I saw No Time To Die two days ago so pardon me, I still have Bond on my mind. I know embargo has passed for this film, but I need to mull this over a bit so I’ll review it this weekend. Per customary with new Bond movie released, the internet is filled with new Bond film ranking. I probably should do that at some point, but ranking 26 films takes a bit of time, so for now I’m just going to rank five of Daniel Craig’s movies.
Before I do that, I thought I’d share this trailer of Being James Bond, a brief 46-min retrospective doc where Craig candidly reflects on his 15-year tenure as James Bond. It includes never-before-seen archival footage spanning from Casino Royale (2006) to No Time To Die (2021). It’s available to watch for free on Apple TV+ and a must-see for Bond fans!
There’s really no ‘science’ in these ranking of course, it’s based on instinct and well, personal taste.
So here they are in the order of WORST to BEST:
QUANTUM OF SOLACE
This is perhaps the only Bond movie in the last 20 years that I’ve seen only once and I haven’t had the desire to rewatch it. Even the worst of Pierce Brosnan’s Bond, namely Die Another Day, I’ve watched 2-3 times as there are still some fun, albeit idiotic, moments. When I first saw Quantum I just thought it’s such a dull movie, with a truly lame villain (totally miscast Mathieu Almaric) and a rather meh Bond girl (Olga Kurylenko). It’s even more of a letdown considering it was a continuation of an excellent Bond movie, so the buildup was much more intriguing than the actual movie.
Speaking of having a lame villain, the fourth Craig Bond film somehow the same fate as Quantum despite having Oscar-winning Christoph Waltz, whose huge Hollywood breakthrough was playing a phenomenal Nazi officer in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. I had just mentioned about that in this post where the henchman (Dave Bautista) is actually more memorable. It’s a bad sign when the best spectacle is the opening action sequence, as the entire film just never quite match up its intensity and entertainment value.
It doesn’t help that another big-budget spy thriller franchise Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is released the same year and it features plenty of phenomenal, highly memorable action sequences… the exhilarating Vienna Opera House scene alone definitely gives the Bond action set pieces a run for their money!
NO TIME TO DIE
Well, this is definitely one of the most somber Bond film I’ve seen to date… which marks the end of the era, so to speak. Is it a proper send-off for Craig? In short, yes. It certainly also marks a progressive step for the 50+ year old franchise build on the male patriarchy. I do think Cary Fukunaga‘s direction is quite impressive and he made some intriguing, bold choices… I’ll have more on that in my full review, so for now I’ll leave it at that.
I had just rewatched this a couple of days before I saw No Time To Die, so it’s still fresh in my mind. Bond returns home in this one… though not exactly under a happy circumstance. There are plenty to like about this one and centering the story on M (Judi Dench) as one of the major plot makes it stand out from the pack. For once Bond isn’t the primary target, heck Silva would probably let Bond go as his wrath is for ‘mommy’ who he thinks betrayed him (certainly an interesting moniker for a former MI-6 boss). Javier Bardem is a memorable villain and the relationship between Bond and M reaches penultimate point in a dramatic and emotional way, I actually still teared up watching that scene at the church.
What a phenomenal Bond debut for Craig! I absolutely LOVED this film, it ranks in my top 5 amongst all 26 films. When I first saw it though, I didn’t think it would stand as my favorite out of all of Craig’s Bond films… but it definitely stands as the one I’ve seen the most out of his 5 films. I know that the poster shouldn’t determine the quality of the film itself, but even judging from that, Casino Royale‘s poster with Craig at the card table with a smoldering look is absolutely fetching.
It’s got everything you want in a Bond movie – great villain, captivating love interest who’s more than a damsel in distress (Eva Green), dynamic action, gorgeous locations… plus the score by David Arnold is so lush and beautiful, evoking John Barry who’s my fave Bond composer.
