If you ever have the wicked desire to start an argument among your friends or colleagues, just ask who the best James Bond is. You're guaranteed to have people standing on their chairs declaiming the relative merits of Connery and Moore within minutes.
Well, we're here to end those arguments forever. Here is our definitive and utterly impeachable ranking of 007s, according to their acting chops.
6. George Lazenby
We have to remember that On Her Majesty's Secret Service was George Lazenby's first acting job, and there's no denying that it shows. He was plucked from a modelling career after Albert R Broccoli bumped into him in a barber's shop, and despite looking the part, his inexperience showed as uncertainty on film.
The funny thing is, that actually worked for the movie, which called on Bond to be more vulnerable and unsure than we were used to seeing. Neither Connery nor Moore could have pulled it off so well, but at the same time, we've no doubt that Lazenby would have been all at sea in a more typical 007 movie.
5. Roger Moore
We love the late, great Sir Roger Moore as much as anyone, but if we're honest with ourselves, he isn't a great Bond. Iconic maybe, but Moore rarely reached for anything resembling depth in his performance.
His films are, for the most part, incredibly fun popcorn entertainment, and he had the 007 tropes down to a tee, but a (frequently) raised eyebrow was about as far as he ever stretched his acting skills.
4. Daniel Craig
Craig blew us all away with 2006's Casino Royale, where he excelled as a haunted killing machine and brought a fresh new depth to the flagging franchise. Here was a human and flawed Bond with none of the timidity of Lazenby's, and Craig was clearly having a brilliant time.
Unfortunately, his subsequent films have followed that unfortunate trend from serious to increasingly silly, and we get the impression that they're too silly for Craig's tastes, too. It's time for him to move on before he experiences his own version of the dreadful Die Another Day.
3. Pierce Brosnan
Speaking of Die Another Day, we're here to rehabilitate Brosnan's reputation. Craig gets a lot of credit for reviving a dying franchise, but he wasn't the first actor to be given that task, and the excellent GoldenEye came in after the longest gap (six years) there has ever been between Bond films.
Brosnan is admittedly a bit of a Frankenstein's Monster of a 007, combining the cool of Connery with the knowing wink of Moore, but it works. He probably gets the best balance of humour and merciless killing, and his pre-Die Another Day outings are much more enjoyable than people remember.
2. Sean Connery
Connery has the advantage of getting there first, but he deserves all the credit for defining the on-screen James Bond in all his Martini-swilling, womanising glory.
All other Bonds are fated to be either an imitation or a response to Connery's performance. You may not like him, but you have to respect him.
1. Timothy Dalton
Dalton's main problem is that he was ahead of his time. Everything Craig would do 20 years later had already been done by Dalton. Moore had reached the apex (or maybe nadir) of camp, and The Living Daylights made us believe that Bond was an expertly trained killer again.
He is probably the best Serious Actor of the bunch – you can practically see him wince when forced to deliver the typical 007 one-liners. What he brings instead to Bond is a real sense of depth that no number of catchphrases and action sequences can replace.
With just The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill under his belt, his tenure as Bond was the second shortest, but Dalton remains the one to beat.
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