Production on the new James Bond film Spectre has been well and truly under way for the last two months, and the recent release of the first still from the film means this Top 5 article shall be looking at the best James Bond films across its vast history.
5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
A fan-favourite, OHMSS was the first and last Bond film to star George Lazenby as 007, his single-outing stands as one of the most entertaining Bond plots. Lazenby had the difficult task of following Sean Connery (who later returned for one final film – Diamonds Are Forever – two years later), but he did so commendably, becoming a convincing Bond; a testament to the fact that he was a male model rather than an actor prior to the film. (For the full story on how Lazenby got the role of Bond, check out the excellent 007 documentary Everything or Nothing.) OHMSS saw Britain’s best secret-agent involved in a plot featuring arch-nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his plan to distribute bacteriological-warfare agents across the globe, as well as Bond’s ill-fated marriage to Countess Teresa ‘Tracy’ di Vicenzo.
4. Goldeneye (1995)
When Pierce Brosnan took up the mantle of 007 in 1995, Bond had not been seen on screen for six years, and there was the question of whether Bond would fit into a post Cold-War era. But Brosnan’s first 007 adventure brought Bond into the new era in style, from the excellent bungee-jump opening to the tank-driving scene in Moscow, and onto the death-defying fight scene finale atop a satellite dish: it was clear that 007 was well and truly back. Sean Bean provided the villain of the film, an ex-MI6 agent gone rogue, whilst Izabella Scorupco portrayed feisty Natalya Simonova and Famke Janssen played Xenia Onatopp, providing yet another double-entendre Bond-girl name for 007 lore. A classic Bond adventure.
3. Live and Let Die (1973)
Roger Moore’s James Bond era is well known for its tongue-in-cheek humour and generally campier tone than other Bond films. Whilst his first film, Live and Let Die, did indeed have more humour than before it also had a darker story, with 007 hunting the drug kingpin Dr. Kananga from the streets of Harlem to the Caribbean island of San Monique. This outing also featured memorable villain Baron Samedi, the mysterious voodoo man with an affinity for poisonous snakes. Paul and Linda McCartney also wrote one of the best Bond themes (you can guess the song title) and Paul performed it with his band Wings for the main title sequence. An all-round entertaining Bond film.
2. Casino Royale (2006)
Casino Royale, for older and newer Bond fans alike, is one of the best of the entire series. Not only is it one of the best Bond films, it is also the best action film of recent years. Daniel Craig rebooted Bond as more sharp, serious and deadly than ever – the grittier tone of the movie and story following 007 as he is goes up against private banker to the world’s terrorists Le Chiffre in a high-stakes poker match colluded to lend a more realistic feel to this addition to the Bond franchise. Eva Green’s character Vesper Lynd provided the best love-interest for Bond since OHMSS, showing more of the man behind the 007 number and setting up a continuing storyline for the next in the franchise, 2008’s Quantum of Solace.
1. Goldfinger (1964)
Widely regarded as the best Bond film, Goldfinger is certainly is one of the most entertaining entries in 007 history and introduced many now-legendary elements of the Bond franchise. From Auric Goldfinger, Oddjob with his deadly bowler hat, the Aston Martin DB5, Bond-girl Pussy Galore, and of course the famous exchange between Bond and Goldfinger –
“Do you expect me to talk?”
“No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die!”
This is classic Bond at its finest.