With a licence to kill, a country to save, baddies to beat and girls to bed, everybody loves a good James Bond movie.
Here, then, are our top five James Bond Movies.
Live and Let Die (1973)
Roger Moore took on the role from predecessor Sean Connery and made his brilliant debut in this Voodoo laden Bond outing. To be fair, opinions are split on this one but, personally, it makes the top five, if for silliness alone. Either way, its definitely Moore’s best run out as 007. In a nutshell, after the mysterious deaths of three MI6 agents, Bond makes enemies with the tiny Caribbean nation of San Monique’s voodoo loving dictator and heroine mogul, Dr Kananga. This, in turn, leads to 007 showing up on the radar of Mr. Big, played here by Kananga in disguise, owner of a chain of restaurants and who leads us on a tour of all the voodoo hotspots in the region; Louisiana, Caribbean islands, etc. It is here where our hero must save his love interest, Solitaire (Jane Seymour), a beautiful tarot card reader from sacrifice at the hands of the voodoo priest Baron Samedi. Gas squirting snakes, an alligator farm and a shark tank are all part of the fun in this thoroughly non-pc tale, the eighth in the Bond series.
The Living Daylights (1987)
Just as Roger Moore had done 14 years previously, Wales’ own Timothy Dalton was installed on debut duty for the late ‘80s KGB vs The West flick. Assigned to assist the deflection to the good side of a former KGB officer, Bond stops an assassination attempt on his cargo’s life at the hands of a cello playing femme fatal in Bratislava, before navigating their escape into the West. The saved soul doesn’t last long however and, after going missing from his safe house, Bond goes in hunt of his man which leads him back from whence he came, Slovakia. After tracking down the rouge cellist from the story’s beginning, he finally catches on that whole deflection was staged before the pair leg it together, eventually ending up in Afghanistan by way of Austria and Morocco. From here it’s all arms, drugs, naughty Soviets, back stabbing Western arms dealers and the surprisingly helpful, Mujahedeen.
According to 007 aficionados, the only real player to challenge Connery as a proper Bond, is Daniel Craig. With his debut (wait for it), he laid down a new interpretation of the role as the whole franchise was given a much needed update. This, the third runout for Craig, sees him being shot by his own team on top of an Istanbul train and, while he’s gone, a computer virus detonates the MI6 building, killing eight of the employees inside. Bond, presumed dead, makes a timely return to the field and is duly tasked with tracking down the culprits. His mission takes him to Shanghai which in turn leads him to a casino in Macau and eventually on to former MI6 agent Raoul Silva, who now specialises in cyberterrorism. Played with real relish by Javier Bardem, the plot eventually leads to a hyper-explosive Silva vs Bond showdown in the Scottish Highlands at Bond’s childhood home, where a trap is set.
Hot on the heels of the respective successes of Dr No and From Russia With Love, Goldfinger is considered by many to the film that finally nailed the perfect Bond formula, with sports cars, spy gadgets, supervillains and a quirky sidekick in the form of the hat-throwing Oddjob all wrapped up in an all-time Shirley Bassey classic. All this despite the impossibly silly opening scene in which 007 sneaks into a drug laboratory in Latin America by swimming under water with a small painted wooden sea gull on top of his head. Once said drugs lab has been successfully neutralised it’s off to Miami for a little gambling on Gin Rummy with bullion dealer Auric Goldfinger whose trained assassin renders Bond unconscious by way of a tossed hat. Anyway one thing leads to another and, as these things so often do, somebody ends up tied to a table with a laser beam aimed their genitals. In this case its Bond, who, by way of a lie, ensures his safety before meeting the wonderfully named Pussy Galore, private pilot to Goldfinger, as they make an attempt to break into Fort Knox before things eventually play out in 007’s favour.
Casino Royale (2006)
Daniel Craig’s debut was all about distancing the franchise away from its former self. It is a reboot, if not officially, with the biggest indication that this isn’t the Bond we remember given as, when asked if he wanted his Martini shaken or stirred, 007 2.0 answers “Do I look like I give a damn” Boom, a new Bond is born. As for the story, by way of Prague, Uganda, Madagascar, Bahamas and Miami, 007 ends up taking his seat at a $10m buy-in Texas hold ’em tournament at the Casino Royale in Montenegro, a game which has been organised by French terror financier Le Chiffre in order to reclaim funds he lost after a Bond intervention back in Miami. The film is superb, the cast excellent but the whole thing centres on the poker scene that made many people try out playing online poker at home. In Casino Royale, there is a stake of £150m on a single straight hand. Clockwise, each player reveals what they’re holding, improving each time before Bond lays down a straight flush resulting in a crushed Le Chiffre leaving the table to ponder what might have been.