What’s the best James Bond movie of all time? And what’s the worst?
This countdown ranks every James Bond movie by its score on the film-review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. The movies are ordered from those with the lowest (or worst) scores to those with the highest (or best). Where there were ties, most were broken by looking at the total number of reviews each film received.
On Rotten Tomatoes, a movie is considered “fresh” if at least 60% of surveyed reviews are positive. Any film with a score of 59% or lower is considered to be a miss — a “green splat.”
All scores listed are current as of publication.
Every screen iteration of 007 is noted; the list, in fact, begins with two Bond projects that do not — or, do not yet — have Rotten Tomatoes scores.
At the end of the movie countdown, there’s a look at how the various James Bond stars stack up: Do the Sean Connery films, on average, rate higher than the Daniel Craig entries? How do the Pierce Brosnan movies stack up?
Read on for the answers — the James Bond answers.
Not ranked: “No Time to Die”
As of publication, critics had not yet had an opportunity to judge Daniel Craig’s fifth (and purportedly final) film in the service of the spy franchise.
“No Time to Die” was completed in 2019 but repeatedly shelved due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to Craig and a host of returning series stars, including Jeffrey Wright and Naomie Harris, the film introduces Rami Malek as new 007 villain Lyutsifer Safin.
Not ranked: “Casino Royale” (1954)
Barry Nelson became the first actor to portray author Ian Fleming’s super-spy character on screen via this approximately hourlong live-TV production, which aired as part of the CBS anthology series, “Climax!”
Rotten Tomatoes does not have a review page for this version of “Casino Royale” — a version that was long believed to have been lost.
A 2012 look back at the show by Variety critic Peter Debruge called the production “clumsy,” and concluded that the 007 franchise “might have stalled had someone other than Sean Connery been cast in ‘Dr. No.'”
26. “Casino Royale” (1967) (Rotten Tomatoes score: 26%)
The worst James Bond movie, according to critics, is the most unconventional James Bond movie.
This version of “Casino Royale” is an episodic spoof that’s credited to five directors. It stars David Niven as an aged Bond who aims to defeat the bad guys of SMERSH by enlisting a team of 007 impersonators, including one played by Peter Sellers.
The movie, wrote Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times, is “a definitive example of what can happen when everybody working on a film goes simultaneously berserk.”
“Casino Royale” is one of only two ranked James Bond movies in this countdown that was not made by Eon Productions.
25. “A View to a Kill” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 38%)
“It is exhausted and exhausting, an old joke retold once too often,” Time magazine judged.
24. “The Man With the Golden Gun” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 40%)
This 1974 film is considered another miss of the Roger Moore era. Christopher Lee drew praise as the gun-toting villain, but critics thought the movie otherwise shot blanks.
“If you enjoyed the early Bond films as much as I did, you’d better skip this one,” Nora Sayre wrote in the New York Times.
23. “Octopussy” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 42%)
Roger Moore does star in some of the more critically acclaimed James Bond movies. But this 1983 adventure isn’t one of them.
“The joy of a great Bond movie is the way it pushes the limits of believability — and knows when to stop,” BBC.com’s Debbie Barham wrote. “‘Octopussy’ fails.”
22. “The World Is Not Enough” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 52%)
This 1999 James Bond movie is the first Pierce Brosnan entry in the countdown.
“Brosnan’s repertoire of eyebrow arching while ogling and jaw clenching while escaping is by now entirely without flavor,” Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote for Entertainment Weekly.
21. “Die Another Day” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 56%)
This 2002 effort introduced Halle Berry (as Jinx Johnson) to the James Bond franchise, but the star’s Oscar-winning credentials and charisma weren’t enough to win over critics.
“Perhaps it’s time to say goodbye to Mr. Bond,” the Associated Press’ Christy Lemire opined.
In the end, it was Pierce Brosnan who exited. “Die Another Day” was his final 007 movie.
