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Here’s All the James Bond Actors, Ranked

Bond, James Bond. These iconic words have been spoken by several actors throughout the decades these iconic words have been spoken by several actors throughout the decades. With Daniel Craig’s era as Bond having recently concluded with No Time To Die, it’s more than fitting to look back at the Bonds who have come and gone before us. For many fans of the franchise, Bond represents many things and, therefore, answers to the question of who is the best Bond vary greatly. We’ve decided to take on the ultimate mission and rank each of the actors who have taken on the mantle of 007. There’s bound to be agreement and disagreement here, but for fans of the franchise this conversation is one that seems ever-evolving, especially with interesting reports on potential future Bond actors developing constantly. Here is every Bond actor in the official franchise, and how they rank.

Related: Everything We Know About the Search For the Next James Bond

6 Timothy Dalton

Timothy Dalton is Bond
Metro-Goldwyn Mayer

When it comes to Bond rankings, Timothy Dalton usually appears close to last. To be fair, Dalton’s take on 007 has been somewhat unjustly maligned; in fact, his dark and rough-edged take on the character appears to be an early precursor for the Craig era. However, Dalton’s approach is devoid of much of the charm and suaveness Bond is known for, and he’s notably stiff in certain scenes. While Dalton does have the physicality suited for the role, he overall lacks the magnetism and wit that truly makes for a great Bond. However, his two entries The Living Daylights and License To Kill do have their fans and some consider him the most under-rated Bond. While Dalton’s run ultimately isn’t considered many fan’s favorite, for some it does contain its merits.

5 George Lazenby

George Lazenby Teases On Her Majesty's Secret Service Easter Egg After Watching No Time to Die

The only actor who’s only appeared in one Bond film, Australian model and stunt double George Lazenby had a one-off role in the still-discussed fan-favorite On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Taking over for Sean Connery who, at the time, had declined to return, Lazenby’s portrayal of Bond was met with much criticism and pressure. Admittedly, Lazenby was not a professional actor (and there are moments where it shows), but there’s something refreshingly low-key and vulnerable to his performance. Given how On Her Majesty’s Secret Service explores a more vulnerable version of Bond, Lazenby’s understated approach manages to suit the material for the most part. While his acting chops don’t quite measure up to the levels of Connery or Craig, Lazenby does handle the required action sequences gracefully. Overall, Lazenby’s run as 007 was rather limited and though he’s not the best performer to grace the role, his subtle take on the character befits the film he’s in. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service still remains a fan favorite for many, and some have even considered it to be the best of the franchise.

4 Roger Moore

Roger Moore

For Bond fans in the mid-’70s to mid-’80s, Roger Moore was for many the quintessential Bond, and has starred in the most films for any actor in the franchise. Moore’s run began in the 1973 with Live and Let Die and ended in 1985 with A View To a Kill, and his run was notable for its campy sense of humor, outlandish villains, and witty one-liners. The quality of Moore’s time was a bit uneven and his tenure in the franchise went on for arguably two movies too long. However, his period also lays claim to some of the best films in the franchise such as The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only. Moore also exudes a true charisma and smoothness to the role, and even in his worst films he seems to fully commit and go along for the ride. While Moore’s run does have these duds to its name (A View To a Kill and Octopussy haven’t aged too well), at its best it contains some of the most vibrant and exciting adventures in the franchise. Also, nobody can do cheesy Bond one-liners better, and that’s a true achievement right there.

Related: James Bond Actors Pay Tribute to Sir Roger Moore

3 Pierce Bronson

Pierce Brosnan
MGM/UA Distribution Co.

For a long period of time between the late ’80s and early ’90s, the Bond franchise had taken a bit of a hiatus. When it returned in 1995 with GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan had taken over the helm of 007 and ushered in a new era for the character. Brosnan’s take on the character combined all the elements fans loved, from Connery’s intensity and Dalton’s incredible looks, to Moore’s cheeky humor, but also added an element that was truly his own and modern. Brosnan’s run on the character also saw him showcase his dramatic range, especially in films such as GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough, where his Bond reveals some unexpected depth. While some question the overall quality of the films he was in, many fans and critics assess that Brosnan represented the character effectively with a smooth and edgy style all his own, and helped kickstart Bond again and usher the franchise into film’s modern era. All in all, while not every entry in Brosnan’s run was made equally (here’s looking at you, Die Another Day) his take on the character remains definitive, and for many still remains an iconic gateway to the character. To date, the actor looks back fondly on his tenure.

2 Sean Connery

Sean Connery as Bond in Dr. No
United Artists

There’s almost nothing else that can be said about Sean Connery‘s legendary run as 007. Connery originated the character’s mainstream franchise in the ’60s, and his run features many of its most iconic moments. Connery also helped establish the blueprint for the character with his suave manner, gravitas, and wry humor. Whether it was bickering with M, seducing the Bond Girl, or engaging in a death-defying stunt, Connery made every aspect of being Bond look effortless. His run contains some of the franchise’s most influential films to date such as Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, Dr. No, and Thunderball, and has informed much of pop culture. Connery’s impact on the role looms large even today and his legacy has informed each aspect of the franchise since, often being voted the best Bond of them all. However, despite this, there’s still one other Bond who arguably remains definitive.

1 Daniel Craig

Daniel-Craig-as-James-Bond-in-No-Time-to-Die copy

While many may debate this ranking, when it comes to the top title for Bond, Daniel Craig has taken over the slot for quite a few. Craig’s take on the character (which originated in 2006’s Casino Royale) is the most deeply human and tragic yet, and his brooding nature was a change of pace for the franchise. Despite initial reluctance from critics and fans, Craig was soon embraced as he grew into 007’s deadpan charm, suave nature, and lethal intensity. Craig more than showcased his dramatic chops as the character in fan-favorites Skyfall and No Time to Die, and has also shown to be the most adept at the action-oriented nature of the character, as well. Most importantly, Craig’s Bond feels the most layered and three-dimensional, and for this reason his take on the character feels especially resonant. While his run as Bond just recently came to a close, It’s safe to say that Craig’s mark on the character will be irrevocable, remembered fondly, and considered a genuine achievement for the franchise.

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