Ranking of all 25 James Bond films

By Jürgen Fritz, Sat 09 Oct 2021, Cover picture: YouTube-Screenshot

The editors of the film recommendation community Moviepilot have compiled a ranking of all 25 official films in the James Bond series to mark the theatrical release of No Time to DieFilmstarts has also rated each individual flick. Here is an overview of the best and the weakest Bond films.

Preliminary note

The secret agent 007 James Bond, invented by Ian Fleming and working for MI6, saw the light of day in 1953 in the novel Casino Royale. Until his death in 1964, Ian Fleming wrote twelve novels and nine short stories about the British secret agent. The first television film was released in 1954 under the title Casino Royale. The Bond film was released in 1962. In James Bond – 007 chases Dr. No, Sean Connery played the leading role. No Time to Die, which opened in German cinemas on 30 September 2021, is the 25th official film in the Bond series. All 25 films were reviewed by Moviepilot.

1. Goldfinger (1964)

Sean Connery’s third outing as James Bond, directed for the first time by Guy Hamilton. The first Bond film to exceed the 100 million US dollar mark at the cinema box office and, adjusted for inflation, the third most successful film to date (after Skyfall and Thunderball).

Budget: 3.5 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 125 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 1,027 million).

Moviepilot: „Everyone involved is working at the top of their game, whether Connery himself, villain actor Gert Fröbe, Bond girl Honor Blackman, director Guy Hamilton or production designer Ken Adam. Thus one iconic scene in the script by Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn follows the next, from Jill Masterson’s gold-covered corpse to Oddjob’s hat-precision to the near-laser castration. You could talk for hours about Goldfinger’s influence on pop culture, but that shouldn’t make you forget how insanely entertaining, stylish and intense the film still comes across. Crucial to this timeless power is also villain Auric Goldfinger. He doesn’t stay in the background like his megalomaniac colleagues. Early on, the film establishes the competition between the two arrogant men and savours it with every subsequent stop. Goldfinger and Bond attract each other like a negative and a positive charge. Here the rotund, sweaty genius with a penchant for baroque pageantry, there the elegant, postcolonial macho superman. One needs the other to fully develop, just as the Bond series needed this film to find itself.“

Filmstarts comes to an almost identical conclusion: „With ‚James Bond 007 – Goldfinger‘, the world’s most successful and longest-lived film franchise finally finds its formula. And it goes like this: megalomaniac super-rich man – Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) – threatens the world, in this case the currency stability of the US dollar in the form of the gold reserves in Fort Knox, which he wants to contaminate radioactively. The British secret agent James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent after him and first hooks up with a beautiful girl or two (Shirley Eaton) while he jets around the world … The girl is soon murdered by the super villain’s nasty accomplice … as effectively as possible, here by means of a full-body gold plating. Bond places himself in the hands of the villain, but soon manages to escape. Bond then returns with reinforcements and there is a huge showdown in the course of which Bond is able to save the world, kill the villain and keep the second (or third) girl. The whole thing is spiced up with great buildings (often by the legendary Ken Adam), cool cars (preferably by Aston Martin) and great music (unmistakably: John Barry). There are also visual gimmicks (the view through the gun barrel at the beginning of each film) and one-liners with high recognition value (‚My name is Bond, James Bond‘, ‚Vodka Martini, shaken, not stirred‘).

The content of ‚Goldfinger‘ should be common knowledge by now, as this film has made its way into the annals of pop culture… The strange thing: what would be branded as stereotypy in all other series is expected in Bond. More than that: whenever there is a deviation from the pattern, the audience is irritated. With ‚Goldfinger‘, the series has created its own corset, and a corset looks best when it is worn…

Sean Connery had finally grown into the role he disliked by the third film. His physical presence carries much of the film. This is not something that can be taught. This has nothing to do with acting, but is rather what makes a real star. The camera puts him more in the centre of the action than in the predecessors. Connery’s Bond seems big, larger than life. Virile, dangerous and irresistible to both sexes. His self-assurance is also underlined by an occasional flash of machismo that would be unthinkable nowadays… ‚Goldfinger‘, however, is also the grandiose Gert Fröbe …. Fröbe’s villain was so strong that all other successors were measured against him. And with every new film, the (professional) world agreed anew: no one came close to Fröbe. The better the villain, the better the film. Measured against that, ‚Goldfinger‘ is hard to top.“

Filmstarts rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (9 out of 10).

2. Casino Royale (2006)

Directed by Martin Campbell, Daniel Craig takes on the role of James Bond for the first time and makes a furious debut. The first Bond to earn more than half a billion US dollars at the box office.

Budget: 150 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 599 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 758 million).

Moviepilot: „Martin Campbell shaves all the frills off the 007 surface for the Craig opener (even Daniel Craig’s chest is epilated smooth as glass). He thus created one of the most exciting and focused Bond films. Casino Royale actually has a plot you want to follow. The Bond-typical and at the same time completely untypical poker scene has an incredible staying power and is the showpiece of the film. Casino Royale, that is its great achievement, circumvents here one of the greatest weaknesses of the entire franchise: The arbitrariness of the rooms and locations. The casino in Montenegro is explored with all its niches and used for rousing action scenes.

Daniel Craig gives himself completely to the more focused, approachable new Bond. Not only does he deliver one of the best dialogues of the series (on the train with Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd), leaving behind the usual snarky flirting. He volunteers his body for pain of a new order. That’s right, pain. Casino Royale shows where Daniel Craig should be headed in the next fifteen years.“

Again, Filmstarts comes to an almost identical conclusion: „Those who were less than enthusiastic about the last Bond films, who may even have thought them shallow and implausible, are in for a pleasant surprise. Martin Campbell’s hard-hitting agent action thriller ‚Casino Royale‘ exceeds the high expectations and shines with an – against all speculation – excellently cast Daniel Craig in the double zero role. The rough reorientation of the franchise has succeeded with more than bravura….

After the overloaded effects storm in ‚Die Another Day‘, it was as clear as day to the producers that they had to do something, despite the strong box office. The gleeful laughter provoked by the invisible Aston Martin in the last part must have hurt their ears more than anything. So what to do? Return to the old virtues. Back to the roots, back to the novels….

Craig’s performance is excellent. Daniel Craig is tough, edgy, athletic and sometimes even casually cynical. This is a man you can believe is a tough dog. The question here is not – as with the predecessors – whether he is able to convey the action credibly, but rather whether the newcomer can portray the other qualities that make up James Bond, namely style, elegance and coolness. And he can. Craig doesn’t have to shy away from comparison with his predecessors. On the contrary. This film would hardly have been possible with Brosnan… the character is completely reinterpreted… The result is something that surprises you: a really exciting film.

Connoisseurs will be surprised at how much of the book is on screen, albeit in an updated form. There is a marked increase in harshness… this is how Ian Fleming imagined the world of James Bond. The most brutal scene in particular comes directly from his book… The film also scores points with a wonderfully nasty villain. Mads Mikkelsen’s LeChiffre is a really good antagonist for Bond, much better than the otherwise more or less interchangeable megalomaniac super villains. What is special about this character is that for him it is also about naked survival. He doesn’t compete against Bond because he wants to, but because he has to. Win or die applies to him just as much as to his opponent.

And the action scenes – especially the first half hour – are so grippingly done that you immediately forget all the 007 epigones in film and television of recent times. To put it bluntly, ‚Casino Royale‘ is an excellent, thrilling, even downright exciting film with a superbly cast lead actor in top form.“

Filmstarts rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (9 out of 10).

