This year Eon Productions will release its 25th James Bond movie. When the new Bond film, No Time To Die, comes out with Daniel Craig as James Bond, the debate will start all over — who was the best James Bond? This will be the 5th time Daniel Craig is James Bond.
Over the years, six actors have played Bond, not including David Niven in the 1960's Casino Royale spoof or the 1950's black & white television version of Casino Royale with Barry Nelson playing James Bond as a CIA secret agent.
So, who is the best James Bond?
First, let's see how his creator, Ian Fleming, describes James Bond in the novels. Bond is white, Anglo-Saxon. Scottish, not English, to be exact. He's 33 - 35 years of age. Six feet tall on the slender side. Black hair, blue-grey eyes. Rugged good looks, with a cruel mouth. What does Fleming mean by a cruel mouth? What does a cruel mouth look like? James Bond is a killer. A thug in a tuxedo.
So now let's look at the actors who have been James Bond as of this writing. First, Sean Connery. 6' 2", black hair, brown eyes. Connery is the only actor who is actually Scottish. Connery has been in seven Bond films.
Second, George Lazenby. Black hair, brown eyes. His film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, didn't do well at the box office. Lazenby wasn't in the acting league of Sean Connery. Lazenby only played James Bond once. So Eon Productions offered Sean Connery a boatload of money, and Connery returned as Bond for the film Diamonds Are Forever. After that, Connery said he would never play James Bond again.
Third, Roger Moore; blond hair, blue eyes. Moore ties Connery, appearing as Bond in seven films. Too high-class English for my taste. I only liked his first outing as James Bond in Live And Let Die. His other Bond movies were silly and stupid with cartoon villains such as Jaws. Roger Moore also looked much too old in his last couple of Bond movies.
To replace Roger Moore, Eon Productions wanted Pierce Brosnan. But Brosnan couldn't get out of his Remington Steele television series contract. Timothy Dalton, number four, came next. Dalton had brown hair and green eyes, and as James Bond in only two films. The Dalton films weren't that well received. At this point, Pierce Brosnan's contract was up, so they replaced Dalton with Brosnan, who had black hair and blue eyes. He appeared in four James Bond films.
But by now, film-goer taste was changing. Audiences wanted grittier action films. Jason Bourne, Jack Reacher, John Wick, and Bruce Willis in Die Hard movies were more exciting than James Bond. Now Eon Productions wanted to change James Bond back to the character relying on his physical abilities rather than fantastic gimmicks.
So enter number six, Daniel Craig with blonde hair and blue eyes. It should also be noted that Craig, 5'10", is the only actor to play James Bond who's under six feet tall. When No Time To Die comes out, it will make five times Daniel Craig has portrayed James Bond. Daniel Craig says this is the last time he will be OO7. Sean Connery said that twice and came back as James Bond in Never Say Never, Again. So, we'll see about that, Mr. Craig.
The big question now is who will be James Bond after Daniel Craig? There has been plenty of chatter about Idris Elba as the next James Bond, and that Bond should be black. Elba is too old for the part. If he played the role, by his second Bond movie he would look too old. My choice now would be Henry Cavill (Superman). Cavill is is in his late 30’s. He is English, 6' 1", with black hair and blue eyes. But no decision has been made yet. I'm hoping they'll let me to make the decision.
Of course, who was the best Bond is simply an academic argument because, it truly was, and always will be Sean Connery. But the new Bond film, No Time To Die, is worth seeing. Take a look at the trailer, just click here.