The Daniel Craig era of James Bond movies is finally coming to an end. It has been a roller coaster ride, from the highs of Casino Royale (2006) and No Time to Die (2021) to the lows of Quantum of Solace (2008). Overall, however, it has been a rejuvenating period for the franchise. Some of the cheesiness and humor have been lost, but in exchange, Bond has become more exciting and intense than ever before.
When talking about actors playing James Bond, there are generally two that immediately spring to everyone’s minds: the current Bond and Sean Connery, the original. Sean Connery originated the role and will always be the most iconic Bond. So many of the franchise’s central elements started with Connery, and even if many of his films feel dated and campy to modern audiences, it’s impossible to deny that they’re fun.
Every other actor who has played 007 falls into the shadow of these two. Here’s our list of the best movies of all of these underrated Bonds:
George Lazenby – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
George Lazenby only got one chance to play Bond, and that’s really unfortunate. Critics initially weren’t thrilled with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Over time, however, it has become what many consider to be one of the best Bond films.
It would have been interesting to see how Lazenby developed the character after the tragic plot twist at the end of the movie.
Pierce Brosnan – GoldenEye (1995)
There are detractors who will tell you that GoldenEye is a ridiculous movie that doesn’t deserve to be in any list of best Bond movies. Those people are obviously forgetting that GoldenEye opens with Bond riding a motorcycle off a mountain and free falling into a plane that he then flies over the Russian base that he has just blown up, all while being shot at by Russian soldiers and looking devilishly handsome.
Some might say that’s a bit over the top, but isn’t that what we love about Bond?
Timothy Dalton – License to Kill (1989)
Timothy Dalton is often overlooked as a Bond actor, possibly because he was only in two Bond films and played the role without the humor that fans h ad come to love. License to Kill
In the casino scene where Dalton’s Bond is establishing his undercover persona, he has to play it cool. Knowing all of the blackjack hand signals and playing like an expert card shark does the trick. Watching
Dalton in that scene makes it obvious why he was able to fool Franz Sanchez and surprising that he was
only given two outings as Bond.
David Niven – Casino Royale (1967)
Does David Niven technically count as a Bond? Purists may not think so. Does his turn as Bond in the comedic farce Casino Royale deserve a mention? Definitely. In this spoof film, Niven’s Bond comes out of retirement to become head of MI6 and defeat a plan to kill all secret agents.
This movie isn’t technically good, but it’s incredibly fun to watch its all-star cast playing spy. Casino Royale also answers the questions we didn’t know we needed to ask.
Roger Moore – Moonraker (1979)
Roger Moore is sometimes seen as the transitional Bond. He took us from the cheesiness of Connery’s Bond to the more modern Bonds of Bronson and Craig. Casual fans of the franchise would probably be surprised to know that Moore starred in just as many Bond films as Connery did, including some of the most iconic titles.
Moonraker is right in the middle of his run as 007. It’s fair to say that Moonraker isn’t his best outing as Bond (that title probably goes to 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me), but it’s probably the most original and definitely the furthest the series has ever strayed from the source material. Also, it gave us another Shirley Bassey theme song, which is a major bonus point. Moonraker took Bond into space. The film was a result of the success of the first Star Wars movie; suddenly every producer wanted a space movie. One of the only things that the film shares with Ian Fleming’s novel is the title and the lead villain. The plot involves a secret space base and a plot to end humanity. Moonraker isn’t the most traditional Bond movie, but it proved that even after 17 years and 10 movies, the franchise still had the ability to surprise audiences.