20. “Tomorrow Never Dies” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 57%)
Another subpar James Bond movie, another Pierce Brosnan entry. This 1997 release co-starred Michelle Yeoh.
“Veteran director Roger Spottiswoode has tried to pep the old warhorse up,” the Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan wrote of the film, “but the combined inertia of all those pictures over 35 years proves hard to budge.”
19. “Moonraker” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 60%)
This 1979 Roger Moore entry was the first James Bond movie to be made in the wake of “Star Wars” — and it shows. Critics generally found the laser-blasting “Moonraker” silly, but not necessarily in a bad way.
“Like most Bond adventures, ‘Moonraker’ is so overstated that it is camp,” Donna Chernin wrote in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “and so preposterous that it’s fun.”
18. “Diamonds Are Forever” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 63%, based on 49 reviews)
This is the first Sean Connery movie in this list.
When it was released in 1971, “Diamonds Are Forever” represented a 007 comeback for Connery. Four years prior, the actor had exited the film series, supposedly for good.
“Bond looks better than ever,” Jay Cocks wrote in Time, “partly because Sean Connery has returned to play him.”
Still, the film is the lowest-rated Connery movie from the Eon Productions canon.
17. “Spectre” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 63%, based on 363 reviews)
Daniel Craig makes his first appearance in the countdown via this 2015 film that drew mixed reviews.
“‘Spectre’ falls somewhere in the middle; it’s not as routine as some of the Roger Moore films,” David Stratton judged in The Australian, “but it falls short of the high standard set by the earlier Craig films and almost all the Connery films.”
Oscar-winning Bond movie: “Spectre” (Best Original Song)
Though the lowest-rated Daniel Craig 007 movie in this list, “Spectre” shined at the 2016 Oscars.
Sam Smith and co-writer Jimmy Napes claimed statuettes for the film’s opening-title song, “Writing’s on the Wall.”
16. “Quantum of Solace” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 64%)
Writing for the Boston Globe, Wesley Morris found this 2008 Daniel Craig film “one exasperated dressing down away from being ‘Lethal Weapon 9.'”
But more critics found things to like in the movie, which co-stars Jeffrey Wright as the recurring Bond character, CIA agent Felix Leiter.
“One of the most remarkable action films ever made,” Fionnuala Halligan declared in Screen International.
15. “Live and Let Die” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%)
After giving Sean Connery a cooler-than-usual reception for “Diamonds Are Forever,” critics warmly welcomed Roger Moore to the 007 family with the actor’s 1973 James Bond debut.
“If ‘Live and Let Die’ was Moore’s acid test, then he passed the test,” Confessions From a Geek Mind’s Kelechi Ehenulo wrote.
14. “Never Say Never Again” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 69%)
Sean Connery took aim one last time as James Bond in this 1983 film, which was produced outside of the Eon Productions canon.
The film didn’t break new ground — it was based on Ian Fleming’s “Thunderball,” which was previously adapted into the 1965 film of the same name — but critics generally didn’t mind.
“In ‘Never Say Never Again,’ the formula is broadened to accommodate an older, seasoned man of much greater stature, and Mr. Connery expertly fills the bill,” the New York Times’ Janet Maslin wrote.
12. (TIE). “For Your Eyes Only” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 73%, based on 51 reviews)
Total Film called this 1981 installment the “grittiest Roger Moore Bond” — an “under-rated, gadget-light and stunt-heavy return to Cold War action.”
12 (TIE). “You Only Live Twice” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 73%, based on 51 reviews)
This 1967 Sean Connery entry rated inclusion on Yahoo’s list of the James Bond franchise’s most embarrassing moments: The film was called out for its scene where Connery’s 007 “disguis[es] himself as a Japanese fisherman” complete with “eye makeup and [a] terrible toupee.”
Interestingly, on Rotten Tomatoes, the film’s most positive reviews come not from the critics of 1967 (for whom such a scene would have been more standard fare), but from present-day reviewers.
