This James Bond film is the one you must watch first. Here is why


Movie posters for No Time to Die displayed at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas during CinemaCon on Aug. 26, 2021.

Right here comes No Time to Die, aka Bond 25. 


Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Pictures

The James Bond movie franchise is a popular culture establishment. and it is given us one of many best-known movie characters of all time. By the 2 dozen or so movies that includes 007 — starring six completely different actors, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig — we have witnessed the exploits of a suave, fashionable undercover agent and been wowed by spectacular stunts and beautiful locales. Even when you’ve by no means seen a Bond film, you absolutely know one thing about 007: the timeless pose (man in a tux, pistol in hand), the catchphrase (“vodka martini, shaken not stirred”), the villainous Blofeld lampooned as Dr. Evil.

Now the subsequent movie is almost upon us: No Time to Die, aka Bond 25, arrives in movie theaters in just a matter of weeks. The final trailers for the film at the moment are out, and beginning Sept. 7, Apple TV Plus can be displaying a 46-minute documentary, Being James Bond, about Craig’s time because the tremendous spy. After that, we’ll all be looking out for who’ll be tapped to step into the function as the next James Bond; the hypothesis about that’s already a cottage business. 

So this can be a nice time to get reacquainted with 007, or take your first plunge into the franchise. However the place precisely do you begin? The Bond movies received going with Connery in Dr. No all the best way again in 1962; it is a spirited outing however from a really completely different period of moviemaking. Over time, there have been critical phases and foolish phases, and Pierce Brosnan provides you a really completely different Bond from Connery, Craig or Roger Moore. Film followers have robust emotions about who played Bond best (and worst).

I received started watching back in the Connery era, so I am eternally bonded to these motion pictures. However for up to date audiences, I am going with a unique advice for which Bond film to observe first, and the place to go from there.

Daniel Craig as James Bond

Daniel Craig means enterprise as MI6 undercover agent James Bond, aka 007.


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Begin with On line casino Royale, Daniel Craig’s debut

Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond is a terrific spy/motion film, interval. It is that heart-poundingly good. However On line casino Royale (2006) additionally did what no earlier Bond film might do: It utterly rebooted the franchise, blowing up a system that many noticed as performed out, with far-fetched gimmicks and belabored puns, even because it remained a gentle field workplace draw. It is primarily based on Ian Fleming‘s very first Bond novel and provides us Bond very a lot as he was launched to the world. It stays true to that unique story in lots of important methods (not an indicator of Bond motion pictures generally) whereas on the identical time updating it for contemporary audiences attuned to the Jason Bourne and Mission: Not possible motion pictures.

Craig himself delivers all of the muscle and menace the character deserves, in line with Fleming’s depictions and as measured towards Connery, nonetheless the usual by which all different Bonds are invariably judged. There’s nothing glib about this Bond, and if he does look good in a tuxedo, you at all times know there is a brute inside able to battle the baddies. You be taught proper off the bat how he earned his double-0 (license to kill) score, then it is off to a spectacular chase and gunfight. That is simply within the first 18 minutes.

See additionally: James Bond villains build the best lairs, from volcanoes to space

Excessive factors, too, for a nasty villain in Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre, Judi Dench as Bond’s no-nonsense boss M and Eva Inexperienced as Bond’s feminine foil.

On line casino Royale additionally opens the door to the robust sequence of flicks that comply with — Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015), with No Time to Die ready within the wings. There’s extra than simply motion right here: There’s an arc that leads us deeper into Bond’s previous and the way it drives him within the right here and now.

Comply with up with From Russia With Love / Goldfinger

This complete franchise received going with Connery, so you possibly can’t go fallacious beginning there. However for now let’s skip the very first film, Dr. No. Not that there is something fallacious with it, however the two motion pictures that adopted are extra definitive — they’re usually the highest two in lists of the very best Bond motion pictures. Choose both of those and also you’re getting completely top-shelf Connery, the person who outlined Bond and who was the center of the franchise when it exploded right into a phenomenon.

