As the song goes, “Nobody does it better”. But which James Bond movie really does it best?
Across almost six decades there have been 24 films and six actors, each an essential entry into the history of 007. And how do you rate a Bond film? The style? The action? The villain? The girl? The car? The gadgets? The cheeky one-liner?
The answer is all of the above, of course. But the good news is, you don’t have to rate the Bond films, because we’ve done it for you. Here’s the definitive ranking of Bond, James Bond.
24. Die Another Day (2001)
Pierce Brosnan’s final outing took Bond to Iceland for an adventure that will leave you cold: it’s quite simply the worst Bond film ever made. After bringing Bond into the ’90s, Brosnan’s tenure descends into a parody of the franchise with this computer effects-heavy farce – Bond drives an invisible car, kite surfs on a tidal wave, and fights a diamond-encrusted henchman (yes, you read that right). Plus, an ear-splitting dance theme by Madonna.
The Style: Wintery vibes with a double-breasted guards coat over grey pinstripe
The Car: Erm, invisible
The Gadget: A weaponised surfboard
The One-Liner: “Saved by the bell,” Bond quips after saving himself from plummeting to his death by hanging on a giant bell
23. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
After stepping down for replacement 007 George Lazenby, Sean Connery returns for one last go as 007 – chasing down Blofeld to Vegas for murdering his bride in the previous film. Connery is stodgier and more obviously wearing a toupee than ever before (certainly not the sex panther we’ve become accustomed to) but it’s also very daft: cartoon baddies, a silly fight with some ladies, and arch-nemesis Blofeld disguising himself as a middle-aged woman.
The Style: Connery switches up his regular tux look with a navy velvet dinner jacket
The Car: A speedy Ford Mustang
The Gadget: A magnetic ring that guarantees a jackpot on the fruit machine every time. Handy in Vegas
The One-Liner: “Plenty O’Toole… named after your father, perhaps?”
22. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
It’s another low entry from Brosnan, this time as he takes on one of the series’ worst baddies – a futuristic media mogul who thinks typing menacingly fast is a substitute for the classic laser up the double-Os. Brosnan was a great Bond – the look, the charm, the knack for innuendo – but somehow the nineties-ness of his era has dated even worse than the Carry On Bond era of the seventies.
The Style: He’s strictly casual in the film’s big motorcycle chase – baggy blue linen shirt and dark chinos
The Car: A remote control BMW 750iL
The Gadget: An explosive Omega Seamaster watch
The One-Liner: “You always were a cunning linguist, James,” says Moneypenny, while Bond beds a language tutor. Quite
21. Thunderball (1965)
The first real misfire of the Bond series sees Connery go deep for a slow-moving, never-ending underwater battle (though you have to love Tom Jones belting out the word ‘Thunderball’ at the top of his lungs). But never one to let a nautical theme slip by without taking advantage, Bond rocks some of the best beachwear of his 50 plus-years on the big screen. No Bond did beach duds like Connery.
The Style: Cuban collar shirts and blue swim shorts
The Car: Aston Martin DB5
The Gadget: An actual jet pack
The One-Liner: “I think he got the point.” After skewering a man to death with a spear gun
20. Octopussy (1983)
Roger Moore’s Bond heads to India on the trail of a plot involving a bomb and bogus Fabergé eggs, and finds himself in a floating palace populated entirely by beautiful women (*raises eyebrow naughtily*). It’s enjoyable nonsense until an overlong chase on a circus train, which regrettably ends with Bond dressing up like a clown. Alright, he’s in disguise but it’s still ridiculous, Mr Bond.
The Style: A clown costume. Yes, really
The Car: A Tuk Tuk rickshaw for Bond’s unlikeliest car chase
The Gadget: A one-man submersible disguised as a crocodile
The One-Liner: “Having trouble keeping it up, Q?”
19. Quantum of Solace (2008)
Daniel Craig’s debut Casino Royale played around with the Bond formula, but Quantum of Solace rejected it completely. The film had production problems and was being rewritten while they filmed it. There’s solid action – especially a nosebleed-inducing punch-up on some scaffolding – but it’s not much of a Bond film. The villain is at least quite timely – an evil environmentalist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), who plots to keep Bolivia’s water supply to himself.
