Bond Actors at their Best
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the James Bond films. There have already been several enjoyable tributes, with doubtless more to come throughout the year, as well as the release of the twenty-third Bond film Skyfall. As a self-confessed Bond addict I have compiled together a little tribute to showcase some of the best moments of the six actors who have played James Bond (in the official series). All of the videos have been uploaded by Bond fans onto YouTube and some will only partially embed, but if you click on the link it will take you straight to the site where the videos can be watched. Enjoy!
By 1962 when the first Bond film was released, the character of James Bond had already become iconic, due to the success of Ian Fleming’s novels, so it was important the producers found the right actor for the part. Sean Connery must have seemed like a risky choice as he was at that time relatively unknown. However, Connery soon dispelled any doubts with his portrayal of Bond as a fearless, ruthless and darkly charming secret agent. Connery’s success set the standard by which all other actors in the role have been judged. Bond’s introduction in the first film Dr No was vital to establishing the right tone for the character, and Connery pulls it off with aplomb. The clip below shows Connery’s first scene as Bond, playing Baccarat with the alluring Sylvia Trench:
George Lazenby’s stint as James Bond was limited to one film and has been much maligned. Replacing Connery was always going to be a difficult task and the producers decided on another unknown, but unlike Connery, Lazenby had no real acting experience and it shows. However, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service will be remembered as the film which showed Bond’s human side when after years of womanising the spy finally falls in love and marries, only for it to end in tragedy:
Roger Moore’s tenure as Bond seems to divide fans and critics alike. Personally, I’ve always liked Moore who holds the record as the longest serving Bond playing the character in seven films over twelve years. Below is a clip of one of the most inventive and thrilling scenes in the series taken from Live and Let Die. It’s not just super-villains Bond has had to deal with over the years, it’s also their pet sharks, snakes or in this case crocodiles! Just spare a thought for the stunt man who had to do this scene five times!
Timothy Dalton was perhaps the most distinguished actor to play Bond. He researched the role carefully, immersing himself in Fleming’s novels and giving a darker and grittier portrayal of the spy in his two films. Sometimes criticised for being stiff and humourless, this airplane fight scene from The Living Daylights proves the Bond films could still be tough without compromising on the ingenuity and inventiveness:
Pierce Brosnan deserves credit for rescuing the series after a six-year hiatus. He was the first actor to play Bond after the end of the Cold War and the films successfully modernised Bond’s image. In the scene below, taken from Goldeneye, Bond spars with the first female M, played brilliantly by Judi Dench:
After the disastrous Die Another Day, Daniel Craig was the first actor to play Bond in a reboot of the series. Before Craig’s debut in Casino Royale, there had been occasional attempts at continuity in several of the films, such as references to Bond’s brief marriage, which suggested that all of the actors were playing the same Bond. Casino Royale dispenses with this concept to be essentially an ‘origin story’ of how Bond earned his licence to kill double 00 status. Craig plays Bond appropriately as a young, cocky and obstreperous spy who gradually learns his craft the hard way and falls for the enigmatic Vesper Lynd along the way. This clip is from the conclusion of the card game at the titular Casino Royale: