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James Bond movies: Ranking 007’s best, worst and everything in between

James Bond movies: Ranking 007’s best, worst and everything in between

James Bond actors portrayed at Madame Tussaud's

Not stirred: This lineup at the Madame Tussauds wax museum in Berlin presents all the actors who’ve played James Bond in the legendary Eon Productions movies. From left: Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Daniel Craig, Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Pierce Brosnan.

Britta Pedersen/Getty Images

The James Bond movie franchise is a juggernaut, with 26 films to date (24 canonical, plus two rogues). Starting with Sean Connery, it’s featured six different actors in the lead role, going up against countless power-mad villains. Along the way, the 007 franchise has delivered both gems and clunkers.

It’ll be a while longer before we can see how the next Bond movie, No Time to Die, stacks up against its predecessors. That film, likely the final one to star Daniel Craig, has been pushed back more than once by coronavirus concerns, and now it’s scheduled to hit theaters on April 2.

While you’re waiting, you can satisfy your Bond cravings by revisiting the older 007 movies. Right now, for instance, you could go to YouTube, which is streaming most of the movies for free (with ads), from Connery’s debut in Dr. No all the way to the third of Pierce Brosnan’s outings, The World Is Not Enough. On cable TV, Epix and MTV have been showing various Bond films in spurts.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our recommendations and full rundown on big-screen Bond. With the recent death of Connery at 90, you might well be inclined to start out with one of his seven turns as 007. (You could maybe also play a vintage Bond video game, or ponder the upcoming “Project 007” from IO Interactive.)

You can also take a run through this ranking of James Bond movies, from worst to best. It’s not arbitrary or one person’s whim — it’s based on an aggregate of movie reviews as compiled by Metacritic.

Here’s one zinger from the legendary Pauline Kael writing in The New Yorker about an ’80s vintage entry: “The James Bond series has had its bummers, but nothing before in the class of this one.”

And praise from Variety for one of the top five films: The star “excellently puts over a cool, fearless, on-the-ball, fictional Secret Service guy.”

The list accounts for every theatrical release, so not just the two dozen from Eon Productions starting back in 1962 with Sean Connery in Dr. No, but also two noncanonical entries — the 1967 version of Casino Royale, a trippy turn with multiple actors playing Bond (David Niven chief among them), and 1983’s Never Say Never Again, with Connery in his second comeback.

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Don’t go looking for the 1954 version of Casino Royale, though. That was a real outlier — a 50-minute TV playhouse production that introduced Ian Fleming’s hero to the world as “Jimmy” Bond, an American secret agent. You can find that on YouTube, if you’re curious.

Otherwise, we’ve got the whole litany of actors who’ve played Bond in the official franchise — besides Connery, Craig and Brosnan, that’s George Lazenby, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton.

So go ahead, check out our ranking. If you’re new to Bond, it’ll give you an idea where you might want to start your viewing. If you’re an old hand who’s got strong feelings, let us know here how you rate the Bonds.

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