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5 James Bond Films for your Afternoon
With No Time To Die on the cusp of being released in 2021, there has been talk on who will take over the role of being the next James Bond from Daniel Craig. No confirmation as of yet so while we wait for news of that, we’ve put together a list of 5 James Bond Films Worth Revisiting. Some are more obscure choices while others are definitive fan favourites. Indulge me as we break down the highlights of 5 James Bond Films.
1. Dr No (1962)
Our first and probably most unexpected entry into this James Bond list. Dr No is based on the 1958 Ian Flemming novel of the same name which speaks volumes of the popularity of Flemming’s work. Even as early as the late 1950s.
The film follows 007 James Bond, as he’s sent into Jaimaica in search of a missing fellow British agent. This is where it gets a bit campy with the younger generation. Bond eventually encounters an underground base leading to Dr No and uncovers his plot to disrupt a space launch by way of a “complicated” radio beam weapon.
The common misconception about Dr No is that its also the first James Bond novel Flemming ever wrote. Dr No was, in fact, Casino Royale that was the first novel. Dr No just so happened to be the first James Bond film.
Dr No received a mixed reaction from both Movie Goers and Critics alike but it did spawn a whole new genre of Spy Films that has continued on to this day. Stream it if only to catch Sean Connery in his heyday as a young Scottish actor. Dr No also spawned a comic book, which is of note to our readers.
2. Live and Let Die (1973)
The eighth film in the James Bond series, Live and Let Die, doesn’t often get the praise it deserves. Part could be because Roger Moore isn’t often heralded as the viewer’s favourite due to his shorter 007 arc. Another reason could be because the stakes don’t feel high at the film’s peak.
Despite this, Roger Moore does a fantastic job at playing a 007 who navigates the heroine driven world of American Gangster, Mr Big. The film is devoid of megalomaniac ‘moustache twirling’ scenes and rests more on the laurels of good storytelling. With the biggest antagonist of Drugs being unleashed on San Monique and creating a population of addicts for Mr Big to prey upon.
The interesting point to make about Live and Let Die is the drug and narcotics agenda. There’s a definitive narrative at work here that pitches drugs as the ultimate evil. An evil that was at an all time high (according to white politicians) in the early 70s and during the Blaxploitation movement. This adds a certain degree of racial bias which was evident in the script and was a sign of the times.
James Bond: Live and Let Die is more a narcotics busting film than a secret agent film.
Still, there’s plenty of merits in the story and how it tries to stand on its own two feet.
3. The Living Daylights (1987)
The Living Daylights was the first of two James Bond film appearances starring veteran character actor Timothy Dalton. Regretfully, it was also the last film to share an Ian Flemming book title until Casino Royale.
The Living Daylights is an exciting and colourful display of action and thrills. Though it lacks any real humour, be it subtle or otherwise, resulting in a film that doesn’t land for everyone watching.
The Living Daylights is also one of the first James Bond films to really capitalise on the fear of soviets with the cold open featuring 007 assignment to assist a KGB defector. As the film develops, the KGB defector turns out to be the real antagonist (in true Bond style).
Despite the complexity of the film’s Russian Antagonists, it’s an interesting look back on just how petrified the Western Powers were of the Soviets, KGB and the extended arm approach Socialism was taking in the 70s and 80s.
It’s time well spent for any Die Hard James Bond Fan or if Timothy Dalton is your flavour of the week.
4. GoldenEye (1995)
Goldeneye was the 17th Film in the James Bond franchise and the first of many to feature the suave and sophisticated look of Pierce Brosnan as 007.
Goldeneye was also one of the first films to feature a high stakes plot where the entire world was at jeopardy. Written by Michael France in collaboration with others, Goldeneye is about an ex-MI6 agent who’s gone rogue and intends to use a satellite weapon to destroy London and ignite a global financial crisis.
(In hindsight, he could’ve just waited a few more years and saved himself the trouble.)
The interesting thing about Goldeneye to note here and why I would recommend you watch Goldeneye immediately after The Living Daylights (1987) is because of the story’s backdrop set against a recently dissolved Soviet Union. An interesting contrast to the Soviet heavy story of The Living Daylights.
Goldeneye was a film of firsts. It was the first James Bond film to feature Judi Dench as the MI6 Director. Proving that when masculine fuelled sexist outrage occurs – it’s a chosen endeavour. It was also the first James Bond film where a “Bond Babe” uses the act of sex as a weapon. Giving rise to an all too uncomfortable narrative of early 90s Pop Culture.
Finally, GoldenEye was also named as an homage to a mission codename Ian Flemming took part of during his time working for British Naval Intelligence.
5. Casino Royale (2006)
Casino Royale was the first James Bond film to introduce Daniel Craig into the role of 007. An interesting anecdote as we wait on the highly anticipated No Time To Die (2021) to be released.
Interestingly enough, Casino Royale takes place at the beginning of 007’s career when he is earning his License to Kill. With the story featuring a high stakes poker game, James Bond is tasked with an assignment to bankrupt terrorist financier Le Chiffre at the Casino Royale in Montenegro.
Due to the exotic filming locations, Casino Royale also features one of the most diverse casts of any Bond film in recent memory. With actors, actresses and extras from the Czech Republic, the Bahamas, Italy and the United Kingdom. Certain elements of this story arc continued on into 2008’s James Bond: Quantum of Solace.
Casino Royale was also the first film to return to using an Ian Flemming novel as the title.