BOND, JAMES BOND
Sean Connery (6 films; Dr. No to Diamonds Are Forever)
In short, Connery is Bond. He is the first person that comes to mind when you think James Bond. Connery is the original and the one who set the bar very high for all those who followed. From his very first line, he told the world that indeed he was 007. It was Connery’s Bond that inspired a slew of imitators from Derek Flint, Maxwell Smart, Austin Powers and Johnny English. This is why no matter who plays Bond they are forever compared to Connery and not necessarily the actor they replaced. That’s when you know you own the role.
Best film: Goldfinger
George Lazenby (1 film; On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
The forgotten Bond and yet always comes out ahead of Timothy Dalton. More on that later. Lazenby may have done only the one film but it’s the only one that introduces Mrs. James Bond (played by Diana Rigg). Yes Virginia, Bond was married albeit short lived having never made it to their honeymoon. And arguably this is the film that showcased the very best Blofeld, Telly Salvalas. George Lazenby was an underrated and an under appreciated Bond in an underrated and under appreciated film. If you haven’t seen it, please do so it is an important chapter in the Bond legacy.
Best film: Duh… On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Roger Moore (7 films; Live and Let Die to A View to a Kill)
When Roger Moore took over, he added a comedic twist to the character. This is not to say that Connery didn’t have humor. But his was more understated and filled with sarcasm. Having recently reviewed all the Bond films, I have greater respect for Moore and how he portrayed 007. Moore’s one liners and charm made him a joy to watch. And his record number of appearances of seven puts him in the same discussion with Sean Connery as the best Bond ever.
Best film: For Your Eyes Only
Timothy Dalton (2 films; Living Daylights to License to Kill)
Even Lazenby with his 1 film seems to outshine Daltonas a better 007. I think he gets a raw deal. Dalton was a good Bond at the wrong time. The Living Daylights came out in 1987 and during this time, the AIDS epidemic was an everyday news story. The producers decided to scale back on Bond’s womanizing and promiscuous lifestyle. Basically they neutered him. I think through 2 films, neither one a standout, Daltondid his best with the material that was given to him. He deserved a better fate.
Best film: License to Kill
Pierce Brosnan (4 films; Goldeneye to Die Another Day)
After the failure of the previous incarnation and a much needed rest, Bond was back and better than ever for a new generation fans. Leave it to an Irishman to lead the way. They say good things come to those who wait. And for Pierce Brosnan that statement holds true. He was the original choice to take over for Roger Moore but his commitment to the TV show Remington Steele put a halt to that. Fast forward almost 10 years and a new Bond was born with the film Goldeneye. Brosnan took Bond back to the Connery days, dashing, debonair and above all, a killer. Brosnan (as Bond) once said, “not having feelings is what keeps me alive.”
Best film: Goldeneye
Daniel Craig (3 films+; Casino Royale to Skyfall)
I must admit when I first saw Daniel Craig, I thought they made a mistake. I didn’t care about the blond hair, blue eyes. I just didn’t think he can pull off being suave. Five minutes into Casino Royale, I knew I was wrong. Still wasn’t sure about being suave but who cares, he can kick ass with the best of them. Craig turned out to be a refreshing choice. He took Bond to a whole other level with his toughness. He added a sense of realism to our hero. No Bond before him ever took quite a beating as Craig’s Bond did in Casino Royale. And when he seeks vengeance for his love, Vesper Lynd, and introduces himself to his enemy as “Bond, James Bond.” he becomes part of the legend. I look forward to his further adventures as 007.
Best film: Casino Royale
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight
Image taken from AnthonyGeoffroy.com (2012)