The James Bond franchise has been around for decades, long before you were probably born. In fact, we doubt you’ve even watched all 26 movies. The popular saga has had a huge impact on cinema and with every movie that goes by, critics can’t help but debate over the ‘best’ one.
So, in honor of 007 and his incredible adventures, we’ve pitted each film against the other and concocted a list of all James Bond movies ranked from worst to best…
26. Casino Royale (1967)
Ranked as the ‘worst’ James Bond movie, Casino Royale (1967) does its best to be a satire, but its effort to be funny doesn’t quite do the trick. In spite of a great ensemble cast, (David Niven, Orson Wells, Woody Allen, and many more) the result is mere chaos and ultimately, highly forgettable. As we all know, a similarly-titled film would do much, much better a few decades down the line.
25. The Living Daylights (1987)
Timothy Dalton is as charismatic and handsome as James Bond ought to be, but unfortunately many people at the time thought he was a poor successor to Roger Moore and lacked the wits that humanized the secret agent. Opinions vary on this movie, but at any rate, the fact that it kind of vanished from collective consciousness is self-explanatory.
24. Die Another Day (2002)
The early 2000s weren’t the best years for 007. Pierce Brosnan once again gives everything he has to give, but the generic plot and action scenes don’t make it anything more than a popcorn flick. Not to mention the invisible car, which feels very… 2002.
23. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
This is the opus, it seems, where Roger Moore started to clock out of the job. The plot is rather exciting, if classic, and includes your run-of-the-mill mission to retrieve a powerful device that can cause WWIII. It’s an uncomplicated story that does exactly what it’s meant to do: entertain. But it could have been more.
22. License to Kill (1989)
This is Timothy Dalton’s last gig as 007, in which he decides to go against the MI6’s wishes to avenge a friend. This opus was the first truly violent one in the entire saga and received a PG-13 rating for that reason. A respectable exit for Dalton whose heavily criticized “serious acting” actually benefited such a darker plot.
21. Quantum of Solace (2008)
Daniel Craig’s second time playing the beloved British spy was not met with standing ovations in theatres, but it is still regarded as a satisfying movie that did precisely what it was supposed to do in just under two hours. We’ll almost forgive its weird title.
20. Never Say Never Again (1983)
Sean Connery’s awkward return to the franchise for one last film feels a little bit unnecessary – the actor is still charismatic, but it feels forced and the story’s generic layout doesn’t help.
19. The World is Not Enough (1999)
The last ‘James Bond’ of the 20th century was simply okay, a shame considering its promising premise. Pierce Brosnan’s 007 is tasked to protect an oil tycoon’s daughter and realizes this job hides more danger than planned. Brosnan does his job well, but Sophie Marceau as the villainous Elektra is definitely one of the best things about this movie.
18. GoldenEye (1995)
Easily one of the best Bond movies and Pierce Brosnan’s greatest, this opus does everything right – an entertaining story that blends complex themes and entertaining fight scenes, a slew of talented actors that give everything they have, and an overall gritty, explosive plot that elevated the franchise to new heights.
17. A View to Kill (1985)
We’re getting closer to some of the best 007 movies. Marking Roger Moore’s last adventure in 007’s suit, the actor was already 57 years old by then. This satisfying thrill-packed story gave him the great curtain call he deserved.
16. On her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
George Lazenby played James Bond for the first and last time, and it turns out that sometimes, one time’s the charm. There is very little to throw away in this gripping installment that does almost nothing wrong and even sees 007 get married (we don’t need to tell you if it lasted or not).
15. Moonraker (1979)
In the late 1970s, people were all about Star Wars movies, and it seems Moonraker wanted a little bit of that space money as well, by sending Bond on a mission that eventually leads him to fight on a spaceship. This is by far one of the most unashamedly silly storylines in Bond history, but maybe that’s precisely why it worked so well.
14. Diamonds are Forever (1971)
One of Sean Connery’s last James Bond missions, the movie could have been better, but still stands out thanks to its unmatchable witty dialogue and a lead actor who still knows what he’s doing and doesn’t disappoint even a decade later.
13. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
This Bond movie is ranked at the half-way mark. Pierce Brosnan is still at the top of his game in this installment which, even though it doesn’t have the most Oscar-worthy plot, makes waves with some truly engaging action scenes and supporting characters whose charisma make it difficult to look away.
12. Octopussy (1983)
Just like Moonraker, the plot of Octopussy makes little sense, including a travelling circus and characters that feel almost cartoonish, and yet! Roger Moore still keeps us hooked thanks to the usual ingredients – action, fun dialogue, and characters we can’t help but love.
