There are very few James Bond movies that can stand alone as its own spy flick. From Russia With Love is that rare occasion in the franchise when it’s strictly in the espionage genre, and less in the world of 007. In fact, From Russia With Love is the last Bond movie before the series moved into the realm of “spy fantasy”.

Watch FRWL and tell me that you don’t see elements of some of Hitchcock’s spy thrillers. It doesn’t stray too far from Ian Fleming’s original novel, and the cast is one of the strongest in Bond franchise history.

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My FRWL Notes:

  • The first ever Bond pre-title sequence isn’t action packed or exotic, but it does the trick. It’s got enough suspense to enjoy, even though we know they won’t kill of Bond in the first two minutes.
  • I know something is up with Sean Connery’s waxy complexion in the scene. I guess that looks like a mask.
  • Was chess a really that popular back in the early 60s? Does this justify having a chess match as the first scene after the credits?
  • Is Kronsteen the most arrogant, villainous character until Boris from Goldeneye?
  • Another first is our first glimpse (sorta) at Blofeld.
  • FRWL is a sequel to Dr. No, which is rare in the Bond franchise.
  • The Lektor Decoder is an old-school “MacGuffin”.
  • Is it just me, or could Daniel Craig play Red Grant in a remake of this movie? Craig has a very 1963 Robert Shaw vibe and look to him. While I’m at it, I could also see Mike Pence as Red Grant.
  • Grant is basically a serial killer turned sanctioned agent.
  • I don’t think we get enough of the SPECTRE training camp.
  • Rosa Klebb (played brilliantly by Lotte Lenya) is giving off some very obvious Sappho-vibes while instructing Tatiana Romanova.
  • Is Sylvia Trench as close to a “serious girlfriend” as James has ever had in the movies?
  • A 1963 movie theater audience must have been blown away with Bond’s Bentley having a car phone.
  • Here’s another first…our first time seeing Desmond Llewelyn as Q. The character’s real last name (Boothroyd) is listed in the credits.
  • These very early Connery movies used the Bond theme for anything! The classic theme song blasts out as Bond walks through an airport and while he’s checking out his hotel room!
  • Kerim Bey (terrific turn by Pedro Armendariz) is one of my favorite Bond helpers/mentors of all-time.
  • Kerim’s girlfriend/mistress is…umm…there is no other way to put this. Very horny.
  • That gypsy camp extravaganza (belly dancing, girl-fight, all-out battle) needs to be its own film.
  • Bond has to choose a winner in the gypsy girl-fight by having sex with both of them and then pick the best one. Is this Bond’s only implied threesome in the series?
  • I always seem to forget that a major plot point of this movie involves a Bond-Tatiana sex tape, and Russian “kompromat.”
  • Half of this film takes place on the Orient Express. It’s rare for a Bond movie to spend this much time in one location.
  • Sean Connery portrays Bond just the right way when he learns of Kerim’s murder. You can tell there is some pain, but he moves on because there is a job to do.
  • Bond’s hand-to-hand combat versus Red Grant inside the train still stands up as not only the best fight scene in Bond franchise history, but one of the best in all of film history. For 1963, this was a very brutal fight.
  • Bond running from the helicopter has a very North By Northwest cinematic feel to it.
  • Great trick by Bond on the boat. Using his own fuel to set fire to the other boats. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
  • Bond fighting Klebb is both suspenseful and hysterical. The way she is trying to kick him, while he uses a chair like a lion tamer does. Great stuff. Also, Klebb’s death face and movement is slightly orgasmic.

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Bond’s coolest moment? Bond checking his hotel room for “bugs” and telling the suspicious hotel clerk he wants the bridal suite.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Goofing off as he walks into M’s office.

Bond’s best line? “She should have kept her mouth shut.” That Anita Ekberg has a big mouth. 

Best acting performance? Where to start?! Lenya? Shaw? Connery? But I’m going to go with Armedariz’s performance as Turkish spy head Kerim Bey. He’s so damn likable. The actor was dying of a brain tumor throughout filming. A very brave performance. 

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? Bond doesn’t really force himself on any women in this movie, but he does slap Tatiana after Kerim’s death, as he tries to get answers out of her.

Worst line in the movie? “Who is Bond compared with Kronsteen?

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 165th time? During the belly dancing scene, there is a cutaway to Bond breaking character and you can see Sean Connery smiling and really enjoying the show.

Best action sequence? The full scale gypsy camp battle scene between the Turks and the Bulgarians. 

