The Swan’s Top 5 Bond Movies

James Bond 007. British secret agent. Lover. Fighter. But, practically an all-round action hero. In the twenty four films spanning over four decades, six actors have had the shining opportunity to play Bond. Now, when the Crow asked me to list my top 5 favourite Bond movies, I wasn’t exactly spoilt for choice. There are five films that come to the top of my head whenever I think about Bond. Not just because I’ve liked the series at the tender age of 6 (Licence To Kill was the first Bond movie I properly got into. A violent, dark entry, but the action and memorable dialogue got me hooked).

With that out of the way, let’s reload our Walther PPKs and begin.

5

Goldfinger [1964]

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Yeah, it’s everyone’s favourite, but I find it entertaining all the same. In this glistening third entry, Bond (Sean Connery) is keeping tabs on Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe, dubbed by Michael Collins in the movie), who wants to blow up Fort Knox with a radioactive bomb and increase the value of his own gold fifty-eight times. Hmm, that’s one way to get rich. This is the film that pretty much had the standard elements of the Bond formula : pre-credits sequence laced with action, one liners, henchmen with specific quirks (e.g. Oddjob and his steel-brimmed hat) vehicles laced with gadgetry e.g. the famous Aston Martin DB5. I only have a few grievances with this movie. First off, Bond himself doesn’t do very much in this movie and gets himself captured a lot. Secondly, that scene with Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) is quite disturbing. Still, it’s an entertaining watch and the theme song by Shirley Bassey is catchy as hell.

4

Goldeneye [1995]

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Another good Bond movie and….it was a very good video game for the Nintendo 64 back in the day. Pierce Brosnan debuts as 007 and this entry sees him investigating the theft of a Russian weapons system called GoldenEye (go figure). Not only does it have the classic elements of the Bond formula, but it sees him pitted up against his former friend, Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean – yes, spoiler alert: he dies in this too. Deal with it) and Xenia Onatopp (Famke Jannssen). Man, that Xenia character has corrupted me at a very young, impressionable  age. Man, if I wanted to be murdered, I’d like to look in the snarling, horny face of a pyschotic pretty woman while she crushes me to death with her strong thighs. Yeah, anyways, sorry about that. Moooving on….

3

The Spy Who Loved Me [1977]

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Roger Moore makes his third appearance as Bond, as he teams up with a Russian agent, Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) to take on underwater-obsessed pensioner, Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens), and his steel-toothed henchman, Jaws (Richard Kiel). Stromberg’s plan is pretty simple: start World War Three between America and Russia, cause total worldwide chaos and rule a new civilization “unda da sea” (take it away, Sebastian). It’s a bit of a retarded scheme, but that doesn’t stop The Spy Who Loved Me from being a good film.

Moore fits in the role of Bond comfortably, as he delivers his one-liners after dispatching a henchman. Not only that, Spy is a movie that fits the prototype of a classic Bond movie: Standard, but entertaining espionage with action, fit ladies, gadgets and gigantic supervillain lairs. I also like that fight between Bond and Jaws on the train. It creates a lot of tension and suspense, especially since Jaws isn’t exactly easy to defeat. All in all, this film’s one of my favourite Bond movies and is a recommended watch for anyone wanting to get into Bond (well, as are the other movies I mentioned on this list, too.)

2

Skyfall [2012]

James Bond: Skyfall (2012) Blu-ray Screenshot

After a fantastic reboot and a Bourne-style film for the first two Craig entries, this movie slowly goes full circle into returning to the Bond we know and love. 007 (Daniel Craig) is chasing a villain (Ola Rapace) across Istanbul in order to pick up a list containing agents embedded in terrorist organisations. The mission goes tits up and Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) accidentally shoots Bond. This puts M (Judi Dench) in a shit-load of trouble, as she’s under pressure by Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) to resign as head of MI6. Quelle surprise! It turns out Bond is alive and after “passing” some evaluation tests, he comes face to face with Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). Silva has it in for M, as she sold him out to the Chinese government. What a nice woman, she is (!).

I really liked Skyfall. It had that grittier feel from the earlier Craig movies mixed in with the tropes from the classic Bond movies. Shame the follow up (Spectre) didn’t match up.

1

The Living Daylights [1987]

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Now, we come to my favourite Bond film. This entry has theatre actor Timothy Dalton fill the role of James Bond, as he comes to the aid of a Russian general, Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe) who’s defecting from the KGB. Only problem is that the sniper who’s trying to stop Koskov from defecting is his girlfriend, Kara Milovy (Maryam D’abo). Bond keeps tabs on Kara and throughout the course of the movie, is caught up in a complicated opium-for-weapons deal. Dalton brings a lot of energy and drama into the role of Bond, as he wanted to play the character close to how he was presented in the Ian Fleming novels. Since the script was originally meant for Roger Moore, Dalton’s one-liners seem somewhat forced. Nevertheless, he manages to pull it off and he even did his own stunts in the action scenes. Case in point: The pre-credits sequence (set in Gibraltar) has Bond chase a baddie, by hanging on to the roof of a Range Rover!

The main villains (Koskov and Brad Whitaker, played by Joe Don Baker) are a bit of a let down and aren’t very memorable. They seem more like inept criminals than anything else. At least the heavy, Necros (Andreas Wisniewski – the silent blonde guy in Mission Impossible and the first villain to die in Die Hard) compensates for them. He’s got a unique way of doing away with his enemies: garrotting them with earphone wires. Not sure I’d want to die while listening to The Pretenders, but I digress. All in all, The Living Daylights has a good storyline, terrific action scenes and a cracking theme song by a Norwegian synth-pop band, a-ha (♫Take On Me…♫). If you’ve never heard a-ha’s take on a Bond tune, here you go.

 


So, there you have it. That’s my top five Bond movies. I do wish someone would watch them with me in the near future. Any takers? Actually, let’s not. I’d probably annoy you by quoting the dialogue left, right and centre!

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