3. GoldenEye (1995)

Pierce Brosnan’s first outing, eleven years before Casino Royale, was also directed by New Zealander Martin Campbell. The first film in the series to gross more than 300 million US dollars (all four Brosnan films were to do so).

Budget: 60 million US dollars. Box office: 353 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 592 million).

Moviepilot: „Crazy action and comic-book moments are the flavour enhancers that the Brosnan era adds to the 007 franchise. Brosnan inscribes himself in the series with a free fall. From a dam he plunges into the depths in a pilotless plane. When it comes to stunts and realistic action, ‚GoldenEye‘ raises the bar a little for all Bonds to come. The Brosnan debut dances the fine line between pomp and parody that some predecessors and successors tread.“

Filmstarts sees GoldenEye as considerably weaker: „The series has been retread. The entire regular cast has been replaced. Only the obligatory Q (Desmond Llewelyn) remained. Bond’s superior became a lady. The tough Judy Dench makes an excellent female M …. Brosnan’s Bond is more streamlined than the one portrayed by Dalton. The latter not only showed himself to be tough and results-oriented, but also exhibited other sides, such as a thirst for revenge and latently insubordinate tendencies. Brosnan’s Bond does not show these facets. On the contrary. Feelings are dangerous for him, they make him vulnerable. He presents himself as a professional through and through. However, Brosnan is a little too well-done to believably portray the tough dog. He will only succeed in this in an acceptable way in the third film. Nevertheless, his Bond is interesting, dynamic and thoroughly exciting ….

The plot is expectedly nonsense, but that doesn’t bother either. We are in a Bond film, after all. However, too much time is needed before the theft of the diamond, which triggers the actual plot, takes place and the film picks up speed … The bottom line is that ‚GoldenEye‘ (the title is a reference to Ian Flemming’s Caribbean abode) is an acceptable relaunch of the most successful franchise in film history. Brosnan completes his debut better than Lazenby or Moore and was the right man to carry Bond into the new millennium.“

Filmstarts rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (7 out of 10).

4. Skyfall (2012)

Daniel Craig takes on the role for the third time, directed for the first time by Sam Mendes. The most financially successful Bond film of all time (even adjusted for inflation), with box office takings of over 1.1 billion US dollars.

Budget: 200 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 1,109 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 1,223 million).

Moviepilot: „Skyfall is not only a thrillingly differently staged Bond that allows new intimate insights into the psyche of its protagonist, but also an unintentional (?) homage to the most sociopathic Christmas film of all time. As such, fourth place in this ranking is more than deserved.“

Similarly, Filmstarts: „… Mendes anchors his film more firmly in contemporary historical reality, confronting the erstwhile Cold Warrior James Bond with the conflicts of the 21st century. Not only is the predominantly ice-cold blue look of ‚Skyfall‘ gloomy, the narrative tone is also downright chilling: There is an atmosphere of mutual distrust. Consequently, the spectacular showdown takes place at night in the inhospitable expanse and darkness of Scotland, which incidentally also provides an explanation for the title of the 23rd Bond adventure.

Directed by Oscar-winner Sam Mendes, the new Bond is again much closer to Daniel Craig’s celebrated first appearance in ‚Casino Royale‘. ‚Skyfall‘ is an agent action thriller stripped of exotic gadget frippery and other incidentals and reduced to the essentials: a cool, contemporary Bond that shines with terse but polished dialogue, superbly crafted action and beguilingly beautiful visuals by ace cinematographer Roger Deakins (‚No Country For Old Men‘).

‚Skyfall‘ is a serious Bond. There is no room here for the gaga fantasies from the Roger Moore films or for absurdities like the invisible car from Pierce Brosnan’s last 007 appearance in ‚Die Another Day’…. Daniel Craig plumbs 007’s emotional depths as rarely before: Bond is still a tough guy for whom bullet wounds, pain and acute danger to life only serve as an excuse for his cynicism. But he also has to adapt and is forced to question his loyalties by counterpart Silva.

He, in turn, is a memorable adversary and it takes an actor of the class of Oscar-winner Javier Bardem to keep the portrait of the psychopathic cyber-terrorist Silva from tipping over into the grotesque. The Spaniard has some simply brilliant moments and plays his charisma to the full. Why he wants to get at the United Kingdom, and especially M, for once has nothing to do with world domination… Silva is a ‚modern‘ villain, after all, he uses all the possibilities of modern terrorism, but in terms of insane charisma he is in no way inferior to classic Bond villains like Goldfinger and Blofeld.

Sam Mendes has given the James Bond series another course correction with this exhilarating and perfectly directed agent action thriller. On its 50th anniversary, he has succeeded in making a chilling, utterly worthy anniversary Bond.“

Filmstarts rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (9 out of 10).

5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

The only use of George Lazenby and the only directorial effort by Peter R. Hunt.

Budget: 7 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 87 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 608 million).

Moviepilot: „Even if his interpretation of the agent has not become the one that first comes to mind when it comes to James Bond, his film is definitely one of the best in the series. … ventures into a tragic corner where Connery’s coolness could never have penetrated. It is the first attempt to break up the iconic character and take him in a new direction. Moreover, the (action) direction by Peter R. Hunt, who was previously responsible for editing the Bond films, is astonishing. He gives ‚On Her Majesty’s Secret Service‘ an unusual rhythm that still sets the film apart from the other parts of the series. On the one hand … very quiet, thoughtful and inward-looking, on the other furious and exciting. … introduces Bond as a human being and ends with probably the biggest punch in the gut of the entire series.“

So also Filmstarts: „Of all people, the most mediocre of all 007 actors, Australian George Lazenby, plays the title role in an absolute highlight of the series. The agent action thriller captivates as a perfect Bond cocktail with all the ingredients that fans love: Action, suspense and irony at its best – enhanced by the tragedy component.

After five Bond adventures, the Scotsman Sean Connery had had enough of his beloved-hated character… Timothy Dalton and Roger Moore, among others, were considered as successors for ‚On Her Majesty’s Secret Service‘. Dalton felt he was still too young, Moore had to wait until ‚Live and Let Die‘ (1973) to get into action. Former car salesman and dressman George Lazenby, incidentally the youngest Bond debutant at 30, made the strongest impression at test screenings but was never accepted by audiences as a Connery replacement and turned down a follow-up contract for several 007 films, which the actor later described as a big mistake. Lazenby believed that a superspy was a walking anachronism in the approaching Woodstock era. He was right about that, but it did not dampen the success of the most successful franchise in film history.

Lazenby had only one film to raise his profile. Too little. The Australian walks in the big footsteps of Sean Connery and leans his interpretation of the role similarly: with macho male charisma … and plenty of irony….

But superficially, the film has other pounds with which it can weed. Lazenby only gives a mediocre performance, but his supporting cast is convincing. Telly Savalas radiates so much charisma as the arch-villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld … that it is a splendour. The theme of biological warfare also appeals and is ’sold well‘ by Savalas. In addition, the film features Diana Rigg (The Avengers), one of the most fascinating Bond girls in the series. She is one of the few who doesn’t let the macho man walk all over her – which, however, ends in a novelty of the franchise… Bond marries his beloved Tracy – but she gets shot. For once, the series shines with something that no other Bond film can match in intensity: a heartbreaking tragedy.

The action scenes are excellent by the standards of the time, the landscape panoramas from the Bernese Oberland stunning and the ski chases directed by Willy Bogner spectacular … It is this coherent overall package that makes ‚On Her Majesty’s Secret Service‘ one of the best Bond films – and that despite George Lazenby, who acts nowhere near as badly as many fans (at the time) wanted to admit, but also gives the super agent the least profile of his own.“

Filmstarts rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (9 out of 10).

