Applause Books’ release of JAMES BOND FAQ is filled with biographies, synopses, production stories, images and illustrations … and author Tom DeMichael’s own ranking of the six men who’s (officially) played 007 on the big screen. You can find that sure-to-inspire-debate list right here, right now, in the following excerpt.
Considering the six actors who donned the crown of Bond, here is one person’s opinion of how they rate, worst to first. Of course, you may believe differently (as is well your prerogative). Guaranteed to be a hot topic of conversation around the water cooler, but remember—this is not a competition so, please, no wagering.
6. George Lazenby. Not necessarily for the reason you may think. At only one appearance as 007, he hardly had the chance to develop any sense of character or continuity. Of course, his limited acting skills certainly factor in, as well.
5. Roger Moore. Although he gains points for longevity, he loses even more for his lack of chest hair. Not just by his own doing, Moore took a dark and thrilling character and, in terms of sincerity, left him just short of Shemp Howard.
4. Pierce Brosnan. Not bad, not bad at all—but he looks too skinny to peel a banana, let alone save the world. Still, he gave Bond a sense of urgency and worked very hard to make the character his own. Bravo, Brosnan.
3. Timothy Dalton. (Yes, yes—I can hear you already. But, this is my list— when you write your Bond book, you can do it your way.) Dalton had the difficult task of breaking the paradigm long established by Moore, but clearly made Bond a brooding and stern spy in a nasty business. Dalton certainly read what Fleming had written.
2. Daniel Craig. Great, smoldering screen presence; built like a tank. Understood the challenge of remaking Bond in his own image and got it done. Also proved that blond Bonds do have more fun.
1. And the number one 007—Sean Connery. Pioneered the part, going where no one had gone before. Debonair when he needed to be. Ruthless when he needed to be. Witty when he needed to be. Animalistic when he needed to be. Pure Bond, all the time. And to place a period on the entire argument, Connery is the only actor of the six to win an Academy Award (albeit not for Bond), and the three top-grossing 007 films (adjusted for ticket price inflation) all featured Connery as Bond.
Go ahead—discuss. —Tom DeMichaels