007 vs. 006

GoldenEye enters the extreme 90’s with more stunts, more gadgets, and more one-liners than any Bond film at the time. GoldenEye is the seventeenth film in the long running franchise, and the story is 100% original. Although the title does derive from the name of Ian Fleming’s estate. Which in turn was the name of a book and military operation he was affiliated with. Timothy Dalton was meant to return for a third time, but a 6 year legal dispute encouraged him to step down.

So instead the fifth actor to portray Bond became Irish actor Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan was originally tapped to play 007 after Roger Moore, but his show Remington Steele kept that from happening. Due to the end of the Cold War, a number of things were changed to fit the new decade. Like the casting of Dame Judi Dench as the first female M. Miss Moneypenny was also recast with Samantha Bond. Q was the only character to remain in tact…

17. GoldenEye

James Bond and Alec Trevelyan work side by side

The Mission: Investigate attack in Russia and stop the hijacking of deadly space weapon by former agent

Gadgets & Vehicles: BMW Z3 (equipped with stinger missiles, parachute, and radar scanner), Piton Gun, Limpet Mine, Digital Binoculars, X-Ray Document Scanner, Cutter/Detonator Wristwatch, Grappling Belt, Ballpoint Pen Grenade

Bond Girls: Natalya Simonova, Xenia Onatopp, Caroline

Bond Villains: Alec Trevelyan/Janus, General Ourumov, Boris Grishenko

Analysis: GoldenEye was the first Bond film to be released during my lifetime. Since I was born the year it released. Pierce Brosnan could have been the first Bond I was introduced to, but like I said before, I didn’t see any Bond film as a child. Pierce Brosnan stands out as the most good looking actor to play the spy. So much so that the Bond girls increased along with his reliance on gadgets (so as to not ruin his swoon worthy face). His delivery of “The name’s Bond, James Bond” solidified his charm. The opening credits sequence consists of several naked women against explosions and eyeballs. The theme was performed by the legendary Tina Turner. Giving the song a classy old fashion feel.

GoldenEye is the best Pierce Brosnan Bond film (and one of the best movie based video games). It was the first to make a 00 agent an enemy. Alec Trevelyan was once Agent 006 and a friend to Agent 007. Until he betrays Bond and MI6 for his own nefarious purposes. He plans to gain control of the titular GoldenEye. A satellite capable of destroying machinery with an EMP blast. Judi Dench proves herself as M when she calls out Bond for being a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur, and relic of the Cold War.” Not long after he seduced his evaluator. Since the Cold War did end before the movie’s release, an attempt was made to make Bond relevant in the 90’s. There’s the heavier inclusion of computers, extreme stunts, and more CGI.

Desmond Llewelyn is back and just as snarky as ever. Suppiling Bond with his most outlandish gadgets yet. Like an exploding pen or BMW spy car (controversial because it was American made). While on mission, Bond meets programer Natalya Simonova. She’s a strong Bond girl, but doesn’t stand out as much as Xenia Onatopp played by Famke Janssen. A sexy henchwoman who gets pleasure from killing men with her thighs. Her and invincible hacker Boris (played by Alan Cumming) make an impression. Since Trevelyan is played by Sean Bean, he is given a spectacular death (“For England James?”). GoldenEye finally made James Bond cool again.

17. GoldenEye

James Bond protects Natalya Simonova

James Bond will return in Tomorrow Never Dies

007 Earns a PG-13

License to Kill is the darkest Bond film to date. Effectively earning the franchise its first PG-13 rating. Despite the often violent and sexual nature of the series, every previous Bond film was rated PG. Although retrospectively speaking, they would be considered PG-13. License to Kill is the sixteenth film in the long running franchise, and the first one not titled after a book by Ian Fleming.

