Top 10 James Bond Movies To See Before Watching Spectre
SPECTRE opens domestically today and marks the twenty-fourth official James Bond film. Outside of that canon, there are several other Bond movies that have been made over the years which helps makes 007 one of the most recognizable and long-lasting characters in big screen history. With that in mind, and the great reviews rolling in for SPECTRE, here is our definitive list of the movies you should see before watching SPECTRE. If you disagree with our picks or think we got the order wrong, feel free to let us know in the talk backs below.
The first Bond movie to get remade (as NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN), THUNDERBALL is best remembered for the opening sequence that featured Sean Connery using a jetpack. Aside from that, THUNDERBALL has several underwater sequences that are impressive when you think about how long ago this movie was made. A bit overlong, it is one of Connery's best acting jobs as 007 even if the movie itself does not have as many standout sequences as the other films in the franchise.
One of the first films that started to go over the top with gadgets, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE also marked the first Bond film to deviate almost completely from Ian Fleming's source novel. With a screenplay by Road Dahl, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE featured a Japanese Bond girl, the introduction of Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played by Donald Pleasance), and some truly crazy gadgets. Some critics find the second half of the film starts to fall apart, but this is the movie that inspired Dr. Evil and the AUSTIN POWERS movies.
Roger Moore's favorite Bond film, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME is one of the best 007 moves featuring the successor to Sean Connery. Moore's films often bordered on self-parody, by THE SPY WHO LOVED ME is a stellar action thriller with a romantic tone and a great mission. Couple that with the absolutely stunning ski chase sequence that ends with Bond parachuting to safety and you have one of the best movies in the entire franchise.
The reboot of the Bond mythos worried many, especially those who thought the blonde Daniel Craig was wrong for the role of 007. Still, GOLDENEYE director Martin Campbell brings a much different style to this grittier, more BOURNE-esque thriller that showcases a younger, less experienced Bond. Card games were never more thrilling and Bond girls have rarely been sexier than the alluring Eva Green.
While many consider George Lazenby's sole outing as 007 to be one of the worst Bond performances of all time, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE may be the best film in the entire series. Lazenby was the weakest actor to play James Bond, but he brought a humanity to the role that Sean Connery's superhero-like portrayal could never have pulled off. Cited by directors like Steven Soderbergh and Christopher Nolan as inspiration for their films, this is one of the most under-appreciated films in the 007 canon.
After the ho-hum days of Timothy Dalton, Bond came exploding back to the big screen with GOLDENEYE. Director Martin Campbell brought the same rip-roaring fun of the Sean Connery and Roger Moore films to this post-Cold War action film that showcased why Pierce Brosnan was perfect to play 007. Smooth, suave, and quick with the one-liners, GOLDENEYE introduced an entire generation to what James Bond movies are supposed to be.
The one that started it all, DR. NO is not only the first Bond movie but also the film that kickstarted the entire secret agent genre of movies. While not originally beloved by all, DR. NO has gone one to epitomize the entire spy movie formula with a standout villain, witty hero, and beautiful babes. Ursula Andress' iconic bikini is one of many reasons to love this film.
The last Bond movie to be released was also the highest grossing 007 movie of all time. Daniel Craig truly came into his own as Bond in this very personal film that gives background on the origins of the character, something that rarely has been explored in any of the films. This movie also gives us a new M, our first Q in the rebooted films, and a creepy villain in Javier Bardem's Silva. It also features one of, if not the best, Bond theme songs. Sam Mendes brings a auteur's eye to directing this excellent movie.
Before SPECTRE, there was SMERSH. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE was only the second Bond movie ever made but also features one of my all-time favorite scenes in the above train fight between Sean Connery and Robert Shaw. Sticking close to the formula from DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE doesn't stray far from convention and isn't quite as unique as later films in the franchise, but boy is is a fun and fast adventure.
The one that brings it all together: great gadgets, iconic villain, Bond girl named with a risque double entendre, stirring theme song, and a great leading actor. GOLDFINGER is the Bond film that all other Bond movies have been measured against and for good reason: it is really good. Every wonder why Sean Connery was the ideal James Bond? Ever wonder why all of the vehicles Bond drives are compared to his Aston Martin? GOLDFINGER has it all, along with a henchman in Oddjob that puts almost every other Bond character to shame. This is the gold standard of Bond movies.