6. Live and Let Die (1973)

Roger Moore took on the role of James Bond for the first time, directed by Guy Hamilton as in Goldfinger and Diamond Fever. Adjusted for inflation, the fifth most successful Bond to date.

Budget: 12 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 162 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 929 million).

Moviepilot: „In the Caribbean, with Yaphet Kotto as the villain and Roger Moore’s emphatically humorous approach, one of the most unusual Bond films was made, which under better conditions might have made even more of its daring setting.“

Filmstarts: „The first real Englishman in the role of 007 was already established with audiences in 1973 thanks to the popular TV series ‚Simon Templar‘ and ‚ The Persuaders!‚. In addition to the brilliant British actor, a screenplay bursting with good ideas, a strong score and an extremely bizarre group of villains guarantee entertaining 007 fun, which cleverly conceals minor plot weaknesses and unpleasantly offensive casting tendencies…

Moore is already very careful in his debut not to imitate his predecessors, but to bring his own interpretation to the screen. He adds a hitherto little-developed self-irony to Bond, which imparts a sympathetic wink to the script, which is enriched with numerous stunts and total losses. Unlike in the later clamour climax Octopussy, the mixture of slapstick, Britishness and black humour is still balanced here.“

Filmstarts rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars (8 out of 10).

7. No Time to Die (2021)

Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing. Cary Joji Fukunaga took over the direction for the first time. At 250 million US dollars, the most expensive Bond ever made.

Budget: 250 million US dollars. Box-office takings: ?

Moviepilot: „Daniel Craig’s Bond era ends with one of the most emotional chapters in the entire series. … draws on the strongest elements of its predecessors and delivers one adrenaline-fuelled sequence after another. The biggest highlight of this beautifully filmed agent adventure is hidden in the first few minutes: First we experience the tragic horror in Norway, then the heartbreaking action in Matera. What also succeeds: the integration of new characters … as well as the farewell to Craig’s companions. You don’t want to leave the Bond universe. And then comes this ending – it’s a blast.“

Filmstarts sees the new Bond as clearly weaker: „‚Are you death or paradise?‘ sings Billie Eilish in the new title song – and thus indicates right from the start that Daniel Craig’s final 007 appearance can possibly end in only one of two extremes. This is an exciting question, even if ‚No Time to Die‘, the longest film in the series so far, demands a lot of patience from the audience. At the same time, the love story that takes centre stage is not touching enough. Thus, ‚No Time to Die‘ lags behind the best films of the Craig era such as ‚Casino Royale‘ or ‚Skyfall‘, although an initial car chase in Italy and a humorous brawl in Cuba are among the best action scenes of the entire series.

More than any other 007 adventure, Daniel Craig’s farewell is built on big emotions. Action and saving the world are almost incidental in some passages of this tragic relationship story – and unfortunately the spark doesn’t always want to fly. In ‚Spectre‘, the flirtations between Léa Sedoux and Daniel Craig were not necessarily among the highlights – and this lack of chemistry is of course all the more lacking in ‚No Time to Die‘, where the love drama takes centre stage.

Especially since the intention to connect all Bond parts with Daniel Craig makes it unnecessarily difficult: when Bond visits the grave of his first great love Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), for example, memories of ‚Casino Royale‘ are also awakened in the audience – only there the deep tragedy, which is again targeted this time, hit the target much more reliably. And when the camera lingers for a long time on a huge painting of M (Judi Dench), one or the other will surely have to think of the goosebump finale of ‚Skyfall‘ – and thus also of the fact that even Bond’s relationship with his former boss went deeper than that with Swann…

Especially in the action scenes, two new female agents are allowed to shine. This is especially true for ‚Knives Out‘ star Ana de Armas, who only makes a mini-appearance, but even outplays Craig in this one: sexy, humorous and quick-witted. She hits the mark with every dry quip – and it’s just right when she and Craig have a few drinks in the middle of a fight. In the rest of the film, however, the humour seems forced again and again…

Conclusion: ‚James Bond 007 – No Time to Die‘ looks damn good and has some absolutely great action scenes. In between, however, there’s a lot of idling, mainly because the tragic love story at the centre just doesn’t touch as much as it should.“

Filmstarts rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars (6 out of 10), user rating: 3.7 stars (7.4 out of 10).

8. Quantum of Solace (2008)

Second effort by Daniel Craig, directed by one-time director Marc Forster.

Budget: 230 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 586 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 695 million).

Moviepilot: „… a completely unleashed version of the secret agent. The dizzying production perfectly captures his troubled, torn interior. Bond has never been this restless and vibrant again.“

Filmstarts sees the flick as a little weaker: „Directed by exceptional German-Swiss director Marc Forster (‚Monster’s Ball‘), the second Craig Bond picks up directly after ‚Casino Royale‘ and continues what has begun in a brutally consistent manner. Quantum of Solace‘ is a cynical, cold action thriller that is thematically up to date, stylistically based on realism and thus extends its middle finger to the gaga gigantism of the Brosnan era… ‚Quantum of Solace‘ is a restless film that hardly ever pauses. Not least because of this, a stylistic proximity to the ‚Jason Bourne‘ series is undoubtedly present – which is also reflected in the use of the controversial shaky hand-held camera – even if it is not used so excessively in Bond.

Before ‚Casino Royale‘, both the Bond stories and the character itself had been exhausted. Therefore, a razor-sharp cut followed. Reboot – everything back to square one! And in one fell swoop Bond was modernised in the most painful way. Old habits were cut off, 007 was suddenly back at the beginning of his career – everything that had been was forgotten. The producers got rid of all the anachronisms that had accumulated over the years … no more over-the-top gadgets or invisible cars. Even the famous gunbarrel sequence slipped from the beginning to the end of the prologue – this is retained in ‚Quantum of Solace‘. This time, two other sanctities were sacrificed to rationalisation: ‚Bond, James Bond‘, 007’s legendary appearance is completely missing and when it comes to sex, the otherwise so permissive agent on behalf of Her Majesty is also rather coy.

Story-wise, ‚Quantum of Solace‘ is up to the mark. The world is fighting bitterly for its remaining resources… Even if Bond’s 22nd mission is largely a one-man show by Daniel Craig, he is nevertheless faced with a well-cast villain in Mathieu Amalric. The Frenchman exudes an uncomfortably menacing presence without being branded by any physical antagonist traits, which is in keeping with the general realism that has returned to the series.

Quantum of Solace is state of the art to the point of pain. Those who get involved with this new 007 are rewarded with an action-adventure inferno that whistles at the past and finally anchors Bond in the modern era. Daniel Craig is convincing as a primitive berserker who gets caught between all fronts and runs amok. Marc Forster directs A Quantum of Solace as non-stop action compressed into 103 breathlessly grim minutes.“

Filmstarts rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (7 out of 10).

9. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Pierce Brosnan’s second outing, directed for the first and last time by Roger Spottiswoode.

Budget: 110 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 347 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 551 million).