It refers to the license all 00 agents are issued as a member of MI6. Originally titled License Revoked, the title was changed because it sounded too much like a drivers license being suspended. The movie was written with Timothy Dalton’s grittier Bond in mind. For that, it was considered too violent for a Bond film. Depicting more realistic drug use, bloodier action, gruesome deaths, and an air of vengeance…

16. License to Kill

James Bond and Pam Bouvier play a high stakes game

The Mission: Get revenge on a murderous drug dealer without the aid of MI6

Gadgets & Vehicles: Lighter, Laser Polaroid Camera, Dentonite Toothpaste, Cigarette Packet, Signature Rifle

Bond Girls: Pam Bouvier, Lupe Lamora

Bond Villains: Franz Sanchez, Milton Krest, Dario, Braun, Perez, Ed Killifer

Analysis: James Bond has always been an efficient killer, but License to Kill takes things to the next level. I was curious to see how far the new rating would take things. Since the late 80’s were still figuring out the PG-13 rating. Bond is extra brutal in his quest for revenge against the man who murdered Felix Leiter’s wife. Leiter himself is nearly maimed by sharks. This sends 007 over the edge. Where his blinding revenge gets so bad that M has his license to kill revoked until further notice. It’s not all dark though. The Opening credits sequence which contains casino images, has a main theme (sung by Gladys Knight) that is unusually upbeat.

The same can’t be said for the main Bond villain. Robert Davi (the villain for The Goonies) plays Franz Sanchez. The ruthless drug lord responsible for the death of Leiter’s wife. He’s actually the first Bond villain to have an already fulfilled evil plan. His most memorable henchman is Dario. Played by a very young drugged up Benicio Del Toro. My favorite part of License to Kill is that they finally gave Q the attention he deserved. Q breaks protocol in order to assist 007 on his rogue mission. Of course he brings a case full of gadgets, but Bond doesn’t use much of them. Joining them on their mission is former Army pilot Pam Bouvier. The first lead Bond girl to have a pixie cut.

A bit like You Only Live Twice, License to Kill features two lead Bond girls. Only instead of one being killed off, Bond has to choose between Pam and Lupe Lamora. Sanchez’s girlfriend who forms feelings for 007. Bond ultimately chooses Pam in the end, because she was always by his side. Making it one of the better romances. It’s just the excessive violence that distracts from it. The most brutal deaths are Dario and Sanchez. Dario falls into a cocaine shredder and Sanchez is set on fire by Bond. Timothy Dalton was truly the coldest Bond yet, and due to a 6 year hiatus, this was his second and final time playing the spy. I can’t help but feel License to Kill would have worked better without the Bond moniker.

16. License to Kill

James Bond attends an event with Lupe Lamora

James Bond will return in GoldenEye

007 and the Cellist

The Living Daylights takes Bond a lot more seriously. It’s the fifteenth film in the long running franchise, and it’s based on one of the short stories featured in Ian Fleming’s book Octopussy and The Living Daylights. Since it was obvious Roger Moore was too old to play James Bond, a younger actor needed to fill the role posthaste. Many actors were being considered to play 007.

Including Sam Neill and Pierce Brosnan (more on him later), but the fourth actor to portray Bond became British stage actor Timothy Dalton. Upon earning the role, Dalton chose to distance himself from Moore’s portrayal as much as possible. Going for a more serious and reluctant Bond closer to the book’s description of the character. A younger Miss Moneypenny was chosen as well, portrayed by Caroline Bliss…

15. The Living Daylights

James Bond takes aim

The Mission: Assist in defection of KGB officer and investigate a connected arms deal in Afghanistan

Gadgets & Vehicles: Aston Martin V8 (equipped with missiles, lasers, heads-up display, outrigger, tire spikes, rocket motor, radio scanner, reinforced chassis, and self-destruct), Whistling Keychain, Miniature Binoculars

Bond Girls: Kara Milovy

Bond Villains: General Koskov, Brad Whitaker, Necros, Colonel Feydor, Sergeant Stagg

Analysis: The Living Daylights ditches the campy tone of past Bond films, in favor of a grittier tone. Considering the 80’s contained many darker movies. The Timothy Dalton Bond films were always a point of intrigue for me. Although they were both fairly well received, my parents always told me they never bought him as Bond. I can certainly understand why after watching them. He’s a brilliant thespian of the theatrical arts, but his thinner frame made him less physically intimidating. I understand taking Bond seriously, but Dalton’s lack of a sense of humor just feels so cold.

