Today has been designated Global James Bond Day to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first Bond film, Dr. No. To commemorate this I’ve assembled a best and worst list. These are purely the personal opinions of a huge fan of the series and not based on any poll or scientific research.
Best film: From
, with Love. This is a solid action thriller, faithfully based on one of Ian Fleming’s best novels. It also introduced the arsenal of gee-whiz gadgets that have been a part of every 007 film since. Russia
Worst: The Man with the Golden Gun. Poorly acted with lame action sequences and the original book wasn’t all that great, either.
Best song from a Bond film: Nobody Does it Better from The Spy Who Loved Me. Runner-up would be We Have All the Time in the World, beautifully sung by Louis Armstrong in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Worst: The title track from Man with the Golden Gun. Inane lyrics warbled by 60’s holdover Lulu. “He has a powerful weapon, he charges a million a shot”? Give me a break!
Best Bond girl: Ursula Andress in Dr. No. Has anyone ever worn a bikini better?
Worst: Tanya Roberts in A View to a Kill. A painful example of chewing the scenery while screaming “Help me, James!”
Best villain: A toss-up between Oddjob in Goldfinger, and Robert Shaw in From
, with Love. Both put poor Sean Connery through two of the most brutal fight scenes ever filmed. Russia
Worst: Christopher Walken in A View to a Kill. Can anyone watch this travesty and not think Walken was on medication during filming? Maybe he actually read the script.
Best line: In Goldfinger, when Bond is strapped to a table about to be cut in half by a laser beam, he says “Do you expect me to talk?” Goldfinger replies “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”
Best plot not based on one of Fleming’s novels: License to Kill, a timely and exciting story about drug smuggling and revenge.
Worst: Moonraker, which sent Bond into outer space to battle the bad guys. Paging Luke Skywalker!
Trivia Question: Who was Ian Fleming’s original choice to play Bond in Dr. No instead of Sean Connery?
Answer: Although many actors were offered the part but turned it down (including David Niven, James Mason, Cary Grant and Patrick McGoohan), Fleming wanted American actor James Stewart to play his British secret agent. I can hear it now: “Uh – B-Bond. Uh – J-James –uh-Bond.”
Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author whose books range from romantic thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. His website is www.timsmithauthor.com.