"Casino Royale" (1954)

This is the Ur-Bond: Just one year after Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel, "Casino Royale" was published, producer Gregory Ratoff paid the author $1,000 to write a teleplay for this black-and-white production with Barry Nelson as American spy "Jimmy Bond." While the story hews close to the original, there is little on display to suggest the greatness that would follow once Sean Connery took on the role, and Nelson plays Bond with a shifty waterfront speech pattern -- he's the spy who wants to sell you a used Aston Martin with low, low 2.9 percent financing.
RATING: 007 007

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"Dr. No" (1962):

Sean Connery introduced James Bond to the world in “Dr. No.” In the first theatrical Bond film, based on the novel by Ian Fleming, 007 is sent to Jamaica to investigate the death of a British agent and his assistant. The “gun barrel” opening is used here for the first time, and while the opening lacks scantily clad women, it's similar to the stylized openings that the Bond films made famous. A great start to the longest-running film series in modern cinema.
RATING: 007 007 007 007

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“From Russia with Love,” (1963)

One of the best films of the franchise, Bond’s second outing has SPECTRE seeking revenge for the death of top operative Dr. No in the first film. Bond, still played by the one and only Sean Connery, is tasked with finding the Russians’ Lektor decoding device before SPECTRE gets to it first. He gets entangled with defecting cipher clerk Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) and must dodge assassins Red Grant (Robert Shaw) and Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya). From the fighting gypsy girls to Klebb’s poison-knife footwear to the excellent culinary advice (only bad guys drink red wine with fish), it’s a top-shelf Bond flick.
RATING: 007 007 007 007

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"Goldfinger" (1965)

This is when Bond got flashier -- killing Jill Masterson with gold paint set the tone for the first 007 film to become a blockbuster hit. Matching wits with gold smuggler Auric Goldfinger and his plot to break into Fort Knox, Bond must also effectively seduce the remarkably agile Pussy Galore, played by Honor Blackman, who applies some decidedly hot judo moves on our hero. But Bond effectively flips PG against Goldfinger who, before getting sucked out the window of his private jet, delivers one of the classic villain lines: "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!" While there are better Bond films, "Goldfinger" is usually the one that hooks the newbies.
RATING: 007 007 007 007

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“Thunderball” (1965)

Not quite up to the standard of “Goldfinger” and “From Russia with Love,” but the franchise’s fourth film still has Sean Connery, who only seems to be getting better with his suave spy shtick. In the film, Bond must retrieve two nuclear warheads SPECTRE has seized to hold the world ransom. The movie won an Oscar for best visual effects, particularly the many underwater sequences. It’s so nice, they made it twice, revisiting the plot for the unofficial Bond film “Never Say Never Again.”
RATING: 007 007 007 007

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"You Only Live Twice" (1967)

James Bond gets fairly sci-fi in his fifth canonical outing. Blofeld and SPECTRE take the world to the brink of war by hijacking American and Soviet spacecraft. After Bond fakes his death in Hong Kong, he's sent to Japan to investigate the hijackings. Roald Dahl, novelist and friend to Ian Fleming, wrote the screenplay. While much parodied — Blofeld's volcano base, for one — “You Only Live Twice” remains an entertaining romp that influenced spy fiction for decades.
RATING: 007 007 007

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"Casino Royale" (1967)

Fleming's first novel just couldn't get a break, and when Albert Broccoli passed on producer Charles K. Feldman's offer to make "Casino Royale" as a canonical Eon production, Feldman, who owned the rights, went shticky and turned it into satire with David Niven, Peter Sellers and Woody Allen. It works as a period curiosity, but "Get Smart" was a funnier spy send up than this "Royale" with cheese.
RATING: 007 007

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"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969)

George Lazenby was by no means a terrible Bond, but "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" gets a bad rap because Lazenby committed the high crime of not being Sean Connery. This was the second in the "Blofeld" trilogy, with Telly Savalas as the bald baddie, and "Secret Service" boasts not only one of the most intricate plots of the series but the appearance of Diana Rigg -- Emma Peel herself from "The Avengers." Bringing Rigg on board to become (briefly) Mrs. James Bond should have made this film a classic, but audiences couldn't get past Lazenby.
RATING: 007 007 007

