So it is unclear whether Daniel Craig, the latest actor to play iconic British super spy James Bond 007, will be returning for a fifth outing.
And we have X-Files actress Gillian Anderson reportedly courting the role as “Jane Bond” and Fan4stic’s Jamie Bell and Loki himself Tom Hiddleston have also been linked. On Anderson, if they want to do a female super spy movie then do an original character. I have zero interest in any Jane, Jenna or Jan Bond. Bell seems a bit young for the role and while I’m sure Hiddleston can pull it off he seems more Bond villain than Bond to me.
So while we contemplate a potential replacement for Craig I thought it would be a good opportunity to rate the six actors to have ordered their medium dry vodka martinis shaken and not stirred. On a side note I’ve tried the drink, it is repugnant.
I am basing my list both on the actor’s performance as well as the quality of the Bond films they appeared in. And I’m ignoring the ridiculous 1967 Casino Royale parody comedy with David Niven. Here we go:
#6 George Lazenby – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
This Australian model turned actor played the role just once after the first Bond, Sean Connery, stepped down (temporarily). The film, which was a very faithful adaptation of Ian Fleming’s novel, was memorable for having Bond get married for the first time only to tragically lose his wife at the end. Lazenby’s performance, however, was not. He was wooden and stiff and did not make a believable action hero. Move along, nothing to see here.
#5 Timothy Dalton – The Living Daylights (1987) and License to Kill (1989)
Before Craig, Dalton was dark and rugged Bond. His first outing, The Living Daylights, was mediocre and all over the place but his second, Licence to Kill, is a top notch action movie and one of my favorite Bond flicks of all time.
Sadly Dalton was a bit too dark and did not pull off the suave, debonair side of the character well. A decent Bond but not a great one.
#4 Pierce Brosnan – Goldeneye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002)
My mother has had a crush on Brosnan since his days playing a former thief and con man on Remington Steele. And can you blame her. The man is the definition of smooth.
It was actually his role as Remington Steele which prevented him playing Bond sooner. But when he finally did he brought charm, wit and fortitude to the character. His first outing, Goldeneye, is one of the best Bond films ever. Sadly there was an over reliance on gadgets and special effects as his movies progressed, culminating in the sci fi snooze fest and one of the worst Bond films ever Die Another Day.
#3 Daniel Craig – Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015)
Now on to the current Bond Mr Craig. I remember when he was first announced some people complained that he was not handsome enough to play the role. But aesthetics aside Craig brought a depth and heart to the role never before seen. His physicality as well was more visceral than previous Bonds.
Like Brosnan his first film was his best; Casino Royale is Bond perfection in every respect. Quantum of Solace was lackluster and dull but Skyfall was fantastic and Spectre was still a decent watch (see my review). If Craig actually does step down from the role he can leave knowing he has done the character proud.
#2 Roger Moore – Live and Let Die (1973), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octupussy (1983) and A View to a Kill (1985)
Now this was a really tough decision for me. Roger Moore is MY Bond. While Connery – with whom he is tied for most Bond films at seven – was more a hard edged man’s man, Moore’s Bond was witty, cool and just a little silly. I remember someone saying that while Connery would throw women into bed Moore would laugh them into bed. And I loved that about him.
His Bond fought a voodoo priest, dressed like a clown and went to space. The films bordered on the surreal and cartoonish at times and some of his villains seemed to be pulled from a comic book. And I loved that.
The Spy Who Loved Me remains one of my favorite Bond films of all time. But personal preference aside I must admit that Moonraker was too silly and A View to a Kill was abysmal. Sorry Moore, but in good conscience I cannot give you the number one spot on this list, though you’ll always be number one in my heart.
#1 Sean Connery – Dr No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983)
And, no surprise, Connery is number one. The first actor to play the role on film is still the best to have ever done so. His suave but ruthless Bond set the trend for all those to follow. He was in four great Bond films in four consecutive years. That is quite a feat.
He was so beloved in the role he was asked to come back not once but twice – first for Diamonds are Forever and then for the independent, non-EON production Never Say Never Again.
He also starred in the quintessential and greatest Bond film of all time, the flawless Goldfinger. Connery is Bond. Nobody does it better.
So what do you think of my list? How would you rank the six Bond actors? Feel free to comment below.
This is Neaves, Julien Neaves signing off. l8rs