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.
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?