UPDATE: As Spectre has been out for a while now, and I have had the opportunity to watch it more than once (as it hardly seems fair to judge it on one viewing), I felt that it was finally time to update our 'Every James Bond Movie Ranked' articles. While not a lot will change from the original publication of the lists, I will be tweaking, and adding Spectre in so you can see where it sits among the rest of the franchise, as well as the odd thought (which I will keep in bold) in a few places, as I also took it upon myself to watch a good chunk of them again (I do love James Bond).
With the imminent release of the twenty-fourth official James Bond film in North America this Friday, we felt that it would be an excellent time to put together a list of all of the James Bond films ranked in order of how damn good they are (or...in some cases...not). In the interest of not drowning you in Bond titles, we are going split the list into two parts, the first released today, and the second on Thursday (right on time for those midnight Spectre showings).
Now, without further lounging around, here is the theguysfrom.com ranking of James Bond films, numbers 23-13 :
24) The World is Not Enough
Originally The World is Not Enough was not at the bottom of this list, but then I realized that was because I had effectively blocked it from my memory of existing at all, which I suppose is a pretty good sign that it should be at the bottom. A convoluted plot about the assassination of a billionaire by a terrorist (who cannot feel pain), a billionaire whose daughter needs protection (but clearly does not want it, and from the outset, is obviously working against Bond)..and then there's a...nuclear...plan to raise oil..prices...
Plus there's that...sawing helicopter attack on the caviar factory. Denise Richards played a nuclear scientist (starship captian, ok...I can live with that. Nuclear Scientist?)...oh and if memory serves, there was probably a submarine.
Look, The World is Not Enough is bad. Just...just bad.
Edit: For you, I watched The World is Not Enough again to see if it really was as bad as I remembered it being.
It is. Don't put yourself through this...I've done it for you.
23) A View to a Kill
57 Year old Roger Moore, looking about a hundred years too old to play James Bond does not help a rather strange plot about microchips (IT'S THE 1980'S AND COMPUTERS ARE STRANGE AND SCARY), horse racing, and a blimp in San Francisco.
Do you actually remember what the horribly wasted Christopher Walken-as-bond-villian Zorin's plan was? Flood silicon valley to corner the market on microchips. Seriously.
A waste of a good cast, and action scenes that had none of the flair of any of the earlier Bond films (Blimp scene aside, as one does not speak ill of blimp scenes), A View to a Kill is easily the worst Roger Moore Bond film.
22) Die Another Day
Speaking of wasted casts, Die Another Day should not be as bad as it is, but here we are. Starting with what is undoubtedly the worst Bond theme song of all time (thanks Madonna), Die Another Day starts off with what everyone has always wanted: 14 months of James Bond being tortured, set to a Madonna soundtrack, in North Korea. After a prisoner exchange, Bond is free to wander around, and stop a solar powered, weaponized diamond satellite from destroying the DMZ and starting the Second Korean War.
Let's just let that sink in for a bit.
Boycotted in South Korea due to religious in-sensitivities, and generally seen more as a bad-CGI, gadget heavy, plot light film, Die Another Day definitely deserves to be snuggled at the bottom of any James Bond list.
At least I got to see many fine products I could purchase...with its' snappy and endless product placement.
Look, if we force ourselves to ignore that the plot is specifically about jewelry thefts, an exiled Afghan Prince Kamal Khan, and some sort of plan involving an octopus cult and a nuclear weapon detonating in West Germany (remember that? History!) during a traveling circus, we are still stuck with the fact that this film is just nonsense.
James Bond is literally a clown in this film, not to mention a gorilla costume, and a 'so awkward I even knew it was uncomfortably awkward when I saw this movie at 11' Tarzan yell while swinging on a vine. Maud Adams' character, a jewel smuggler and wealthy businesswoman, who was impressive and powerful, especially for a "Bond girl" (roles that are often not substantive at all, up to this point in Bond history), who is completely undermined by being named Octopussy.
20) Tomorrow Never Dies
Starting to feel like I am picking on Pierce Brosnan here, but the poor guy was cursed with three very poor films, and Tomorrow Never Dies is no different. As far as the the Brosnan films go, this one is in the...top half...as it is, in the end, at least somewhat subtle, and main villain Elliot Carver was a bit more believable than some of the more blimp heavy villains. Now yes, the plot revolving around an insane media mogul trying to start World War 3 between Britain and China to improve his media empires' profit margins is insane and kind of silly, but this at least does not fall as flat as some of the later Brosnan films...
I'm digging, I know, it's just, this rather unimaginative film does not really have anything in it that stands out.
19) The Man With the Golden Gun
This one never really felt like a James Bond film, but there is a certain charm to the 'house of mirrors' finale in The Man With the Golden Gun. Christopher Lee as a rival assassin (similar in skill level to Bond) was genuinely good, as one would expect from Lee, however the execution of a rather lackluster plot (another terrifying use of the sun) and foray into some strange kung-fu ripoff silliness leaves this film feeling rather dull.