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"Diamonds Are Forever" (1971)

Sean Connery returned to the role of 007, after stepping aside briefly for George Lazenby. He received a then-record payday to star in “Diamonds Are Forever.” James Bond visits Las Vegas to investigate a diamond-smuggling ring, where he discovers his archenemy Blofeld has escaped death. Jill St. John and Lana Wood ably fill the Bond girl roles. Despite this, “Diamonds Are Forever” pushes Bond about as campy as he can go before tripping into self-parody.
RATING: 007

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“Live and Let Die” (1973)

Blaxploitation archetypes mingle with the spy stuff in the eighth 007 film, which features Roger Moore’s debut as the MI6 agent. Moore makes a bland Bond compared to Connery, but the movie’s got memorable villain Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), a Caribbean diplomat/heroin dealer; Jane Seymour as a virginal Tarot card reader; and an Oscar-nominated song by Paul McCartney and Wings.
RATING: 007 007 007

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"The Man with the Golden Gun" (1974)

Roger Moore's James Bond believes himself the target of a high-priced assassin in “The Man with the Golden Gun.” Agent 007 is also looking for the “solex agitator,” a device used to harness the sun's energy. Christopher Lee plays the assassin Scaramanga. Herve Villechaize is his henchman Nick Nack. Britt Ekland is bond ally Mary Goodnight; Maud Adams is Scaramanga's girlfriend Andrea Anders. Despite one of the best Bond movie stunts — a car rotating 360 degrees in midair — “Golden Gun” isn't one of the better Bonds.
RATING: 007

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"The Spy who Loved Me" (1977)

James Bond's on the path of a missing nuclear submarine in “The Spy Who Loved Me.” Roger Moore plays Agent 007, who faces off with and eventually teams up with the Soviet agent Triple X (Barbara Bach). Richard Kiel plays the henchman Jaws. “The Spy Who Loved Me” is one of the strongest Roger Moore Bond films, with an impressive ski stunt capping the pre-credit sequence.
RATING: 007 007 007 007

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"Moonraker" (1979)

Space was all the rage in the post "Star Wars" period, so "Moonraker" was launched to take advantage of moviegoers' fascination with scenes featuring twinkling white lights against a black background. But "Moonraker" made complete hash of its source material, featured possibly the most wooden Bond girl (Lois Chiles as Holly Goodhead), and Roger Moore dressed as a gaucho. A huge box-office success, "Moonraker" nevertheless is regarded as a lesser 007 film at best, while many consider it the absolute nadir could have crash-landed the entire enterprise if Bond fanatics weren't so perennially forgiving.
RATING: 007

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For Your Eyes Only (1981)

“For Your Eyes Only” kicks off with a somewhat goofy opening disposing of arch villain Blofeld — perhaps a not-so-subtle shot at the legal wrangling going on at the time over film rights to the “Thunderball” characters and plot. But then, the film settles down as a back-to-basics Bond adventure, after the sci-fi extravagance of “Moonraker.” “For Your Eyes Only” puts 007 on the path of a device that can control nuclear submarines. On his quest, he joins Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet), who is seeking vengeance for her parents’ deaths.
RATING: 007 007 007

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“Never Say Never Again” (1983)

The culmination of a long legal battle between EON Productions and screenwriter Kevin McClory, this unofficial Bond flick is an update/remake of “Thunderball.” Its highlight is Sean Connery’s satisfying return, after 12 years, to the super-spy role. Directed by Irvin Kershner (“The Empire Strikes Back”), it’s got plenty of action plus Kim Basinger and Golden Globe nominee Barbara Carrera as Bond girls.
RATING: 007 007 007

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"Octopussy" (1983)

