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.
25. 'Die Another Day' (2002)
By the dawn of the 21st Century, the perception was that the Bond franchise had grown too old and stuffy. This sequel attempted to change that with a more slick, gadget-driven approach. Instead, it wound up serving as a disappointing swan song for Pierce Brosnan's tenure as 007. There's some pretty stiff competition for worst Bond movie, but this one takes the crown in the end. Blame that invisible car or the eyeroll-y puns.
24. 'A View to a Kill' (1985)
Roger Moore's last outting as 007 (he should have left on a higher-ish note with "Octopussy") deserves a better story for its great villain, one of the series' best. Christopher Walken plays a Silicon Valley tycoon with Russian Cold War ties, hellbent on flooding the tech industry to control it all. Bond gets in his way, and Moore's age more than shows in the process as this misfire unfolds. (That pre-credits sequence is also, um, not great. Neither is Bond girl Tanya Roberts.)
23. 'The Man With the Golden Gun' (1974)
This Bond adventure has one thing going for it, and that's the inimitable Christopher Lee as Scaramanga, the world's deadliest assassin. Everything else -- minus that car doing one hell of a barrel roll -- is a bust. Worst of all, this movie features Roger Moore trying to emulate Sean Connery's serious Bond rather than just playing the goofier version of 007 he did so well.
22. 'Diamonds Are Forever' (1971)
"Diamonds Are Forever" serves as both Sean Connery's last official Bond movie and the end of Bond's original conflict with the organization Spectre. It's got some fun moments along the way, but the franchise was clearly shifting in a campier direction that didn't suit Connery's steadfast Agent 007 well at all.
21. 'The World is Not Enough' (1999)
When you cast Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist named "Dr. Christmas Jones," you know something has gone horribly awry. It's a shame that Robert Carlyle's intriguing villain (a man who literally feels no pain) is wasted on such a dumb sequel. And the worst part is that it's not even the weakest of the Brosnan era. It is too bad Brosnan never had his great Bond movie, his "Goldfinger." This one has scenes that could have given him that -- especially any with villainess Elektra. Bonus points though for Brosnan's performance, the evil look he gives baddie Renard, after Bond takes him out with a rod from a sub's nuclear reactor.
20. 'Spectre' (2015)
Given how much the Daniel Craig Bond films did to reinvigorate a struggling franchise, it's disappointing that "Spectre" managed to completely derail that momentum. This film completely fumbles its attempts to tie together the mythology of its predecessors, as well as squanders its reboot of iconic villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
19. 'Tomorrow Never Dies' (1997)
The best that can really be said for this sequel is that it's not the worst Bond movie to feature Pierce Brosnan. That's still pretty cold comfort, especially coming on the heels of the excellent "GoldenEye." Jonathan Pryce's hammy multimedia tycoon villain in particular comes across as a real missed opportunity.
18. 'Moonraker' (1979)
You can really separate Hollywood into pre and post-"Star Wars" periods, with this particular Bond sequel clearly trying to tap into that space mania. Unfortunately, it's not a particularly successful effort. The poster promises thrills and intrigue that the actual movie never winds up delivering.
17. 'Quantum of Solace' (2008)
"Quantum of Solace" is one of the unfortunate casualties of the 2007 writer's strike, resulting in a too short and choppily crafted follow-up to "Casino Royale." Even so, it does a solid job of wrapping up its predecessors loose ends and cementing Daniel Craig as a worthy heir to the Bond mantle. What could have been Craig's "The Dark Knight" follow-up to the "Batman Begins-y" origin story of "Casino Royale" suffers from an emotionally uneven story infused with impressive and unique visual flare from director Marc Forster.
16. 'Live and Let Die' (1973)
This is one of those rare Bond movies where the theme song tends to overshadow the film itself. "Live and Let Die" is most significant for marking the debut of Roger Moore. Moore himself does a solid job of catching the baton, but the film around him is pretty textbook Bond fare. And in hindsight, a lot of the film's blaxploitation elements are a little uncomfortable.
15. 'Octopussy' (1983)
The Roger Moore Bond movies tend to have a polarizing effect on fans, with this particular sequel often singled out as a poster child for everything wrong with this campier era for the franchise. But assuming you can tolerate the rampant silliness, this is one of the more enjoyable Moore-driven entries in the series.
14. 'The Living Daylights' (1987)
After the campy direction the Bond franchise took in the '80s, audiences needed a darker, grittier 007 to re-center things. They got that in Timothy Dalton. This sequel arguably pushes the series in too dark a direction, but Dalton deftly established himself as a worthy successor to the mantle.