Who or what is the title song about? The song, which only plays lyrically at the end, seems to be about a man who has found love and is ready to do anything to keep it. 

Best looking cinematic moment? Bond vs the helicopter. 

How could the villain have succeeded? Red Grant sold himself for 50 gold sovereigns. He could have killed Bond right there.

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? No one else. This is a total Connery movie. He’s so lethally sharp. I do think someone like Timothy Dalton or Daniel Craig could have played Bond in this type of spy thriller. 

Does Bond ever think he might die? Twice. Once when Grant has him on his knees in the train. The other when Klebb has him at gunpoint in the Venice hotel. 

What would have made the movie better? Explaining more about the plan to use the sex tape. It’s still a little murky. 

What’s in a name? Bond uses the alias David Somerset, a married man on vacation with his wife, while on the Orient Express.

What’s in a title? From Russia With Love comes from the title of the novel written by Ian Fleming, which was one of JFK’s favorite books. 

Drinking game: Take a shot of Raki (what the gypsies drink) each time Tatiana says “Gems” AKA “James”. 

“WTF?!” moment: Tatiana trying to make a mustache with her hair.

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Fun fact: Bond meeting Tatiana in his hotel bedroom, has been the audition love scene all potential Bond actors must do. 

Overall ranking: 2nd out of 24. 

Review synopsis: There aren’t many Cold War era spy films more entertaining than From Russia With Love. There are only a handful of Bond films that can compete with it. FRWL never seems to drag on, it’s well-written and directed. It’s a great view into what made Fleming create Bond. Connery proves here why he is the best 007 actor to ever play the role. The movie exudes sexy, cool confidence.

The end "wave goodbye" in From Russia With Love (1963)



Movie Review: OCTOPUSSY

All I wanted was a sweet distraction, for an hour or two.” This is a line from the theme song to the 13th James Bond movie, Octopussy. If that line doesn’t sum up this entire film, then I don’t know what else can.

I have a soft spot in my cinematic heart for Octopussy. It was my first in-the-theater Bond movie. If everyday food could represent each 007 adventure, then Octopussy would be your favorite bag of chips. You know it isn’t healthy, but you sure do enjoy it. Octopussy is as straight up bonkers as A View To A Kill, yet it seems slightly less madcap because the cast is more “age-appropriate” for Roger Moore.

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My “PUSSY” Notes:

  • I’m sure this wasn’t the first time a movie showed a reversible jacket and hat, but it does feel like it.
  • Roger Moore’s fake mustache needs its own Twitter account.
  • I still smile big when he says “you’re a Toro too?”
  • This is the last Bond flick to have a pre-title action sequence that has zero connection to the film’s plot. I miss those days.
  • The Bede BD-5 Micro looks dangerous to fly. Some terrific miniature work in this opening action sequence.
  • “All Time High” is the homeless man’s “Nobody Does It Better.”
  • This movie has too many clowns. Poor 009 dies dressed up like Pennywise’s nice brother.
  • Mischka and Grischka (AKA- The Knife Twins) make solid secondary henchmen.
  • Brushing over the fact that her name is Penelope Smallbone; what was really the plan for her? Was she going to be the new Moneypenny if Moore didn’t return for the next movie?
  • Fabergé eggs must have been very popular in the 1980s.
  • Great production design with that Soviet “situation room.”
  • How insane is Steven Berkoff’s performance as rogue Soviet General Orlov?
  • The plot gets a little fuzzy no matter how many times I watch Octopussy. Selling knockoffs of priceless jewels to fund secret Soviet military operations, which include nuking a U.S. base in West Germany?
  • Only a Bond movie could make an auction scene interesting. It helps when Roger Moore is eye-banging every attractive woman in the room.
  • India might be the most interesting, exotic location in Bond movie history.
  • This movie is very “meta”. Case in point: VJ playing the Bond theme.
  • I could listen to the villain Kamal Khan (played by Louis Jourdan) read the phone book, or a menu, or just say “Octopussy” over and over again.
  • Gobinda is a very underrated all-time Bond henchman.
  • The tuk-tuk chase in India is beyond goofy. Nice nods to a tennis match.
  • The film does a nice job of making the audience think Octopussy is the main villain. She really isn’t. It’s Orlov to a minor degree. Khan is the main one. But she is so mysterious that it works.
  • The dinner scene with stuffed sheep’s head as the main course freaked me out as a kid. 35 years later, it still does the trick.
  • Director John Glen is to pigeons, what John Woo is to doves.
  • I have to ask, when Bond is trying to listen in on Orlov and Khan, just how powerful is Magda’s blowdryer?!
  • Who doesn’t enjoy a good old Safari hunt in an action movie? Spiders and tigers and snakes, oh my! Oh and I left out leeches and crocodiles.
  • I need to know the logistics of Bond’s croc-suit.
  • I enjoy the backstory of Octopussy’s father and how it connects to Bond’s past mission. I wouldn’t mind seeing that turned into a movie one day.
  • This movie is overflowing with henchmen. The Indian thug with the yo-yo/buzzsaw!
  • Bond and Octopussy have a soap opera scene before hooking up.
  • I can’t imagine how brutal VJ’s death was.
  • Roger Moore dresses in a gorilla costume and dresses up like a clown. He is the only Bond actor who didn’t take himself so seriously. Imagine Connery or Craig being asked to dress up like this? Maybe Brosnan would do it.
  • I enjoy Bond’s cold kill of Twin #2.
  • I would watch in real time, however long it took for James Bond to hitchhike across Germany.
  • How long do you think it took Bond to put on his clown makeup, while the bomb was ticking down?
  • The Union Jack hot air balloon was a nice call back to The Spy Who Loved Me’s Union Jack parachute.
  • Roger Moore’s eyes have never been more expressive than when he shoots at the bannister to avoid having his balls smashed.
  • I know Tom Cruise does real stunts better than anyone now, but the climax of Bond hanging from the plane is still damn impressive.
  • When Maud Adams’ Octopussy moans out the final line of “Oh James” and then a surprised “James!”… what the hell did Bond sexually do to her?!
  • This is the last Bond movie with the end credits telling us “James Bond Will Return In ________ . ) I miss knowing the next title of the films.

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Bond’s coolest moment? Playing backgammon versus Kamal Khan. Lucky dice. All in the wrist. 

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Swinging from the trees doing the Johnny Weissmuller/Tarzan yell. 

Bond’s best line? “My security” *holds up the egg* “And yours?” *holds up Khan’s cheating dice*

Best acting performance? Steven Berkoff as General Orlov. In the Bond crazy acting Hall of Fame. 

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? In Q’s lab, of course. Using the videocamera to get a better look at that girl’s boobs. 

Worst line in the movie? Even though I still chuckle, Bond giving money to his Indian contact: “That should keep you in curry for a few weeks.

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 173th time? The Kremlin Art Director is the same actor as the one who plays the Gasworks Supervisor in The Living Daylights. 

Best action sequence? Bond and Octopussy fighting the Indian thugs in her bedroom. 

Who or what is the title song about? I believe “All Time High” is about a woman who had a one night stand with Bond, but now wants more. 

Best looking cinematic moment? The aerial shots of Bond arriving in India. 

How could the villain have succeeded? As usual the villain decides to keep Bond around as their guest. Give him a nice room, invite him to dinner, etc. 

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Originally, Roger Moore wasn’t going to come back and James Brolin was ready to step in. But honestly, this is such a Roger Moore as James Bond movie. 

Does Bond ever think he might die? A couple of times. First, towards the end of the safari. Then just 90ish seconds before the bomb is supposed to go off at the circus. 

What would have made the movie better? Lighten the load of the plot, and cut down a little bit on the campy stuff. 

What’s in a name? Bond pretends to be Charles Morton, a manufacture representative, as he heads to East Germany. And of course, as Cuban military man Toro at the beginning of the flick.

What’s in a title? Octopussy is the title of an Ian Fleming short story. As is “Property of a Lady”, which is also used in this movie. 

Drinking game: Take a gulp of champagne each time someone says “Octopussy”.

“WTF?!” moment: Bond making the “F-You” arm movement to those wacky German teens who played a prank on him while he was trying to hitch a ride.

Fun fact: The safari hunt was originally supposed to be in The Man With The Golden Gun. 

Overall ranking: 13th out of 24. 

Review synopsis: Octopussy never fails to thrill with its spectacular stunts and eye-popping locations. Roger Moore probably should have stopped after this one. It gets too campy at times and instead of being an “all time high”, Octopussy is “over the top.” But if you grew up in the 80s, saw this in the theatre or the countless number of times it played on cable, how can you not enjoy it?

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Roger Moore: One Year Later

On this exact date, one year ago, I lost my 2nd father. I know, that sounds ridiculous. Like many young boys who grew up Bond fans in the mid-to-late 1980s, Roger Moore was our 007. A superhero in a tux. It didn’t matter that it was really his stunt doubles hanging off of airplanes and cliffs, or simply running up the Eiffel Tower. Roger Moore was James Bond. Not necessarily Ian Fleming’s James Bond, but still he practically raised me.

