Originally written 2019 / Updated 2020 / Updated 2021
Little History on Little Margetis and James Bond
I had only seen the Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig entries when I decided to do this article. And besides seeing clips here and there of Thunderball on Spike TV, all of these other Bonds were one gigantic mystery to me. My dad would put them on when I was just a child of eight. I’d flee the room in utter terror that I might die of boredom. It seriously took me decades to warm up to pre 90s cinema and unless those decades were offering The Godfather or Amadeus, I would never take the risk that I might die of boredom.
Cut to Early 2019
Things are really looking up for old Mike. His comedy troupe Pizza Party is smokin’ hot (EDIT 2020 – Barely existing cause of Covid-19 ; EDIT 2021 – We’re making a comeback) and he’s seen probably around 3500 films since he was 8 years old. He considers watching the Rocky series but he remembers he promised a friend he’d watch them with him. (EDIT 2021 – My take on Rocky) That’s when he hears a Carly Simon song “Nobody Does it Better”, the theme from The Spy Who Loved Me, and decides to start a 24 film binge, the most intense he’s ever done. . Let’s start with the shittiest entries….
25. The Living Daylights (1987)
The most ass-numbingly boring Bond entry by a country mile. They got a new Bond, Timothy Dalton, and he’s a fine actor, but the writing is the problem. This is one of Bond’s most bland adventures, recycling mundane plot points from other entries with bullshit unmemorable henchmen and a garbage Bond girl. I watched this when I was home sick from work one day and I was crossing my fingers I’d have a major heart attack so I wouldn’t have to finish it.
MVP: Definitely John Rhys-Davies’ quick appearance. He’s sort of fun.
MOMENT OF SHAME: Timothy Dalton saying “strawberry jam.” Terrifying.
24. The World is Not Enough (1999)
The post-Goldeneye Pierce Brosnan entries were notable not only for being bad but for being completely devoid of a personality. For god sakes, one 5 MINUTE! scene features Judi Dench locked in a cell, trying to move a stool with a radio or something on it towards her so she can signal for help or something. I don’t know. I think I elected to Swiffer my floors while ingesting this scene.
MVP: Sophie Marceau is actually one of the series’ better villains.
MOMENT OF SHAME: Denise Richards as a scientist named Dr. Christmas. At the end, Pierce is making sex on her and says “OOOOOOOOOOH, I thought Christmas only came once a year.” Trash.
23. Die Another Day (2002)
It’s between this and Moonraker for the flat-out stupidest entry of the series, but I think the cake goes to Die Another Day for it’s cold weather and plastic surgery bullshit.
MVP: John Cleese is very funny as Q.
MOMENT OF SHAME: Madonna’s malicious chemical weapon she calls a Bond song.
22. Moonraker (1979)
I was expecting the only entry that took place on the moon to be very stupid, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this tedious. Before they get into space, this is one of the most slow-moving and seemingly aimless entries of the franchises. They even take a great henchman like Jaws and turn him into this bizarre punchline with a girlfriend.
MVP: The zip line pursuit is actually pretty dope, minus the ending where Jaws falls in love with the St. Pauli’s girl he accidentally falls on.
MOMENT OF SHAME: A Bond girl actually named Holly Goodhead. But at least she’s a doctor…of fellatio.
21. A View to a Kill (1985)
Has Bond ever been more 80s? Duran Duran, implications of cocaine, Christopher Walken laughing. Too bad the plot is dog shit and Bond is now a very old Roger Moore, limping throughout the entire film.
MVP: Christopher Walken and Grace Jones are way better villains than this disappointing entry deserves.
MOMENT OF SHAME: Poorly choreographed action, mayhaps the worst of the franchise!
20. Quantum of Solace (2008)
What a let down from the stunning 2006 Bond reboot Casino Royale. Quantum of Solace was apparently victim of a writer’s strike, but if you ask me having glorified PSA writer Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) involved in an early draft was certainly to blame. I know, Paul Haggis also co-wrote the phenomenal Casino Royale, but any chance I get to blame something on Paul Haggis, I’ll take.
MVP: The film’s villain, while underwritten, is expertly performed by The Diving Bell and the Butterfly actor Mathieu Almaric.
MOMENT OF SHAME: One-dimensional characters.
19. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Really bland entry that was Sean Connery’s final appearance as Bond (not counting the non-canon Never Say Never Again). Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Charles Gray was also the worst Blofeld of the series.
