Guest Post: Top Five Favorite Bond Movies

With the recent casting news of Naomi Harris as Money Penny and also Jarvier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes as possible villains in Bond 23, I thought I should list my top five favorite Bond films ever.

Let’s face it, there are a lot of bad Bond films that have came out since Dr. No but in my opinion only a handful of them are considered very good. I’ve been Bond fanatic since I was very young, my dad and I used to watch the older Bond films with Sean Connery when I was around 8 or 9 years old. After that I would always love to watch any kind of spy films or TV shows. That’s why with the new Mission: Impossible, Jason Bourne and of course James Bond flick coming out within a few months of each other, I’m quite ecstatic. So with the anticipation of the new Bond and the other two big spy films coming out, below are my favorite Bond films.

  1. Thunderball (1965) – This was the first Bond film to be shot in cinemascope widescreen, the previous films were shot in full screen or 1.66: 1 ratio. To me this was the definitive James Bond film, it has everything, beautiful women, great locations, sinister villains and of course great action sequences (just a bit outdated compare to today’s action movies), especially the boat chase at the end. Of course the film is pretty dated since it came out in 1965 and the story is similar to another Bond film, Never Say Never Again, so if you’ve never seen it and decided to watch it now, you’ll probably be saying to yourself, I’ve seen this movie already. Also, the Austin Powers films spoofed the heck out it. Another interesting nugget, this is the biggest box office hit out of all the Bond films, when you consider inflation. The film earned about $63 mil in domestic box office back in 1965, that’s around $500 mil in today’s money. That’s pretty big number, compare to $169 mil earned by the last Bond film, Quantum of Solace.
  2. Casino Royale (2006) – After the silliness of Die Another Day, the filmmakers decided to go back and reboot the franchise and I’m glad they did. Director Martin Campbell decided to make the film more grounded, very similar to the Bond films of the 60s and actually made us care about the characters in the film. Daniel Craig took over the iconic role and boy did he deliver. The film has everything you asked for in a Bond film, beautiful women, the new Aston Martin DBS, great locations, sinister villains and of course the action scenes were pretty cool.
  3. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) – Yes, I believe this is one of the best Bond films ever made and not because Christopher Nolan said he love it too. I didn’t know Nolan love this film until he said it during the making of Inception. The first time I saw this Bond flick was when I was in high school and for the first few minutes, I didn’t even know it was a James Bond film. It was so different from the previous installments that it didn’t feel like a Bond film at all and maybe it’s the reason why I enjoyed so much. The big action scene near the end of the film was pretty awesome and who could forget the dark/surprise ending. I was shocked when I first saw the film and how it ended. The only down side of this film was George Lazenby, he wasn’t much of an actor and his take on Bond was kind of weak.
  4. License To Kill (1989)– Timothy Dalton’s last outing as Bond was pretty great in my opinion, but unfortunately most people disagree since the film didn’t do too well at the box office. I think the film just opened in the wrong season, Tim Burton’s Batman was dominating the box office in the summer of 1989. Who knows maybe had the studio moved the release date from summer to the holidays season of that year, the film could’ve been a hit. This was not a perfect Bond flick by any means, the Bond girls were beautiful and the villain was great. But I thought the movie looked cheap even though it’s a big budgeted film. It cost around $30mil to make and back in 1989, that’s a big production. I wonder if director John Glen wanted to give the film that gritty look but somehow couldn’t make it happen. Whatever the reason, I still enjoyed the movie tremendously and I can watch that big action sequence near the end over and over again.
  5. For Your Eyes Only (1981)– So after the over the top storyline of Moonraker, the filmmakers decided to bring Bond back to the ground. It might have something to do with fact that many people complained how silly Moonraker was and even though it made a lot of money, the studio and producers wanted to make a more grounded Bond film for the next installment. Well they delivered because For Your Eyes Only was quite entertaining and has my favorite Bond girl. The original script of this film was quite dark and gritty; Roger Moore voiced his displeasure with the script because he didn’t want to do a dark and serious Bond movie. So director John Glen included a few humor sequences to please Moore and asked the writers to tone down the seriousness of the plot. In the end I believe it was well received by both the critics and audience.