17 thoughts on “Ranking Daniel Craig’s Bond Movies”
A great and timely idea for a post! I am very far from being a Daniel Craig fan, especially him in the role of James Bond, but I love Skyfall. I will always remember the first time I watched it in cinema, that voice from Adele singing Skyfall, one of my favourite directors Sam Mendes and Judie Dench and Jarvier Bardem there too. Pure joy.
Ah, not a fan of Craig eh? My fave Bond is actually Dalton, I’m still sad he only got to do 2 films.
Skyfall is definitely a great film, all the actors are great indeed, esp. Dame Judi Dench. I absolutely adore Adele’s voice too, sooo much better than Sam Smith who did the following Bond movie, ugh.
Dalton made a very interesting James Bond. I have seen one Bond film with him, but in all honesty I can’t recall it now and will need to re-watch. And yes, I am what some may call “a traditionalist” because I prefer Sean Connery’s Bond films.
I hear ya… Connery is the original and he’s just soooo handsome and cool as Bond. I grew up with Roger Moore Bond films but Connery just have that edge to him. I do think Dalton has that too, and his two films are massively underrated. I hope you give the one you saw a rewatch and watch the other one too 🙂
I just watched Being James Bond last night, it’s an okay documentary. I was hoping for much deeper look into the making of each of Craig’s Bond films. It felt too thin for me but still fun to hear the top 3 people involved making those films.
I won’t get to see No Time To Die until opening weekend so of course I can’t include it on my ranking yet. But as of now, here’s my ranking:
2. Casino Royale
3. Quantum of Solace
Yeah, the doc could’ve been more elaborate about all of Craig’s Bond films. I wish they’d also show more of the people talking too.
I’m very curious to hear what you think where No Time To Die would land on your top 5, Ted!
With the exception of No Time to Die (which I hope to watch next month with my mom), We definitely share the same ranking though my dad preferred Skyfall over Casino Royale as he really enjoyed the former a lot as he also really liked Spectre since he felt the film was more like the old Bond films. It’s a shame he’s not going to see the new one in person as I’m sure already saw it and every other Bond film to come in the afterlife.
Hope you and your mom enjoy No Time to Die! Is she a Bond fan?
I think Skyfall falls just below Casino Royale by a small margin. I also wish one of my brothers who had passed away could see this as I grew up watching Bond movies with him and my other brother who just saw it the other day (it’s already released in some Asian countries).
Her favorite Bond is Roger Moore. She loves the Roger Moore films as she grew up on his work in The Saint.
I did hear the film is already leaked but I am not watching a film that is leaked. I want to see it on the big screen.
I grew up w/ Roger Moore Bond movies so I have a special fondness for those. Oh no, don’t watch a leaked version, hope you see it in the theatre soon!
I refuse to watch a leaked version. I want to see it in the theaters and with my mom as a tribute to my dad.
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I haven’t watched No Time To Die yet but I agree with all your other rankings. Quantum of Solace lost its way while, on the other end of the spectrum, Craig made a triumphant debut in Casino Royale and marked an exciting return to the franchise for the audience.
Hey Claire! I hope you see No Time To Die soon, curious to hear your thoughts. Too bad Casino Royale remains his best, but I do love Skyfall too and despite its flaws, NTTD is a fitting tribute to Craig’s tenure.
I knew when I got to Casino Royal (CR), this was a very well thought out review of Daniel Craig’s worst to best in his career as James Bond. CR was my first Bond movie I’d ever seen (and then I went back and watched other Bond films not starring Craig).
At any rate, this is a superb listicle, and one that I can confidently agree with. Great work Ruth, I hope you have a good rest of the day!
Well hello Leon, welcome to FC! How cool that you started with CR as the first Bond movie, that’s definitely one of the best of the franchise, not just the one by Craig.
Which other Bond films are your fave thus far? Have you seen the Timothy Dalton films? He’s the closest to Craig’s style, but he was well ahead of his time.
Thanks for checking out the post! Good day to you!