It has been a long time coming, but (as of this writing) the 25th James Bond film No Time to Die will finally be released on September 30th 2021, in the UK and on October 8th, 2021, here in North America. That gives you about a month to catch up on the franchise, and here’s where you can do just that! Below you’ll find links to buy, rent, or stream each of the 24 official (and 2 non-official) James Bond films.
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Official James Bond Films
Dr No (1962)
The one that started it all, and still a classic in its own right. Dr No is a much tighter spy film than many that followed in the franchise, but it laid all the groundwork for the continuing franchise, and Sean Connery was just effortlessly cool.
From Russia with Love (1963)
My personal favourite Sean Connery starring Bond film, From Russia With Love strikes the perfect balance between cool spy film and over the top spy film in only the way that great James Bond films can.
For better or for worse, Goldfinger is the prototype for the James Bond film we have today. It established the cartoon villain, the overly elaborate plot, way more gadgets and hammered home the ingrained sexism of the franchise. Yeah, I said it. Still, a classic villain makes this one endlessly rewatchable.
With Goldfinger being a tough act to follow, Thunderball is definitely a change of pace. I, personally, have always liked it. This one shares a director with From Russia with Love, so while on the one hand, it dials back the more cartoony elements, it also has James Bond nearly killed by a robot sex-machine. True story!
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Completely over the top, more than a little bit racist, and overly sexist even by this franchise’s standards, but with arguably the best villain in the entire franchise in Donald Pleasance’s Blofeld. A mixed bag but worth revisiting for that alone.
On Her Magesty’s Secret Service (1969)
One of the best movies in the franchise, but also the red-headed stepchild of the franchise. This one feels, in retrospect, ahead of its time, but with its one-off performance by George Lazenby and a strong female lead (whom Bond marries) in Dianna Rigg’s Teresa, it has rightfully been re-appraised in recent years.
Diamonds are Forever (1971)
This is the first Bond film to go full gonzo comedy, and … well, I don’t know if it worked in 1971, but it has never worked for me. The worst Blofeld, the worst plot, the worst Connery performance, and way too goofy for its own good. But, like, here it is if you like.
Live and Let Die (1973)
The first film in the Roger Moore era is more than a little racist and leans a little too hard into trying to make sure you know he’s playing the same character, but it’s also not without its charms. Yaphet Kotto is pretty great as the bad guy, even if the movie doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be.
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Maybe the dumbest Bond girl and the weirdest Bond villain, but anything with Christopher Lee in it can’t be entirely bad. Plus, a pretty bangin’ song.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
One of the strongest in Roger Moore’s run, and the first one to really embrace his lazy playboy Bond persona, The Spy Who Loved Me still holds up as great today. Plus, there’s an underwater car!
Ok, hear me out on this: Moonraker is pretty good. It’s goofy as hell, but at least it knows that. Drax is an excellent villain with some incredibly quotable lines, and while Dr Goodhead is an unfortunate name even for a Bond girl, she’s smart and capable.
Sure, it’s capitalizing on Star Wars, but what wasn’t in 1979?
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
My personal favourite Moore era film, a smaller stakes spy film that dials back literally everything. One of the worst supporting performances in the franchise here and one of my favourite standoff moments between Bond and the ultimate villain of the piece. I love it.
Octopussy is a weird movie, and to this day, I don’t know that I could tell you exactly why the people in the climax of the film are all allied together. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it does have Moore in a clown costume, so it has that going for it.
A View to a Kill (1985)
Roger Moore was starting to age out of the role here, but how can you go too far wrong with Grace Jones and Christopher Walken as the villains? Plus, I love the scene where Walken full on says the title of the movie. So ridiculous, so awkward, but so great.
The Living Daylights (1987)
Reinventing Bond for the late 80s, Timothy Dalton gets one of the best films in the whole franchise. I love all the updates here, and I love this film, and I wish Dalton had done more films.
License to Kill (1989)
Dalton, of course, also did this one, which is fine. It’s fine. I mean, it’s not great, but I appreciate what they were trying to do here in sending Bond on a more personal mission. Plus, it has a baby Benicio del Toro in it.
Pierce Brosnan started his run as the character with one of the best films in the franchise. It nails the balance between spy thrillers and cartoon action movies and has a compelling villain. You love to see it.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
In some ways, the villain being a media magnate obsessed with controlling the narrative of the news feels oddly prescient today, and Michelle Yeoh was largely introduced to 90s audiences through this film, so how can you hate it? Also, Jonathan Pryce hamming it up as the villain? Excellent.
The World is Not Enough (1999)
One of the more derided supporting performances in the franchise and one of the more cartoony bad guys in the franchise (and no, those aren’t the same person), but at least it’s topical with its plot being about an oil pipeline.
Die Another Day (2002)
Once again, the franchise goes full cartoon, and it doesn’t really work. Invisible cars and sky lasers and a waste of Halle Berry, oh my! Not to mention how much CG there was. But then again, Rosamund Pike is in this, and if you like the cartoony ones, then there is definitely something for you here.
Casino Royale (2006)
It’s kind of amazing how well Casino Royale managed to soft-reboot the franchise and bring it into the new century. Yes, there are gadgets, but they all make sense (as in, they all feel interesting and cool but also general-purpose enough that they don’t feel crafted specifically for something that will happen later. Remember when people were mad that Daniel Craig is blond? Wild times!
Quantum of Solace (2008)
People don’t like this one, but I think that’s unfair. Yes, its production was messed up by a writers strike, but it’s also maybe the only direct sequel in the entire franchise and viewed back to back with Casino Royale offers a pretty compelling arc for Craig. Could it be better? Yes. Is it bad? Nope!
Another great entry, because a great villain is what we want in these films, even if that villain’s plan is overly complicated (and draws pretty direct inspiration from a popular superhero movie).
Javier Bardem is always a win.
James Bond is always apeing the day’s trends, but this one trying to establish the Craig era as an interconnected universe really falls flat. However, that fight with Dave Bautista on the train is an all-timer.
Unofficial James Bond Films
That is all of the official James Bond movies for you, but there are two more unofficial entries in the franchise, so here they are.
Casino Royale (1967)
True story: this movie is a hole in my movie canon. I’ve never seen it. I probably should. I hear it’s …. something.
Never Say Never Again (1983)
The story of Never Say Never Again, which is the result of a rights battle between the Fleming estate and the guy who owned the rights to Thunderball, is more interesting than the actual movie, which is just a remake of Thunderball. It is, however, Sean Connery’s last time in the role, so that’s notable, even if he was clearly starting to age out of it.
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