After watching No Time to Die, the Bond movie
where the impossible happens—James Bond dies
—I saw that the 24-film blu-ray boxed set of the rest of the series was on sale for $60, and so I got it. I’m planning a slow watch (maybe one movie a week or so) of all the Bond films in reverse order, since my previous marathons going back decades almost always started with Dr. No. And so this is a thread to talk about all the Bond movies with spoilers, including the controversial No Time to Die, which I’m seeing again in 3D with a friend tomorrow.

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benbess

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The whole thread has a spoiler warning on it. Why does it need spoilers within the thread?
 

benbess

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No Time To Die Review (SPOILERS)

I’ve enjoyed the more campy Bond movies a lot over many years, but my favorites are still the more serious ones, like From Russia With Love, OHMSS, For Your Eyes Only, Licence to Kill, and Goldeneye.

A few times Daniel Craig’s Bond has been a bit too violent and gritty from my pov, but overall his performance in the role has really won me over. I like that for Craig’s five movies we’ve gotten four different approaches from four different directors—Martin Campbell, Marc Forster, Sam Mendes, and now Cary Fukunaga. I hope that Eon continues to choose directors who put their own flair into future Bond movies—while still staying true to Bond.

I think Cary Fukunaga did an outstanding job directing this movie. I enjoyed how it did so many things from classic Bond movies—the bad guy’s HQ on an island, exotic locations beautifully filmed, action galore, absurd technologies (“Q—hack into Blofeld’s bionic eye” lol), etc.—while also forging new ground.

Cinematographer Linus Sandgren brings visual style to NTTD that’s almost to the level of what Roger Deakins brought to Skyfall.

But I never want them to kill Bond again. Ever. For this one time I think they did a very good job of it, and so it’s the exception that proves the rule. NTTD is a very good emotional rollercoaster from my pov, and so I can forgive them doing this just this once.

Composer Hans Zimmer blends his own music with John Barry’s quite effectively.

I’m apparently one of the few who feels that the chemistry between Bond and Swann is good. I think Léa Seydoux is strong in her role.

Ana de Armas is great as Paloma. And I also enjoyed Lashana Lynch’s performance. Personally I’d like to see a side movie featuring the two of them, but I realize that’s unlikely.

And Raimi Malek is effectively creepy as Safin.

At my first viewing I questioned whether M would approve the Heracles project, since it seemed out of character. But then I wondered how much I really knew about this M anyway? And even good officials sometimes approve things that turn out very badly (drones that kill civilians, etc.). And the CIA was portrayed as being filled with seemingly quite a few bad people in Quantum of Solace. Anyway, I feel that the conflict between Bond and M ultimately worked for me better the second time around. NTTD dials most things up to a 10, and so it heightened the tragedy by making it that Bond was in part sacrificing himself for M’s mistakes.

But I agree with those who say that M needs to be out of a job for this, although I would like them to keep the rest of the MI6 team for the next movie, if possible.

One of the moving moments for me in the film was when Bond says quietly to Nomi, after she offers to help, “Thanks 007.” Perhaps it’s just me, but that’s a performance right there when I was brought to an emotional moment by Daniel Craig saying just that. Throughout his performance is top of the mark. For me, he’s deepened not just his 5-movie tenure, but the whole series with his final Bond.

No Time To Die is now my favorite of all the Bond movies.

I’m also looking forward to a new Bond in four years or so. I’m optimistic they’ll get the casting right somehow. I’ve liked all of the Bonds so far, even though they all are so different.
 
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Tommy R

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I’m apparently one of the few who feels that the chemistry between Bond and Swann is good. I think Léa Seydoux is strong in her role.
I agree! I think she’s great and can’t think of another Bond girl I’d prefer to get to star in TWO Bond films. Her and Craig are wonderful together.
 

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"The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."

This quote is attributed to author Jack London. Ian Fleming used these words in an obituary for Bond when the superspy was presumed dead in the 1964 novel You Only Live Twice.