The Style: A brown mohair tonic two-piece from Tom Ford
The Car: Aston Martin DBS V12
The Gadget: A special MI5-ready smartphone with facial imaging and top secret access
The One-Liner: “You must be furious,” at an intern who’s angry with herself for succumbing to his bedroom charms
18. A View To A Kill (1985)
Everything about this is wrong: Roger Moore’s Bond at a creaky 57-years-old but still seducing the young ladies; Grace Jones being terrifying as ever and seducing a creaky 57-year-old Roger Moore; and the flare of Roger’s trousers flapping in the wind as he dangles off the Golden Gate Bridge. But you can’t argue with the Duran Duran theme tune, Christopher Walken on maniacal villain duties, and the sheer joy of its silliness.
The Style: A grey suede blouson with a grey and white striped shirt and grey flannel trousers
The Car: A commandeered Renault 11 taxi
The Gadget: A gold ring with an in-built camera
The One-Liner: “Well, I’m an early riser myself.” Course you are, James
17. The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Brosnan takes on Renard, a baddie who can’t feel pain because of a bullet lodged in his brain (honestly, where do they find these guys?). After his much-celebrated debut in Goldeneye, this is Brosnan’s third Bond film and second best effort overall. It’s best remembered for an action sequence around the brand-spanking-new Millennium Dome and Denise Richards as Dr Christmas Jones, the world’s most glamorous nuclear physicist.
The Style: The Broser pulls out the linen again for a cream herringbone two-piece, worn with a blue Oxford shirt.
The Car: A BMW Z8
The Gadget: X-ray specs for “checking concealed weapons”
The One-Liner: “And I thought Christmas only comes once a year.”
16. Moonraker (1979)
Bond takes a cue from the success of Star Wars and goes into space. It has one of the series’ most iconic action sequences – Bond battling metal-toothed assassin Jaws on cable cars dangling 1,000ft over Rio De Janeiro’s Sugar Loaf Mountain – and for the most part it’s classic Roger Moore-era fun. Until Bond has to wrestle an unconvincing python and rockets off into space for a laser battle.
The Style: Banana space suit with matching Converse
The Car: A gondola that converts into a hovercraft
The Gadget: Wrist-mounted dart gun, which fires cyanide darts
The One-Liner: “He’s attempting re-entry, sir,” says Q, as Bond navigates his rocket back into the atmosphere/Dr Holly Goodhead.
15. You Only Live Twice (1967)
Bond fakes his own death so he can go to Japan undetected and investigate the mysterious disappearance of two spacecraft. What he finds there is the most Bond villain thing of all time: his arch nemesis Ernst Stavros Blofled – here played by Donald Pleasance – in a hollowed-out volcano base, complete with a rocket launch-pad and piranha-infested pools. It’s formulaic stuff but also Connery’s last great moment as Bond.
The Style: Tan linen sports shirt with camp collar and brown linen trousers
The Car: A Toyota 2000 GT convertible
The Gadget: A gyrocopter called “Little Nellie”
The One-Liner: “Just a drop in the ocean,” after an enemy car plunges into the Pacific
14. Spectre (2015)
After all the deep soul-searching of Skyfall, Spectre took a huge step backwards. It looks sexy as hell, not least for Daniel Craig’s steamy pairing with Léa Seydoux, but Spectre is surface-level adventure: girls, fights, and car chases. It also tries some clumsy reverse engineering to make the new Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) Bond’s sort-of brother and longtime nemesis, even though Bond only just met him.
The Style: Several Tom Ford O’Connor suits, including a tasty blue shark skin
The Car: The Aston Martin DB10, specially built for this movie
The Gadget: Smart blood, which MI5 uses to track Bond
The One-Liner: “Well, get on with it then,” he says, about to be tortured by Blofeld. “Nothing can be as painful as listening to you talk.”
13. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Everyone agreed that Moonraker, with its laser space battle and rubber snake, was a bit OTT. So Roger Moore went back-to-basics with the most serious, Fleming-like film of his tenure – a straight-up espionage thriller which sees Bond hunting down a missing communications device. It’s famous for having Roger’s darkest moment: he kills a baddie in cold blood by booting him off a cliff.
