Monday, November 02, 2015

Ranking the Bond Movies through Skyfall

Before SPECTRE comes out this weekend, here's my ranking of all the Bond movies so far (minus the '60s Casino Royal spoof). I'm guessing that some of those rankings will be controversial. For instance, I have Quantum of Solace pretty high and I'm bucking conventional wisdom that Die Another Day is the worst ever. Let's talk it out in the comments if you want.

1. Casino Royale
2. From Russia With Love
3. The Living Daylights
4. On Her Majesty's Secret Service 
5. For Your Eyes Only
6. Quantum of Solace
7. Dr No
8. Thunderball
9. The Spy Who Loved Me
10. GoldenEye
11. Skyfall
12. Licence to Kill
13. The Man with Golden Gun
14. The World Is Not Enough
15. Never Say Never Again
16. Goldfinger 
17. Live and Let Die
18. A View to a Kill
19. Tomorrrow Never Dies
20. Die Another Day
21. Octopussy
22. Moonraker
23. You Only Live Twice
24. Diamonds Are Forever

Just for fun, here's my list based on the accumulated rankings of the individual parts I've been measuring: women, villains, theme song, cold open, gadgets, henchmen, and title sequence. As usual, there's a complicated, Top Secret algorithm for assigning a total points value to each movie. Here's how they fall when measured that way.

1. Thunderball (77 points)
2. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (72 points)
3. Casino Royale (69 points)
4. Goldfinger (48 points)
5. From Russia With Love (46 points)
6. Never Say Never Again (45 points)
7. The Living Daylights (36 points)
8 and 9. [TIE] The Spy Who Loved Me and Skyfall (35 points)
10. A View to a Kill (33 points)
11. Tomorrrow Never Dies (31 points)
12 and 13. [TIE] The Man with Golden Gun and For Your Eyes Only (24 points)
14. Live and Let Die (22 points)
15. Quantum of Solace (21 points)
16. GoldenEye (20 points)
17. Moonraker (14 points)
18 and 19. [TIE] Dr No and Octopussy (10 points)
20 and 21. [TIE] The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day (7 points)
22. Diamonds Are Forever (6 points)
23. You Only Live Twice (4 points)
24. Licence to Kill (0 points)

And for completeness' sake, here are the final Top Ten lists of the various categories.

Top 10 Cold Opens

1. GoldenEye
2. Casino Royale
3. The Spy Who Loved Me
4. Moonraker
5. Thunderball
6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
7. A View to a Kill
8. Goldfinger
9. The Man with the Golden Gun
10. The Living Daylights

Top Ten Theme Songs

1. Skyfall
2. A View to a Kill
3. "Surrender" (end credits of Tomorrow Never Dies)
4. "You Know My Name" (Casino Royale)
5. The Living Daylights
6. "Nobody Does It Better" (The Spy Who Loved Me)
7. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
8. Diamonds Are Forever
9. You Only Live Twice
10. From Russia With Love (instrumental version)

Top Ten Title Sequences

1. Casino Royale
2. Skyfall
3. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
4. Dr No
5. Thunderball
6. Goldfinger
7. GoldenEye
8. From Russia with Love
9. The Spy Who Loved Me
10. Die Another Day

Top Ten Gadgets

1. Lotus Esprit (The Spy Who Loved Me)
2. Aston Martin DB V (Goldfinger and Thunderball)
3. Jet pack (Thunderball)
4. Iceberg boat (A View to a Kill)
5. The Q Boat (The World Is Not Enough)
6. Aston Martin V8 Vantage (The Living Daylights)
7. Glastron CV23HT speed boat (Moonraker)
8. Acrostar Mini Jet (Octopussy)
9. Crocodile submarine (Octopussy)
10. X-Ray Specs (The World Is Not Enough)

Top Ten Henchmen

1. Baron Samedi (Live and Let Die)
2. Fiona Volpe (Thunderball)
3. Grant (From Russia with Love)
4. Nick Nack (The Man with the Golden Gun)
5. Zao (Die Another Day)
6. Gobinda (Octopussy)
7. May Day (A View to a Kill)
8. Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker)
9. Naomi (The Spy Who Loved Me)
10. Oddjob (Goldfinger)

Top Ten Villains

1. Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger)
2. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Never Say Never Again)
3. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (From Russia With Love and Thunderball)
4. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
5. Maximilian Largo (Never Say Never Again)
6. Francisco Scaramanga (The Man with the Golden Gun)
7. Dr. Kananga (Live and Let Die)
8. Le Chiffre (Casino Royale)
9. Raoul Silva (Skyfall)
10. Doctor No (Dr. No)

My Favorite Bond Women

1. Tracy Bond (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
2. Vesper Lynd (Casino Royale)
3. Melina Havelock (For Your Eyes Only)
4. Camille Montes (Quantum of Solace)
5. Kara Milovy (The Living Daylights)
6. Wai Lin (Tomorrow Never Dies)
7. Paula Caplan (Thunderball)
8. Tatiana Romanova (From Russia With Love)
9. Natalya Simonova (GoldenEye)
10. Fiona Volpe (Thunderball)


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

I think people will be less shocked about ranking Quantum so high as they will Goldfinger being so low.

Anonymous said...

"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" has always been my favorite and not just because of Diana Rigg.
The only reason "The Living Daylights" ranked so high on Michael's list is because of the theme song.

Michael May said...

Everyone loves Goldfinger, but I find it extremely overrated. The only reason it ranks as high as it does on my list is that Goldfinger himself is my favorite Bond villain. And that is a cool car. Also, the golf scene is great. But mostly, it embodies all my least-favorite aspects of the series.

Anonymous, you are absolutely right about my deep, abiding love for a-ha, but Living Daylights is also one of the most Fleming-like movies and that's another huge reason I love it. :)

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

Knowing your love of Fleming I shouldn't have been surprised that Living Daylights ranks were it does. My surprise probably comes from ranking it at all since the Dalton era tends to get glossed over in Bond retrospectives like this.

Michael May said...

I love Dalton. I started watching Bond movies during the Moore era, but it was Dalton who showed me that a Fleming-esque Bond was possible onscreen. In every real way, Dalton is my Bond.

Kid said...

I'm afraid that, for me, Dalton didn't work at all as Bond. Firstly, the movies were looking tired by this time, with John Glen's tedious 'point & shoot' direction and derivative and uninspired action scenes. Also, Dalton doesn't have even one good fight scene in either of his two movies. Lastly, he was too narrow-shouldered and had absolutely no muscle definition - as witnessed when he took off his shirt. No physical presence at all (even the stunt arranger said so) and a goofy-looking profile. Looks good in some of the publicity stills, but it didn't transfer to the screen.

Michael May said...

That's fair. One of the most interesting (and cool) things to me about the Bond series is how different fans have wildly different criteria for what makes a good Bond or Bond movie. I was so captivated by the anger and destructiveness of Dalton's Bond that the stuff you mention didn't bother me, but you make a bunch of valid points.


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