The Great Debates: Who is the Best Bond?

The big question. For years, Sean Connery was the pat answer, but lately, Daniel Craig has been making a serious run at the throne. Will the strength of the modern movie-making in his films help him unseat the King? How many fans of the campy Roger Moore era are out there? Dalton has his supporters, but just how many? Can people forgive Brosnan for the movies he was in and judge him as the Bond he was? Will anyone vote Lazenby?

Click through to read the tale of the tape!!

Sean Connery

Films: “Dr. No”, “From Russia with Love”, “Goldfinger”, “Thunderball”, “You Only Live Twice”, “Diamonds Are Forever”, “Never Say Never Again”

Years: 1962-1967, 1971, 1983

Label: The Classic Bond

Quick Take: The heavy favorite. Long standing pop culture accepted answer to this question. As originator of the role, he set the tone, and forever after, subsequent actors will be compared to him. Connery made five movies in a row, left for one movie, then returned for “Diamonds Are Forever”. In 1983 he would return to the role he made famous, playing 007 in the “unofficial” James Bond film “Never Say Never Again”.

George Lazenby

Films: “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”

Years: 1969

Label: The Much Maligned Bond

Quick Take: Given the unenviable task of replacing Sean Connery as Bond, Australian model and spokesperson George Lazenby was given the role of Bond after being seen in a commercial. He left the series after only one film, and movie fans have since deemed him the worst Bond ever. His film, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” has a cult rep amongst certain Bond fans, but even then it’s typically in spite of him.

Roger Moore

Films: “Live and Let Die”, “The Man With the Golden Gun”, “The Spy Who Loved Me”, “Moonraker”, “For Your Eyes Only”, “Octopussy”, “A View to a Kill”

Years: 1973-1985

Label: The Campy Bond

Quick Take: Moore rescued the Bond franchise after Connery made his last “official” Bond film. He would fill the role for 12 years, making one more film than Connery did (discounting “Never Say Never Again”), becoming the longest tenured Bond. Though he was very popular during his run, his era takes a bad rap for leaning too heavily on campy humor, and for the fact that Moore kept the role until he was nearly 60.

Timothy Dalton

Films: “The Living Daylights”, “Licence to Kill”

Years: 1987-1989

Label: The Dark Bond

Quick Take: Following the Moore era, the producers decided a grittier, more realistic Bond was in order. They cast the much younger, far more serious Timothy Dalton and gave him grounded, darker movies to work with. The result was unpopular at the time, with Dalton’s two films failing to live up to his predecessor’s popularity, but both Dalton’s Bond and his films have now been re-evaluated by pop culture and are now held in high esteem.

Pierce Brosnan

Films: “Goldeneye”, “Tomorrow Never Dies”, “The World is Not Enough”, “Die Another Day”

Years: 1995-2002

Label: The Suave Bond

Quick Take: Brosnan’s films returned the series to the height of popularity after Dalton failed to connect with audiences, and people liked him as Bond very much. Yet it’s impossible to deny that his films devolved into the sort of camp that Roger Moore is derided for. Still, he looked the part, and delivered a double entendre like no other. When it came to the slick, charming, ladies’ man aspect of Bond, Brosnan is on a level all his own.

Daniel Craig

Films: “Casino Royale”, “Quantum of Solace”, “Skyfall”

Years: 2006-

Label: The Tough Bond

Quick Take: Craig inherited the role from Brosnan, and immediately authored one of the series’ most classic entries, “Casino Royale”. His Bond is tough and physical, and his films have a dark, modern edge to them. While he gets tons of credit (and rightfully so) for creating serious, legitimate action films with Bond again, detractors point to the lack of classic bond tropes and that his Bond doesn’t have enough fun.

____________________________________________________________________

There you have it, folks! The six official Bonds, for you to choose from. Who will you choose as the best to ever play 007? Will it be a Connery Landslide? Will Craig pull off the upset? Or perhaps one of the dark horse candidates? How will the others fare, will anyone get shut out completely? It’s up to YOU to decide!

Who is the best James Bond?

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80 thoughts on “The Great Debates: Who is the Best Bond?

