Tuesday, April 28, 2009

URBAN LEGEND: Ranking the Bond Films

*Posted November 13, 2008*

In honor of the release of Quantum of Solace, let's take a look back at the history of Bond films. Connery to Craig. I think Bond movies are probably the zenith of guilty pleasures. QOS is the 22nd Bond film and most, not all, aren't great pieces of cinema, but for some reason I and many others keep watching.

21. Die Another Day (2002, Pierce Brosnan) - Halle Berry is super hot, but we all knew that Brosnan was done. After this film, the franchise took a hiatus and went in a totally different direction.

20. Octopussy (1983, Roger Moore) - Moore was getting old and the climax revolved around a circus. The villain and henchmen both sucked. Maud Adams was hot, but she couldn't save this film.

19. The World is Not Enough (1999, Pierce Brosnan) - I'll give a slight nod to Denise Richards over Halle Berry. Pierce Brosnan sucks.

18. The Living Daylights (1987, Timothy Dalton) - Villains, henchman, and Bond all disappointed. The theme song is about all the movie had going for it.

17. Diamonds Are Forever (1971, Sean Connery) - Connery's final "official" Bond film is easily his worst. Another actor playing Blofeld got tiresome. Bond in America just doesn't seem right.

16. A View to a Kill (1985, Roger Moore) - Roger Moore looks so old and the plot is goofy, but Christopher Walken and Grace Jones are top-notch. Duran Duran's theme may be the best in Bond history.

15. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997, Pierce Brosnan) - The bad guys minus Elliot Carver were pretty sweet, but I can't get pass how much of a loser Pierce is. IMO this is easily his second best Bond film.

14. The Man With the Golden Gun (1974, Roger Moore) - The plot is quite horrible, but Christopher Lee and Herve Villechaize are sweet as villain and henchman. Britt Ekland and Maud Adams are hot and underrated Bond girls. This has almost become a cult classic. Goofy and stupid, but a guilty pleasure for sure.

13. Moonraker (1979, Roger Moore) - I always liked this movie when I was little. The first half or so is a pretty good movie, but when James Bond heads into space, it gets a little out of control. Jaws is an awesome henchmen, but the plot is way over the top.

12. For Your Eyes Only (1981, Roger Moore) - Moore is probably at his gritiest and the story itself isn't that bad. Overall, its all sorta average. Moore is pretty solid, but the villains and girls are average at best. Maybe with a little more spunk this would a more renowned Bond film.

11. Licence to Kill (1989, Timothy Dalton) - This is perhaps Bond at his darkest, well until Daniel Craig. Bad-guy Robert Davi kills Felix Lieter's wife and hurts Felix badly. Dalton goes crazy in this revenge film. TD still sucks as Bond, but the overall movie is pretty good. Davi is sweet and Benicio del Toro is the henchman. Bond girls are probably slightly about average.

10. You Only Live Twice (1967, Sean Connery) - Connery is his normal awesome Bond and we get to see Blofeld's face and his pure underwater lair, but Bond in the Orient isn't really that cool. When I think of Bond, I don't think of Chinese girls.

9. Live and Let Die (1973, Roger Moore) - Moore's first Bond is one of his best. Although settings that include New Orleans and Harlem suck, the villain and henchmen are awesome and Jane Seymour is a young hot as hell bond girl. Great theme song as well.

8. Dr. No (1962, Sean Connery) - The movie that started it all is still one of the best. Although some parts are outdated, Dr. Julius No remains one of Bond's best adversaries, and the film in general sets the stage for the good ones that are about to follow. Ursula Andress walking out of the ocean onto the beach is one of the most recognizable images in film history.

7. On Her Majesty's Sercret Service (1969, George Lazenby) - If Sean Connery was in this movie, it may be the best in the history of Bond. Instead Lazenby makes this excellent movie suffer a little. Telly Salvalas is a good Blofeld and Irma Bunt is a solid henchwoman. Bond falls in love and marries Diana Rigg at the end. The honeymoon ends rather quickly with Bunt killing Bond's bride. Perhaps one of the most emotional Bond films, it remains one of the best.

6. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977, Roger Moore) - Moore's best. The introduction of Jaws as one of the better henchmen in the entire franchise. Stromberg is a semi-weak villain but he doesn't bring the film down too much. Major Anya Amasova is one of the better Bond girls acting has James' russian counterpart. TSWLM is filtered with many great scenes that include a trip to the Egyptian pyramids and a great helicopter chase.

5. Goldeneye (1995, Pierce Brosnan) - Pierce's first and best. Bond was on a six-year break from Licence to Kill and came back with one of the better films in the entire franchise. The opening scenes with Bond in the USSR are classic. The Bond girls are solid and the twist with the villain is excellent. The music is also top-notch. Dan and Dave will say this is the best. I will disagree, but it is still up there as one of the better Bond films.

4. Casino Royale (2006, Daniel Craig) - Bond returns with quite a bang as Daniel Craig is introduced to the role. A tough, hard-nosed Bond rings true and ends all the humor and sauvity that marked some bad movies from Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore. In terms of overall Bond villains, Le Chiffre is probably below average and the henchmen are forgettable, but the girls are great. I don't know what Herb is talking about, but Vesper Lynd is super hot and one of the better Bond girls in history. It's tough to beat that entire poker game scene.

3. Goldfinger (1964, Sean Connery) - Most lists that one can find on the internet will probably have this film number one. The big three, villain, henchman, girl are perhaps that most recognizable in Bond history with Goldfinger, Oddjob, and Pussy Galore, but something bugs me when Bond goes to the US. Bond and Fort Knox just doesn't resinate. All the places seem to be in place, but I have a few that I prefer to Goldfinger.

2. Thunderball (1966, Sean Connery) - When I think of Bond, a lot of Thunderball comes to mind. Casinos, yachts, Bahamas, etc. The underwater fight scenes are famous in their ingenuity for a 60s movie. Largo, better known as Number 2, is one of the best villains. The henchmen are adequate at best, but Domino is a solid Bond girl. The movie was remade in 1983 with Never Say Never Again. If you combine Bond with all the rights elements of settings, girls, and adversaries, it is tough to get much better than Thunderball.

1. From Russia With Love (1963, Sean Connery) - If Star Wars has its Empire and Batman Begins has its Dark Knight, then Dr. No had its superior sequel with the release of From Russia With Love in 1963. If all the elements were clicking in Thunderball, then they are only strenghtened here. Bond in Europe, where he should be, on a case in Turkey. We get our first sneak peak of Blofeld and we have a great villain in Rosa Klebb. Robert Shaw as Red Grant may be the best henchman in Bond lore. Tatiana Romanova is not the best Bond girl, but she is certainly not the worst either. The mid sixties of From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, and Thunderball represent the height of James Bond in cinema.

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