Top Ten Worst James Bond Films
Planning a Top Ten Worst Bond films list turned out to be far easier said than done. On review, an awful lot of Bond films are, well… shit. That said, there are some gems in the dirt too. This list ended up being highly polarised, as there doesn’t seem to be anything close to an ‘alright’ 007 flick. There is a definite turning point in the list in terms of quality and entertainment value. If you’re smiling by the time you get to number 1, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.
*This list only features the Eon-produced James Bond films, so no whinging about the lack of Never Say Never Again, or the 1967 version of Casino Royale, because that would be the first time any complained about that, like, ever.*
22. Casino Royale (2006)
The best Bond film. Daniel Craig’s introduction revitalised the series in the wake of Matt Damon’s Bourne trilogy. It was much needed. And very welcome. Martin Campbell directs.
21. Goldeneye (1995)
Another classic that gave rise to one of the greatest video games of all time. Pierce Brosnan’s debut too. For many traditionalists, the perfect Bond film, encompassing everything classic about the character, while modernising his world. Martin Campbell directed this too.
20. The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Brosnan was back in his groove with this thriller, featuring Robbie Coltrane halfway between Fitz and Hagrid, Robert Carlyle halfway between Begby and Albie Kinsella, Sophie Marceau being halfway between lovely and evil, and Denise Richards halfway between guest starring in Seinfeld and divorcing Charlie Sheen.
19. Goldfinger (1964)
Despite having a poster that makes Sean Connery look like an even more intimidating sexual predator, Goldfinger was a brilliant concoction of camp and ridiculous, featuring a plot to rob Fort Knox, which is undeniably cool. Also *ahem* Pussy Galore.
18. The Living Daylights (1987)
Timothy Dalton gave us a Bond who was aggressive, sexy and knew his way around smooth-talking Jihadists. The Living Daylights is actually pretty sweet, and the theme, by the men who brought you ‘Take On Me’, is ace.
17. Live and Let Die (1973)
If you’ve been reading the Bonds, James Bonds articles that have been available on Ramp.ie this past weather, you’ll know Live and Let Die is just too batshit crazy not to adore. It’s awful and awfully entertaining, with Roger Moore at his most vanilla.
16. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Lazenby’s only Bond film saw him slip in and out of the role with little-to-no fuss. The curse of being a one-Bond-wonder might always leave Aussie George as the least-loved 007, but he made a half-decent film out of it.
15. From Russia With Love (1963)
In a rare instance of a sequel being better than the original (even with this franchise), Connery’s second outing was suave, clever and lots of fun. Not even dented in the slightest by the fact Bond is constantly at odds with a man named Number 1.
14. Moonraker (1979)
Weirdly enough, definitely one of the more popular Bond films. If only for Jaws. And the late Desmond Llewelyn’s ‘I think he’s attempting re-entry’ pun at the end. We miss you, Des.
13. Dr. No (1962)
The one that started it all is strangely less iconic or quotable than most every other film in the franchise. Yes, it had a female lead called Honey Ryder, but is otherwise quite forgettable.
12. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Tomorrow Never Dies could have been a lot better had the story not essentially been about Rupert Murdoch trying to start World War 3 to sell a few more News Of The Worlds. This is the point on the list where M started scribbling ‘must do better’ on 007′s debriefs. No, debrief does not mean removing one’s underwear.
11. The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
Even Christopher Lee couldn’t save what is a pretty paltry effort at entertainment. If I’m being generous, I’d say this his is the point where Moore’s Bond plateaued. Just a pity that it happened in the second film of his seven.
10. You Only Live Twice (1967)
Generally speaking, the more Bond flicks Blofeld was in, the worse they got. This is his third-last appearance in the universe. See if you can spot where his lower two appearance are in this list.
09. License To Kill (1989)
Where it all went wrong for Dalton. In just his second film, a mishmash of creativity gone awry and what happens when you reduce a series’ budget. License To Kill prematurely ended the reign of one of the most interesting and violent versions of the character.
08. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
DAF is the point where Connery and Moore’s Bond became one, but using Connery’s body and Moore’s tongue in some sort of Freaky Friday-esque switch. It was universally panned for having a lazy tone best reserved for the latter actor’s forays. Entertaining in a sort of prophetic way though, we guess.
07. Thunderball (1965)
The weakest of Connery’s films, Bond revisits his old friends SPECTRE from Dr No. In fairness, Ian Fleming was being sued whilst he was writing the book and, presumably, he was not in a great mood, probably dooming production of a film conversion before it began.
06. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
The tagline read: “It’s the BIGGEST. It’s the BEST. It’s BOND. And B-E-Y-O-N-D. Almost none of that is true, save for the Bond bit. This was the film that introduced Jaws to the franchise, in an underwater base called Atlantis that kidnaps nuclear submarines. This film is nowhere near as cool as it sounds.
05. A View To A Kill (1985)
Despite Christopher Walken doing his best to ham it up as the bad guy psychopathic microchip industrialist, this film is still about James Bond trying to stop a psychopathic microchip industrialist. This is Al Gore’s idea of a good story.
04. Octopussy (1983)
‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’, but by Christ can you judge a Bond movie by its name. And its cover. The 13th James Bond film was unlucky for all. The film won several international film awards, proving once and for all that hindsight is 20/20.
03. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
02. Quantum of Solace (2008)
Quantum of Solace was the unwanted little brother of Casino Royale. The second film in a one-film story arc. The evil plot was (spoiler!) to steal all of Bolivia’s water. The story goes nowhere, the action is muddier than a Transformers film, the theme song was rubbish and we saw James Bond moping around like a sulky teenager. James Bond, all angsty and miserable? Where’s the verve and the smarmy swagger gone? An absolute mess of a film. The sexist male stereotypes among us will also express disappointment that this is the only film in history where Olga Kurylenko isn’t naked. What are you playing at, James?
01. Die Another Day (2002)
There was nothing good about Die Another Day. Nothing. The plot could fit on the back of a matchbox, the clever wit aspired to one day being as good as on the back of Penguin bars. The bad guys came from North Korea, the easiest place to pick on in the world – it felt like you were watching a film about bullying and being encouraged to cheer for the bully. And the invisible car was as cool as it was plausible. An ageing Brosnan phones in what he knew was easily going to be the worst 007 film, although not by much.
Let’s Break That Down
Using close to no mathematical reasoning, allow us to tabulate just what watching the average Bond films means to you.
Having nothing close to adequate sample sizes notwithstanding, this is how the 007 series ranks by portrayal.
And following on from that, here is the relative average time you waste watching a Bond film
… which we can assure you is in direct proportion to the time well-spent reading this list.