My takes on each
- Casino Royale (1954 on Climax: Barry Nelson)
I’ve linked to a free Youtube copy of this 50 minute “shot live for TV” Bond production starring Barry Nelson, who plays a US agent. Yes, the fight scenes are Kabuki like (not intended to be realistic) but I still found this to be a fun show. And note that this is one (of 2?) place where Bond gets tortured and is shown being in agony. He gets out but by cunning, not gadgets.
First James Bond on the big screen, and this is where he gets his personality. This is the “Bond. James Bond” line starts. Note: no real gadget stuff here; just heady agent stuff and a very cold blooded kill: “That’s a Smith and Wesson. And you’ve had your six.” The special effects and the technology are laughably bad but..hey…
I’d consider this one to be a classic and required watching for a Bond fan. Classic fight on a train between Bond and one of the best henchmen of the series (Grant). You also have Kleb with her shoe with a blade, and the awesome briefcase with gadgets. One of my favorites. Canonical.
Some rank this as the best Bond of all time. I might agree or I might say that others deserve it more. But the classic villain, the awesome henchman (Odd Job) who was, in real life, an Olympic medalist in weight lifting (and even had his own commercial based on that character!)..”shaken, not stirred” and Pussy Galore, one of the iconic Bond girls. This is an absolute must for one who wants to learn about Bond. Note: this one also features a significant pre-title scene featuring Bond (the one from From Russia, with Love featured…Grant..) Canonical. Favorite.
Follow on to Goldfinger; this features some cool footage of the British Vulcan bomber and an undwerwater fight scene; this introduces the “special unit being transported just in time to save the day” (the Army in Goldfinger was there when the crime was being attempted) Yes, Bond coerces sex in this one..
One of my favorites. Sure, Bond being made to look like a Japanese is ridiculous (and his pidgin Japanese in a Scottish accent doesn’t persuade) and there are other highly non-PC aspects..and an absurd plot. Still …a LOT of fun and the ending..the ninjas attacking the crater…fantastic. I still smile when I remember this one. “Kill Bond. NOW.”
George Lazenby’s bond. Absurd plot ..one of the most ridiculous ones, even by Bond standards. Telly Salavas is a scream as Blofeld ….and Bond gets married…but..well….. and there ARE awesome ski scenes (done by a professional). Note: the Bond family motto shows up again decades later in a Pierce Brosnan Bond. Not one of my favorites (still fun) but probably canonical.
This one got panned by critics. But I loved it. Las Vegas, space lasers and some awesome henchmen (Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd) One of my favorites.
Roger Moore takes over here; this one deals with the drug trade and is a take off at the blacksploitation films of the period. The Villain is cool…as is the henchman. And yes, silliness ramps up here…running across alligators, a villain that “blows up” at the end, a scene with clueless southern lawmen..etc. Though this is not one of my favorites, while being fun, I’d consider it to be canonical.
This one gets panned by the critics, though I loved the villain ..was lukewarm on Nicknack (played by “De Plane de plane” guy) and the sheriff J. W. Pepper makes a gratuitous appearance. You see a bit of Bond’s cold ruthlessness mixed in here. The hapless Bond girl helper Goodnight adds comic relief..
I think this was Roger Moore’s best Bond film and probably an essential Bond; it mixes silliness with ruthlessness (killing of henchman Sandor), introduces Jaws and features Barbara Bach as the Russian agent XXX..whose lover, a Russian agent, is killed by Bond in the pre title segment. One of my favorites. Canon.
This one gets panned…Bond in Space! But I thought it was a lot of fun. Jaws appears here too. Though the Bond girl is herself an agent ..yes, her name is Goodhead, but she is anything but helpless. The gadgets do jump the shark here, especially with that ridiculous boat that changes to a car. One of my favorites.
Good, solid spy yarn, and one of my favorites. Bond shows the range of emotions, and ruthlessly kills a hit man who had previously killed a friend of his..just after he tosses a trinket to let him know where the revenge is coming from. There is a double cross (surprised me when I first watched it) and some good climbing scenes…and a clever henchman almost kills Bond toward the end.
