“Bond … James Bond”: My best of lists from 50 years of movies

There are some obvious dividing lines between people in society based on their preferences. For example, when it comes to rugby league either your support Queensland or New South Wales. In the world of Star Trek you either are a fan of Captain Kirk or Captain Picard. At its basest level people can be divided by whether they are left or right handed.

Another of these “dividing lines” in society arises when one considers the James Bond franchise of fees. Anecdotal evidence suggests that either one is a fan of the Bond franchise or one is not with very little grey in between. This is a blog that will appeal to fans of the franchise. If you are not then you ought probably click away from this blog right now.

The simple fact of the matter is that I am a fan of the Bond Franchise. Actually to say that I am a fan would be understatement: it would be like saying I am only a fan of cricket. I have watched every movie in the Bond Franchise at least 5 times and if I was on a quiz show and I was asked for a special topic it would be tough call as to whether I would choose cricket or the Bond franchise as that special topic.

As we celebrate the 50th year of the Bond Franchise and, I admit, off the back of Adele’s recent scoop of the various available awards for achievement in theme songs with her haunting rendition of the theme to Skyfall, I have given some thought to some of my favourites across a number of parts of the franchise. In all areas I have been forced to pick a top five as there was too many fine options to choose from and when it comes to the actors I have ranked them in order of who I consider to be the “best of Bond”.

It should be noted that for the purpose of this blog and, in general, I exclude from any consideration of the Bond franchise the non-canon version of Casino Royale from 1967 which starred David Niven and Never Say Never Again from 1983 which starred a fading Connery (and was itself a remake of Thunderball).

So here are my best of lists from 50 years of Bond movies:

Best Bond:

This is a simple decision: the best Bond is Sean Connery in my opinion by a fair margin. Whilst the character originated in Ian Fleming’s novels, it was Connery that gave the character a face and voice on the big screen.

1. Connery
2. Craig
3. Lazenby
4. Brosnan
5. Moore
6. Dalton

Of the remainder, I pick George Lazenby at the 3rd best Bond simply because I think the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is one of the best Bond movies. Roger Moore’s more comedic and even camp portrayal does nothing for me and despite him appearing in the the most Bond movies (7) I do not rate the Moore Bond highly. Daniel Craig has, in my view, nailed Bond in the reboot of the franchise and is as close to Connery as any of the other actors to portray 007 has ever come.

Best Bond Movie:

Dr No is the first movie in the franchise and, despite its age, I continue to rate it the best of the franchise. Funnily enough a close run second in my top 5 Bond movies is the reboot of the franchise staring Daniel Craig (Casino Royale).

1. Dr No
2. Casino Royale
3. Goldfinger
4. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
5. Skyfall

The most recent addition to the franchise makes this list and over time may move higher in my top 5. It is just a great movie on top of being a great Bond movie and is one of the few movies in the franchise to cross the divide of Bond fans and just everyday viewer of movies.

Best Bond Girl:

1. Honey Ryder played by Ursula Andress in Dr No
2. Vesper Lynd played by Eva Green in Casino Royale
3. Natalya Simonova played by Izabella Scorupco in Golden Eye
4. Mary Goodnight played by Britt Ekland in The Man with the Golden Gun
5. Professor Inga Bergstrom played by Cecilia Thomsen in Tomorrow Never Dies

Best Bond Theme Song:

1. Goldenfinger by Shirley Bassey in Goldfinger
2. Live and Let Die by Paul McCartney in Live and Let Die
3. You know my name by Chris Cornell in Casino Royale
4. Die Another Day by Madonna in Die Another Day
5. James Bond Theme by John Barry and Orchestra in Dr No

Most Inappropriate Character Name:

The Bond films are known for their inappropriately named female characters. Nothing more needs to be said about these names:

1. Pussy Galore in Goldfinger
2. Octopussy from the movie of the same name
3. Holly Goodhead from Moonraker
3. Plenty O’Toole from Diamonds are Forever
5. Dr Molly Warmflash from THe World is Not Enough

Best Bond villains:

I have not included henchmen in this category and indeed the list of henchman would be dominated by Oddjob and Jaws so I have decided to not include it as a separate list at all given said domination. My choice for the top spot here comes from the most recent of movies: simply put Javier Bardem plays the most menacing of the Bond villains of all in my opinion and seems to cause the most disruption to MI6 than any of the villains which is one of my key criteria. That is why Elektra King from The World is Not Enough gets the second spot on my list given that through her manipulation of Renard she caused a bomb to go off inside MI6 headquarters and kidnapped M. The list is rounded out by the longest surviving villain in Ernst Blofield (who always seemed to survive), the Kossack former MI6 agent Alec Trevelyan in Goldeneye and Auric Goldfinger from the movie that bears his name.

1. Raoul Silver played by Javier Bardem in Skyfall
2. Elektra King played by Sophie Marceau in The World is Not Enough
3. Ernst Blofield played by 4 different actors in 4 different movies
4. Alec Trevelyan played by Sean Bean in Goldeneye
5. Auric Goldfinger played by Gert Frobe in Goldfinger

So there you have it: my best of lists for the Bond Franchise. Bond fans: what do you think? Comments and feedback more than welcome!