Film writer Christy Lemire picks the best aspects from 50 years of Bond movies
Today marks the 50th anniversary of James Bond's screen debut. And from the way he introduces himself to his preferred drink order to the kind of car he drives, everything about Bond is deeply entrenched in pop culture. In honour of Agent 007's five decades on the big screen, here's a seven-best list of all things Bond.
Supposedly the Bond you grew up watching first is the one you like best. Sorry, but I can't bring myself to pick Roger Moore. Sean Connery is the classic and he set the standard, and he'd probably be the No1 pick for the vast majority of Bond fans. But I'm going to do something kind of blasphemous here and say Daniel Craig has become my favourite Bond. People scoffed when he was chosen to star in Casino Royale. "We can't have a blond Bond!" came the outcry. But Craig can seriously act, bringing a welcome darkness to the character as well as being sexy, masculine and formidable in all the necessary ways.
Best theme song
Nobody Does It Better from The Spy Who Loved Me. Many of you would choose Shirley Bassey's big, jazzy Goldfinger, or even Live and Let Die (the rockingest song Paul McCartney and Wings ever recorded) and you'd be totally justified. But this one just stands out after all these years. It still takes such a hold of you when you're listening to it, with the touches of melancholy in Carly Simon's haunting vocals mixing with the mystery required of any great Bond tune.
The jet pack that allowed Sean Connery to zoom skyward to his escape in 1965's Thunderball was cool and very forward-thinking. And it just happened to be sitting right there, waiting for him - what are the odds? But it's the car, of course, that's so readily identifiable as James Bond's most reliable and versatile weapon. Famously, he drives a silver Aston Martin but it's come in various models, with an assortment of handy tricks and toys and been driven by several of the actors playing the part. Revolving licence plates, bulletproof shields, tyres that shoot spikes, headlights that hide machine guns, and ejector seats.
Best Bond villain
Blofeld is the easy answer because he's appeared in so many Bond films, and because he's the inspiration for the Dr Evil character in the Austin Powers movies. And that ever-present cat on his lap ... that has to make him a truly, deeply bad guy. But I'm picking Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979), played by 2.17m Richard Kiel. Those teeth - they could do some serious damage.
Skiing and shooting in 1981's For Your Eyes Only: It's the world's deadliest biathlon. Landing all those jumps would be hard enough, but Bond also has to avoid dudes on motorcycles trying to kill him, as well as bobsledders, tourists enjoying apres-ski beverages and the occasional cow. But he does it all and makes funny faces, because this is Roger Moore, the jokey James Bond.
Best Bond parody
Oscar-winning The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius and star Jean Dujardin had a French version of 007 with the slapsticky OSS 117 movies. Similarly, British comic Rowan Atkinson has bumbled his way through a series of dangerous assignments as the tuxedoed Johnny English. Still, the Austin Powers movies have done it best, especially the first one, 1997's Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. They're giddy, cheeky and goofy, they provide a great opportunity for Mike Myers' physical humour and they revel in taking shots at this iconic character. Yeah, baby.
Best Bond girl
This is tough. Adorably sexy Honor Blackman played the Bond girl with the best name of all - Pussy Galore - in Goldfinger (1964) and action veteran Michelle Yeoh was fierce in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Eva Green as the smart and sultry Vesper Lynd in 2006's Casino Royale was the rare Bond girl who was truly his equal. (The worst one would be Denise Richards as the allegedly brilliant nuclear physicist Dr Christmas Jones in 1999's The World Is Not Enough.) But just the vision of Ursula Andress striding from the ocean in Dr No is so famous and so stirring, it's hard to top: that bikini with a dagger strapped to her hip, the long blonde hair and those curves. The image personifies the gorgeous, mysterious cool of the Bond girl. And it was the first film in 1962.