Moviepilot: „Considering that the Pierce Brosnan films were already considered somewhat dated when they were released, the story of a media mogul who influences world politics in his favour seems surprisingly contemporary over 20 years later. … also features a great, equal Bond girl (Michelle Yeoh), some memorable action scenes (cue motorbike chase) and a successful mix of Brosnan cynicism and fun bullshit.“

Filmstarts takes a much more negative view of this Bond: „‚The Morning Never Dies‘ is a typical Bond film in every respect, which certainly lives up to expectations… The fact that ‚The Morning Never Dies‘ is nevertheless not one of the top films in the Bond series is by no means due to the efforts of the Irish leading man. He gives his all and even lets the German antagonist give him a clearly visible scar on his upper lip during an accidental stunt fight… The Bond girls, starting with the Danish tutor, are also a feast for the eyes and meet all the standards of the predecessors…

Unfortunately, the evaluation criterion of villain and perfidious plan cannot keep up with these standards… his motive is more than poor, one can hardly imagine, even with the demonisation of the Fourth Estate, that someone would just set the Third World War in motion for satellite rights in China (which are vaguely promised by himself, to boot). Carver is a far too stereotypically drawn, shallow creep who is characterised by stupid prejudices about media managers. In terms of screenplay, ‚Tomorrow Never Dies‘ really doesn’t cover itself with glory, far too often the story doesn’t get going and the protagonists get tangled up in flat dialogue. Even after ‚GoldenEye‘ … this film is still a step down plot-wise. But what script there is, is gloriously translated into set design. The sets are a testament to the dedication of their designer….

So what’s the bottom line? A handsome amount of explosions and a committed lead actor who marches through heaven and hell for his role. For a cold winter’s evening … certainly a good film tip if you value solid action and good lines over elaborate plots.“

Filmstarts rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars (6 out of 10), press reviews: 3.5 stars (7 out of 10).

10. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Roger Moore takes on the role of the secret agent for the third time, directed by Lewis Gilbert for the second time.

Budget: 14 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 187 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 789 million).

Moviepilot: „By far the coolest moment is when Bond takes a dive in his Lotus Esprit. The scene sums up the Roger Moore era pointedly. There is something to discover here and something to marvel at. The moment seems incredible and casual at the same time. James Bond has completely arrived in adventure mode …“.

For Filmstarts one of the best Bond films ever: „Phoenix from the ashes. After the two previous films had tried to jump on the blaxploitation and kung fu wave and failed miserably, a liberating blow was needed. And what a break! Everything that had not gone right with the Moore Bonds up to that point now succeeds gamely. First, the character of James Bond was repositioned by director Lewis Gilbert. Moore had seen the character differently than the writers from the beginning. He interpreted Bond as a gentleman who is capable of killing but does not like to do so. That which had made Connery’s Bond so appealing seemed forced with Moore. Instead, ‚The Spy Who Loved Me‘ lent him a certain lightness and self-irony. The dialogue seems more polished than in the previous films. Charming wit has found its way in. And lo and behold: it works… Like Connery, Moore (and later Brosnan) found his very own form with the third film.

‚Nobody does it better‘, sings Carly Simon, interpreting one of the franchise’s best theme songs. The music, inspired by the Bee Gees and Mozart (!), is by Marvin Hamlisch, who won Oscars for ‚The Sting‘ and ‚The Way We Were‘ and was co-creator of ‚A Chorus Line‘. Overall, ‚The Spy Who Loved Me‘ is one of the highlights of the series. Moore later said this was his favourite film. Rightly so. Roger Moore’s best film. ‚Nobody does it better‘ (theme song). Truly.“

Filmstarts rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars (10 out of 10), User: 4.1 (8.2 out of 10).

11. The World Is Not Enough (1999)

Pierce Brosnan’s third mission, directed for the first and last time by Michael Apted.

Budget: 135 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 390 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 597 million).

Moviepilot: „… wins already with its opening sequence. Pierce Brosnan races across London and leaves a trail of destruction in his wake – the perfect opening for a Bond film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and yet knows how to convey what’s at stake at every second.“

Filmstarts: „The producers gave the fossil James Bond another fresh cell treatment. After his pale performance in ‚GoldenEye‘ and improved acting in ‚Tomorrow Never Dies‘, Pierce Brosnan has now found his style. The mixture between toughness, vulnerability and irony is just right. His only shortcoming: half of the film is not Brosnan, but his stunt double.

With director Michael Apted, the producers have engaged an action newcomer who adds new facets to the Bond series. Sophie Marceau, for example, is allowed to convince in an almost differentiated female role and a real plot has not been dispensed with this time either. The charismatic Scotsman Robert Carlyle also cuts a good figure as the villain. The fast-paced action scenes are ironically over-the-top – just as the audience expects and is used to.“

Filmstarts rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars (8 out of 10).

12. Thunderball (1965)

Sean Connery’s fourth outing, directed by Terence Young as in the first two films. Adjusted for inflation, the second most successful Bond film of all, even more successful than its predecessor the year before, Goldfinger. Only Skyfall grossed more at the box office.

Budget: 11 million US dollars. Box office: 141 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 1,142 million).

Moviepilot: „The fourth Bond and direct successor to Goldfinger was under a certain pressure to be spectacular, which director Terence Young tried to redeem with many gadgets (water cannon on the Aston Martin, rocket backpack, wristwatch with Geiger counter) and eternally long action scenes. The underwater fight, marked as the highlight of Fireball, is above all very slowly and confusingly staged. Overall, a routine, somewhat plodding, but at least action-packed Bond.“

Filmstarts  comes to a minimally better assessment: „With ‚Thunderball‘, the Bonditis that had reigned since ‚Goldfinger‘ expanded into a worldwide phenomenon. And rightly so, as the film remains the epitome of everything that is the Bond series ….

‚Thunderball‘ is clearly bigger than its immediate predecessor. The locations are more sumptuous, Bond is cooler, the women are sharper and the action more polished. In addition, for the first time there is a ‚typical‘ Maurice Binder opening credits with naked women as silhouettes. This was to become the visual trademark of the series from now on, along with the view through the gun barrel at the beginning. A whole quarter of the film also takes place under water. The latter aspect in particular, however, takes away a lot of the film’s pace… ‚Thunderball‘, together with ‚Goldfinger‘, is the foundation of the franchise. A good cocktail to enjoy again and again in style, and a true classic to boot. Apart from a few slight flaws.“

Filmstarts rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (9 out of 10), press reviews: 3.8 stars (7.6 out of 10).

13. Moonraker (1979)

Roger Moore plays 007 for the fourth time, directed by Lewis Gilbert. With production costs of 34 million US dollars, more than twice as expensive as all its predecessors and for the first time the 200 million dollar mark was exceeded at the box office.

Budget: 34 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 210 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 739 million).

Moviepilot: „Even the opening sequence is pure adrenaline. When the film finally moves into space on a rocket, it devotedly tests the limits of the series and delivers the ultimate fun Bond. You can’t stay mad at this whacky mission, whose urge for pure escapism still inspires action films like the recent Fast & Furious instalments.“

Filmstarts: „… for all its silliness, ‚Moonraker‘ is one of the more entertaining films in the series. The plot – megalomaniac billionaire wants to wipe out humanity and start all over again – is virtually carried over one-to-one from its predecessor and obviously only serves as a vehicle to get as much as possible onto the screen. And there is a lot to see. It starts with the great pre-title sequence, in which Bond has to fight for the only available parachute in free fall and pursued by biters. Even from today’s perspective, the result is breathtaking and hard to top …

The film is bursting with great visuals … In addition, there are once again the unbeatable sets by Ken Adam, starting with the centrifuge room, the so-called Mondrian room – the control centre in South America – up to the space station in space. Everything seems deliberately over the top, and that’s exactly what this flick demands … ‚Moonraker‘ is unsuitable as an agent film, but can convince as bare entertainment cinema without any major pretensions. More of this kind of film would certainly have broken the franchise, but understood as an Elseworld story, the film is fine.“

Filmstarts rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (7 out of 10).

