Celebrate James Bond's Anniversary With Our Bond Movie Marathon
“Bond, James Bond,” the world's coolest alcoholic sex addict and action hero, met the world more than 50 years ago when the film Dr. No premiered in London on October 5, 1962. The movie was a massive success, sparking a cinematic series that continues on today. (Okay, yeah, there were James Bond books, but their racism and sexism render them practically unreadable.) So if you want to celebrate Bond's upcoming anniversary, pull up a shaken, not stirred martini and read on because we're here to help.
Since there are now 25 films in the Bond series – not counting the two non-canon films, the original Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again – it'd be physically impossible to actually sit down and watch them all. Instead, we sacrificed ourselves and watched them for you. Here are the results: a James Bond movie marathon that you can actually complete in one weekend.
We set a few criteria for ourselves. First, we had to include a film from every actor who's played Bond. That means cutting some of Sean Connery's movies, no matter how awesome they were, because otherwise they'd take up the majority of the marathon. Second, we weren't just measuring whether or not a film was “good.” We also wanted to include the ones that most epitomize a certain Bond era, so that viewers can watch how the series developed over the years. For example, Octopussy may not be a cinematic achievement, but it certainly encapsulates Roger Moore's take on the character. Third – and fine, this is less of a criterion and more of an opinion – Goldfinger is overrated and we're not including it.
Check out the marathon below. Disagree with our choices? Let us know in the comments.
From Russia with Love (1964)
Unlike practically every sequel ever, From Russia with Love is even better than the first film, Dr. No. (If you're wondering why we skipped Dr. No, check out our Honorable Mentions at the end of this list.) The stakes are almost hilariously low in comparison to the rest of the series, since no one tries to take over the world. Instead, SPECTRE, an international club of bad guys, just tries to manipulate Bond into stealing an Enigma-like decryption device. Yet these low stakes allow Sean Connery's portrayal of Bond to look even more effortless, as he seduces women and punches bad guys without ever mussing his cuff links. The final confrontation between Bond and the assassin – Robert Shaw, likely best known as the guy with the too-small boat in Jaws – who's stalked him since the film's first scenes, still make up some of the most tense minutes in the entire series.
A SPECTRE agent captures nuclear bombs and holds the world for ransom. This film is perhaps the perfect distillation of everything a Bond movie should be, as Connery revels in lush Bahamas scenery, tosses off effortless one-liners and of course kicks ass (underwater!) In fact, after adjustment for inflation, this is still the highest-grossing Bond film ever, according to The New York Times. Really, though, this film must be watched just for one classic scene: A woman, naked in a bathtub, asks Bond to give her something to wear. He hands her a pair of shoes.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Roger Moore's first few outings as Bond are, respectively, unbelievably racist (Live and Let Die) and unbelievably bizarre (The Man With the Golden Gun). But then, in Moore's best Bond film, he partners up with Soviet spy Anya Amasova to stop a rich madman from stealing nuclear submarines and creating an underwater city. This is one of the few films in which a woman is placed on equal footing with Bond. Anya, as played by Barbara Bach, is a coolly competent sleuth who even gets her own emotional arc. Plus, The Spy Who Loved Me introduces Jaws, the craziest evil henchman in the entire series.
A rogue Soviet general wants to detonate a nuclear bomb in order to turn the Cold War hot. Octopussy exemplifies both the best and the worst of the outlandish Moore era, as a khaki-suited Bond quips his way through action sequences involving everything from trains to hot air balloons. Still, the film's commitment to pure absurdity merits it a spot in this marathon. And yes, Octopussy is the main Bond girl's nickname, but her father gave her that name, so it's totally, definitely not creepy. Right?
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.