After the release of Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond, No Time To Die, it’s once again time to look back through all 25 Bond movies and see how they stack up against one another.
So, join me as we count down the best James Bond films in another edition of RANKED!
25. Licence To Kill (1989)
Timothy Dalton’s interpretation of 007 is often lauded as one of the more faithful to the character in Ian Fleming’s novels, but his outings as Bond aren’t exactly the most exhilarating.
Much like its immediate predecessor, Licence To Kill is one of the most serious Bond films, and despite moments of good action, it doesn’t have the fun factor to stick long in the memory, unlike some of the classics of the franchise.
24. A View To A Kill (1985)
Roger Moore’s final starring role as 007, A View To A Kill is one of the more tired Bond films, lacking both in the classically campy humour of the Moore era, and struggling with an underwhelming story.
One of the series’ films whose theme song (by Duran Duran no less) is more memorable than the action that unfolds over 131 minutes, and although it was Moore’s swansong, it’s hardly his most glorious turn as the legendary superspy.
23. Octopussy (1983)
Much like A View To A Kill, Octopussy was part of a real decline in the Bond franchise in the early 1980s, really lacking in the great storytelling that made the series great.
A fairly tired and uninspiring watch throughout, the film is only really memorable for a few classic innuendos and a certain crocodile submarine gadget. Other than that, this is certainly one of the weakest entries in the long Bond canon.
22. The Living Daylights (1987)
Another entry from the 1980s, The Living Daylights was part of a complete reinvention of the James Bond ethos after the end of Moore’s tenure, but as we’ve mentioned before, it didn’t make for the most exhilarating incarnation of 007.
While it rightfully earned praise for its faithfulness to the novels, The Living Daylights is still an underwhelming entry in the film franchise, most of all lacking the humour and high-octane thrills of the very best Bond films.
21. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
And to complete the set, the first film of the 1980s was a sign of things to come. While For Your Eyes Only isn’t terrible, it’s an extremely underwhelming entry in the Bond franchise which doesn’t do much right.
Attempting to level back on some of the films’ more outlandish ideas, For Your Eyes Only tries to take Moore’s Bond to a more serious place, but struggles with a convoluted and low-energy screenplay that makes for a less-than-thrilling watch.
20. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Despite the fact that Pierce Brosnan is rightly considered one of the best Bonds of all, Tomorrow Never Dies is a rather generic entry into the legendary franchise, with big action and good humour, but a very, very predictable story.
We all like the familiar formula of a spy thriller, but Tomorrow Never Dies struggles to use Brosnan’s charisma and the Bond brand to overcome a generic plot, which makes it fun, but best to watch with your brain turned off.
19. Quantum Of Solace (2008)
After the fanfare of Daniel Craig’s first appearance as 007, Quantum Of Solace was a real disappointment, lacking the majesty of the Bond franchise as the producers continued to reinvent the character.
Perhaps tied in too heavily to its predecessor, this sequel has neither the classic humour of a great Bond film, nor the breathless action which made Casino Royale before it so great. As a result, this – the shortest Bond film of all – is also one of the more forgettable.
18. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
A great theme song, great gadgets, Moore at his charismatic best and classic Cold War tension, there’s a lot that should make The Spy Who Loved Me quintessential Bond, but it’s never particularly thrilling.
It is a memorable Bond film, and far above the level of Moore’s later starring roles, but it lacks the sprawling drama of the franchise’s best, with a less-than-fresh screenplay that struggles to get you on the edge of your seat.
17. The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Like its predecessor Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough is more ‘the Pierce Brosnan Show’ than a great James Bond film. It’s action-packed, generally fast-paced and fun, but all eyes are on Brosnan’s immensely charismatic turn as 007.
As such, this isn’t a thrilling spy movie by any means, similar to its generic predecessor, but The World Is Not Enough features Brosnan at his sleek, sharp best, with innuendos aplenty to make up for what is a less-than-spectacular story.
16. Moonraker (1979)
If I were sensible, this film would be much, much lower on the list, but I can’t help but love everything about Moonraker, even if it is the biggest guilty pleasure movie of the Bond franchise.
Beyond ludicrous from start to finish, 007’s first extra-terrestrial adventure is hilariously crazy, but thanks to an effortlessly charismatic lead turn from Roger Moore, a great villain in Jaws, and thoroughly enjoyable special effects and space action, Moonraker never fails to put a smile on my face.
15. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1966)
George Lazenby’s only starring role as James Bond, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service has a lot going for it, with the affable Australian giving a great turn in the lead role throughout.
The film itself is one of the more serious Bond films, closer to the Fleming novels, but it’s still a far more entertaining watch than the Timothy Dalton films, with strong action throughout, and a number of iconic sequences.
14. Die Another Day (2002)
Much-maligned as the film that killed off Bond before its reinvention with Daniel Craig, Die Another Day is another ultra-guilty pleasure of mine, thanks to another spectacular performance from Pierce Brosnan, and some utterly ridiculous action throughout.
Not far off Moonraker for its disconnect with the laws of reality, Die Another Day is an immensely entertaining watch, with fast-paced thrills, great humour and one of my favourite car chases, across the frozen lakes of Iceland.
13. Spectre (2015)
One of the most intricately-told stories in Daniel Craig’s tenure as 007, Spectre isn’t a beloved Bond film, but it’s also one of the most measured, and for me, one of the most interesting.
Some of its big twists are a little silly, but it’s a captivating watch over nearly two and a half hours, as we see the franchise take a decidedly more intimate approach to the character of James Bond, with personal emotions playing a bigger role than ever in his mission.
