Having now uploaded reviews of every James Bond film released up to (and including 2017, it would be a damn shame not to make a list ranking them from the best-scoring ones down to the bottom. So here is that very list!
Bear in my mind that these rankings come from a film lover, not a Bond fan, and the score is a reflection of each film as an individual movie, rather than how it compares (in any direct sense) with other entries in the series.
“Aah”, I hear you say, “but you have to be immersed in the world of Bond to appreciate where the films are coming from”. Actually, I don’t. A film that’s chauvinist in attitude, poorly plotted and/or badly made is a bad film regardless of the lead character’s name; conversely, the good examples are good movies in complete isolation of 007 lore. Nobody gets special treatment here.
In general, the best films are those that really pay attention to what they’re doing and care about the final product: notably the early ones, where everyone had a stake in making sure they got things right; and those that had to work to bring Bond back to the public’s attention (I think you could legitimately call GoldenEye and Casino Royale reboots). Also, Moore’s best entry, The Spy Who Loved Me, was the 10th film and Skyfall coincided with the series’ 50th anniversary, both reasons to make a special effort (that said, neither Moore nor Dalton’s introductions resulted in great movies, and the 20th film in the series was hardly a resounding success).
I’ve peeked at other people’s rankings of the movies, and my obvious outlier is The World is not Enough. It seems that for many, Denise Richards’ portrayal of Doctor Christmas Jones was enough to kill the movie stone dead. It’s true that her performance takes the word ‘unconvincing’ to new and uncharted heights, but I maintain that she is only a medium-sized negative in a fairly large bag of exciting pluses.
Anyway, here’s the rundown, with unofficial Bonds included for reference. Where the scores are the same, I’ve gone with my gut instincts as a tie-breaker.
Rank Film Bond WFTB Score
1 Goldfinger Connery 14/20
2 GoldenEye Brosnan 13/20
3 From Russia With Love Connery 12/20
4 Casino Royale Craig 12/20
5 The World is not Enough Brosnan 12/20
6 Dr. No Connery 11/20
7 Skyfall Craig 11/20
8 The Spy Who Loved Me Moore 11/20
9 You Only Live Twice Connery 11/20
10 Thunderball Connery 10/20
11 The Living Daylights Dalton 9/20
12 The Man with the Golden Gun Moore 9/20
13 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Lazenby 9/20
14 Live and Let Die Moore 8/20
15 Spectre Craig 8/20
16 Licence to Kill Dalton 7/20
17 For Your Eyes Only Moore 7/20
18 Tomorrow Never Dies Brosnan 7/20
19 Diamonds are Forever Connery 7/20
20 Moonraker Moore 6/20
Never Say Never Again Connery 6/20
21 Quantum of Solace Craig 6/20
22 A View to a Kill Moore 6/20
Casino Royale Everyone! 6/20
23 Die Another Day Brosnan 5/20
24 Octopussy Moore 4/20
So, what do you think? See individual reviews for in-depth opinions and don’t be afraid to say I’m wrong. I love a good argument.