This is my own entry for my 007 blogathon. I will be putting up the post for all your links later on today. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I won’t be around much tomorrow, so if you have finished your entry and were planning on posting during the 21st, would you be able to leave your links today? Thanks so much. 🙂
I’m a huge fan of the Bond films. I also love the novels. I love pretty much all of the films in this series. There are some exceptions to that love though. Die Another Day, Diamonds Are Forever, Octopussy and A View To A Kill are all pretty dire in my opinion. From that list Octopussy is about the only one with any rewatch value to me, I will check it out if it comes on TV, but it is certainly not a favourite.
Listing backwards and starting at number 10, I now proudly present my all time favourite Bond films.
10- Licence To Kill
I consider this the darkest and most violent of the Bond films. James Bond is seen here in ruthless revenge mode. In this film he is seeking revenge for his friend Felix Leiter. Leiter was maimed and his new wife Della was murdered on their wedding day. Dalton does a good job at conveying Bond’s disenchantment with the service he has worked so loyally for over the years.
Dalton also conveys that Bond is not messing around on this mission, there will be blood shed, and he will take no prisoners. I love his relationship with Agent Pam Bouvier, and I like that she is a real kick ass gal, who can more than take care of herself without Bond’s help.
Sadly this was Dalton’s last appearance as 007 and I feel so sorry for him that he never got to make at least two more films. He is the closest to the Bond of Fleming’s novels and (years before Daniel Craig did it)he gives us a cold, but tender, steely and ruthless Bond.
9- For Your Eyes Only
Bond helps Melina, a young woman determined to avenge her murdered parents. Bond tries to talk her out of her quest knowing the emotional/psychological baggage that comes with taking a life. He also has to get some stolen equipment back, which is linked to British Nuclear submarines and is also being sought by the Russians. I’d say this is the grittiest of Moore’s Bond films.
I like Bond’s relationship with Melina very much, there is a real affection between them and he tries to help her see she is not alone. This also has one of my favourite Bond theme songs. The scene where Bond and Melina are dragged behind a boat is one of the best sequences in any of the films I think. I love how he tries and keeps her spirits up, even when it seems they will die because of being tied up and dragged behind the boat.
I love the ski jump sequence and subsequent chase scene in this. Edge of your seat stuff for sure. The mountain climb sequence later in the film is also so suspenseful. I also think this film features one of Moore’s coldest Bond moments where he deliberately pushes a car over a cliff with a man still in it! Moore’s Bond could be cold and ruthless at times too, but sadly everyone seems to focus on the comedy of his films.
8- Dr. No
The first ever Bond film and the first outing for Sean Connery. This is one of the best and one of the most enjoyable of all the Bond films. Sean is strong and sexy as Bond, there is also a coldness and toughness to him and you wouldn’t want to mess with him. Bond goes to Jamaica to search for a fellow agent who is missing. Bond soon finds his life threatened as he investigates a mysterious scientist, known only as Dr. No. Teaming up with fisherman Quarrel and the bikini clad Honey Ryder, Bond sets out to defeat this mysterious man who is terrorising many people.
The “you’ve had your six” scene is one of the greatest moments in the series history. Honey’s entrance walking out of the sea is also unforgettable. This is the film that started it all and we as fans all owe it a debt of gratitude. Beautiful location work. No theme song either, just that awesome instrumental Bond theme.
7- Casino Royale
Daniel Craig’s first outing as Bond. This did for the series what Dalton’s introduction did back in the eighties; it made the series realistic, gritty and believable once again. If you have never read the novels you won’t be familiar with Vesper Lynd, it is she who made Bond the man we all know today.
This film shows us how and why Bond became like he is in the rest of the series. If you ever wondered why (for the most part)he treats women as objects of pleasure, one night stand material only, then this film will explain why. This is a thrilling and dark film. Bond has to play a high stakes poker game to win money that will go to fund terrorists if won by anyone other than him. The villains he comes up against in this are linked to the organisation he will come to know as SPECTRE.
Daniel Craig does a good job of showing the man beneath the tough, cool exterior. The scenes between Bond and Vesper are some of my favourites in the entire series. The shower sequence where he comforts the traumatised Vesper is so touching. The chase and crane fight at the beginning is a real favourite, it has me watching through my fingers!
6- From Russia With Love
One of the best films in the entire series. This story has a realistic tone, which gives you the feeling that this could have really happened to any spy. Bond is being hunted by SPECTRE, who have baited a trap involving a Russian cipher clerk who says she wishes to defect to the West.
Bond comes up against the insane Rosa Klebb (and her flick knife shoes!)and the even more insane and deadly Red Grant. Grant is my favourite of all the Bond villains. Why? Because he is the most believable, he is also Bond’s match and he calmly stalks his target until he is ready to take him down. The train fight between them is outstanding, so suspenseful and keeps you on the edge of your seat. This film also features my favourite instrumental piece (thanks John Barry)which can be heard when Bond steals the Lektor decoder.
Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as Bond. Brosnan has the edge of Dalton and Connery, and the humour in the face of threats of Moore. This film blends the realism and concerns of Dalton’s era, with the humour and big set pieces that had become such a part of the series over the years.
