Has Each Bond Actor Done a "Classic" Bond film?

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  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 7,102
    Yes.
  • sandbagger1sandbagger1 Sussex
    edited October 2021 Posts: 335
    I define classic as one of the upper tier films in the series and one with very few flaws.
    By that definition, yes every actor has made a classic Bond film. I think most of us have at least one film from each actor's era that we'd consider a top-drawer effort, even if we like some more than others.

    In terms of iconic Bond films, I don't know how how many the general public would consider truly iconic; Goldfinger: its theme-tune, the gadget-laden DB5, larger-than-life bad-guy, super henchman Odd Job, and the outrageously named Pussy Galore... all iconic; You Only Live Twice gave us the volcano secret base, arguably the most iconic version of Blofeld, and that theme-tune; and The Spy Who Loved Me had the Lotus that turns into a submarine, and a new iconic henchman in Jaws, plus Carley Simon's hit song and the ski-jump to Union Jack parachute.

    I know us fans would have a much larger range of what we consider iconic films in the series, but I don't think the general public remember much more than the outrageous over-the-top things.
  • M16_CartM16_Cart Craig fanboy?
    edited October 2021 Posts: 532
    Mathis1 wrote: »
    Be interesting to see who considers NTTD a classic, though its probably too early!

    Imo: NTTD is a very good Bond film, but definitely not a classic.

    A classic means cultural impact. It didn't sell too well. The average Joe doesn't talk about this movie in the water cooler. Youth viewership has been historically low. Critics liked it but aren't raving over it.

    NTTD came very late into Craig's career. 15 years in. Yes, it's a satisfying conclusion and one of his best performances. But the movies that established Craig as one of the best Bond actors were made a long time back.
  • R1s1ngs0nR1s1ngs0n France
    Posts: 1,527
    DN - YOLT & TSWLM
  • I think yes personally, but it depends how we’re defining it. I remember the writer of DenofGeek’s Bond retrospectives making a very fair case for Brosnan being the only one without a “landmark” Bond film (despite GE being his favourite). I’ll just find it now:

    “So why no landmark? Just because, personally, I don’t think Goldeneye breaks any new ground. It updates the formula, tweaks the rules, but ultimately it plays by both. The concept of Bond isn’t stretched in any way. Just reinvigorated. Which, really, is all the film wanted. After six years off, this wasn’t the time to forge a brave new world but rather prove the old one wasn’t lost for good.”

    https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/how-goldeneye-updated-the-james-bond-franchise/?amp

    I can’t really argue with that to be fair. As he says in the review, even the idea of proving Bond worked without the cold war wasn’t exactly new, because the series had played outside of that area before. But then if we’re looking at it that way, did Moore really have one? I guess LALD was new ground in a sense (a much lighter Bond, hints of the supernatural) but it still sticks fairly closely to the old formula. TSWLM meanwhile is even more formulaic, doing nothing new, but it’s so ridiculously well oiled and does what it sets out to do so well that I‘d have a hard time not calling it a classic/landmark Bond film. It’s the perfect blockbuster Bond.

    Ultimately, I think the best way of defining a classic is just “really bloody good”. So, I would say yes, every Bond’s been lucky enough to have one.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 5,806
    I'm not really sure I'd call either of Dalton's film's "classic" Bond films. They're both really great, but both quite different from what I would consider the "classic" Bond formula.
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 4,911
    Yes.

    Seconded.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 5,806
    echo wrote: »
    Yes.

    Seconded.

    Genuine question, which of the Dalton films do you view as class, and why? Both?
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 4,911
    TLD.

    The PTS is amazing, and then we get ten minutes of very faithful Fleming...Dalton brought the danger and grit back to Bond that Moore had essentially jettisoned.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 5,806
    Very good points about PTS and beginning, I can definitely see how that’s classic Bond.
  • Classic Bond films for each actor?
    Gotta be :
    GF - set the Bond formula in motion, but I nearly chose TB.
    TSWLM (just watched - so enjoyable and fun: Moore kicks ass in this one, at his most physical)
    TLD- follows the Moore blueprint but with Dalton's darker edge.
    Tomorrow Never Dies - a bit like Spy. But not nearly as elegant.
    SP - not Craig's best but it is close to the classic formula.
  • Posts: 526
    I’m baffled that some fans think Casino Royale with Craig is not a classic. Wow. [-X
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 7,102
    echo wrote: »
    TLD.

    The PTS is amazing, and then we get ten minutes of very faithful Fleming...Dalton brought the danger and grit back to Bond that Moore had essentially jettisoned.

