Thursday, August 14, 2008

The James Bond Films Worst To First

Ask a 100 James Bond fans to rank the movies and you get a 100 different lists but this is the right list...because well it's The Count's. Seriously every time I make this list it changes but the top 5 stay pretty much the same.

*Not ranking the 1954 television movie Casino Royale. The 50 minute live TV movie is actually quite good despite the premise of an American James Bond (Card Sense Jimmy Bond) It was also made on a budget of about 75 cents. For what it is it's very good but it doesn't compare to the big budget studio movies. One other thing. I like 22 of these movies and even the God Awful spoof Casino Royale (1967) can get me to smile if the mood is right.

23. Casino Royale 1967

Other than being a safe way to experience LSD with out actually using LSD it's difficult to find much to recommend about this mess other than Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass' kick ass theme song and 3 or 4 scenes with Woody Allen (Did I just say that?)

22. Never Say Never Again 1983

Thunderball remake is proof that Sean Connery alone can make just about any James Bond movie entertaining. It's also proof that Connery alone can't make just about any James Bond movie really good. He's not quite alone here. Barbara Carrera is good as the evil Fatima Blush. Kim Basinger as the Bond girl is sadly Kim Basinger and NO James Bond Film should ever have Mr. Bean in it. The Story behind NSNA is far more interesting than the movie itself and I highly recommend getting The Battle For Bond By Robert Sellers. ( The First edition) The 2nd edition was censored by EON.

21. A View To A Kill 1985

I love Roger Moore but he was flat too old here. Making matters worse is the God Awful Tanya Roberts. Even Christoper Walken is sleep walking here. The highlight of the film is Grace Jones. No seriously. It's good fun but it's the worst official film by quite a stretch.

20. Thunderball 1965

The most viewed James Bond film in theaters to this day by quite a stretch is also the only film (other than Casino Royale 1967 which doesn't really count) that out stays it's welcome by a good 15 minutes. It's entertaining and tense but you can only watch Sean Connery swim for so long. Again for the story behind the film and it's controversy I can not Recommend The Battle For Bond Enough.

19. Dr No. 1962

Dr. No reminds me of the first day of a mini-series. It's good enough to set up what's to come but you know what's to follow is going to be better. it's really Quite a remarkable film when you consider they made it for $900,000 a small budget even then. In spots it shows but for the most part it's an amazing triumph.

18. Licence To Kill 1989.

Attempt at gritty violent James Bond film both succeeds and fails at what it was trying to accomplish. The film is more than entertaining enough but at all times James Bond should be a likable hero no matter the circumstances. Here he's just an irritable dick.

17. Diamonds Are Forever 1971.

Sean Connery was lured back to James Bond with a salary that was more than the entire budget of Dr. No and the right to make 2 non-Bond movies of his choosing. And yet this is commonly called the first "Roger Moore" James Bond film because of the comedic style of the film. Shirley Bassey's theme song, Country music singing, sausage king Jimmy Dean as the Howard Hughesish Willard Whyte and the homosexual villains Kid and Wint are highlights of this campy 70's romp through Vegas. Great fun though.

16. The World Is Not Enough 1999.

Not as bad as it's reputation in James Bond fan boy circles (there is a serious Anti-Brosnan thing going around the fan boys sites these days) still there isn't much that's memorable other than Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist. Hey if George Bush can be President right? Sophie Marceau is quite good as the villain. This is a film that goes up and down on my list.

15. Living daylights. 1987

Return to grittier Bond film is let down by a substandard Bond Girl and the fact that Timothy Dalton as the charisma of a goldfish. Worth watching simply because the heroes of the film are the Afghani freedom fighters here cast as poor helpless men on horseback bravely fighting off the evil Russians. Of course we know who those Afghani freedom fighters would become.

14. Die Another Day 2002.

Another film that gets a lot of needless bashing in fan boy circles. Remembered most for it's flaws. CGG, too much Halie Berry, far fetched plot but it's also one of the more entertaining films in the series flaws and all. And there is quite a bit of Fleming here. Of the big 3 Brosnan's last exit movie was the best of the lot.

13. Goldeneye 1995


Once upon a time held up as the savior of the franchise now villainized like all things Brosnan, Goldeneye is one of the most important movies of the James Bond franchise if not a top 10 best. Brosnan is good, Isabella Scorupco is one of my favorite Bond Girls.

