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.