    I agree, here. I do love LTK also, but I think it has a couple of fundamental issues that stop it from really hitting high marks on the classicometer.
  • This is a fascinating thread, and I've loved reading everyone's take on it. If I can put in my two cents (or two pee, if I'm stopping by England)...I just found this definition of "classic film." It's probably not perfect but for our purposes let's assume it's good enough:

    Classic films are often universal favorites that hold up after repeated screenings. Classics are renowned films of first rank, reference points in film mythology, or films that have become a part of cultural folklore.

    If we go by that definition, I think we have some Bond entries that very clearly meet it. From Russia with Love is one, and Goldfinger absolutely, positively, unmistakably falls into that category. After that...I'm not really sure? Would any of Moore's films come under that same definition? Perhaps the closest is TSWLM, as it has so many iconic moments (like the parachute jump, which has been referenced in this thread several times). As much as I love Dalton (still my favorite Bond), I don't believe either TLD or LTK meets that definition. GE is a possibility but it's a stretch. And I do feel quite certain that time will prove CR as a classic of that earlier rank.

    Another way I am thinking about this: If I tuned in to Turner Classic Movies some evening, as I often do, and saw that FRWL or GF were playing by themselves, I wouldn't be surprised. However, I would hardly ever expect to see any film starring George, Roger, Timothy, Pierce, or even Daniel (at this point) to be on TCM by itself - only if it were part of a Bond marathon. Does that make sense?
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 7,102
    I think GoldenEye is considered a classic amongst the general public whether we like it or not. Whether a lot of that is down to the film or the video game is probably up for debate, but I believe they're synonymous in popular culture to the extent that both have earned classic status.

    It's interesting to hear each person's definition of what makes a classic. I like your TCM analogy, @PDJamesBond.
  • Posts: 526
    This is a fascinating thread, and I've loved reading everyone's take on it. If I can put in my two cents (or two pee, if I'm stopping by England)...I just found this definition of "classic film." It's probably not perfect but for our purposes let's assume it's good enough:

    Classic films are often universal favorites that hold up after repeated screenings. Classics are renowned films of first rank, reference points in film mythology, or films that have become a part of cultural folklore.

    If we go by that definition, I think we have some Bond entries that very clearly meet it. From Russia with Love is one, and Goldfinger absolutely, positively, unmistakably falls into that category. After that...I'm not really sure? Would any of Moore's films come under that same definition? Perhaps the closest is TSWLM, as it has so many iconic moments (like the parachute jump, which has been referenced in this thread several times). As much as I love Dalton (still my favorite Bond), I don't believe either TLD or LTK meets that definition. GE is a possibility but it's a stretch. And I do feel quite certain that time will prove CR as a classic of that earlier rank.

    Another way I am thinking about this: If I tuned in to Turner Classic Movies some evening, as I often do, and saw that FRWL or GF were playing by themselves, I wouldn't be surprised. However, I would hardly ever expect to see any film starring George, Roger, Timothy, Pierce, or even Daniel (at this point) to be on TCM by itself - only if it were part of a Bond marathon. Does that make sense?

    Yes it does, and I think you make some very valid points (and establish a criteria for classic). I’d say, if I’m using scrutiny at a high level: Goldfinger, From Russia With Love (maybe, on the fence), and Casino Royale 2006, plus I think Skyfall will be there too (probably already is). None for Brosnan, Dalton, or Moore. Just don’t see it.
  • Posts: 131
    Classic Bond films for each actor?
    Gotta be :
    GF - set the Bond formula in motion, but I nearly chose TB.
    TSWLM (just watched - so enjoyable and fun: Moore kicks ass in this one, at his most physical)
    TLD- follows the Moore blueprint but with Dalton's darker edge.
    Tomorrow Never Dies - a bit like Spy. But not nearly as elegant.
    SP - not Craig's best but it is close to the classic formula.

    I am with you up through TLD, though my second-choice Connery classic after GF would be FRWL rather than TB. I also like TND a lot, but would argue in favour of GE for Brosnan (more on that below) and SF for Craig, which IMO, while not as much of a milestone reset as the widely-acclaimed CR, is an amalgam of the best Bond film elements old and new, and thus a classic of the "really bloody good" variety ((c) @thelivingroyale).

    As for the point made by the DenofGeek reviewer and brought up by @thelivingroyale about GE not being groundbreaking, I see it as groundbreaking enough and then some. To me the groundbreaking aspects were

    (1) Alec Trevelyan, the former friend/colleague turned villain, adding nuance to the enmity that was echoed years later in SF's Silva (it helps that I am a big fan of Sean Bean)

    (2) Judi Dench's M, whose casting was certainly groundbreaking at the time and proved a brilliant dramatic move; and

    (3) not as radical as the other two, but still: Natalia not only having agency as a Bond ally - other Bond girls had done that before her - but shown as an equal if not occasionally superior decision-maker. This trend had arguably started with LTK's Pam Bouvier, but was more pronounced in GE: where their predecessors disagreed with Bond and/or struck out on their own, they usually had to be brought about to accept Bond's "right" decision, or ended up jeopardising the mission, often by becoming damsels in distress. In Natalia's case, she is more than once shown to do the right thing. This approach continued into TND with Wai Lin, but was lost in Brosnan's later instalments.