14. From Russia with Love (1963)

Sean Connery’s second outing and Terence Young’s second Bond directorial effort.

Budget: 2.5 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 79 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 658 million).

Moviepilot: „… still seems refreshingly tough and varied decades later … deviates from the famous Bond scheme in many ways, preferring to focus on no-frills agent action with a hefty dash of Cold War … thrills because it’s a real Bond at the same time (with a great Bond girl)“.

Filmstarts: „The 007 series has famously established its very own genre, somewhere between science fiction, adventure film and agent thriller. In „Love Greetings from Moscow“, the emphasis is clearly on the latter, with more space given to the everyday spy than in the later films in the series. Especially in the introductory Istanbul third, the agents‘ daily business – observing and pursuing, deceiving and escaping – is illuminated much more authentically than in the Bond films with Roger Moore or even Pierce Brosnan …

Despite the dominating spy elements, the Bond mixture of exoticism, action and sex is of course not missing in ‚Love Greetings from Moscow‘ … Despite minor blemishes, ‚Love Greetings from Moscow‘ convinces as one of the best Connery Bonds, starting with the inventive pre-title sequence and ending with the action-packed showdown at the gates of Venice.“

Filmstarts rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars (8 out of 10).

15. Licence to Kill (1989)

Timothy Dalton’s second and last mission and also the last time John Glen directed. Adjusted for inflation, the least successful Bond film of all (in Germany only 2.4 million spectators saw the film in the cinema, fewer than for any Bond film before or since), but which nevertheless recouped its production costs almost fivefold and convinced the critics much more than the cinema fans.

Budget: 32 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 156 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 321 million).

Moviepilot: „After his strong debut in The Touch of Death, in Licence to Kill he shoots his way through a fast-paced action adventure with his usual toughness, never forgetting the dramatic facets of his secret agent. Especially the tour de force in the finale puts a nice exclamation mark on the end of his Bond career.“

Filmstarts sees Dalton even more positively: „Timothy Dalton as James Bond. That’s one misunderstanding. Cinema audiences never accepted the change from the ageing Roger Moore to the edgy Welshman. This was despite the fact that Dalton delivered first-rate, completely underrated films in his two appearances, which only received greater appreciation in later viewing. Dalton embodies a Bond character in his own right, who stands out above all from his predecessor as well as his successor. In John Glen’s ‚Licence to Kill‘ (1989), which followed ‚The Living Daylights‘ (1987), Bond is as tough and serious as he has ever been. The hard-hitting agent action thriller is a secret highlight of the world’s most famous franchise …

The action scenes and car chases are lush and powerful, over the top of course, but not as much as Bondians have been used to. The visuals are fantastic, filmed in Florida (including on the breathtaking Overseas Highway), Mexico and England … In addition, this part can claim to have produced one of the best Bond theme songs of the entire series. Gladys Knight’s ‚Licence To Kill‘ sums up everything that makes up the style of the series. The stunning opening sequence is equally a highlight. ‚Licence To Kill‘, this spirited action spectacle, is one of the most uncomfortable Bond films, but perhaps one of the best for that very reason.“

Filmstarts rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (9 out of 10).

16. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Roger Moore’s second outing, directed by Guy Hamilton, with Christopher Lee as the villain.

Budget: 13 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 98 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 505 million).

Moviepilot: „‚The Man with the Golden Gun‘ sends James Bond into a fabulous hall of mirrors and has earned its place in the history books for that alone. Even though Roger Moore’s second mission is often considered one of his weakest, one iconic moment (the spiralling car jump!) follows another here.“

Filmstarts comes to a slightly more negative conclusion: „The fact that ‚The Man with the Golden Gun‘ can never keep up with the best films in the series is, apart from the tired hunt for the solex, also due to the supporting characters, who turn out to be pretty harmless by 007 standards … On the other hand, the second appearance of Sheriff J. W. Pepper (Clifton James), who, thanks to his sympathetic role in ‚Live and Let Die‘, is allowed to get involved once again and witnesses James Bond’s legendary screw jump across the river in the passenger seat of a red sports car.

But that does little to change the fact that, looking at the series as a whole, ‚The Man with the Golden Gun‘ rather lingers as a breather before its superior sequel, ‚The Spy Who Loved Me‘, leaving the viewer with little to remember apart from a charismatic villain and the famous miniature gun.“

Filmstarts rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars (6 out of 10).

17. The Living Daylights (1987)

Timothy Dalton’s first assignment directed by John Glen.

Budget: 40 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 191 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 429 million).

Moviepilot: „Gone are the playful silliness and over-the-top action scenes. Instead, there’s a hard-hitting agent story and a cool face to guide you through it. Without Dalton’s strong groundwork, Daniel Craig’s films would never have been possible.“

Filmstarts gives the flick an even better review, „After Roger Moore gave his farewell performance in the James Bond series with ‚A View to a Kill‘, the world eagerly awaited the changing of the guard. And it came … and how! … What a debut! Timothy Dalton is not only an excellent actor, he also finally gives the character the dynamism that the ageing chain-smoker Roger Moore had lost over time … Dalton performed a lot of his stunts personally (look closely at the jeep scene on Gibraltar: it’s really Dalton hanging there), and that really does the film good.

The character also got an update. Dalton’s Bond, much like the original character in Flemming’s books, is a basically broken, burnt-out man. He is reluctant to follow his instructions and looks calmly on a dishonourable discharge from the civil service. He is rougher and more insubordinate than his predecessors. And in the action scenes he comes across as much more credible than Moore ever did … The action is much more explosive compared to its immediate predecessors.

‚The Living Daylights‘ is one of the underrated films in the series. For some incomprehensible reason, audiences never accepted Dalton as Bond and also reacted with irritation to the break from the narrative scheme of the super-villain with doomsday plans … More films of this quality would do the franchise good.“

Filmstarts rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (9 out of 10).

18. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Sean Connery’s sixth outing directed by Guy Hamilton, who had already directed Goldfinger and then Roger Moore’s first two outings.

Budget: 7.2 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 116 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 731 million).

Moviepilot: „Sean Connery was persuaded to return with a wickedly high salary after George Lazenby had previously completed his only mission with ‚On Her Majesty’s Secret Service‘. Incredible locations … make Diamond Fever an entertaining affair.“

Filmstarts: „For an astronomical fee for the time (which he reportedly donated), a share of box-office profits and a pledge to finance two of the Scot’s non-Bond films (now forgotten), the star broke his promise never to return as Her Majesty’s agent. Director Guy Hamilton (James Bond 007 – Goldfinger) also returned with him. He had already shown once that he could position 007 correctly. This time he turned the fun screw even more …. Despite slight flaws, the film has its moments. For example, the car chase on the boulevards of Las Vegas is remarkable …

The confrontation with Whyte’s two female guards in his desert domicile is also nice. Another memorable moment is the fight between James Bond and Peter Franks in a lift in Tiffany’s apartment building, which comes across as raw and direct and is a real Bond moment. Less well shot are the villains. The previous Blofelds (Donald Pleasence and Telly Savalas) were sinister villains, while Charles Gray comes across as dandified and arrogant and thus not really threatening. His ending is not satisfying either, because whether Bond finally sends him to his ancestors at the end or not cannot be determined with absolute certainty … But Connery is – it must be admitted – in the seventh film of the series as casual and cool as never before. ‚Diamonds Are Forever‘ offers good entertainment overall, if less of a thriller than an adventure film.“

Filmstarts rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (7 out of 10).

19. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Roger Moore’s fifth mission, directed for the first time by John Glen.

