Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Bond Movie Rankings

This is a special edition blog post as when I was thinking about ranking the Bond movies in order of how much I liked them, I figured it wouldn't be fair to limit it to only my rankings. So I included two other James Bond superfans in these as well! I asked my brother Joe and my friend Paul to rank all 24 of the movies (Never Say Never Again doesn't count and isn't in these rankings) and then I averaged out the ranks and then put them in order of the average rank.

These rankings are subjective, yes, but at the same time the three of us were all in general agreement that we ranked primarily on watchability. Now that may vary for the three of us, what I might find fun, one of the others may not have. We more or less used the system "If two of these were on at the same time, which one would I watch?" method of ranking them.

Below I will list them in order from last to first in order to keep the drama of who we picked first. I will also give the raw average and I will show which ones were in each person's Top 5. Of course, I will have a little write up of my opinions on the movies, and Paul was also kind enough to provide his own thoughts as well (At time of this posting, he had not provided those yet. This article will be updated to include his quotes.)

So without further ado, let's hit the ranks.

24. Die Another Day (23.67)

This movie was ranked no higher than 23rd in any of our lists. Honestly, this is by far the worst Bond movie ever made. As much as I like Pierce Brosnan, there really isn't anything in this movie that I could really get behind. I take that back, I suppose I could get behind Miranda Frost (bad acting aside. She was like Queen Amidala rebirthed). Didn't care too much for the North Korea being the new enemy after Cold War Russia, absolutely hated the torture stuff at the beginning, and don't get me started on gene splicing and a damn Ice Hotel. Also, Halle Berry is in this movie. I don't hate Halle Berry, I just look at some of the movies she's been in and shake my head. Catwoman ruined everything she has ever done. Sadly, if it is on TV, I watch this over anything else most likely.

23.5. Getting hit by a bus

23. Octopussy (20.67)

From here on out, the ranking numbers are generally closer together. This movie didn't get a vote of anything less than 20, and I'm guessing it has to do with the plot of World War III basically going to be set off because of a nuclear bomb being set off in a circus at a US base next to the USSR. The plot is instigated by a 00 agent getting killed over a Faberge egg as well. OK. However, I do like that a bunch of it is set in India, that is neat, and that the main bad guy is played by Nebraska Volleyball head coach John Cook (or the guy that played Dr. Anton Arcane in Swamp Thing, Louis Jourdan). Never forget him sacrificing his henchman by saying "Go out. And get him!" while on a plane.

22. For Your Eyes Only (20.33)

For me, this movie isn't very high due to the lack of an interesting plot. Out of all of them, this is one that I admit to having not watched an insane amount of like the rest of them. Having General Veers and Walter Donovan be the bad guy is neat and all, but the locations and story just weren't up to my liking. Oh, and how they "seemed" to kill Blofeld at the beginning? Not sure how I actually feel about that.

21. Tomorrow Never Dies (18.67)

This movie has a cool premise and with today's media, heck it probably happens more than I want to even think it happens once. But again, it is a World War III situation movie between the UK and China. I do enjoy the sequences in Saigon (I can call it that can't I?). One weird thing in this movie is the whole Paris Carver deal, Teri Hatcher looks old and just seems out of place. Jonathan Price is awesome at Elliott Carver and pulls off a media tycoon masterfully.

20. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (18.00)

This ranking would probably be a lot lower except for Paul's ability to lower it with a ranking that could probably be better suited if you make one glaring omission from the movie. George Lazenby. My brother and I just cannot get over how awful the Australian is in this movie. My brother hated him so much he rated this worse than the Die Another Day monstrosity. Telly Savalas and Diana Rigg are great, but Bond just ruins it for us. It's a neat plot featuring biological warfare and the bobsled sequence is fantastic, and of course, it is the only time Bond ever gets married and the movie ends in complete tragedy. Therefore it is actually quite a good movie. But hammering the point home, just couldn't get over Lazenby.