Oh, and there's a strange "comic relief" cameo by Sheriff J.W. Pepper, who just so happens to be vacationing in the same place James needs to get work done. I know he's in the books (and sure, I enjoyed him some when I was 10) but man...it does not make a lot of sense here.
18) Diamonds are Forever
Sean Connery's first appearance on this list, and his final (official) film as Bond, Diamonds Are Forever has always been one that never clicked. Sure, the producers had to scramble after George Lazenby ruined his career, and decided to bring Connery back (using a, at the time, record payday to convince him to return). Bond is pursuing SPECTRE head Ernst Blofeld to a facility where other Blofelds are being created via surgery, and eventually kills him (wink). There's a bumbling diamond, satellite laser plot, a pair of "effective" (read: campy) assassins, then more...Blofelds...and...
Look, not every Sean Connery Bond could be good, right? Law of averages.
EDIT: I know I mentioned that the assassins were campy, but upon rewatching Diamonds Are Forever, it was almost impossible for me to ignore just how out-of-place they felt in a Connery Bond film...which is when it struck me how Diamonds Are Forever was really a transition film into the Roger Moore era...
Jaws, the best henchman in Bond history came back! Yes! Wait...why is he...why is he...no stop talking...WHY DID YOU TURN HIM INTO A JOKE?! And then he SWITCHES SIDES?I AUGH!
OK, I'll move on.
The plot is about a crazy guy named Drax who has decided to build a space station, filling it with "genetically perfect young people", and then nerve gassing the planet, so that these fancy young people are then going to provide a new master race. Oh and then there is a laser fight in space. Moonraker has not aged well, and is very much an example of film-making completely overwhelmed by its' own time, rather than achieving a sort of cool, timelessness some of the better Bond films do...
16)Quantum of Solace
A very rare occurrence in the James Bond franchise, Quantum of Solace is a direct sequel to Casino Royale, which means *spoilers* are coming here:
With the death of Vesper Lynd, Bond sets out to get revenge, assisted by Camille Montes...who wants to avenge the death of her family. The trail of deceit leads them to businessman Dominic Greene who has a nefarious plot in motion to...um...overthrow the Bolivian government in order to seize control of their...water supply.
This largely forgettable film was a real let down after Casino Royale, with way too many quick, commercial-style cuts and a completely forgettable plot. Literally forgettable: I had gotten up to #4 on the next list before I realized I had forgotten Quantum, because...well...yawn.
EDIT: Watching the Craig films as a set, now that they are (presumably) finished did not actually help Quantum of Solace improve its' position...The overall weakness of the film is probably down to it's nothing 'supervillain' and dull plot, but I guess...it provides context...
15) The Living Daylights
The first of the two Timothy Dalton James Bond films, The Living Daylights often gets a bit of flack for not feeling like a traditional James Bond film, and Dalton for being such a different James Bond, but I feel that it is rather unfounded, the problem may lie in the fact that The Living Daylights is so very much a different film than what was happening in the James Bond franchise for years with Roger Moore; The Living Daylights does not have the campy humor-- it is very much a straight spy-thriller.
Bond is set up to act as a counter-sniper to assist a Soviet defector, Kotskov...uh...defect. Kostkov tells of how the head of the KGB is systematically killing British and American agents, before he is snatched back, leaving Bond to sneak off and have to track down the man again, which leads to a story about gun-running and opium. The Living Daylights was a very solid return to the series' espionage and rooted itself in more realism.
Even though Bond does slide down a mountain, using a cello to steer....
Look, no one said that is was going to be completely plausible, it's Bond.
14) For Your Eyes Only
For Your Eyes Only was a surprising improvement after the weirdness that was Moonraker and before the silliness that was Octopussy with a story that was largely grounded in a tale of revenge. Roger Moore's Bond is faced with recovering a missile command system while tangled up with nefarious Greek businessmen,and Melina Havelock trying to avenge the deaths of her parents.
This is a Bond film that lives by it's strong relationship with low-tech, high energy stunts (hallmarks of the better Bond films). For Your Eyes Only does have its' problems (there's a super-evil bi-athlete? assassination by keelhauling?) and the plot is not the strongest, but it does roll enjoyably along from set-piece by set-piece.
13) Live and Let Die
Live and Let Die is heavily steeped in archetypes of the Blaxploitation era of film (which was really at its' height when the film released). I, of course, had no idea when I first saw this one, but I have to say that I was particularly fond of Live and Let Die, fully acknowledging that it is not the best Bond film, but there is something about Roger Moore's first James Bond film with it's tale of Gangsters and Voodoo.
Essentially Bond is tasked with stopping Mr. Big, a Harlem drug dealer is planning on taking the city over by flooding the streets with free heroin, but he soon discovers that Mr. Big is actually a Caribbean dictator. A massive shift away from super-villain like bad guys, to a more...realistic (ish) story, and spending time in New Orleans--there's just something about this one that I, personally, really like.
Even though, yes, as with all Moore Bond films, there's some silliness in it, but who does not love the old game Pitfall enough to enjoy James running across some gators?