James Bond began his career as a hero in a series of spy novels written by former naval intelligence officer Ian Fleming. Since the first film was released in 1962, the series has grown into one of the oldest and most successful of all time, with sales of over $7 billion. Here are the 3 best James Bond of all time.
1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Despite being the one everyone seems to forget, Her Majesty’s Secret Service recorded a shocking number of “premieres” for James Bond. Not only is this the first time Bond has fallen in love, but it’s also the first (and so far, the only) time he’s married.
Plus, it’s the first time we’ve seen Bond played by someone who isn’t Sean Connery – possibly the reason it remains the show’s most unfairly overlooked entry. It’s true that Connery’s successor, George Lazenby, has some big shoes to fill. There are times in the film where his portrayal is completely off. This has led many to believe that the role is practically actor-proof. Everything Lazenby lacks is more than made up for by the dynamic Diana Rigg as Tracy Draco, the lovable, but self-defeating daughter of a lovable mobster who would later become the fleeting Mrs. Bond. Having defied virtually every convention already established in the series, the film continues to break the mold by pitting doomed lovers against Blofeld’s most daring project, who uses an allergy clinic as a front to turn a bunch of beautiful women into living carriers of a biological weapon. Add to that some truly breathtaking stunts that take full advantage of the backdrop of the snow-capped Alps, and you’ve got the best Bond movie ever.
2. Goldfinger (1964)
There are only three films in this list, and the James Bond series delivers one of its undisputed classics in Goldfinger. Connery’s portrayal is so easy to understand that it is still, 50 years later, inextricably linked to his role.
It’s the definitive portrait of 007 – easygoing and dangerous at the same time. From the eminently quotable dialogue (“No, Mr. Bond, I’m waiting for you to die!”), to the memorable villains (who can forget the mute henchman Oddjob, with his razor-rimmed bowler hat?), it’s truly an iconic movie. In fact, much of what we define as “James Bond” comes straight from this movie: the double (and sometimes single) meaning naming conventions of Bond-girls, the charming and quirky spy gadgets of Q and the recurring plot of a villain trying to gain a global monopoly on a precious resource. Even the means by which the characters reach their untimely endings – which in Goldfinger include death by gold paint, being sucked out of an airplane window, and crushed in a trash compactor, among other things – show an evil creativity that would set the gold standard for future Bond films. The double-edged sword of this early success, of course, is that in trying to replicate the many things Goldfinger did well, the next two decades would largely see the series stall rather than innovate – with some notable exceptions.
3. Skyfall (2012)
Have you ever wondered what makes James Bond work? Skyfall tackles this question – the elephant in the room. In answering it, he delivers one of the best entries of all time in the canon.
The revelations about Bond’s origins are swift and furious, a direct result of Bond’s friendship with Judi Dench’s formidable M – which, when you think about it, is the only meaningful non-romantic relationship we’ve ever seen. Opening up to her, Bond’s story begins to surface, only to explode as the action moves to his family’s ancestral home in Scotland. Thanks to Sam Mendes ‘expert guidance, the bizarre couples’ fight to the death against Javier Bardem’s off-balance Silva is almost unbearably tense, with a genuine sense of gravity that makes it “more” than most of his predecessors.