[RTM’s note: Check out my top five list of Bond movies + Bond girls/villains/title songs here.]

So, now your turn. Give us your top five favorite Bond films and tell us… who is your favorite actor playing 007?

53 thoughts on “Guest Post: Top Five Favorite Bond Movies

  1. I’ve never been a huge Bond fan, but given the cast of the next one, I may decide to go see it after all. Hell, the fact that there even will be a next Bond film after all the financial problems MGM has gone through is a minor miracle in itself.

    1. Ted S.

      The funny thing is without the James Bond films, MGM wouldn’t have lasted this long. I don’t know what the exact agreement they have with Sony but it looks like both of the studios split the profits from theatrical release again and Fox will release the film on DVD/BD.

  2. I agree with Rich in that I’m relieved the studios sorted theor money issues and were able to finally greenlight the project and finish it. I always enjoyed watching the old Bond films when I was younger, though I never really took them seriously, just considered them to exist in this charmingly ludicrous alternate universe where any aspect of the plot was actually remotely plausible. What i like about the reboots is the realism and the maturity they’ve been given. I like Daniel Craig’s cold Stoicism though I do think it wouldn’t kill him to crack a smile once in a while. I don’t the new Bond films would have been as successful without the influence of Bourne and the third MI film, so excited to hear they are continuing the franchise with each of those, they are supremely entertaining.

    1. Ted S.

      Ha ha yeah I agree that Craig should definitely have more fun in the next film. He even said he wanted to do a lighter Bond for the new film, let’s hope Mendes can deliver a fun and exciting new Bond movie.

  3. Wonderful list of Bonds. I’d have no issue re-watching any or all of them. Being a long-time fan of the series (and being old), my tastes are weighted to the earlier, though. Here would be my top five:

    1. Goldfinger
    2. From Russia With Love
    3. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
    4. Goldeneye
    5. Casino Royale

    Given what I’ve written here, then it should be no surprise to learn that I’m a Sean Connery man ;-).

    Fun post. Thanks.

    1. Ted S.

      I like your choices, From Russia with Love almost made my top 5 too. I love the fight scene between Robert Shaw and Sean Connery, so brutal for its time. I just didn’t like the tacked on ending scene that’s why I can’t include it on my top five. Connery is definitely my favorite Bond too, but I also like Dalton and Craig.

  4. Great list! I’d pick Live and Let Die instead of For Your Eyes Only, and switch in Dr No for Thunderball, but otherwise I’m in total agreement. Which is odd but cool 🙂

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Paula, I enjoyed Live and Let Die but it was so weird to me, they tried to cash in the era of blaxpoitation films. It does have Jane Seymore, she’s my second favorite Bond girl. 🙂

        1. Ted S.

          Carole Bouquet’s Melina in For Your Eyes Only, she’s not that good of an actress but she looked stunning in that film.

          1. You’ve got great taste, Ted. I love Carole Bouquet’s Melina, so stunning and elegant. I won’t hold it against her the fact that she couldn’t act because she’s a fashion model, at least she’s 10000 times more watchable than Denise Richards who THINKS she’s an actress.

            1. Ted S.

              Yes, Denise Richards was probably THE worst Bond girl ever. I mean come on, she played a scientist, really? Also, The World is Not Enough was a pretty bad film.

              I like Vesper too but she betrayed Bond to rescue her true lover, so I can’t put her on my favorite list. 😦

              1. Yep a ROCKET scientist, no less, and her name is just horrid, Dr. Christmas Jones, I mean, come on!!

                Ahah, I think you’re taking this too seriously Ted, I think the fact that Vesper is such a layered character is what I like about her. I think in the end she regretted what she did, that’s why she didn’t want Bond to rescue her. Plus, she’s no bimbo!

                1. i’ve gotta agree with Ruth on both counts. I think Vesper really loved him. she was just in too big of a mess to get out. i could be wrong, but didn’t she bargain for Bond’s life with her own when she was kidnapped and he was tied to the chair?