From Russia With Love (1963) provides you an honest-to-goodness, old school spy story, with no tech wizardry to talk of and no evil plan to destroy the world. It is Bond on an intimate scale, a character-driven story of our spy, the girl despatched to seduce him and the murderer (a buff and square-jawed Robert Shaw) assigned to take him down. (It additionally provides us our first glimpse of Blofeld, the recurring uber-villain.) Within the most interesting Bondian custom of exotic locales, this one cozies as much as Istanbul and takes a memorable experience on the Orient Categorical. The struggle scene within the practice compartment is rightfully a traditional.

Sean Connery with Aston Martin DB5

Sean Connery appears to be having fun with himself. Why not, when you possibly can drive the long-lasting 1964 Aston Martin DB5, his co-star in Goldfinger.


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Then alongside got here Goldfinger (1964), the third film. This one ratcheted issues up and just about set the splashy tone for all the flicks up until Craig arrived — the outlandish plot (set off a nuke to irradiate the gold at Fort Knox), the over-the-top villain and henchman, the Aston Martin DB-5 sports activities automotive tricked out with machine weapons and ejector seat, the laser with which Goldfinger memorably threatens 007 (“No, Mr. Bond. I anticipate you to die”). Plus: One of many best theme songs of the sequence.

Connery is dashing, virile, devilish, supremely assured — every part you’d anticipate from a contemporary motion hero, partly as a result of he was the template.

See additionally: The aircraft of James Bond: Little Nellie, a Vulcan bomber and a Concorde

Take a deeper dive into Bond

I might advocate getting a handful of Craig and/or Connery motion pictures beneath your belt earlier than venturing out extra extensively. Greatest to observe the Craig installments in sequence, however the Connerys (just like the Moores, Daltons and Brosnans) you possibly can watch in any order. Keep on with the 5 Connery movies from the 1960s earlier than trying towards his two comeback efforts. The early motion pictures are very a lot of their time, in fact, so when you may chuckle on the quaintness of the tech and the fashions and the cinematography, it’s possible you’ll cringe a bit at a few of the ethnic depictions and sexual mores.

The opposite Bonds: Get to know them, too

Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan are the 2 horses moreover Connery and Craig. Moore introduced a lighter contact to Bond over the course of seven movies all through the 1970s and midway into the 1980s. They’re principally romps, actually, by no means too darkish and sometimes veering into the downright foolish, with ever extra outlandish stunts and conditions — he even makes it into area, in 1979’s Moonraker, at the beginning of the area shuttle period. An excellent Moore automobile to start out with is For Your Eyes Solely (1981), which is likely one of the extra grounded tales from his run.

Brosnan picked up the baton within the mid-1990s and starred in 4 movies. Extra muscular than the Moore motion pictures, they continued the custom of ultra-spectacular stunts and groaner puns. It was regular work and enduring field workplace attraction, if not fairly at peak ranges. Your finest guess: Goldeneye (1995), Brosnan’s first outing.

Extra within the footnote class are Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby. Dalton made two motion pictures within the late 1980s, and it was a little bit of a grim flip. Flip a coin, however hope that it turns up The Residing Daylights. For a extra intriguing entry, attempt Lazenby’s one go at it, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), the producers’ first stab at casting a unique actor as 007. It is the one wherein Bond will get married — to Diana Rigg, no much less.

James Bond motion pictures in chronological order

Within the official Bond canon — the movies made by Eon Productions, beginning with Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli, and persevering with with others within the Broccoli clan — there are 25 movies, together with the upcoming No Time to Die. Due to licensing points, there have been two different, non-canonical motion pictures, together with (confusingly) one starring Connery, for a grand whole of 27.

Sean Connery

David Niven, et al.

George Lazenby

Roger Moore

Timothy Dalton

Pierce Brosnan

Daniel Craig

Enjoyable reality: On line casino Royale has been filmed Three occasions

There have been three variations of On line casino Royale, all radically completely different. We have already gone over the Daniel Craig model, a powerful contender for finest and most definitive Bond film ever. 

Do not confuse it with the 1967 model of On line casino Royale that is each a spoof and a god-awful big-budget mess of a film. It is an odd mix of Bondian motifs, old-time Hollywood stars and then-trendy psychedelia. The plot, akin to it’s, entails making an attempt to idiot the unhealthy guys with quite a few completely different folks claiming to be James Bond, together with David Niven (the actual Bond), Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and former “Bond Lady” Ursula Andress.