Like all Bond actors, he’s required to say “Bond, James Bond.” His reading didn’t do much to convince me. Then again, I do still find The Living Daylights to be one of the better Bond ventures. It’s possible Timothy Dalton’s portrayal was just misunderstood or ahead of its time. His Bond’s biggest strength is stunts. As the movie opens with a skydiving sequence followed by the watery opening credits sequence. The upbeat theme is performed by A-Ha. While on a mission, 007 comes across a female cellist attempting to assassinate a defecting KGB officer. After scaring the living daylights out of her, Bond tries to get answers out of her. Kara Milovy is a cellist and the only notable Bond girl in the movie. Apart from a large woman who assists in the Soviet defection.

In order to keep things edgy, the main villain, General Koskov, is an oafish American arms dealer. His henchman, Necros, stands out for being an imposing master of disguise. Despite Dalton’s more ruthless take on 007, he continues to say one-liners and there are still plenty of wacky gadgets. Q supplies Bond with an all new gadget equipped Aston Martin and even an explosive keychain activated by whistling. His one-liners are said with complete seriousness. The most memorable action scenes take place on a cargo plane and on a snowy mountain side. Where Bond and Milovy ride her cello case like a sled. The crazy situations don’t always match the tone, but The Living Daylights is still a serviceable Bond outing.

15. The Living Daylights

James Bond slides down a slope with Kara Milovy’s cello

James Bond will return in License to Kill

007 on a Bridge too Far

A View to a Kill is the most poorly received of any official Bond film. It’s the fourteenth film in the long running franchise, and it’s based on one of the short stories featured in Ian Fleming’s book For Your Eyes Only. The title was changed from “From a View to a Kill” to A View to a Kill. The most criticized part of the movie is easily Roger Moore’s advancing age.

Let’s put it this way, he was older than his love interest’s mother. Moore himself knew he was getting way too old for the role. So A View to a Kill ended up being Roger Moore’s final time playing 007. In a similar fashion, Lois Maxwell also makes her final appearance as Miss Moneypenny due to age. She’s the best actress to play the unrequited love of Bond’s life. After having played her in every single Bond film to date…

14. A View To A Kill

James Bond climbs the Eiffel Tower

The Mission: Recover Soviet Union microchip and prevent the destruction of Silicon Valley

Gadgets & Vehicles: Polarizing Sunglasses, Camera Ring, Billfold/Checkbook, Credit card Lock-pick

Bond Girls: Stacy Sutton, May Day, Pola Ivanova, Kimberly Jones

Bond Villains: Max Zorin, Scarpine, Dr. Mortner, Bob Conley, Jenny Flex, Pan Ho

Analysis: Roger Moore was 57 years old when he filmed A View to a Kill. Making him the oldest actor to play 007. Sean Connery wasn’t even that old when he did Never Say Never Again. You can tell Moore is less able to convincingly perform the action required. Less so for his multiple romantic endeavors. Of which there are four (the most of any official Bond film). Bond first sleeps with Kimberly Jones. A fellow agent who assists 007 in the pre-credits scene. The opening credits sequence is full of naked neon women. Accompanied by the title theme performed by 80’s pop band Duran Duran. Most recognized by the lyric “dance into the fire.” The song was so catchy that it became the only Bond theme to top Billboard charts.

The main Bond villain is Max Zorin played by Christopher Walken. What can I say, Walken was born to play a Bond villain. Moore just wasn’t a fan of how malicious Zorin could be. His plot involves the destruction of Silicon Valley, and the name of the game is landmarks. As two of the biggest set pieces take place on the Eiffel Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge. After Q supplies 007 with his gadgets, Bond gets information from a KGB agent named Pola Ivanova. Whom he shares a hot tub with. The main Bond girl is Stacy Sutton. The granddaughter of an oil tycoon. Played by a very young Tanya Roberts (of Charlie’s Angels fame). Moore resisted the urge to criticize her performance, but she was nominated for a Razzie.

The most stand out character in the entire movie is Bond girl/henchwoman May Day. Played by famous black diva Grace Jones. Her style, ferocity, brute strength, and choice to switch sides make her a must watch. Everyone was a fan of her except for Moore. Let’s just say she was a bit too rough when it got to their bedroom scene. Roger Moore played James Bond in more Eon films than any other actor. Sadly he was also the first Bond actor to pass away. His movies may have been campy, but they were always a lot of fun to watch. A View to a Kill proves to be an unceremonious end to the Roger Moore Bond era.