Budget: 28 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 203 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 569 million).

Moviepilot: „On a Deadly Mission isn’t the flashiest Bond, but it’s a rock-solid entry in the series.“

Filmstarts takes a slightly more positive view of Moore’s fifth Bond outing: „For all the changes in style, ‚For Your Eyes Only‘ is still a classic Bond and thus stays true to the consistent action line: In changing locations, across Europe, there is no end of shooting, fighting, murder plans are hatched, explosives are detonated, there is hunting, escaping and dying … Among the highlights of the always dangerous stunts, apart from a perfectly timed ski descent in Cortina, is above all the fast chase in the local ice channel behind a bob… The plot around the sunken ATAC is as absurd as much else from the Bond world, but the weak point is not so much the lack of logic as the lack of ideas in the design. Neither the computer, reminiscent of a typewriter, nor the soullessly drawn characters of the opposing side can sweep the Bond fans, who are spoiled in this respect, off their feet and thus tarnish the otherwise so coherent overall picture…

In a charisma comparison with the greatness of Gert Fröbe alias Goldfinger, Julian Glover doesn’t stand a chance… For the Brit Roger Moore it was his fifth assignment as an agent in British service. In the Bond internal comparison of actors, Sean Connery still has the lead, but there is nothing to complain about Moore’s performance. A crisp one-liner now and then … as well as considerably more toughness make Bond’s character much more balanced than before, without making too big a leap to the stakes in ‚Moonraker’… Glen dispensed with all unnecessary gimmicks and trusted the tried and tested formula of an overpowering villain, grandiose stunts, hot Bond girls and the smart agent. Although ‚For Your Eyes Only‘ can’t quite keep up with ‚Goldfinger‘ or ‚The Spy Who Loved Me‘ (1977), it still shows what’s possible with down-to-earth action. A must-see for fans of the series anyway.“

Filmstarts rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars (8 out of 10).

20. You Only Live Twice (1967)

Sean Connery’s fifth outing directed by Lewis Gilbert after Connery no longer felt like playing the role. The film did not quite match the outsized successes of Goldfinger and Thunderball at the box office.

Budget: 9.5 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 112 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 853 million).

Moviepilot: „… the first ‚last Connery Bond‘ and it shows. Connery carries the agent pomp with his charm, but a basic listlessness is hard to miss.“

Filmstarts: „… the fifth Bond film was finally to be the last for Sean Connery. The Scot had lost the fun of being an agent and finally wanted to devote himself to other film projects. Unfortunately, this listlessness is also clearly noticeable in the leading actor, who had become an international celebrity as James Bond and felt increasingly underchallenged in the role: his performance in ‚You Only Live Twice‘ seems more bored than in any other 007 film. ‚You Only Lives Twice‘ no longer has much to do with the classic agent thriller – a pattern to which ‚From Russia with Love‘, made four years earlier, still corresponded quite closely. While Bond was once content with a simple trick suitcase when fighting Colonel Klebb (Lotte Lenya) and the hulking Red Grant (Robert Shaw), in ‚You Only Live Twice‘ Her Majesty’s secret agent flies his own one-man propeller machine that can be assembled within minutes: ‚Little Nellie‘, in which 007 engages in a spectacular dogfight, is one of the most famous inventions of the tinkerer Q ever.

The brilliantly staged opening sequence also made film history and was later reinterpreted: The brilliantly arranged ’swallowing‘ of the space capsules in space finds its equivalent on the oceans in ‚The Spy Who Loved Me’… Tricky action and Asian martial arts instead of exciting agent story with heart and soul – ‚You Only Live Twice‘ is among the weaker 007 films with Sean Connery, but still ranks in the good midfield when looking at the overall series.“

Filmstarts rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (7 out of 10).

21. Octopussy (1983)

Roger Moore’s sixth outing, directed by John Glen, is considered a below-average Bond film. For the first time ever, it grossed less than half a billion US dollars at the box office, adjusted for inflation. But things were to get even worse financially with the next three films, Moore’s last outing and the two Dalton flicks.

Budget: 27.5 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 187.5 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 480 million).

Moviepilot: „What could no longer be ignored in ‚For Yours Eyes Only‘ was already announced in ‚Octopussy‘. The charm and nonchalance of the Roger Moore era are largely absent here. Instead, cultivated boredom spreads out against lavish backdrops.“

Filmstarts: „‚Octopussy‘ is not a typical Bond film. First of all, this is due to the fact that at the same time and in direct competition with this title, another Bond flick (‚Never Say Never‘) was made, in which the original 007 Sean Connery again mimed the hero. The starting point was a heated dispute over the screenplay rights to Ian Fleming’s goldmine of an agent film. So ‚Octopussy‘ was not made without pressure to succeed against Irvin Kershner’s ‚Never Say Never Again‘, which had been condemned as a copycat.

Perhaps the increased use of humour and comedy in John Glen’s Bond can also be traced back to this competitive situation. There is no other explanation for Roger Moore as the top agent swinging through the Indian jungle on a vine to the original Tarzan’s cry. Whatever the reason for such subterfuge, it certainly does not go down well with Bond fans. Bond has to listen to a German couple in the car arguing awkwardly, and he can’t get out of other situations in a serious manner or with his usual style. This creates an embarrassing underlying tendency that even the lush action can no longer compensate for.

But in terms of action, this Bond is at least in no way inferior to its predecessors… Like veteran Roger Moore in his penultimate appearance as 007, the ladies do their job perfectly again and create a real Bond feeling… Despite the limitations of the flat, clamorous humour, ‚Octopussy‘ is one of the last genuinely classically staged Bonds. Before the secret agent’s rejuvenation at the end of the 80s by Timothy Dalton, Roger Moore gets to give it his all one last time here and let his charm play.“

Filmstarts rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars (6 out of 10).

22. Dr. No (1962)

The first Bond film with Sean Connery was only partially convincing.

Budget: 1.2 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 60 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 503 million).

Moviepilot: „We watch Connery come to terms with the role (even if he doesn’t realise its potential until later), we see the early beginnings of fantastic action (which are only brought to flower later) and we glimpse the iconic elements that make up the series (for example, in the unfortunately weak villain).“

Filmstarts: „Connery’s Bond doesn’t have much in common with the character in the novel. He looks much more damaged, has already had his best days and has various scars on his skin. He is said to be a chain smoker and a drinker. When it comes down to it, he sometimes has to work out and cut down on smoking. And the women don’t chase him like they do the guy in the films … The film Bond is of a completely different calibre. Added to this is the visual treat of Ursula Andress, a Swiss woman whose bikini appearance has made history and is quoted in an extremely handsome way by Halle Berry in the last part so far,  ‚Die Another Day’…

Admittedly, what makes the film so appealing is not immediately obvious to today’s eyes. Many things that made the franchise so famous are missing … However, Bond’s promiscuous lifestyle is already on display. More than that, the women run after him. He doesn’t have to pick them up, playing cards with them in dinner jackets is enough. When he gets home (we will only see the inside of his flat once more), they are already waiting for him, preferably already undressed, which is extremely convenient for a man pressed for time. ‚There’s always time for that‘ he murmurs, knowing how to prioritise. This makes it clear that – consciously or unconsciously – a new archetype of a hero is making his first appearance: that of the masculine, omnipotent professional whom women chase and who lives life in the fast lane. 007 shows no weaknesses in his first real appearance….

A good hero needs a great adversary, and with Dr. No, the film has a thoroughly passable opponent in its baggage. He seems stiff and withdrawn and his motives are not really plausible, but for that time Joseph Wiseman’s interpretation of the ‚mad scientist‘ was really surprisingly mature. So all in all, a respectable debut for the man with the double zero.“

Filmstarts rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (7 out of 10).

