Goldfinger gun barrel James Bond ranked

James Bond Ranked: Revisiting 007 Before ‘No Time to Die’

Many That Shelf contributors were eager to see James Bond’s next adventure in No Time to Die. However, thanks to the delays of COVID-19, we’ll have to wait a little longer than the release that was expected this week. The upside to James Bond getting pushed back to November, however, is that 007 fans have ample time to revisit the franchise. We also hope that the No Time to Die team uses this time wisely and makes a better theme song than that dud from Billie Eilish!

In anticipation of James Bond’s return, the Shelf team has collectively ranked all 24 official instalments in the Eon franchise. (The Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again and the comedy take on Casino Royale have been omitted from this list.) Instead of going through the series chronologically, readers might have fun riding the James Bond franchise from least to greatest. The series admittedly has its ups and downs, and even the die hard James Bond fans contributing to this list find reasons to appreciate both the highs and the lows of the 24 films ranked here.

James Bond Rankings: The process

Participants in the survey were invited to submit a ballot ranking all 24 James Bond films in preferential order. 24 points were assigned for the film in first place, 23 to the film in second place, and so on. There was a tight race between the top two James Bond films but ultimately this mostly Toronto-based crew favoured the movie with the villain with an uncanny resemblance to Doug Ford. As a sign of the range of tastes, however, the film in the runner-up spot was a consensus favourite even though it didn’t receive a single number one vote. On the other hand, the film in 24th place won the dunce cap by a considerable margin.

With everybody under lockdown, there couldn’t be a better way to spend quarantine time than by making a martini and binge-watching some James Bond adventures. Join us in revisiting the missions of cinema’s favourite super-spy and be sure to let us know your favourite James Bond films in the comments, Twitter, or Facebook!

Moonraker James Bond

24. Moonraker (1979)

One can only imagine some studio executive eyeing the success of Star Wars and declaring, “We gotta send Bond into space!” The hilarious list of factual errors on IMDb alone indicates the shoddy preparation for Moonraker’s space stuff. (Screenwriting must have been difficult before one could just Google something.) Besides being the stupidest Bond movie ever, Moonraker marked the biggest step in which the franchise showed signs of strain. The formulaic plot rehashed You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, and The Spy Who Loved Me, but put the villain’s lair in space. Hugo Drax was also one of the franchise’s least interesting baddies, a cucumber-sandwich-nibbling intellectual played by Michael Lonsdale, who mailed it in even more than Roger Moore did. Even Richard Kiel’s steely-toothed Jaws, a highlight of Spy, felt like an eye-rollingly cartoonish embarrassment who simply wouldn’t die. Moonraker’s high-wire opening sequence, in which Jaws chased Bond in a free-fall skydive, aptly summarized the film as he crash-landed into a circus tent from miles above. Moonraker was a three-ring circus that belly flopped. –Pat Mullen

James Bond The World is Not Enough

23. The World Is Not Enough (1999)

While GoldenEye is undeniably the apex of Pierce Brosnan‘s run as James Bond, and Tomorrow Never Dies has actually proven quite prescient, The World Is Not Enough is tragically overlooked because a full 50% of its Bond girls are unabashedly terrible. There has never been a less qualified actress to play a nuclear scientist than Denise Richards, who seemingly exists solely for an innuendo-laden final joke one might expect to appear in Moonraker.

Alas, this association with camp overshadows all that’s truly great about The World Is Not Enough. Featuring bizarre action sequences like a giant clear-cut logging helicopter and shoot-outs at a caviar plant (sadly the end of Robbie Coltrane’s Valentin Zukovsky), the film’s plot focuses on the sins of Judi Dench’s M and is apparently good enough for Spectre to lift it wholesale.

The World Is Not Enough’s biggest asset is undoubtedly Elektra King – another cloyingly named female character, albeit one played to charismatic extremes by French actress Sophie Marceau. Elektra is the film’s secret weapon (and, spoiler alert, its secret villain). If The World Is Not Enough makes one fatal error, it is mistaking Robert Carlyle’s perfunctory but boring Renard for its antagonist. His climactic upside-down submarine battle is pretty standard Bond fare – so predictable it verges on unexciting.

Contrast this with Elektra, a woman suffering from Stockholm Syndrome and overwhelmed with Freudian psychosexual daddy issues. The seductress comes armed with an antique torture chair and the feathered hair of a goddess fresh from a blow-out. In short, Elektra is the kind of naughty, complicated Bad Bond girl (comparable to GoldenEye’s Xenia Onatopp, but more morally complicated). In the pantheon of Bond villains, Elektra merits more attention and Marceau deserves more credit for elevating what could have been a mere caricature into a fascinating, complicated character.

