Northern Lights’ Favourite Bond Films
The ‘Bond’ series has always been one of Britain’s greatest and most notorious film series’ ever since the audience first laid eyes upon Sean Connery’s masterful acting capabilities as the famous thrill seeking MI6 agent, 007, A.K.A, James Bond in 1962. Since Dr. No’s release millions of die-hard fans have appeared to back up this beloved franchise, it has generated countless amounts of fan service and it has, quite possibly, become one of Britain’s most well recognised pieces of filmography. The films have seen six generations of Bonds so far, Starting with Sean Connery in Dr. No up until Daniel Craig in Spectre. Speaking of Spectre, in honour of the newest film’s release, this article will be dedicated to elucidating my thoughts on the best films in the series per their respective main Bond actor.
Firstly on this list, Sean Connery’s adaptation of Bond, the first and quite possibly the most memorable of the bunch. The film from Connery’s list of Bond appearances that i found most entertaining was the first in the bunch, the one, the only, Dr. No. Dr. No was the first on-screen adaptation of Ian Fleming’s notorious character and subjected the public to what is considered by many to be the greatest spy/espionage films to date. The film begins with a government agency building being infiltrated by a gang known as ‘The Three-Blind Mice’ who kill the head of the agency, Strangways. MI6 hears word of this event and sends agent 007 to investigate the disappearance. The film follows Bond from that point onward as he finds himself stuck in countless different situations from being pursued by gang members in a thrilling high-speed chase to being trapped in a holding cell on a secret island, whatever the situation, Bond masterfully finds some cunning way to escape and ‘Die another day’ (Pun intended). Now, the big thing I love about this film is how it shows Bond faced with many different scenarios and how his quick thinking as a 00 agent allows him to escape, however, the film doesn’t just allow him to become an invincible cliché as many modern films follow, no, it shows Bond put up struggle and shows how the mentality of his job title does effect him in certain situations, most notably how he reacts to losing the woman he is rescuing at the end of the film, you can see how Bond is flustered but remains intact to the operation. He, with sharp instincts, finds her and sets her free and it is this quick thinking but near hopelessness of a situation that i love as it can seen as a sort of metaphor that Bond lives by which is not to lose hope in situations of dire terror and sheer hopelessness, this is what i love about this film. On top of that deeper meaning ideas of the mentality of a 00 agent, and the notorious start to the tag line ’The name’s Bond’, it also features high-octane car chases (however outdated by modern societies standards they are), scenes of pure survival instincts and the secretive espionage skills that a 00 agent possesses. No matter what part of spy movies you like, Dr. No has it all featured making it a fantastic choice of Bond film for any action fan to see. This is, in my opinion, the best adaptation of any bond film to date for its specialities and is the perfect place to start for a Bond newbie or just as a day-to-day film to sit down and enjoy.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Secondly on this list, George Lazenby’s one and only attempt at playing Bond in 1969 with ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. This was the sixth film in the series after Sean Connery’s amazing and down right unbeatable role as Bond. In this Bond adventure, Bond finds and saves a girl from committing suicide, her father then strikes a deal with Bond, if Bond marries Tracy, he will obtain information about his arch-enemy, however, there is a big twist as somebody is not who they say they are which leaves Bond torn between his intent to marry Tracy and his resolve to stop an international terror. This film features some great acting from George Lazenby, although not as great as Sean Connery, he does hold up the standards and this creates a great vibe throughout the film. This film focuses more on the action side of the genre however, while this is definitely not a bad thing, it does lose its espionage element and that turned a few die-hard Connery fans away for a while. Speaking of the action element, at least it does it well with many memorable scenes showing Bond narrowly escaping death lurking trials, such as the ski chase which portrays Bond outrunning gallons of evil henchmen on a ski slope, easily one of Bonds most memorable scenes even in films to come, the sheer action of this scene makes up for the lack of espionage and replaces it with an adrenalin infused gem stone of a moment still memorable long after the credits have roles. Whilst not as deep in meaning as Dr. No was, There is still a notable scenario in which Bond needs to overcome which can be applied to real world situations. This idea of choosing between the one you love and the resolve to do something right is a tough obstacle to overcome, both in a fictional universe and our very own. This is a great plot point in the film and it doesn’t feel at all forced or out-of-place, it perfectly fits in with the context of the film and still manages to pull off an exciting adventure more accessible to a wider audience of fans. For a follow-up to the power house that was Connery, this film is in no way a bad representation, its tough to live up to expectations but this film expertly takes that role and moulds it to its advantage creating a wonderful piece of filmography and a good memory of a distant Bond.