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My first ever in-the-movies Bond experience was Octopussy in the summer of 1983. I was only 5 but I was just beginning to get hooked on Bond movies. As I grew older I knew he wasn’t the best, or the most accurate, but to this day I can’t think of a Bond actor who loved playing the part more than Roger. It was all wink-wink, tongue-in-cheek, but for 12 years and 7 films it worked beautifully.

What made his passing even sadder, was the fact that he was such a good man. After retiring from acting, he spent three decades as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. The actor played the role of Bond for big laughs, but the man showed what a big heart he had when he traveled the world for UNICEF. A champion for needy children all around the world.

In honor of this somber anniversary, please help them buy donating to UNICEF.ORG

(Do it for Roger)


Every generation has their Bond and I like them all for different reasons. But I can’t imagine growing up without Roger Moore as 007. I only got to see him on the big screen in two movies (Octopussy and A View To A Kill), but seeing his other five Bond flicks on the ABC Sunday Night Movie was always a major thrill.

When the song “Goldfinger” plays I think of Sean Connery. When “Skyfall” blasts out, I think of Daniel Craig. But Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” is for, and will remain for, the late great Sir Roger Moore.



Movie Review: GOLDENEYE

It’s hard to imagine, but the first half the 1990s didn’t have a single James Bond movie released. Most shocking of all, before the November 1995 release of Goldeneye, most critics and causal movie fans were convinced that 007 wasn’t necessary. In many of the same ways as The Spy Who Loved Me brought the franchise back to life in the late 70s, Goldeneye was that for the mid to late 90s. Pierce Brosnan’s long-awaited turn as Bond was a true audience-pleaser. It even spawned one of the most popular video games of all-time. In fact, to this day, I still meet people who think this movie is an adaption of the video game.

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My GE Notes:

  • The score is the only truly negative thing about the film. Eric Serra makes Marvin Hamlisch and Bill Conti sound like John Barry and David Arnold.
  • That opening bungee jump is still one of the most impressive stunts in Bond history. Remember when bungee jumping was a huge fad?
  • Pierce’s first line is said inside a toilet stall. Not exactly Sean Connery at a casino table.
  • The pre-title sequence is solid, but having it take place 9 years before the movie starts always throws me off. Bond hasn’t aged a day!
  • Sean Bean as 006/Alec Trevelyan makes a formidable villain, but the twist would have worked much better with a lesser known actor and without the reveal in the trailers/promotions.
  • These Russian soldiers are the most easily shot men I’ve ever seen in a Bond flick. Add to the fact that they have horrendous aim, they might as well be dressed as Stormtroopers.
  • Speaking of soldiers being shot, besides the cameo of Minnie Driver badly singing “Stand By Your Man”, keep an eye open for Dougray Scott in the opening action sequence. Colonel Ourumov shoots him.
  • Did MythBusters ever do an episode on how Bond uses terminal velocity to drive off a cliff to catch a plane?
  • Tina Turner’s song is alright I guess. I like Tina, but the song (written by Bono and The Edge) sounds like a poor version of a Shirley Bassey ballad.
  • Speaking of music, and back to Eric Serra’s war-crime of a soundtrack, the music in the car chase between Bond and Xenia Onatopp (On a top? Onatopp.) sounds like a cross between Sonic the Hedgehog and a porno.
  • I’m a sucker for a Bond-in-a-casino scene, and this one is up there. Brosnan looks like he was born to wear a tux and say his name is Bond, James Bond. It’s interesting that his hybrid of Connery and Moore works best in his first outing, and less so in the next three movies.
  • They really play-up the words internet and CD-Rom and modem. Very mid-90s.
  • Boris has to be in the top five most annoying characters in the franchise.
  • Natalya Simonova is one of the most beautiful Bond girls, to go along with the fact that she might be one of the most capable Bond girls.
  • Judi Dench’s first go-around as M is a delight to watch. I still like her best when paired with Craig, but she has some really great dialogue to throw at Brosnan.
  • It’s pretty amazing that this is the only time a Bond production actually went to Russia for filming.
  • This Q lab scene ranks up there as one of the best in the series. Brosnan almost cracks up.
  • The BMW z3 roadster is beautiful, but wasted.
  • What was up with Wade being obsessed with gardening?
  • Robbie Coltrane steals the two scenes he is in.
  • Bond vs Xenia in the sauna is part action scene, part sex scene. It’s a terrific piece of fun.
  • The tank chase is a very memorable scene, but it does drag on a bit.
  • I don’t care what anyone else says, the train has a face and it looks like Sam the Eagle from the Muppets.

