James Bond Actors – Ranked Worst to Best

best james bond actor

Many versions of James Bond have blessed our screens since Sean Connery first embodied the character in 1962. While they’ve all had their martinis “shaken, not stirred” and driven one of his Aston Martins, each one ultimately brought something different to the table.

As with any adaptation of a beloved movie hero like the array of Batman actors or Joker renditions, some interpretations are flawless and others not quite so.

15 Best ‘James Bond’ Theories Explained 

So, which James Bond actor perfectly played the role? And which one was more of a spoof than a spy?

Here is our ranking of the 8 actors who tried on 007’s suit!

8. Timothy Dalton

Timothy Dalton james bond

We rank Timothy Dalton as the worst Bond actor simply for not being as memorable as his predecessors and followers. Dalton replaced Roger Moore in the late 1980s and remained in the popular franchise for just two movies – The Living Daylights and Licence To Kill. Only The Living Daylights was a success, while Licence To Kill didn’t work quite as well and was just as forgetful as the actor himself.

Moreover, Dalton’s performance was met with both praise and hesitation, as his take on the character was as serious as the novel version. Viewers also couldn’t help but compare Dalton to Roger Moore’s depiction who had instead been lauded for his somewhat goofy take on it.

7. David Niven

David Niven james bond

Just like George Lazenby and Barry Nelson, David Niven is a lesser known version of 007. He didn’t really leave a mark on the canon, which is mostly due to his interpretation of the character being the furthest from the one depicted in Ian Fleming’s novels.

In his only movie as Bond, Casino Royale (1967), Niven played a version of the spy that was closer to Batman’s Alfred than the seductive, womanizing type immortalized by Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan…Each to his own, we guess.

The Best ‘James Bond’ Merch for Fans

6. George Lazenby

George Lazenby james bond

Sean Connery’s successor was an Australian actor and model who took over the franchise after Connery’s departure in the late 1960s. George Lazenby is the youngest actor to ever play the spy at just 29-years-old. If his face doesn’t ring any bells for you, it’s because he only played the emblematic agent once in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and never again after that.

Despite his good looks and acting talent, the handsome Aussie didn’t really enjoy the shoot and apparently had beefs with two co-stars as well as the powers that be. We can only imagine the pressure of following in the footsteps of such a giant as Connery!

5. Barry Nelson

Barry Nelson james bond

Even if he was the first actor to ever play Ian Fleming’s famous spy, Barry Nelson is rarely included in any James Bond list. In fact, many people just prefer to consider Dr. No with Sean Connery as the first adaptation.

However, Barry did shortly play the British spy first in a television adaptation of ‘Casino Royale’, as part of an episode of the anthology drama series, Climax!. Although this was his only time playing the special agent, this seems important to mention as it remains a largely forgotten, underrated performance.

4. Roger Moore

Roger Moore james bond

Roger Moore added a touch to 007 that didn’t exist in Ian Fleming’s work – a sense of humor and an easy-going attitude that was poles apart from the brooding and strict character from the novels. This is precisely why so many people cherished Moore as Bond.

Moore is until this day, the longest-running Bond having starred in seven James Bond movies. Not only was his performance one of a kind, but most, if not all of his movies are some of the best out of the bunch (let’s forget Octopussy). One that definitely stands out is Live and Let Die, which was Roger’s first time as his Majesty’s agent.

Every ‘James Bond’ Movie Ranked

 3. Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan james bond

Pierce Brosnan had all the wit and charm needed to play 007. Introducing a more modern Bond after a six year hiatus, Brosnan’s version was sophisticated, yet slick and badass enough to be a somewhat impressive spy. Let’s not forget his iconic one-liners, cool gadgets and the fact that he had the highest kill count of all Bonds (135 kills!)

Not everyone thinks Brosnan’s movies were as memorable as Connery’s or Moore’s, but there is no denying that the actor had done his homework for the role. Then again, the outdated special effects and the oftentimes cartoonish plots (that invisible car in Die Another Day) did make it a little dusty for today’s audience. But if you can get past that, it’s worth the invisible ride!

2. Daniel Craig

daniel craig james bond

Daniel Craig has been James Bond for four movies now, with No Time To Die set to be his last. And in about fourteen years, it’s safe to say that the British actor has done his job perfectly well. He’s broody (in a charming way) and ever-so-serious, and he’s more “human” than previous Bonds.

Although his take on the character is not as witty as Moore’s or as smooth as Connery’s, Craig has a certain cold charm that manages to captivate audiences without ever boring them. The most faithful adaptation of the character in spite of his blonde hair and height, Daniel Craig’s 007 has succeeded in reviving an old franchise and revamping it for a new generation.

