For 53 years, Bond, James Bond has been providing movie-goers with thrilling, chilling and campy action entertainment.
The series started in 1962 with the Sean Connery-led “Dr. No” and has grown into a billion-dollar beast, thanks to the latest film in the series, “Skyfall,” starring Daniel Craig and directed by Sam Mendes.
Craig and Mendes hope to keep good on their promise of delivering Bond goods this weekend with the release of “Spectre,” the 24th film in the franchise. Now is the perfect time to look at the good, bad and “oddjobs” of the James Bond world.
Matt Sigur: Tie between Richard Kiel as Jaws in “The Spy Who Loved Me” and Harold Sakata as Oddjob in “Goldfinger.”
Best Bond leading lady
John Wirt: Ursula Andress in “Dr. No.” The gorgeous Swiss actress plays shell-diver Honey Ryder. Andress’ sultry emergence from the sea inspired Bond girl Halle Berry’s entrance in “Die Another Day.”
MS: Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp in “Goldeneye.” This started my never-ending crush on her.
Best Theme Song
JW: “You Only Live Twice.” Nancy Sinatra croons this beautifully dreamy and haunting theme.
MS: “Diamonds Are Forever.” This song has stayed in my head since the first time I heard it. It doesn’t hurt that the incomparable Shirley Bassey sang it.
Most Underrated film
JW: The first Bond without Sean Connery, 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was destined to be disdained. Nevertheless, Australian actor George Lazenby fills Connery’s shoes well. He also has fine co-stars in American actor Telly Savalas (later, a TV star in the detective series “Kojak”) and Diana Rigg (the beautiful and talented British actress who went from Shakespeare to the hit 1960s spy series “The Avengers”).
MS: “Tomorrow Never Dies” was Pierce Brosnan’s second Bond film. It’s not mind-blowing, but it’s not as terrible as his other entries and rather uncomplicated, compared to the more recent Bond flicks. Wirt disagrees, though.
Most Overrated film
JW: “Thunderball.” Fatigue creeps into Sean Connery’s fourth Bond film. The film does, however, have a thunderously great theme song performed by Tom Jones.
MS: “Skyfall.” The CGI Komodo dragon is awful. As much as I enjoyed Roger Deakins’ cinematography, I couldn’t get into this one at all.
Best Bond film
JW: “You Only Live Twice.” Set in Japan, Sean Connery’s final Bond film of the 1960s features all of the action, international crisis, exotic locales and romance a top-draw Bond film requires.
MS: “Casino Royale.” There has never been as complete a James Bond film as Daniel Craig’s debut in 2006. This has not only been my standard for Bond films, but also for the last couple years of action films.
Worst Bond film
JW: “Tomorrow Never Dies.” This 1997 Bond film starring a stoic Pierce Brosnan follows the blueprint for so many previous Bond films too closely. The mostly mild entertainment “Tomorrow Never Dies” musters suggests the series desperately needed better, more imaginative screenwriters.
Bond in Space: “Moonraker.” Made in 1979, this Roger Moore-led caper shows how science fiction pervaded pop culture. Producers were originally set to film “For Your Eyes Only,” but chose this one, which revolves around Bond investigating the theft of a space shuttle. The film was the highest grossing Bond film until 1995’s “Goldeneye” captured the title.
Bond in half of a car: “A View To a Kill.” Roger Moore’s final bow as Bond featured the 57-year-old famously driving a half car during one sequence. On a DVD commentary, Moore said that this is his least favorite Bond movie.
Bond in the swamp: “Live and Let Die.” Released during the height of blaxplotation films, this 1973 film featured Yaphet Kotto as a notorious drug lord and Prime Minister, and is partly set in New Orleans. The theme song, by Paul McCartney’s Wings, also rules.
Most ridiculously titled Bond movies: “Octopussy,” “Die Another Day,” “Quantum of Solace.”
These actors could have been Bond: James Brolin, Michael Caine, Dick Van Dyke, Terence Stamp, Liam Neeson, Dominic West, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Henry Cavill, Clive Owen.
These actors were Bond: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig.