James Bond fever has returned with a bang as “No Time To Die” is already seeing packed cinema halls, even as the Covid-19 restrictions ease. The Daniel Craig starrer is a sequel of sorts to the 2006 superduper hit “Casino Royale”.
Hollywood has never had any dearth of franchises in various genres, ranging from superheroes to magicians and sitcoms. But when the James bond franchise debuted way back in 1962, it revolutionised the spy world in movies.
Vibes of India has curated a list of iconic Bond flicks, which will make one blend the enigmatic world of Aston Martins with the crisp suits and fall for Mr 007.
- Dr No.
Dr No. ( 1962) This was The very first James Bond movie, an adaptation of the Ian Fleming novel Dr No. The film had Sean Connery playing James Bond. In the plot, James Bond journeys to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of a British agent, and along the way, he uncovers a plot by a cunning villain to disrupt a rocket launch. Surprisingly, the film was quite low-budget and launched a whole new franchise universe and introduced the world to bond staples- Stunning Bond Girls, the exotic location, the campy villain with.
Goldenfinger (1964)This film is said to be the one that made the entire franchise iconic. Goldfinger was directed by Guy Hamilton is the one that stabilised a staple template subsequently followed by other bond films to follow– a pre-credit sequence not entirely related to the main plot, an original song made for the film’s credits used as a motif throughout the film. The film got a better and bigger response. One of the most iconic scenes comprises the one where a laser beam threatens to cut bonds private parts, introducing a dangerous villain with an equally ridiculous and dangerous sidekick. But it works because of Connery, who floats through the movie with his brutality disguised as charm.
3. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)An underrated gem, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, is one of the strongest movies in the series, silly and convoluted, The action is so good that Christopher Nolan had put a homage to a skiing action sequence from the film in “inception” The film stars George Lazenby as James Bond. The film looks its most stunning yet, with colours you can’t help but notice. The director of photography Michael Reed brings that same sensibility to this film. But what the director also manages to capture is the romantic undercurrent which slowly comes to the forefront. The plot has an interesting angle where Bond’s brooding and aggressive demeanour are slowly softened as he comes face to face to heart with Tracy, and it feels believable, which is why when the ending happens, it is heartbreaking. It is gutsy and it has reverberations that are felt throughout the franchise going forward.
4. Licence To Kill
Licence To Kill (1989)The film plot focused on Timothy Dalton’s James Bond and his suspension from MI6 after he tries to help out his CIA friend Felix Leiter and avenge Felix’s wife’s murder. The movie itself goes significantly darker in terms of the violence and supporting character getting half-eaten by a shark. Bond movies so far have been a pretty bloodless affair, so seeing the violence depicted on screen was not a problematic factor. The fact that almost all of the gentlemanly characteristics are stripped bare from Bond, works in raising the stakes.
Goldeneye ( 1995)Goldeneye serves as a soft reboot, bringing Bond into the 90s. Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond feels like an amalgamation of Sean Connery and Roger Moore-era Bond in the best way possible. It also shows the deconstruction of Bond’s character, and shows his drinking and womanizing as character flaws. The fact that he is a relic from the cold war is actively stated in the film, while him risking his life as well as bedding women for “Queen and Country”, which was started almost proudly by Bond in Thunderball, is now a legitimate question. Goldeneye thus manages to deconstruct as well as update the franchise in a way that doesn’t feel forced.
The action set-pieces are smooth, Campbell is a master at making everything look effortless, he seems perfect as Bond, almost like Timothy Dalton or Sean Connery’s Bond set in the world of Roger Moore. The frenetic pacing and energy of the film don’t let one feel the length of the film, a trait which worked for its popularity.
6. Casino Royale
Casino Royale ( 2006) If one had to pick the best bond film to only the most hardcore Bond scholars, and probably not even all of them, would suggest Casino Royale. This film is a perfect modern blockbuster in all regards had all of these as its features, but what makes this movie the best of the franchise is the story and its well-developed characters. The plot has, MI6 operative James Bond gains his license to kill and promotion to 00 agent status by assassinating two targets: traitorous section chief Dryden at the British Embassy in Prague and his contact, Fisher. With a tight, witty yet complicated script, a bunch of iconic entrancing action sequences, and a ruthless Bond villain (Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre).
It was the perfect one to instill Daniel Craig as the new version of Bond alongside Eva Green as one of the most gorgeous bond girls.
Skyfall ( 2012)Skyfall stands is a standout Bond film as it discovers a unique era of the Bond franchise – the Daniel Craig era. For one, it is very standalone, the writers decided to forego the plot of the dastardly organisation Quantum, in favour of crafting a singular weapon who is an ex-agent and similar to James Bond in many respects. Most importantly Skyfall showcases MI6 in a modern light, introduces and fleshes out the supporting cast for this Bond flick, while also paying homage to what came before.
The film plot revolves around Bond who is now older, hurt, dealing with the question as to whether he is the right agent for the job, and battling the scene-stealing villain Javier Bardem.