The opening stunt jump up on the dam is one of the most impressive and jaw dropping of the entire series. This film is the first to feature Judi Dench as M. I love the dynamic between her and Bond and now she has become an integral part of the series herself.
Bond goes to Russia to try and stop a cyber attack being brought about by using a satellite weapon system called Goldeneye. He comes up against a former 00 agent who he believed to be dead. This film also features one of the best bad girls in the series. Who is she? Xenia Onnatopp.
4- Live and Let Die
Roger Moore’s first outing as Bond. Moore’s Bond is cool, he can be ruthless and deadly when necessary, but prefers words/quips as weapons, and he fires them off faster than bullets from a gun. Moore’s Bond was very different to Connery’s, and he brought more humour to the role. This film and some of his other earlier ones do show him to be quite quite callous and cold though, it’s not all laughter despite what some of the critics of this Bond era say.
Bond is in America helping the CIA take down a Caribbean dictator. Bond has to deal with Voodoo magic, Harlem gangsters, crocodiles, a cranky Police Sherriff, and the beautiful tarot reader, Solitaire. This has one of the best scores of the entire series. There is an edge of your seat river boat chase. Yaphet Kotto is chilling and steals every scene he is in, as the terrifying villain (I have to admit that his end is daft and hugely laughable though.)
3- The Living Daylights
Timothy Dalton’s first outing as Bond takes us back to the realism and grit of the novels, and of the early Connery films. After the humorous Moore years, Dalton gave us back the Bond we were supposed to have. Dalton’s Bond was dark, ruthless, tough and all about the mission. Sadly his films were not that well received, but over the years have become rightly praised and loved. It is a shame that Daniel Craig has praise for essentially playing Bond how Dalton played him all those years ago.
Bond is looking into the murders of some fellow 00 agents. He also investigates whether or not a KGB agents defection is real or staged. He befriends the agents girlfriend, Kara, and soon determines the defection is all staged and that this is all linked to his murdered colleagues.
I love the relationship between Bond and Kara. It is so tender and you feel that Bond is sorry that he has to deceive her.
The title song for this is my favourite from the entire series. I love Dalton’s portrayal of Bond and think he is the closest to the agent originally conceived by Fleming. He deserved more than two films. He was the right Bond, but he came along at the wrong time.
2- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
George Lazenby’s first and only appearance as Bond. He has often been called the weakest of the Bond’s, but I think that is not so and is quite unfair. He is tough, cool, cold and does very well in the fight sequences. I also think he gets the best intro shot of any of the Bond’s. We first see him driving a car and lighting a cigarette, but only see glimpses of him, parts of his face and his hands etc. I just love the way that sequence is shot. Then of course, we get the famous “this never happened to the other fella!” line just before the title sequence, a knowing wink to Connery’s era.
Bond travels to Switzerland to track down Blofeld (now played by Telly Savalas). He soon discovers a plot to contaminate the worlds food supply and then hold the governments of the world to ransom. Bond also finds himself falling in love with the suicidal Tracy (Diana Rigg). Bond helps Tracy find a reason to live and decides to give up his spy work to marry her. Sadly tragedy lies just around the corner for this couple.
A beautiful score, some of the best stunt/fight sequences in the entire series, and beautiful locations all add together to make this a great film. I love the growing relationship between Bond and Tracy and how she soon becomes more important to him than his work as an agent. Telly Savalas is ice cold as Blofeld. I thought Donald Pleasence did a great job of making Blofeld insane, but his portrayal was very over the top; Savalas on the other hand made Blofeld more real and he had a dangerous edge to him.
The final scene still shocks and moves me no matter how many times I watch it.
And now for my all time favourite Bond film….
I love this film so much. This is another of the plots that comes across as being very believable. The film also has a realistic and gritty look to it. The location work in the Bahamas is gorgeous. This is Connery’s fourth Bond film, and by now he had well and truly settled into the role.
Bond tracks down two stolen atomic bombs. They have been taken by SPECTRE who plan to threaten a city with destruction by the bombs, unless world governments agree to pay them a huge ransom. Bond traces the weapons to the Bahamas and soon encounters SPECTRE’s number 2 agent, the ice cold, eye patch wearing Largo (Adolfo Celi). He also encounters the beautiful and deadly SPECTRE agent, Fiona Volpe(Luciana Paluzzi). Bond also helps out Largo’s abused mistress, Domino.
This has one of the best scores in the series, some very impressive underwater sequences, the best (in my opinion)Bond bad girl (Fiona), and possibly the coldest villain (Largo). Connery also delivers that very famous line here – “I guess he got the point” , right after he spear guns a henchman. Fantastic soundtrack too.
As a bonus here are my top 5 Bond novels.
1- Casino Royale
2- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
4- The Spy Who Loved Me (this comes across as almost like a fan fiction wish fulfilment story. The main character is a woman, and the book is mostly about her. She is having a really bad time due to some bad guys hassling her, Bond come along, saves her and romances her. The fact is this actually came from Fleming and I love it even though it’s not your typical Bond story.)
5- Dr. No
What are your favourite films and novels from the Bond series? What are your thoughts on the films I’ve discussed? Please leave your comments below.