Biggest Outlier Film in Each Bond Era?

edited November 2022 in Bond Movies Posts: 12,121
Hello everyone! I apologize if a similar topic to this has been done before, but I have not seen it, and I think it’d be fun to see what everyone thinks is the most different Bond film of each actor’s era. Since Lazenby and Dalton only had 1 and 2 films respectively, I feel they can’t really be counted, though in Dalton’s case, TLD is certainly more “classic Bond”-styled than LTK. Anyways, for the others:

Connery: Diamonds Are Forever
This was a pretty easy one for me to choose. Connery’s first five films are all far more serious in tone, while his final EON film dives headfirst into all-out camp territory that none of his previous films reached. I’ve always said DAF feels a lot more Moore-esque than Connery-esque as a Bond film. For my tastes, I found DAF quite distant from the other official Connery films, in both overall style and quality.

Moore: For Your Eyes Only
Another fairly obvious choice here. FYEO went out of its way in being by far the most grounded and Fleming-esque film in Moore’s zany era, and I think that benefits it greatly. There are plenty of serious moments and classic Bondian stuff scattered throughout all Moore’s other movies, but FYEO is far more consistent in shying away from the fantastical.

Brosnan: Tomorrow Never Dies
Now this one was tough for me to choose from, as I feel like Brosnan’s era is collectively the most “samey” of all the long-running actors. I’m going to go with TND here though, for the simple reason I find it far more workmanlike and traditional than its three more “this time it’s personal”-style brothers. I’m not really positive though if it’s the best choice, and I’m super curious to see other answers for Brosnan.

Craig: Spectre
Amazingly, I’d say Craig is one you could make a good argument for with any of his films, and that his era is the most varied of any actor’s. CR’s origin setup and unique style, QOS’s brevity, SF’s standalone-ness, and NTTD’s heavy drama / ending make them all worthy, but I went with SP for tonal reasons. Far and away, SP is the most lighthearted of Craig’s movies, and also most structured like a traditional Bond movie. I can’t say it all worked for me, but it certainly does stand out when watching them all.

Tell me what you all think! I’d love to see different answers and reasons!


  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    edited November 2022 Posts: 23,039
    Interesting question.

    Connery: DAF
    I have to agree with @FoxRox here. Tonally, as well as in terms of how little the film cares about plausibility, DAF is very different from the first four and still different enough from YOLT to be considered its own quirky little thing. It borders on self-parody in an attempt to be the absolute opposite of OHMSS.

    Moore: MR
    Even more so than its older brother TSWLM, this film seems to have but one goal: to get to its big third-act sets and spectacle as quickly as possible. The trail of clues is paper-thin, a silly sequence of small adventures in exotic locations during which little is learned and very little tension is created. LALD and TMWTGG take Moore on some tongue-in-cheek, small-scale investigations, while FYEO, OP and AVTAK try to find a more balanced, "serious" and at times cynical tone (even if AVTAK suffers from one of the weakest stories and scripts in the series.) TSWLM is the big spectacle in the middle, topped by MR in terms of scope, but not necessarily in terms of a satisfying connect-the-dots plot. While TSWLM already courts over-the-top silliness, it somehow manages to retain at least a marginal level of "seriousness". MR makes it obvious from the get-go that not even the sky is the limit this time. It is the elephant in Moore's Bond room. Its overreliance on the space theme and a very one-dimensional villainous scheme alas robs the film of smart deduction and high-risk action. Unlike Moore's other films, this one discards every bit of 'Bondian' cleverness and merely takes us on a rollercoaster ride. In summary:

    - Bond, find the Moonraker, start with Drax.
    - Kill Mr. Bond.
    - Venini Glass => let's go to Venice.
    - Fight with henchman => boxes to Rio => let's go to Rio.
    - Nothing in Rio, really. That is, except for Q, who analysed the killer gas and found "the formula of a plant" (LOL) which grows only in the rainforest => let's go to the rainforest.
    - Oh look!, a girl => let's follow the girl.
    - Oh look!, Drax shoots Moonraker in the sky =>let's ride along.
    - We're in space at last. Let the film begin.