If only The World Is Not Enough had the gumption to make Elektra King its villain. As it stands, Brosnan’s third go never rises above its status as a mid-tier Bond film. –Joe Lipsett

Halle Berry Die Another Day

22. Die Another Day (2002)

The absolute nadir of the franchise (yes, I include Octopussy), Die Another Day marked the end of Pierce Brosnan’s run as 007. And what an ending!

All you need to know about the movie is that James Bond kite-surfs away from danger on a tsunami at one point and I literally don’t remember what happened after that because nothing could possibly match the ridiculousness of that visual. With the exception of the very entertaining rough-and-tumble fencing match midway through there is nothing nice that I can say about this movie. Brosnan deserved better. Halle Berry deserved better (what ever happened to that Jinx spin-off?!). Rosamund Pike deserved better (she always does). And even Madonna deserved better than to have her theme song paired with this monstrosity of a movie.

I will maintain to this day that one of the best Brosnan Bond outings wasn’t released until well after Die Another Day. Everything or Nothing, co-starring Willem Dafoe and Heidi Klum, was everything Die Another Day should have been and then some. Never heard of it? Well, I guess you didn’t own a Nintendo GameCube in 2004. – Will Perkins

Quantum of Solace

21. Quantum of Solace (2008)

Paul Haggis reportedly submitted his second draft of the screenplay mere hours before the Writers’ Guild strike of 2007-2008 began. Unfortunately, it shows. With a bare bones screenplay going into production and much of it made up on the fly, Quantum of Solace dropped the bar that was raised for the franchise with Casino Royale. Few franchises have as stark a hit-to-miss trajectory. (Twice, really, after following The Spy Who Loved Me with Moonraker.) Beyond having a confusing and, frankly, dull story after the beefed out drama of Casino Royale, Quantum is big, loud, and expensive–and content to milk iconic Bond moments, like painting a Bond girl in oil à la Jill Masterson’s glittering end in Goldfinger. But it’s one of 007’s emptier outings. A disorienting amount of cuts and pizzazz half-assedly try to compensate for the weak story, forgettable villain, and lack of character development: two points with which Casino Royale rejuvenated the franchise. It feels like a Roger Moore movie after a Sean Connery—and is as forgettable and generic as its opening theme by Jack White and Alicia Keys. – PM

Spectre Daniel Craig

20. Spectre (2015)

After the heights of SkyfallSpectre feels like a huge letdown to many fans.  At times, it is a thrilling return to one of cinema’s greatest criminal organizations and, at others, it is as forgettable as Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” theme song. Part of the disconnect is that Sam Mendes’ nostalgia-heavy film loses its own sense of identity. One needs to have seen all of the Daniel Craig Bond films, and other notable entries in the franchise, to truly enjoy this uneven film. Despite offering an interesting take on the deep reach of Spectre’s destructive tentacles, Mendes’ frequent callback to other Bond films often undermines the plot.  Also, by re-imagining Christoph Waltz’s Ernst Stavro Blofeld as Bond’s adoptive brother, it makes the once expansive world of espionage feel unnecessarily small. Spectre is a film that will both entertain and disappoint hardcore Bond fans. –Courtney Small

A View to a Kill

19. A View to a Kill (1985)

It may lack pigeon double-takes, but this final Roger Moore outing has enough absurdity to land it squarely in “so bad it’s good” territory. The plot makes about as much sense as the film’s title and Moore, at 57, looks old enough to be Bond girl Tanya Roberts’ grandfather—a fact too obvious to ignore. It’s no surprise, then, that the set pieces are about as age-appropriate as one can get for a senior spy. There are blimps and a barely-there tussle on the Golden Gate Bridge that serve as the apex of the action. When the film does pick up the pace, it’s glaringly obvious that Moore has been swapped out for a younger stuntman. Did we mention there’s also a whole subplot about horses that does an excellent job of masquerading as the main plot for a good third of the film? Because there is. Injecting the 1985 flick with some much-needed energy are Grace Jones as unhinged femme fatale May Day and Christopher Walken as Silicon Valley’s villainous Max Zorin. Each actor positively dines out on the scenery but alongside a wooden Roberts and a past-his-prime Moore, their efforts can’t save this still weirdly-watchable clunker. -Emma Badame

