I love James Bond films, have done since I was eight. My first experience with James Bond was on a Saturday in 1993. Mum and Dad were having people over for dinner and Live And Let Die was on telly. Been obsessed ever since. The James Bond movie franchise is the one subject I can say I’m an expert on. Just saying.
Obviously for me this is so hard to pick as I love most of them for different reasons. You Only Live Twice is a beautiful film. Set in Japan with a brilliant screenplay by Roald Dahl, YOLT is up there with not only the best films in the franchise but for me it’s one of the most perfect films of all time. John Barry’s score is powerful yet ornate while the theme song, famously performed by Nancy Sinatra, is a classic of the genre.
Sean Connery’s performance is great too. He first appears in the film in bed with an oriental lady. You assume he has just given her a good old 1960’s seeing to and says ‘Why do Chinese girls taste different from all other girls?’ ‘You think we better huh?’ she replies. ‘No just different, like Peking duck is different from Russian caviar but I love them both’. Tasty Stuff.
Live And Let Die is Bond in the era of Blaxploitation with a surprisingly funked out score by Beatles producer George Martin. The two-faced villain, the virgin tarot high priestess (who loses her powers once Bond deflowers her) and the hook armed henchman Tee Hee are all brilliant characters. Roger Moore made his first appearance as Bond in this one and he brings a playful sense of humor to the role. Essential viewing.
Honorable mentions go to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Thunderball, Goldfinger, Moonraker and Tomorrow Never Dies.
Sean Connery and Roger Moore are of course considered the best because they were in the most amount of films and they were playing the role when it was still somewhat fresh. Aussie George Lazemby did a good job in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service but dropped out after one film as he couldn’t handle the fame (pussy). Pierce Brosnan should never have been cast to play James Bond. He is a watch model and a dogshit actor. He also never looked convincing when he beat someone up. Big fuckin jessie.
Timothy Dalton brought a much-needed edge to the role after the twelve years of Roger Moore (Moore was a joke by the end. 58 years old, fat, making quiches, snowboarding. Just all wrong). I always thought it was a shame that Dalton only did two films as he was infinitely better than Brosnan.
Daniel Craig is great even though I personally think he’s too buff for the role. James Bond needs to smoke ciggies and live off Vodka and Foie Gras not spend all day at the gym and wax his chest. Other than Daniel Craig being a bit of a homo I think he brings a toughness Brosnan lacked. The movies he’s been in are great too.
Blofeld in all his forms. Donald Pleasence’s twisted super villain Blofeld (who lives in a fucking volcano!), Telly Savalas’ turtleneck-wearing superpimp Blofeld and Charles Grey’s cross-dressing English dandy Blofeld are all pretty amazing and will go on to be the embodiment of the super villain for years to come (see Dr. Evil).
Hugo Drax’s kill the population and start again master plan is admirable. Karl Stomberg’s kill the population and then we can live under the sea master plan is just silly.
Christopher Walken was great in a pretty average film (A View To A Kill).
The Murdoch-inspired villain in Tomorrow Never Dies was a great idea. Only problem with that film was Brosnan was in it.
All up it’s gotta be Blofeld with honourable mentions to Goldfinger and Drax.
BEST THEME SONG
Tom Jones’ theme song for Thunderball is my pick for best song. Rumor has it that Jones passed out while singing the final note on the song, he held it for that long. Obviously any Shirley Bassey sung theme (Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and to a lesser extent Moonraker) are considered classics as many see her voice as being the voice of the franchise.
80’s pop idols Duran Duran and A-HA contributed fantastic songs for A View To A Kill and The Living Daylights respectively. The Living Daylights (1987) is the last great Bond theme song, which is pretty sad.
WORST THEME SONG
Oh please don’t make me choose…
Although Rita Coolidge (Octopussy ‘All Time High’ 1983), Sheena Easton (For Your Eyes Only 1981) and Chris Cornell (Casino Royale ‘You Know My Name’ 2006) have all spat out some absolute turds the winner here goes to Madonna for 2002’s Die Another Day. Dreadful song, why they let her do it is anyone’s guess..
Obviously different strokes for different folks but I have to pick the flame haired femme fatale Fiona Volpe from Thunderball. No flies on her…
As far as ‘good’ Bond girls go I can’t go past Ursula Andress in Dr No. Watch the movie and then you’ll know. Connery did pretty well…
Honorable mentions: Jane ‘Solitaire’ Seymour in Live And Let Die, Grace Jones in A View To A Kill and Jill St John in Diamonds Are Forever.
Halle Berry in Die Another Day. Famous chicks shouldn’t be Bond girls. Only beauty queens from Belarus. That’s the rule. Honourable mentions Holly Goodhead (Moonraker) and Denise ‘Christmas Jones’ Richards (The World Is Not Enough).
The villain in Die Another Day was silly. North Korean general gets plastic surgery to become a rich white guy who wants to make it sunny all the time or something. Really dumb movie. Only watch if you have a broken leg and you can’t get up and do something better.
There have been loads of amazing gadgets but I personally think the miniature re-breather from Thunderball is my favourite. Shouts to Laser Watch, Magnet Watch, Novelty Suitcase and Explosive Durries.
Honourable mentions: Nik Nak the midget manservant in The Man With The Golden Gun and Penelope Smallbone (!) from A View To A Kill, I base that on name alone.
Henchmen make the franchise and there have been so many great ones. Oddjob (Goldfinger) with his razor-tipped bowler hat is a classic. Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker) with his seven-foot-two build and metal mouth was brutal as was the cold-blooded gay couple Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd from Diamonds Are Forever.
Big ups to some of the less talked about henchmen though; Benicio Del Toro in License To Kill, Xenia Onatopp (Goldeneye) and Hans (You Only Live Twice) who meets his fate in a pool full of piranhas. Excellent.
Goldie in The World Is Not Enough could have been more badass. Diamond-faced North Korean in Die Another Day was retarded. Whisper in Live And Let Die was creepy but too fat and slow to be of any real threat.
Of course people get all sticky over the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger but for my tastes the Lotus in The Spy Who Loved Me gets the nod. Amazing bit of fantasy.
I would say the Ford Daniel Craig drives in Quantum of Solace if the invisible car from Die Another Day didn’t exist. Seriously. Invisible car? What is this? Spiderman?
Die Another Day. Fox, Madonna and Halle Berry shouldn’t have come anywhere near a James Bond film. A massive blemish on a great series.
In a nutshell beginners should start with Dr. No and work their way through the series. Remember there is a new one out this October…
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