23. Spectre (2015)

Daniel Craig’s fourth and penultimate outing. As in Skyfall, the director was Sam Mendes. The film failed to convince Moviepilot, but was one of the most successful of all at the box office, even adjusted for inflation.

Budget: 245 million US dollars. Box office: 881 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 948 million).

Moviepilot: „Spectre is the weakest and most annoying Bond with Daniel Craig. Spectre is ultimately a typical, arbitrary Bond interlude.“

Filmstarts sees it a little differently: „For the official 24th time, Her Majesty’s secret agent goes into battle in Sam Mendes‘ bombastic action thriller ‚Spectre‘ to stop evil villains reaching for world domination. The overwhelming success of its predecessor ‚Skyfall‘ (worldwide box-office takings: 1.1 billion dollars) made a budget of 245 million dollars possible – and every cent of this gigantic sum is visible on the screen. In addition to a firework of elaborate action sequences, ‚Spectre‘ offers a Daniel Craig in top form, crisp, sharp-tongued dialogue and cynically funny oneliners. The story, however, remains episodic and the seemingly arbitrary motivation of the evil antagonist has feet of clay. Nevertheless, ‚Spectre‘ closes a narrative circle: what began in ‚Casino Royale‘ and continued in ‚Quantum of Solace‘, what then found an emotional climax in ‚Skyfall‘, is brought to a satisfying end in ‚Spectre’…

The spectacle works quite splendidly for long stretches and is a lot of fun. The opening sequence in the streets of Mexico City during the Festival of the Dead, for example, is the most bombastic opening yet seen in a Bond film: thousands of extras, collapsing buildings, a death struggle in a helicopter – it’s simply great cinema. Spectre“ has half a dozen of these gigantic action numbers to offer…

Once again, the blond Brit delivers a top performance, the role has become second nature to him. Every gesture and every oneliner is spot on – just like in the days of Sean Connery and Roger Moore… With the two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, a highly decorated actor joins the great tradition of Bond villains. The dazzling German-Austrian fits in well, whimsically as ever oscillating between genius and madness. The motivation for his character’s monstrous plans, however, seems stale and far-fetched; only Waltz’s irresistible charisma ultimately makes this strange Franz Oberhauser a worthy 007 adversary.

Verdict: Sam Mendes‘ ‚Spectre‘ is a narratively bumpy but highly entertaining and thoroughly spectacular agent action thriller.“

Filmstarts rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars (8 out of 10).

24. Die Another Day (2002)

Pierce Brosnan’s fourth and last mission, directed by Lee Tamahori, has good beginnings but cannot really convince in the end.

Budget: 142 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 456 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 647 million).

Moviepilot verdict: „In the end, however, the film had so much of everything that it seemed more like an exaggerated parody of James Bond.“

Filmstarts: „‚Die Another Day‘ is even far more ironic than the first three Brosnan films. But that’s where the first inconsistencies start to creep in, as the often over-the-top irony with countless self-quotations stands in stark contrast to the vendetta Bond is actually waging. Apart from that, the underrated Timothy Dalton in probably the most serious and toughest Bond film, ‚Licence to Kill‘, conveyed this motivation better. In 2002, the only thing that counts is entertainment to the limit of pain.

The stunts are as racy and spectacular as never before, but even here the makers sometimes want too much. Much of it is simply too much over the top. Of course, logic plays no role in a Bond film, but the scene of 007 surfing on the roof of a car would have been better left out. Not only is it inadequately done in terms of trickery, but it also seems ridiculous to a great extent. The same applies to the aeroplane sequence, which defies all laws of physics, or the absurd super-mega-laser satellite, which is supposed to upset the world’s military balance of power. The rest of the action, however, is technically perfect – whether chases by hovercraft, car or helicopter.

Brosnan has long since found his own style, which is why he makes an acceptable Bond. Not as good as Sean Connery, but he can compete with Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton (and George Lazenby). In Oscar winner Halle Berry, Brosnan even has an almost equal co-star. However, although Berry looks incredibly sexy, one doesn’t really want to believe her in the role of the tough NSA agent. Moreover, she is upstaged time and again by new discovery Rosamund Pike as the icy Mrs. Frost.

What remains is almost perfectly styled action entertainment that is completely in keeping with the spirit of today’s film industry… The only problem is that ‚Die Another Day‘ seems somewhat soulless as a result, offering only show values and no real substance. But that’s all just on a high level.“

Filmstarts rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars (6 out of 10).

25. A View to a Kill (1985)

Roger Moore’s seventh and final outing, directed by John Glen, lands in last place on Moviepilot. The film also did not do very well at the box office. Adjusted for inflation, the second weakest of all (only Timothy Dalten’s second Bond grossed less, adjusted for inflation).

Budget: 30 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 158 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 374 million).

Moviepilot: „With no other Bond was the end so overdue as with Roger Moore. In every fibre … the exhaustion of the leading actor and the whole series comes out. Not even the energy of Grace Jones and Christopher Walken could hide that. After Moore’s seventh mission, it was clear that a general overhaul of the cinema hero James Bond was urgently needed. With no other Bond was the end so overdue as with Roger Moore.“ – Two years later, Timothy Dalton followed as the new Bond actor, with whom the role was completely reimagined.

Filmstarts: „A proud 57 years old was Roger Moore when ‚A View to a Kill‘ opened in cinemas in 1985. This makes Moore the oldest James Bond actor of all time, and in some scenes you can still see his years on the London-born actor. But the third Bond film directed by John Glen has other strengths: a charismatic villain, one of the most extraordinary Bond girls of all time, a large portion of British self-irony and, last but not least, the spectacularly photographed sequences on the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge …

With Max Zorin, 007 meets, as always, an equal adversary: Christopher Walken … gives Zorin an ice-cold, but at the same time strikingly humorous profile… Despite Walken’s great performance, the most dazzling character of the 14th Bond adventure remains two characters. Disco queen and hairstylist Grace Jones, who was photographed naked in German Playboy a few weeks before the release of ‚A View to a Kill‘ and helped her then partner and later action star Dolph Lundgren to his first small supporting role, is still one of the most impressive Bond girls thanks to her extravagant and impressive appearance.

Conclusion: ‚A View to a Kill‘ sometimes lacks the necessary dynamism in the action sequences, but scores with a strong villain and a memorable Grace Jones in every respect as professional killer Mayday.“

Filmstarts rating for the latest Roger Moore entry: 3.5 out of 5 stars (7 out of 10).

Outside the official film series: Never Say Never Again (1983)

This film was not produced by Eon Productions but, directed by Irvin Kershner, features the original Bond Sean Connery as Agent 007 one last time. It is a remake of the 1965 Bond film Thunderball. The film was preceded by various legal disputes between the executive producer of this film, Kevin McClory, and the production company of the official Bond series, Eon Productions Ltd. As the film was not produced by EON Productions, the 007 pistol logo and the James Bond theme, among other things, could not be used. M, Q and Moneypenny were cast by unfamiliar actors. Also missing is the famous Gun Barrel Sequence at the beginning of the film. The idea for the title supposedly came from Sean Connery’s wife. When Connery said to her after Diamonds Are Forever (1971) that he would never play James Bond again, she is said to have replied „Never say never!“. In the final scene of the film, reference is made to the title. When Bond is asked when he will return to the Secret Service, he answers: „Never again“ and winks at the camera.