MVP: Shirley Bassey’s Bond song.
MOMENT OF SHAME: Really, the way they fuck up Blofeld.
18. Octopussy (1983)
This is one of the more so bad it’s entertaining Bond entries…for the first half. The second half takes a huge dip, but you get to see Bond as both a clown and Tarzan.
MVP: The way Octopussy uses her long hair to slide off of Bond’s balcony. That was dope AF.
MOMENT OF SHAME: All the racist Indian shit.
17. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Fake news mogul, Elliot Carver (a delightfully campy Jonathon Pryce) is fucking up the world order, so Pierce Brosnan and a painfully underwhelming Michelle Yeoh must stop him. This one has a cool remote control car chase but besides that it’s pretty forgettable.
MVP: Vincent Shiavelli’s henchman belongs in a better movie.
MOMENT OF SHAME: Teri Hatcher.
16. The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
Wow, this one is weird. All the stuff with the Scaramunga (Christopher Lee), his little henchman (Herve Villechaize) and their house of mirrors murder maze is gloriously stupid. The rest of the story not involving that is just plain stupid.
MVP: Christopher Lee and Herve Villechaize were the finest pairing of villain and henchman.
MOMENT OF SHAME: The return of that racist redneck Louisiana Sheriff which the movie chooses to champion as some sort of lovable heroic goofball.
15. Thunderball (1965)
The most overrated entry of the series. Nothing kills a fun action sequence quite like putting it under water. Shit moves reaaaaaal sllllooooooowwwww dowwwwwwwn theeerrrrrrreeeee.
MVP: Sean Connery is fantastic as always in the role.
MOMENT OF SHAME: My dad, Dr. Martin Margetis, D.D.S., for choosing this as his favorite Bond film.
14. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
The one scored like a 70s porno, For Your Eyes Only was a return to form in a lot of ways from the aggravatingly dumb Moonraker. Some good action.
MVP: That helicopter shit.
MOMENT OF SHAME: Not the best plot with the whole sibling rivalry thing.
13. No Time to Die (2021)
At 163 minutes long, this is simply too much Bond movie, which is a shame, because this should be a better finale to send off Daniel Craig, our best Bond since Connery kicked things off in ’62. The first hour or so is pretty riveting but then it sort of devolves into this all-over-the-place mess with a tired terrorist contagion plot, a lackluster villain that isn’t fleshed out enough for Rami Malek to just sit there quietly and a third act that just seems to go on forever. Lashana Lynch is a nice addition to the cast and it’s great to see Jeffrey Wright again as Felix, Bond’s bestie. Ana de Armas is terribly underused, but Blue is the Warmest Color actress, Lea Seydoux, is finally given some shit to do. (MORE THOUGHTS COMING NEXT FRIDAY WITH MY OFFICIAL REVIEW)
MVP: The cold open before the Bond song title sequence is understated but stellar, starting with an eerie and unpredictable home invasion and finishing with a fun mausoleum action scene. Also, Daniel Craig is great in every scene.
Moment of Shame: Rami Malek, but more so his character, or lack thereof. Rami doesn’t say or do much, he just sits there and attempts to look menacing, but he ends up looking more mildly disturbed with his Olive Garden server than anything. The character is just a composite of other, better villains of the franchise and for the finale, Craig’s Bond really needed a better villain to match his intensity.
12. Spectre (2015)
Not nearly as bad as I remember, Spectre features some amazingly well choreographed action, a great but underused Blofeld in Christoph Waltz, a typically excellent Daniel Craig and yet, there’s something missing. Individual scenes are solid but the overall plot is fairly predictable and lame, and the always great Lea Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color) is given little to do but pout.
MVP: The opening helicopter chase sequence.
MOMENT OF SHAME: Lea Seydoux tearfully proclaiming her love for Bond…didn’t you guys just meet?
FUNNY NOTE: One of Waltz’s lines to Seydoux is “I once visited your house to see your father.” In Inglorious Basterds, Waltz visited Seydoux’s father in the opening scene.
11. Live and Let Die (1973)
My guilty pleasure Bond because while it is very outdated and offensive, it’s the first entry in the series to really do something different – Bond battling an evil Voodoo doctor/heroin smuggler. There’s a lot of fantastically bizarre Voodoo hijinks, some of the series’ better henchmen and a killer Paul McCartney Bond song.