                  1. Ted S.

                    Yeah I think both you and Ruth are right, it’s been a while since I saw the film. Which means I’ll have to watch again soon since I’m in the mood for a good spy flick. 🙂

  5. Hey Ted, your post made me think about my own top 5 list, which I’ve added to my previous Top 5 Bond list, and I pick one movie from five different Bond actors. Here goes:

    Sean Connery: From Russia with Love
    Roger Moore: For Your Eyes Only
    Timothy Dalton: Licence to Kill
    Pierce Brosnan: Goldeneye
    Daniel Craig: Casino Royale

    I sooo love you for having Licence to Kill on your list. I love The Living Daylights too, but LTK has the edge I think. Thanks again for your great contribution!

    1. Ted S.

      No problem and I do like your choices too, I think I’m one of the few who didn’t think that highly of GoldenEye. I thought it was good but Bronsnan just looked too uncomfortable in the role. Also, I thought the writing wasn’t that clever, I mean seriously can’t the writers come up with better riddle than “Something to sit on but you don’t take it with you”. I think everyone could figure that out except Natalya Simonova and she’s supposed to be a very smart person.

      Alright I’ll stop my rant about that film. 🙂

      1. Ahahaha… Natalya Simowhatshername is pretty cheesy I admit and I couldn’t stand Alan Cumming as Boris! However, Sean Bean well more than makes up for both of them, plus I quite like Famke Janssen as a bad-ass assassin w/ one of the best name ever, Xenia Onatopp, that’s right up there w/ Pussy Galore!!

        1. Well, if we’re going to get into fave Bond girls, you’ve covered two of mine right there: Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp. I can only add (and nowhere least) Diana Rigg as Tracy Di Vicenzo for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service .

            1. Yes, I did see you Bond lists. Very fun post. It’s interesting to note the differences between yours and mine, but I reckon it may be generational. I’m fond of Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) and Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) for their distinct look and allure, but the models who played Octopussy (Maud Adams… the one actress who kept coming back in the Roger Moore Bond installments — she was also in The Man with the Golden Gun and an uncredited cameo in A View to a Kill) and Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) never stirred (not shaken) me. There’s no wrong answer in these kinds of discussion. We like what we like :-).

  6. Hi, Ruth and company:

    I grew up with Connery as Bond, so with rare exception, he’s the man.

    Roger Moore always struck me as too pretty and upper class to be a decent Bond. Though worked quite well for Moore while under contract for ‘The Saint’. Which kept Moore from the first round of replacement Bonds led by George Lazenby.

    Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan were okay and aimed at a younger audience who desired over the top pyrotechnics over character development. While Daniel Craig certainly fills the bill as an action hero and not a spy. At the cost of nearly destroying the Fleming/Bond mythos.

    Which brings us to George Lazenby and ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. Many friends of mine ignore this film out of hand and that’s a shame. Granted,
    Lazenby faced a larger backlash than those who followed, His Bond was quite serviceable, though suffered from a less than stellar, rough and thuggish Telly Savalas as Blofeld. Bond’s marriage to Diana Rigg didn’t hurt and exposed varying levels in Bond never plumbed before.

    Hence: My Top Five Bond Films.

    #1: From Russia With Love. Yes, it did introduce the first rather low-tech ‘gimmicks’ that in this film aided, yet in others would veer off to define the character and the film. It sticks very closely to Fleming Cold war roots while boasting a cast of stalwarts in supporting roles.

    #2: Goldfinger. Superior villain, henchmen and femmes fatale. Plus an iconic Aston Martin DB-5.

    #3: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Relatively unknown, Geoege Lazenby bats a solid triple with decent action, romance and revenge.

    #4: Thunderball. Lush locales and an above average villain in Emilio Largo. Superior underwater action and model work with a RAF Vulcan bomber ditching in the Caribbean. Avoid its later Connery/Bond re-make, ‘Never Say Never Again’ at all costs!

