Every Sean Connery ‘James Bond’ Film Ranked
With Sir Sean Connery’s tragic passing, it felt appropriate to pay tribute to the late actor and rank the seven films that featured him in arguably his most famous role, James Bond:
7. Never Say Never Again (1983): With Sir Roger Moore taking over the role of James Bond after Connery left, it must have been as a surprise when the actor was announced to be returning to play the famed character. However, while there were many people who enjoyed the film, others were disappointed by it. With Kevin McClory holding the filming rights to the novel Thunderball, this film was made separately from Eon Productions and was merely another adaptation of Thunderball. The changes were very minimal from the original film, with barely any of them being factored into the movie’s story. However, Connery still gives a terrific final performance as the iconic spy and Max von Sydow portrays a fun villain with his interpretation of Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
6. Diamonds Are Forever (1971): After George Lazenby failed to shine in the otherwise popular film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Connery returned one last time to end the his version of the character’s story. In this film, Bond is out for revenge against the head of SPECTRE Blofeld (Charles Gray) while also trying to stop his latest scheme of transferring diamonds into a laser that can target nuclear stockpiles. The film is bogged down by several goofy moments and confusing scenes such as Blofeld disguising himself as an old woman at one point and his constant use of body doubles throughout the story. While Connery’s final outing as Eon Productions’ version of Bond isn’t great, Diamonds Are Forever is still a fun film to watch with fun action scenes and another terrific performance from Connery.
5. You Only Live Twice (1967): Bond goes to Japan in Connery’s fifth installment of the 007 franchise. In this film, Bond’s conflict with SPECTRE comes to a head as he attempts to stop them from triggering a war between the United States and the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. This installment is notable for fully introducing the head of SPECTRE and James Bond’s arch-nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasence). The movie provides a unique Japanese location and has terrific performances and action scenes. However, there are several culturally insensitive moments in the film that do not hold up to today’s standards.
4. Thunderball (1965): After the tremendous success from the first three Bond films, this fourth installment pushed the ongoing story of Bond’s conflict with the organization SPECTRE further by having the secret agent meet Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), the right-hand man of Blofeld and the second in command of SPECTRE, who plans to extort money from several governments around the world in exchange for two nuclear warheads. With several of the movie’s scenes being shot underwater, Thunderball provides a unique setting for the characters and exciting action scenes for a spy film. Even though it doesn’t manage to be quite as good as the first three installments in the James Bond franchise, Thunderball is still a rousing success.
3. Dr. No (1962): The first installment in the James Bond has the titular spy travel to Jamaica in order to investigate the ruthless scientist Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) and stop him from destroying Cape Canaveral. Dr. No is a terrific first outing for Connery as it showcases both his charisma and stone cold attitude in nearly all of the scenes. Even though Wiseman does not appear until the climax of the film, his portrayal of Dr. No is iconic with his insane plan and metal hands, something that would be seen from a super villain. This nearly 60-year-old movie is the film that paved the way for the spy genre in cinema and brought the outstanding James Bond franchise to life.
2. From Russia With Love (1963): Connery’s second outing as Bond is even better with more action, story and character development than the last. In this movie, SPECTRE personally targets Bond in retaliation for killing Dr. No in the first movie. The person leading the assault is Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya), the third in command of SPECTRE. While avoiding various assassination attempts, Bond must also stop SPECTRE in their latest scheme. The film outdoes the original by introducing an even better villain with Rosa Klebb, a terrific love interest in Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) and one of the best fight scenes in the entire series where Bond goes up against the intimidating henchman Red Grant (Robert Shaw) on a train. From Russia With Love is yet another terrific Bond film.
1. Goldfinger (1964): Goldfinger is the best Bond film that featured Connery as the title character. The third installment in the James Bond franchise is often regarded as not only Connery’s best Bond film, but also the best Bond film in the entire series. This movie sees Bond go up against the villain Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) who plans to blow up Fort Knox in order to make his own gold more valuable. After he is captured by Goldfinger, Bond must use his wits to stay alive and simultaneously stop Goldfinger’s plan. Goldfinger has nearly everything going for it, with better action, a grander story, an iconic villain in Goldfinger and his deadly hat wielding henchman Oddjob (Harold Sakata), a mesmerizing title song by Shirley Bassey and yet another magnificent performance from Connery, who displays a more cheeky side to the character that had not been seen in the first two movies.