19. Quantum of Solace (17.67)

This is the lowest of the Daniel Craig films, and it seems many people hated this movie altogether. I'm not in that camp, I think it isn't that bad of a film. I like the plot of this movie, but the villain may be a little lacking. I think the feeling of the three of us is that this film is just 'meh'.

18. Live and Let Die (15.67)

Roger Moore's first entry as Bond is collectively rated a little lower than I thought it would be. I am a huge fan of Jane Seymour as Solitaire, but I think therein lies the problem. She was very young and was basically taken advantage of by Bond in the movie. I also like whatever the hell Baron Samedi is. He was a type of character that hadn't been in a Bond movie before as he just didn't die. Ever. The alligator farm thing was really cool as a kid. And I find the Sheriff hilarious as campy as he is.

17. Dr. No (14.67)

The first Bond movie is actually the worst rated Sean Connery movie by us. I think it has more to do with the fact that since it was the first one, Bond really wasn't Bond yet. Desmond Llewellyn wasn't Q yet, and he didn't really get any gadgets from Q. Mainly just his Walther PPK. Dr. No himself was just a cool name and I always like seeing the final battle sequence as growing up as a kid it was those moments that seemed awesome to me. Honey Rider was the first Bond girl and really set the bar high for the rest of them to come.

16. Spectre (14.00, Joe #3)

Some people thought this movie was weak, some thought it good, some thought it ok. My brother puts it at #3 on his list which lowers the average rank a bit. I liked this movie. I'm a huge fan of Christoph Waltz, and happy that he was Blofeld. Regardless of what the hell other people think of how they handled Blofeld in this movie, I thought it was fine. Bautista was great as a Jaws like henchman. It may be slow at times (le American sequence) but I liked they went back to a funnier Bond and a world domination type villain with Blofeld. I like real world stuff, but come on, this isn't Jason Bourne (For the record, I'm not a Jason Bourne fan at all).

15. Diamonds Are Forever (12.33)

After Connery's short hiatus for OHMSS, Connery came back to play Bond in 1971 in this movie, his final run as Bond (Once again, Never Say Never Again doesn't count). This is a really fun movie and has plenty of camp in it and has some of the best Bond girl names with Tiffany Case (who is the gorgeous Jill St. John) and Plenty O' Toole in which Bond asks if she is named after her father. Makes me laugh every time I think of that part. It also gives the great quote, "I didn't know there was a pool down there..." The creepy henchmen Mr. Kid and Mr. Wint are people I would never like to ever come across, anywhere.

14. The World Is Not Enough (12.33, Joe #5)

I like this movie for the reason why a lot of people dislike it. I love Denise Richards. There I said it. I didn't rank this as high as Joe did as he put it in his top 5, I ranked it right around this spot. Renard was more or less a lame villain though, but his partnership and his backstory with Elektra King is an interesting plot twist to say the least.

13. Thunderball (12.00)

Even though this was Connery's favorite Bond movie (to which it was recreated almost verbatim in Never Say Never Again by a different movie studio), it ranks a little lower than most of his other films. The cast in this movie is pretty great, as I am a huge Domino and Fiona Volpe fan. This movie continued the Spectre grand master scheme of nuclear war.

12. Moonraker (12.00)

Say what you will about how cheesy it was to have Bond in space, but oh my god, BOND IN SPACE! As a kid this was pretty awesome. Who cares about how campy and how awful some of this movie is? Let me tell you some great things in this movie: Space, Jaws talks, Jaws turns into a good guy, Space, Dr. Holly Goodhead, Hugo Drax is cool, Space, Rio, a giant anaconda in an Amazon pool, temples in the jungle, and Space.

Also, I give you these exchanges. First, when Bond was hunting with Drax, Bond shoots at some doves or some bird and Drax says "You missed." To which Bond asks, "Did I?" as a sniper falls out of a tree.

Second, Bond and Holly are in a cable car stuck suspended with Jaws approaching in another one fast at them. Holly asks Bond, "Do you know him?" Bond answers, "Not socially. His name is Jaws, he kills people." To me that is the funniest damn thing Bond has ever said. I laugh so hard every time this part of the movie happens.