12. The Spy who Loved Me. 1977

Widely considered the best "Moore" James Bond movie, there is no question the Broccoli's pulled out all the stops with this one. And yet for all it's splendor much of it is curiously dull. And how is Stromberg's underwater city going to exist with out Women? Oh yeah Jaws is cool in this one.

11. For Your Eyes only. 1981

Thought to be either "Moore's" best film or an honest to goodness bore, For Your Eyes Only is in fact both and neither of these things. The Villain is just an everyday dick, there aren't many gadgets and the whole film is an exorcise in restraint. Moore is fantastic here (probably his best job in the role) as are most of the rest of the cast sans the annoying figure skater. Oh yeah Pierce Brosnan's first wife played the Countess in the film and one of the babes by the pool is a transvestite. They left "her" in after deciding "she" was one of the best looking "women" in the group.

10. The Man With The Golden Gun 1974

Yes I have this about 10 spots higher than everybody else. I really can't see what's wrong with this film. Christopher Lee is one of the best villains of the series Maud Adams is great. Herve Villechaize (playing the servant of a rich island owner...Imagine that!) is fun too. OK Brit Ekland kinda sucks...but other than that The Man With The Golden Gun is good fun. Even J.W. Pepper doesn't bother me.

9. Octopussy 1983.


Roger Moore's last great Bond film. Maud Adams returns (TMWTGG) as Octopussy the leader of a circus that doubles as a smuggling operation. The first hour of the film makes little sense and the film makers seem to notice as they ditch the Faberge Egg nonsense and just throw in everything but the kitchen sink. In the 1983 Battle of the Bonds Roger Moore and Eon were the definite winners.

8. Tomorrow Never Dies. 1997

This is Brosnan's best. Michelle Yeoh is a fantastic Bond girl and the villain is Rupert Murdoch what's not to love again? it also clocks in under 2 hours. The first Bond movie since Goldfinger to do so. Like all things Brosnan the film gets ripped by the fan community... group think?

7. Goldfinger 1964

Speaking of group think... Goldfinger is damn near universally considered the best James Bond film ever and is still revered by countless 54 year olds who wax poetic about seeing this film when they were 10 and never again filling the magic they felt that day while lambasting every James Bond film that followed for being too juvenile. Could it be the films haven't changed much and they have? Let me get this out of the way. Goldfinger is great. I love the film. However it has yet to cure Cancer and it just is not the best film in the series. Sorry. Connery is great here as is Gert Frobe as Goldfinger. I have to admit Honor Blackman is good as Pussy galore as well even though I personally can't stand her.

6. You Only Live Twice 1967.

When you think of all the iconic Images of James Bond, the bald headed villain with the white cat, the hollowed out volcano as a villains lair, The gadgets, the saviors coming out of nowhere to save the day etc... This is the film that has them. You Only Live Twice might be the quintessential James Bond film. It would have been even better if Sean Connery didn't spend the whole time on set bitching and moaning while delivering a half-assed performance.

5. Live And Let Die 1973

And a thousand Fleming purist just shit their pants. Roger Moore's first film is one of the best of the series. The cast is great, the humor still works, and still feels fresh. (and dated too) Another hugely important film in the series. It proved the series would survive with out Sean Connery. one downer the film gave us Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

4. Moonraker. 1979

A straight remake of The Spy Who Loved Me except instead of a underwater city Hugo Drax is building a city of perfect people in space to repopulate the world after he wipes it out. (AND HE TOOK SOME WOMEN WITH HIM) There are two kinds of Bond fans the ones who admit they love Moonraker and those who lie. let the doubters scoff. Moonraker is great fun with a great Bond girl (Lois Chiles) and a good villain. The constant 7up adds get old and jaws is a bit of a dope here. Still I admit it. i love this film. sue me.

3. From Russia With Love 1962

Let's see...Movie almost follows the outstanding book to the letter, Sean Connery is at his absolute best, the cast is one of the best of any Bond film, great Bond girl, not one but 2 great villains, a movie that builds the excitement as it goes on and ends in suspense, a fine theme song...I know there is something not to like here...and when I think of it I'll let you know.

