The 10 Bonds Films That Define James Bond
May 11, 2003 (Updated May 14, 2003)
The Bottom Line Any James Bond film is an enjoyable watch, and I highly reccomend them all, but if you want classic, these are the tops
Im a long time Bond fan, for about 17 years now I have watch and enjoyed every 007 adventure. I consider them all to be the pinnacle of the cinema. They to this day, define the term "action movie" and continue to thrill me from the first steps of Honey Rider 0n the sands of Jamaica to Bonds drive to the Ice Palce in the Aston 40 years later.
My Personal Favourite actor to play James Bond Is Pierce Brosnan. He places the serious, brooding, Flemingesque Bond at the fore front of all his films. It his here where the basis and feel of his Bond plots are conceived. It alone has led to some gripping plot lines, from being betrayed by a friend, to having a woman get the best of 007, to being captured and thrown out on his own. "I make a point of sitting down with the writers Yet while were on the edge of our seat with the gripping suspense, Brosnan also brings this brooding out through the confident cockiness of Connery and a dash of the upper-class style of Moore. And surprisingly to many he has brought out the powerful physical presence and the cat-like grace in action scenes.
All The Bond Films are classic Bonds, but what of the 20 sum up the whole 007 expierence of Tense twisting plots, passionate and exotic characters, beautiful women, exciting action, unrelenting tension, locations, sex appeal, futuristic gadgets, effortless elegance, and high class action? Well Here they are to a Bond fan of 17 years:
In Order from best to well number 10
1. Die Another Day
Summary: When 007 infiltrates the Korean DMZ to assinate a rouge colonel, the scene explodes into a masterful hovercraft chase that leads 007 only to become betrayed, captured, and abandoned. After a tense prisoner exchange, Bond begins his quest for vengance to unmask a traitor within MI6. His tense and thrilling adventure takes him to Hong Kong, then to a edge of your seat fight in a Cuban clinc where Bond crosses paths with the sultry Jinx. After gathering his clues and recaliming his honor Bond sets off to Iceland to finish his job, and keep a closeful eye on the smooth and debonair industrialist, Gustav Graves. In Die Another Day we are treated to an potent cocktail of gripping tension, and action packed excitment making for an unforgetbal thirller from start to finish.
Thoughts: Die Another Day was an exceptional movie, and is a classic Bond film. It sums up all that is definitve 007.This is what people expect from a Bond film. It truly had it all, in epic style. Brosnan, backed by a superb cast is perfect once again. It follows the story liine of some of Flemings best work, while providing us all a class act look at the Bond we all know. The action is high class, with the swordfight and car chase being one of many highlights. We also see one of the most introspective 007 outings ever, but it never forgets why Bond films were so enjoyable to begin with. This is an instant classic.The
2. The World Is Not Enough
Summary: From the banks of the River Thames yo an action packed underwater finale in Istanbul, James Bond learns the hard way that there is no point in living if you cant feel alive. After an explosive boat chase 007 is assigned to protect the wealthy and exotic Oil Heriess, Elektra King. In doing so Bond is catapulted into one of his most emotional adventures where Pierce Brosnan masterfully shows Bond at his weakest, but at his most ruthless. When Renard, an Anarchistic terrorist and a hot pants wearing nucelar scientist gets thrown into the bunch, TWINE layers itself in exotic, emotional, excitement.
Thoughts: The World is Not Enough brings us back to the world of James Bond that is pure and genuine 007. We see characters that are introspective, passionate, and well placed in the plot. The Story is one that shows a side of Bond that is very true to character. The Bond/Elektra relationship is what drives the film, and there is so much intensity and question, you are in a constant state of suspense. Brosnan, delievers a perfect performance in this film. He shows off an aged spy, but one whose feelings come from youth expierences. He really shows in this film a definitive Bond interpretation. The cast is the series best. Everything is well balanced, yet all explored well enough to make sense in the plot. Every actor on the stage really tries to steal the show, and its marvelous. No one, IMO ever stops giving 110 percent.The great balance between The Fleming story, and OTT accerosies in the plot is what makes it so wonderful. It shows us a character driven and passionate story, yet never do we not have an exotic location, a big breasted Bond girl like in the days with Connery, fun gadgets, and balanced humor. Its something that follows the idea, and concept of a Fleming story line. Thats something so difficult to do in this day and age, where the push in adventure films is something else besides this. Yet it is this kind of different feel that makes James Bond so enjoyed, and The World is Not Enough, along with Die Another Day as the series Best Bond Films.