11. The Man With the Golden Gun (11.67)

Christopher Lee is a huge part of why this movie is awesome. As Scaramanga, he is one of the best Bond villains of all-time. The way he challenges his opponents in his duels is cool as well, with the Fun House that features Al Capone and the Old West. My brother likes his little person of a henchman Knick-Knack and can do his impression pretty good. Scaramanga's island lair is awesome and would be a sweet place to visit in real life. In fact, I hope someday that I live in a place like that.

10. A View to a Kill (11.00, Mike #3)

We finally reached the top 10 and start out with Roger Moore's last effort as James Bond. I rate this extremely high due to Christopher Walken. He is absolutely awesome as a Bond villain, and my brother agrees. I like the climax of this film in the mine that continues to the Golden Gate bridge. Paul hates this movie as he hates the Bond girl, and how old Roger Moore is in this movie. I don't really care as growing up with this movie, I didn't worry so much of those things.

Another huge plus, this movie has THE GREATEST BOND SONG EVER WRITTEN and is performed by DURAN DURAN. Therefore it gets high ranks. This movie also features the song "California Girls" by the Beach Boys, and that is even before the title credits happen!

9. The Living Daylights (10.33)

One thing you will notice in this list is that Timothy Dalton's two appearances as James Bond earn top marks from us. I was a little harder on this movie than Joe and Paul were, but I still like this movie a lot. Miriam d'Abo is adorable as Kara, and Nekros is an awesome henchman. His theme "Where Has Everybody Gone?" by The Pretenders is an awesome rock track. And by the way, this movie features the second greatest Bond song ever written by a-Ha.

8. Skyfall (9.67, Joe #1)

This is my brother's favorite and he says it is because of not only Javier Bardem, but that he likes how real everything was. He also said he liked almost just about everything about the movie. I didn't quite rate it very high as I didn't like what happened much to one of the female characters in the movie, nor did I really get too excited for the climax of the movie out in the middle of nowhere Scotland. I did like Bardem's weirdness in it however. He played a Bond villain that really hadn't been seen before.

7. From Russia With Love (8.33, Paul #1)

People forget that Dr. No and From Russia With Love were before Goldfinger mainly because they thought Goldfinger elevated Bond and Connery to superstardom. I say that this was the movie that elevated them to that level. This was the first "appearance" of Blofeld (Spectre was named by Dr. No as he worked for them in the first movie) and began the long tradition of Q and gadgets as Bond got the famous suit case with a knife in it. The acting cast was great in this movie and I really liked Robert Shaw in it. Also, Daniela Bianchi remains one of my favorite Bond girls to this day.

6. The Spy Who Loved Me (8.00, Paul #4)

This is possibly one of the more famous Bond films mainly because of a character that never even mentioned one world. This marked the first appearance by Jaws, and Richard Kiel's character will live on in infamy at how henchmen are supposed to be played. Sure, there was Oddjob before him, but Richard took his character and made him more feared than any other person. Of course you also had the beautiful Barbara Bach as Agent XXX, but to me, more importantly Caroline Munro was in it as one of Stromberg's assistants, Naomi. I mention this because not only is she hot, but I have had the pleasure of meeting her and chatting with her for a little bit. I also am a huge fan of the sequences shot in Egypt. And cannot forget to mention seemingly everyone's favorite car the Lotus Espirit, which IT GOES UNDERWATER!

5. Licence to Kill (7.00, Mike #4)

Top five time, and this movie is most likely underrated by anyone not in the group of three of us. Between the many great actors in this movie, the topic of revenge is served well here. I remember that this was the first Bond movie I saw in theaters at the Grand Island Twin Theaters. I will never forget it, and it is odd that a lot of people said that this was one of the most brutal in terms of deaths. Oh well, I love my parents.

Robert Davi was perfect as Franz Sanchez and who can forget that a very young Benicio del Toro makes an appearance as the psychotic right hand man Dario. I think my favorite thing in this movie is that Bond manipulates Sanchez to basically kill off all his own guys as he makes him question their loyalty. It is brilliantly done and written. Also, Wayne Newton! His appearance is great as a televangelist that is the front for Sanchez's drug deals.

