Sean Connery in a tranquil moment within the set associated with Goldfinger, with the well-known 1964 Aston Martin DB5.
You’ve never watched a James Bond movie? Even so, you most likely know at least the little something about 007, the big-screen secret realtor with a license in order to kill who’s been the pop culture powerhouse regarding six decades and keeping track of. A man in the tuxedo holding a gun. Sean Connery’s accent. Daniel Craig’s stomach muscles. Billie Eilish’s Grammy-winning theme song regarding No Time to Die. That enduring catchphrase: vodka martini — shaken, not stirred.
And now you’ve chose to watch your initial Bond movie, maybe also do a full-on overeat. After all, you desire to be ready regarding when No Time to Die, aka Bond 25 plus likely to be Craig’s final outing, arrives in film theaters on Oct. 8. But would you watch the particular Bond movies in chronological order (they started along with Connery in Dr. No way back in 1962), start with the many recent movie, or simply go with the very first one you see?
To assist you get started, this really is your beginner’s guide in order to James Bond, who’s long described a certain type associated with style and swagger. Or if you’re already the confirmed 007 fan — and there are the lot, including Tenet movie director Christopher Nolan — it’s the chance to weigh within on Connery’s quips, Roger Moore’s merits, Pierce Brosnan’s run or even George Lazenby‘s one-and-done Bond profession. Movie fans have solid feelings about who performed Bond best (and worst).
Here are not one particular, but two places regarding you to get began with the iconic secret agent from MI6, from reverse ends of the business. Take your pick: the particular modern Bond or maybe the authentic.
Start with: Casino Royale
Daniel Craig’s very first outing as James Bond is usually a terrific spy/action film, period. It’s that heart-poundingly good. But Casino Royale (2006) furthermore did what no earlier Bond movie could perform: It completely rebooted the particular franchise, blowing up the formula that many noticed as played out, along with far-fetched gimmicks and belabored puns, even as this remained a stable box workplace draw. It’s based upon Ian Fleming‘s very first Bond novel and gives all of us Bond very much because he was introduced in order to the world. It remains true to that authentic story in many important ways (not a characteristic of Bond movies within general) and updating this for modern audiences.
When Daniel Craig donned the dinner coat, we got a James Bond reinvented for your 21st millennium.
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Craig themself delivers all the muscles and menace the personality deserves, in keeping along with Fleming’s depictions so that as scored against Connery, still the particular standard by which most other Bonds are almost always judged. There’s nothing glib about this Bond, plus if he does like a tuxedo, you constantly know there’s an incredible inside ready to fight the baddies. You find out right off the baseball bat how he earned their double-0 (license to kill) rating, then it’s away to some spectacular chase plus gunfight. That’s just within the first 18 mins.
High points, too, regarding a nasty villain within Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre, Judi Dench as Bond’s no-nonsense boss M plus Eva Green as Bond’s feminine foil.
Casino Royale also starts the particular door to the strong series of films that follow — Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015), with No Time to Die waiting in the wings. There’s more than simply action here: There’s a good arc leading us much deeper into Bond’s past plus how it drives your pet in the here and today.
Start with: From Russia With Love / Goldfinger
This whole franchise got going with Connery, so you can’t go wrong starting there. But for now let’s skip the very first movie, Dr. No. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but the two movies that followed are more definitive — they’re often the top two in lists of the best Bond movies. Pick either of these and you’re getting absolutely top-shelf Connery, the man who defined Bond and who was the heart of the franchise when it exploded into a phenomenon.
From Russia With Love (1963) gives you an honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned spy story, with no tech wizardry to speak of and no evil plan to destroy the world. It’s Bond on an intimate scale, a character-driven tale of our spy, the woman sent to seduce him and the assassin (a buff and square-jawed Robert Shaw) assigned to take him down. (It also gives us our first glimpse of Blofeld, the recurring uber-villain.) In the finest Bondian tradition of exotic locales, this one cozies up to Istanbul and takes a memorable ride on the Orient Express. The fight scene in the train compartment is rightfully a classic.
Then along came Goldfinger (1964), the third movie. This one ratcheted things up and pretty much set the splashy tone for all the movies up till Craig arrived — the outlandish plot (set off a nuke to irradiate the gold at Fort Knox), the over-the-top villain and henchman, the Aston Martin DB-5 sports car tricked out with machine guns and ejector seat, the laser with which Goldfinger memorably threatens 007 (“No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die”). Plus: One of the greatest theme songs of the series.
Connery is dashing, virile, devilish, supremely confident — everything you’d expect from a modern action hero, in part because he was the template.
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Digging deeper into Bond
I’d recommend getting a handful of Craig andoror Connery movies under your belt before venturing out more widely. Best to watch the Craig installments in sequence, but the Connerys (like the Moores, Daltons and Brosnans) you can watch in any order. Stick with the five Connery films from the 1960s before looking toward his two comeback efforts. The early movies are very much of their time, of course, so while you might chuckle at the quaintness of the tech and the fashions and the cinematography, you may cringe a bit at some of the ethnic depictions and sexual mores.
James Bond movies, ranked, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig
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The other Bonds
Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan are the two horses besides Connery and Craig. Moore brought a lighter touch to Bond over the course of seven films throughout the 1970s and halfway into the 1980s. They’re mostly romps, really, never too dark and often veering into the downright silly, with ever more outlandish stunts and situations — he even makes it into space, in 1979’s Moonraker, at the start of the space shuttle era. A good Moore vehicle to start with is For Your Eyes Only (1981), which is one of the more grounded stories from his run.
