James Bond Films – Overrated / Underrated

One of the first film franchises I fell in love with was Bond, James Bond – he just seemed like the coolest guy in the world, and all of his movies provided at the very least some form of entertainment.

I’ll be looking at each official film (so not “Casino Royale [1967]” or “Never Say Never Again”) and determining whether I think they’re overrated, underrated or properly rated by the public and Bond fandom. Some spicy opinions incoming!

Before we begin, you can check out some of my related blog posts below:

Dr. No


People hold the Connery films in such high regard, and credit has to be given to “Dr. No” for launching such a beloved franchise, but I don’t think it’s aged all that well.

Not only is the plot and action too boring by today’s standards, but it doesn’t even hold up with the other Connery films – a lot of the iconic tropes just aren’t present yet, and that really hurts the whole package.

From Russia With Love


Even though the Connery era is the most well-respected period in this franchise, I feel that “From Russia With Love” gets overshadowed by its more famous successor.

It’s a perfect spy thriller through and through, and even if the effects and action have aged poorly they’re presented tastefully and with a distinct, captivating style.



There have been 22 Bond films in the 49 years since “Goldfinger”, and yet it still tops people’s lists as being the best in the franchise.

This was where they nailed the formula – you’ve got gadgets, girls, henchmen, and a slick sheen to all of the action that makes it so cool to watch. A masterpiece, even today.



“Thunderball” was the most successful blockbuster ever at the time, and when adjusted for inflation it still holds up as one of the most profitable, but I don’t think it’s as good as people remember.

The gadgets and plot are far more silly than the two grounded films that came before, and a lot of the underwater action just doesn’t resonate with me.

You Only Live Twice


Connery has basically given up on the role by this point, and it shows.

A lot of the action in “You Only Live Twice” is actually pretty good, but the story and racist Japanese caricatures are real low points for the franchise.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service


I’m still on the fence as to whether George Lazenby made for a good Bond or not, but his only film – “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” – is an early classic.

It does a great job of distinguishing itself from the Connery entries, and Trucy is one of the best Bond girls in the franchise – her death scene is a real tear-jerker, even on a fifth viewing.

Diamonds Are Forever


Connery came back for one last hurrah (at least until he made his own Bond film in the 80’s), and everyone agrees it was pants.

“Diamonds Are Forever” is a film with little to no charm, and it’s littered with questionable characters and filmmaking decisions. At least the theme song was one of the best.

Live And Let Die


Outdated racist views aside, “Live And Let Die” just isn’t one of Bond’s most captivating adventures.

Roger Moore does a decent job in his first outing, and some of the action scenes are pretty cool, but it isn’t a plot I can get behind.

The Man With The Golden Gun


“The Man With The Golden Gun” has a reputation of being a Bond dud, and I have absolutely no idea why.

Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga is one of the greatest Bond villains of all, and his personal island – equipped with a surreal training area – makes for one of the best final acts in the franchise.

The Spy Who Loved Me


When you think of the Roger Moore Bond era, you’re almost definitely thinking of “The Spy Who Loved Me”.

It’s a perfect 70’s action / adventure flick, with some truly iconic moments and scenes that still hold up today.



“Bond goes to space” is a ridiculous premise for a movie, and I’m not going to defend “Moonraker” as a classic, but you have to admit that it’s nothing if not a joyride.

Some of the action scenes (… other than the space stuff) are really great, and I’m always down for more Jaws moments.

For Your Eyes Only


Bond producers went to the complete opposite end of the spectrum following “Moonraker”, instead opting for a grounded, sometimes brutal thriller.

I consider “For Your Eyes Only” to be the last great Moore Bond film, mainly down to its serious tone and well-choreographed action.



I always thought “Octopussy” was widely derided by both the public and Bond fans, so I was amazed to find it’s garnered a cult following in recent years.

Moore is approaching the point of being too old, and none of the action or story beats do enough to win me over. At least they’re having fun with it, I suppose.

A View To A Kill


The Roger Moore era is full of films that fans either say are overrated or underrated, but I think they’re all in agreement that “A View To A Kill” was a step too far for the aging actor.

It’s so uncomfortable watching a walking corpse take on the baddies and seduce the twenty-something Bond girls, and the action scenes are either toned down or have an obvious stand-in.

The Living Daylights


Ah, Dalton. If only audiences at the time knew how phenomenal you were.

“The Living Daylights” is a really solid Bond film, and I love the grittier, more grounded approach that they took – especially after the final two Moore films became so silly.

Licence To Kill


Both of Dalton’s films flew completely under the radar at the time of their release – it’s such a shame, as he laid the template for the more serious films we got in the new millennium.

“Licence To Kill” is one of the grittiest Bond films of all – even surpassing some of the more recent Craig entries in terms of bloody violence. It’s all used to great effect, however, and Bond with a vengeance is easily the most lethal version of the famous spy.



Pierce Brosnan had a lot riding on his first performance, but he knocks it out of the park in “GoldenEye” – in fact, it may be the best debut performance by any of the Bond actors.

Martin Campbell’s direction is electric, the villains are all memorable and delightfully evil, and the action has been revamped with that nineties flair.

Tomorrow Never Dies


As far as the public is concerned, the Pierce Brosnan Bond films dropped off in quality after “GoldenEye” – while that may be true to a certain extent, I think that’s a completely unfair assessment.

At the time, people thought the mass-media villains in “Tomorrow Never Dies” were too far-fetched … which just goes to show how ahead of their time this film was. Also, that remote car scene is golden.

The World Is Not Enough


Another underrated Brosnan outing, “The World Is Not Enough” has a weak Bond girl but is otherwise really solid.

I like how the main villain of the film is one of Bond’s love interests, as that really gives Brosnan a chance to flex his betrayed acting muscles. And, like with the other nineties Bond films, the action is superb.

Die Another Day


I may have defended some of the lesser-liked Brosnan films, but I absolutely cannot fathom how “Die Another Day” went so horribly wrong.

It’s a film that fails on every fundamental level, with the action, villains, plot and special effects all being some of the series’ very worst. And why did the screenwriters include so many bloody puns?!?

Casino Royale


“Casino Royale” is my favourite film in the Bond series, and it cannot be understated how fantastic a job Craig and Campbell did of rebooting the franchise.

Some of the individual action scenes and dialogue exchanges are the best we’ve seen, and the chemistry between Bond and Vesper is the beating heart of the entire thing.

Quantum Of Solace


The nausea-inducing editing has aged “Quantum Of Solace” poorly, and some of the plot beats / villains are lacklustre, but I’ve never understood the utter hatred this movie seems to receive.

It’s definitely in the bottom half of Bond films, but it’s far from a bad movie – the action is still blood-pumping, and at the very least they went all-out to make it an entertaining spectacle.



Bond needed to go big for its 50th anniversary (and after “Quantum of Solace” disappointed audiences) and they couldn’t have done much better than “Skyfall”.

It’s an uproarious celebration of the franchise, with one of the strongest villains and plots of all. That final act in the Scottish Manor is a feast for the eyes.



On the surface, there’s nothing inherently wrong with “Spectre”. Its opening is awesome, the action is decent, and the plot pushes Bond to his limits.

Sadly, I just don’t think the twists and writing work on the whole. All of the Blofeld stuff is poorly handled, and I had a tough time seeing how this new Bond girl was the definitive love of his life.

No Time To Die


Craig’s final Bond outing is easily the most controversial of all, and I’m on the side of the fence that doesn’t like the direction they took.

The action and directing is at an all-time best, and I love some of the locations they visit, but the plot – and especially the ending – leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Aaaaand that’s my list! You can check out some of my latest blog posts below:

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