I didn’t like this one when I first saw it…but really liked it seeing it the second time. Oh, this was silliness…including Bond doing a Tarzan yell while swinging on tree vines (really) and telling a tiger to “stay” (and it worked). Lots of dark humor here, as well as some cold war drama; just chill and go along for the ride. And yes, Octopussy was “not quite a Bond girl but a lover” who had an private army of women in red spandex bodysuits.
- Never Say Never again
This was a non-Eon affair and so isn’t part of the “official cannon” but starred an aging Sean Connery, featured a weight room fight scene (henchman was, in real life, a professional wrestler), featured underwater scenes and submarines. The story line was very similar to Thunderball, though with cruise missile warheads and different targets. Good Bond fun.
This was Roger Moore’s last effort. I didn’t like it when I first saw it..the second time I saw it, I realized that the villain (Christopher Walken, chief henchwoman (Grace Jones) really were a lot of fun. So..the most annoying part was the main Bond girl, who really did little other than scream when scared and yell for Bond to save her; the old Damsel in Distress trope. Toward the end, I was cheering for the bad guys to “get her.” She was irritating!
This is Timothy Dalton’s first Bond, and I enjoyed it. The first scene was outstanding. Yeah, there was a Cold War theme, an unconvincing Bond girl, and the Mujahideen being the heroic unit that saved the day. Overall, great movie; Dalton played a more human Bond. Yes, this is one of my favorites.
This was one of the darkest Bonds and, this one is one of my favorites. Sanchez was outstanding as a villain and Dario was one of the best henchmen of the Bond series. Yes, the individual body count was high, meaning a lot of one-on-one kills.
Pierce Brosnan takes over and this is usually rated as a Bond classic. It has the space gadget, several good villains/henchmen, including a woman who kills during sex AND a computer wizard nerd! There is a bit of shoot-em-up at the start, and the villain is almost a match for Bond. This features a couple of classic kill quips. While this is not one of my favorites..I like it, I’d consider it to be essential for the Bond canon.
This one features a media mogul as the evil villain, and yes, he certainly is. There is some Rambo like shoot-em up (where the Stormtrooper caliber henchmen shoot at and miss while Bond runs with two machine guns..but…well..I do like the villain.
The title is the Bond family motto (explained On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and another nuclear submarine plot. But IMHO, the “dual villain” (Elektra) steals the show…and there is a cold blooded kill…Bond killing someone he had previously slept with (and got double crossed by). Heck, this one is fun; it is not as highly rated as Goldeneye but I enjoyed it.
Last one..jumps the shark with the ice stuff at the end..and perhaps the cheesiest, most ridiculous scene in a Bond movie ever (ice -berg infested water surfing). But the double header “kill the bad guy” scene at the end is cool where Bond and NSA agent Jinx kill the “bad guys”. The start is unusual (Bond released by a deal with the North Koreans) and the invisible car. Jinx is pretty cool…so I’d say this isn’t as annoying as View to a Kill, though …is more ridiculous.
One of my favorites; I’d consider this one to be an essential Bond (canon). It goes back in time and plays on a classic theme. Daniel Craig takes over as Bond here and plays a dark, more real character. Bond gets tortured and is shown being in agony..and a surprise ending…on many levels.
Meh…so-so, in my opinion, though the kill as the end is a classic. The plot is kind of dumb. It is hard to follow at first, though it does pick up where the previous movie left off.
One of my favorites and I’d call this one an essential Bond. The villain Raoul Silva (who was the villain in No Country For Old Men) is out of this world good..the plot..the action…the interplay with Bond and M (Dench’s last performance) is just outstanding. One could make a case that this was the best Bond movie ever.
Ok, this one, while not…well…bad…is ok. Blofeld returns. There is a lot of “shoot ’em up” here and the ending is interesting. Still…Craig had set a high standard and this one doesn’t meet it, in my opinion. Even the eye-gouging henchman is..well..isn’t Grant/Odd Job/Dario quality.