Who is the Best James Bond?
‘Shaken, not stirred’ – If you say the line to five people, they will likely think of five different scenes from James Bond movies. It is one of the greatest lines in movie history, ranked 22nd by the American Film Institute. Would Sean Connery be the one to spring to mind with the original utterance as he drooped his cigarette from his mouth and twinkled with excitement and boredom at the same time? Perhaps it will look like Daniel Craig’s iconic 007 holding a machine gun over a foe? Someone’s going to like the way George Lazenby smirks it out as if it’s the first time anybody except Sean has given it a go.
There is a Bond for everyone, and every Bond character has his own interpretation of how the character moves, acts, and even what casino jargon he uses in the film. 007 is bigger than any character, and multiple generations agree that the 007 series is the best to ever dress in tuxedos. We admit it’s impossible to figure out who is the “best” 007 actor, but here are our top 6.
Timothy Dalton was widely rejected by general audiences during the 1980s for his gruffer and no-nonsense portrayal of the character, especially by those who grew up with it, after the movies The Living Daylights (1987) and License to Kill (1989) underperformed at the box office. His direct predecessor, Roger Moore, and his high camp and raised eyebrows schtick were definitely not Dalton’s style. To better reflect Ian Fleming’s original literary creation, Dalton opted for a more taciturn Bond.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), which has won appreciation over the years, including that of Christopher Nolan, was the only Lazenby depicted bond. Although Lazenby was certainly not the best Bond as an actor or screen persona, we wonder if his performance could have been enhanced if he had simply starred in more than one 007 film.
There is no doubt that Roger Moore is the best Bond for audiences of a certain age. I am not just referring to those who were born in the 1970s and early 1980s. Nobody did Bond movies better in those early years than Moore, the funny 007. If you grew up watching Bond movies, Moore has done them better than anyone else. The seven Bond movies he’s made still rank as the largest number by any one actor.
The harshness that was hurled at Daniel Craig back in 2005 because of blond hair and a few more wrinkles on his face continues to be scoffed at today. Daniel Craig concludes his James Bond tenure in No Time to Die. After reinventing the character, Craig also revolutionized the franchise as a whole, making the initial backlash laughable. In five films and 15 years, Craig constructed an entire psychological portrait of the Bond archetype as the first Bond to start fresh with a complete reboot from the last guy.
Pierce Brosnan made such an impressive performance in GoldenEye (1995) that Eon Productions felt obligated to cast him again after he left The Living Daylights over a TV contract. There was a good reason for it, so the fans expected it. After more than a decade since the last 007 movies, Brosnan brought the character back to relevance in the 1990s as the first franchise lead who was an avid fan.
Is there anything more to be said about Sean Connery’s James Bond? As far as most of us are concerned, the first actor to plant the flag still reigns supreme. The writer of the original Bond novels, Ian Fleming, became famously irate when Connery was cast as 007, calling him a “ditch digger” in private. In fact, he did work as a bricklayer, coffin polisher, and other jobs that were hardly glamorous before he became an actor. As a result, he depicts Bond as an aristocratic elitist who, long ago, realized he was supposed to hold the silver spoon, so he grabbed it and started correcting the world.
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