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Bond at His Best 
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Post Bond at His Best
For some time, I have been grappling with the following philosophical question: what is the best James Bond ever made? I have narrowed down the list to the following four titles: From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Casino Royale, and Skyfall. Now, part of me considers the first two titles on this list "Great Movies", a term I employ in the traditional sense, as used by Roger Ebert. However, the more I think about, the more I realize that Royale and Skyfall are far more intelligent, psychological, and technically-proficient productions. Sure, Russia and Goldfinger are more nostalgic, "simplistic" (used with a positive connotation) affairs, yet Royale and Skyfall are great feats of filmmaking, made with greater brains, greater fidelity to the source material, and a better sense of blockbuster storytelling coupled with intellectualism and higher stakes.

That being said, which do you think deserves the higher distinction when it comes to compiling a list of the best Bond films, as well as the best movies ever made: the old, Connery-era films, which were full of fun and often-campy flair, or the new, Craig-era productions, which offer up more complex storylines, sans Quantum of Solace?

Let me know below.


Last edited by Sean on Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:38 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
A while back I compiled the following list on another site:

Quote:
10: For Your Eyes Only. One of Moore's best entries, this one lowers the comic book elements and give us a Bond who can be serious when he must. A rebound after the abysmal Moonraker.

9: Dr. No. The first one to introduce moviegoers to everyone's favorite British secret agent, this debut picture is more low-key than many of the ones that followed, Which is not a bad thing. Connery establishes himself as Bond quickly and makes the role his own. Great cinematography.

8: You Only Live Twice. One of the lesser Connery entires. But also one of the most purely fun ones. Over the top. But not ridiculously so as later ones would go. Donald Pleasance is still the best Blofeld.

7: Tomorrow Never Dies. Easily the best Brosnan Bond film. Not as overblown as his two later entries and more to the point than Goldeneye, this one has 007 up against a Rupert Murdoch style media mogul out to start World War III as a ratings booster. Great action and a great Bond girl in Michelle Yeoh.

6: The Spy Who Loved Me. Definitely the top of the Moore Bond heap, this one has plenty of action and well-done stunts yet also allows room for some well-placed emotion. Moore is at his best here, Barbara Bach is a great Bond girl and Jaws is easily the best henchman not named Oddjob.

5: License To Kill. The most underrated Bond film starring the most underrated Bond actor. Dalton is definitely high up on the Bond list. Not as high as Connery or Craig. But definitely ahead of Moore, Brosnan and Lazenby. Here we see Bond go rogue in an attempt to bring down a South American drug lord who put his buddy Felix Leiter in the hospital. Cary Lowell is a truly tough Bond girl who never has to yell "save me James" and Robert Davi is a superb villain. Even Q plays a substantial role in this more gritty and realistic film. Dalton's Bond is truly dangerous yet still has a sense of humanity.

4: From Russia With Love. The second Bond film and the one that was closer to an actual spy picture than an action film. But thr action is done well, the spy elements work and the villains are appropriately sinister.

3: Casino Royale. As Bond, Daniel Craig is the perfect combination of the ruthless but suave Connery and the dangerous but still human Dalton. Casino Royale introduced him and brought the series back down to earth after it tread into Michael Bay territory in the last Brosnan entry Die Another Day. Casino Royale, like From Russia With Love, focuses greatly on spy stuff yet also has room for action. This one also shows Bond tru;y in love and handles it quite well, just as good if not better than On Her Majesty's Secret Service and has better acting to boot. By far, the king of the recent Bonds.

2: Goldfinger. The Bond with the most classic elements, Connery in top form. P*ssy Galore. Oddjob the defintive Bond henchman. The perfectly villainous title character. The Aston Martin DB5 complete with ejector seats. Fantastic action. Great theme song by Shirley Bassey. What more could you want?

1: Thunderball. Connery at his peak. Some of the best (if a tad overlong) action. Well-done suspnese. Appropriately slimy villainy. One-libners done right. A toss-up between this and Goldfinger, Thunderball wins by a hair.

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Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:20 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
I think I could easily do another series on Bond on top of the one from a few years ago. Talking about these movies never gets old, and I never run out of things to say. Just ordered the bluray set for a pretty decent deal; beyond psyched to own all 23 on bluray in the next week or so.

It's hard to narrow it down to the absolute best. Each film occupies its own fascinating place in the mythos, though the Brosnans less so than the rest I'm afraid. You can debate pretty endlessly about the various qualities of each of them. What I love most I think is the more minute debates. For instance, which is sillier, Golden Gun or Octopussy? Who was the best villain? Which one had the best action overall? Who was the best director? The best Felix, etc. etc.

From my experience, Thunderball is the one which consistently gets brought up for being both overrated and underrated depending on who you ask. Given the right mindset, I can enjoy almost all of them, except the Brosnans are really problematic for me. I think to enjoy Goldeneye, you have to consider the mindset at the time that it was a complete reboot?


Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:36 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
The best Bond film ever made is in my view Goldfinger because :

1) It is the most entertaining: I go to see Bond films as pure escapism, basically to be entertained. As Roger Ebert wrote, Goldfinger (the only Bond film in his great movies list) "this movie is great entertainment". The perfect spy adventure which created a template for Bond films to come that last decades.

2) It has the best actor playing Bond so far at his best: Sean Connery was born to play Bond and here he is in peak form. He could be dangerous and kick ass as well as suave and charming with the ladies and even interacting with villains : The perfect spy.

3) It has the best villain with the best line ever in Goldfinger: Gert Frobe was born to play Goldfinger (even if he was dubbed in English) with the best line:
Quote:
Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No Mr Bond, I expect you to die!

This character had clear simple motivations which it was to be filthy rich but his plan which was also simple to understand was going to create chaos for the western world as an atomic bomb was going to explode for first time in an US populated area (Fort Knox) in the times of the Gold Standard.

4) Plenty of beautiful and cool Bond girls: Who can forget the beautiful Shirley Eaton (Jill Masterson) laying dead in bed covered in gold and let's not forget the sultry Honor Blackman (from the TV series The Avengers) as Pussy Galore.

5) The best gadget ever: The tricked out Aston Martin car is the coolest gadget ever given from Q to Bond

6) The Best henchman: Harold Takata as Odd Job was mute but dangerous with hands and hat. The perfect killing machine for any villain.

7) The most iconic Bond theme: "Goldfinger" which was composed by John Barry and sung by Shirley Bassey

In brief, Goldfinger is a Bond film at his very best !!!!!!!!

Cheers

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Last edited by unwindfilms on Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:45 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
For me, it's between From Russia With Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Both are, in my opinion, the spy genre's most carefully balanced adaptions into cinema--a good combination of grittiness, glamour, and humor.

Though with Skyfall in the mix, I'm not so sure how it all shakes out.

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Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:58 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
For me -

1. Skyfall
2. Goldfinger
3. Casino Royal
4. From Russia With Love
5. Dr. No

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:58 am
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
unwindfilms wrote:
The best Bond film ever made is in my view Goldfinger because :

1) It is the most entertaining: I go to see Bond films as pure escapism, basically to be entertained. As Roger Ebert wrote, Goldfinger (the only Bond film in his great movies list) "this movie is great entertainment". The perfect spy adventure which created a template for Bond films to come that last decades.

2) It has the best actor playing Bond so far at his best: Sean Connery was born to play Bond and here he is in peak form. He could be dangerous and kick ass as well as suave and charming with the ladies and even interacting with villains : The perfect spy.

3) It has the best villain with the best line ever in Goldfinger: Gert Frobe was born to play Goldfinger (even if he was dubbed in English) with the best line:
Quote:
Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No Mr Bond, I expect you to die!

This character had clear simple motivations which it was to be filthy rich but his plan which was also simple to understand was going to create chaos for the western world as an atomic bomb was going to explode for first time in an US populated area (Fort Knox) in the times of the Gold Standard.

4) Plenty of beautiful and cool Bond girls: Who can forget the beautiful Shirley Eaton (Jill Masterson) laying dead in bed covered in gold and let's not forget the sultry Honor Blackman (from the TV series The Avengers) as Pussy Galore.

5) The best gadget ever: The tricked out Aston Martin car is the coolest gadget ever given from Q to Bond

6) The Best henchman: Harold Takata as Odd Job was mute but dangerous with hands and hat. The perfect killing machine for any villain.

7) The most iconic Bond theme: "Goldfinger" which was composed by John Barry and sung by Shirley Bassey

In brief, Goldfinger is a Bond film at his very best !!!!!!!!

Cheers


So. Much. Yes.

I don't even understand how you could compare it to anything else.


Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:46 am
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
The more entries there are in future years in the likeness of Casino and Skyfall, the better the series will continue to look overall.