Diamonds are forever

18. Diamonds are Forever (1971)

This campy and oddly forgettable Bond flick marked Sean Connery’s final official Bond film. The Scottish actor had declined to reprise his role in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and declined once again with Diamonds, but was eventually lured back with a record-setting pay day. That said, it seemed not even the money could bring him back after this film and it’s perhaps not hard to see why. The tone is all over the place, falling anywhere from fun (Tiffany Case, a diamond smuggler) to cheeky while verging on single entendre (Plenty O’Toole) to downright offensive (Thumper and Bambi), and that’s just where the female characters are concerned. Blofeld returns once again but even the ever-appealing super villain can’t keep things interesting, especially not with his creepy henchmen Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd along for the ride. Diamonds isn’t all doom and gloom though as Connery acquits himself admirably throughout. There are several action sequences that deserve attention and applause, particularly the fabulous Vegas car chase. And then there’s Shirley Bassey’s catchy theme song, which let’s face it, is truly the best element of all. For Bond purists, this one is essential viewing, but for the rest of us, it teeters precariously between hit and miss. –EB

James Bond Ranked

17. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

This is meant to be a write-up of The Man with the Golden Gun, but I have to preface any discussion of that film by saying that I have little affection for Roger Moore’s James Bond.

Now I know that’s blasphemy in some circles, especially considering Moore played the British super spy on screen just as many times as Sean Connery (7). The late Sir Roger practically is James Bond to an entire generation of moviegoers, but having grown up in the era of Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan – and received a steady helping of Connery thanks to my Boomer parents – Moore’s campy spy adventures always felt lacking to me. Connery was cool. Dalton and Brosnan were badasses. Moore, by comparison – and especially towards the end of his stint as 007 – almost always seemed stiff and silly.

Live and Let Die (1972) and particularly The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) are the only Roger Moore Bond movies where he feels like, well, Bond. It doesn’t hurt that he has a great villain to go up against in the latter. James Bond movies often succeed or failed on the strength of their villains and The Man with the Golden Gun literally has its baddie in the title. Christopher Lee’s Francisco Scaramanga is an international assassin who’s more than a match for 007. Moore’s Bond so often feels like an invincible quipping machine, but here he’s on his back foot more often than not and that’s interesting for a change. The film was directed by Guy Hamilton, who directed three other 007 films including arguably (and at least according to this list) Bond’s best on-screen outing: Goldfinger. Wait a second… Golden Gun? GoldenEye? I’m sensing a theme.

Sure, at the end of the day The Man with the Golden Gun is ultimately kind of an Enter the Dragon knock-off, complete with problematic Asian stereotypes, a secret island hideout, cartoonish henchmen, and a funhouse mirror finale, but if not James Bond who else was going to exploit the memory of Bruce Lee for profit? Oh… right. Everyone. -WP

James Bond Ranked For Your Eyes Only

16. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

After the nonsense of Moonraker’s ray guns, the filmmakers were determined to strip it down to bare essentials. First, they tossed a Blofeld-like character into a smokestack to let the litigious Kevin McClory know that they didn’t need his villain after he claimed exclusive rights to Bond’s nemesis. [McClory produced Thunderball and conceived the original story with Ian Fleming and screenwriter Jack Whittingham.] Then they blew up Bond’s fancy car near the beginning to announce that our hero wouldn’t need too many of Q’s toys. His mission to find out about a missing submarine location encryption device put him in the way of the stunning Carole Bouquet, who planned to get revenge for the murder of her parents, and took them from Cortina to Corfu in pursuit of Julian Glover as a man trying to–what else is new?–start World War III. It also has a terrifying underwater sequence involving death by coral and the presence of Topol! –Bil Antoniou


James Bond Ranked Octopussy

15. Octopussy (1983)

The next Bond film usually makes up for the last. If For Your Eyes Only avoided overdoing the gadgets because Moonraker was such a gimmicky mess, then Octopussy pushed the lush glamour because Eyes was such a stripped-down affair. Bond travels to India in pursuit of an Afghan prince (Louis Jourdan) whom he suspects is smuggling jewels, but, it turns out, is planning to (what else?) destroy the world with nuclear bombs.  Moore was starting to look tired at this point in the franchise and seeing him in a clown costume was depressing. However, central to the film is the gorgeously shot sequence in India, and, most importantly, the presence of one of the greatest Bond girls ever, the very rudely-named and incredibly glamorous Maud Adams as Octopussy, who was so beautiful that the producers were happy to have her back despite killing her off as a different character in The Man with The Golden Gun. –BA


