Six actors have portrayed the MI6 00-agent James Bond. Who played him the best?
In the Eon Productions franchise of James Bond films, six actors have played the spy: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.
How do these portrayals stack up to one another? Here is a ranking of the actors, from worst to best.
6. George Lazenby (1969)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a fan-favorite Bond adventure. However, Lazenby’s portrayal is less than stellar, especially coming right off of the first batch of Sean Connery films. Lazenby, an Australian model, didn’t quite have the acting chops to helm a franchise film. His tenure only lasted the one film, and it is hard to speculate what would have happened to the James Bond franchise if he had stuck around.
5. Pierce Brosnan (1995 – 2002)
Brosnan opened his James Bond career with another fan-favorite addition to the genre: GoldenEye. This film also is famous for leading to one of the best first person shooters of the time on the Nintendo 64 console. However, Brosnan’s time as Bond also saw two of the weakest installments in the franchise: The World is Not Enough and, what many consider to be the worst Bond film in the series, Die Another Day. Because of this, and the middling Tomorrow Never Dies, Brosnan cannot move higher on this list than the fifth spot.
4. Timothy Dalton (1987 – 1989)
Timothy Dalton only appeared in two Bond films: The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill. In some ways, they are a precursor to the Daniel Craig Bond films of today. They are moody and, at times, dark. And Dalton’s Bond can be a vengeful brute. Although both of his films are personal favorites of mine, they do not work off of the established James Bond formula, and Dalton lacks the finesse and suaveness of other Bond actors.
3. Roger Moore (1973 – 1985)
Roger Moore played Bond in the most films (I’m not including the non-Eon Bond film Never Say Never Again). He had some strong installments, certainly. However, he also aged into the role with little grace. By the time he appeared in his final film, A View to a Kill, Moore was 57 years old. This age shows in Moore’s later films (particularly when you compare his age to those of the “Bond girls” he is paired with). A View to a Kill, Octopussy, and Moonraker are some weaker additions to the franchise, and they all were headed by Moore.
2. Daniel Craig (2006 – )
Craig is responsible for redeeming Bond to a mainstream audience after Die Another Day. Casino Royale is one of the best–in some peoples’ opinions the best–Bond film in the franchise. And Skyfall was a major success both critically and financially. However, fans were not hot on Quantum of Solace, and the most recent film, Spectre, has been met with tepid reviews. Craig certainly embraced the role of Bond strongly, and, for the most part, he plays the part wonderfully. Still, he has had his stumbles.
1. Sean Connery (1962 – 1967, 1971)
Connery is Bond. He made Bond the character we know and love today. He is the reason Bond is a household name. His portrayal of the spy is perfect with his dry wit and seamless suaveness. Not all of his films are gems, and his performances waned as his career as the spy rolled to a close. However, he helped create an iconic character. Without him, Bond on film would have been a very different thing.
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