"Die, Blofeld, die," is also a quote from the novel You Only Live Twice, in a scene that's somewhat similar to what happens in the movie.
 
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benbess

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Might post a revised list after my rewatch. But for now here are my rankings and ratings of the official James Bond movies from EON productions.

No Time to Die: A+
Skyfall: A
Licence To Kill: A
Casino Royale: A-
From Russia With Love: A-
Goldfinger: A-
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: A-
For Your Eyes Only: B+
Goldeneye: B+
The Spy Who Loved Me: B+
Octopussy: B+
Spectre: B
Moonraker: B
The Living Daylights: B
Dr. No: B
Quantum of Solace: B
You Only Live Twice: B
A View to a Kill: B-
Thunderball: C+
Live and Let Die: C+
Diamonds Are Forever: C
The Man With the Golden Gun: C-

I haven’t yet seen Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, or Die Another Day. Planning to watch them in the next month or two.

Anyone else care to post a top 10, top 20, or even top 25 list?
 

Josh Steinberg

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The whole thread has a spoiler warning on it. Why does it need spoilers within the thread?

I’ll just say this. I know you didn’t have bad intentions.

I saw your original post when it first went up and I clicked it, thinking it would be a discussion of all previously released Bond movies, and was immediately greeted with a spoiler that ruined an experience I had been waiting two years to have.

Every other HTF mega thread ever on franchises, like Star Wars or Marvel, has a spoiler free introductory post explaining what the discussion parameters and ground rules were. If your first post had simply said, “We’re going to discuss all of the Bond films, including the most recent one”, like every other comparable HTF thread has done, there would have been zero issue.

What’s done is done, but i wish the first post had gone up differently.
 

John Sparks

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I just purchased the first two volumes with Connery and OHMSS Just need to pick up NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN.
 
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Walter Kittel

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I’ll just say this. I know you didn’t have bad intentions.

I saw your original post when it first went up and I clicked it, thinking it would be a discussion of all previously released Bond movies, and was immediately greeted with a spoiler that ruined an experience I had been waiting two years to have.

Every other HTF mega thread ever on franchises, like Star Wars or Marvel, has a spoiler free introductory post explaining what the discussion parameters and ground rules were. If your first post had simply said, “We’re going to discuss all of the Bond films, including the most recent one”, like every other comparable HTF thread has done, there would have been zero issue.

What’s done is done, but i wish the first post had gone up differently.

Exact same scenario (and thoughts) for me as well. I guess all really means all. You can't unring a bell, so what what is done is done, indeed.

- Walter.
 

Worth

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...Anyone else care to post a top 10, top 20, or even top 25 list?
The Spy Who Loved Me
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
You Only Live Twice
From Russia with Love
No Time to Die
Moonraker
Thunderball
Goldfinger
Skyfall
Casino Royale
Live and Let Die
Tomorrow Never Dies
Octopussy
For Your Eyes Only
Dr. No
The Living Daylights
Goldeneye
Diamonds Are Forever
The Man with the Golden Gun
Quantum of Solace
Spectre
Never Say Never Again
Die Another Day
The World is Not Enough
A View to a Kill
Licence to Kill
Casino Royale (1967)


And the prototype for the Bond films, North by Northwest, would go at the top of the list. The Rock, which is arguably an alternate universe Bond film, would fall somewhere in the middle.
 

Mikael Soderholm

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Never thought of The Rock like that, but it's an interesting thought. Is it because of Sir Sean, or the story (which has nothing to do with MI6, or even espionage, but US military and British SAS)?
I think I would need to rewatch the earlier Bonds before I make a list, I don't even own them all, but I am bidding on a Bond 50 box right now, so fingers crossed ...
 

Walter Kittel

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I haven't given much thought to a complete ranking of Bond films, but I will offer this...

With the exception of Sean Connery, the first Bond film from every actor portraying the character has been my favorite for that version of Bond...