Brosnan picked up the baton in the mid-1990s and starred in four films. More muscular than the Moore movies, they continued the tradition of ultra-spectacular stunts and groaner puns. It was steady work and enduring box office appeal, if not quite at peak levels. Your best bet: Goldeneye (1995), Brosnan’s first outing.
More in the footnote category are Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby. Dalton made two movies in the late 1980s, and it was a bit of a grim turn. Flip a coin, but hope that it turns up The Living Daylights. For a more intriguing entry, try Lazenby’s one go at it, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), the producers’ first stab at casting a different actor as 007. It’s the one in which Bond gets married — to Diana Rigg, no less.
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James Bond movies in (mostly) chronological order
In the official Bond canon — the films made by Eon Productions, starting with Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli, and continuing with others in the Broccoli clan — there are 25 films, including the upcoming No Time to Die. Because of licensing issues, there were two other, non-canonical movies, including (confusingly) one starring Connery, for a grand total of 27.
- Dr. No (1962)
- From Russian With Love (1963)
- Goldfinger (1964)
- Thunderball (1965)
- You Only Live Twice (1967)
- Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
- Never Say Never Again (1983) — noncanonical
David Niven, et al.
- Casino Royale (1967) — noncanonical (see below)
- Live and Let Die (1973)
- The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
- Moonraker (1979)
- For Your Eyes Only (1981)
- Octopussy (1983)
- A View to a Kill (1985)
The other Casino Royales
There have been three versions of Casino Royale, all radically different. We’ve already gone over the Daniel Craig version, a strong contender for best and most definitive Bond movie ever.
Don’t confuse it with the 1967 version of Casino Royale that’s both a spoof and a god-awful big-budget mess of a movie. It’s an odd blend of Bondian motifs, old-time Hollywood stars and then-trendy psychedelia. The plot, such as it is, involves trying to fool the bad guys with a number of different people claiming to be James Bond, including David Niven (the real Bond), Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and former “Bond Girl” Ursula Andress.
Then there’s the true footnote, and totally not a Bond movie, the 1954 adaptation of Casino Royale for an American TV anthology series called Climax! It’s a roughly 52-minute episode in which American actor Barry Nelson plays the hero as “Card Sense Jimmy Bond,” an agent for the “Combined Intelligence Agency” whose delivery tends toward watered-down Sam Spade. The highlight: Peter Lorre plays the villain, a sad-eyed and shopworn Le Chiffre.
Branching out: The spoofs
Mike Myers spoofed James Bond in the Austin Powers movies.
Jody Cortes/Getty Images
Once you’ve seen a few Bonds, especially the ones from the Connery and Moore eras, you’ll have a rich lode of references for the many, many Bond spoofs over the decades.
How powerful a hold has Bond had on the Hollywood imagination? It brought Mike Myers to the peak of his fame with the Austin Powers movies, which obtained started in 1997 but drew heavily on the ’60s and ’70s Bonds. The first Johnny English movie, with a comically inept Rowan Atkinson, didn’t come till 2003. You’ll find homages to Bond in everything from the Kingsman franchise to the Despicable Me movies (especially the first one) to 2019’s Spies in Disguise, an animated comedy with Will Smith as a tuxedo-wearing, gadget-equipped secret agent (who gets turned into a pigeon).
For a deeper album cut, look out regarding a pair of movies from the 1960s — Our Man Flint and In Like Flint — in which James Coburn gives a goofy-brilliant turn as a very Bond-like secret agent. That era brought a whole host of TV shows that very entertainingly mined the same soil — The Man From UNCLE, Get Smart, I Spy, The Wild Wild West — and then served as fodder for movie reboots in more recent years.
Even Arnold Schwarzenegger got into the game, in the James Cameron-directed True Lies (1994).
Branching out: The books
James Bond got his start in a series of novels by Ian Fleming — 12 of them, plus a smattering of short stories. The first novel, Casino Royale, came out in 1953, less than a decade after the end of World War II, during which Fleming gained first-hand knowledge of spies and spying. It’s worth picking up one or 2 of the books if only for the comparison with the movies — which diverge anywhere between a little and “lose everything but the title.”
Try Casino Royale for sure, or maybe From Russia With Love (President Kennedy famously was a fan) or On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Note: The books are usually all a lot less flashy than the films, and could possibly be of a very different era, the last ones having been written by about the time Goldfinger (movie No. 3) was hitting the screen.
Little did you suspect, but Fleming also wrote the children’s novel Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.
Ian Fleming’s Bond books, in order of publication:
- Casino Royale (1953)
- Live and Let Die (1954)
- Moonraker (1955)
- Diamonds Are Forever (1956)
- From Russia, With Love (1957)
- Dr. No (1958)
- Goldfinger (1959)
- For Your Eyes Only (1960) — collection of short stories including the title story, Quantum of Solace and From a View to a Kill
- Thunderball (1961)
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963)
- You Only Live Twice (1964)
- The Man With the Golden Gun (1965)
- Octopussy and The Living Daylights (1966) — those 2 short stories and, in later editions, two others
Branching out: The documentary
The Hulu original documentary Becoming Bond is a quirky and absolutely fascinating biopic about George Lazenby, who came out of nowhere to become the particular man who took over for Sean Connery. You get a good look at how On Her Majesty’s Secret Service fits into the particular business, but more than that, the riveting picture of Lazenby himself — through sometimes truly moving reminiscences of a 70-something Lazenby plus through re-enactments associated with his early years that have something of a Drunk History vibe.
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