A View To A Kill
Third in the list of Bond eras is the Roger Moore era with my favourite representation being ‘A View To A Kill’ in 1985. The film revolves around Bond seeking the killer of 003, which leads to the discovery that the man who killed 003 is also experimenting with sinister technology that could be used to wipe out any competition that may stand in front of the killer. The film takes a more action orientated approach and delivers exceptionally well with Roger Moore portraying the role of Bond with great detail. The film elucidates such intensity within its opening scene portraying Bond escaping Russian soldiers in a high-octane, death-defying chase down a snowy mountain letting us all know that this film is going to be intense and it definitely delivers. The film has a hand full of moments much like this including memorable scenes such as the ‘Mine Massacre’ which is a very tense moment or the ‘Golden Gate Fight’ which is again very tense and extremely exciting and not to mention filled to the brim with action sequences enough to make both new and old fans cry out with joy. This film has fantastic acting on top of all else, with Roger Moore in particular creating a very well thought out Bond as he keeps a cool atmosphere around himself suitable for the Bonds around that era. Overall, this film is very enjoyable with many different scenes capable of satisfying your spy film necessities and i would highly recommend this to anybody wanting a good Bond flick with a bit of action, a bit of simplistic plot with a bit of darkness as well, a must see.
License To Kill
The fourth Bond era is that of Timothy Dalton, in which an era of extreme action heavy sequences followed leading to the first ever Bond age rating of PG-13, which for the time of 1989, was a heavy sentence as the Bonds had always been less brutal ratings of PG or U. The plot revolves around Bond and his newly wed friend who is killed/tortured by a drug lord who then kills his wife as well. This triggers Bond to go rogue from the agency and exact revenge using all means necessary. There is no doubt that this is the most brutal entry in the series to date, it is dark, gritty and feature enough action sequences to make any modern shooter flick proud. For fans of the typical espionage element present within the Bond universe, you won’t find much of that here, the film is basically the moment Bond goes rampart with an intent of revenge and kills pretty much anybody involved in the operation with brutal strength and skill which if you like that thing then great, but if you like traditional stealth and what-not, that is not the case here unfortunately. However, the film does not throw all of those espionage features away, in the boat scene, Bond is seen roaming around searching for something, this scene involves Bond wandering corridors and trying to remain unseen which has its own redeeming effects of tension and suspense which was thoroughly enjoying to see. This film may not have much of a backing point behind it but it does have that element of choosing between your friends and your duty which again like OHMSS, is a difficult choice to make and it does have its pros and its cons. In the film, there are plenty memorable scenes, most of them very dark and gory, such as the scene in Sanchez’s secret base where Bond and Dario fight over a conveyor belt into a steel shredder, resulting in the gory mess of Dario being pulled into the shredder. Overall, this film is exceptionally well created and provides a fantastically gritty story with brutal kills and a simplistic yet flawlessly entertaining lot line quite easily my second favourite on this list just being beaten by the classic Dr. No.
The fifth era of Bond gave us the younger, more comically cheeky chap, Pierce Brosnan. The film most standing out for me during this time line is without a doubt ‘GoldenEye’ from 1995. The plot revolves around the GoldenEye satellite being programmed as a laser weapon capable of mass destruction. Bond must find and locate the satellite to destroy it before it can assist the Russians in robbing the Bank of England and destroying the British economy. The film has a fantastic cult following and with good reason, spanning multiple media releases of scores, games and mercy, this is one of the most beloved and remembered films in the Bond series. This film has a unique blend of both the sheer action of Licence To Kill and the espionage that Bond films share. It is a very clever blend as well that knows just when to show us each scene, every bit makes us just as excited as the previous, each part of this film gives us an extra nod towards the finale which is truly epic and is my most beloved scene in all of Bond history. The film again has some fantastically memorable scenes that span from a tank escape in Russia to the action packed finale on top of a grounded satellite. Brosnan gives us a stunning performance in which he breathes life into the mostly adult Bond and gives him a unique youngster attitude that combines his young, cheeky side and his adult serious side that shows us Bonds expert agent side. Whether you are looking for a film about espionage or action, this is the perfect blend of the two working harmoniously together giving us breathtakingly tense scenes making us feel like we are there with Bond on this epic journey.
Quantum Of Solace
Finally, the newest era of Bond, Daniel Craig. Craig brought with him acting capabilities that portrayed him as the perfect gentleman spy, gritty, deep, and always serious, he showed us how Dalton’s Bond run could be implemented into the true Bond formula. My favourite Craig movie was ‘Quantum Of Solace’ made in 2008. The plot continues directly from ‘Casino Royal’ in which Bond captures Mr. White and interrogates him with M. Upon his escape, Bond searches for clues on his whereabouts finding and saving Camille Montes. From there-on-out, Bond and Camille chase down the organisation named ‘Quantum’ and unearth the true extent of their work. The film is a return to Timothy Dalton’s style of Bond as it is a mainly revenge risen plot involving the death of a characters family. QOS and LTK share a great deal in many ways but both are very different films in their own sense. Craig is professional and collected about his work as a 00 agent, whilst Dalton’s Bond was more reckless and headstrong, both having their quirks and their qualities. Either way you look at these eras, it is evident that the Craig era is the most definitely the most gritty, personal story of the Bond series and it pulls off this look very well. Overall, the film is a great spectacle of stunning visual effects and fantastic high-end performances, easily a contender for my Top 3 Bond Films.
Words: Callum-James Parkin