The penultimate Roger Moore 007 vehicle beat out Connery's return in the non-canonical "Thunderball" remake, "Never Say Never Again," at the box office, but the seams were showing as the producers saw fit to put Moore in even more ridiculous and unseemly outfits, including a clown suit and a gorilla costume. This "shaken, not stirred with banana garnish" was groan inducing, but with Louis Jourdan as Kamal Khan and Maud Adams in the title role, "Octopussy" is not without its merits, though it probably took Bond Girl names to their ridiculous extreme.
RATING: 007 007

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“A View to a Kill” (1985)

Roger Moore makes his seventh and final appearance as Bond, but he is largely overshadowed by the strange and campy combination of Christopher Walken’s bad guy, Grace Jones’ love/hate interest and Duran Duran’s theme song. Plus, the 57-year-old Moore seems like he should be seducing women at an AARP mixer.
RATING: 007 007

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"The Living Daylights" (1987)

Timothy Dalton takes the role of James Bond, 16 years after reportedly being considered for the role in “Diamonds Are Forever.” In “The Living Daylights,” loosely based on the Ian Fleming story, 007 is assigned to protect a defector, falls for a cellist (Maryam D'Abo) and is drawn into an arms conspiracy. The pre-credit sequence is action-packed, but the film is dull in places. “The Living Daylights” comes off more as a typical 1980s action film than a James Bond movie. Dalton is quite intense, which at times borders on the grim.
RATING: 007 007

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“License to Kill” (1989)

Timothy Dalton makes his second, and thankfully, his last appearance as James Bond, who quits MI6 to avenge the mutilation of his CIA pal Felix Leiter (David Hedison) at the hands of a drug lord (Robert Davi). Dalton brings a much-needed physicality to Bond but has none of the super-spy’s trademark charm and cool.
RATING: 007 007

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"GoldenEye" (1995)

Pierce Brosnan makes his much-anticipated debut as 007 in “Goldeneye,” named after Ian Fleming's estate in Jamaica. A post-Cold War update of the series features James Bond tracking a former ally across the globe. The Goldeneye of the title is a satellite weapon sought by a group who wishes to destabilize the world's financial markets. Famke Janssen plays memorable villain Xenia Onatopp. The best of the Brosnan bonds.
RATING: 007 007 007 007

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"Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997)

The second Pierce Brosnan film gets high marks for its au courant plot: media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) employs a techno-terrorist (Ricky Jay) to provoke a war between China and Great Britain, mainly because Carver wants entre into China's media market and he wants to replace the Maoists with a regime sympathetic to his business whims. Plus, it had Teri Hatcher in all her post-"Lois and Clark" glory, but "Tomorrow Never Dies" lacked anything truly explosive by Bond standards.
RATING: 007 007

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“The World is Not Enough” (1999)

Pierce Brosnan still has the right blend of deadly and debonair in his third of Bond outing, and he has great backing from Judi Dench as M, Desmond Llewelyn in his final appearance as Q and John Cleese as Q’s successor. Sophie Marceau is a great choice for the treacherous oil heiress 007 is supposed to protect, but come on, Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist? Really?
RATING: 007 007

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“Die Another Day” (2002)

Brosnan’s last outing as Bond starts strong. But the film overloads on gaudy gadgetry and flashy action sequences (especially in that ridiculously implausible ice palace) presaging that a reboot is in order. Halle Berry proves a match for 007 as the tough and sexy CIA agent Jinx, while Rosamund Pike does justice to the role of a traitorous, sword-wielding MI6 recruit. Along with performing the theme, Madonna makes a cameo as a fencing instructor, and despite her dismal cinematic track record, doesn’t bring the entire production to its knees.
RATING: 007 007 007

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"Casino Royale" (2006)

Just imagine if Steve McQueen had become James Bond after "The Thomas Crown Affair" and managed to affect a passable British accent, and the full impact of "Casino Royale" becomes apparent. Daniel Craig achieves the greatest reinvention undertaken in the series' history, giving Bond genuine emotional heft and a physicality not really seen since the Connery days. Although purists complain about the Texas hold-em game substituting for Fleming's beloved baccarat, this Bond had one of the best supporting casts in years and elevated 007 films to a level of prestige they had not enjoyed since the early '70s. Spectacular.
RATING: 007 007 007 007

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