3.From Russia With Love
Summary: When Soviet cryptographer Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) tells British intelligence she wants to defect to the West and offers to bring a top secret decoding machine with her, James Bond(Sean Connery) is sent to Istanbul to bring her and the device across the Iron Curtain. 007 teams up with intelligence officer Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendariz) in Turkey to set up the defection. But Bond soon discovers that SPECTRE has been using him and Tatiana to bring the machine into their possession. Can he defy psychotic assassin Donald Grant (Robert Shaw) and escape to the West with Tatiana and the device?
Thoughts: From Russia With Love is the series answer to a genuine, down to earth, spy thriller. Its mood is always tense, and quite enjoyable. Connery is at the top of his game here, and shines despite the compeition from guys like Robert Shaw, and Pedro Amedariez, who both ring in great performances. The confrontation, and fight of 007 and Red Grant is one of the best fights in movie history. The story is one of the best, and wisely stays close to Fleming. It makes use of a great location with Istanbul, and the film is packed with intrigue. When the elements lag, the movie is then carried by one of the best stories in the series. A great balance of tenseness, style, and class is shown in lines like "Red wine with fish, now that should have told me something." All in All this Bond goes down as a highlight of the series, and the quiessental James Bond thriller.
Summary: After an exciting pre title sequence in the old USSR, and the death of Bonds former compatriot 006, 007 picks up on the mysterious Janus terrorist orgainization. After crossing path with its sexy assissn, Xenia Onnatop, Bond witnesses first hand the powerful lethality of a new EMP weapon known only as GoldenEye. Janus is now in control of it, and Bond must race against the clock to return the GoldenEye and discover the leader of Janus. The truth is a little closer to bear. Through a record breaking bungee jump, exotic casinos, a claustrophobic tank chase through russian streets, and an unforgetable conclusion, nobody does it better than Bond.
Thoughts: This is one of the savour's of the series. It reestablished Bond as the undisputed top action hero in high style. It lays the ground work for the great films to come.Everything works with this film. It has one of the series best, if not the best villian, the best debut for a Bond actor through Pierce Brosnan, a great plot, some exciting scenes, and a well balanced story between the more Bondian elements along with the Fleming look at Bond. It has one of the overall best combinations of gadgets, girls, guns tenseness, and great villains that seemed to have been absent from the series since The Spy Who Loved Me GoldenEye has the Fleming touch in the film's presentation of Bond as a hardened intelligence officer--an executioner who doesn't like to kill but who does his job. A great foundation for Brosnan.
5. The Spy Who Loved Me
Summary: After resisting an attempt on his life by the KGB in Austria, James Bond (Roger Moore) is assigned to hunt down a submarine tracking system which has been used to abduct a British nuclear submarine. He travels to Egypt where he teams up with Russian Agent Major Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) who is on the same mission for the Soviet government. The microfilm of the tracking system leads them to Sardinia and the tycoon Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens). It soon becomes clear that he is responsible for the theft of the submarines and 007 and Agent XXX (Bach) must resist the attempts of Jaws (Richard Kiel) and Naomi (Caroline Munro) to kill them and stop them from getting to the truth. Can the British and Soviet agents thwart Strombergs plan for Armageddon and save the world once again?
