Over fifty-three years and twenty-four films, we’ve had only six men play the iconic super spy known as James Bond. But who is the best of all?
6. Timothy Dalton
Timothy Dalton starred in two James Bond films in 1987 and 1989: ‘The Living Daylights’ and ‘Licence To Kill’, and unfortunately, both were let-downs.
Although his reputation may be tarnished by the films’ quality, it remains true that Dalton’s portrayal of James Bond just didn’t satisfy the viewers. After 25 years of a classy, seductive and funny man, we were met by a true Thespian actor who seemed to take the role far too seriously.
Dalton may have had the class required for the role, but James Bond isn’t a hard, emotionless action hero, and that’s where it all went wrong.
5. George Lazenby
The only man to star as James Bond (in the Eon series) only once, Australian George Lazenby’s turn as the super spy in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service wasn’t loathed, nor was it highly praised.
It seems that, after seven years of straight Sean Connery, people couldn’t cope with a new face as Bond, emphasised by Connery’s return to the role two years later in Diamonds Are Forever. However, even now, Lazenby’s portrayal of Bond still doesn’t set the world alight.
He may have performed well as an action hero, but, somewhat like Dalton, his comedic value as Bond wasn’t particularly strong, and although he was still pretty classy, it wasn’t so easy to love Lazenby as the suave hero as everyone hoped.
4. Roger Moore
Now we take a huge leap away from the more disappointing Bonds to the classics, and it seems insulting to place Roger Moore in fourth on this list, but that’s how good some have been over the years.
A man with a great sense of fun when it came to the role, always spewing out cringeworthy puns and making it clear as day how Bond is always more interested in his relationships with women than saving the world, it was always a joy to watch Roger Moore on screen.
And in the end, it may have been the quality of the films he starred in that prevented him from being the best ever. Too many of the Moore-era movies were ridiculous affairs that didn’t bring the real magic and high drama of 007 to the viewers, and although his approach was fun to watch, his films often really weren’t.
3. Daniel Craig
In a new age of hard-hitting thrills and serious drama, Daniel Craig’s taking of the role of James Bond was met with high scepticism.
We’d never had a blonde Bond before, nor someone as short as Craig, so it all seemed to be against him, but he proved everyone wrong and, over his last four films, has given a consistently excellent performance.
He’s got the class, he’s got the chops as an action hero, and, since Skyfall re-introduced a bit more fun-loving comedy, he’s proved that he’s not a dull, overly serious man like Timothy Dalton was, and is always brilliant to watch in this new era of James Bond.
2. Pierce Brosnan
Much like Roger Moore, the Bond films that Pierce Brosnan starred in were generally not highly praised, thanks to their poor writing, excessive action and alleged out-datedness in the years approaching the 21st Century.
However, Brosnan himself gave a brilliant portrayal of Bond, arguably the closest to the classics given by Connery in the 1960s, bringing the classy suaveness of 007 as well as the character’s imperfections and weaknesses too to the screen.
Yes, some may have said he was a bit too nice, and yes, he didn’t have the greatest scripts to work with, but if you’re ever looking back through the history of Bond, Brosnan is definitely one of the best men to give you a fantastic embodiment of what the super spy is all about.
1. Sean Connery
The man who started it all. The quintessential James Bond: Sean Connery. From 1962-71, he starred in six films as 007, proving so popular that he even returned to the role on two separate occasions after he’d said he’d never play Bond again.
There never has been anyone like Connery to play Bond. He had something special that combined Bond’s classically suave and seductive side with his abilities as an action hero. What’s more is that Connery portrayed Bond as somewhat of a maverick in MI6, not really emulated by any of the later Bonds, giving his relationships with M, Q, Miss Moneypenny and the Ministry of Defence an extra spark that we’ve really missed since he left the role.
He is the icon that sums up James Bond perfectly, and it’s pretty unlikely that there will ever be anyone to match him in the future.