James Bond Movie Mini Reviews

Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig

Oi! Who's your Daddy, then?

Looking for nutshell reviews of the James Bond movies? That’s great! We are eating pistachios right now, so you’ve come to the right place. Brevity is our word for laziness. And there you go.

RATING MOVIE YEAR ACTOR
* * * * * Dr. No 1962 Sean Connery
The Good: First Bond. Fresh. Great location. Great villain. Hot Bond Girl.
The Bad: Not really anything.
IMDB: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 98% / 78%

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* * * * * From Russia with Love 1963 Sean Connery
The Good: Ah, the Cold War – we miss thee. Robert Shaw is really good. The introduction of SPECTRE. Lots of good Connery action.
The Bad: Again. Not much. One criticism, though. We hate it when “close-enough” ethnic actors are cast. A Mexican as a Turk? Whitey won’t notice, right?
IMDB: 7.5
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 96% / 79%

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* * * * * Goldfinger 1964 Sean Connery
The Good: Big and bombastic – the right formula for Bond action. The Aston Martin. Honor Blackman. Gert Fröbe says: “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die” (one of the best quotes in Bond lore). Shirley Bassey’s title song. The gadgets. Gold!
The Bad: Nope. Nothing wrong here.
IMDB: 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 96% / 83%

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* * * * * Thunderball 1965 Sean Connery
The Good: Largo is a really good bad guy. The underwater scenes are amazing. Lots of good gimmicks.
The Bad: Nothing really. We like it only slightly less than Goldfinger and From Russia with Love.
IMDB: 7.0
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 88% / 70%

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* * * You Only Live Twice 1967 Sean Connery
The Good: Pretty Asian girls. Tiger Tanaka is a good ally. Helga Brandt is a good female villain. SPECTRE’s sinisterness (that’s really a word…because we say it is) and Blofeld’s ruthlessness are part of the Bond mythos.
The Bad: The special effects were hit and miss. The whole physical transformation from Bond to “Bond-san” sequence was weird and the makeup was bad. The story was quite misogynistic even by Bond standards. Just not as exciting as the earlier films. OK movie but we don’t like it much.
IMDB: 6.9
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 70% / 69%

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* * * * * On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 1969 George Lazenby
The Good: OK. Haters beware. We love this film. And we love George Lazenby. Good acting isn’t required for a Bond film. Good looks are. Lazenby is credible in his role. The action is wonderful. Telly Savalas is odd as Blofeld but really good. The ending may not seem too Bond-esque, but it’s true to the books and we think it’s quite good. And the coup de grace? Diana Rigg steals the show. By Bond-girl standards, she’s in a league of her own.
The Bad: The Swiss Alps research facility sequence slows the pace. Not much else bad about this film.
IMDB: 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 82% / 62%

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* * * Diamonds Are Forever 1971 Sean Connery
The Good: Sean’s back! (Although the toupée is awful).  Ernst Blofeld. The girls (better than most). Wint and Kidd (see The Bad). A nail-biting ending.
The Bad: Wint and Kidd (see The Good). We don’t like Bond in America. We want Old Country and exotic foreign lands. This movie’s just not as good as the other Connery flicks.
IMDB: 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 67% / 63%

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* * * Live and Let Die 1973 Roger Moore
The Good: Geoffrey “Crisp and clean and no caffeine” Holder is goofy but fun-goofy. Yaphet Kotto is a very watchable actor. Jane Seymour – mmmmm. The title song by “Sir” (what a crock) Paul McCarthy.
The Bad: OK – too much voodoo. The 1970’s. Kind of a dull. Moore is NOT Bond. You think otherwise? Go to hell.
IMDB: 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 64% / 66%

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* The Man with the Golden Gun 1974 Roger Moore
The Good: At least Moore still has some legs. We love the locations. Britt Ekland is a funnier and more interesting Bond girl than most.
The Bad: Mostly boring. This is a small movie on the Bond-scale. Nick-Nack is the opposite of Jaws in size and just as useless. The Sherriff J.W. Pepper character should be out of place but given that the Moore movies tended to be silly he was actually pretty funny.
IMDB: 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 52% / 62%

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* * * The Spy Who Loved Me 1977 Roger Moore
The Good:  A great villain. Some good action sequences. It’s James Bond on a grand scale. The second half is better than the first assuming you like lots of explosions.
The Bad: We are not kind to many of the Bond girls. Barbara Bach is one of the worst (see our blog review). And the yellow suit! Oh the travesty! Jaws was better in this than in Moonraker, but still a dumb character.
IMDB: 7.1
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 79% / 71%

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* * Moonraker 1979 Roger Moore
The Good: Stealing the space shuttle. Mad villain. Space.
The Bad: Jaws. Oddjob he ain’t. Lots of silliness, much of it unintended. Even more than typical for the Moore-era Bond. Given the magnitude of the plotline, it was not exciting enough.
IMDB: 6.1
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 64% / 48%

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* * For Your Eyes Only 1981 Roger Moore
The Good: Topol and his nuts. Lynn-Holly Johnson was actually pretty funny. Carole Bouquet with a crossbow was believable.
The Bad: Remember how we said some thrills were just forced and unnecessary? Yeah. Climbing the rock face was exactly that. Same with dragging Bond and Melina through the water. Also, Moore is just not credible as a physical threat. And the action was just … eh.
IMDB: 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 69% / 63%