  1. I think Sean Connery will, and forever be the best bond. He brought a certain grace and mischieve to the character that no one will ever match. Craig is second though.

  2. I felt obliged to pick Daniel Craig! He brings an incredible amount of depth to the character – I actually care what happens to him. It’s possibly because I was born in the modern era and am not the greatest fan of his previous adaption in the past, with the one-liners etc. I could be wrong, but I just feel he is my favourite bond, despite his short outing length.

  3. Honestly, It Comes Down To The Ole “The Best” Vs “My Favorite”
    “The Best” BOND Is Very Likely DANIEL CRAIG. I Won’t Argue The Point, But He’s Really Perfect In The Role. “My Favorite” BOND, However, Has Always Been And Will Always Be ROGER MOORE!
    Yeah, He Was Campy…
    …But He Was MY KIND OF CAMPY! hahaha
    And “The Most Underrated” BOND Is Easily TIMOTHY DALTON. Right BOND, Wrong Time. “LICENCE TO KILL” Is Simply Wonderful! I Only Wish He Could Have Had A Couple More Flicks Under His Belt. We May Be Talking About Dear TIMOTHY As “The Best” BOND.
    Oh Well.
    Such Is Life. ;)
    -B.

  4. I voted for my “favorite” Bond, Roger Moore. (Just so he at least gets one vote, LOL.)

    The “best” Bond is a tough call for me because each actor seems to master a different aspect of Bond like you mention. It just depends on which part of the Bond character you like the best…the action, the humor, the ladies’ man, etc…to come up the answer. I’d say probably Connery came the closest as the complete personality but I don’t think it lasted over all his films.

    • WHAT? Like, Diamonds Are Forever was his best… SNNGHGKTTT…. Ok, ok. I couldnt even finish that. :D

      Moore was close to being in contention here for second place, actually! Looks like a couple other people stopped shy of pulling the trigger!

  5. Connery, of course. It’s really not all that close for me. With the exception of NSNA, which I actually hate less than many, every other Connery entry into the cannon is gold. Pure and simple, to steal a phrase form another actor’s movie, Nobody does it better, makes me feel sad for the rest.

    Yes, yes, I l know, Craig. Well, Craig has only done one very good movie, but he also takes credit for one incredibly crappy movie, Not his fault, because the story was so bad, but still, he doesn’t have a track record which is all that impressive. I will, with some trepidation, place him in the number 2 position, but if Skyfall disappoints that will certainly fall.

    Number 3 all time Bond would be Timothy Dalton, who didn’t really get all that much of a chance with only 2 movies. But both of those were quality flicks which get something of a bum rap, but I enjoyed Living Daylights a lot, and License to Kill enough that if it cycles around on the old TV I’ll probably sit and watch it happily enough.

    Number 4 would be Roger Moore, who had some decent movies, mostly the early ones which still had good Ian Fleming stories to build on. L&LD, TSWLM, and Moonraker are all watchable cheesey Bond films which can succeed to put a grin on my face.

    Brosnan, suffered seriously from having no Fleming at all to work off. I could see him putting in a decent addition to the cannon if all his scripts, with the exception of Goldeneye, didn’t suck serious donkeys shit. Goldeneye is the only Brosnan film which is watchable for me,

    Lastly is George Lazenby, who, as the saying goes, couldn’t act his way out of a wet paper bag. He was cast for his looks, and it shows. Oddly, I will sit through OHMSS if it comes on TV because the story is really pretty good and Dianna Riggs is to die for, but the Lazenby Bond has exactly zero presence in this film.

    So there you have it. Connery is king.

    • “George Lazenby, who, as the saying goes, couldn’t act his way out of a wet paper bag”

      The saying DOES go that way. :D I think Tank said that on our podcast, I have this huge sense of Deja Vu. LOL

      We have our differences, as I’m sure you know. So… is Diamonds are Forever “Pure Gold”? Also, I enjoy that cheesey, watchable factor much more from the Brosnans than the Moores. (Although I’ll watch ‘em all)

      I wont even mention the Movie That Shall Not Be Named (around Gelf)

      • Re: Diamonds are Forever. Hell yes. I have never gotten your dislike of that film. I love it. I love the gay assassins, I love the moonbuggy chase scene, Tiffany Case and Plenty o’Toole (Named after your Father, no doubt), multiple Blofelds, Howard Hughes, satellite lasers blowing up nuclear silos… I have never had anything but love for this film. I mean, it’s no Dr. No or From Russia with Love, but I like it way more than any Moore film.