14. A View to a Kill

James Bond meets Stacey Sutton

James Bond will return in The Living Daylights

Old Man Bond

Never Say Never Again is not an official Bond film. No matter how often people mistake it for one. It wasn’t distributed by Eon Productions. That’s why it doesn’t use trademarks like a gun barrel or opening credits sequence. Or why M, Q, and Moneypenny are played by different actors. It can all be traced back to Thunderball. The trivial legal dispute allowed Kevin McClory to make another adaptation of the story. Essentially making it a remake. After Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery vowed never to play James Bond again. Until his wife told him to never say never again.

Despite being in his 50’s at the time, Connery returned to the role of 007 one last time. Never Say Never Again once again follows a plot involving warheads and water. Perpetrated by Maximillian Largo. SPECTRE and Blofeld return, because it’s now legal for them to. Bond has gotten a bit rusty in his old age, but since he’s the best actor to play the British spy, Connery is just as capable as ever. The movie still contains an original song (by Lani Hall) and the usual gratuitous amount of sex and violence.

Fatima Blush fills in the role of femme fatal and Domino Petachi fills in the role of Bond girl. Kim Basinger delivers a breakout performance as Domino. Her most memorable scene is of Bond giving her a steamy massage. The gadgets are also back and just as useful as ever. Due to its unofficial status, I watched the film long after finishing the official films, but I can see the value in it. Never Say Never Again came out the same year as Octopussy, and I think it’s clear which one was the bigger success.

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James Bond and Domino swim together

007 the Clown

Octopussy has the most overtly sexual Bond title of all time. How they got away with that I’ll never know. Despite being the thirteenth film in the long running franchise, Octopussy is actually based on the 14th and final book written by Ian Fleming. Which was a collection of 2 short stories titled Octopussy and The Living Daylights.

The title bares a completely different meaning than it does in the book. In the book, Octopussy is a pet octopus. In the movie, Octopussy is a Bond girl. Making it the only Bond film named after one. Roger Moore once again considered retiring, but since a rival Bond film was being made at the same time, they convinced him to stay on board. After a brief absence in For Your Eyes Only, M was recast with actor Robert Brown…

13. Octopussy

James Bond dresses up like a clown

The Mission: Investigate theft of priceless relics and prevent the destruction of West Germany U.S. Air Force Base

Gadgets & Vehicles: Acrostar Jet, Tracker Wristwatch, Mont Blanc Fountain Pen, TV Wristwatch

Bond Girls: Octopussy, Magda

Bond Villains: Kamal Khan, General Orlov, Gobinda, Mufti, Mischka & Grischka, Yo-yo Buzzsaw Killer, Colonel Toro, Major Dexter Smythe

Analysis: Octopussy seems to be hell-bent on humiliating James Bond as much as possible. Bond boards a plane concealed within a mechanical horse’s ass, points a spy camera at a woman’s cleavage, swings through the jungle hollering like Tarzan, uses a crocodile sub, puts on a gorilla suit, and dresses up like a circus clown. It’s arguably one of the worst in the franchise. My main curiosity for the film was the title. A title I’m sometimes too embarrassed to say out loud. It’s probably why the title isn’t used in the main theme. Instead the song is “All Time High” performed by Rita Coolidge. An underappreciated song, but a difficult one to remember in context.

As the movie’s title suggests, the opening credits sequence features more women than ever before. They’re meant to represent the Octopus Cult. A band of bikini and spandex clad women working for jewel smuggler Octopussy. They disguise themselves as a circus in order to appear legitimate. Octopussy is an antagonist, but the real Bond villain is Kamal Khan. An exiled Prince with the usual plot for nuclear domination. Octopussy stands out for being a strong leader, but it’s hard to call her one of the best. When the plot can get really confusing at times. Bond is directed to Octopussy by Magda. Who gracefully leaps out a window after Bond sees a tattoo of an octopus on her back.