Thoughts: This film really has everything, and set a new benchmark for the Bond series. From here on in the pre credits sequences could be nothing else than jaw dropping. Roger Moore looks great and is suave and delivers the one liners with cool assurance. Barbara Bach is one of the most beautiful Bond girls, Jaws one of the most memorable henchmen. Some good fights, and great action sequences including the Lotus chase (above and below water) and the final gun battle. Fantastic sets by Ken Adam. Similarly to GF, this is the definitive Bond movie of the post 1977 era. Packed with memorable moments: ski jump, Lotus car/helicopter/underwater fight, the Liparus battle, coup de grace with Stromberg and a impeccable performance from Moore, this is Bond at his best. The opening ski jump is worth the DVD price alone.
Summary: After destroying a heroin plant in Latin America, James Bond (Sean Connery) is assigned to investigate international jeweller Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe), who the British suspect is smuggling gold illegally. Bonds suspicion of him increases when he murders Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) in Miami and 007 pursues him to Switzerland and the United States where he learns of Goldfingers plan to raid the U.S Gold Depository at Fort Knox. His only hope is to try and turn Goldfingers personal pilot P u s s y Galore (Honor Blackman) against her boss. But the stakes are raised when Bond discovers that Goldfingers scheme is more dangerous than he first anticipated and he is embroiled in a pulsating race against time to save the world economy from destruction.
Thoughts: Goldfinger is far and away one of the greatest movies of all time, and one of the few Bonds that almost everyone would call a classic film. It features a perfected forumla that would serve as the blueprint for the series, but its style and glamor make it stand out just as much. It had it all. Everything Bond was going to be famous for came from this movie. People today still are puzzeld as to what made this movie so beloved. Goldfingers secret to success? Simple. Even though it was made almost 40 years ago, it still looks, and feels like a modern movie. The idea of being "two minutes into the future" finally comes to life here.
With a great cast, and a wonderful epic feel Goldfinger walks off as one of the most beloved movies of all, and it has much to love about it. While this isnt Connery's best performance, he is apparent here, and he looks good. We see the very early stages of a Bond woman that will lead to Triple X, and Jinx through P u s s y Galore. Gert Frobe looks like everyone would think Goldfinger would look like, but he is hardly meancing or a threat for 007. Nevertheless, Bond proved once and for all, that not only Auric Goldfinger had the midas touch
7. Tomorow Never Dies
Summary: When the worlds superpowers are pitted against each other, only 007 can save the world from destruction at the hands of the media. After meeting the ruthless media mogul Elliot Carver, and his wife whom 007 shares a romantic past, Bond finds himself in an action packed car chase with his remote controlled BMW, and defying death as he escaped the clutches of evil with Chinese agent, Wai Lin. As zero hour approaches Bond and Colnel Lin ingnite an explosive finale about a stealth boat that could trigger a wold war.
Thoughts: I really thought that TND was overall an above average bond film, it was a let down after Goldeneye, but I think that was due to a few things. First, I could not get into the plot (a guy staring a war for TV ratings?) and some pieces of action were IMO a bit overdone. However, there was a good cast, and Brosnan gives another great performance. The weakest of the Brosnan's, but I do not think that is terrible.
All in All, Tomorrow Never Dies is a strong action adventure movie, but an above average Bond movie. It had all the hallmarks to a Bond film, just throw in a deeper story and we could have had something (but hey than I probably would not have been as impressed with TWINE!)
8. The Living Daylights
Summary: Smiert Spionam - "Death To Spies" is the only thing left with a dead British agent. Through the defection of a Russian General Koskov, the real truth dosent seem any closer to 007. When Bond is sent to assisante the man behind the new Soviet murder quest, he crosses paths with the beautiful cellist Kara Milovy. In doing so 007 dives into a plot of illegial arms deals and a tense espionage conflict in the Soviet Military. Armed with deadly intensity, and a new Aston Martin, this Bond is dangerous.