11. You Only Live Twice (1967)
This installment saw Sean Connery fight his way through yet another successful mission in which America and the Soviet Union butt heads regarding missing spacecrafts. With an appealing villain and great action sequences, there isn’t anything to complain about. Some formulas just work every time.
And so we reach the top 10 Bond films…
10. Spectre (2015)
Here, Daniel Craig hits all the right notes but he does carry most of the movie on his shoulders. That being said, the return of the organization, ‘Spectre’, first seen in Dr.No then Diamonds are Forever is a welcome element that definitely elevates the story. It’s one of the top Bond movies and for that reason, has been ranked at 10th place.
9. Thunderball (1965)
This is the fourth Bond movie for Sean Connery, released at a moment in his career where he was starting to fear typecasting. Nonetheless, Thunderball is efficient and action-packed, especially thanks to its frightening Spectre villain, Emilio Largo and its underwater fight scenes that certainly won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
8. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
One of the most underrated movies in the franchise, this opus truly showed that Roger Moore could do wonders in the legendary role, so long as the script was good. Not to mention the epic set pieces that probably broke the budget. One of the best scenes in the movie, and perhaps one of the best in the entire saga happens just before the opening credits, with Bond skiing off a mountain until he finally unfolds a parachute. People can say what they want about Roger Moore’s different take on the character, a good movie is a good movie!
7. Live and Let Die (1973)
Roger Moore’s introduction as 007 proved to be very effective since he would return for six more movies after that. Here, Bond investigates the numerous deaths of other British spies in the bayou. An intriguing plot, a handful of great actors, a recipe that is here to win, not to mention Paul McCartney’s song, Wings as the movie’s theme tune. A+.
6. From Russia With Love (1963)
From Russia with Love certainly deserves a spot as one of the greatest Bond films of all time. In this opus, Bond deals with a very timely subject – a Soviet decoding machine Spectre wishes to get its hands on. One of the few 007 missions to evoke the Cold War so directly, the contemporary themes it deals with don’t make it any less fun to watch.
5. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
The Man with the Golden Gun is certainly one of the best James Bond movies.The reviews for this installment weren’t wonderful, but the plot held up with memorable action scenes and a more-than-memorable villain played by Christopher Lee. Scaramanga, a villainous character proves Bond movies are at their best when their baddies are at their most evil.
4. Casino Royale (2006)
It may be the highest rated 007 film on IMDb (8/10), but we’ve decided to rank Casino Royale in fourth place. Daniel Craig’s first outing as the seductive spy was an unexpected success that marked the beginning of a renaissance for the character. A more personal approach to the secret agent also makes this one of the first Bond films to explore 007 as a flawed individual rather than as an agent who can do no wrong.
3. Dr. No (1962)
It’s difficult not to rank this movie in the top 3 since it was the first adaptation of Ian Fleming’s work for the big screen, which also marked the introduction of Sean Connery in the lead role. The movie is not only memorable because it launched a phenomenon, it is also really well-written, fast-paced and engaging, setting up the tone for decades and decades of thrills.
2. Goldfinger (1964)
A great action movie for its time, almost everything in Goldfinger is iconic – the theme song and unforgettable opening credits, the terrifying gold-crazy villain played by the amazing Gert Frobe, and an ever-so- smooth Sean Connery who will stop at nothing to make his mission a success. And who can forget his famous line, ‘A Martini. Shaken, not stirred.’ No one, that’s who.
1. Skyfall (2012)
Here comes our winner – Skyfall is officially the best James Bond movie ever – in Tell Tales’ opinion at least. The third installment of the ‘Daniel Craig-era’ Bond movies didn’t only help us forget the mild success of Quantum of Solace, it also gave us a spectacle that defied our expectations. The plot – one of 007’s missions has gone wrong and led to MI6 undercover agents being exposed. A wild ride that never loses steam and earned five Oscar nominations followed by two wins. Now, that’s something that no other film in the franchise has ever managed to do.
If one thing’s certain, it’s that the James Bond franchise will never die. At least not before a while. Thanks to talented actors and storylines that keep evolving and exploring the beloved spy’s character a little more each round, 007’s future looks just as bright as its past.
What did you think of our ranking? Let us know if some of these titles should have been ranked higher or lower, and don’t hesitate to tell us what you think are the worst and best James Bond movies…
Want more rankings? We’ve also listed the best and worst James Bond actors – let us know if you agree!