The Legendary James Bond: A Journey Through the 007 Stars

An Insider's Guide to the Evolution of James Bond Actors Are you ready to dive into the captivating world of James Bond? Get ready to relive the thrilling adventures of the world's most famous spy...

An Insider's Guide to the Evolution of James Bond Actors

Are you ready to dive into the captivating world of James Bond? Get ready to relive the thrilling adventures of the world's most famous spy as we take you on a journey through the 007 stars. From the suave Sean Connery to the gritty Daniel Craig, each actor brought their own unique flair to the iconic role. Join us as we rank the best Bond actors and uncover some interesting behind-the-scenes facts. So sit back, grab your favorite Martini (shaken, not stirred), and let's begin this extraordinary adventure.

Sean Connery - The Original Bond (1962-1967, 1971, 1983)

Sean Connery Sean Connery as James Bond

We start our journey with the legendary Sean Connery, the man who brought James Bond to life for the first time. Connery's portrayal of the suave secret agent in seven films, including classics like "Dr. No," "Goldfinger," and "Thunderball," cemented his status as the ultimate Bond. Interestingly, Bond author Ian Fleming initially had reservations about Connery's casting but was eventually won over by his undeniable charm and charisma. Connery's Bond was a perfect blend of sophistication, wit, and a touch of ruthlessness. His legacy as the original 007 will always remain untouchable.

David Niven - The Unofficial 007 (1967)

David Niven David Niven as James Bond

Next up is David Niven, who portrayed Bond in the 1967 film "Casino Royale." While not considered an official Bond film, Niven's portrayal deserves a special mention. Interestingly, Niven was actually Ian Fleming's first choice for the role but missed out when Connery was cast. In "Casino Royale," Niven gave us an older, more mature Bond – a man who had settled down and had a child. Though his tenure as Bond was brief, Niven's performance added a unique and memorable twist to the character's legacy.

George Lazenby - The Short-Lived Bond (1969)

George Lazenby George Lazenby as James Bond

George Lazenby's time as Bond may have been short, but it was definitely impactful. He appeared as Bond in the 1969 film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," delivering a performance that won praise from some quarters. Lazenby's Bond was more vulnerable and emotional, a departure from the suave and sophisticated image we had come to expect. Unfortunately, Lazenby's decision not to continue as Bond meant that his potential in the role was left unexplored.

Roger Moore - The Longest-Serving Bond (1973-1985)

Roger Moore Roger Moore as James Bond

Roger Moore holds the record for the most appearances as James Bond, starring in seven films over a span of twelve years. Known for his light-hearted and witty portrayal, Moore's Bond brought a touch of humor to the series. His tenure saw the inclusion of more vibrant and fantastical elements, with films like "Live and Let Die," "The Spy Who Loved Me," and "A View to a Kill" becoming fan favorites. Moore's sophisticated charm and elegance made him an unforgettable Bond.

Timothy Dalton - The Serious Bond (1987-1989)

Timothy Dalton Timothy Dalton as James Bond

Timothy Dalton took on the role of Bond after Moore's departure, bringing a more serious and intense portrayal to the character. Dalton's Bond was closer to Ian Fleming's original vision – a cold and calculating secret agent. Despite appearing in only two films, Dalton's take on Bond was well-received by fans and critics alike. His departure from the role was unfortunately due to circumstances beyond his control, but his impact on the franchise cannot be understated.

Pierce Brosnan - The Smooth Operator (1995-2002)

Pierce Brosnan Pierce Brosnan as James Bond

Pierce Brosnan had originally auditioned for the role of Bond back in 1986, and he finally got his chance in 1995's "GoldenEye." Brosnan's Bond was a charismatic and suave secret agent, combining elements from both Connery's and Moore's portrayals. Brosnan's tenure saw a return to the classic Bond formula, with a perfect balance of action, humor, and romance. Despite his success, negotiations stalled for a fifth film, leading to Brosnan stepping down from the role.

Daniel Craig - The Modern Bond (2006-2021)

Daniel Craig Daniel Craig as James Bond

Finally, we come to our current Bond, Daniel Craig. Craig's debut in 2006's "Casino Royale" brought a new level of grit and realism to the character. Initially met with skepticism, Craig quickly won over fans and critics with his intense and brooding portrayal. Craig's Bond delved into the emotional depths of the character, giving us a more human and vulnerable secret agent. His final film, "No Time to Die," marked the end of an era, solidifying Craig's status as one of the best Bond actors of all time.

The Best Bond Actors Ranked

  1. Daniel Craig
  2. Sean Connery
  3. Timothy Dalton
  4. Pierce Brosnan
  5. Roger Moore
  6. George Lazenby
  7. David Niven

While opinions may vary, we believe that Daniel Craig's portrayal of Bond has brought the character to new heights. He added depth and complexity to the role, embracing the progress society has made since Bond's inception. Who could forget the unforgettable opening scene in "Casino Royale"? It set the tone for the gritty and thrilling journey that followed.

The Longest-Serving Bond

In terms of timespan, Daniel Craig holds the title of the longest-serving Bond, with 15 years between his debut and his swan song. However, both Sean Connery and Roger Moore appeared in more films than Craig. Connery starred in six official Bond movies (excluding the non-EON production "Never Say Never Again"), while Moore holds the record with seven films over a twelve-year period.

Join us on this incredible adventure as we delve into the fascinating world of James Bond. From the iconic performances to the captivating behind-the-scenes stories, the legacy of 007 continues to captivate audiences worldwide. So grab your popcorn, sit back, and immerse yourself in the thrilling world of James Bond.

Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10, PLUS a £10 John Lewis and Partners voucher delivered to your home - subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.