Which Bond is Best?

I’m really looking forward to Skyfall, the latest James Bond film. The early reviews have been excellent, with some critics saying that it one of best Bond films, if not the best, of all all time. I have also read that some people think it is so good that it may merit one or more Oscar nominations. I must admit it seems to be a very promising film. It was directed by the talented Sam Mendes and brings back Daniel Craig to a role he has really taken ownership of. I was born in the 1960’s and I’ve been a huge Bond fan my entire life, going back to the Sean Connery films of the 1960’s. With all the positive buzz and renewed interest in the franchise I have once again pondered the question of “Which Bond is Best? It is actually a twofold question for me, 1) Which Bond film is the best one of all? and 2) Which actor has done the best job of playing James Bond?

As for the first question I have to go old school and vote for Goldfinger as the best yet, although I thought a couple of others were close, including Casino Royale, the film that introduced Daniel Craig as James Bond. But I still consider Goldfinger the gold standard for Bond films, it had everything you want in an outstanding Bond film:

1) A distinguished performance by the actor playing Bond? Check. Sean Connery delivered a signature performance here.

2) One or more memorable villains? Check. Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) and his henchman, Oddjob (Harold Sakata), were very formidable foes indeed.

3) Bond Girls? This film had a few stunners, with Honor Blackman being the most notable.

4) Gadgets. This film had some good ones, including what may be the most iconic Bond vehicle of all time, Q’s highly modified Aston Martin DB5
5) Theme Song? Shirely Bassey’s Goldfinger has stood the test of time very well and remains the best Bond song imo.

Since I hold Goldfinger in such high regard it will probably come as no surprise that I think Sean Connery’s version is still the best. I think several other actors have played the character really well, but right now I rank the actors who have played 007 in the following order:

1) Sean Connery

2) Daniel Craig

3) Roger Moore

4) Pierce Brosnan

5) Timothy Dalton

6) George Lazenby

I may have to change my rankings after I see Skyfall. We’ll see. No matter how good Slyfall I don’t think I will put Craig ahead a Connery because this is only Craig’s third installment, but he has signed up for two more Bond films, so if he keeps delivering strong performances in the role I may have to rank him ahead of Connery at some point, or at least tie with him, but I don’t think Craig is quite there yet, although I love his reinvention of the character. Best Bond film is another matter. Skyfall may surpass Goldfinger. I’ll tell you what I think in a couple of weeks.

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