Covid-19 running rampant around the world gave many of us time to slow down and look back at what we have rather than seeking out new material all the time. With that in mind, it was the ideal opportunity to start a complete re-watch of all the James Bond films, including the two non-Eon releases.
My 007 DVD collection began around 12-13 years ago so I had watched them all at least once before. However, other than the modern-era Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig ones I hadn’t watched the older films so much apart from those which needed viewing before and after movie locations trips.
The complete re-watch began in May 2020 with the idea being to watch one a week to nicely take me up to the release of ‘No Time To Die‘ but coronavirus put paid to that as the film stayed locked away for almost one more year.
Of course this is all very subjective but here is the Tokyo Fox ranking of all the James Bond movies from worst to best…
26. Casino Royale (1967) – The fastest pre-titles sequence (20 seconds) but an overly long (2 hours 10!), unfunny and uninteresting spy spoof! Disjointed and nonsensical! What the hell this was all about, I really don’t know!
25. Thunderball (1965) – Starts out quite interesting (as indeed do most 007 films), and the cinematography is great for that time but the excessive underwater scenes are a little bit dull. I really couldn’t connect with this one too much.
24. Never Say Never Again (1983) – There’s some bad acting in this non-Eon release. I could not remember a single thing about this film in advance of watching it. Dare I say it but I quite enjoyed it in parts but that may be just down to having very low expectations beforehand.
23. A View To A Kill (1985) – Disbelief often has to be suspended in Bond films but this one really takes it too far with Roger Moore way past his best to be convincing in the 007 role. Of course it’s not without it’s moments but there’s no discernible plot and it’s all just lacking in any of the usual charm.
22. Diamonds Are Forever (1971) – One of my favourite 007 songs but one of my least liked Bond films! Admittedly it was a bit better and more enjoyable than I remembered but overall quite poor.
21. Octopussy (1983) – Overly cheesy at times with a ridiculous title and plot. Despite my preconceptions I have to admit that I did actually enjoy the first hour or so but gradually grew more and erm, Moore detached from it all.
20. Die Another Day (2002) – To be honest I was ready to slate this film from the off but found myself actually enjoying the first hour or so. Sure, it’s a bit lacking in action but the plot was reasonably ok at that point. And then the scenes move on to Iceland and it just falls apart with ridiculous gimmicks and too much computer imagery.
19. Dr. No (1962) – Some truly iconic moments and great scenes but overall it’s a little slow-paced with a slightly disappointing finale.
18. The Living Daylights (1987) – Timothy Dalton breathes a bit of new life into the 007 role with a more earnest take. This may have been a new Bond but, with the same director as the three previous films, it’s a bit weary and a little dull at times. The villain is not very memorable but the airplane scene in Afghanistan at the end is one of the best action scenes in 007 history.
17. Quantum Of Solace (2008) – It was always going to be a tough act to follow ‘Casino Royale‘ and the idea of picking up exactly where the previous one finished was an exciting prospect. It’s a bit better than most people give it credit for but it tries too hard to copy the Bourne blueprint. Badly edited and directed with a pretty poor storyline and the villain is really not that interesting.
16. Moonraker (1979) – Nowhere near as poor as I remember! Dare I say it but I quite enjoyed Bond in space! Great fun!
15. From Russia With Love (1963) – Darker and edgier than its predecessor, this is a solid 007 film with a beautiful score and a memorable female Bond villain who has an unusual choice of footwear!
14. Live And Let Die (1973) – A rather confusing story and a more comic-book style Bond as the Roger Moore era begins. Better than I remember but it took a while to get into it. I’m really not a fan of the constant use of the theme song throughout.
13. Spectre (2015) – It’s not a masterpiece but it still does the job of entertaining. The pre-title scenes in Mexico City are very exciting but it fails to stay as tense and exciting after that and I really wasn’t so keen on was the whole storyline about Blofeld being the king of all previous villains in the other three Daniel Craig movies.
12. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) – Strong start, emotional ending but lulled a bit in the middle with all Blofeld’s clinical allergy-research institute stuff. Didn’t like the way fight scenes edited together. Personally, I would’ve liked to see Lazenby as 007 again.
11. The World Is Not Enough (1999) – The law of diminishing returns for the Pierce Brosnan Bond-era as things start to get more and more ridiculous regarding plot, excessive action scenes and an over-reliance on technological devices of some sort. Still, it was enjoyable enough.
10. The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) – Derided by many but I have great affection for it. I love the locales, Scaramanga is a great villain and it’s impossible to not love Nick Nack! It’s a bit silly in places (the sound effect which accompanies the most amazing of stunts, for example!) but entertaining nevertheless.
9. For Your Eyes Only (1981) – Plenty of action scenes and a very cheesy “Bond. James Bond” line.
8. GoldenEye (1995) – Brosnan is brilliant in his first Bond film. I loved the whole 007 vs 006 storyline which pits Bond against villain Sean Bean and this movie really pushes the character into a new era with lots of great lines.
7. Licence To Kill (1989) – A pleasant surprise and a thoroughly entertaining 133 minutes of compelling action. One of the most underrated Bond films.
6. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) – Beyond the iconic pre-opening titles sequence I could remember very little else of this beforehand. Villain Stromberg is pretty good but outshone by Jaws.
5. You Only Live Twice (1967) – Tokyo, Blofeld, little Nellie, sumo, ninja training school, Nancy Sinatra, J-girls, Austin Powers inspirations, Japan’s best castle, erm Connery turning Japanese!
4. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) – I can hear the sound of disbelief from all reading this but this is my sentimental favourite as it was the film which (finally!) got me into the Bond movies. I was a bit of a late comer to the franchise. It’s not without flaws but I love this film and have a deep attachment to it. Jonathan Pryce is fantastic as the Murdoch-like media mogul villain.
3. Goldfinger (1964) – The quintessential 007 film from the early days and one that has set the benchmark for much of what has followed. Fantastic characters all over the place.
2. Casino Royale (2006) – The reboot of all reboots. A simply awesome film. Even the casino scenes are tense and engaging. The scenery is beautiful and we get to see a raw and emotional Bond. This is arguably the best written 007 film. It is absolutely amazing.
1. Skyfall (2012) – It was really tough deciding the order of the top two but this one just edges it for me as it merged classic and new Bond with the reintroduction of Q and Moneypenny as well as some gadgets on the famous Aston Martin DB5. M (Judi Dench) comes out from the background of past films to basically co-star alongside Daniel Craig. Together, they’re absolutely brilliant as Bond wrestles with the physical and psychological attributes which have served him so well.
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