The best and worst of Bond on the big screen
In honor of today’s U.S. theatrical opening of “Skyfall,” The Oklahoman’s entertainment staffers – Gene Triplett, George Lang, Matt Price and yours truly – reveal our favorite and least favorite films in the long-running James Bond franchise.
The best and the worst of Bond
007 has had his ups and downs on the big screen.
To fully appreciate this 23rd official Bond film (don’t count the ridiculously spoofy 1967 version of “Casino Royale” or the misguided 1983 “Thunderball” remake, “Never Say Never Again”), we each selected our best and worst entries in the series, from 1962’s “Dr. No” through 2008’s “Solace.”
George Lang’s picks
Best: “Goldfinger” (1964)
No other entry in the series established expectations of James Bond-ness quite like director Guy Hamilton’s “Goldfinger,” from the cracking script full of iconic lines (“No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die!”) to the bizarre death of Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) from “skin suffocation,” or being painted with gold from head to toe. Gert Frobe’s Auric Goldfinger never developed the cultural cache of the cat-stroking Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but his menacing tone and unforgettable death by cabin pressure makes him a hall of famer. Connery consolidated his cool in “Goldfinger,” and while ridiculously named Bond girls are an expected trope, this film scored an early high/low point with Honor Blackman’s Pussy Galore.
Worst: “Moonraker” (1979)
Just barely based on an actual Ian Fleming novel, “Moonraker” is a monument to “me too!” contrivance in which the series went sci-fi to cash in on “Star Wars” and brought back Jaws (Richard Kiel) from “The Spy Who Loved Me” because of, well, “Jaws.” All of this made “Moonraker” the most commercially successful Bond film until 1995’s “GoldenEye,” but the “007 in space” idea was a little too bonkers even for ’70s-era Bond. Roger Moore was deep into self-parody by “Moonraker,” proving that he did not have to be in orbit to achieve zero gravity.
Matthew Price’s picks:
Best: “Casino Royale” (2006)
While Bond could never have existed without Connery’s darkly suave portrayal, Daniel Craig proved a bulldog of a special agent in “Casino Royale,” an adaptation of the first 007 novel by Ian Fleming. After the more gadgety Pierce Brosnan era, Craig’s James Bond brings the series closer to Fleming’s original character while at the same time updating him for a post-Cold War society.
Worst: “A View to A Kill” (1985)
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