      • I love ‘em all, really. I mean… I watch all of them all the time. So I enjoy them…

        But when you step back objectively, and assess, that one has more than its share of problems. Definitely at the bottom of my list. (Although maybe not the VERY bottom) LOL

  6. After voting for President, Senator, Congressman, State Assembly, State Senate, District Attorney, Eleven Statewide Propositions, Three County Propositions, this was the easiest choice I had to make this week.

    Connery is the standard. Daniel Craig still needs to develop a bit more personality but he could potentially get there. Everyone else has their qualities, Good (Moore) and Bad (Lazy B), and I treasure them for what they tried to bring to the role. This is the most unnecessary poll ever. If anyone other than Connery leads this poll I will have to re-evaluate the status of the world’s intellect. The first three Bond films are better than any of the following twenty (at least until Friday) and the main reason is Sean Connery.

  7. About to throw some Bronsan in the mix!! Wha? Wha?

    I grew up on Bond–seen them all. Sean Connery is CLASSIC and the model (to a certain extent) to hold all Bonds against–I love him. I never cared for Roger Moore (too silly and not that attractive to me). Lazenby gets a bad rap–but I still enjoy OHMSS (c’mon the Ms.Bond storyline is essential to the mythology). Dalton was good–but they tried to hard to make Bond politically correct–WRONG! And now Daniel Craig is now gritty and realistic, but not quite the smooth Bond YET. I know that Casino Royal (just re-watched–getting ready for Skyfall–and it is an excellent film) is the origin story and Solace is the direct continuation, so I am hoping for some Bond-Bond action in Skyfall. And that is what leads to Bronsan being my pick…

    Pierce Bronsan is the best of all Bonds! Real, capable and intelligent and yet, suave, arrogant and playful. He embodies the perfect blend of all the traits that make Bond…Bond. And he is drop-dead gorgeous! Yeah…I went there… :D
    I pegged Mr. Bronsan as Bond when he played TV detective Remington Steele–he is just…RIGHT. And although the films were not all golden (that goes for all of them)–his performance was always strong.

    I continue to be a Pierce fan–even without Bond. He may be having a dry spell–but Matador and Thomas Crowne Affair are stand outs. (And I hear he is an awesome human being, too.)

    There…that is my vote. Now I must re-watch Quantum of Solace and get ready for Skyfall.

    • I think everyone who watched Remington Steele thought “Oh, my god, James Bond!” LOL. He loses a lot of points with people because his movies deteriorated, but I always enjoyed him as 007. He’s actually putting up a neck and neck race here with Craig for second place LOL. That’s gonna be the true contest… I think Connery’s already put the rest of it out of reach. LOL

      • For sure–Connery is a no-brainer.

        And you did ask the best “Bond”–not Bond movie…all of these actors had Bond movies that were not up to par. It’s the nature of the Bond Beast. :D But, I agree with you that Bronsan was always enjoyable as the character!

        “She always did like a good squeeze.” LOL!

        Later!

  8. DANIEL CRAIG ALL THE WAY!!! Mostly because I can actually take him seriously.
    It might be mostly the times and that I saw him as Bond first, but I stand by my decision.

    • It is true, some of these other guys are a little hard to imagine as world class super spies running around getting into fights and jumping out of planes….

      He’s not performing as well as I had suspected so far today, but he’s a solid choice, for sure. :)

  9. Big fan of Brosnan. His Bond films were the first I saw at the cinema and I think he was excellent in the role. He could do suave, charming, rugged and action hero all at the same time. Unfortunately, I think he’s now judged on his final two films, which were pretty awful, Die Another Day in particular. However, Goldeneye remains one of my favourites and I think he just ended up finding himself in rubbish films, which isn’t really his fault.

    • Goldeneye was great.

      You bring up a great point that to me, helps alleviate the pain of some of his flicks, and thats that its not his fault. I still think he’s a great Bond, and I enjoy his movies more because of that.