“Another fun, exciting James Bond adventure,” critic Jeffery Lyles of Lyles’ Movie Files wrote.
11. “The Living Daylights” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 74%)
The first of two Timothy Dalton James Bond movies in this countdown, 1987’s “The Living Daylights” was a middling performer at the U.S. box office. Critics, however, liked the new take on 007.
“[Dalton] has enough presence, the right debonair looks and the kind of energy that the Bond series has lately been lacking,” the New York Times’ Janet Maslin judged.
10. “Licence to Kill” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 77%)
Critics liked Timothy Dalton’s second effort in the James Bond film series even better than his first.
“‘Licence to Kill’ ranks as one of the best of the … Bond films, thanks to Dalton’s athletic, tough and deadly new 007,” Gary Thompson wrote in the Philadelphia Daily News.
Movie audiences, however, were less enthusiastic about this 1989 film than “The Living Daylights” — and, after its release, the franchise went on a six-year hiatus.
9. “GoldenEye” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 78%)
Timothy Dalton’s successor as Bond was Pierce Brosnan, who made a good first impression on critics in this 1995 film.
“At the most basic, crowd-pleasing level, ‘GoldenEye’ does the trick,” the Washington Post’s Desson Thomson wrote.
This is Brosnan’s highest-rated James Bond film — and the only one to score a “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
8. “The Spy Who Loved Me” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%)
This 1977 film marked the critical high point for the Roger Moore James Bond films — and introduced the iconic, metal-mouthed 007 villain Jaws (played by Richard Kiel).
“With its comic edge, this is one of the better Bonds,” Jeffrey M. Anderson declared in the San Francisco Examiner.
7. “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%)
“Essential Bond viewing,” critic Jeffrey Lyles wrote of this 1969 entry. “It should definitely be among the five Bond films to make someone a fan of the series.”
In addition to being a critical favorite, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” is a curiosity. To date, it is the only Eon Productions canon film to star a one-and-done James Bond: model-turned-actor George Lazenby.
6. “Thunderball” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%)
This 1965 entry was Sean Connery’s fourth James Bond film in four years. The formula was set — and working.
Variety praised it as “posh all the way.”
Oscar-winning Bond movie: “Thunderball” (Best special visual effects)
In this photo, John Stears is seen working on a projectile-firing motorcycle used in a “Thunderball” chase scene. The British effects whiz won his first career Oscar for the James Bond movie. About a decade later, he would win his second career Oscar, for “Star Wars.”
5. “Skyfall” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%)
This 2012 entry is one of only five James Bond movies with a Rotten Tomatoes score north of 90%.
“It might sound blasphemous, but in ‘Skyfall.’ Daniel Craig has it all over previous 007s,” Claudia Puig praised in USA Today.
Oscar-winning Bond movie: “Skyfall” (Best original song, best sound editing)
Adele helped the James Bond franchise break a 40-year-plus losing streak at the Academy Awards.
At the 2013 Oscars, the singer claimed a statuette for co-writing the “Skyfall” title song.
To date, “Skyfall” is the only 007 film to win multiple Oscars.
4. “Casino Royale” (2006) (Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%)
According to critics, the third iteration of “Casino Royale” is the best version — and one of the best James Bond movies of all time.
This 2012 film marked the start of the Daniel Craig era. It was released four years after the final, critically dismissed Pierce Brosnan 007 film.
“‘Casino Royale’ takes us back to basics,” wrote Wendy Ide of the Times of London. “To a leaner production and to a Bond who looks like he can do serious damage.”
3. “Dr. No” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%, based on 59 reviews)
The critics of 1962 and the 21st century agree: The first big-screen James Bond movie is a winner.
Interestingly, the Sean Connery film’s original critics enjoyed it as “pure, escapist bunk” (New York Times) and “entertaining … tongue-in-cheek action hokum” (Variety).
