Created by Ian Fleming in the 1950s, James Bond is, by far, the most recognizable and influential fictional spy in history. Besides appearing in a successful book series, the character has also appeared in 26 films — 24 of which were produced by Eon Productions — and been portrayed by (at least) seven actors.
The Eon-produced James Bond series is one of the highest-grossing film series of all time, well known for its fun adventures, Bond girls, and incredible intro songs (besides the legendary 007 himself). Each actor has his own take on Bond too, so there’s sure to be a Bond film for you no matter what you’re in the mood for — whether that’s slapstick, comedy, action, or suspense. But for many, a great Bond film includes all of the above.
Here are some of the best Bond films of all time:
The first James Bond movie ever made, Dr. No set the James Bond standard with a stylized and creative intro, iconic theme music, and an artistic approach. In this film, Bond is portrayed by Sean Connery, one of the most beloved Bond actors.
The film also introduces SPECTRE, one of the major criminal organizations that is frequently featured in the Bond universe (there was even a movie, Spectre, released in 2015). Dr. No is also well known for its Bond girl, Honey Ryder, and the classic island lair of the titular villain.
Another Sean Connery Bond movie, Goldfinger was the first Bond blockbuster. It is one of the most iconic and most-referenced Bond films, widely remembered for how the villain kills off Jill Masterson by drenching her in gold paint. The film also features a classic villain, Goldfinger, and his henchman, Oddjob. It has a good script and plenty of action and humor, making it without a doubt one of the best Bond films around.
Licence to Kill (1989)
Serious Bond fans either hate this one or love this one— there’s no real in between. Same goes for Timothy Dalton, who plays Bond in this film. But if you’re a fan of the Daniel Craig era, then you’ll likely be a fan of Licence to Kill. It’s suspenseful, full of action, bloody, and far more violent than other Bond films in the series.
It’s also known as the one where Bond goes rogue. After a powerful drug lord harms his longtime friend (and CIA agent) Felix, Bond sets out to seek his revenge. But Bond is forbidden to go after the drug lord, instead ordered to go on another mission. In response, Bond resigns — and thus goes rogue.
Pierce Brosnan’s first Bond film is also considered to be his best Bond film. In GoldenEye, Bond shows off his casino skills while tracking members of an organized crime syndicate (including a woman who strangles her victims with her thighs) and trying to keep a satellite weapon from destroying the world. It’s full of humor, excitement, and adventure, all of which make it a great Bond film — and a classic.
Casino Royale (2006)
There’s no denying that James Bond knows a thing or two about looking smart in a casino — something that becomes incredibly important when he has to face off against Le Chiffre repeatedly in Casino Royale.
Sure, it’s important that he looks the part, but more importantly, it’s important that he knows what to say and how to behave or he wouldn’t get very far at all. Luckily, Bond has a knack for casino games and poker, which also gets him pretty far — and helps him to take down Le Chiffre.
This version of Casino Royale, where Daniel Craig plays Bond, is widely considered to be the best Bond film in the series. It’s not only the origin story of Bond, but the story also features Bond’s main love interest, Vesper Lynd. If you haven’t yet seen a single Bond film, this is the one to start with.