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  • Chair has to be the easiest password ever.
  • The beaches in Puerto Rico (subbing for Cuba) are stunning. I hope they still are.
  • Is it just me or does the Natalya crotch-shot last longer than it should?
  • This is one of the few Bond movies that doesn’t suffer from a lackluster 3rd act.
  • Every time I watch this movie, I try to count along with Bond. How many freaking times does Boris click the exploding pen?!
  • Pierce Brosnan is no Connery or Craig (or even Lazenby) when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, but his fight with Alec is bruising.
  • Alec Trevelyan gives us perhaps the most painful Bond villain death. First the bone-crunching fall, and then crushed by the antenna.
  • The movie ends with once again, the only thing truly wrong with it. A soft, elevator music of a song called “The Experience of Love”.


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Bond’s coolest moment? Walking through the casino, playing Baccarat against Xenia, ordering a vodka martini and saying his name. Classic Bond stuff. 

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Having to check out Wade’s tattooed ass. 

Bond’s best line? “I like a woman who enjoys pulling rank.”

Best acting performance? Famka Janssen as Xenia Onatopp ranks as a great hench-person. Those eyes, those thighs! Ouch!

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? Seducing the MI6 official there to evaluate him in Monte Carlo. 

Worst line in the movie? “Boys with toys.” Izabella Scorupco as Natalya Simonova.

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 97th time? Xenia’s taunting face in the train when Bond has to decide the mission or the girl. 

Best action sequence? The opening in the Russian chemical weapons facility. 

Who or what is the title song about? I’m guessing a woman who has been sexually attracted to Bond for a long time. The line “You’ll never know how I watched you
from the shadows as a child” still disturbs me. 

Best looking cinematic moment? That 3rd act in Puerto Rico/Cuba. It could be a postcard. 

How could the villain have succeeded? By not making it personal. Bond was his friend and shouldn’t have gotten him involved. 

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Originally this was written for Timothy Dalton, so I think Dalton could have done this one minus some silly gags.

Does Bond ever think he might die? Just before he uses those gas tanks as cover in the pre-title action scene. 

What would have made the movie better? Hiring David Arnold to do the score. 

What’s in a name? Bond doesn’t go by any other name in this. 

What’s in a title? Goldeneye is the name of the Jamaican vacation home of the late Bond author Ian Fleming. 

Drinking game: Take a shot of bourbon each time Boris says “invincible” and “slugheads”.

“WTF?!” moment: When Bond walks past some freaky outdoor theater play in Monte Carlo. 

Fun fact: The original script for Goldeneye was so similar to 1994’s True Lies, that it had to be rewritten. 

Overall ranking: 6th out of 24. 

Review synopsis: Brosnan’s first Bond movie ends up being easily his best. He’s suave, urbane, and a natural for the role. The girls, the gadgets, the villains, the locations…it all checks off. It’s been over 20 years now and Goldeneye still ranks up there with classic Connery and Moore flicks, and it’s not too far off of Craig’s modern day best. It’s pretty damn close to being in the top tier of 007 adventures. 





The Men Who Could Have Been Bond

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For some actors, it’s the role that got away. For others, it was “thanks, but no thanks.” Not every actor is built to take on the role of James Bond. You go from working actor to international superstar as fast as an Aston Martin goes from 0 to 60.

We know the six actors that got the job over the past 55+ years, but what about all the others who were considered and who auditioned. I won’t get into the hundreds and hundreds of past contenders, but here are some of the serious could-have-been Bonds.


DR. NO (1962) – Sean Connery 

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Cary Grant – This legend was a close friend of producer Cubby Broccoli’s, but he was in his late fifties at the time and wasn’t interested in a longterm franchise commitment.

Richard Johnson

Patrick McGoohan

Richard Todd 


ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE (1969) – George Lazenby 

A composite image of the five top candidates (including ultimate choice George Lazenby, bottom right). Published in the October 11, 1968, issue of LIFE.

John Richardson 

On Her Majesty's Secret Service director Peter R. Hunt oversees a test love scene between John Richardson and an actress, moving her leg just so.

Anthony Rogers

Anthony Rogers smokes a cigarette during his James Bond audition, 1967.