MVP: Yaphet Kotto as the evil Voodoo doctor isn’t given as much to do as the actor is capable but he does get one of the most hilarious deaths in the series. It really *blows* 😉
MOMENT OF SHAME: Every black person in the movie is a villain and the first black Bond girl is the most incompetent ditz imaginable.
10. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
George Lazenby is a fucking terrible actor and an abysmal Bond, which is a shame, because everything else in this installment is really good. Telly Savalas is the best Blofeld of the series, Diana Rigg from Game of Thrones kicks ass, the action set pieces are top notch, there’s a hilarious dinner scene, Bond wears the now famous Austin Powers getup, ect. It’s just a shame that it’s all let down by George Lazenby’s dreadful performance.
MVP: Diana Rigg (AKA The Queen of Thorns) is hands down the BEST Bond Girl in the entire series.
MOMENT OF SHAME: Georgie Boy
09. Dr. No (1962)
The very first Bond is a lighthearted, goofy, fun little low-budget spy movie. It’s slow in places, but it features a good Bond girl in Ursula Andress, a solid villain in Joseph Wiseman and the incomparable Three Blind Mice, a team of three brother assassins who pretend to be blind so they get close and fuck you up.
MVP: Sean Connery of course, he invented the role here and nothing was ever the same.
MOMENT OF SHAME: That spider in bed sequence is dumb as hell.
08. You Only Live Twice (1967)
The one where Connery goes full yellow face….yiiiikkkkesssss. However, this is one of the tightest plotted entries in the series and features that dope ass underground nuclear layer set. Also, Nancy Sinatra’s Bond song is one of the best.
MVP: Donald Pleasance in a brief but chillingly effective performance as Blofeld.
MOMENT OF SHAME: On top of the yellow face, the whole “In Japan, men come first and women come second, now give me a sponge bath, bitch!” sexist horse puckey.
07. License to Kill (1989)
I’m going to get the most guff for this placement, but bare with me. After watching fifteen of these movies in a row, which are more or less the same, it was refreshing to see something totally different. Less Bond and more trashy 80s low budget cartel movie, License to Kill is delightfully sleazy. Bond is a total sociopathic prick, Wayne Newton is a corrupt TV evangelical preacher, people are getting their friggin’ heads exploded and/or fed to ravenous sharks and Benico Del Toro stops by to be Benico Del Toro. It’s butt paper, but it’s soft on hemorrhoids!
MVP: Benico Del Toro and Robert Davi are having a blast as the villains.
MOMENT OF SHAME: The Felix/Bond relationship and the whole wedding subplot is weak.
06. Goldeneye (1995)
The first Bond film I ever saw and arguably the most entertaining from top to bottom. Some stuff doesn’t hold up too well in 2021, but the spirit is there. Sean Bean and Famke Jansen are compelling as at least two-dimensional baddies, Pierce Brosnan isn’t nearly as bad as he is in future installments and we are introduced to the best M of the series, Dame Judi Dench.
MVP: Alan Cumming as Boris, probably the funniest goofball semi-villain the series ever had.
MOMENT OF SHAME: That frozen Boris visual effect…..yikes.
05. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
The perfect Roger Moore Bond movie in that it really showcases that campy, cheeky feel he brought to the series. Richard Kiel is outstanding as Jaws, even if the main baddie is pretty forgettable. Barbara Bach is also one of the better Bond girls we got. And Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” is just pure sex for the ears.
MVP: That ending with M and government officials watching Bond boink Barbara Bach. “Bond, what do you think you’re doing?!” – M, “Keeping the British end up, sir.” – Bond. CUE Bond closing the curtains on his yacht.
MOMENT OF SHAME: General Bond sexism, really can’t escape it in this series but at least Moore‘s Bond was nicer to the women in his life than Connery‘s Bond was.
04. Skyfall (2012)
Cinematographer Roger Deakins gives us the most gorgeously filmed Bond entry. Skyfall looks amazing, but the story falls flat at a couple of places. Possibly the series’ best action set pieces, a reliably great Daniel Craig and an excellent, show-stopping performance by Judi Dench secure it a spot in my top 5.
MVP: Roger MFKN Deakins
MOMENT OF SHAME: I love Javier Bardem, but his Silva is quite underwhelming here.
