This will be an age-old question among 007 lovers for many years to come. Currently, there are 26 Bond movies using 7 different James Bonds over a stunning 55 year period. They are:
THE MANLY CHARACTERISTICS OF JAMES BOND
Few would disagree in that James Bond is the manliest character in all of movie’s history. I mean, there will always be the guy who says that Bruce Lee or Superman or John McClain was the manliest, but they are a minority report. So, what makes 007 such a man? Well, I’m glad you asked.
1. His ability to fight – Bond couldn’t kick everyone’s ass, but he could definitely “throw them things”. He could take a beating and keep coming back with some obvious martial arts knowledge.
2. His appeal to women – No one was more attractive to women than James Bond. He respectfully used them, had sex with them, partnered with them, and loved some of them. Bond is a ladies man in the truest form.
3. His physical abilities – Bond could fly a plane so he could jump out of it and parachute down to a set of snow skies. Then ski down into an ocean and scuba to a submarine so he could captain it to some border of safety. That’s a Tuesday for 007.
4. His intellect – Bond was always smart enough to outwit the smartest people or figure out some clue or puzzle to avoid certain death.
5. His demeanor – No matter how bad things got for Bond, he would always keep his cool.
6. His loyalty – If along the way of his mission, Bond would make a deal or promise to someone, then he would always honor his word.
7. His knowledge – Bond could speak any language, operate any machinery, master any program, perform in any sport or game, and use any tool or weapon that happen to be available.
8. His master social ability – It wouldn’t matter if James spent the last thirty hours chasing someone through some city or being tortured. He would put on a tuxedo and go to an event that night and be an instant social stand-out. He would meet the right people and have all the hot chics notice him.
9. His mercenary skills – When 007 had to kill people and wreck shit, he would do it without hesitation. The mission was always of paramount importance to Bond.
HOW TO DETERMINE WHO PLAYED THE BEST JAMES BOND
Certainly, deciding which actor portrayed a fictional character the best can only be almost purely subjective. I could always say any guy over the age of forty will think it’s Sean Connery and any guy under forty would say, Daniel Graig. But that wouldn’t be much fun, would it? So, I instead, came up with James Bond criteria for manly characteristics that I used to make this determination.
As I see it, the Bond character was portrayed with two major demeanors. One, as a finessed, polished and socially manipulative English agent. Or two, as a rough but good looking mercenary of the English intelligence community. These actors primarily acted under one of these demeanors.
So, if you like your James Bond as a rough around the edges, troubled bad-ass of the state, then you most likely would vote for the rougher Connery, Lazenby, Dalton or Craig. And if you like the dapper, smooth, and splendid English Bond, then you’d vote for Moore, Niven, or Brosnan.
I mention these two different Bond demeanors as an example of how subjective this decision really can be. Both types of Bonds were equally effectively manly but will largely help determine the viewer’s opinion on who is the best played James Bond.
THE LIST OF BOND ACTORS FROM WORSE TO BEST
7. David Nevin – This was the easiest placement on this list. Niven was Bond in only one movie, and it didn’t rank very well.
6. George Lazenby – Lazenby did a nice job playing Bond and the movie he was in was pretty good. But again, he was Bond in one movie, and although he was good, he wasn’t good enough to rank higher. Had he done a couple more, he may have been the best.
5. Timothy Dalton – It pains me to have to put Dalton so low on this list as he is one of my favorite Bonds. Coming off the Moore Bond era, he was a refreshing mercenary type non-pretty boy.
4. Roger Moore – This guy is a James Bond icon. But Moore was just a little too aloof and royal to be scary. He was the Bugs Bunny of Bonds in that he acted like he knew things would work out no matter what. I think he applied too much English polish to his role.
3. Pierce Brosnan – Brosnan was better than Moore. He portrayed a more serious and focused Bond. Certainly, Pierce was the best finesse Bond of them all.
2. Daniel Craig – You probably knew it would come down to these two Bonds. Craig makes a great Bond. He is good looking with a great body and demonstrates well the complexity of being a person like James Bond. I liked him best in his first Bond movie in that he had a fresh curiosity with building confidence. In late Bond roles though, he seems torn in not only the things Bond has to do but if he should still play James Bond. It kind of bleeds through in his role. If this weren’t the case, he’d be number one.
1. Sean Connery – Connery is more than a Bond icon. He’s a Hollywood icon for manliness. And as Bond, he hits all the points. In the end, though, Connery beats out Craig and all the other Bond actors because of his film presence. His acting aura at times, shone greater than the awesomeness of the James Bond character itself. And that’s special.
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