Robert Campbell 

Director Peter R. Hunt helps Robert Campbell get into a shoulder holster, 1967.

Hans de Vries 

Hans De Vries and France Anglade, James Bond audition, 1967.

Timothy Dalton – He was offered the role, but felt he was far too young to take on Bond. He was in his early twenties.

Adam West – He was considered, but turned it down because he felt Bond shouldn’t be American.


DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971) – Sean Connery 

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John Gavin – Hired after Lazenby left, and then asked to step down once Connery returned. He still got paid.

Burt Reynolds – Considered, but said no because Bond should never be played by an American.

Adam West – Second time considered; turned it down again.

Michael Gambon

Roger Green

Roger Moore – Unavailable due to his TV series The Persuaders.


LIVE AND LET DIE (1973) – Roger Moore

  • John Gavin, Adam West and Burt Reynolds were all considered again.

Julian Glover

Jeremy Brett 

Simon Oates 

Michael Billington – Had the strongest audition, and would have gotten the role if Moore said no.


FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981) – Roger Moore

  • Timothy Dalton considered, just in case Moore didn’t return.
  • Michael Billington, who auditioned for Live And Let Die and played Sergei Barsov in The Spy Who Loved Me, was considered.

Lewis Collins

Ian Ogilvy 


OCTOPUSSY (1983) – Roger Moore

  • James Brolin auditioned and was cast… unless once again Roger Moore didn’t come back.



THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (1987) – Timothy Dalton

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Pierce Brosnan – He auditioned and was cast; promotional materials were made with him as the new 007, but at the last minute he couldn’t get out of his TV contract for NBC’s Remington Steele.

Sam Neill

Mel Gibson – Considered briefly, but that was about it.

Finlay Light 

Antony Hamilton 

Lambert Wilson

Simon McCorkindale  


GOLDENEYE (1995) – Pierce Brosnan

Liam Neeson – Considered, but wasn’t interested.

Sean Bean – Auditioned; ended up as the main villain.

Mark Frankel 

Adrian Paul

Paul McGann – Auditioned and was considered for the role, if Brosnan somehow passed.


CASINO ROYALE (2006) – Daniel Craig  

Henry Cavill – Was the runner-up to Craig. The only thing that kept him from getting the role was his age. He was 22 when he auditioned.

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  • Clive Owen, Eric Bana, Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Karl Urban, Dougray Scott were all considered… but either turned down the role or didn’t engage in the audition process.
  • Sam Worthington, Goran Visnjic, Julian McMahon, Alex O’Loughlin all auditioned and were considered seriously for the role of James Bond.




Why Is Every Bond Actor’s Final Film Considered A Failure?

Whether it’s our last job, or our last relationship, we like to think of the successes during it and not about the failures that led to the finale. The same thoughts can be applied to movies. It’s very rare for the final film in a storied franchise to end as successfully as its predecessors.

We’ve had six James Bond actors and each one of their last turns as 007 can be labeled as a failure. But why?

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To say that Sean Connery “mailed it in” for his final Bond film (Diamonds Are Forever) would be an insult to hardworking envelopes. After George Lazenby’s one turn — we will get to him soon — Sean came out of 007 retirement in 1971 to star in this mishmash of a flick. Connery initially retired in 1967 after his 5th Bond movie (You Only Live Twice) and probably made the right career choice. Sean had grown tired of the character and wanted to prove he was an actor capable of playing more than just the world’s greatest secret agent.

A record salary at that time of $1.2 million — which he gave to charity — was enough for Connery to say never say never again. Financially, Diamonds was a major box office hit. The movie was trash, but audiences were aching to see the original, the best, Bond back in action. Sean looked a lot older than 41, the villain and plot were weak and ludicrous, but who cares?! Sean Connery was back as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007, even if it was only for one more time — officially that is.


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George Lazenby is the college basketball freshman of the Bond actors. He was “one and done” in a very underrated Bond film (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). As the decades have passed, the film has gained a lot of traction as one of the best Bonds ever. What’s holding it back? George Lazenby.

Lazenby wasn’t an actor. He was cast for his looks and his physicality. Connery announced he was leaving Bond during production of You Only Live Twice and the hunt was one for the next Bond. Lazenby could have had a long career as Bond, even though OHMSS wasn’t as huge a hit as previous Connery-007 flicks. He foolishly turned down a seven picture deal, which lead to Sean’s return in Diamonds. Now OHMSS is one of those “oh you mean that one movie, the one where Bond gets married, with that one guy who only played him once?” Such a shame.