12. No Time To Die (2021)
Full of all the familiar Bond tropes from both the Daniel Craig era and before, this send-off for the most recent 007 is a thoroughly entertaining one, albeit lacking the charm of some of the franchise’s very best.
Taking the series to new heights from an action perspective, No Time To Die does well to make a near-three hour runtime enjoyable throughout. Its biggest appeal is the high-octane thrills, and the emotional depth carried over from Spectre doesn’t quite hit home, despite a few rather bold decisions on part of the screenwriters.
11. From Russia With Love (1963)
The second Bond film, From Russia With Love isn’t quite on the level of the all-time greats of the franchise, but it’s a mightily entertaining watch all the same, with yet another brilliant performance from Sean Connery.
Complete with all the Cold War tension you’d expect from a Cuban Missile Crisis-era Bond thriller, this is a lavishly-produced affair, and although it’s not the most action-packed film in the series, it tells an intriguing story that makes for a gripping watch throughout.
10. You Only Live Twice (1967)
Yet another hugely entertaining edition in Sean Connery’s tenure as 007, You Only Live Twice is full of action, laughs and drama throughout, making it one of the most spectacular of the early Bond movies.
It might not win prizes for originality, but this is a confident, fun-loving entry into the Bond saga that delivers more than enough thrills to gloss over some janky special effects that might not hold up quite as well over 50 years on.
9. Casino Royale (2006)
The film that brought Bond back in a way we’d never seen before, Casino Royale is a spectacular, bold reinvention of the classic franchise, with Daniel Craig possibly giving his best turn of all as 007.
A no-holds-barred action thriller, this may not have the charming humour of classic Bond films, but it’s an intense, modern blockbuster that impressively set up Craig’s tenure as Bond. It’s arguably more reminiscent of Jason Bourne, but it’s a thrilling watch all the same.
8. Live And Let Die (1973)
Roger Moore is often seen as the most fun-loving, light-hearted Bond, but his debut was in fact one of the darkest we’ve seen in the whole franchise. That said, Live And Let Die blends classic 007 entertainment with a great story to make for a really enjoyable watch.
With a combination of fast-paced thrills, intense action sequences and Moore’s effortless charisma, this film is a mix of most of the things that make Bond great. It may not have you laughing from start to finish, but you will be on the edge of your seat.
7. Thunderball (1965)
Breaking out the craziest gadgets for the first time in the franchise, Thunderball is a fantastically entertaining watch, and one of Sean Connery’s funniest turns as 007.
Lighter-hearted than the films before it, Thunderball still tells a great story, complete with high-octane action in a fair few ridiculous settings, as Connery cements himself as arguably the best Bond of them all with an effortlessly charismatic performance.
6. GoldenEye (1995)
Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as 007 was by far his best, and the best Bond movie in a long time after a dismal decade in the 1980s. Blending classic Cold War tension with a more modern eye for action, GoldenEye is a properly gripping watch from start to finish.
Brosnan’s debut performance is spectacular, bringing sharp charisma back to the character for the first time in years, all the while proving himself as a great action star as he does battle with a villainous Sean Bean in one of the all-time classic Bond movies.
5. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Connery’s final starring role as Bond (at least in the main series), Diamonds Are Forever is an enormously entertaining send-off that features all the fun-loving action, charisma and thrills that made his tenure so iconic.
Heavily set among the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, the film isn’t afraid to have fun with its action, but it never goes over-the-top, delivering one of the most enjoyable but still measured Bond films of all. And Shirley Bassey’s legendary theme song? That’s the icing on the cake.
4. Skyfall (2012)
Released on the 50th anniversary of the first James Bond film, Skyfall is a majestic ode to cinema’s most iconic franchise, with gorgeous action, great humour, riveting emotion and wonderful nods to the classics.
Blending the intense action style of the Craig era with some much-missed humour, Skyfall is an enormously charming watch, bolstered by moments of powerful drama, and some of the most visually eye-catching action sequences in the entire franchise.
3. The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
Quintessential Bond through and through, The Man With The Golden Gun delivers all the tropes and all the clichés we love about the franchise in spectacular style. Action-packed and fun-loving, this is easily one of the most iconic Bond films of all.
Starring yet another brilliant performance from Roger Moore as 007, the film counts on a captivating villain in Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga, sprawling globe-trotting action, and a healthy dose of innuendo to keep you laughing throughout.
2. Dr. No (1962)
If Dr. No hadn’t been as good as it was, we may never have seen 25 Bond films, with the franchise continuing nearly 60 years later. However, the first big-screen outing for 007 was a triumph, and remains one of the franchise’s very best.
Though not as high-octane as some of the later, higher-budget films, this film brilliantly adapts the novels with style, humour and confidence, with Connery’s charismatic debut alongside Ursula Andress establishing a formula that remains one of cinema’s most beloved decades later.
1. Goldfinger (1964)
Not only is Goldfinger the most iconic Bond film of all, but it’s without doubt the best. With Sean Connery at his charismatic best in the lead role, this third film in the franchise takes some liberties with its formula, opening up a whole new world of possibilities.
As fun-loving as it is genuinely enthralling, Goldfinger has everything you want from a great blockbuster. Thrilling action, a great villain, fantastic humour, and amazing music. It’s a film you can watch again and again, with such energy and spectacle that you’ll never get tired. And that’s why Goldfinger is by pick for the best James Bond film of all time.