Six actors have left their stamp on the role of suave British spy James Bond until now. From Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, each has brought something of his own to the role, making every onscreen Bond unique.
But which one is the best portrayal? As Craig concludes his journey as James Bond with Cary Joji Fukunaga’s No Time to Die, here is a ranking of each of them, from bottom to top:
Australian model-actor’s casting as Bond raised many an eyebrow. And he got to star in the prestigious role only once. While his performance was not bad, it was not distinct or nuanced enough. The reception to his film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was muted back then but is now considered one of the better James Bond movies. The film, however, is more remembered for Tracy di Vincenzo, Diana Rigg’s Bond girl.
Again, Timothy Dalton is one of the finest actors to essay the role of James Bond, but he was not necessarily best suited for the role. He was not classically handsome Bond, fans say. He also got only two movies to show his mettle.
Roger Moore holds the distinction to play James Bond in most movies: 7. He was an established television actor before The Man with the Golden Gun, his first Bond movie. He played the role until he looked visibly old in A View to a Kill (1985)
For his era, Pierce Brosnan was a perfect fit as bond – he had charm to spare, the films were filled with cheeky humour and he had the looks that people have come to expect from 007. He acted in four films – GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day. Despite three of the film doing well, he went out with a dud that didn’t help his legacy. But Brosnan was by far a Bond who was closest to Ian Fleming’s original vision.
There were numerous critics of Craig’s casting in Casino Royale as James Bond. “He is too short,” was a common refrain. Craig not only proved everybody wrong, he helped modernise the character. The gritty portrayal is now well-loved and most fans of the character are sad to see him him go.
Was there any doubt? The late Scottish legend because of whom James Bond is a household name, Sean Connery’s take on the M16 agent was the very definition of a debonair, sophisticated spymaster. He was the first to speak the words “Bond. James Bond.” in Dr. No, and what would otherwise would be a nonsensical set of words suddenly acquired an aura of style. The first and still the definitive James Bond.