Budget: 36.0 million US dollars. Box-office takings: 160 million US dollars (adjusted for inflation: 410). This makes Never Say Never financially one of the least successful Bond films of all. In the official film series, only A View to a Kill with 57-year-old Roger Moore in his last mission and Licence to Kill with Timothy Dalton grossed less, adjusted for inflation.

Filmstarts„All 007 actors have contributed to the Bond myth and hardly anyone has shaped the image of the super agent as much as Sean Connery. After a rather lacklustre farewell in 1971 with ‚Diamond Fever‘, the Scot returned once again in 1983 with ‚Never Say Never‘ – and lost the competition dubbed ‚Bond vs. Bond‘ by the press with Roger Moore, who appeared in ‚Octopussy‘ the same year, at the box office. Nor does the work of veteran director Irvin Kershner enjoy the best reputation among Bondians. Producer Kevin McClory obtained the rights after a tough legal battle and probably realised the project „Never Say Never“ out of sheer defiance.

His trump cards are an unexpectedly good Connery and some highly amusing self-reflective gags – sweaty action sequences, on the other hand, are rare given the age of the leading actor. In addition, Austrian stage and screen star Klaus Maria Brandauer disappoints as the villain, whereas Barbara Carrera, alongside Famke Janssen in GoldenEye, distinguishes herself as one of the few bad Bond girls on a par with her counterpart.

If Connery occasionally acted a little disinterested in Diamond Fever, made twelve years earlier, here he is a paragon of playfulness. Equipped with an almost endless arsenal of oneliners, he is visibly in his element and bids a dignified farewell to the character that made him immortal… The Scotsman’s self-irony is matched by the film’s self-referentiality; there is no other Bond adventure in which so clear a reference is made to his own fictionality. The agent’s temporary retirement refers to the actor’s years-long unwillingness to step back into his starring role, in addition there are interspersed side-swipes at the protagonist’s age and the Bond character’s own idiosyncrasies are also repeatedly taken to task…

A new film version of ‚Fireball‘ was certainly not absolutely necessary, but „Never Say Never“ offers successful entertainment even for connoisseurs of the first film, especially since it was not Fleming’s novel that served as a model here, but the first draft of the script for the 1965 version. In his last appearance as a secret agent in the service of Her Majesty, we experience the feisty Scottish national hero Sean Connery in top form, along with dreamlike film locations and the usual Bond corny jokes. Such a mix is anything but a dreary swan song and brings one thing above all: fun for lovers of – in the very best sense – old-fashioned entertainment.“

Filmstarts rating3.5 out of 5 stars (7 out of 10).

Summary Moviepilot Ranking

And here’s the whole thing again at a glance. This is how Moviepilot rates the 25 official Bond films produced by Eon:

  1. Goldfinger (1964, with Sean Connery)
  2. Casino Royale (2006, with Daniel Craig)
  3. GoldenEye (1995, with Pierce Brosnan)
  4. Skyfall (2012, with Daniel Craig)
  5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969, with George Lazenby)
  6. Live and Let Die (1973, with Roger Moore)
  7. No Time to Die (2021, with Daniel Craig)
  8. Quantum of Solace (2008, with Daniel Craig)
  9. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997, with Pierce Brosnan)
  10. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977, with Roger Moore)
  11. The World Is Not Enough (1999, with Pierce Brosnan)
  12. Thunderball (1965, with Sean Connery)
  13. Moonraker (1979, with Roger Moore)
  14. From Russia with Love (1963, with Sean Connery)
  15. Licence to Kill (1989, with Timothy Dalton)
  16. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974, with Roger Moore)
  17. The Living Daylights (1987, with Timothy Dalton) 
  18. Diamonds Are Forever (1971, with Sean Connery)
  19. For Your Eyes Only (1981, with Roger Moore)
  20. You Only Live Twice (1967, with Sean Connery)
  21. Octopussy (1983, with Roger Moore)
  22. Dr. No (1962, with Sean Connery)
  23. Spectre (2015, with Daniel Craig)
  24. Die Another Day (2002, with Pierce Brosnan)
  25. A View to a Kill (1985, with Roger Moore)

And here are two other ratings and rankings from Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic for comparison, including Never Say Never Again.

Rotten Tomatoes Ranking

Rotten Tomatoes rates the Bond films as follows:

  1. Goldfinger (1964, with Sean Connery): 99 %
  2. From Russia with Love (1963, with Sean Connery): 95%
  3. Dr. No (1962, with Sean Connery): 95 %
  4. Casino Royale (2006, with Daniel Craig): 94 %
  5. Skyfall (2012, with Daniel Craig): 92 %
  6. Thunderball (1965, with Sean Connery): 87 %
  7. No Time to Die (2021, with Daniel Craig): 82 %
  8. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969, with George Lazenby): 81 %
  9. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977, with Roger Moore): 80 %
  10. GoldenEye (1995, with Pierce Brosnan): 79 %
  11. Licence to Kill (1989, with Timothy Dalton): 78 %
  12. The Living Daylights (1987, with Timothy Dalton): 74 % 
  13. You Only Live Twice (1967, with Sean Connery): 73 %
  14. For Your Eyes Only (1981, with Roger Moore): 73 %
  15. Never Say Never Again (1983, with Sean Connery): 70 %
  16. Live and Let Die (1973, with Roger Moore): 65 %
  17. Quantum of Solace (2008, with Daniel Craig): 64 %
  18. Diamonds Are Forever (1971, with Sean Connery): 64 %
  19. Spectre (2015, with Daniel Craig): 63 %
  20. Moonraker (1979, with Roger Moore): 60 %
  21. Die Another Day (2002, with Pierce Brosnan): 56 %
  22. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997, with Pierce Brosnan): 56 %
  23. The World Is Not Enough (1999, with Pierce Brosnan): 52 %
  24. Octopussy (1983, with Roger Moore): 43 %
  25. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974, with Roger Moore): 39 %
  26. A View to a Kill (1985, with Roger Moore): 38 %


And Metacritic comes up with these ratings:

  1. Goldfinger (1964, with Sean Connery): 87
  2. From Russia with Love (1963, with Sean Connery): 83
  3. Skyfall (2012, with Daniel Craig): 81
  4. Casino Royale (2006, with Daniel Craig): 80
  5. Dr. No (1962, with Sean Connery): 78
  6. No Time to Die (2021, with Daniel Craig): 70
  7. Never Say Never Again (1983, with Sean Connery): 68
  8. Moonraker (1979, with Roger Moore): 66
  9. GoldenEye (1995, with Pierce Brosnan): 65
  10. Thunderball (1965, with Sean Connery): 64
  11. Octopussy (1983, with Roger Moore): 63
  12. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969, with George Lazenby): : 61
  13. You Only Live Twice (1967, with Sean Connery): 61
  14. Spectre (2015, with Daniel Craig): 60
  15. The Living Daylights (1987, with Timothy Dalton): 60 
  16. Diamonds Are Forever (1971, with Sean Connery): 59
  17. Quantum of Solace (2008, with Daniel Craig): 58
  18. Licence to Kill (1989, with Timothy Dalton): 58
  19. The World Is Not Enough (1999, with Pierce Brosnan): 57
  20. Die Another Day (2002, with Pierce Brosnan): 56
  21. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977, with Roger Moore): 55
  22. Live and Let Die (1973, with Roger Moore): 55
  23. For Your Eyes Only (1981, with Roger Moore): 54
  24. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997, with Pierce Brosnan): 52
  25. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974, with Roger Moore): 43
  26. A View to a Kill (1985, with Roger Moore): 40


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