The Style: Padded Bogner ski jacket over a navy v-neck knitted jumper and white rollneck
The Car: A rather unglamourous Citroën 2CV, which Bond is forced to escape in
The Gadget: Identigraph machine for creating computerised mugshots
The One-Liner: “He had no head for heights,” he says, after the baddie plummets to his death
12. Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
In his second outing as Bond, Roger Moore pulls out one of his greatest skills as a super-spy: wearing the absolute hell out of a safari suit. Bond also goes mano-a-mano with Christopher Lee, playing three-nippled assassin Scaramanga (that’s the man with the golden gun, if it wasn’t obvious). Britt Ekland turns up the seventies sexiness and the final duel – which sees Roger traipsing through Scaramanga’s psychedelic funhouse – is a joy.
The Style: A swish double-breasted grey suit with a blue chalkstripe
The Car: An AMC Hornet Hatchback. It somersaults in the air to the sound of a slide whistle
The Gadget: A prosthetic nipple so Bond can disguise himself as Scaramanga
The One-Liner: “I am now aiming precisely at your groin. So speak or forever hold your piece.”
11. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Roger Moore’s third adventure has the best opening 15 minutes of any Bond film – Roger (well, a stuntman) skis off the 2,000ft Mount Asgard and reveals a Union Flag parachute, before Carly Simon belts out the epic Bond ballad ‘Nobody Does It Better’. From there, 007 travels to the Pyramids to fight Jaws, rescues a nuclear submarine, and smooches KGB Agent Triple X (Barbara Bach). That’ll be the spy who loved him, then.
The Style: A dinner suit with extra-wide lapels and generously flared trousers
The Car: A Lotus Esprit that turns into a submarine. Naturally
The Gadget: A ski pole that doubles up as a rifle.
The One-Liner: “What do you think you’re doing, 007?” exclaims M, upon finding Bond and Triple X in a compromising position. “Keeping the British end up, sir.”
10. GoldenEye (1995)
Brosnan’s debut was a big hit and the nineties nostalgia is strong (partly thanks to the classic N64 game). There’s big action as Bond bungees down a 700ft dam and joyrides a tank – plus, the lethally sexy Famke Janssen as thigh-crushing villainess Xenia Onatopp. It tries to examine 007 for being a misogynistic dinosaur, but in hindsight, the bum-pinching cheekiness of this lads’ era Bond has more in common with Roger Moore than it realised.
The Style: A Brioni suit with finely detailed navy birdseye pattern. Accessorised with a massive gun
The Car: Aston Martin DB5
The Gadget: Ball point pen with a class-4 grenade
The One-Liner: “One rises to meet a challenge.” Alright 007, we get the idea
9. The Living Daylights (1987)
After the campy froth of Roger Moore’s later years, it was time for a change of tone. Timothy Dalton steps into Bond’s shoes for a darker, grittier performance that’s more in line with the 007 from Ian Fleming’s books – though there’s still some excellent silliness when Bond slides down an icy mountain on a cello case. Eighties pop maestros A-Ha provide a hearty synth banger.
The Style: A tan wool gabardine suit. A classic cut but without the tie for casual vibes
The Car: Aston Martin V8. Very nifty on ice and with a rocket launcher
The Gadget: A key ring that releases gas when you whistle Rule Britannia
The One-Liner: “Whoever she was, it must’ve scared the living daylights out of her.”
8. Live & Let Die (1973)
Roger Moore’s debut is still his best, though arguably it’s also the least politically correct of all the Bond films (which is saying something). Bond goes to the Caribbean to take down a corrupt dictator in a tale of voodoo and heroin. There are great moments – a killer speedboat chase, killer sharks, Bond hopping along crocodiles like stepping stone – but the real clincher is Paul McCartney’s belting theme tune.
The Style: An all-black ensemble – polo neck and trousers with a one-shouldered holster
The Car: Forget the car, it’s all about the speedboat in this one
The Gadget: A magnetic Rolex with built-in buzzsaw
The One-Liner: “There’s no sense going out half-cocked.”
7. Skyfall (2012)
Bond celebrated his 50th anniversary onscreen by delving into his own psyche for an existential wallow. It’s the deepest, most thematically layered of all the films, as 007 reassembles the pieces of his formula for a fusion of old and new Bond. Javier Bardem’s Silva is a classic villain rebooted – a secret agent-gone-bad, deformed from cyanide and out for revenge on Judi Dench’s M.
The Style: Bond goes rural – a Barbour jacket, tonal colours, and scarf
The Car: The classic Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger comes out of the garage
The Gadget: A simple gun with handprint-recognition tech
The One-Liner: Silva slides his hands up Bond’s legs and tells him there’s a first time for everything: “What makes you think this is my first time?”