13. 'License to Kill' (1989)
Dalton's last Bond movie failed to connect with audiences at the box office during the crowded Summer 1989 box office season. And it's too bad, because a lot of the darker choices here work similar to those in Craig's outings. Bond's vendetta against a murderous drug lord was almost a decade before its time. (Sadly, this underrated effort features one of the more "meh" Bond title songs.)
12. 'You Only Live Twice' (1967)
This is one of the formative Bond movies, one which brings Agent 007 face-to-face with mastermind villain Erst Stavro Blofeld for the first time. The plot tends to get a little too zany for its own good here, but the combination of big set pieces, a great villain and Sean Connery's dependable Bond definitely works.
11. 'GoldenEye' (1995)
Six years after the release of "License to Kill" -- Bond's longest absence from the big screen (thus far) -- Pierce Brosnan brought 007 back to theaters with one hell of a debut. Nostalgia for this adventure holds up much better than the actual film -- the script has issues, let's just say. Despite that, Brosnan cements himself in a part he was born to play, assisted by Martin Campbell's deft direction and some of the series' best set pieces. (Love that pre-credits bungee jump!)
10. 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' (1969)
George Lazenby tends to be overlooked whenever fans debate the best Bond actor, and that's a shame. Lazenby played a much more vulnerable Bond in this sequel, which didn't necessarily sit well with audiences accustomed to Sean Connery's suave, rugged version of 007.
9. 'From Russia With Love' (1963)
The Bond franchise started to really take shape in its second outing, benefiting from a larger budget than Dr. No and Sean Connery's self-assured charm. It's a bit too sluggish in spots to rival the best of Connery's Bond movies, but it remains a fan-favorite for a reason.
7. 'For Your Eyes Only' (1981)
"For Your Eyes Only" marks a return to form for a franchise that had gone a little bit out of whack in 1979's "Moonraker." The plot here isn't terribly remarkable, but the great action scenes, the more grounded story, and a rock-solid Bond performance from Roger Moore are all huge selling points. Grounded and gritty, this Cold War adventure is arguably Bond's most underrated mission.
6. 'Thunderball' (1965)
While it doesn't reach the heights of 1964's "Goldfinger," "Thunderball" is a rock-solid Sean Connery Bond movie. Which, of course, makes it one of the better entries in the franchise. Among other strengths, the film boasts a great Bond girl and some revolutionary (if slightly drawn-out) underwater action scenes.
5. 'Dr. No' (1962)
This is the one that started it all. "Dr. No" doesn't have the scope of later Bond films, but it did introduce so many of the franchise's critical characters and elements. Sean Connery himself was in top form here, with his debut performance being eclipsed by only one other Bond film.
4. 'The Spy Who Loved Me' (1977)
The Moore era of Bond peaked with this 1977 sequel, which paired 007 with his Soviet counterpart in a bid to stop the surface world from being destroyed by an underwater billionaire (definitely the worst kind of billionaire). Never before or after did Moore's Bond achieve such an effective balance between humor and dramatic stakes.
3. 'Skyfall' (2012)
"The Dark Knight" of Bond movies. "Skyfall" is one of the few Bond movies whose reach doesn't exceed its grasp. Excellent performances, from Judi Dench's final turn as M to a gonzo/creepy/sexually fluid Javier Bardem as this Bond's best villain, help make this landmark outing a game-changer for the franchise. It's the Bond movie all others will be compared to from here on out.
2. 'Casino Royale' (2006)
Craig's first Bond movie was met early on with internet hate, with fans hating the blonde Bond inheriting the role after fan-favorite Brosnan's abrupt firing from it. Those folks were put in their place before the opening titles rolled, thanks to a gritty black-and-white teaser showing Bond earning his 00's before embarking on a mission that, tonally, was something we've never seen before. It works as both drama and action movie, adding much-needed dimension to the movies' most famous spy. In doing so, it reinvented the franchise in such a way that all but erases what came before. A welcome reset.
1. 'Goldfinger' (1964)
Perhaps it's only proper that the Bond film about a villain with a fetish for gold would become the gold standard by which all other Bond movies are judged. This sequel features some of the most iconic moments of the entire franchise, from that infamous laser torture device to Oddjob and his magical hat of death. This is where Sean Connery reached the peak of his rugged appeal as 007, and we're not sure any actor will ever be able to top him.