Octopussy is notably the first Bond film set in India. There’s tigers, sword swallowers, snakes in baskets, and one henchmen with a buzzsaw yo-yo. An Indian actress was intended to play Octopussy, but Maud Adams was cast instead due to the limited choices at the time. Adams is the only actress to play two separate Bond girls (after previously playing Andrea Anders in The Man with the Golden Gun). Bond’s ally Vijay is the only major Indian in the movie. This is also the first time Q gets to work in the field with 007. He shows up to rescue Bond in a hot air balloon. Only to be thanked by a bevy of beautiful ladies. Save for a strong location and good action, Octopussy is just embarrassing.

13. Octopussy

James Bond surrounded by the Octopus Cult

James Bond will return in A View to a Kill

007 Hits the Slopes

For Your Eyes Only dials things way back. After going up to space, Bond needed to be grounded again. It was the best time to do so, because gritty was what the 80’s were all about. Despite being the twelfth film in the long running franchise, For Your Eyes Only is actually based on the 8th book written by Ian Fleming. Which was actually a collection of 5 short stories.

Along with the title short, “Risico” was the other short it was based on. For Your Eyes Only was released after Moonraker. Even though The Spy Who Loved Me promised it would come next. A point of confusion for me at the time. Roger Moore was very nearly replaced due to a completed contract (and his advancing age), but he managed to stick it out once more. M wasn’t recast out of respect for Bernard Lee. The role was instead filled by MI6 Chief of Staff Bill Tanner…

12. For Your Eyes Only

James Bond speaks with Melina

The Mission: Locate Polaris submarine missile command system and recover device from Russian forces

Gadgets & Vehicles: Identigraph Machine, Communication Wristwatch

Bond Girls: Melina Havelock, Bibi Dahl, Countess Lisl

Bond Villains: Aristotle Kristatos, Emile Leopold Locque, Erich Kriegler, Apotis, Hector Gonzales, Claus

Analysis: Despite being highly regarded by some fans of the franchise, I found For Your Eyes Only to be one of the more forgettable Bond films. Even though it has some excellent stunts, action scenes, and humor in retrospect. The poster with a shot of James Bond between a woman’s legs is pretty iconic too. The most interestingly out of place part of For Your Eyes Only happens at the very beginning. Bond visits the grave of his deceased wife Tracy Bond. From all the way back in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Bond then boards a helicopter that gets controlled by an unseen man stroking a cat.

They couldn’t call him Blofeld because of the Thunderball legal incident, but you know it’s him. After 007 regains control of the copter (and his cat runs away), Bond proceeds to drop his wheelchair bound archenemy into a factory chimney. As Blofeld begs for mercy. It’s the goofiest thing in the movie, but at least it’s memorable. It might surprise you to know, I actually consider the title song by Sheena Easton to be my personal favorite Bond theme. I find it to be one of the best love songs released in the 80’s. Easton is notably the only singer to physically appear in an opening credits sequence. Plenty of Q’s gadgets are seen, but 007 hardly uses any of them. Bond’s mission is on land, air, and sea. The snowy mountain chase for land, the opening helicopter scene for air, and the watery climax for sea.

Aristotle Kristatos is notably the first Bond villain to appear as an ally before being revealed as the enemy. Primary Bond girl Melina Havelock swears revenge on Kristatos after he hires a hitman to kill her parents. It’s such a big part of her character that she hardly has any time for a romance with Bond. At least until she name drops the title and skinny dips with him at the end. He does bed a Countess named Lisl von Schlaf, but thankfully not ice skating prodigy Bibi Dahl (despite her attempts to seduce him). Her young age would have just made it way too creepy. For Your Eyes Only is a divisive transitional period to say the least.

12. For Your Eyes Only

James Bond kicks a car off a cliff

James Bond will return in Octopussy

007 in SPACE!

Moonraker boldly goes where no Bond has gone before. And the result is out of this world! Despite being the eleventh film in the long running franchise, Moonraker is actually based on the 3rd book written by Ian Fleming. The last full length Fleming story to get adapted. It was one of the few he always intended to be a film.

