The future is female, indeed. British actress, Lashana Lynch will be taking over the mantle of secret agent James Bond for No Time to Die, the 25th instalment of the film series. While black women have been part of the franchise since the seventh Bond film, Lynch will be one of only two female characters to play a significant speaking role, with Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny as the other.
Unfortunately, we are yet to see Lynch and Harris break the glass ceiling, as the new film’s release has already been postponed several times. Before the pandemic happened, it was supposedly up for an April 2020 premiere, but then it was moved to November of that year. However, the film’s release was further pushed to April 2021, until that date was eventually tossed, too.
Now, No Time to Die is scheduled for a theatrical release in the UK on September 30 and in the US on October 8. So while we’re all waiting for those dates to come (and hopefully not get postponed again), we have crafted a list of the best Bond films you can binge on!
Most film critics agree that this 1964 Sean Connery entry is the best among the Bond films. The plot sees Bond investigating gold magnate Auric Goldfinger. Eventually, he discovers his plans to contaminate the US Bullion Depository at Fort Knox by releasing toxins into the atmosphere and killing the personnel.
Goldfinger was widely regarded as the quintessential James Bond film, where the character really “comes into focus.” It also pioneered elements that will, later on, recur in the succeeding films, such as the use of gadgets and technology, multiple foreign settings, and an elaborate pre-credits sequence.
Casino Royale (2006)
What better way to wait for Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007 than to watch his first film in the franchise? Casino Royale rebooted the series, as shown with British MI6 officer Bond just gaining his 00 status in its pre-credits sequence. Furthermore, the film has been largely credited for resuscitating the brand back in 2006, after Pierce Brosnan stepped down from the role.
In this entry, Bond takes on an assignment to drive terrorist Le Chiffre into bankruptcy through a high-stakes poker game at the Casino Royale. Interestingly, Gala Casino points out that the film’s high-stakes poker scenes don’t actually occur in the real-life Casino Royale in Montenegro. Shooting took place in Czechia and Italy, with the historic Czech spa Karlovy Vary serving as the exterior of the eponymous casino. This plot begins a story arc that continues in the 2008 sequel, Quantum of Solace.
From Russia With Love (1963)
But if you like going back to the classics, you can always watch the second Bond film, From Russia With Love. This 1960s blockbuster earned more than $78 million ($547.8M with inflation) and received positive reviews.
Here, Bond is sent on a mission assisting the Soviet consulate clerk Tatiana Romanova in her defection in Turkey, where SPECTRE awaits with plans of revenge against the agent. This fast-paced Cold War thriller stripped down the characters into real people with real relationships guided by real motives. That’s why even decades after its release, filmgoers still sing praises on how this film established the franchise as one to watch out for.
Earning more than $1.1 billion worldwide, Skyfall is the franchise’s most successful film to date. Aside from its blockbuster release, it also received numerous accolades, including the Academy Award for Sound Editing and Best Original Song and Outstanding British Film in the British Academy Film Awards. But what made it so successful? Maybe it’s because instead of the usual parade of girls, guns, and gadgets, the film showed a different side of Bond. The famed agent’s relationship with his superior, M became the focus of the film, making it one of the grittiest Bonds of the series.
Although there are two dozen masterpieces in the Bond franchise, the four listed above are the best of the best, in critical, creative, and commercial aspects. They’ll surely keep your eyes busy as we count down the days to No Time to Die!