    #5: Dr. No. The first of many. That introduced Ursula Andress as the supreme ‘Bond Girl’, Honey Ryder and Jack Lord as Felix Leiter. Great villain realized Joesph Wiseman backed up by an Armored Car/Fire Breathing Dragon.

    1. Ted S.

      Hi Jack,

      Great choices, I can tell you’re definitely prefer the “classic” Bond films. Glad to see some other Bond fan who digs On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as much as I do.

      1. Hi Jack, I like your choices but I’d have to disagree w/ you over your assessment of Dalton being put in the same breath as Brosnan. I think each of them did a contrasting take on the role of 007, as Dalton brought more of the conflicting emotion and humanity the way 007 was written by Ian Flemming, so I don’t see that his Bond films are more ‘top pyrotechnics over character development’ In fact, in LTK, we saw a different side of Bond, more brutal yes, but more compassionate as well in regards to his friendship with Felix.

        1. Hi, Ruth and all:

          Excellent points regarding Dalton and ‘License To Kill’. Exposing a side of Bond rarely seen. Considering the film’s supporting cast, especially on Robert Davi’s side (The ever slimy, arrogant Anthony Zerbe. Always reliable Don Stroud and a young Benicio Del Toro) plus rarely seen David Hedison as Felix Leiter. I was expecting more.

          That we can disagree and offer differing points of view is one of the great facets of Flix Chatter and one of the reasons I have it bookmarked.

          1. Hi again Jack. I’m ecstatic that we can all discuss our movie taste here on FC. Like Michael said, we like what we like 😀

            Sorry if I sound defensive about Dalton, just because I think he’s great doesn’t mean everyone has to agree w/ me. I just think that he had done what Craig did in Casino Royale, that is portray a more realistic/human version of the super spy, but yet it’s Craig that kept getting the credit. Btw, yeah it’s amazing how young Benicio looked in that film, that guy doesn’t age well at all.

  7. This is a good list! I think I would sub out Goldeneye for For Your Eyes Only, but I particularly disliked Roger Moore. Totally agree with the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service love, although I thought Lazenby did a fine job. Well done!

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks, I’m one of the few who didn’t think GoldenEye was that good of a Bond film, thought it was average. Glad to see another fan of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. 🙂

  8. As you know, I’m not a big fan of 007 films, so I tend to forget them as soon as I watch them. Probably the only one I really remember is GOLDENEYE, but not for the film but for Tina’s song 🙂
    I was too little to watch Connery’s and Moore’s Bonds, so Pierce Brosnan remains the best Bond for me with his elegance and accent 🙂

    1. Yeah, I like that Goldeneye song, too. You’re such a young’un Dezzy. I didn’t grow up watching Connery’s Bonds but my brothers who are 5 yrs older than me sometimes re-watched the older Bond movies so that’s why I saw some of them.

  9. FUNK

    I grew up with the Connery Bond movies, and we just couldn’t wait for the next one to come out. I’m a Connery fan through and through, but Lazenby’s Bond in HMSS is my top one, I really quit watching the Bond movies after Connery left, couldn’t get in to Moore for some reason, did like Dalton in License to Kill, and Graig really bring a physicality to Bond that has been lacking for awhile.
    So here are my top 5.
    1. Her Majesty’s Secret Service
    2. Goldfinger
    3. Thunderball
    4. From Russia With Love
    5. Dr. No

    1. Hi Dave, perhaps the next Bond ought to be another Scot? 😀 Connery is certainly an iconic 007, he’s got charisma & sex appeal in spades. I do like Craig’s physical prowess but I think in some scenes it got too be too much. He certainly more than made up for Moore’s lack of physical strength 🙂

    2. Ted S.

      Wow, really glad to see more love of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, you have great taste in Bond flicks Funk. 🙂

  10. Yea never was much of a Bond fan and never really got into it that I found any of the older movies memorable. I liked both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace though and I’m looking forward to Bond 23.