03. From Russia with Love (1963)
One of the most deliberately paced, least Bond-feeling entries of the series, but that’s exactly why I love it. From Russia with Love features Sean Connery’s best performance as Bond as well as solid turns by Daniela Bianchi, Lotte Lenya and a truly exceptional Robert Shaw.
MVP: Robert Shaw. That train sequence is magic.
MOMENT OF SHAME: It’s kind of cheap looking compared to future Connery entries.
02. Casino Royale (2006)
A great movie all around, this very nearly took my #1 spot, but deep reflection prompted me to award it to Goldfinger. Daniel Craig re-defines Bond for a more cynical age. The action set pieces are wonderful, but the real stand-out here is one of the tensest movie poker game of all time.
MVP: Daniel Craig, Eva Green and a reliably understated Mads Mikkelsen add gravitas to the pulpy material.
01. Goldfinger (1964)
The definitive Bond film is Goldfinger for a reason. It’s the tightest plotted entry of the series with excellent villains, a complex(ish?) Bond girl and Sean Connery.
MVP: Everything works together perfectly to create the best Bond.
- Sean Connery – 10/10
- Daniel Craig – 9/10
- Roger Moore – 8/10
- Timothy Dalton – 6.5/10
- Pierce Brosnan – 5.5/10
- George Lazenby – Fuck Him
Best Bond Villain
***Top 10 only***
- Gert Frobe as Goldfinger (Goldfinger) – 10/10
- Robert Shaw as Grant (From Russia with Love) – 10/10
- Christopher Lee as Scaramanga (The Man With the Golden Gun) – 9.5/10
- Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre (Casino Royale) – 9/10
- Telly Savalas as Blofeld (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) – 8.5/10
- Christopher Walken as Max Zorin (A View to A Kill) – 8.5/10
- Sean Bean as Alec Treyvelan (Goldeneye) – 8/10
- Christoph Waltz as Blofeld (Spectre/No Time To Die) – 8/10
- Donald Pleasance as Blofeld (You Only Live Twice) – 7.5/10
- Sophie Marceau as Elektra King (The World is Not Enough) – 7.5/10
Best Bond Girl
***Top 10 Only***
- Diana Rigg as Tracy Bond (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)– 10/10
- Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore (Goldfinger) – 9.5/10
- Daniela Bianchi as Tatiana Romanova (From Russia With Love) – 9/10
- Eva Green as Vesper Lynd (Casino Royale) – 9/10
- Barbara Bach as Major Anya Amasova (The Spy Who Loved Me) – 8/10
- Izabella Scorupco as Natalya Simonova (GoldenEye) – 7.5/10
- Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder (Dr. No) – 6.5/10
- Halle Berry as Jinx Johnson (Die Another Day) – 6.5/10
- Cary Lowell as Pam Bouvier (License to Kill) – 6/10
- Jane Seymour as Solitaire (Live and Let Die) – 6/10
Best Bond Henchperson
***Top 10 only***
- Herve Villechaize as Nick Nack (The Man with the Golden Gun) – 10/10
- Grace Jones as May Day (A View to a Kill) – 9/10
- Harold Sakata as Oddjob (Goldfinger) – 9/10
- Richard Kiel as Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker) – 9/10
- Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp (GoldenEye) – 8.5/10
- Lotte Lenya as Rosa Klebb (From Russia with Love) – 8.5/10
- Geoffrey Holder as Baron Semedi (Live and Let Die) – 8/10
- Three Blind Mice (Dr. No) – 8/10
- Vincent Shiavelli as Dr. Kaufman (Tomorrow Never Dies) – 8/10
- Benico Del Toro as Dario (License to Kill) – 8/10
Best Bond Song
*** Top 10 Only ***
- Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon (The Spy Who Loved Me) – 10/10
- Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey (Goldfinger) – 10/10
- Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney & Wings (Live and Let Die) – 10/10
- Skyfall – Adele (Skyfall) – 8.5/10
- A View to a Kill – Duran Duran (A View to a Kill) – 8/10
- You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra (You Only Live Twice) – 8/10
- Diamonds Are Forever – Shirley Bassey (Diamonds Are Forever) – 7.5/10
- For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton (For Your Eyes Only) – 7.5/10
- From Russia With Love –Matt Monro (From Russia with Love) – 7/10
- The World is Not Enough – Garbage (The World is Not Enough) – 7/10