4. Goldfinger (7.00, Mike #5, Paul #5)

Without a doubt, you ask pretty much any person who knows James Bond if they know ANY Bond movie and this one comes up. From an iconic villain, an iconic henchman in Oddjob, an iconic Bond girl in Pussy Galore, this movie hit every check mark in Bond movies, and it was the only the 3rd one made at the time. The climax at Fort Knox and the golden laser scenes are two of the most well known scenes in the history of cinema. Not to mention the girl that was painted gold would be blasphemy as well.

Maybe my favorite lines of the movie deal with Bond and Q talking about the his car when Bond asks quizzically, "Ejector seat? You must be joking?" and Q straight faced him with, "I never joke about my work 007." And cannot forget the old never cheat at golf thing and keep track of your ball to not play a Slazenger 7.

3. Casino Royale (6.67, Joe #2, Paul #3)

Daniel Craig's first entry in the Bond series is not only ranked high in our list, but is also critically acclaimed. I didn't rank it as high because of the lack of characters that I grew up with in Q and Moneypenny, but also to a much greater effect, Bond as himself in general. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy all Bond films, but I haven't really connected to Daniel Craig's portrayal as much as I probably should. I did rank this one the highest of Craig's films as I enjoyed many scenes in this movie, especially the poker scenes. The action scenes were well done from the glorious free-run chase and the airport chase. Eva Green is also in my top Bond girls as you really grew to care for Vesper Lynd in the movie to more or less have your heart ripped out.

2. You Only Live Twice (4.67, Mike #2, Paul #2, Joe #10)

These final two were the only ones in which all three of us ranked them in our respective Top 10s, to which I will show all three rankings. This movie was my absolute favorite Bond movie growing up because of all the things in it. It had spaceships (Bond didn't go into space though), a huge volcano lair, fight scenes, beautiful girls, massive fight at end of movie, great music. I had a huge crush on Helga (even though she was part of Spectre) and I absolutely hated Blofeld when he fed her to the piranhas only because she let Bond go.

It was amazing though in the movie that they more or less faked Bond's death (hence the name of the movie), but how he integrated in Japanese culture (which might be frowned upon these days). But I think the reason this movie resonated is because it seemed like it was the first Bond movie to go full "villain has secret lair and will cause world war in dramatic fashion" in it.

1. Goldeneye (3.67, Mike #1, Joe #4, Paul #6)

Many of you may be surprised to see a Pierce Brosnan movie at the top of our list of Bond movies, but I will say this, this movie has it all. This became my favorite movie once it came out in 1995 and has stayed that way since. I thought Brosnan nailed it, he was stern when he needed to and could also pull off the funny bits. From the opening sequence this movie sucked you in from Sean Bean shockingly getting "killed" and Bond diving after a plane off a cliff to the opening theme song, I was engaged.

Not knowing who Sean Bean was as a kid when this came out, I was absolutely shocked when he came back as the villain they referred to as Janus. This was a time when movie spoilers and the internet was hardly around, and like I said, as I kid, I didn't know who he was. He instantly became one of my favorite actors and still is today. I'm also a huge fan of Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp, because really, who wouldn't want to die by how she would kill you?

But other actors that were great was the return of Joe Don Baker from being a bad guy in The Living Daylights to being CIA Agent Jack Wade and the inimitable Robbie Coltrane as Valentin Zukovsky. I even thought Ourumov was a good bad guy even until Sean Bean was revealed to be the main one.

I absolutely loved the music throughout this movie as well. Eric Serra provided a great vibe with his techno modern sounds just like he would continue to do in his score of The Fifth Element later. But I also would be remiss if I didn't mention the countless hours of Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 that my brother and I played growing up. That game put us into the story of the movie we liked so much and made watching the movie even more fun.

So there you have it, there are our Bond movie rankings! If you haven't seen them all, this may fill you in on ones you missed and help you decide if you want to watch them or not, and if you have seen them, let me know how you think we did!

Thanks for reading,

Mike G.

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