“The name is Bond…James Bond.” That iconic line still sends my heart racing. Several actors have now uttered that famous introduction. Some have blurt it out as if checking it off a list of requirements for the role. But a few, the ones that understood the power and menace behind those words, got it right. And in only one case did the director actually set it up as a revelatory scene, one in which the actor portraying this master spy is actually saying : “I’m here, you ‘re mine and not even God can help you.” Here is that scene.
Am I right?! Who wouldn’t dream of giving up their ordinary lives to travel the world and dispatch bad guys with such panache, while still finding the time to get all the pretty ladies with such sexually explicit names.
To date, there have been 22 official Bond films and two non-canon entries and I’ve seen them all countless times. But for some reason, only a handful of them hold a special place in my heart. Here are my Top 5 James Bond Movies :
5. From Russia with love No fancy gadgets, no over-the-top baddies, no throw-away opening sequence. Just a great spy movie with a wonderful performance by Robert Shaw as James Bond’s nemesis. At the end of Ian Fleming’s book, we are left with the impression that Bond is dying or dead. But I guess popular demand for more exciting stories nixed the author’s plan to kill off his creation.
4. Goldfinger Once again, not an outlandish plot about world domination. And the “action” is quite gentlemanly at times (golf game anyone?). What we do get are a memorable villain with a predilection for gold (hence the namesake), the deadly bowler-wearing (and throwing) henchman (Oddjob) and a “love” interest with the most outlandish name ever (Pussy Galore, come on!)
3. Thunderball Now this is starting to feel like the Bond movies we have come to expect : bigger stakes, shinier gadgets and more expansive action sequences. This is Sean Connery at the peak of his game, unlike the best forgotten and laughable remake (Never say never again) where he was obviously a bit long in the tooth to play this role. Do yourself a favor and stick to this version.
2. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service I’v always thought that George Lazenby never got a fair shake as 007. After all, he had very large shoes to fill. In my opinion, OHMSS has one of the most original settings of this franchise. And unlike most fleeting relationships throughout our hero’s adventures, you really believe that Bond could fall in love with Emma Peel, I mean Diana Rigg. Plus, the ending is to die for.
1. Casino Royale Daniel Craig got a lot of flack when it was announced that he would be the next Bond. A blond 007? Outrageous! Much ado about nothing because never has their been a truer portrayal of Ian Fleming’s überspy. Craig manages to be both charismatic and menacing as a newly minted double 0 agent. And it’s nice to finally see an actor in the role that can actually act. Just saying.