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* Octopussy 1983 Roger Moore
The Good: Something? Anything? Some moments of Bond-girl eye-candy? Nah. Not really anything good here.
The Bad: Yes, we know the title’s name can be credited to Fleming, but it’s just awful. Roger Moore looks like a clown in a clown outfit (wait – what?) – James Bond should NEVER be disguised as a clown. The femme fatales were terrible. Bond girls are bad actresses and tend to be waifish. Why are they cast as Selina Kyle-like thieves? Just a stupid story in all. This movie makes us angry and we want to hit things.
IMDB: 6.5
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 47% / 54%

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* * A View to a Kill 1985 Roger Moore
The Good: Christopher Walken is just so much fun to watch. Plus he’s a maniacal, world-dominance-desiring villain in the vein of old school Bond. We actually kind of liked Grace Jones – she’s just weird and scary!
The Bad: It’s not as good as the “Good” sounds. And, Roger Moore was 58. 58?! You can tell. The movies has 1980’s written all over it but not in a good way. The Moore era limped along, gasping for breath to its end.
IMDB: 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 39% / 48%

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* * The Living Daylights 1987 Timothy Dalton
The Good:  A thrilling action sequence that starts with horseback Afghan rebels and ends with a tense airplane sequence.
The Bad: Maryam d’Abo isn’t likeable. The villains are boring and stupid. Dalton is credible as a physical force, but he’s just not James Bond. We think the critics were generous maybe because this is at least better than the horrible ending to the Moore era.
IMDB: 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 73% / 61%

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* * License to Kill 1989 Timothy Dalton
The Good:  Great action sequences. Robert Davi as a villain. A not-fat Benicio del Toro.
The Bad: Bond against drug kingpin. Tense, yes. But we kind of like our villains old-school. The ending scene where Bond has to “choose” the babe he’s going to fawn over (at least until the next outing) was just stupid. Also, Wayne Newton?! OK, weird but actually kind of funny. The audiences got it right on this one – the critics are again too generous.
IMDB: 6.5
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 71% / 55%

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* * * * * Goldeneye 1995 Pierce Brosnan
The Good: Ah – he’s back! Bond is exciting again. Brosnan’s a physical yet suave replacement. Post-USSR intrigue. A great Bond girl (Izabella Scorupco). Alan Cumming as a nutty computer nerd. A scary femme fatale (Famke Janssen). A breath-taking intro. James Bond driving a tank through St. Petersburg. Joe Don Baker and Robbie Coltrane providing excellent comic relief. This movie has it all!
The Bad: What the hell is that Goldeneye thingy? Given the evolution of computer technology by 1995, having a device like that seems more like what you’d see in 1965.
IMDB: 7.1
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 80% / 78%

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* * Tomorrow Never Dies 1997 Pierce Brosnan
The Good: A rare “tough” Bond girl (Michelle Yeoh) that’s actually tough.
The Bad: Everything else is blasé or bad. The premise is weird – monopolization of the Chinese media and inevitably the same for the rest of the world. Really? That’s it? And a big old stealth boat trying to start a nuclear war or something, we don’t know, we don’t care. Eh. And after such a good start with Goldeneye …
IMDB: 6.4
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 54% / 60%

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* * * The World Is Not Enough 1999 Pierce Brosnan
The Good: Sophie Marceau is beautiful (although a poor actress – at least in TWINE). It’s nice to have a female leading villain for a change. The boat chase was fun. Brosnan’s physicality always helps push the thrills.
The Bad: Somebody should be shot for casting Denise Richards. Bond girls are usually terrible actresses – Richards takes it to a new level. Again with the anger (although punching her isn’t necessary…Charlie did plenty of that. Segue, didn’t Charlie Sheen die or something?). The villainy of Renard was quashed by his relationship with Elektra. Too bad. He was enjoyable for a while. Just an OK Bond movie.
IMDB: 6.3
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 51% / 58%

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* * * Die Another Day 2002 Pierce Brosnan
The Good: The Iceland scenes are great fun. We thought Toby Stevens was rather good as a villain although the premise of his transformation is hard to swallow even for a Bond film. Halle Berry is no Ursula Andress but she’s pretty to look at.
The Bad: It’s just OK – not much more. Also, this is a toss-up: Bond is imprisoned for a long time in North Korea and is tortured pretty badly. The experience takes a lot of the veneer off the sophisticated and dapper spy theme, so that may be interesting or disappointing depending on how you see things. At this point, Brosnan’s Bond (but not Brosnan himself) is showing some wear. Time for a shake up.
IMDB: 6.0
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 59% / 53%

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* * * * * Casino Royale 2006 Daniel Craig
The Good: Holy crap – the action’s off the wall. Love the parkour. Good tension at the casino scenes. A very well-put-together film. Daniel Craig isn’t suave, but suave has probably run its course.
The Bad: In our opinion, nothing. If you’re looking for “Bond. James Bond. Shaken, not stirred,” go to the oldies. This is bad-ass Bond.
IMDB: 7.9
Rotten Tomatoe s(Critics/Audience): 94% / 87%

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* * * * Quantum of Solace 2008 Daniel Craig
The Good: Gritty thrills again. We like the new generation Bourne cum Bond.
The Bad: Choppy and somewhat directionless. Still, we think it’s better than critics say.
IMDB: 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics/Audience): 64% / 62%

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 Here’s hoping… Skyfall 2012 Daniel Craig

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8 Responses to “James Bond Movie Mini Reviews”

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