58 years. 24 (quickly to be 25) films. Numerous vibrant villains, elaborate lairs and outrageous devices. However solely six males have ever formally taken on the mantle of James Bond, undercover agent 007.
Since 1962, Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and most just lately Daniel Craig have all taken their flip strapping on the Walther PPK, however which ones is the biggest display screen Bond of all?
In a brand new RadioTimes.com match, we’ll be splitting the six Bond actors into pairs, pitting them towards one different in three rounds. The winner of every spherical will then transfer on to a ultimate three-way face off.
The final word champion will formally be topped your favorite display screen Bond. (Word: for the functions of this ballot, we’re solely counting the six actors who’ve performed Bond in the official Eon Productions movie sequence – so no David Niven from 1967’s On line casino Royale, or certainly Barry Nelson from the 1954 TV model.)
Round 1 pitted Sean Connery towards Daniel Craig and noticed you vote in your hundreds – it was a close-fought battle, with Connery in the end popping out on high with 56 per cent of the vote in comparison with Craig’s 43 per cent. That implies that Connery goes by means of to our grand ultimate, whereas Craig – in a surprising flip of occasions – has already been eradicated.
Round 2 noticed George Lazenby up towards Pierce Brosnan – as soon as once more, hundreds of you voted, however the ’90s Bond in the end emerged the victor with 76 per cent towards his opponent’s 24 per cent.
Now you can vote in spherical three of the match under, which pits the longest-serving 007, Roger Moore, towards his 1980s successor, Timothy Dalton – with the winner going up towards Connery and Brosnan in the ultimate.
In the event you’re discovering it simply too tough to select, we’ve additionally written up a information to each actors’ portrayals of 007 under which could assist sway you a method or the different. Subsequent week – the grand ultimate!
Appeared in: Reside and Let Die (1973), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Cherished Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Solely (1981), Octopussy (1983), A View to a Kill (1985)
Off the again of 1971’s Diamonds Are Endlessly, which noticed a disinterested Sean Connery cavort round Las Vegas in what felt like a parody of his earlier Bond outings, the 007 franchise was in critical hazard of working out of steam.
Thank goodness then for Roger Moore, arriving with eyebrow raised and tongue firmly in cheek. As the Bond films entered their second decade, audiences have been changing into accustomed to the sequence’ tropes, making Moore the good frontman for a revived franchise that not took itself too severely – his was an virtually self-aware Bond, wryly amused by the outrageous adventures he discovered himself caught up in.
Sure, he caught round at the very least one film too lengthy, but it surely’s no exaggeration to say that, following Connery’s defining efficiency and the misstep (at the very least as the critics would have it) of Lazenby’s casting, hiring the improper 007 to take up the mantle subsequent might fairly simply have killed the sequence. As an alternative, Moore’s assured, full of life efficiency saved it, permitting the Bond model to loosen up and snigger at itself.
Appeared in: The Dwelling Daylights (1987), Licence to Kill (1989)
It’s a recurrent theme all through the Bond franchise that every new “period” serves as a response to what preceded it, however by no means was that pattern extra pronounced than in the late ’80s, when Roger Moore’s frivolous interpretation gave option to Timothy Dalton’s much more grounded portrayal, the Welsh actor demanding a return to the sequence’ roots and the chilly, unforgiving world established in Ian Fleming’s supply materials.
Instances had modified and, once more, Bond needed to change with them, with the 1980s seeing Dalton develop into the first actually fashionable Bond, much less of a cipher and considerably extra of a human being. Eschewing the outlandish for a extra delicate strategy, his movies are not merely terrific examples of traditional blockbuster cinema however nonetheless maintain up as genuinely compelling thrillers three a long time later.
Like Lazenby earlier than him, Dalton gave us a susceptible Bond, a person not a superman – and once more, it wasn’t to everybody’s style, with some modern critics and followers struggling to regulate after virtually 15 years of his predecessor. Now, although, it’s clear to see the origins of Daniel Craig’s widespread absorb Dalton’s 007, with many followers retrospectively contemplating his Bond to be considered one of the best.
Appeared in: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
It’s all too straightforward to dismiss George Lazenby as the Bond who failed – and likewise inaccurate.
