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.

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

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

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.

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6. George Lazenby

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

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 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.

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 3. Pierce Brosnan

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 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

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!

How much do you know about 007? Check out our list of facts about James Bond!



Tale Teller
Maria Supplisson

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.

78 Responses

  1. I do not believe this endorsement for Craig as a Bond. He have no acting skills at all, he got no charm, and if I imagine British gentlemen he occur in my mind far behind Arnold Schwarzenegger. I admit, movies that he played in ain’t bad – even he couldn’t destroy it. All 4 movies should be another brand, like Bourne, but no Bond – Craig does not fit at all.
    My list is:
    1. Sir Sean Connery,
    2. Sir Roger Moore,
    3. Pierce Brosnan,
    4. George Lazenby,

    From rest I either does not recall performance, or – like in Craig’s case, do not thing that actor fit as Bond.

  2. As a younger woman, I considered the whole James Bond character offensive. But as I aged, I watched. Sean all the way. The others could have just stayed home.

  3. #1 is Sean Connery, suave, sexy and mysterious! Next Pierce Brosnan who is luminous and handsome, ladies love him. Next Timothy Dalton. He just has magic and Soooo touchable. Then Daniel Craig – too rugged and a flat butt! George Lazenby – didn’t really see the whole movie so its not fair to judge. Absolutely could not stand Roger Moore – ugh! Hammy actor, too smooth and not good looking enough! Hard to pull off the swag – almost like a closet case! So there’s the rundown, saw many at a drive in movie upon first run, so I know my Bonds!

  4. Definitely Sean Connery whenever a James Bond movie is out I don’t see any other except Sean Connery he was the blue print and everyone else just never measured up. He could be charming, seductive, comedic and in one swoop cold, killer, unsmiling.

    1. Pierce Brosnan was my favourite Bond but that was not a reflection of his films. If you’d given Pierce better material to work with he’d be far better thought of in the role. Then after Pierce it’s 2) Sean 3) Daniel 4) Roger 5) Tim and 6) George.

  5. To me Daniel Craig is THE nr 1, undisputable. As far as I’m concerned they can put a stop to the sequel after No Time To Die. No one can ever portrait a better Bond, and the choice of a black woman to follow up is simply weird. I guess it had to be political correct. Unfortunately political correctness ruins everything these days.
    2ND place James Bond is Pierce. Roger Moore is too childish now that I’m an adult, never seen any with Sean, and Timothy couldn’t cut it.

  6. Brosnon has always been my favorite. He has the intensity to perform the role of a spy, but also has the swag to be a gentlemen and work along side the women. With a different woman on each mission, part of Bond’s character is to be a bit of a player. He needs to have some romance.

    I dont like Craig. He doesnt have the classy element. Not enough of it at least.

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