After 6: The Debutante Bonds

James Bond would never drink anything looking like window-cleaner
Martini, shaken not stirred. Rocks a tuxedo. Cool cars, hot babes. Watches that have lasers inside, suitcases that explode, and a Walther PPK.

Yup. Bond. James Bond.

There have been six guys that have played the iconic spy on the big screen: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.

But, I’m not here today to talk about how good or bad they were, or weren’t, as Bond. Nope, I’m here to rank their first time as Bond. You know, which actor did the best job in popping his Bond cherry, if you will.


That, ahem, leads us to…

Number 6: Roger Moore. Live and Let Die. One of the greatest Bond theme songs, one of the worst Bond films. Bond does blaxploitation? Nice. Now, before I’m pelted with cyber-tomatoes, let me just add that Moore would’ve been higher on this list if The Spy Who Loved Me had been his first Bond film. That film rocks. (Barbara Bach, anyone? Richard Kiel as “Jaws”!) But it wasn’t, so here he sits. And don’t even get me started on how ludicrous some of the later Moore Bond films were. I still enjoy The Spy Who Loved Me and also Man With the Golden Gun, but the rest of them are horrible. This is one Bond film where the book was LIGHT YEARS ahead of the movie. I still can’t believe that Ian Fleming wanted Moore to play Bond. Can’t believe Moore made seven of the bastards!



Number 5: Well, I know I’m going to draw some fire for putting Lazenby and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service here. I know there are people out there who say Lazenby was second only to Connery, and I’m not even going to address that misconception as everyone is entitled to their opinions (mostly, anyway). However, I will say that this movie gave us very little good. Poorly executed script, goofy version of Blofeld, and the list goes on. Actually, the list of the badness is legion. (Bond in a kilt? Awesome, thanks for that.) However, you Lazenby fans out there can take solace in the knowledge that he still wasn’t at the bottom of the list. Maybe if Lazenby had done Diamonds are Forever first, he would’ve been higher. Man, now that I think of it, I would’ve loved to have seen him rock Las Vegas, along with Tiffany Case’s world.I will say, however, that the saving graces of this first (and only) outing of Lazenby as Bond were the killer chase scene on skis (and at one point, only ONE ski!) and, of course, the lovely Diana Rigg.


Number 4: Timothy Dalton. The Living Daylights. Now, okay… I know what you’re thinking at this point. Dalton? Here??? But check it: this is a good Bond movie, and the ending fight scene is very cool. Dalton was a breath of fresh air after all those ridiculous Moore films. (Hello??? Moonraker, anybody!??!) Dalton was also the perfect 1980s Bond. He could kick some butt, but still knew when to tone it down a couple notches. And really, who else but Dalton could’ve handled the whole “80s/AIDS age” thing where Bond DIDN’T sleep around? It was the first time Bond was basically, for him at least, a monk. Only Dalton could’ve balanced THAT one out, man.


Number 3: Pierce Brosnan. Goldeneye was a fantastic first outing for a new Bond actor. Brosnan was given a great script and one of the best supporting casts ever in a Bond film. Robby Coltrane, Sean Bean, and add to that the brilliant choice of Dame Judi Dench as the new “M”. Brosnan brought flair back to the character and also a grit it had been mostly missing through the Moore and Dalton years.



Number 2: Daniel Craig. Casino Royale. You know, if not for Connery, then this puppy would be the greatest intro into the Bond world. It’s not just a great Bond film, it’s a great action movie. Plus, Craig’s Bond is super-duper dapper-tough. I mean, come on, the guy gets his junk swatted over and over again, and can STILL bed his woman!?!? True awesomeness. You think Roger Moore could’ve done that? Lazenby!??!!?


Number 1: Connery. Natch. A no brainer. So Rico Suave in that tux. Had no issues with using his license to kill, or his license to sex. Dr No is the best “first Bond film”, and being that it’s also the first Bond film, this makes sense to me, even when I’m not drunk. Dr. No will always be the best, first Bond film. It’s the blueprint for everything that came after. Yeah, maybe it’s not entirely fair to even have it here as there was no one that came before Connery who played Bond on the big screen, but hell, this is my list, and so there we go.

I’m sure someone out there will have a list that looks very different.

Go for it in the comments.

Image via picable.

Robert Lewis grew up under the pier at Venice Beach, CA. There, by firelight, he would entertain the stray dogs with weird and wonderful tales. He’s still telling stories, but now he lives in a place with walls, a roof, and cases of red wine. Crime fiction and blues guitar are his things. He blogs over at NeedleCity, and twits sporadically and nonsensically as @robertklewis.


  1. db

    I think that list is pretty much dead on. I’m a little torn about whether Connery or Craig had the best debut — Casino Royale was such a killer reboot of the franchise — but it’s tough to beat Connery’s debut as the best Bond, in the first big-screen Bond movie. If you ignore the huge advantage that gives him — pretending that’s even possible — then he and Craig are just about neck and neck. But how can you ignore it?

    I know the point was to rank the Bond actors’ debut movies, not just the quality of their tenures as 007. But for me, this list works just fine as a general ranking of my favorite Bonds. Connery deserves the top spot; Craig is a very close second; I think Dalton is sorely underrated (due to factors out of his control, like a terrible follow-up to his debut); and Roger Moore absolutely deserves last place behind Lazenby. Sorry, Moore fans — but through most of his Bond movies…he just wasn’t Bond.

  2. Kevin Radley

    Love the shorts pretty much sums things up. Craig’s choice on Casino Royale take the moent and seizes it. Even challenges Bond’s favorite drink. The audacity of of them ,,,,, ( nicely done thourgh ). So what was the drink Criag orders at the Casino, what was the mixture ( parts of / per) and was it shaken or stirred?

  3. Robert K. Lewis

    [b]db:[/b] totally agree. If you really look at the Moore films, they were just horrid. Well, except for The Spy That Loved Me. That was good, except for the clown music as they’re driving along in that clown van.

    The second Brosnan film was really pretty great. Had Michelle Yeoh (sp?) in it, and she did a good job. I didn’t dig the 2nd Craig one though. Felt it was a BIG letdown after Casino Royale.

    [b]Kevin: [/b]It was called “A Vesper”[b], [/b]after the femme fatale.[b] [/b]From the novel, via Wikipedia: “Just a moment. Three measures of [url=]Gordon’s[/url], one of [url=]vodka[/url], half a measure of [url=]Kina Lillet[/url]. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”

    I believe that’s the same recipe D. Craig uses in the film.

  4. Kevin Radley

    Thanks always wanted to know that , now i’m off to rent Casino Royale and drive my Vespa, what a second its a “Vesper”….. oppppps. After digging around and reading a couple of quotes from the book,,,, hummmmm seems i need to re-read these puppies again. At my age I need to re-visulaize my sauve content. NOw i just need to find “Kina Lillet” , Bev Mo perhaps.

  5. MoJones

    Might have to agree with you here. Now if it were by looks I say Connery (thanks Mom), Craig then Lazenby, then I don’t care.

    Quick… best Bond ski chase scene? His Majesty’s Secret Service or The Spy Who Loved Me? Perhaps even For Your Eyes Only. I do love the BASE jumping and total “Bond-age” of TSWLM!

    If you were going to re-read, which book would you start with?

  6. Robert K. Lewis

    God, I just saw your comment. Been under a rock for weeks. I’m actually re-reading From Russia With Love again, as that’s my favorite.

    Regarding your other question? Man… that’s a toughy. I would have to give it to TSWLM’s ski chase, as I think it was filmed in a much more dynamic way. Was more thrilling.

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