James Bond has a strong case for being the biggest film character in history. While the series surrounding him doesn't hold any box office records, there have been more movies about the charismatic and iconic British agent than any other franchise. Even the Marvel Cinematic Universe is behind Bond in terms of feature films at the moment!
For a series to be around as long as this one, there have to be some beloved installments. According to the review website Rotten Tomatoes, more than 75% of the films in the franchise are certified fresh. On the flipside, though, not every entry is held in high esteem. We're looking at the best and the worst of James Bond 007, according to Rotten Tomatoes. For this list, we're only including the official entries into the series and not the spoof movies.
10 Best: Skyfall (92%)
The most recent film to appear on this list is 2012's Skyfall. By this point, James Bond was being portrayed by Daniel Craig, who has had a great run as the special agent. Skyfall was his third time at the helm and focused on Bond investigating an attack on MI6 set up by a former agent.
Director Sam Mendes was praised for bringing the signature Bond suave coolness back to the movies, while Javier Bardem gave us one of the greatest Bond villains to date. Along with being a critical success, this was the first Bond film to cross the $1 billion mark at the box office. Plus, it featured an Academy Award winner for Best Original Song.
9 Worst: Die Another Day (57%)
There isn't such a thing as lucky no. 20. Die Another Day was indeed the twentieth James Bond film and it came during the Pierce Brosnan era. Released on November 22, 2002, Die Another Day saw Bond work with an NSA agent (played by Halle Berry) to track down a mole in the British government.
A 57% rating doesn't mean that this was a bad movie. The consensus was that this was a lavish film that gave audiences a lot of what they were used to from the franchise. The action was extravagant and featured plenty of cool stunts and special effects. All in all, a fine but unspectacular entry.
8 Best: Dr. No (95%)
We're going way back. All the way to the first James Bond movie. Dr. No was released on October 5, 1962 and was a huge success. it grossed $59.5 million on a minuscule $1.1 million budget. This saw Bond, played by Sean Connery, infiltrate Jamaica to search for a fellow British agent.
It put Bond in the crosshairs of the titular Dr. No, who was out to interrupt America's space launch. This film is considered to have set the standard for the style the franchise would become known for. It blended action, humor, and thrills with ease, plus Connery was great as the smooth agent.
7 Worst: The World Is Not Enough (52%)
Poor Pierce Brosnan. Another one of his films makes the negative side of the list. This one came out in November of 1999 and was the final film before the aforementioned Die Another Day. In The World is Not Enough, James Bond was tasked with protecting the daughter of a billionaire who was assassinated.
During that time, Bond also uncovered a plot involving a nuclear meltdown. If that sounds convoluted and unfocused... well, it was. The plot was quite generic on paper and uneven in the writing. The performances left a little to be desired too, but the action was explosive.
6 Best: From Russia With Love (95%)
A year after Dr. No introduced James Bond to the world of cinema, it was followed up by From Russia with Love. Bond was once again played marvelously by Sean Connery. Here, the agent was sent to Turkey and was tasked with assisting a consulate clerk in an attempt to combat a revenge plot against Bond for killing Dr. No.
This worked as a direct sequel to the first film and was once again a huge success at the box office. It brought in $79 million on a $2 million budget. From Russia with Love is considered to be a sharp thriller that delivers some big action scenes, especially for the 60s.
5 Worst: The Man With The Golden Gun (44%)
Roger Moore is often the forgotten actor to portray James Bond. While that's a shame, films like The Man with the Golden Gun make it kind of understandable. It's one of the more forgettable entries of all 25 movies. In it, Bond hunted down a device that could harness the power of the sun.
While searching for it, he did battle with an assassin named Francisco Scaramanga, who was better known as the "man with the golden gun." The consensus of this 1974 film was that it was middling. The dialogue was a little questionable and the gadgets weren't cool. The villain was strong but overshadowed 007, which is never a good thing.
4 Best: Casino Royale (95%)
Think of 2006's Casino Royale as a reboot for the series. It was the third time that the 1953 novel was adapted and easily the best version. This also marked the debut of Daniel Craig as James Bond. It took us back to the start of Bond's career.
James Bond was given an assignment to bankrupt a villain at a poker game. This was met with widespread acclaim. Casino Royale was considered to be a mature reinvention of the character and featured a stellar performance from Craig. It was also the highest-grossing Bond film to that point.
3 Worst: Octopussy (42%)
While Roger Moore may not have been the most memorable Bond, he did play the role for a long time. His sixth time came during 1983's Octopussy. It saw Bond track down a jewel thief.
It's interesting to note that this film was named after a female character, which wasn't common in the James Bond franchise. That and some of the breathtaking action scenes were praised. Everything else, however, can be considered to be formulaic and ultimately forgettable in Bond lore.
2 Best: Goldfinger (97%)
James Bond got off to quite the start. Three of the top four on this list were the first three films in the franchise. Goldfinger was released in September of 1964. It featured iconic characters like Auric Goldfinger and Pussy Galore, who both helped this become the first Bond blockbuster.
The plot saw Bond investigate Goldfinger and his plan to contaminate the US Bullion Depository. This movie, for some, remains the peak of Bond and cemented who the character would be going forward. There were cool gadgets and legendary lines that have gone on to define Bond.
1 Worst: A View To Kill (37%)
The lowest-rated James Bond film is 1985's A View to Kill. Unfortunately for Roger Moore, it marks his third appearance on the "worst" section of this list. This was his final time playing Bond. There was a simple plot for this one, as it saw Bond try to stop a villain looking to destroy Silicon Valley.
Christopher Walken was praised as the villainous Max Zorin. The rest of the movie wasn't. There were campy jokes aplenty in this outing, while Moore was perhaps too old for the role by this point. His performance and the script both lacked energy in some eyes, making it the low point for the series.