    Oh, and did I mention the very literally groundbreaking zeitgeist-y sequence of Bond driving a tank around St Petersburg? :D :P

    I might also add the peculiarity of Joe Don "TLD baddie!Brad Whitaker" Baker's re-casting as GE Bond ally Jack Wade, but I know it is more of a casting curio than a fresh move.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache
    Posts: 15,639
    Benny wrote: »
    chrisisall wrote: »
    You *could* make the argument that movies most closely resembling the novels are classic. Then that would be DN, FRWL, GF, TB, TLD, LTK & CR....

    You forget the most faithful of them all.

    OHMSS

    Indeed. There is none more faithful to the Fleming source material in my opinion.
  • Connery- FRWL and GF
    Lazenby-OHMSS (obv)
    Moore- TSWLM
    Dalton- LD
    Brosnan-GE
    Craig- CR, SF,NTTD

  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 4,911
    Perhaps a more appropo question is which scene makes a movie classic. For some, this is easy, the train (FRWL), too many scenes to mention (GF), the ski jump (TSWLM), the bungee jump (GE), and the last scene (CR).

    As much as I love TLD, I think it just falls a wee bit short of having one memorable scene that the public remembers, although you could make an argument for the snow car chase/cello scene, and possibly for the first border crossing scene.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,401
    Here’s the films ranked by IMDb rating.

    1. CR
    2. SF
    3. GF
    4. NTTD
    5. FRWL
    6. GE
    7. DN
    8. TSWLM
    9. TB
    10. YOLT
    11. SP
    12. LALD
    13. OHMSS
    14. TLD
    15. TMWTGG
    16. FYEO
    17. QOS
    18. LTK
    19. DAF
    20. TND
    21. OP
    22. TWINE
    23. AVTAK
    24. MR
    25. DAD


    Aside from NTTD (obviously being a newbie), I think there’s a very strong case for the top 10 to be considered Bond classics as far as general audiences go. We may champion OHMSS, but it’s at best a cult Bond film rather than a classic recognized outside our community. DN, FRWL, GF, TB, YOLT, TSWLM, GE, CR, and SF have considerably made their marks on pop culture in a way you cannot say the same for FYEO or TLD, as beloved as those are among fans.

    I like the theory by @PDJamesBond regarding TCM, but a flaw in that is that the network largely airs what’s under WB’s catalog constantly. So the chances of GF running as much as NORTH BY NORTHWEST is less likely due to licensing. I’m sure TCM would love to play more Bond films they deem classics if they owned the entire MGM library,
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    edited October 2021 Posts: 1,675
    @MakeshiftPython. Based on TCM's twitter comments (#TCMParty), many of the channel's viewers are James Bond fans - and consider many of the early films to be classics.

    About two years ago, TCM actually did have a marathon of Bond films as part of a United Artists (UA) retrospective. They showed all of the films from DN to TND (IIRC). But as you stated, playing them in regular rotation comes down to a rights issue.


  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,401
    They actually played up to TWINE, I think they knew airing DAD even late past midnight was questionable!
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 1,675
    They actually played up to TWINE, I think they knew airing DAD even late past midnight was questionable!

    :)) =))
  • SeveSeve The island of Lemoy
    Posts: 357
    Here’s the films ranked by IMDb rating.

    1. CR
    2. SF
    3. GF
    4. NTTD
    5. FRWL
    6. GE (switched places with DN)
    7. DN
    8. TSWLM
    9. TB
    10. YOLT
    11. SP
    12. LALD
    13. OHMSS (falling below TMWTGG)
    14. TLD (falling below TMWTGG and DAF)
    15. TMWTGG (13)
    16. FYEO
    17. QOS
    18. LTK
    19. DAF (16)
    20. TND
    21. OP (moved up to above LTK)
    22. TWINE
    23. AVTAK (switched places with MR)
    24. MR
    25. DAD

    I just had a look, interesting how things change after only a few days, looks like the Roger Moore Army is on the march!