The thing with Skyfall is that it's arguably the first Bond movie whose action finale is the most emotionally gratifying sequence. The film could have ended in London in the courthouse, and that statement would still be true; which to me makes the Scotland stuff all the more impressive. Even the best Bond films of the past have tended to disappoint me a little in their overzealous, noisy finales. Can't complain about that this time though.

What you really see with Skyfall is an attempt to perfect the formula to a T, and they sure come close to succeeding. Not a reevaluation so much as a reassertion of how cool it is.


Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:56 am
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
unwindfilms wrote:
The best Bond film ever made is in my view Goldfinger because :

1) It is the most entertaining: I go to see Bond films as pure escapism, basically to be entertained. As Roger Ebert wrote, Goldfinger (the only Bond film in his great movies list) "this movie is great entertainment". The perfect spy adventure which created a template for Bond films to come that last decades.

2) It has the best actor playing Bond so far at his best: Sean Connery was born to play Bond and here he is in peak form. He could be dangerous and kick ass as well as suave and charming with the ladies and even interacting with villains : The perfect spy.

3) It has the best villain with the best line ever in Goldfinger: Gert Frobe was born to play Goldfinger (even if he was dubbed in English) with the best line:
Quote:
Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No Mr Bond, I expect you to die!

This character had clear simple motivations which it was to be filthy rich but his plan which was also simple to understand was going to create chaos for the western world as an atomic bomb was going to explode for first time in an US populated area (Fort Knox) in the times of the Gold Standard.

4) Plenty of beautiful and cool Bond girls: Who can forget the beautiful Shirley Eaton (Jill Masterson) laying dead in bed covered in gold and let's not forget the sultry Honor Blackman (from the TV series The Avengers) as Pussy Galore.

5) The best gadget ever: The tricked out Aston Martin car is the coolest gadget ever given from Q to Bond

6) The Best henchman: Harold Takata as Odd Job was mute but dangerous with hands and hat. The perfect killing machine for any villain.

7) The most iconic Bond theme: "Goldfinger" which was composed by John Barry and sung by Shirley Bassey

In brief, Goldfinger is a Bond film at his very best !!!!!!!!

Cheers


You make a good case here. I also love the Oddjob character.

I love how he brushes Bond aside with such ease

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:20 am
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
NotHughGrant wrote:
You make a good case here. I also love the Oddjob character.

I love how he brushes Bond aside with such ease


Oddjob was such an intimidating character than on normal conditions anyone (including Bond) should better stay away but when he is the only obstacle left to avert world's disaster well 007 only finds his way to get on top ;-)

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Last edited by unwindfilms on Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:45 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
It's a curiously shot scene by today's standards. Kind of underplayed, kitchen-sink stuff. But in its own way it magnifies Oddjob's strength

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:58 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
I have mixed feelings about Goldfinger. It stands with the other best Bonds as a great adventure story, but it's sort of like season 8 of The Simpsons. As good as it is, you can see the problematic elements starting to creep in--not that they were problematic at the time, but they were disastrous as the series relied on them more and more. The stuff that makes you laugh in Goldfinger is the same stuff that makes you cringe in later movies.

Goldfinger was the Bond that made it no longer okay for subsequent Bonds to stay fresh and step outside the lines. The virtue of Casino Royale and Skyfall is that they found the courage to do just that.

The virtue of OHMSS is that it seems to pretend that the changes to the series wrought by Goldfinger never happened. Stylistically, it ignores Goldfinger and picks up where the first two left off.

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:04 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
MGamesCook wrote:
The more entries there are in future years in the likeness of Casino and Skyfall, the better the series will continue to look overall.

The thing with Skyfall is that it's arguably the first Bond movie whose action finale is the most emotionally gratifying sequence. The film could have ended in London in the courthouse, and that statement would still be true; which to me makes the Scotland stuff all the more impressive. Even the best Bond films of the past have tended to disappoint me a little in their overzealous, noisy finales. Can't complain about that this time though.

What you really see with Skyfall is an attempt to perfect the formula to a T, and they sure come close to succeeding. Not a reevaluation so much as a reassertion of how cool it is.


Oh the look of Skyfall film was the best in the whole franchise. Beautifully shot by Roger Deakins and something very worthy to maintain and if possible to improve.