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To steal a line from the late, great Roger Moore, which I think he stole from a film critic… By the time 1985’s A View To A Kill was released, Roger Moore wasn’t just long in the tooth, he had tusks! Yes, Roger was a master at poking fun at himself. After 7 movies, 12 years as Bond, he knew it was over.

The longest running Bond actor probably should have called it quits after the box office success of 1983’s Octopussy. AVTAK has a hip (for the mid-80s) soundtrack, courtesy of Duran Duran’s title song, young villains played by oddities Grace Jones and Christopher Walked, plus a leading lady (Tanya Roberts) so young that her mother was younger than Roger Moore! AVTAK wasn’t the box office hit Moore and Bond producer Cubby Broccoli were used to. In December of 1985, 7 months after the movie was released, Moore officially announced his retirement. He was 58 years old.

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Licence To Kill, Timothy Dalton’s 2nd and last Bond movie, might be the film that nearly killed the 007 franchise for good. It came out in the very crowded summer of 1989. Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lethal Weapon 2, Ghostbusters 2, just to name a few of the competitors.

Dalton was never the audiences favorite for the part. Over time, he’s gotten more credit. Some call his take on Bond ahead of its time, thanks to the success of Daniel Craig. Dalton’s serious tone came right after the 12 years of campy Moore. Also, always being thought of as the second choice for the role after Pierce Brosnan couldn’t get out of his TV contract, didn’t help. The film itself kind of has a made-for-TV, Miami Vice feel to it.

To this day, it is still the lowest ranking Bond when it comes to box office numbers. I’m including cost adjustment for inflation. Thanks to these low numbers and some legal battles, we didn’t see another James Bond film on the big screen for 6 years.


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Pierce Brosnan had a very successful run as 007. All four of his movies were big hits. Critically acclaimed? Not so much. His 4th and final go at it came with Die Another Day. A movie so over the top that even Roger Moore made fun of it. Invisible cars, a Madonna cameo, kitesurfing a tsunami, and bad pun after pun after pun.

Much like Connery and Moore, audiences embraced Pierce’s Bond even if they knew the movies weren’t anything more than an excuse to stuff their faces with popcorn. With DAD, please add lots of cheese to your popcorn.

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So where does this leave our current 007, Mr. Daniel Craig. It could have ended last November 2015 with Spectre. Not as bad a way to go out as Diamonds Are Forever or A View To A Kill or Die Another Day, but it still wasn’t as great as Casino Royale or Skyfall. Hell, it might not even be better than Quantum of Solace.

When the 25th Bond movie is released — hopefully in late 2019 — Craig will go out with #5 and he will pass Roger Moore as the longest serving — in number of years — Bond actor. This final film is about his legacy now. Can he do what the actors before him failed to do? Go out on a high note.

Movie Review: SKYFALL

Sometimes movies are all about timing. The year was 2012. It had been four years since we last had a 007 adventure. The summer of 2012 gave us the London Olympics, which included a short film by future Bond director Danny Boyle, starring Daniel Craig as James Bond and Queen Elizabeth as herself (insert your own dirty Bond girl name).

On top of all that, it was the 50 year anniversary of the Bond movie franchise. A new batch of special Blu-Rays could be added to your DVD collection. When Skyfall was released in early November 2012, the timing was perfect. Just in the same way it was for Goldfinger in 1964, The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, and GoldenEye in 1995. The audience desperately wanted a new Bond movie. It also doesn’t hurt to have a great song and superb villain. There was a reason why Skyfall grossed over $1 billion dollars worldwide and adored by film critics. It’s all about timing.