    1. Ted S.

      I think it’s definitely a generational thing, if you’re younger and never seen the older films and just started to watch them, you may not like them. I grew up in the 90s and most of my friends only like either Dalton’s or Brosnan’s Bond films but I’ve watched the old Bond movies since I was little so I tend to favor the “classic” Bond.

      1. Yes most definitely. I grew up with the Brosnan’s one which I somewhat liked but never thought were any special. (I enjoyed playing Golden Eye on Nintendo 64 a lot more lol)

  11. Wow. I think you’re the first person I’ve ever read who actually agrees with me that Thunderball is the top Bond film. All of your choices are strong, though you’re missing one great one, From Russia With Love. Here’s how I would rank them:

    1. Thunderball
    2. License to Kill
    3. From Russia With Love
    4. Casino Royale
    5. The Spy Who Loved Me

    I’d actually place On Her Majesty’s Secret Service at #6, and For Your Eyes Only would probably be 8 or 9, so you’re on the ball with that one too. Nice job.

    I really enjoyed Timothy Dalton’s work, and Daniel Craig has been great so far. However, I’d pick Connery as the best Bond. It doesn’t mean that all his films were great (I’m looking at you, Diamonds are Forever), but he’s still the ultimate choice.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Dan and yes I thought Diamonds Are Forever’s one of the worst Bond films ever! To me it felt like Connery wanted to be anywhere else but in that film, of course the producers begged and gave him $1mil to come back as Bond, that kind of number was unheard of back then.

      I would’ve put From Russia With Love on my top 5, I didn’t like the tacked on ending scene. I understand they need to show the demise of the main villain but they could’ve done a better job with it. I thought the fight scene between Connery and Shaw was pretty great though.

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  13. I cannot say that I am an expert on the Bond franchise per se, but I do like many of the films. Of your list I have seen Casino Royale (which I loved) and License to Kill (which I frankly do not totally remember). My childhood memories are inundated with visions of Roger Moore getting up to all sorts – and after a while the films started to merge in my head.

    I have seen snippets of the Connery-Bond who I have on good authority was the best Bond.

    It is sad to come to the realization that Brosnan was a bit of a let down. I loved Remington Steele from the 80’s and always thought he was perfectly suited to play the master spy. But blech I guess. That said Golden Eye was entertaining and diverting enough.

    1. Hi Luv, I too grew up w/ Roger Moore’s Bonds, I liked him then but now that I’ve seen the others, his version is definitely the most comical and not realistic at all.

      Y’know I love Remington Steele, too, but for some reason I just didn’t care for Brosnan’s Bond. I think the fact that he REALLY wanted the role became a turn off for me. I think Dalton was asked by Broccoli 3-4 times before he agreed to do it, and I’m glad he did because he was awesome!

      1. Ted S.

        Dalton was actually offered to star in On Her Majesty Secret Service before Lazenby, he turned it down because he said he was too young for the role. He must’ve been in his early 20s at the time.

        You’re right about Brosnan, he appeared to really want to be Bond and that’s why I thought he looked too uncomfortable in GoldenEye, he’s trying too hard to impress people in that film.

  14. You know…I have only watched 1 Bond movie … that is the one with Michele Yeoh in it because I really like her.

    Sorry for not being a Bond-fan.My Dosen is a bond girl like you,she really like ALL Bond movies

    1. Oh I LOVE Michele Yeoh in Tomorrow Never Dies. She really could believably whup Bond’s ass and I like that she wasn’t a damsel in distress. She really was a good contrast from Terri Hatcher’s role.

      Is Dosen your turtle? 😀

      1. Whuahaha….you’ve forgotten what Dosen mean? She was my college professor, my statistic professor. She really adores Bond movies.

        I thought I was going to see Michele in bed with Bond….Thank God that didn’t happen.

    1. He..he.. that is quite a combo. I do like Fiennes in it too, not sure if both he and Javier are gonna be in it? Man, lots of Oscar winners in this one then.

  15. Todd Bently

    I’m wondering if you’re currently accepting guest posts. I
    have a few articles I’d like to contribute, but wanted to check with
    you first.

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