1. Sean Connery

sean connery james bond

To most people, from hardcore fans of the franchise to even the most casual viewers, Sean Connery will always be ranked as the best James Bond actor. He’s the real deal…the ultimate face for the iconic cinematic spy…the first to utter “Bond… James Bond”.

This isn’t just because Connery was the first 007 actor on the big screen after Barry Nelson’s discreet appearance. It’s impossible to ignore the charm and appeal the Scottish actor gave to a character that was intended to be a lot more serious.

Handsome, witty, likable, clever and brave, there is very little Sean Connery’s Bond didn’t master- that’s why it’s difficult to disagree with those that crown him the greatest Bond of all time.

After almost half a century of actors embodying the beloved British agent, there’s no denying that 007 has left an immortal mark on cinema – regardless of the actor’s performance. But like every popular franchise and its leading roles, we all can’t help but compare and pit them against each other.

Let us know in the comments if you agree with our ranking! Is Sean Connery also your favorite James Bond actor? Or do you prefer the underrated ones? Is there even a right answer to this question? We’re all ears!


Tale Teller

  • Maria Supplisson

    Maria is a screenwriting student at the London Film Academy with a Bachelors' degree in English & Creative Writing, blogger and storytelling-obsessed, from literature to TV shows, movies to documentaries. During her time at the London Film Academy, Maria wrote two short films that were produced by the school, one of which was showcased at the BFI for graduation, and she is now working on multiple projects from a short film to a play, while also translating articles from English to French about film, series, and celebrities for a London-based entertainment news agency. Unhealthily addicted to Game of Thrones lore.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
allen lee mundorff
3 years ago

Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Bronson are the iconic 007. Put em in any order these 3 doesn’t matter. The movies they played in felt more spy oriented and slightly campy to me which really kept the franchise so appealing.
Daniel Craig easily number 4. The slick production and his cold demeanor is great.
The rest of the Bonds imo are mediocre at best.

Travis Prusak
3 years ago

I would do it differently:
1.-Sean Connery
2.-Roger Moore
3.-Pierce Brosnan
4.-Daniel Craig
5.-Timothy Dalton
6.-George Lazenby
7.-David Niven
8.-Barry Nelson

Rich Macero
3 years ago

Sean Connery is Bond ,period. The next Bond should be Henry Cavil,I’ve been watching Bond since 1962 ,Bond should not be blond or 5’9″ ,they made Bond a midget .

Ser Moomba
3 years ago

Totally disagree with the rankings. I do think Sean Connery was number one of all time, but I put George Lazenby in second place. It was well written despite the cartoonish plot, and the tragic love story made it the most romantic of Bond movies. I mean, a countess played by Diana Rigg? How could Bond ever love anyone ever again. I also like Moore and Brosnan, but I think the short muscular guy, Craig, was a joke as Bond. Maybe it’s because On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was the first Bond flick I saw on the big screen after escaping from Soviet Russia or that I was 19 and a romantic…

3 years ago

Totally disagree with this list. Timothy Dalton is seriously underrated as James Bond. I always felt he portrayed Bond the way Fleming intended in his novels. Connery will always be the best though.

Charles Nippert
3 years ago

Connery was the best. Face Reality all the other movies are just sequels to Goldfinger

Sunny Shielu
3 years ago

I totally disagree with the ranking,no actor ever interpreted the 007 role like Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan did, these 2 actors were the smoothest,most sophisticated and funniest of all the actors,these 2 actors are the main reason why am addicted to the Bond movies ,so it was really shocking not to see the 2 actors(Moore & Brosnan) in the top 2 ranking(s) . And Sean Connery was the 3rd best in my rankings.
Though, I do agree with one thing, Timothy Dalton was the worst.

Debra Vines
3 years ago

Sean Connery was the absolute best Bond, Jsmes Bond. Smooth, handsome & so classy on so many levels.

3 years ago

Roger Moore will always be the anti Bond to me. His campy portrayal always left me wanting more from the character. I do agree that Sean Connery and Daniel Craig rank 1-2.

Thaba Viljoen
3 years ago

Sean Connery, Daniel Craig and Roger Moore played in the best Bond movies. They are also the best at the role.

I think George Lazenby, Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton were all less than impressive in the role. Their movies are also mediocre … Odly enough I feel that Lazenby was the best of the three (also his movie).

David Niven and Barry Nelson should actually not even be mentioned.

– Sean Connery’s first five movies are really good (if not the best), the last two I do not like. He has got the most charm and charisma!

– Daniel Craig’s movies, when it comes to women, is a politically correct interpretation and for that very reason, a lot less fun or entertaining. However, the action and suspense in his movies are spectacular!

– Roger Moore was fun because of his sense of humour. He is a convincing ladies man!

– Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton’s movies are boring!!

~ I personally feel that 007 should never have been married in the movies.

~~ Actors names were typed from grearest to least, according to my opinion. ~~