Although The Spy Who Loved Me promised James Bond would return in For Your Eyes Only, Star Wars was really popular at the time. So the science fiction themed Moonraker was fast tracked instead. Becoming the most big budget Bond film at the time. Despite being marketed as a grand space adventure, only the third act is set in space, and the plot is almost exactly the same as The Spy Who Loved Me (right down to the return of Jaws). This would also sadly turn out to be Bernard Lee’s final appearance as M…

11. Moonraker

James Bond boards Moonraker 5 with Holly Goodhead and Jaws

The Mission: Investigate missing space shuttle and stop plot to form a master race by wiping out all life on Earth

Gadgets & Vehicles: Wrist-mounted Dart Gun, Safe-cracking Device, Miniature Camera, Explosive Wristwatch, Laser Rifle

Bond Girls: Holly Goodhead, Corinne Dufour

Bond Villains: Hugo Drax, Jaws, Chang, Blonde Beauty

Analysis: On paper the idea of a James Bond movie set in outer space sounds like jumping the shark. Yet they somehow found a way to make it work within the context of the franchise. In a lot of ways, Moonraker was the Bond film that peaked my interest more than any other. The result turned out to be complete false advertising. The first two acts are perfect for a regular Bond film, but I was expecting so much more sci-fi than I got. In keeping with the theme, the opening credits sequence contains the moon (and nude silhouettes).

Shirley Bassey performs her third and final Bond theme. It’s not a bad song per se, but the slower pace makes it less memorable by comparison. Hugo Drax is the owner of Drax Industries. His Nazi-esque plan is to form a master race out in space and repopulate the Earth when all life is wiped out. Like Stromberg’s plan only in space instead of underwater. Bond is taken to Drax’s complex by lovely pilot Corinne Dufour. Who directs 007 to the main Bond girl Dr. Holly Goodhead. A CIA agent and astronaut who joins Bond out in space. She’s generally more modest, but her very suggestive name might say otherwise. She memorably shares a zero gravity love scene with Bond, followed by a cringy double entendre from Q.

Q’s main gadget for 007 is a concealed wrist gun, but we do see several other western themed gadgets. There’s also a laser gun that comes in handy at the end during a big space battle. The effects are surprisingly impressive and so are the other action scenes. After making such a big impact, gentle giant Richard Kiel returns as Jaws. Becoming the first Bond henchmen to do so. Along with the skydiving intro and cable car fight, Jaws’ character is changed completely. His recurring appearances are played more for laughs, he gets a nerdy girlfriend named Dolly, he switches sides, and survives in the end. All because a young fan wanted him to be a good guy. In true Roger Moore 007 fashion, Moonraker might fly too close to the sun, but there’s no denying it’s a fun space romp.

11. Moonraker

James Bond and Hugo Drax go shooting

James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only

007 and the KGB

The Spy Who Loved Me is easily the best of the Roger Moore Bond films. As it was the one that finally found the right balance of action and humor. Despite being the tenth film in the long running franchise, The Spy Who Loved Me is actually based on the 9th book written by Ian Fleming. Well the title is the same at least, because the movie doesn’t use any of the book’s original plot.

In a way, it was the most original Bond film made at the time. Due to the legal trouble surrounding Thunderball, they still couldn’t use SPECTRE or Blofeld without being sued. So they instead created new villains exclusively for the film. The Spy Who Loved Me also faced the loss of one of its original producers, trouble finding a director, and script problems. It’s lucky the final product turned out so well…

10. The Spy Who Loved Me

James Bond works alongside Anya Amasova

The Mission: Work alongside KGB to recover microfilm and stop plot to start an underwater civilization using nuclear weapons

Gadgets & Vehicles: Lotus Esprit S1 (equipped with submarine conversion, cement sprayer, surface-to-air missile, black dye slick, mines, and torpedoes), Teletype Wristwatch, Ski Pole Rifle, Wet Bike

Bond Girls: Anya Amasova, Naomi

Bond Villains: Karl Stromberg, Jaws, Sandor, Sergei Barsov

Analysis: The Spy Who Loved Me features the most well shot locations, the best Bond henchman, the second best spy car, and one of the best Bond girls to date. While the early 70’s lead Bond girls were more beautiful than capable, Anya Amasova proved a major turnaround. A Russian agent that was sexy, smart, and deadly all at the same time. Finally giving James Bond a true equal to fight alongside. When both agents are tasked with the same mission, MI6 and KGB call a truce. Forcing Agent 007 and Agent Triple X to work together. They don’t always see eye to eye, but the romance they eventually form is one of the best in the franchise. Ending with a rather awkward discovery of the two by their commanding officers.