Now, Skyfall finishes with all the main characters of the Godfinger template in place: A male "M", Moneypenny and Q (which was introduced earlier in the movie) so this template might be back , of course , in a more modern revamped version provided by Mendes with a Bond where Craig will have the more fun as he ever had before but not as much as Connery HaHa

The Goldfinger template is pure gold and even when it was abandoned after "Die Another Day" still was making money in the box office

"Die Another Day" Boxoffice: $431,971,116 ($551,295,032.83 corrected by inflation)
"Die Another Day" production cost: $142 million ($181 Million corrected by inflation)

Cheers

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Last edited by unwindfilms on Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:10 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
Ken wrote:
I have mixed feelings about Goldfinger. It stands with the other best Bonds as a great adventure story, but it's sort of like season 8 of The Simpsons. As good as it is, you can see the problematic elements starting to creep in--not that they were problematic at the time, but they were disastrous as the series relied on them more and more. The stuff that makes you laugh in Goldfinger is the same stuff that makes you cringe in later movies.

Goldfinger was the Bond that made it no longer okay for subsequent Bonds to stay fresh and step outside the lines. The virtue of Casino Royale and Skyfall is that they found the courage to do just that.

The virtue of OHMSS is that it seems to pretend that the changes to the series wrought by Goldfinger never happened. Stylistically, it ignores Goldfinger and picks up where the first two left off.


OHMSS while praised lately by movie critics performed very poorly in the box office , ranking No 20 in the franchise beating only Dalton and Moore films according Mojo (See the adjusted for inflation chart for US)

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:23 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
Ken wrote:
I have mixed feelings about Goldfinger. It stands with the other best Bonds as a great adventure story, but it's sort of like season 8 of The Simpsons. As good as it is, you can see the problematic elements starting to creep in--not that they were problematic at the time, but they were disastrous as the series relied on them more and more. The stuff that makes you laugh in Goldfinger is the same stuff that makes you cringe in later movies.

Goldfinger was the Bond that made it no longer okay for subsequent Bonds to stay fresh and step outside the lines. The virtue of Casino Royale and Skyfall is that they found the courage to do just that.

The virtue of OHMSS is that it seems to pretend that the changes to the series wrought by Goldfinger never happened. Stylistically, it ignores Goldfinger and picks up where the first two left off.


Very interesting, Ken.

I admit that Goldfinger introduced Bond's excesses. It's like the fabled "gateway" drug.

Today: a bit of grass. In 10 years, crystal meth in your y-fronts

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:51 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
NotHughGrant wrote:

I admit that Goldfinger introduced Bond's excesses. It's like the fabled "gateway" drug.

Today: a bit of grass. In 10 years, crystal meth in your y-fronts


This cracked me up!!! as while I was reading it I compared "Goldfinger" to "a bit of grass" and "Die Another Day" to "Crystal Meth" HaHa

I think that Mendes could tweak the "Goldfinger" template hopefully to a cool modern version ;-)

but what is certain is that James Bond will return :-)

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:02 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
I think the whole Moore era could be compared to crystal meth, Carlos.

(i do like Moore, for what he was)

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:06 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
NotHughGrant wrote:
I think the whole Moore era could be compared to crystal meth, Carlos.

(i do like Moore, for what he was)


Oh with Moore your time frame fits perfectly and still funny as hell HaHa

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:11 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
I grew up with Moore so i have fond memories. But objectively I rank Bonds -

1. Craig
2. Connery
3. Dalton
4. Moore
5. Brosnan

(none have been bad and it's not fair to rank GL on the basis of his one day out)

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:18 pm
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Post Re: Bond at His Best
NotHughGrant wrote:
I grew up with Moore so i have fond memories. But objectively I rank Bonds -

1. Craig
2. Connery
3. Dalton
4. Moore
5. Brosnan

(none have been bad and it's not fair to rank GL on the basis of his one day out)


While going around in YouTube and specialised Bond forums, I realised that all the actors who played Bond have their followers. Still in many online surveys, Connery comes on top (normally Craig second) . Now, I have seen a minority of surveys (particularly in YouTube) where Craig comes on top but they come from very young viewers voting who most of them have not seen Goldfinger HaHa

Of course you have seen all the Bond films as well as I did and I guess at the end it is matter of taste ;-)

I used to despise Craig's portrayal of Bond particularly after Quantum Solace but after Skyfall he has been growing on me no yet to the status of Connery thou HaHa

Cheers

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:31 pm
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