James Bond Ranked You Only Live Twice

14. You Only Live Twice (1967)

Oh, goodness. What would Film Twitter say about You Only Live Twice if it came out today? Sean Connery basically pulled a Scarlett Johansson with 007’s misguided act of turning Japanese. The ruse of giving Bond a cultural makeover after faking his death doesn’t play well today. Major awkwardness aside, there are some decent ingredients for Bondmania in this flick. (Helloooooooo, Nancy Sinatra!) The biggest contribution of You Only Live Twice to the Bond cinematic universe, however, might simply be how easy it is to parody. Austin Powers might not exist without it! One can take this film with a grain of salt if it means having Dr. Evil and Mr. Bigglesworth in the world, not to mention the bizarre miniature roller coasters/monorails that appeared in nearly every Bond Baddie lair that followed. – PM


Thunderball James Bond

13. Thunderball (1965)

What a deep dive of adventure! The first 007 film made with an original screenplay and not an adaptation of a Fleming novel, Thunderball’s a welcome step away from the prototypical James Bond standard set by Goldfinger. The film whisks 007 to the Bahamas to investigate SPECTRE’s ongoing attempt at world domination. Much of the film features dazzling underwater action sequences and Oscar-winning visual effects that remain impressive for the era in which they were produced, aside from some terrible acting from the frogmen battling it out with harpoon guns. Thunderball also features some iconic Bond sequences that many entries would try to replicate, such as the frenetic carnival scene. It offers two of the series’ better female characters in Luciana Paluzzi as Fiona, the SPECTRE agent with the lead foot, and Claudine Auger as Domino, who isn’t an all-out bimbo despite spending much of the film in a bikini. John Barry’s aqueous score fuels the film with one of the franchise’s most memorable soundtracks. Thunderball might not be the best Bond, but it’s one of the most refreshing outings.  –PM


Tomorrow Never Dies - James Bond Ranked

12. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

GoldenEye might be the better film, but Brosnan’s second outing is my favourite, dripping with glamorous, glinty cinematography and a few exciting sequences. Bond is brought to the far East when he suspects that a Rupert Murdoch-esque media titan, played by Jonathan Pryce (smirking at the camera as always), is trying to start a war between the US and China in order to take over media rights for both countries. It’s the silliest goal for a Bond villain since Stromberg tried to turn the world into an ocean paradise in The Spy Who Loved Me, but those parties look just gorgeous. Michelle Yeoh makes for a top-flight Bond girl as Chinese agent Wai Lin, who can scale walls, which actually threatens the series by making our own hero useless by comparison. Teri Hatcher brings old-school glamour in her few but potent scenes as Pryce’s wife, Paris. -BA


James Bond Ranked - Licence to Kill

11. Licence to Kill (1989)

One can dismiss the Roger Moore films for being too silly, but the Timothy Dalton ones are almost unbearably serious. Dalton’s second and final effort is one of 007’s grimmest outings. The film sees Bond on a revenge mission after long-time pal Felix Leiter is fed to a shark and left for dead. (In the spirit of the franchise, he’s perfectly fine and played by someone else in subsequent films.) What follows is an overlong drug dealing plot involving coke smuggling and Scareface wannabes—a decent 1980s’ crime flick by any standards, but middle-of-the-road 007. (Featuring a kitschy Wayne Newton!) However, Dalton arguably could have been one of the better Bonds with the right material. It took Roger Moore three outings to find his groove (and then immediately lose it) and one wishes Dalton had enjoyed another go. However, for fans who disliked Moore’s silliness, it was sobriety gone too soon. At least Benicio Del Toro and Carey Lowell went on to better things! – PM


Live and Let Die - James Bond Ranked

10. Live and Let Die (1973)

One downside to the Bond franchise is its desperate attempt to stay relevant by copying whatever is popular at the time. Live and Let Die often feels more like a Blaxplotation flick, one with a great theme song by Paul McCartney and Wings, than it does a Bond film. Everything from the Caribbean voodoo stereotypes to Clifton James’ Sheriff Pepper is cringe worthy. Having said that, I absolutely love this film. As ridiculous as the epic boat chase and plane sequence are, the film brings a smile to my face every time. Roger Moore’s first foray as Bond not only features three unique henchmen (Tee Hee, Baron Samedi and Whisper) but also a great main villain as well. Yaphet Kotto brings a menacing flare to Dr. Kananga, a corrupt politician who wants complete domination of the heroin drug trade. His scenes with Jane Seymour’s tarot reading Solitaire keep the film grounded. As silly as it is at times, Live and Let Die is one of Roger Moore’s better Bond films. –CS


