The franchise has been running strong for over 50 years and watching the James Bond movies in order remains the best way to revisit the series. After bigger names like Cary Grant and David Niven turned down the chance to play James Bond in his first big screen adventure Dr. No, a relative unknown named Sean Connery was cast instead. Over the course of Connery’s run, the core elements that would cement the franchise would be established - the exotic locations, the gadgets, the flamboyant villains and so on.
While the popularity of the James Bond series has gone up and down over the decades, the franchise has displayed an impressive ability to reinvent itself. Bond has found himself in grounded, cold war spy thrillers to fighting bad guys in outer space. Each actor who has inherited the role has made it their own, giving every era a different flavor. With 24 movies and counting, rewatching the James Bond movies in order can be a daunting task, but it’s still the best way to experience the series.
From the campy misadventures of Roger Moore to the gritty action thrillers of Daniel Craig, here are all the James Bond movies in order.
Sean Connery (1962 – 1967, 1971)
Connery is still the gold standard other James Bond performers are held to and with good reason. The star originally departed the role after his fifth adventure You Only Live Twice, though he was later lured back for seventh movie Diamonds Are Forever after his successor departed.
Dr. No (1962)
From Russia With Love (1963)
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
George Lazenby was an Australian model who blagged his way into the part of Bond after convincing producers he was a seasoned actor. Despite being offered a seven-movie deal, Lazenby departed after one movie due to his belief the character would be outdated in the 1970s.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Roger Moore (1973 – 1985)
Roger Moore had briefly been considered for Bond in Dr. No and eventually landed the role for Live And Let Die. Moore’s charm and humor would come to define his run and at 7 movies he’s still the longest reigning James Bond star.
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)
Timothy Dalton (1987 – 1989)
Timothy Dalton beat out stars like Sam Neill for Bond following Roger Moore’s retirement. Dalton attempted to introduce a darker shade and make the character closer to Ian Fleming’s books. While fans didn’t take to this at the time, he’s now considered the most underrated Bond.
The Living Daylights (1987)
License To Kill (1989)
Pierce Brosnan (1995 – 2002)
Pierce Brosnan had actually been cast in The Living Daylights, but the producers of his TV series Remington Steele declined to release him from his contract. After Dalton declined to return for GoldenEye Brosnan was offered the role again. While the star made for a great James Bond, his era is considered one of the weakest, with Die Another Day often ranked as one of the worst entries in the franchise.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Die Another Day (2002)
Daniel Craig (2006 – Present)
While some fans were initially upset about a blond actor being cast as Bond, Daniel Craig has proven to one of the best actors to take the part. He’s set to return one final time for James Bond 25 in 2020.
Outside of the Eon productions, there were “unofficial” Bond movies like 1967 spoof Casino Royale where multiple actors - including David Niven and Peter Sellers - played the character. Connery also returned for Never Say Never Again in 1983, which was something of a remake of Thunderball. Since these installments weren’t produced by Eon they’re often disregarded by fans.
It’s kind of fascinating watching the James Bond movies in order, with the series finding its formula in Goldfinger and evolving and adapting to different trends throughout each decade. The continuity is a mess for those paying attention, and some fans have suggested a good viewing order is watching Craig’s Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace first – since those depict his first missions – and then the rest of the series, but starting from the beginning is still the purest way to experience the franchise.
- James Bond 25 (2020) release date: Apr 08, 2020