So, James Bond as a character was very much influential to me growing up. My uncle was a James Bond fan and had seen all of the Bond films and introduced them to me whenever they were on network TV and I enjoyed the action of the films–though I was too young at the time to get the more risqué elements of Bond’s nature. Whatculture.com did a feature listing their favorite Bond actors and I thought I do the same since the character was one of my favorites growing up. I will not include every actor who played the role, just the ones most known for playing the iconic role.
6. George Lazenby
Not really a huge fan of his performance. I saw him once as a child and I remember thinking that he wasn’t like the other Bonds. His portrayal just didn’t have the same calculated “coldness” that I’ve come to associate with the character.
5. Timothy Dalton
This is one of those places where Whatculture.com and I disagree. I believe that Timothy Dalton is a fine actor, but not a very good Bond. They tried to do with Dalton what they tried (and ultimately succeeded with Craig) was to modernize Bond and make him more violent and move him away from the camp of Roger Moore, his predecessor. I just don’t think it worked–his cold calculation came across on-screen more as peevishness and annoyance.
4. Pierce Brosnan
I really liked Pierce Brosan and wished I could rank him higher. I used to watch him when he was on Remington Steele and was overjoyed when he I heard he might play Bond. Then came word that the show wouldn’t let him out of his contract and Dalton became the next Bond (if my memory recalls correctly). Finally, however, Brosnan got a chance to become Bond and I enjoyed his run (especially the first two movies). The problem is that the world changed and Jason Bourne came on the scene AND the screenwriters went back to their excesses with camp–Die Another Day is STILL the ONLY Bond film I have not seen–although, if it ever comes back to streaming, I will watch it, if only for completeness sake.
3. Daniel Craig
I really like Daniel Craig’s turn as Bond. I didn’t think I would and I resisted watching Casino Royal as long as I could. However, I watched the Bourne movies and enjoyed them and took a chance on Royal and was pleasantly surprised. I think Craig needs both the right script and the right motivation. He was masterful in Casino Royal and Skyfall, but Quantum of Solace and Spectre were both disappointments. I know others will rate him higher, but to me he has very high highs as Bond, but also very low lows.
2. Roger Moore
I know I’ll get hate for this choice, but Roger Moore’s Bond was actually a great successor to his predecessor. The problem in most people’s eyes is the campiness of the stories. While I agree they do get silly sometimes, Roger Moore is able to summon that “cold calculatedness” of Bond even in the midst of some of the most absurd situations. While Roger Moore is more comfortable with the amiable jokester qualities of the character, his flinty gaze can still be seen when necessary. Besides, this is the Bond I grew up with, so nostalgia also has a lot to say in influencing my decision.
1. Sean Connery
While I don’t think that Sean Connery always played the role perfectly, the fact is that his portrayal helped to define the character on-screen. Connery could do both dead-pan humor and “coldly calculating” with but a quirk of the lips or a tightening of the eye and that to me (not including the womanizing aspects) are the key to the character. To me, the idea that Bond is ruthless while masquerading as charming is central to Bond’s character and without a doubt, Connery’s portrayal always gave hint to this inherent contradiction of the character.