6. Dr No (1962)
The very first Bond film is a masterclass in style: Bond’s perfectly-worn threads, the pristine sands of Jamaica, and Ursula Andress’s emerging from the sea in that iconic bikini. Connery is sexual magnetism personified as Bond, taking on the robotic-handed Dr No, who plans to sabotage a US space program. The Bond formula we’re now accustomed to isn’t quite there, but it’s got the key elements: the exotic locations, the sex drive, and the dastardly villain.
The Style: Powder blue playsuit. Big look
The Car: Sunbeam Alpine
The Gadget: Bond’s signature weapon: the Walther PPK
The One-Liner: “Bond, James Bond.” The original and still best delivery
5. Casino Royale (2006)
Bond was in dire need of a reboot, so Daniel Craig’s debut, based on Fleming’s first novel, was grittier and more realistic, shaking (but never stirring) the Bond formula. It begins with a blistering action sequence – a punch-up atop a 100ft crane – and it’s gripping to the end, with Bond entering a high-stakes poker game to bankrupt Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), moneyman to the terrorists, and falling in love with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green).
The Style: A three-piece Brioni blue pinstripe suit
The Car: Aston Martin DBS
The Gadget: A defibrillator in the glove compartment. Just in case you get poisoned
The One-Liner: When asked if he wants his vodka Martini shaken or stirred. “Do I look like I give a damn?”
4. From Russia With Love (1963)
Bond slips into league (and bed, naturally) with a Russian defector and must keep a decoding machine out of the hands of SPECTRE. Connery looks flawless and there’s nerve-shredding tension as he fights nails-hard henchman Red Grant (Robert Shaw) on a train. This is more a straight-up espionage thriller than a Bond-style adventure, but it’s still a slick, sexy piece of filmmaking almost 60 years later.
The Style: Grey glen-check suit with a trilby hat
The Car: Bentley Mark IV
The Gadget: An attaché briefcase containing a folding rifle, knife, and a gas bomb
The One-Liner: “Well, I’ve just been reviewing an old case,” he says, sleeping with his previous target
3. Licence to Kill (1989)
Dalton teased a darker side in The Living Daylights but goes full Fleming for this swearier, more violent take. After parachuting into pal Felix Leiter’s wedding for best man duties (OK, Bond might he darker, but he’s still a massive show off), Felix has his legs fed to a shark by drug baron Sanchez (Robert Davi). Bond goes rogue for a revenge mission. LTK was too dark for fans at the time, but it’s a shame that Dalton didn’t make more Bonds.
The Style: A baggy, loose cut dark blue shirt and trousers
The Car: Bond ditches the cars for a convoy of Kentworth trucks in the film’s rollicking chase scene
The Gadget: A bomb and detonator disguised as a tube of toothpaste and pack of cigarettes
The One-Liner: “I’ll do anything for a woman with a knife.”
2. Goldfinger (1964)
More than 50 years later and this is still the gold standard. This is peak Connery – sexed-up, impeccably dressed, and dripping so much charisma that someone should be mopping up after him. The film crafts the formula – the car, the saucily named lady (Pussy Galore), the cartoon henchman (hat-throwing menace Oddjob), the soaring theme tune – that would define almost every Bond film thereafter.
The Style: Ivory dinner jacket paired with red coronation
The Car: Aston Martin DB5
The Gadget: Shoe with a honing device in the heel
The One-Liner: “Shocking, positively shocking,” after electrocuting a villain to death
1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
George Lazenby is remembered as a one-off misfire, but OHMSS is Bond’s greatest creative triumph – a stylish, sometimes psychedelic slice of ’60s genius. Lazenby is no Sean Connery (or even Roger Moore for that matter), but he’s a hard-fighting physical specimen and adept at the cheeky one-liner. Travelling to the Swiss Alps for a showdown with Blofeld, Bond throws convention off the mountaintop and even gets married – but his bride is shot in the final seconds. A daring and tragic masterpiece.
The Style: A Prince Charlie jacket, wool waistcoat, decorative jabot, and Black Watch tartan kilt
The Car: Mercury Cougar XR-7
The Gadget: A mobile safecracking device
The One-Liner: “This never happened to the other guy,” he says, having to fight off some villains just seconds after taking over from Connery.