    (For the record: I absolutely love MR.)

    Brosnan: TWINE
    This film struggles, from the moment the opening titles have ended all the way to the final scene, to find coherence, consistency and a reason to exist. GE is a solid post-Cold War thriller, TND is an action-driven commentary on the power of the media, and DAD is a colourful and over-the-top adaptation of a Playstation game that was never made. Each of these three firmly belongs in a clearly defined box and stays there. TWINE, however, tries to work through some Shakespearean issues but never really lands in a clear spot. Its highly convoluted plot loses focus often and ends with a really weird climax that somehow feels out of touch with the rest of the film. Even the heavily scorned DAD manages to stick to its guns, no matter how outrageously stupid at times. TWINE, however, is neither here nor there, a drama film that almost mocks its own drama.

    Craig: SF
    This may come as a surprise. CR, QOS, SP and NTTD feel like Bond films to me. Even when they try to humanise Bond and project him as emotional, vulnerable or retired, there is something "Bondian" at play. SF, while a very good film, does the character of Bond few favours. That he manages to survive the film baffles me more than that he sacrifices himself so willingly at the end of NTTD. SF spends most of the film rebuilding Bond from the shrapnel of its PTS. The appeal of such a return-to-form story isn't lost on me, but the dour notes and bleak tone in SF make the film all but depressing. Some will throw the same accusations at SP and/or NTTD, but for me, SF is the one that feels most "off" in Craig's five-film series.
  • Posts: 12,121
    @DarthDimi Awesome response, thank you so much for taking the time to detail all that out! You have great choices backed with great reasons. I hope others will be inspired to post quality responses!
  • Junglist_1985Junglist_1985 Los Angeles
    edited November 2022 Posts: 987

    Outliers in a GOOD way for all of them. I’ll try to elaborate more tomorrow.
  • Posts: 2,246
    For Connery it's DAF . I won't go as far as to say there was no precedent in Connery's later films for the lighter tone, but there's so much about this film that feels distinct from the rest of his entries. It feels much more stripped back and low key than GF, TB or YOLT, and yet at the same time its tone and style of comedy put it at odds with DN and FRWL. For me, it has far more in common with Moore's first two films. A very strange Bond film.

    For Moore, I'm going to go with FYEO. Like I said, I don't think LALD and TMWTGG are outliers in the series as I can see how the producers got there from DAF. Even MR has its roots in TSWLM. In all of Moore's films prior to this one I felt he was still Bond - yes, he was often put in silly situations, but I was never unconvinced that he was a version of the character. In FYEO, the character Moore plays is not recognisably 007 to me. He wags his finger and waxes to Melina about the pitfalls of revenge, despite killing people as a routine part of his job, and also having killed his arch nemesis at the beginning of the film to avenge his dead wife. He even kills Loque later in the film as a matter of... you guessed it, revenge. Scenes such as a flustered looking Bond having to deal with an 18 year old trying to coerce him into having sex is not something I think should ever be in a Bond film, and the same can be said for the strange Margaret Thatcher scene at the end. A waste of good Fleming material.

    For Brosnan, it's TWINE. For me, Brosnan worked best as Bond when he was more understated - the hotel scene with him and Paris in TND and the beach scene in GE being examples. In TWINE, the man looks as if he's acting in a soap opera. The material he's given is written and directed not unlike a soap opera too so it makes sense, and the weird over exaggerated melodrama isn't something they repeated in DAD. I understand what the producers were trying to do, and they clearly honed many of these ideas in SF, but it just doesn't work here. Also, for whatever reason very few actors in this film come out looking good. Despite how wonderful Robbie Coltrane's performance is, Brosnan, Richards and Carlyle all put in some genuinely embarrassing performances.

