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Which James Bond Star Is the Ultimate 007?

The newest James Bond period attracts to a detailed this week with the long-awaited launch of No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007—for actual this time, he swears! It’s as but unclear who will inherit the superspy’s Aston Martin, however we do know one factor for positive: When all is claimed and executed, Craig was the very best Bond in M16 historical past. Until, that’s, Sean Connery was truly higher. Or Roger Moore. Or…George Lazenby?

To mark the top of Craig’s run, six totally different V.F. writers make the case for why every of the half-dozen males who’ve performed Bond onscreen in official Bond franchise movies—sorry, David Niven—deserves to be named the last word iteration of 007. Take into account their takes a jumping-off level on your personal impassioned James Bond arguments—made, ideally, with a martini in a single hand and a watch that’s additionally a gun within the different. Cheers!

Sean Connery

Sure, Bond creator Ian Fleming initially took umbrage along with his beloved character being performed by an “overdeveloped stuntman.” However Dr. No director Terence Younger gave Connery, then a little-known Scottish actor and former bodybuilder, a crash course in refinement—educating him find out how to stroll, discuss, and even eat with panache. The primary onscreen Bond’s intercourse attraction and charisma, nonetheless, had been innate. For proof, look no additional than the character’s cigarette-aided introduction within the 1962 movie. 

The efficiency was so mesmerizing that, along with launching Connery’s profession, it launched a movie franchise that will ultimately collect $6.89 billion globally throughout 59 years, 24 films, and 6 main males. Even Fleming got here round to Connery after Dr. No’s smash success—incorporating the actor’s Scottish heritage into future Bond books. 

It’s no coincidence that lots of Connery’s Bond titles are repeatedly cited because the franchise’s greatest—1963’s From Russia With Love, 1964’s Goldfinger, 1965’s Thunderball, and 1967’s You Solely Stay Twice. However the actor’s Bond was so irresistibly common that twice, after making an attempt to cross the Bond baton—to George Lazenby and Roger Moore—Connery was referred to as again for 007 responsibility in 1971’s Diamonds Are Eternally and 1983’s By no means Say By no means Once more, sequential casting logic be damned. —Julie Miller

George Lazenby

Lazenby’s one-off run on the Bond character is commonly maligned. He’s Australian; he isn’t a lot of an actor; he got here to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service from the worlds of modeling and commercials. However looking back, his interloper standing—Connery would return to the function for Diamonds Are Eternally—works fairly properly. OHMSS is a curious Bond film, stuffed with pathos and ending on a really bleak notice. It could be unusual to see Connery doing that. Higher, then, that it’s Lazenby’s genial, emotive take absorbing and reflecting the movie’s darker tones. Sure, he was doing Unhappy Bond lengthy earlier than Daniel Craig obtained morose. In that method Lazenby was one thing of a courageous pioneer, one who seems to be nice on skis. —Richard Lawson

Roger Moore

He’s a straightforward one. Most individuals who care about James Bond films sufficient to speak about them in well mannered firm gush over Roger Moore. His charmingly aloof method, mischievous glint, posh baritone, and comedic take away from absolutely the silliness of the franchise’s ’70s streak can all be perceived from his first second onscreen as Bond in 1973’s Stay and Let Die. Nowadays it’s frequent to listen to movie critics and moviegoers lament the close to disappearance of bona fide stars for the reason that enterprise was rocked by the algorithm—and it seems we’re proper to. They only don’t make them like Moore anymore. —Cassie da Costa

Timothy Dalton

The chilly coronary heart of Timothy Dalton’s James Bond is why I keep a delicate spot for him. He solely did two movies, 1987’s The Residing Daylights and 1989’s License to Kill, and each took 007 in a extra ruthless and gritty path than the spoof-like savoir faire of predecessor Roger Moore. Dalton’s Bond was extra soldier than playboy, though his terseness typically made the punch traces hit a bit of tougher. His movies had a powerful sufficient field workplace, however a 3rd one was derailed by a lawsuit between the producers and their studio that took 4 years to resolve. 

By then, Dalton had moved on, and nostalgia had pushed followers backward: Dalton’s Bond fought the Chilly Warfare and drug cartels, however Pierce Brosnan’s undercover agent would return to sci-fi plots, invisible vehicles, and villains with ice palaces. Given Daniel Craig’s eventual success, Dalton’s more durable 007 proved to be 20 years forward of his time, and he by no means obtained the runway to really take off. —Anthony Breznican

Pierce Brosnan

For me, it’s Pierce. Oh, it helps that in between obsessive replays of the Nintendo 64 GoldenEye and repeated viewings of Tomorrow By no means Dies, Brosnan’s Bond is the one I grew up on. However earlier than Daniel Craig confirmed as much as muss up Bond’s hair and provides him the backhanded attraction of a badly crushed face, Pierce Brosnan provided the world the classy appeal of a sharpshooter who’s possibly too comfortable in a natty tuxedo. 

In Brosnan’s fingers, Bond advanced from a Chilly Warfare–period hero into an agent of the worldwide group, somebody comfy with computerized devices and fisticuffs alike—a chameleon who acts on behalf of the queen however is someway comfy anyplace on the earth. Brosnan’s Bond isn’t weak or nuanced; he isn’t, you already know, deep. What he wants is his Walther P99 and a feminine love curiosity, after which he turns into bizarrely competent. His films make a meal out of each gadget reveal, showcasing the final years of Desmond Llewyn, the longtime Q. After all Q needed to make Bond a BMW that spoke to him in a lady’s voice; how else may you get this attractive undercover agent with a demise want to listen? 

In the end, what I really like, although I really like Brosnan’s Bond, is that by the top of his run, his model of the spy hero was not sustainable. His movies are studded with the corpses of ladies he loves, leaves, after which lets die, and it barely stops him in his tracks. Brosnan was sort of the proper asshole Bond, a silver-tongued charmer who asserted the crown’s authority in a world that has almost moved on with out it. James Bond: indelible jerk. A jerk who as soon as fenced with Madonna! —Sonia Saraiya

Daniel Craig

Any Bond purist may make a salient argument for the edgy, eternally bemused Daniel Craig as the very best 007. From his first (and greatest) outing, On line casino Royale, he simply had it. The figuring out smirk, the cool demeanor, the tiny blue swim trunks—all of it swirled right into a dashing new Bond period that shushed the “b-but he’s blond!” naysayers. Certain, Craig may need grown curmudgeonly concerning the franchise as his time as Bond wore on, however he’s additionally been carrying the complete factor on his billion-dollar again for 15 years—longer than every other Bond in historical past. It’s ironic, then, that his last movie has taken so long to be launched in theaters. However in a method it’s additionally completely becoming—even the universe didn’t need to say goodbye simply but. —Yohana Desta

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