The Best James Bond Actors, Ranked
24 films. Six actors. A billion martinis. They all add up to 007. Okay, so we're not good at math — BUT we are good at ranking the best (and worst) actors to ever play Bond, James Bond. As Daniel Craig’s second Bond outing, “Quantum of Solace,” celebrates its 10th anniversary, we decided to rate our favorite number one cause of death for guys named Blofeld.
6. George Lazenby
Best Movie: "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1964) Well, it's his only Bond movie. The one-and-done Lazenby often gets a bum wrap for his turn in "OHMSS," but he is surprisingly more effective in the role than one would expect from a model-turned-iconic super spy. Still, there is something "un-Bond" about his screen presence, and immediately following in Connery's footsteps is already a tough act to follow without having the non-start factor to contend with. He's not "terrible" or "the worst" in the traditional sense, he's just not Bond. But his movie -- and its take on 007 -- are, tonally, the closest the series has come to nailing Ian Fleming's books since Daniel Craig came along.
5. Timothy Dalton
Best Movie: "The Living Daylights" (1987) "Too serious" best describes Dalton's tenure in the tux, at least where fans are concerned. General audiences vetoed Roger Moore's successor at the box office, as Dalton's last Bond effort (the underrated "License to Kill") got lost in the Summer 1989 blockbuster shuffle. (Legal issues surrounding the character, which delayed Bond's return to the big screen until 1995, didn't help either.) Like Lazenby before him, Dalton suffered from taking over the Walther PPK from a very popular and likable Bond. In retrospect, it could be argued that Dalton's gritty -- and deadly serious -- take on 007 was just ahead of its time.
4. Pierce Brosnan
Best Movie: "GoldenEye" (1995) "Looks like Bond's valet." That's how the late critic Gene Siskel described Brosnan's first turn as Bond in "GoldenEye." While the actor may have lacked the physical bearing of Connery, Brosnan had more than enough "looking cool while holding a gun" faces to make the role his own. While his movies never truly capitalized on the potential he had as an actor, and what he wanted to do with the character, Brosnan was a fan-favorite and box office success. Until Craig came alone, he anchored the most successful Bond films in the franchise's history. And while we're still shaking our heads at how he was unceremoniously dismissed from the role, he still left quite the mark on 007's legacy.
3. Roger Moore
Best Movie: "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977) For many of us, Moore was the Bond we grew up with. So we forgave some of his more campy '80s adventures and the suave-but-never-really-dangerous air he gave to the role. If Moore's tenure is marred by one too many quips and (sigh) "Moonraker," his very grounded 1981 entry, "For Your Eyes Only," more than makes up for it. Here, Bond goes underwater and takes to the slopes to stop ol' fashioned Cold War baddies from getting their hands on a scary Cold War MacGuffin. Anyone who doubts Moore's bonafides should watch this film and reconsider.
2. Sean Connery
Best Movie: "Goldfinger" (1964) The man. The myth. The legend. The first big-screen Bond from EON Productions, Connery effortlessly defined the character's iconography that would become the standard all aspire to more than 50 years after "Dr. No." He was arguably the best Bond ever made. Until...
1. Daniel Craig
Best Movie: "Skyfall" (2012) On a sheer "Acting" level, Craig is the best thespian to ever strap on the shoulder holster. His harsh, lethal expressions and steely-eyed everything captured the tortured assassin part of the character unlike any previous actor or film did before. Craig's Bond is ruthless and dangerous -- for the first time in the franchise's history, you're afraid of 007 and what he can do. He is to the Bond franchise what Christian Bale was to Batman -- the Bond we both need and deserve right now.