Thoughts: The Living Daylights is a redefinition of James Bond, and its about time. Fro 12 years Roger Moore brought us a suave, and smooth 007. It was throughly enjoyable, no doubt, and got the series through some trying moments. Now, however, it was time to bring the classic James Bond back. Bond, as the poster says is truly dangerous in this film. Dalton increases the intensity that was found with the early days of Connery, and its much welcome. He lays the passionate ground work that would be perfected with Brosnan. Kara Milovy is a welcome return to form for the Bond women. She is rather soft, but her near shyness is a welcome come back from the horrid Stacy Sutton. The PTS is one of my personal favourites, as is the splendid car chase, and the spectacular showdown on both the plane, and in Whitakers palace. With only the real weaknesses belonging to the Title sequence/song, and the villians, The Living Daylights reminds us Bond is TRULY dangerous, and thank God.
9. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Summary: While on holiday James Bond (George Lazenby) falls for Tracy Di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg). But duty calls and 007 gets a lead concening the whereabouts of Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas). Posing as a genealogist, Bond penetrates Blofelds mountain-top lair and uncovers a nefarious plot to blackmail the United Nations with the threat of global bacteriological warfare. Bonds cover is soon blown and he finds him in a pulsating race to escape from Blofeld. He becomes reunited with Tracy in Switzerland and they are embroiled in a race to contact London and inform them of the plan while resisting several attempts on their life. When the British refuse to take action against Blofeld, Bond asks mafia boss Marc-Ange Draco for assistance. Can 007 destroy Blofelds virus factory and kill his nemesis?
Thoughts: On Her Majestys Secret Service is an excellent outing into the Bond series. When you have a stellar cast, one of Ian Flemings best novels, a well expierenced production team, and a wallet the size of Texas, its hard to go wrong. Lazenby is much better than people give him credit for. Going into the role after Connery would have been difficult for even the most beloved actor. The entire cast is inspired, bringing in a talented actress like Diana Rigg to balance out the inexpierence with Lazenby. The chemsitry between the two is awsome, only to be bettered by the one - two Brosnan/Marceau punch. Telly Savlas is the best Blofeld, and the rest of the cast, is inspirational.
All in all, with a passionate story line and a stellar cast, OHMSS eaisly makes the top ten
Low points: The action is a little odd, its a little too fast paced. The movie is 2 hours 20 somethin minutes, and there are times when it feels like it. And finally, the finale, while eaisly the best action scene in the film, goes a little too long.
10. For Your Eyes Only
Summary: When a British spy ship with a piece of top secret military hardware aboard sinks in the Adriatic Sea and the British plan to recover the device is foiled, James Bond (Roger Moore) is assigned to investigate. He soon discovers that there situation involves people out for personal revenge and others who wish to pin the blame on personal enemies. Bond teams up with Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) in Greece before travelling to Italy where Kristatos (Julian Glover) informs him that crime lord Colombo (Topol) has concocted a plot to sell the top secret device to the Soviets. Upon his return to Greece 007 learns that all is not what it seems and he and Melina Havelock are soon embroiled in a race to stop the device from falling into Soviet hands.
Thoughts: After the out of this world (literally) Moonraker, Bond hit the ground running with For Your Eyes Only. For Your Eyes Only recognizes why the first few films were so popular with both Fleming fans, and casual audiences, and it lets it shine whenever it can. And what comes of this? Eaisly Roger Moore's best performance as Bond, and dare I say his carrear? It brings back a Fleming style with enough imagination, tension, characterisation and anything else ending in mation to make Moore's fifth film his most impressive. FYEO is a triumph of good old-fashioned characters, stunt-work and suspense - and a great Bond girl.ALL the classic hallmarks of movies like FRWL, and OHMSS are thrown in here, and it helps make FYEO one of the most passionate and intense Bonds yet. Moore was on top form in a trickier role. John Glen's direction looked set to lead Bond into a promising future. All in All, it is really here that Moore proves that not only can he lead the series in a new direction with suaveness, but can eaisly combine it with the classic Bond.
These are the highlights of a series that will defy mortality. I would call these the five best spy films of all, and in my eyes, the 10 best movies of all.
The bottom ten for those interested:
Licence To Kill
Live And Let Die
You Only Live Twice
Diamonds Are Forever
The Man With The Golden Gun
A View To A Kill