The opening credits sequence depicts the relationship. Along with the most unobscured naked women at the time. The main theme is notable for having a different title than the movie it was made for. “Nobody Does it Better” by Carly Simon (although the title is still present in the song). Karl Stromberg is the main Bond villain. Making a return to megalomaniacal schemes, Stromberg plans to destroy the world and start a new civilization under the sea. His obsession with water is evident by his underwater Atlantis lair. So Q gifts 007 with a snazzy new spy car. It’s the second best because it can turn into a submarine.

The best Bond henchmen ever created is easily Jaws. He was the main reason I was excited to see this installment. Jaws is 7ft tall, nearly indestructible, and has a set of metal teeth. He follows Bond and Amasova from Egypt to Italy, until he ironically winds up in the “jaws” of a shark. Sexy pilot Naomi also works for Stromberg. The Spy Who Loved Me has no shortage of awesome action scenes. The opening ski jump where Bond wears a yellow snow suit, the Jaws train fight, or the submarine climax. The humor and one-liners have also gotten better. Since Roger Moore finally makes the role his own. Embracing his British roots (hence why Bond’s parachute is a Union Jack). Like the song states, nobody does it better than The Spy Who Loved Me.

10. The Spy Who Loved Me

James Bond fights Jaws

James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only Moonraker

007 Goes Kung Fu Crazy

The Man with the Golden Gun fully embraces the kung fu craze that defined the 70’s at the time. Hence why just about every character in the movie knows martial arts (including Bond himself). Despite being the ninth film in the long running franchise, The Man with the Golden Gun is actually based on the 12th book written by Ian Fleming.

Considering it took place around the same time, the primary focus is on the 1973 energy crisis. With solar power being a key component to the story. The Man with the Golden Gun was considered to be the lowest point in the franchise at the time. Even though it finally gave us a Bond villain that was on equal footing with Bond himself…

9. The Man With the Golden Gun

James Bond duels Scaramanga

The Mission: Track down deadly assassin and retrieve Solex Agitator with destructive power to harness the sun

Gadgets & Vehicles: Golden Gun

Bond Girls: Mary Goodnight, Andrea Anders

Bond Villains: Francisco Scaramanga, Nick Nack, Hai Fat, Lazar, Kra

Analysis: Although many consider The Man with the Golden Gun to be one of the weaker Bond films, I would argue that it’s a bit underrated. Sure it can get really ridiculous at times, and Roger Moore isn’t a comedian, but the villain is one of the most underappreciated in the entire franchise. Being the first Bond villain actor I was familiar with beforehand, the late great Christopher Lee plays Francisco Scaramanga. So Lee’s played Dracula, a dark sorcerer, a Sith Lord, and a Bond villain. The man knew villains. Scaramanga stands out for being the titular “Man with the Golden Gun.”

Although Desmond Llewelyn does return as Q, 007 doesn’t really have any notable gadgets in the movie. The Golden Gun is really the only one. Not that it isn’t a cool gadget. Made up of found objects cast in gold. Scaramanga is a freelance assassin and therefore able to match Bond physically. He’s almost like the Anti-Bond. His only embarrassing attribute is the superfluous third nipple he posses. His henchman is also notable. Nick Nack, played by famous little person Hervé Villechaize. Meaning Nick Nack is a carbon copy of Tattoo from his show Fantasy Island. I mean Scaramanga does own his own island. The kung fu craze is exemplified by the primary location being China. Bond fights several martial arts masters in a dojo, but it really gets silly when 2 school girls join in.

Even sillier is the return of the possibly racist Sheriff J.W. He briefly joins Bond in a car chase where he performs an impressive loop jump. The film just might feature the most nudity to date. Along with the psychedelic naked women in the opening credits sequence. Accompanied by the insanely catchy Lulu theme. Andrea Anders has a very revealing steamy shower scene. This would be the first of two Bond girls Maud Adams would play in the franchise. Mary Goodnight looks great in a bikini, but she’s one of the more clueless primary Bond girls. There’s also a skinny dipper aptly named Chew Mee. The Man with the Golden Gun can’t help but embrace the over-the-top nature of the spy series.

9. The Man with the Golden Gun

James Bond and Mary Goodnight sneak around

James Bond will return in The Spy Who Loved Me