james bond ranked the living daylights

9. The Living Daylights (1987)

Audiences didn’t give Timothy Dalton a warm reception with his first foray as 007, possibly holding him responsible for other changes the producers made with hopes of keeping up with the time. The film had only one Bond girl thanks to a concern with being irresponsible during the AIDS crisis, and a stripped down look that avoided the flashy tack of the Roger Moore films.  We have an exciting chase down a snowy hill in a cello case, some amazing stunts on airplanes, a ride on the Third Man Ferris wheel and an intriguing plot in which Bond helps General Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) defect from Soviet Russia before suspecting that he might be involved in a terrorist arms deal. The action goes from Czechoslovakia to Afghanistan and Kara Milovy, played by the delightful Maryam D’Abo, is the unwitting pawn in Koskov’s game, but not always a passive victim. -BA


James Bond Ranked On Her Majesty's Secret Service

8. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

George Lazenby’s one and only outing as James Bond might’ve topped our list had it starred any other 007 actor. Not only does our favourite super spy fall in love and tie the knot, but we’re treated to another appearance of the series’ best recurring villain, SPECTRE leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld. The longest Bond film until the release of 2006’s Casino Royale, it contains some truly exhilarating action sequences set in breathtaking locations across Europe and it introduces us to one of the very best Bond Girls, Tracy di Vicenzo (played by the incomparable Diana Rigg). We’re also treated to a more serious and cynical side of our super spy, a side we’ve not seen before, as he becomes so disillusioned with Queen and country that he threatens to resign from Her Majesty’s secret service. But perhaps the biggest treat here is the score by John Barry, and the love theme “We Have All the Time in the World,” with lyrics by Hal David and sung by Louis Armstrong (his final recording). The song adds a poignancy that makes that famous ending all the more tragic. –EB


James Bond Ranked GoldenEye

7. GoldenEye (1995)

Remembered today more for the groundbreaking Nintendo 64 first person shooter game it spawned several years later than for the movie itself, GoldenEye ushered in the mostly mediocre Pierce Brosnan era and gave us one of Sean Bean’s greatest on-screen deaths. And that’s saying something!

Even by Bond standards, GoldenEye packs a lot into its 130-minute runtime. After a rogue MI6 agent joins forces with a rogue general to steal a top secret Russian superweapon, it’s up to James Bond to save the day. Unfortunately, a stealth helicopter, a lady who crushes men with her thighs (Famke Janssen), and Alan Cumming stand in his way. Revenge also complicates matters when it turns out Bond has history with the agent formerly known as 006 – played quite devilishly by Bean.

Featuring all of the post-Soviet anxiety and paranoia one might expect from the first Bond movie to be released after the fall of the Iron Curtain, GoldenEye is also no slouch in the action department. Firmly cut from the mid-1990s’ action cloth, standout scenes include an obscenely destructive tank chase through St. Petersburg and an inexplicably explosive gun fight and hand-to-hand battle atop… the world’s largest radio telescope? Sure, fine. The movie also features Robbie Coltrane, Joe Don Baker, and Minnie Driver in fun supporting roles, so there’s that too.

Is GoldenEye simply a favourite because I owned it on VHS or is it actually a good James Bond movie? I’d say it’s a little from both columns, but that opening title sequence is definitely a series best. – WP

James Bond Ranked The Spy Who Loved Me

6. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

No Bond film does it better. In his third outing as 007, Roger Moore found his best fit for the role and helped the franchise land the foothold it struggled to gain in its second act. Every element of this 007 outing is grand escapism that, in my opinion, makes it the best entry in the franchise. (But the fragrance of its Roger Moore era cheese is an acquired taste.) From the exhilarating opening ski chase to Carly Simon’s sexy and celebratory theme, “Nobody Does It Better,” this film is James Bond cool and confident. The Spy Who Loves Me admittedly uses many of the same formula ingredients as other Bond flicks in terms of plot, but it just owns them in a way that few other entries do. Admittedly one of the looser Bond adaptations of Fleming’s novels, Spy ups the ante for adventure with exotic locales that take audiences from the Alps to the pyramids to an underwater lair. Throw in one of the series’ best baddies in Richard Kiel’s seven-foot heavy Jaws and Barbara Bach as one of the stronger Bond girls, not to mention a wildly funky disco score and a Lotus roadster that turns into a submarine, and the film is simply too much fun to deny. The Spy Who Loved Me achieves the perfect balance of awesome and ridiculous to which all other Roger Moore outings aspire. -PM


