Comic Book Curious

Starter Guide: James Bond

October 5, 2021

Look we get it, there are a lot of long running movie franchises out there and it can be daunting to dive into an already existing universe with decades of continuity. This series is about helping you find the best places to start.

So James Bond, where to start?

James Bond has appeared in 25 films across 59 years (the longest ongoing franchise in film history). With the newest entry in the series, No Time To Die hitting US theaters this Friday, now is probably a good time to look for a clean entry point to the ongoing adventures of British superspy Agent 007.

James Bond stands at a bar next to Felix Leiter

Credit: MGM Studios

Casino Royale (2006)

This is the perfect starting place for any Bond newbie as it tells us his origin story. We get the story of how he became a 00 agent, his first Aston Martin, his debut mission, meet the original Bond girl, and witness him find a recipe for the perfect martini. The whole point of this movie was to introduce Bond to a new generation. Daniel Craig makes a stunning debut with a darker and more brutish Bond who is just beginning his journey to becoming the debonair gentlemen spy audiences know and love.

Bond laying on a table with a laser moving towards him

Credit: MGM Studios

Goldfinger (1964)

Sean Connery set the template for James Bond, but as with any character it took a couple movies to find the secret formula for popularity. It is with Connery’s third entry in the franchise that we get the first true Bond picture. Here we see gadgets, girls, an iconic supervillain and henchman, and the introduction of the iconic Aston Martin DB5. Connery is so at home in the character from the seduction of women to the wry one liners after dispatching a baddie. It also has one of the greatest Bond/Villain exchanges in the series as Aurich Goldfinger has Bond strapped to a table with laser beam moving ever closer to him:

Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.

Bond standing in the snow pointing a gun

Credit: MGM Studios

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Following up the indelible performance of the legendary Sean Connery is no easy feat, let alone if it’s your screen acting debut. This was the case for model turned actor George Lazenby whose only turn as 007 has aged well since its disappointing box office debut. While he seems hesitant in some of the more character specific scenes, his physicality and fighting style are as good as any actor who has played the part. He is also greatly helped by having the incredible Diana Rigg as his romantic interest and their doomed love story serves as the spine for one of the more emotionally resonant Bond movies that is also packed with some incredible action sequences.

Bond about to be bitten by Jaws

Credit: MGM Studios

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Roger Moore had the longest tenure as Bond (7 movies) and there were definitely some ups and downs during his run. This entry represents the peak of Moore’s take on the character. Featuring his trademark humor and huge over the top action sequences. This is the movie that gives us a villain with an underwater base and Bond’s aquatic car. It sees the introduction of one of Bond’s most iconic foes, Jaws, a man with metal teeth. It also features one of the most awe inspiring (and totally practical) stunts in the series when Bond skis off a massive cliff before deploying a Union Jack parachute.

Bond and 006 infiltrating an enemy base

Credit: MGM Studios

Goldeneye (1995)

Some Bond actors take a few movies to get warmed up but Pierce Brosnan knocked it out of the park on his first outing. This is one of the most clever and exciting Bond movies which sees him doing battle against a turncoat 00 agent that is every bit his equal. The movie is filled with smoldering intensity and slam bang action sequences including Bond driving a tank through St. Petersburg, Russia. This also saw the introduction of Judi Dench as M, Bond’s long-suffering commanding officer.

Honorable Mentions:

From Russia With Love (1963): Connery’s second outing is a wonderful espionage tale of him trying to suss out the intentions of a Russian woman who claims to love him.

Live & Let Die (1973): Roger Moore’s debut is a blast as Bond heads to New Orleans and Jamaica to battle a voodoo cult. Also features an amazing opening song by Paul McCartney.

The Living Daylights (1987): Timothy Dalton is one of the most underrated Bonds and he brings a nice intensity to this Cold War thriller.

Skyfall (2012): Craig’s third Bond film is an exhilarating actioner with an incredible supporting cast including a stand out villain performance from Javier Bardem.

For more starter guides, check out "Starter Guide: Friday the 13th" by Captain Chris.

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