By Spencer Blohm
James Bond, the 007 secret agent conjured up by British journalist Ian Fleming in 1953, has gone on to become a living legend of sorts. Originally a Royal Navy Commander, his persona slowly evolved into the international spy he is today.
Fleming wrote more than a dozen Bond stories, and a number of authors continued the series after his death, which over the years served as the inspiration for over 20 films. The first Bond flick, Dr. No, premiered in 1962 starring Sean Connery and five other actors have since taken on the iconic role of 007. However, not all were a perfect fit – while the character didn’t change, the acting sure did. In light of Daniel Craig’s fourth installment SPECTRE hitting theaters, let’s take a look at who did Bond the best.
6. George Lazenby
George Lazenby, the “One-Bond Wonder.” Starring in just one Bond film, in comparison to the other actor’s multiple appearances, combined with his sub-par performance is what lands him the the title as the “worst” Bond. While the film wasn’t completely terrible, many argue Lazenby was doomed from the start. Connery had just stepped down from the post, and Lazenby simply didn’t have the physique and suave presence to compete – not to mention he’s the only actor to don the suit that doesn’t hail from the British Isles. The relatively unknown model-turned-actor put forth a decent performance in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (on Vudu), but the actor truly missed out on the role of a lifetime by leaving the franchise early.
5. Timothy Dalton
Timothy Dalton starred in two Bond films, with The Living Daylights considered to be his best. Dalton portrayed a cooler and calmer James Bond than his predecessors, but some people felt that he was rather bland and too serious at times – it could be said Dalton’s Bond was just ahead of his time, as he’s been compared in a number of ways to Craig’s current portrayal of the character. However one shining moment from the film was the return of the most famous of the Bond cars – the Aston Martin. When Bond is assigned a mission to stop an evil arms merchant from supplying a Soviet organization with deadly weapons, the Aston Martin comes equipped with the accustomed weapons and advanced defense capabilities. At the time of the film’s release, it was expected that Timothy Dalton would be the star of several more James Bond films, but he soon pulled out of his third installment.
4. Roger Moore
Millions of people loved Roger Moore’s depiction of 007. Moore starred in seven Bond films from 1973 to 1985, with is greatest unquestionably being The Spy Who Loved Me (streaming on Hulu). In the film, Russian and British submarines are hijacked and the two nations are forced to work together to take down the evil villains who are responsible. With Bond put in some peculiar situations here at the hands of a Russian spy and her sleeping gas-filled cigarette, the movie featured a number of neat gadgets including watch operating as a communication device. Moore did a great job of being smooth under pressure and had Bond posing as a dominant but caring man in his films. But what some say is the perfect meeting of comedy and action, others say he turned the character into a caricature.
3. Pierce Brosnan
With GoldenEye officially putting Bond back on the map, Pierce Brosnan is the quintessential James Bond actor – the perfect combination of the physicality, comic timing, and and intensity that came before him. GoldenEye was a standout for a number of reasons, but it’s the story and gadgets that most remember. Outfitted with a several useful gadgets including a keycard decoder, Bond’s laser sighted grappling hook used to pull himself to safety after a bungee jump from a Soviet bunker deserves an honorable mention. Brosnan starred in several Bond flicks spanning the 90s up until 2002, and as a solid fan favorite, he brought the franchise huge box office success holding the title of the most successful Bond until Craig joined the party.
2. Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig is the latest, and some would say, the greatest James Bond. He has starred in four Bond films to date, with his latest movie SPECTRE getting rave reviews. An unconventional choice for the role, the big, blonde and softly spoke “James Bland” has doubters eating their words by the credit roll of Casino Royale. With the muscular physique comes a quiet dignity, and his harsh, steely-eyed look captured the tortured spy side of the character that no one else had successfully grasped, and for the first time we’re somewhat afraid of 007. 2012’s Skyfall (on demand, info here) is undoubtedly Craig’s strongest performance with Bond presumed dead for most of the run. While Craig is also a fan favorite to continue his stride as the beloved spy, his future with the franchise is currently up in the air.
1. Sean Connery
The standard all have been compared to, Sean Connery, is James Bond. Starring in the very first Bond film back in 1962, Connery filled 007’s shoes on seven different occasions – and as the original cool, charismatic and aggressive spy, Connery’s Bond did not mess around, and his women and enemies knew better than to test him. With an unmatched level of charm and class, all of his successors to the role had difficulty reaching the bar. Connery’s best Bond was by far and large 1964’s Goldfinger. This action packed film featured several timeless gadgets including the seagull helmet, and the lava lamp of death – this Bond classic is a must own by any true Bond fan.
The long line of 007 films are loved by millions of people around the world, and it’s not without reason. Bond is a good looking, upscale, suave, secret agent, who always gets the girl in the end. Every man wants to be him, and every woman wants to be with him. While the rumors have spread high and wide on who the next Bond will be, the only thing we know for sure, is the classic film franchise is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon.