Monday, November 12, 2012

Top 5 James Bond Films


I’m among the many people who have gone back and refreshed their cinematic minds on the films of James Bond in the wake of Skyfall’s release. And while refamiliarizing myself with some of Bond’s films proved to be as taxing as watching really really bad horror films, there is so much about the 007 franchise to love. 

Here are the five James Bond films that so clearly make my case.

Guilty Pleasure: Diamonds are Forever (1971)
Bond films are all about fun, right? They’re entertaining and silly and even a little self-effacing. If you asked me why I love Diamonds are Forever so much, I doubt I’d be able to tell you. It is one of the worst films in the franchise’s history, with a weak plot, less-than-stellar action sequences, and a phoned in Sean Connery (at best), yet I absolutely adore it. Diamonds are Forever is the second Bond film I ever saw, and since then, it has always had a special place in my heart. This isn’t an honorable mention, but rather what a majority of the James Bond films are: an admitted guilty pleasure.

5. Dr. No (1962)
One of the most interesting things about Dr. No for me personally is that it was the last Bond film I saw. Around the time Quantum of Solace came out, I dedicated several weeks to making sure I had seen every Bond film a few times. For whatever reason, I kept putting Dr. No off until it was the last one. I suppose I thought the franchise's first time out would hold up as stiff an unmemorable. Ha, how wrong could I be? Yeah, Dr. No is a tad slow and is no where near as entertaining as the subsequent films on this list (in my eye, anyway), but it remains an iconic start to an iconic series of films. 

4. GoldenEye (1995)
With the exception of Casino Royale, I find GoldenEye to be the most entertaining 007 film. Its repeatability factor is simply insane - the action scenes, the perfectly hammed up Bond (thanks to Pierce Brosnan's just right performance), the babes, the gadgets - it's just a damn fine action thriller. Easily the Bond film I've seen the most, and for fine reason. "For England, James?"

3. Goldfinger (1964)
Now, while GoldenEye is the most entertaining, and Dr. No is one of the more memorable, Goldfinger has to be the most iconic. Pussy Galore, the gold-painted dame,"I expect you to die," a perfect Connery, Oddjob - everything about it is oh so perfect. And really, that's the best way I can think to justify this one: it's just so… Bond.

2. Casino Royale (2006)
The producers took a lot of heat for casting the fair-haired, blue-eyed Daniel Craig as the world's most famous spy. Frankly, I didn't get it either. That is until the first epic scene of Casino Royale concluded, and I sat in my chair and let out an audible sigh of relief. In this case, the producers knew exactly what they were doing. After a string of dog shit Bond films, they switched to something darker, smarter and more character focused. The result is as fine a Bond film as we've ever had; an intelligent and endlessly entertaining flick.

1. From Russia with Love (1963)
My love for all of my favorite Bond films is rooted, in part, in sentimentality. From Russia with Love was my first foray into the world of James Bond. I absolutely loved it the first time I saw it, and my love has only grown since. From its opening gotcha moment to its epic villain duo of whacko bitch Rosa Klebb and her blonde haired robot, Red Grant, to a never-better Sean Connery, From Russia with Love is as smart and dated and iconic as Bond movies come. I'll never not love it.

There's mine, now do please tell me your favorite Bond flicks. Skyfall top anyone's list?

26 comments:

  1. For me,

    1. From Russia with Love
    2. Casino Royale
    3. Goldfinger
    4. Dr. No
    5. Licence to Kill.

    And here's the rest.

    My Bond Marathon Post-Mortem will likely come next week.

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    1. Whoa dude, 4 out of 5 and our top 3 are exactly the same... that's awesome. Had no idea you were such a big From Russia with Love fan.

      Can't wait for your post-mortem.

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  2. Love it. I can't stand Diamonds Are Forever, but you did say it was guilty pleasure. ;) And you'll be happy to know that OHMSS, which I watched over the weekend, knocked TWINE out of my top 5. :)

    My top 5:

    1. Casino Royale
    2. Goldfinger
    3. Skyfall
    4. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    5. The Living Daylights

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    1. Dude, Diamonds are Forever is AWFUL. I have no idea what I love it so much, but I do I do.

      Nice list. OHMSS would probably by my number 6, that's a pretty good one right there. I should give Dalton's two another go. Saw them when I was younger and remember hating them both.

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    2. Yeah, you might want to give them another look, but I can't promise you'll like them now. ;)

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  3. The thing is that I've seen bits and pieces of a lot Bond movies, but I've only watched a few completely.

    Also the majority of Casino Royale is lost on me since I don't know poker.

    So I'll just say that the best one I've seen is Skyfall and my favourite may or may not be (have to dwell on this more) Tomorrow Never Dies.

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    1. That's interesting that Casino was lost on you for that reason - I've always wondered if people who didn't understand poker could get enjoyment out of poker movies. For the record, the poker hands in Casino Royale are completely fucking absurd. The odds for most of those hands to happen are in the high millions, but it's a Bond flick, so it's all good.

      Tomorrow Never Dies is one I've never liked. Maybe because I love GoldenEye so much and was expecting so much more, but I dunno, that one's never worked for me.

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  4. Good list, Alex. I would call Diamonds are Forever a VERY guilty pleasure, as it's one of the worst Bond films for me. Even so, it does have its strangely hokey charms. I've found that while Goldeneye is the best Brosnan film, it doesn't hold up as well now. It's in the middle of the pack for me. Nice job!

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    1. Thanks man! I'd love to see your ranked Bond films, not sure if you did a post about that recently. Diamonds is so so bad, but I felt I had to keep in the spirit of the Bond guilty pleasure motif by listing it, so there it is. I still love GoldenEye. Watched it a few weeks ago and was charmed by it, no doubt.

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  5. Great list. Personally, I'm not one of the FRWL stalwarts... they're out there though, you certainly have plenty of company putting that at number one.

    Glad to see you give Dr No its due, after all the Bond blogging I did this month, I'm beginning to think that one's underrated. :( Goldeneye DEFINITELY is rewatchable. LOL. I've seen it 8,000 times!!! :D

    Nice list, solid choices. Strong top five.

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    1. Thanks Dan! (or do you prefer Fogs? Still trying to figure it out, ha). Fair enough about FRWL, that one has always hit for me in the best possible way, without much precise reasoning.

      Dr. No rocks, as does good old GoldenEye. LOVED your list as well.

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  6. Let's see, we're going to have a lot of crossover...

    5). License to Kill, by far the most graphically violent Bond with one of the very best villains in Robert Davi's Drug Lord, Carey Lowell isn't just window dressing and there's even a young Benicio Del Toro as a henchman who gets the most gruesome death scene in the franchise.

    4). Goldeneye, because of all the reasons you listed and because the N64 game changed my life as a kid.

    3). You Only Live Twice/Thunderball/Goldfinger, the three Connery outings that defined the genre for decades

    2). Casino Royale, brought Bond from a seemingly franchise killing Die Another Day and gave us the best Bond girl ever in Vesper.

    1). From Russia With Love, because there has never been better villain casting than Robert Shaw as Red Grant. The train compartment scene between Connery and Shaw is one of my absolute favorite scenes of all time.
    So yeah pretty much the same choices, interesting to see. Anyone of the Roger Moore Outings are guilty pleasures but especially Live and Let Die. Lordy is that one dated... holy crap.

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    1. Niiiiice. The GoldenEye game fucking rocked. I've never been a fan of video games, but goddamn, the hours I wasted on that game. Epic.

      I am thrilled From Russia with Love is your number one pick. That train scene is amazing. Never grow tired of that one. I too agree that all of Moore's are guilty pleasures and nothing more.

      Nice picks, Jeff!

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    2. That GoldenEye game really was the bomb!!

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    3. My god, the amount of time I spent on that game. Wow.

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  7. That's a good list, I like the amount of Connery films (he was to die for) and because of that I was really skeptic about Craig at first - he looked way to dirty (literally) for Bond. But then, like you, the first scenes of Casino Royale convinced me that this modern, rugged, tough Bond, who looks like a muddy dog when wearing a suit, is a different but great Bond. Or maybe he's just handsome, and wounded, and I fell for it because I'm a woman, and that's what we do.

    But the one tiny detail I always enjoy about Bond films it's the titles - You Only Live Twice, Live and Let Die... Especially the ones from the Brosnan era, I mean... Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough... pretty awesome. simple, but awesome.

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    1. Glad you liked the list! "I fell for it because I'm a woman, and that's what we do." That has to go down as one of the all time best sentences I have ever received in a comment. That was priceless.

      The titles for Bond flicks are so epic, it's kind of a shame that they've forgone them. I honestly think The World is Not Enough may be my favorite. Bad movie, great title.

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  8. I'm no Bond expert by any stretch of the imagination but I have to say that after watching "The Spy Who Loved Me" for the first time last week, I absolutely loved it. And loved Moore in it. Though that made me check out "The Man With The Golden Gun" and I was sorely disappointed.

    Seeing as how you're much more versed in the ways of Bond and seeing as how no Moore films were in your Top 5, I gotta ask: What's your feeling on the Roger Moore Bond?

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    1. I'm in the minority here, but Moore is easily my least favorite Bond. Or, perhaps more accurately, his films are my least favorite of the franchise. You could blame poor scripts and/or direction for me not liking his work, but Moore never did it for me. The Spy Who Loved Me is the exception. That's a superb Bond flick right there.

      I'd go: Connery, Craig, Brosnan, Lazenby, Dalton, Moore.

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  9. Great list, Dr. No and From Russia with Love are near the top for me.

    For a top 5 I'd have to go:
    1. You Only Live Twice
    2. Casino Royale
    3. Goldfinger
    4. Skyfall
    5. Goldeneye

    My guilty pleasure bond would be Live and Let Die, it's just so ridiculous I have to love it.

    It might be the initial glow, but there was just something about Skyfall that I loved, maybe it was that it felt like to me that it was halfway between new bond and old bond, or maybe it was Javier Bardem (to my mind, the second best bond villain, just behind Goldfinger). And of course, you can never go wrong with Ralph. I don't know if it will stay in my top five forever, or even another week, but for now it's there.

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    1. Thanks man! Solid picks. I remember us talking about GoldenEye all the time. Love that flick.

      Live and Let Die is completely ridiculous. Ha, love it.

      Hey man, fair enough about Skyfall, that is topping tons of Bond lists right now, and I actually think it'd be 6th or 7th for me. It was a solid Bond flick through and through. Bardem fuckin' killed it.

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  10. I'm only in the process of rewatching - or watching for the first time - Bond movies pre-Brosman, I only saw Dr. No so far, really liked it, though I liked Skyfall more than this one.

    Glad to see Goldeneye here, it's one of my favorite Bond movies, never been a fan of Brosman but he was really good here and Bond girls were definetly awesome in this one.

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    1. Nice. I loooove GoldenEye. I thought Brosnan killed it and the gals were awesome indeed. Enjoy discovering Bond!

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  11. I love the James Bond franchise...........and my favorite is "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"! Lazenby is surprisingly sensational. Bond actually falls in love and marries and becomes a shattered man over it. Is James Bond actually crying? The best Bond girl.......Diana Rigg rules! Telly Savalas..........a great villain! Great action.......the ski chase is sensational!
    Great film!

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    1. Awesome! I actually really love that one as well. Never gotten the credit it deserves. Have you read Steven Soderbergh's essay about it? Concise and rather brilliant. http://extension765.com/sdr/2-most-irrelevant-no-1

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