Men want to be him, women want to be with him – it’s one of the most famous lines to be uttered about the world’s most famous secret agent. However, after more than half a century of saving the world, and countless encounters with the leading ladies of the day, there have been, quite literally, many faces to James Bond. Carly Simon was absolutely right when she sang that nobody does it better. The question is, which Bond does it best? Here’s the countdown.
6th – George Lazenby
Tenure as Bond: 1969
Number of appearances: 1
Best film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Most famous moment: Showing the human side of Bond in the most shocking ending the franchise has ever seen.
Most forgettable moment: The overdubbing of Lazenby’s voice with that of George Baker was evidence that this would never be more than a one-off appearance.
As a former male model, Lazenby certainly had the pecs for the job. Unfortunately for him, he had Sean Connery’s significant boots to fill. Back in the late 1960s, people had yet to get used to the idea of Bond getting a new face, and poor George only had the one opportunity to prove himself. Looking back, he deserves more recognition, and he was the first to bring a sense of vulnerability to Bond, courtesy of what is still the most shocking end to any Bond film.
5th – Roger Moore
Tenure as Bond: 1973-1985
Number of appearances: 7
Best film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Most famous moment: Battling Jaws, driving a Lotus Esprit underwater and “attempting re-entry” with a character called Holly Goodhead sum up Moore’s Bond at his camp best.
Most forgettable moment: The whole relationship with love interest Bibi Dahl in For Your Eyes Only is more than a little uncomfortable to watch, given the 30-year age gap between Moore and actress Lynn-Holly Johnson.
Did anyone wear a tuxedo better than Roger Moore? Here was the playboy Bond who looked truly at home in the casino, with vodka martini in hand. It’s the Bond depicted by Moore who springs to mind when you think of modern day casino style, and the actor still had a mischievous glint in his eye and an ability to charm the ladies, right up until his death in 2017 at the age of 89. He might not have had the physique of other Bond actors, but we all loved him.
4th – Timothy Dalton
Tenure as Bond: 1987-1989
Number of appearances: 2
Best film: Licence to Kill
Most famous moment: Bond’s cold dispatch of the bad guys in Licence to Kill took the franchise into a dark place, and could not have been further removed from the Bond of the Roger Moore era.
Most forgettable moment: In the eyes of many critics, Dalton’s two films seem to have been forgotten entirely, which is a great shame.
Dalton had to wait a long time to finally take the role of Bond, having originally been suggested as a replacement for Connery back in the late 60s. As it was, he only appeared twice, but what memorable appearances they were! He brought back that edge of danger and seemed every bit the trained killer. In that respect, he could not have been more different from the charming, affable Roger Moore.
Tenure as Bond: 2006-2019
Number of appearances: 5
Best film: Casino Royale
Most famous moment: The relationship with Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale is the closest Bond has come to commitment since that fateful journey in 1969. Inevitably, it comes to a similar conclusion, and has ramifications that reverberate in subsequent movies.
Most forgettable moment: The treatment of Severene in Skyfall might have been loyal to the source material, but will have left a bad taste in many mouths.
The current incumbent has got better with every outing, and even now, filming his final Bond movie, he wears his 51 years well and looks every bit the dashing gentleman. His piercing blue eyes and chiseled physique tick all the boxes, but still, there are those who can‘t quite get to grips with a blond Bond. Perhaps that is part of the reason that he still only makes it into third place when it comes to the hottest Bond of all time.
Tenure as Bond: 1962-1967, 1971, 1983
Number of appearances: 7
Best film: You Only Live Twice
Most famous moment: The moment he removes his wetsuit to reveal an immaculately pressed dinner jacket in Goldfinger sums up Connery’s Bond to a tee.
Most forgettable moment: The less said about his second comeback in 1983’s Never Say Never Again, the better.
For many, Connery still is James Bond, even after all these years. He certainly had the right blend of muscle, charm and sophistication, and if there was one Bond you’d want in your corner, he’s your man. Looking back, some might find the misogynism of those early Bond films a little uncomfortable, but, like the chain smoking, this has to be seen in the context of the times. Despite the fact that Sean oozed sex appeal, there is one actor who manages to eclipse him in the hotness stakes.
Tenure as Bond: 1995-2002
Number of appearances: 4
Best film: Goldeneye
Most famous moment: Who else could pursue his enemies through a city center in a stolen tank? Bond was definitely back.
Most forgettable moment: Let’s just forget the invisible car ever happened, OK?
Whisper it, but Pierce Brosnan turned 66 last month. The hair might be flecked with grey, and the six pack isn’t what it once was, but even today, Brosnan cuts a commanding dash. He was truly the Bond for the millennium, and made the role his own in four appearances between 1995 and 2002. We know from Sean Connery’s continued adoration that Bond fans have long memories, and in an online poll by Crazy Llama to find the hottest Bond actor of them all, Brosnan single handedly took more than half the votes.