James Bond movies ranked: The best and worst of 007

James Bond actors portrayed at Madame Tussaud's

Not stirred: This lineup at the Madame Tussauds wax museum in Berlin presents all the actors who’ve played James Bond in the legendary Eon Productions movies. From left: Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Daniel Craig, Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Pierce Brosnan.

Britta Pedersen/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

In a movie franchise that’s been around as long as the James Bond series, with 26 films to date (24 canonical, plus two rogues) and six different actors in the lead role, there are going to be both gems and clunkers. Soon there’ll be another one to add to the super-spy series: No Time to Die, likely the final one to star Daniel Craig, making his fifth appearance as agent 007.

No Time to Die will be heading to theaters in November — delayed by the coronavirus, like so much else in our lives, from its original planned release date in April. On Thursday, the latest trailer arrived to whet our appetites.

While you’re waiting, you can satisfy your Bond cravings by revisiting the movies on your cable or streaming service of choice. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our recommendations and full rundown on big-screen Bond.

You can also take a run through this ranking of James Bond movies, from worst to best. It’s not arbitrary or one person’s whim — it’s based on an aggregate of movie reviews as compiled by Metacritic. (Disclosure: Metacritic and CNET have the same parent company, ViacomCBS.)

Here’s one zinger from the legendary Pauline Kael writing in The New Yorker about an ’80s vintage entry: “The James Bond series has had its bummers, but nothing before in the class of this one.”

And praise from Variety for one of the top five films: The star “excellently puts over a cool, fearless, on-the-ball, fictional Secret Service guy.”

The list accounts for every theatrical release, so not just the two dozen from Eon Productions starting back in 1962 with Sean Connery in Dr. No, but also two noncanonical entries — the 1967 version of Casino Royale, a trippy turn with multiple actors playing Bond (David Niven chief among them), and 1983’s Never Say Never Again, with Connery in his second comeback.

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Don’t go looking for the 1954 version of Casino Royale, though. That was a true outlier — a 50-minute TV playhouse production that introduced Ian Fleming’s hero to the world as “Jimmy” Bond, an American secret agent. You can find that on YouTube, if you’re curious.

Otherwise, we’ve got the whole litany of actors who’ve played Bond in the official franchise — besides Connery and Craig, that’s George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.

So go ahead, check out our ranking. If you’re new to Bond, it’ll give you an idea where you might want to start your viewing. If you’re an old hand who’s got strong feelings, let us know here how you rate the Bonds.

James Bond movies ranked: The best and worst of 007 1

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