Sean Connery - Goldfinger
George Lazenby - On Her Majesty's Secret Service ( Not a lot to choose from here :) )
Roger Moore - Live and Let Die
Timothy Dalton - The Living Daylights
Pierce Brosnan - Goldeneye
Daniel Craig - Casino Royale (2006)

Perhaps the novelty of the new Bond, at that time contributes to that preference. (?) Of course the down side to this is that my enjoyment of the new Bond tends to degrade a bit as additional films are released. This does vary depending upon the films.

And for the sake of completeness...

David Niven, Peter Sellers, Terence Cooper, et. al. - Casino Royale (1967)

- Walter.
 

Worth

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benbess

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Good stuff in that article, including this....

"In 2012, after Craig co-starred with the Queen in a 007 stunt for the opening of London’s Olympics, came the royal flush of Skyfall, directed by Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes (American Beauty), who cast an echelon of Oscar-winning actors, including Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney—and Judi Dench in an expanded role as M. It was Craig who hand-picked Mendes. “It’s a very showbizzy story,” he told Esquire. “I was at Hugh Jackman’s house in New York. It was a soiree, and Sam was there. I’d had a few too many drinks and I went, ‘How do you fancy directing a Bond?’ And he kind of went, ‘Yeah!’ And it snowballed from there.” Mendes also recruited ace cinematographer Roger Deakins (who in 2017 would win his first Oscar for Blade Runner 2049 after 13 nominations). All Bond movies revel in eye candy, but none has been so profoundly gorgeous as Skyfall, which unfolds as a suite of moody compositions, from liquid neon vistas of Shanghai to the moors of Scotland. The plot involves a disastrous mission in Istanbul, after which Bond goes missing and is presumed dead, while the identities of MI6 spies are leaked on the internet. When Bond resurfaces, his loyalty to M is challenged with secrets from her past, and her tragic death seals the story with a surge of high tragedy that goes far beyond the Bond formula. As for Craig, the way he described his character, he could be talking about Hamlet—suffering from a “combination of lassitude, boredom, depression [and] difficulty with what he’s chosen to do for a living.” The actor, however, finally settles into his career choice as if to the manor born."
 

Tommy R

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Anyone else care to post a top 10, top 20, or even top 25 list?
I’ll give it a go. But NTtD will most likely change eventually as I’ve still only seen it once. I really need a good few watches over time before a Bond film solidifies it’s impression on me. Also, I will be going in reverse order, worst-to-best. Just prefer ranking lists like that.

25. A View to a Kill - A pretty easy dead last pick. Beyond boring and dull. I will say in slight defense of it, that it’s got a fun opening teaser and the finale on the Golden Gate bridge is pretty cool, and Christopher Walken was born to be a Bond villain. The rest is just not good. Great song though.

24. Die Another Day - Almost tied for absolute worst, this one actually starts out really strong. Seriously some cool and interesting choices here, but after the first 20 minutes or so it steadily goes to crap for the rest of the movie. I’ll give it an edge over AVTAK since it at least briefly showed promise.

23. The World is Not Enough - This one is pretty bad. Though it does showcase just how great Brosnan was as Bond. He’s pitch perfect here, not to say he WASN’T good in his first two, but here you can see how comfortable he is in the role. Unfortunately he wasn’t given much after GoldenEye.

22. Live and Let Die - A plodding and just plain boring movie, but I’ll give it the chunk that takes place in Louisiana. Pretty fun stuff there. And the cast of villains are great. Wish they were used better.

21. You Only Live Twice - I remember putting it dead last the first time I did one of these lists on a message board years ago. Since then, my opinion hasn’t changed TOO drastically, but there’s some stuff here to appreciate. The volcano lair set is AMAZING, the spectacle of it alone worth giving it a watch. Also like Dr. Loomis as Blofeld, but almost in a sort of unintentional funny way. But the majority of the movie is just sort of a bore.

20. Tomorrow Never Dies - I’ll preface by saying that this, and my last two choices, YOLT and LALD, are almost a three way tie for this spot, but if I have to give each a spot I suppose it’s this particular order. This one is boring and generic, even if un-offensively so, but Pryce makes for a fun villain.

19. Moonraker - This and the next pick are higher than I used to rank them, as they are NOT good Bond movies, but in trying to find good things about them I can sit and enjoy the movie for one reason or another. This movie has a wonderful music score as well as beautiful cinematography. So it can be a peaceful time watching it…until they go into space.

18. Diamonds Are Forever - One could make a good argument that this is the worst Bond ever. But if you look at it as a comedy it’s not so bad. Surprisingly watchable.

17. For Your Eyes Only - Yeah, it was nice getting a down-to-earth Bond film after Moonraker, but I feel this one is a bit too all-over-the-place for it’s own good. It has some notable sequences that are very Bond, but it just isn’t a smooth watch overall.

16. Octopussy - An uneven Bond movie, but it does have some pretty thrilling sequences including the opening teaser, the second half when the plot moves to Germany, and a fun finale. But it just takes too long for the movie to get going, and some of the villain plot just doesn’t make much sense when you break it down. Like FYEO, not the smoothest watch, but it’s can be fun.

15. Quantum of Solace - This was the only disappointing one of the Craig films, but I think I see what they were going for and I appreciate the try. Needed a little more development with the story and characters. And no one can say it was too long.

14. The Spy Who Loved Me - A good solid Bond movie. I don’t have much else to say about it really, other than I’m sorry I don’t like it even more, as it’s commonly near the top of people’s list. I don’t want to use the word overrated, but maybe it’s a matter of I just like the rest of the other movies more.

13. Licence to Kill - Amazing ideas, but a bit longer than it needs to be. It can feel a little like a slog to get through, and can be a visually ugly film at times, but the action is good and plentiful enough to be a pretty fun flick. Also really like the underrated score.

12. Thunderball - I REALLY dig this one. Though I generally appreciate the underwater stuff, I have to admit, it can drag a bit. I think if they could’ve somehow made it less slow it could be up there with Goldfinger. But alas, it’ll have to settle with “close”, which isn’t anything to complain about.

11. The Living Daylights - A great Cold War era spy story, it feels like a bit of a tribute to From Russia with Love. Dalton does Bond great right out of the gates and the movie moves quickly and entertainingly all the way through. Great stuff. But maybe shave off 5-10 minutes.

10. Dr. No - Amazing first film of the series. A great low-key start that leads to a big exciting finish. A little dated (which is fine, it was the first), but I particularly dislike Monty Norman’s score. Luckily they went with Barry after this.

9. Spectre - I liked this one from the first viewing, but it’s gotten even better in the years since it came out. Sam Mendes + Daniel Craig = Bond Heaven!

8. Goldfinger - Usually at the top of every Bond list, it’s easy to see why. It solidified the Bond “formula” and it’s crazy entertaining, mostly thanks to Goldfinger himself. I personally think it drags a little at times, but that doesn’t hold it back from being a classic.

7. The Man with the Golden Gun - I unapologetically LOVE this one! And thanks to some of the other posters here I know I’m not alone. And YES, I put this above Goldfinger. Deal with it!

6. No Time to Die - This (and sort of Spectre too) I found really hard to place on the list. They still feel fresh and I’m sure they’ll migrate around if I make a list again some day.

5. Casino Royale - This really blew me away back when it came out. An absolutely amazing start to a new era of Bond.

4. GoldenEye - This is a bit of a bias pick, and it was the first Bond movie is ever saw. I just absolutely love it.

3. Skyfall - As I said with Spectre, Mendes and Craig make amazing Bond movies.

2. From Russia with Love - One of the best Cold War spy stories ever concocted, and made even better in this adaptation of the novel. Close to perfection, if sort of an unconventional Bond outing. Not to say that’s a bad thing at all, though.

1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service - Epic. Exciting. Heartbreaking. The best. Lazenby is surprisingly good, if a little stiff at times, but he really showed potential.