    For Craig, it's SF, but not for any negative reasons. It's the first time the Craig era seemed to 'change direction' I suppose you could say. Where Craig's Bond was fresher faced in CR-QOS, in SF he's been in the service a few years and jaded. From a story perspective it felt much more personal, and I get the sense that SP and NTTD in part tried to recreate the 'magic' of this film. Certainly elements like Safin's motive being about getting revenge has echoes of Silva's plan here, and even the 'Blofeld and Bond knew each other as children' arguably has roots in the nods to Bond's past seen in this film. For me, it's the first 'modern' Bond film, willing to subvert the typical expectations and outcomes of a Bond story, but all the while still keeping the DNA of Fleming's character and the film series alive. Much like how directors go into Bond films wanting to make, say, the next GF or FRWL, I suspect future directors will try and emulate this film in some way.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 23,039
    I am loath to change the original purpose of this thread, but what about the most standout Bond film of the entire series, not counting CR67? For me, that would definitely be MR, a film I adore but understand is not what many fans find tolerable.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    edited November 2022 Posts: 7,512
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    I am loath to change the original purpose of this thread, but what about the most standout Bond film of the entire series, not counting CR67? For me, that would definitely be MR, a film I adore but understand is not what many fans find tolerable.

    Maybe a boring choice, but for me it has to be Casino Royale. Such an incredible reinvigoration of the franchise so late in the game, introduction to a new actor who's one of the best, fresh introduction to the character of James Bond... instant classic.
  • Posts: 12,121
    In the context of the whole series, I’m inclined to pick Craig’s CR. It really changed the game and strove to be something higher than all past films.
  • slide_99slide_99 USA
    Posts: 627
    Connery: DAF
    Bond almost seems like a different character here. There's no sense of his suaveness or lethality, he basically wanders from one set piece to the next, often getting captured and then just lucking out without having any plan of his own. The movie itself is pretty low-rent too, and isn't that enjoyable apart from a few funny scenes here and there.

    Moore: TMWTGG
    Basically the inverse of Connery in DAF. Whereas Moore was always a laid-back playboy, in TMWTGG he actually seems like a killer on the hunt. With better production values this one might have been made during the Connery era.

    Brosnan: DAD
    Nearly seems like it belongs in a separate franchise. I'm surprised that so many people think DAD was the logical next step after TND and TWINE, because I always thought it was a major escalation in cartoonishness and is very far removed from the previous two. Much credit to Brosnan for trying to keep his performance as grounded as possible, but it seems like he wandered into a Bond parody with this one. It's not the worst in my view, but it's bad enough to cast an undeserved shadow over the rest of the Brosnan era.

    Craig: CR
    One of the reasons why this one was so good was because it didn't feel like the producers were chasing trends, at least not beyond the general "reboot" idea. It's a Bond movie through and through, without the baggage and checklist quality of the previous eras. Unfortunately, possibly due to CR being the last unmade Bond novel, the successive films would rely on tropes from other franchises (Bourne, Batman, Marvel) to tell their stories.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    Posts: 3,319
    1. For Connery, I would go in a different direction and say You Only Live Twice
    For me, this film is an oddity in so many ways, sure while Diamonds Are Forever differs in quality compared to others, You Only Live Twice is where I felt like Connery is different too, we've seen Connery's Bond in so many unusual ways that's never been done before in his films like living a Japanese life (getting married, and that yellowface), seeing Connery as a poor fisherman? This is unusual and a bit odd to see Connery's Bond, a sophisticated, stylish of a gentleman killer being in this situation, it's such a very different film, even Connery himself seemed not acting in his usual Bond manner, at least in DAF, the Connery Bond that I've seen in DN, FRWL, GF and TB is there, he's playing to his usual self of snobbish, top of the world guy and DAF had an energy that can be found in his earlier Bond films, but here in this film, all felt low, no energy and whatsoever, it's bizarre, seeing Connery not drinking martinis, him not wearing a Tuxedo but a Japanese Robe? Eh, him not driving a car for the first and only time in his tenure as Bond! It breaks so many grounds when it comes to our judgement by the Connery Bond standards, and it didn't helped that in most discussions, this one seemed to be forgotten, the one that falls into oddity, it lacks the energy, grandioseness and thrill that the rest of Connery Bond films had (DN, FRWL, GF, TB and DAF), even it's song tends to be an outlier too, I mean the rest were bombastic and big ones, but this one by Nancy Sinatra seemed to be more low-key.

