When you think of a spy movie, you inevitably think about 007. James Bond
The Bond series was eventually adapted for the silver screen in 1962, featuring Sean Connery as the famed secret agent. Since then, five other actors have played the Bond character, and it is hostly debated who played him best.
Sean Connery was the first actor to play Bond, Connery’s portrayal actually influenced Fleming to later give the character a sense of humor and a familial backstory that coincided with the Scottish accent the actor brought to the role. Owning the second-longest tenure, Connery appeared in six Bond movies, including:
Dr. No (1962)
From Russia with Love (1963)
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Never Say Never Again (1983) — noncanonical.
After Sean Connery’s departure from the series in 1967, the producers began the search for a new James Bond. They found the highest-paid Australian model at that time in the world George Lazenby. Australian actor George Lazenby was the youngest actor to don the title (at 29 years old). Although signing on for seven Bond films, he only appeared in one bond movie, claiming that the producers treated him poorly. In later interviews, Lazenby expressed that Bond was archaic in the liberated 70s and that he prefers being “a car salesman to a stereotyped James Bond.”
He is the only actor to portray James Bond that wasn’t from the British Isles, and his only role included:
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Roger Moore was the oldest and longest-running actor to play James Bond—beginning his tenure at age 45 with Live and Let Die (1973) and ending his run at age 58 with A View to a Kill (1985).
To cater to the style and tastes of the 70s, Moore’s played Bond starkly different than the character portrayed in Fleming’s novels—leading to the character’s stereotypes of being a debonair playboy with fancy gadgets and a rapier’s wit. Overall, Moore starred in 7 Bond films including:
Live and Let Die (1973)
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
A View to a Kill (1985)
Succeeding the lighthearted humor of Roger Moore’s bond, Timothy Dalton—a fan was original Fleming novels, often seen re-reading the source material when not filming—returned Bond to the dark, more serious character that was in the books. Timothy Dalton’s performance was met with mixed reviews: the critics and fans of Fleming’s Bond lauded the more serious interpretation, however, many moviegoers had become accustomed to Roger Moore’s Bond and criticized the lack of humor.
Despite signing on for 3 bond films, a lawsuit between MGM and the film’s producers that lasted several years caused the third bond film to be canceled. When the issue was finally resolved, Timothy Dalton had lost interest in portraying the character and announced he would not do the third film. The 2 films he did complete include:
The Living Daylights (1987)
Licence to Kill (1989)
After Timothy Dalton’s retirement, Pierce Brosnan (who had been previously considered to play A View to a Kill) assumed the role, and with it, brought some of the humor and with back to the screen. Beginning with GoldenEye in 1995, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond also reflected several of the social changes of the time. Brosnan was the first Bond not to smoke, and he was far less overtly sexual and domineering over women—even being called a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War” from the first female M, Judi Dench.
Despite announcing his intentions and desire to do a 5th film, when contract negotiations stalled, Brosnan ended his run at 4, including:
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Die Another Day (2002)
Also Read | Top 10 James Bond Movies
When it was announced that Daniel had been appointed 007 status, the internet does what it always does—it lost its collective mind. Internet campaigns protested the decision, claiming that the rugged, 5’10’’, blond hair and blue-eyed Craig did not match the tall, dark, suave, and handsome character that Bond was intended to be.
Nicknamed “James Blond” and “James Bland” from various sources, the critics were silenced when Casino Royale was released in 2006. Daniel Craig’s Bond was considered the closest to Fleming’s intended character. The release for the upcoming Bond movie, ‘No time to die’, was originally scheduled for March 31st, 2020, got then postponed to November 12th 2020 and then to April 2nd, 2021, and is now set to October 2021, because of the coronavirus/COVID-19. In an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Craig confirmed that No Time to Die would be his last James Bond film, his films including:
Casino Royale (2006)
Quantum of Solace (2008)
No time to die (2021)
Also read | Who Played James Bond: A Complete History