      Still, there’s no saving Die Another Day. LOL Dodging lasers and solar power beams… LOL My word…

  10. This is a close call Fogster. I’d always said Connery but Craig is a very strong contender here. Do I really have to choose? Ok, Connery or Craig?… Connery or Craig?… I pick… Lazenby!

  11. Connery is totally running away with it.

    Here’s my ranking which probably is quite controversial as usual.
    1. Timothy Dalton
    2. Sean Connery
    3. Roger Moore
    4. Daniel Craig
    5. Pierce Brosnan (had he only done Goldeneye he would have been ahead of Craig)
    6. Lanzenby (main reason that he only did one)

    My problem with Craig is that he feels the least Bond to me. Even though Dalton plays with similar traits he has a charisma and chemistry within his films and their components. I think Craig is lacking that and feels like more boring version of Jason Bourne.

    • Ohhhhhhhh cmon now. Jason Bourne? Thats being harsh, man!

      Craigs Bond definitely is a departure from previous Bonds. And he looks the part less. Unlike Dalton, who looked more of what we all though Bond should look at the time.

      I knew you had Dalton as your favorite, Joel. I DIDNT know you had Moore at number 3! Thats the controversy, right there! :D

  12. Hi, Fogs and company:

    Having grown up with the original, Sean Connery. I have to say he is the best and most close to the character Ian Fleming envisioned.

    George Lazenby projected a very serviceable Bond in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. Having Diana Rigg along didn’t hurt, either.

    Roger Moore was always too smooth and elegant. Much more suited to his Simon Templar, ‘The Saint’. Even if he ran opposite Connery in auditions early on. And seemed far too dependent on gadgets and gizmos.

    Timothy Dalton’s Bond was aimed directly at women. Even smoother than Moore and more toned down and Politically Correct.

    Pirerce Brosnan was a bit grittier. Also the first prototype of Bond becoming an action hero instead of a spy.

    Daniel Craig is the most popular Bond. Though completely morphed from spy to special effect, action hero. Soon to be overwhelmed and playing second to those effects.

    • Moore’s Bond is kind of snobbish, isnt he?

      I differ with you on the Dalton and Brosnan comments though, Jack, I’d almost flip them. Except for the politically correct part, seeing as they returned the sexism to Brosnan’s Bond. LOL.

      I HOPE you’re wrong about Craig falling prey to the too many special effects. One of the prime assets of his run has been the times it stays grounded. :( Please, I hope it doesnt devolve!!

      • Hi, Fogs:

        Good point regarding Dalton and Brosnan. The two seemed a bit interchangeable and easy to confuse one for the other.

        If you don’t call Craig’s most recent Bond crouching, then rising as a steam shovel scoops out the back of his train car to reveal a detailed background doesn’t take a back seat to Green Screen special effects. What does?

        Good discussion so far.

  13. In a chicken and the egg sort of way, I wonder what people would make of Moore if he simply had better scripts to work with, if had “Goldfinger” and “From Russia With Love” to work with instead of “Moonraker” and “For Your Eyes Only”. I suspect it would be much different.

    On a similar train, what if Connery or Moore had been Bond for “OHMSS” instead of Lazenby? It’s actually a pretty good script, weighed down by a blase Bond.

    I’m on record as not liking Dalton’s run. I have nothing against Dalton, he just isn’t Bond, and “The Living Daylights” third act is pretty horrible.

    Anyway, voted Connery. The good news is that it looks like I will actually be able to see Skyfall this weekend, my first Bond movie in the theater in 15 years.

    • Thats true, it might have. And on the Dr No special features, they were saying they tried to get Moore THEN. So, that can you imagine was almost a reality! LOL

      I’ll grant you some Living Daylights deterioration. I recall your anti Dalton sentiment from the CC or C days here. I still think he was a good Bond. Ruthless, efficient, focused. Thats what this kind of guy would be for real. Of course, the Bond we all love, the moive-ed up version is a bigtime bon vivant, too. Dalton definitely lacked in that area.

      Sweet man! Good to hear. From what Ive seen around, people are going nuts over it. I hope it doesnt let us down…

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