    2. For Moore, I'll agree and say For Your Eyes Only
    It's very different from the rest of his films, this is where Moore's Bond became serious, something, again which is unusual.
    After seeing Moore's Bond crashing big time villains with one liners, puns, jokes and being this romantic comedy of a guy, it's a bit of an oddity and weirdness to see him acts like what he did in this film.
    He's never as brutal, but here, it's a bit unusual to see him kicked Locque's car off the cliff, him being serious and not able to smile! Eh, I mean Moore's Bond was seemed serious all the time in this film.
    Him using his wits and not relying on his gadgets?! I mean I used to see Moore's Bond being reliant on gadgets, something which is one of my criticisms in his films, but here it's the first time we've seen him using his own wits when he's hanging while doing some rock climbing and he used his own shoe lace and tied it on the harness, I felt amazed to see him doing such things and wished to see more of it, but by the time Octopussy came, it's all gone again.
    It's really different, it's Moore's most serious portrayal of Bond.

    3. For Brosnan, it's The World Is Not Enough for me.
    I would say that Die Another Day would also qualify here in this category, I mean, Brosnan's Bond getting tortured for the first time?! With him looking shattered and torn?! That's the first time I saw Bond, not just Brosnan's Bond, but the Bond character in general got seriously tortured realistically, it's an interesting concept that we saw Bond in this kind of situation.
    But in TWINE is where Brosnan's Bond is at his most unusual, his Bond being into some sort of psychological and emotional situations especially those scenes that includes Elektra's presence. It's the most grounded film of Brosnan's tenure as Bond, it's where his Bond and the Bond of the original novels of Fleming came in good terms, with Brosnan injecting some vulnerability and sensitivity into his version of Bond, him being this St. George whose protecting a woman who's traumatized, but in the end will be revealed as the villain, it's interesting a kinda groundbreaking, it's probably Brosnan's most Flemingesque Bond film.

    4. For Craig, it's definitely and no doubt, No Time To Die
    I though get the opinions towards Skyfall, but this film really hits the high level of being unusual, being unique and being different and at some times absurd in so many ways!
    Where do I start?
    - Bond getting killed at the end? For the first time in the franchise's history?!
    - Bond having a kid? For the first time (again) in the franchise's history?!
    - Felix Leiter dying? For the first time in the franchise's history.
    - A new 007 replacing Bond, again, first time in the franchise's history?!
    This film is brave enough to show all of it! It's the most unique Bond film in so many aspects, it's the most outlier Bond film in the entire series (dare I say it).
    It's also Craig at his most unusual, unlike his previous outings, where he's silent, almost a quiet loner, blunt instrument of an assassin, here in this film, he's talkative, he's joyful and happy all of the time, he's reactive to all of the events happening around him, we saw the other side of his character, his other layers, he's outgoing, he's respective of women (his reactions to Nomi and Paloma), he's more deep into his emotions.
    He's reflective of life and more into understanding, his dialogues with Safin for example, and even him kneeling for Mathilde's safety!
    It's all different, moreso than Skyfall.
    The action is also a lot more grand than Craig's previous Bond films, a return back to the action scenes of the classic era where it's high octane car chases and explosions with shooting here, shooting there.
    It's an outlier wherever you look at, and in so many ways.
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