, Pierce Brosnan IS James Bond. He’s got the look, the attitude, and the role down pat. He’s one of those actors where you can say that he IS the character. Although the movies he starred in were certainly not the best written stories, he still did a phenomenal job at delivering that character… perhaps that’s one of the many reasons why I think he’s as good as he is. When an actor is given a ‘not-so-good’ script, but they still find a way to make their own character come across top-notch, that is an ‘A’ in my book. To me, he slides into the character with ease, and it never truly feels like he is ‘acting’. I mean, yes, he did have a few other actors to learn from and his films were spread apart allowing him to ‘grow’ as an actor. At any rate, splendid job, Mr. Brosnan!
Who is your favorite James Bond?