    R.24c1086963fde4d688afa199a2d89f6a?rik=HCbLzHZEtGGxVg&riu=http%3a%2f%2fimages6.fanpop.com%2fimage%2fphotos%2f40400000%2fYoung-Roger-In-The-Military-sir-roger-moore-40456391-253-386.jpg&ehk=ofc9dbsvGUdnnr8Ymk5DHvxol3BZ6XSj1x940YXJdlk%3d&risl=&pid=ImgRaw&r=0


    https://www.imdb.com/list/ls078535153/
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,401
    I think you’ve got it reversed. My link is the current listing, whoever made that list you posted was from quite some time ago. Even notes that SP’s spot listed “as of 2016”.
  • SeveSeve The island of Lemoy
    edited November 2021 Posts: 357
    I think you’ve got it reversed. My link is the current listing, whoever made that list you posted was from quite some time ago. Even notes that SP’s spot listed “as of 2016”.

    Doh!
    Yes, I see what you mean, it's just a page someone created on the imdb site

    James Bond Movies Ranked via IMDb Rating
    by bryno92 | created - 18 Oct 2015 | updated - 05 Aug 2018 | Public


    My apologies
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    edited November 2021 Posts: 1,434
    When the "Originals" (those who saw a Bond film starring Connery or Lazenby in it's original release: myself @BeatlesSansEarmuffs @4EverBonded @chrisisall , and I forget who else) tackled this a few years back, on our dedicated thread, we came up with what we felt was a fair and somewhat definitive list.

    DN, FRWL, GF, TB No question here, we had universal agreement.
    YOLT I was actually originally in the minority in pushing this one, but after arguing the indelible iconography that this film left on the public consciousness all agreed but for one hold out.
    OHMSS One of us was not all that crazy about it, but recognized its importance and recent upgrade in status, so no one ended up voting against it. Maybe not fully recognized by the world at large yet, but on its way, and critically already there. Consistently wins in our members polls.
    TSWLM Most of us agreed that it stands above the rest of Moore's entires in terms of public regard and impact. It was huge at the time of release. Not unique for a Bond film, but probably the biggest explosion the franchise had witnessed since TB.
    GE, CR, SF We all agreed, even five or six years ago, when we had this discussion, that these three had already stood the test of time, and had marked their territory in the history of the franchise.

    We felt bad not including a Dalton, one or two members did push TLD. Strictly among the fan community, that one would certainly qualify, but that isn't enough, not when looking at the larger picture. Not even close. Maybe one day.

    Personally, I feel that the list is incomplete. I fought hard to include LALD, but it was eventually shut out, one other voting with me. It is certainly included in My own definitive list of Classic Bond films:

    DN, FRWL, GF, TB, YOLT, OHMSS, LALD, TSWLM, GE, CR, SF


  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 5,806
    Birdleson wrote: »
    When the "Originals" (those who saw a Bond film starring Connery or Lazenby in it's original release: myself @BeatlesSansEarmuffs @4EverBonded @chrisisall , and I forget who else) tackled this a few years back, on our dedicated thread, we came up with what we felt was a fair and somewhat definitive list.

    DN, FRWL, GF, TB No question here, we had universal agreement.
    YOLT I was actually originally in the minority in pushing this one, but after arguing the indelible iconography that this film left on the public consciousness all agreed but for one hold out.
    OHMSS One of us was not all that crazy about it, but recognized its importance and recent upgrade in status, so no one ended up voting against it. Maybe not fully recognized by the world at large yet, but on its way, and critically already there. Consistently wins in our members polls.
    TSWLM Most of us agreed that it stands above the rest of Moore's entires in terms of public regard and impact. It was huge at the time of release. Not unique for a Bond film, but probably the biggest explosion the franchise had witnessed since TB.
    GE, CR, SF We all agreed, even five or six years ago, when we had this discussion, that these three had already stood the test of time, and had marked their territory in the history of the franchise.

    We felt bad not including a Dalton, one or two members did push TLD. Strictly among the fan community, that one would certainly qualify, but that isn't enough, not when looking at the larger picture. Not even close. Maybe one day.

    Personally, I feel that the list is incomplete. I fought hard to include LALD, but it was eventually shut out, one other voting with me. It is certainly included in My own definitive list of Classic Bond films:

    DN, FRWL, GF, TB, YOLT, OHMSS, LALD, TSWLM, GE, CR, SF


    Great post. Maybe "Classic" and "Iconic" are interchangeable, but for films like YOLT I'd put them on the latter list, but not the former. I understand what you mean about it's indelible iconography (but maybe just with regards to Blofeld; perhaps that's why I'm not an "original"!), but personally I wouldn't call it a classic Bond film.

    I find myself constantly thinking to myself that I have to revisit TB. I just don't know what people see in it, at the end of the day. It's possible that my bias against TB comes from the same place as my bias against YOLT; the shadows my love of the Blofeld Trilogy of novels.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,401
    Not coincidently, all those films (aside from OHMSS) cited by @birdleson are on the top ten rated Bonds on IMDb, undeniably because they’re regarded as both classic and iconic.
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