  • While I miss the gunbarrel in the opening shot, I do enjoy how Bond in the hallway makes for a proper substitute.
  • This has the best cinematography of any Bond film thanks to Roger Deakins. As well as the best looking Bond clothes. Those suits by Tom Ford impeccably fit Craig.
  • I’d love to know more of Ronson’s backstory. Bond actually seems sad that his fellow agent is bleeding to death.
  • The pre-title sequence makes good use of Istanbul. Third time in the franchise. From cars to bikes to trains, this is an action sequence always on the move.
  • The cuff-straightening works for me. It’s a nod to the Moore/Brosnan old fashioned tie-straightening gag.
  • Adele’s siren song and Daniel Kleinman’s visuals for the opening credits work beautifully together.
  • As much as I love this film, the plot has far too many unbelievable steps. Silva’s plan needs us to just give in and accept that he thought of every contingency imaginable.
  • From locations, to British colloquialisms, I think this is the most British Bond movie ever made.
  • I could see “Turkish Scorpion Drinking” on ESPN 2 at 4am.
  • I would pay good money to see Bond’s three-month “death vacation.”
  • This script is one of the best in the franchise. So many great one on one scenes. Bong with M (Dench), Bond with new Q, Bond with (spoiler alert) Moneypenny, etc.
  • Bond doing DIY surgery is so Craig.
  • Ralph Fiennes is a great actor, but it’s almost too obvious that he will be the future M right from the start.
  • Severine is beautiful to look at, but wasted as a character.
  • Javier Bardem as Silva is a bizarre delight. From his rats monologue, to his dentures, to his Max Zorin hair, he’s my favorite Bond villain ever.
  • I don’t think Bond ever had a homosexual experience, but I do think he wanted to turn the tables on Silva.
  • Craig is easily the best runner of the Bond actors. He could give Tom Cruise a run for his money. Pun heavily intended.
  • What else is in Bond’s storage closet besides the Aston Martin?
  • I love Albert Finney as Kincade, especially when he calls Judi Dench’s M “Emma”.
  • I’m in the minority on this, but I enjoy the “Home Alone”/”Straw Dogs” third act.
  • I wanted a fight between Bond and Silva. A thrown knife to the back isn’t good enough.
  • I still get emotional watching Judi Dench die in Daniel Craig’s arms. This M and Bond duo had a genuine mother-son relationship.
  • Skyfall has one of the greatest epilogues in movie history. It ends with you wanting the next Bond movie to start ASAP. We got Spectre three years later, and its plot ruins everything that made Skyfall fantastic.

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Bond’s coolest moment? Entering the casino in Macau. A runner-up: kicking up the machine gun into his arms in Scotland.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? That fight in the Komodo dragon pit was too much Roger Moore for a Daniel Craig Bond flick. 

Bond’s best line? When Severine asks Bond if he will kill Silva for her and James replies with “Someone usually dies.”

Best acting performance? In the greatest cast of a Bond movie, Dench is the MVP. In many ways, she is the true “Bond girl” in Skyfall.

Bond’s most “sexual predator” moment? Bond correctly guesses that Severine has been a sex worker since she was about 12 or 13, and what does he do? Next scene he sneaks into her shower for some steamy sex. Even Connery and Moore would say slow down!

Worst line in the movie? “Put it all on red. It’s the circle of life.” Yeah, five and a half years later I still don’t understand what the hell James meant. 

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 36th time? After Bond finishes his drink and traps the scorpion with his glass, he gives the hand gesture that he’s buying the entire bar the next round. With what money James?!

Best action sequence? It’s not the best fight in the series, but it’s the most beautifully shot… the silhouette fight between Bond and Patrice in the Shanghai skyscraper.

Who or what is the title song about? I think it’s about Bond’s childhood and what kind of man he has become. 

Best looking cinematic moment? Everything in Shanghai and Macau. 

How could the villain have succeeded? Silva did succeed. His goal was to kill M and he did. At the end, Bond failed to protect her. Silva did take his sweet time though, and was a tad too coy throughout.

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Since they make Bond out to be too old for his job, I think a Pierce Brosnan pushing 60 could have worked. Having said that, Craig looks so comfortable in his 3rd outing. 

Does Bond ever think he might die? Not really, which is weird since kind of does die in the beginning. Bond is pretty fearless in this film. It’s as if he has a bit of a death wish. 

What would have made the movie better? Not much. I guess maybe cut out some of Silva’s pre-planned nonsense. 

What’s in a name? Bond doesn’t use an alias, but we do learn his parents names. Andrew Bond and Monique Delacroix.

What’s in a title? Skyfall is the name of Bond’s childhood manor in Scotland. 

Drinking game: Take a shot of Macallan whiskey each time the word “bloody” is said. I told you this is the most British Bond movie ever!

“WTF?!” moment: Judi Dench’s M becoming the first and only person in a Bond movie to say “fuck”. 

Fun fact: The original title of the movie was “Once Upon A Spy” and the original script had a few differences, including Bond killing M at the end for her screwing everything up. That’s pretty dark. 

Overall ranking: 1st out of 24.

Review synopsis: Skyfall does on the 50th anniversary, what Die Another Day couldn’t do on the 40th anniversary. Make us care about the legacy of James Bond. Only a handful of Bond films can combine action and pathos, like Skyfall does. Who knew Sam Mendes could direct an action movie? Especially one that IMHO is the greatest Bond movie of them all.

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