Then there’s the true footnote, and completely not a Bond film, the 1954 adaptation of Casino Royale for an American TV anthology sequence known as Climax! It is a roughly 52-minute episode wherein American actor Barry Nelson performs the hero as “Card Sense Jimmy Bond,” an agent for the “Mixed Intelligence Company” whose supply tends towards watered-down Sam Spade. The spotlight: Peter Lorre performs the villain, a sad-eyed and shopworn Le Chiffre.

Laughing issues: The James Bond spoofs

Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me movie poster

Within the Austin Powers motion pictures, Mike Myers spoofs each Bond and his archnemesis, Blofeld.


Jody Cortes/Getty Pictures

As soon as you have seen just a few Bonds, particularly those from the Connery and Moore eras, you will have a wealthy lode of references for the various, many Bond spoofs over the a long time. 

How highly effective a maintain has Bond had on the Hollywood creativeness? It introduced Mike Myers to the height of his fame with the Austin Powers motion pictures, which received began in 1997 however drew closely on the ’60s and ’70s Bonds. The primary Johnny English film, with a comically inept Rowan Atkinson, did not come until 2003. You may discover homages to Bond in every part from the Kingsman franchise to the Despicable Me motion pictures (particularly the primary one) to 2019’s Spies in Disguise, an animated comedy with Will Smith as a tuxedo-wearing, gadget-equipped undercover agent (who will get became a pigeon).

For a deeper album reduce, look out for a pair of flicks from the 1960s — Our Man Flint and In Like Flint — wherein James Coburn provides a goofy-brilliant flip as a really Bond-like undercover agent. That period introduced a complete host of TV exhibits that very entertainingly mined the identical soil — The Man From UNCLE, Get Good, I Spy, The Wild Wild West — after which served as fodder for film reboots in more moderen years.

Even Arnold Schwarzenegger received into the sport, within the James Cameron-directed True Lies (1994).

Literary issues: The James Bond books

James Bond received his begin in a sequence of novels by Ian Fleming — 12 of them, plus a smattering of brief tales. The primary novel, On line casino Royale, got here out in 1953, lower than a decade after the top of World Struggle II, throughout which Fleming gained first-hand data of spies and spying. It is value choosing up one or two of the books if just for the comparability with the flicks — which diverge wherever between a bit and “lose every part however the title.” 

Attempt On line casino Royale for certain, or perhaps From Russia With Love (President Kennedy famously was a fan) or On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Be aware: The books are all lots much less flashy than the movies, they usually’re of a very completely different period, the final ones having been written by concerning the time Goldfinger (film No. 3) was hitting the display screen.

There have additionally been Bond books written by different authors. Kingsley Amis kicked issues off in 1968 with Colonel Sun, and was adopted by writers together with John Gardner and Sebastian Faulks.

Little did you watched, however Fleming additionally wrote the kids’s novel Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.

Ian Fleming’s Bond books, in chronological order:

  • On line casino Royale (1953)
  • Stay and Let Die (1954)
  • Moonraker (1955)
  • Diamonds Are Endlessly (1956)
  • From Russia, With Love (1957)
  • Dr. No (1958)
  • Goldfinger (1959)
  • For Your Eyes Solely (1960) — assortment of brief tales together with the title story, Quantum of Solace and From a View to a Kill
  • Thunderball (1961)
  • The Spy Who Cherished Me (1962) 
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963)
  • You Solely Stay Twice (1964)
  • The Man With the Golden Gun (1965)
  • Octopussy and The Residing Daylights (1966) — these two brief tales and, in later editions, two others

Bonus film: The documentary

The Hulu unique documentary Becoming Bond is a unusual and completely fascinating biopic about George Lazenby, who got here out of nowhere to develop into the person who took over for Sean Connery. You get a great take a look at how On Her Majesty’s Secret Service matches into the franchise, however greater than that, a riveting image of Lazenby himself — by means of generally really transferring reminiscences of a 70-something Lazenby and thru re-enactments of his early years which have one thing of a Drunk Historical past vibe.


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