2. Casino Royale 2006

The best James Bond film in almost 40 years. Danial Craig's first James Bond is one that will rank high on my list for a long time. The perfect James Bond film for its time just as the comical fantasy Moonraker was for its time. I will be interested to see if this film stays as high on other peoples lists as well or will it do a Goldeneye? Danial Craig manages to be a bad ass while making you root for him where Timothy Dalton was a bad ass while making you not care very much.

1. On Her Majesty's Secret Serivce 1969

Every thing I said about From Russia With Love goes here. There are people that don't like this film...how? it's a perfect film. George Lazenby is actually quite good as James Bond. Better than Connery was in both You Only Live Twice before it and Diamonds Are Forever after it. Diana Rigg is the best Bond Girl of all. Telly Savalas is great as Blofeld Ilse Steppat is great as his love and partner in villainy Irma Bunt. The film Also has one of my favorite songs ever in the series in We Have All The Time In The World. The film contains the only honest love theme int he series and the ending gets to me every time. The Only thing I don't like about the film is Lazenby's joke in the pre-title sequence about "this never happened to the other fellow,"

8 comments:

theroachman said...

1 Live And Let Die

2 From Russia With Love

3 On Her Majesty's Secret Service

4 Octopussy

5 Moonraker

theroachman said...

When my wife and I purchased our first VCR (1993) we rented to live and let die and The Serpent and the Rainbow and watch both the same night. Crazy strange combo of movies I tell you. One of course has actual scary voodoo craziness going on.

Count Istvan said...

You mean there are 2 Moonraker fans in the world. :)

et said...

It's fascinating to get the expert's point of view on this, Count. Why is the fan base so negative on Pierce Brosnan?

BTW - I'm about to be offline for 5-6 days. Family wedding and a visit for Daughter @ grandma's...

Count Istvan said...

Why is the fan base so negative on Pierce Brosnan?

He was the last guy. :)

His "divorce" from the role was quite ugly. It was a He said She said type deal. Brosnan said he wanted more control and EON wouldn't give it. EON said Brosnan asked for way too much money to continue the role. Most fans fell in line behind EON and the Brosnan fans felt "picked on"

(Think of it as a James Bond Obama-Clinton type deal.)

Also there is a group that was ran by a crazy nutter called Craig Not Bond that made some noise about the time he got the role. (claiming amongst other things that Craig was just chosen to attract the homosexual community) it turned out that the woman running the group was wanna be Pierce Brosnan groupie. A lot of people took the actions of one nutter and painted all Brosnan fans with them.

They still exist by the way but their original founder either quit or was locked up. Their website now while still wrong (IMHO) is far less "militant" in their Craig hate. It's a standard Brosnan fan site now.

It's also one of those things that goes in cycles. in the late 80's and 90's all things Roger Moore were talked about the way Brosnan is now. Now he is probably the most popular person of all the people who have played the role (Connery is and may always be the favorite Bond) and his era as Bond is also beginning to be thought of much more highly.

There is also a lot of group think involved as well. The hardcore James Bond fan community loves Timothy Dalton while most casual fans find him forgettable.

When the next guy gets the role after Daniel Craig has called it quits Craig will probably draw the wrath of the same folks while the new guy will be the savior.

I suspect you will see Brosnan's popularity spike again in about ten years when the "Goldeneye" generation turns 30 and starts to complain about how they don't make like they used to anymore when Pierce had the role.

Count Istvan said...

Oh and congrats on the family wedding.

et said...

Well, for the record, I have no problem with Brosnan in the role, nor any of the other actors on the whole except perhaps for Dalton, who - yeah - struck me as forgettable. I loved Tomorrow Never Dies, as much for Michelle Yeoh as for the Murdoch-esque villain.

Brosnan might well have had a better run had he not been tied up with Remington Steele at the time his name was first bandied about for the role, IMO. The energy of the "Moment" and all that.

Thanks for the wedding congrats. My niece (brother's daughter) is the bride, and the groom is a guy she first met online in a Harry Potter chat room (just to bring the cinematic discussion full circle). I have no advance info but I hope to Gawd it's not a "theme" wedding. I'm not exactly planning on dressing for Dumbledore to officiate...

Check in with you on Wednesday night...

theroachman said...

I loved Moonraker

For me it was the way the gagitry was well intuned with the theme of the movie. And what is not to love about a love story with Jaws

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