James Bond Ranked Dr No

5. Dr. No (1962)

The first may not be the best, but it’s the one I love to watch the most. There’s no title-specific theme song over the credits, we haven’t gotten into the madness of the gadgets, but the structure is already there: an elegant villain, a gorgeous and resourceful girl (Ursula Andress, my favourite Bond girl, in pancake makeup to play an island “native”) and a hero at his finest (Connery was never this sexy again). Bond heads to Jamaica after a fellow agent is killed and must stop the evil Dr. No from toppling a space program with his plans for, what else, nuclear-fuelled world domination. The plots would get more complicated, but it’s important to notice that producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were willing to spend the money and have it show on screen from their very first go. -BA


James Bond Ranked From Russia with Love

4.  From Russia with Love (1963)

The second 007 outing remains an old-school hallmark for spy movies. Between the introduction of Dr. No and the franchise template that set the stage for future outings, for better or for worse, in Goldfinger, From Russia with Love saw Bond grow up. Somewhat more serious than the Sean Connery films that followed, Russia best embodied the spirit of Ian Fleming’s source material. Bond was calm and cool and his ally, Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) offered a seductive foil to enmesh the film in Cold War-era intrigue. The film also increased the stakes with memorably sinister baddies in Robert Shaw’s intimidating assassin Red Grant and Lotte Lenya’s steely-toed comrade Rosa Klebb, along with that mysterious baddie who would inspire a generation of cat people. Russia featured a riveting sequence in a train that many of the ensuing films would try to emulate, each time reminding us that sometimes things are best done the old ways. –PM


James Bond Ranked Casino Royale

3. Casino Royale (2006)

From the visceral black and white opening fight to that visually stunning parkour sequence, it’s clear from the off that this is 007 as you’ve never seen him before–and not just because he’d gone through a Whovian-like regeneration from Pierce Brosnan into Daniel Craig. That’s not to say that there’s nothing familiar about this version of the super spy. After all, he’s still quick with a pun or a sarcastic quip. He still drives fast and sleek Aston Martins. He still likes his martinis shaken and not stirred (three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, and half a measure of Kina Lillet, in case you were taking notes), and he still falls for the wrong women. But while Craig’s Bond can be smooth and debonair when called for, he’s at his best dispatching bad guys with an emotionless and brutal efficiency. The film admirably delves deep into Ian Fleming’s original novel for characters (Vesper and Le Chiffre, for example), plot points, scenes and memorable quotes, but director Martin Campbell also gives it a punchiness and vitality that lets you know that not only is the franchise back in a big way, but that it’s in very good hands. -EB


James Bond Ranked Skyfall

2. Skyfall (2012)

Sam Mendes’ Skyfall is both a great action film and an exceptional James Bond film. A fitting film to celebrate 50 years of the cinematic James Bond franchise, the film presents an old school Bond struggling to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world.  The only certainty in the film is Bond’s loyalty to his country and his boss M (Judi Dench). While Mendes fills Skyfall with plenty of homages, take Javier Bardem’s Jaws-esque villain Raoul Silva, the film itself feels like a refreshing return to the basics. Gone are the goofy gadgets and invisible cars, replaced simply by a gun and a radio. This gives the final showdown at Bond’s childhood home genuine tension and stakes. Throw in a drunken Bond’s stare down with a scorpion, brilliant action set pieces, Roger Deakins’ gorgeous cinematography, and Adele’s lush theme song and you have a recipe for an outstanding film. -CS



1. Goldfinger (1964)

It’s not the first James Bond film, but it’s the one where Bondmania originated. Goldfinger was of the biggest hits of all time when it came out and incredibly influential (it’s still the movie my dad remembers best, and is likely why he immigrated to Canada wearing a sharkskin suit), and established 007 as a franchise with staying power. Bond has to stop the evil Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) from robbing and nuclearizing Fort Knox, and must manoeuvre his way around the super cool Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) to do it; she resists his charms but he eventually saves the world by being a great lay–and who doesn’t admire that? Gorgeously photographed, exciting, and decked from top to bottom in stunning cars, clothes, and locations, this one’s still the—pun intended—gold standard for the series. -BA