Sure, he’s notable for being the solely actor to haven’t returned for a second outing as 007, but it surely was his determination to step away from the function after only one movie, slightly than any need on the producers’ half to interchange him, that noticed Sean Connery return to the franchise for the subsequent instalment.
And should you’re going to seem in only one Bond film, it’d as nicely be On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – having been reappraised by critics and followers since its unique lukewarm reception, Peter Hunt’s taut, emotional thriller is now typically thought of considered one of the all-time nice 007 movies, if not the very best.
Some cynics may acknowledge the movie’s greatness whereas nonetheless criticising Lazenby for missing the swagger and sureness of his predecessor, however they’re lacking the level – his much less assured, extra susceptible Bond is the good model for a narrative the place the character falls in love and endures nice loss. It’s laborious to think about any of Lazenby’s fellow 007 actors – even Connery – pulling off that tragic ultimate scene fairly so nicely.
Appeared in: Goldeneye (1995), Tomorrow By no means Dies (1997), The World is Not Sufficient (1999), Die One other Day (2002)
The person who not solely revived a struggling franchise however took it to new heights – after the dwindling field workplace returns of the 1980s, the ’90s noticed Bond develop into a critical contender once more in the type of Pierce Brosnan.
Brosnan captured the best qualities of all his predecessors – Connery’s energy and ruthlessness, Moore’s humour and simple appeal, the extra susceptible aspect of the character as beforehand portrayed in numerous methods by each George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton. However there was additionally an actual pleasure to his efficiency – Brosnan was cruelly denied his dream function as soon as earlier than, having to again out of being solid as Bond in the ’80s because of a TV contract, and maybe no display screen 007 earlier than or since has embraced the function with as a lot enthusiasm as he finally did.
For the most half, his period is the purest form of popcorn leisure – Bond as escapism, slightly than any form of reflection on the modern world. There’s a way of naughty enjoyable to Brosnan’s portrayal – he’s clearly having a ball – and it’s infectious.
Appeared in: Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Solely Reside Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Endlessly (1971)
The unique… however is he the best? There’s actually an argument to be made for Sean Connery as the definitive display screen James Bond, the Scottish actor having set the template in 1962’s Dr. No and likewise setting the bar towards which all of his successors are measured.
Connery’s Bond was merciless, crafty, lithe and lethal – he moved (as first noticed by Bond producer Cubby Broccoli’s spouse, Dana) “like a panther” – however he additionally introduced a appeal and humour to the a part of Bond, dismissing the ugly loss of life of many an adversary with a deadpan quip.
It was this straightforward magnetism that not solely made Connery’s Bond an icon but in addition set him aside from the slightly extra stiff, uptight 007 who seems in Ian Fleming’s books – if Fleming’s Bond was a product of the 1950s, the edge and intercourse attraction of Connery’s display screen portrayal made him the good display screen hero for the extra liberated 1960s.
Appeared in: On line casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015), No Time to Die (2020)
Daniel Craig’s debut as 007, On line casino Royale, sees Judi Dench’s M confer with the newly-minted agent as a “blunt instrument” – it’s a phrase that, once more, has its origins in the phrases of Ian Fleming, who described Bond as such (“an nameless, blunt instrument wielded by a authorities division”) in a 1958 interview.
However it’s a tag that matches Craig’s portrayal of the character particularly nicely. In a post-9/11 world, the cartoonish escapism of Pierce Brosnan’s ultimate Bond outing, 2002’s Die One other Day, felt positively quaint, with 007 being outpaced by rivals like the no-holds-barred Bourne sequence. The time was proper for reinvention and that the franchise bought in Craig’s Bond, a brutal determine who tackled foes with all the ferocity of a bullet dashing down a gunbarrel.
This new 007 was a violent man working in a violent world, however the revamped sequence’ new-found deal with Bond as a personality – not merely a cipher or wish-fulfillment determine for the viewers – has additionally allowed Craig to discover hitherto-unseen emotional depths. Ths Bond feels each blow, each loss, each heartbreak.
His tenure will shortly draw to an in depth, however like Connery earlier than him, Craig was the good Bond for the period wherein he performed the function.