It’s the latter-day reviewers who see something more: “‘Dr. No’ laid the groundwork for what we love about Bond and the world he lives in,” Confessions From a Geek Mind’s Kelechi Ehenulo wrote.
2. “From Russia With Love” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%, based on 60 reviews)
The second Sean Connery James Bond movie, released in 1963, is the second-best 007 entry of all time, per critics.
“This film began the fine tradition of deviating from Ian Fleming’s novels, which gave us the suave, sophisticated Bond over Fleming’s monosyllabic misogynist,” the Austin Chronicle praised.
1. “Goldfinger” (Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%)
“It’s phenomenal!,” the New York Daily News’ Wanda Hale wrote of “Goldfinger,” and her fellow critics generally agree.
Per the critical consensus, this 1964 Sean Connery entry is the best James Bond movie of all time.
Oscar-winning Bond movie: “Goldfinger” (Best sound effects)
“Goldfinger” claimed the James Bond franchise’s first Oscar.
The movie’s win for sound effects marked just the second time the Oscars had honored sound work.
And it’s worth noting that although the movie is remembered by even its most casual fans for the Shirley Bassey-crooned title song, the tune was not nominated for best original song.
James Bond scoreboard: By the stars
With every James Bond film now ranked, we’re closer to the answer: Which James Bond star is the best James Bond star?
What follows is a rundown of every 007 big-screen actor (including David Niven, who is not featured in this photo of Madame Tussauds’ wax-figure exhibit).
The actors are ordered by their James Bond films’ average Rotten Tomatoes score, from the lowest average to the highest.
David Niven (Rotten Tomatoes James Bond score: 26%)
Number of ranked James Bond movies: One
This one-and-done 007 star is at the bottom of our James Bond actor list. Age 57 when 1967’s “Casino Royale” was released, Niven never got another opportunity to play 007.
Roger Moore (Rotten Tomatoes James Bond average: 57.1%)
Number of ranked James Bond movies: Seven
Roger Moore’s lowly performance here may surprise. The British actor was the James Bond for audiences that came of age in the 1970s and 1980s. And, along with Sean Connery, he is the most prolific 007.
If Moore had retired two films sooner, his Rotten Tomatoes average would look healthier. But he didn’t — and the critical barbs aimed at “Octopussy” and “A View to a Kill” consign him to this spot in the rankings.
Pierce Brosnan (Rotten Tomatoes James Bond average: 63.7%)
Number of ranked James Bond movies: Four
Pierce Brosnan’s ranking may surprise, too — although the surprise may be that it’s not lower.
Only one of Brosnan’s four James Bond films scores higher than 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. His average is saved by “GoldenEye” — and the fact that his three critical misses got marginally better reviews than Roger Moore’s weakest entries.
Timothy Dalton (Rotten Tomatoes James Bond average: 75.5%)
Number of ranked James Bond movies: Two
His 007 tenure was brief, and his two films tend to get lost amid the nearly two dozen adventures featuring Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, but Timothy Dalton is a critically respected James Bond.
Daniel Craig (Rotten Tomatoes James Bond average: 78.3%)
Number of ranked James Bond movies: Four
As of publication, only two actors have starred in 007 films that were met with near-unanimous critical acclaim. Sean Connery is one — and Daniel Craig is the other.
Two of Craig’s Bond movies (“Skyfall” and “Casino Royale”) boast Rotten Tomatoes scores of 90% or higher.
Craig’s average does not include the fall 2021 release of “No Time to Die.”
George Lazenby (Rotten Tomatoes James Bond score: 81%)
Number of ranked James Bond movies: One
The lesson of George Lazenby is clear: If you only to get one shot at something, make it count. Lazenby did that with the critically acclaimed “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”
Sean Connery (Rotten Tomatoes James Bond average: 82.9%)
Number of ranked James Bond movies: Seven
In the end, according to the critical consensus, the first big-screen James Bond starred in the best James Bond movies.
More than half of the Sean Connery titles boast Rotten Tomatoes scores of 85% or more.