My Ten Favourite Bond Films

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. I like all six of the Bond actors, and I think they were all good and each brought something different to the role. There are some exceptions to my love of the films though. Die Another Day, Diamonds Are Forever, Octopussy and Quantum Of Solace are all pretty dire in my opinion. From that list Octopussy is about the only one with any rewatch value to me, I will watch it occasionally, 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 to be the darkest and most violent of all the Bond films. James Bond is shown here in all his ruthlessness and darkness. In this film he is seeking revenge for his friend Felix Leiter. Leiter was left maimed and his new wife Della murdered on their wedding day. Dalton does a good job at conveying Bond’s horror and rage at this incident, and also in conveying Bond’s disenchantment with the service he has worked so loyally for over the years.

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Timothy Dalton as Bond. Image source IMDb.

Timothy 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(the fabulous Carey Lowell), and I like that she is a real kick ass gal who can more than take care of herself without Bond’s help. Robert Davi is sadistic and chilling as the evil villain Sanchez.

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.

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Bond and Melina. Image source IMDb.

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. 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 the situation they’re in.

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. The beautiful theme song is one of my favourites. 

8- Dr. No

The first ever Bond film and the first outing for Sean Connery. This is one of the best and most enjoyable of all the Bond films. Sean is strong and sexy as Bond, there is also a coldness and toughness to him which makes it clear 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.

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Bond and Honey. Image source IMDb.

The “you’ve had your six” scene is one of the greatest moments in the series history. Our first glimpse of Honey walking out of the sea is also one of the most iconic and unforgettable moments in the series. This is the film that started it all and we as fans all owe it a debt of gratitude. Beautiful location work. Ursula Andress is terrific as the fiercely independent and gentle Honey Ryder. No theme song either, just that awesome instrumental Bond theme by Monty Norman.

7- Casino Royale

Daniel Craig’s first outing as Bond. This did for the series what Timothy Dalton’s introduction did for it back in the eighties, making it realistic, gritty and believable once again. If you have never read the novels you won’t be familiar with Vesper Lynd, but it is she who made Bond the man we all know today. Eva Green shines as Vesper, the icy woman who falls for Bond and breaks his heart.

Casino Royale

Bond and Vesper. Image source IMDb.

This film shows us how and why James became the way he is in the rest of the series. If you ever wondered why (for the most part)he treats women as nothing more than objects of pleasure, who are 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, and it always has me watching through my fingers! In addition to being a fine action thriller, Casino Royale also has a lot of heart and has an emotionally devastating finale. 

6- From Russia With Love

One of the best films in the entire series. This story has a very 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 for him involving a Russian cipher clerk who says she wishes to defect to the West.

From Russia with love

Bond and Grant fight. Image source IMDb.

Bond comes up against the insane Rosa Klebb (and her deadly flick knife shoes)and the even more insane and deadly Red Grant. Grant is my favourite of all the Bond henchmen. 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.

5- Goldeneye

Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as Bond. Pierce 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 integral part of the series over the years.

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Bond and Natalya. Image source IMDb.

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. He is helped by feisty computer expert Natalya(Izabella Scorupco).This film also features one of the best bad girls in the series. Who is she? Xenia Onnatopp. Famke Janssen is clearly having so much fun in every scene she’s in as the deranged and sex obsessed Xenia. 

4- Live and Let Die

Roger Moore’s first outing as Bond. Moore’s Bond is cool and suave, but he can be ruthless and deadly when necessary too. This Bond 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 ones do show his Bond to be quite quite callous and cold too. It’s not all laughter in the Roger Moore era, despite what some of the critics of this era may say.

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Roger Moore as James Bond. Image source IMDb.

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).Jane Seymour is enchanting as the innocent Solitaire. 

3-  The Living Daylights

Timothy Dalton’s first outing as Bond takes us back to the realism and grit of Ian Fleming’s novels, and the earlier Connery films. After the humorous Moore years, Dalton gave us back the Bond we were supposed to have all along. Dalton’s Bond was dark, ruthless, tough and all about the mission. Sadly his films were not that well received, but over the years he and the films have become rightly praised and loved. It is a shame that Daniel Craig has received praise right from the off for essentially playing Bond how Dalton played him all those years ago, and yet poor Tim got nothing but a hard time.

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Timothy Dalton leaps into action as 007. Image source IMDb.

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(Maryam d’Abo). Their relationship 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. For the record, Tim is also my favourite Bond actor, although I love all of the actors. 

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 don’t agree and actually think that 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 actors. We first see him driving a car and lighting a cigarette, but only see glimpses of him such as parts of his face and his hands etc. I just love the way that sequence is shot. Then we get the famous “this never happened to the other fella!” line just before the title sequence, a knowing wink to the end of Sean Connery’s era.

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Bond and Tracy. Image source IMDb.

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. Diana Rigg is both tough and vulnerable as the troubled Tracy. Telly Savalas is ice cold as Blofeld. I thought Donald Pleasence did a great job of making Blofeld insane, but have always felt his portrayal was very over the top. Telly on the other hand made Blofeld more real and gave him a dangerous edge.

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….

1- Thunderball

I love this film so much. This one has another of those far more realistic and believable plots.The location work in the Bahamas is absolutely gorgeous. This is Sean Connery’s fourth Bond film, and by now he had well and truly settled into the role. I feel this that this is the last truly great film to be found in his Bond era. 

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Domino and Bond. Image source IMDb.

Bond tracks down two stolen atomic bombs. The bombs have been taken by SPECTRE, who plan to threaten cities with destruction, unless world governments agree to pay them a huge ransom. Bond traces the weapons to the Bahamas and encounters SPECTRE’s number 2 agent – the ice cold, eye-patch wearing, Largo (Adolfo Celi). He also encounters the deadly SPECTRE agent, Fiona Volpe(Luciana Paluzzi). Bond also helps out Largo’s abused mistress, Domino(Claudine Auger).

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Bond and Fiona Volpe. Image source IMDb.

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 theme song courtesy of Tom Jones too.

As a bonus here are my top 5 Bond novels.

1-  Casino Royale

2- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

3- Thunderball

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.

13 thoughts on “My Ten Favourite Bond Films

  1. thoughtsallsorts

    OH wow…how weird is that. I’ve been holding back publishing today because I was waiting for your blogathon to go live. I’ll send it to you in the next few minutes – just want to update links to point to your post of today.

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  2. Richard

    Connery’s Bond had so many good one liners and quips that the recent Bond seems to have neglected a bit (Casino Royale aside). I hope the next Bond film sees a return to the humour that I think is a major part of the Bond franchise’s success.

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    1. maddylovesherclassicfilms Post author

      That he did. I like how Connery makes them throwaway lines. I like the humour, but personally I prefer the Bond films when they are a bit more serious. I’m a huge fan of the novels and like it when the films capture the grit and darkness written in those. I do agree that the current films have been a bit too humourless, and could do with a few quips at least.

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  3. Paul S

    I haven’t seen Casino Royale, but your top two would be in my top five. I’ve really warmed to OHMSS over recent years and I’ve always loved Thunderball. It’s no coincidence it’s one of my favourites amongst the Fleming novels.
    Enjoy your blogathon!

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  4. maddylovesherclassicfilms Post author

    Hi Paul. I highly recommend Casino Royale. Nice to see some more love for Thunderball and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, I find them somewhat underrated compared to many of the others. Thanks, it’s fun seeing what everyone has written about.

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