There are 24 Bond movies. Each one is around two hours long. To watch them one after another with reasonable breaks would take well over two days. To watch one a day would take nearly a month. To watch one a year would mean that if you started in the year your child was born you would finish them by the time the kid was out of college and well on their way to having their hopes crushed by The Man. Bottom line, it’s a lot of movie to watch, especially as the formula doesn’t differ hugely from movie to movie. And the world is a busy place, too busy to spend over 48 hours watching a drunk misogynist murder foreigners. So here at Audiences Everywhere we’ve decided to remix the movies in a way that makes them more easily digestible, in two specific doses.
1. Best of Bond
The first way is to simply choose a single movie from each Bond actor, preferably their best. For some actors this is easier than others, as George Lazenby only made one movie while Roger Moore made seven. Luckily, Lazenby’s movie is excellent so that works for this remix.
First you should watch Sean Connery’s best, From Russia with Love. It is a cool 60s spy film with a gorgeous location, simple plot and awesome villains. Next, Lazenby’s single outing On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. For Roger Moore it’s tricky as there are two very good movies in his oeuvre so I would say flip a coin and make your own remix. Tails watch The Spy Who Loved Me and heads watch For Your Eyes Only. Timothy Dalton only made two movies and they’re both great with Licence to Kill being the better. Pierce Brosnan’s movies haven’t aged particularily well but The World is Not Enough is a lot of fun. For Daniel Craig it’s easy as he made the best Bond ever in Casino Royale so that’s a clear choice.
With this remix you get to watch only six movies and six great movies too. This will give you an idea of why these actors were chosen for the role and why Bond has survived as long as he has, because when he’s great, he’s great.
Alternately you could do a worst of Bond remix as well: Thunderball, Diamonds are Forever, Man with the Golden Gun, Tomorrow Never Dies, Die Another Day, Quantum of Solace. But why would you want to put yourself through that?
2. The Tracy Bond Remix
This second viewing plan is a little different and requires a bit of jumping around chronologically with the Bonds. After spending a few months watching the movies a theory emerged that stated that if a movie mentioned the death of Bond’s wife Tracy then the film would be excellent. Some Bonds – Connery, Craig and Brosnan – don’t mention her for one reason or another, but the Bonds that do end up in very entertaining movies. For that reason we’ve put together a second remix that creates a sort of continuous plot line from Bond to Bond.
First you watch Casino Royale. This movie establishes Bond as a double-O and a bit of a shit. He’s violent, angry, and likes to sleep with married women. By the end of the movie he’s had his heart broken by Vesper Lynd but has saved the day.
Next, you watch From Russia with Love. Here Bond is more established and, following Royale, is a little more cynical and happy to use the affections of Tatiana for the sake of a coding machine, no matter what danger it presents to her. There’s also a nice symmetry as both movies end in Venice, which we can read as Bond having found peace with Vesper’s betrayal and death enough that he’s happy to bring another girl there. Or a sign of his brokenness that it doesn’t affect him at all.
Then, you watch On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and things get a bit more real. Bond is still the same old James but falls for Tracy and marries her, only for her to be murdered on their wedding day. This is about as dark as Bond gets and sets the tone for the next few movies.
Fourth you watch Licence to Kill. This is a dark Bond who’s trying to put it back together but doesn’t have the same spark as before. He hasn’t tracked down his wife’s killers but it haunts him, evident when Felix’s wife mentions marriage and James walks away. It also makes sense for this movie to follow Service as Bond would definitely take the murder of Felix’s wife on their wedding day to heart and want to get the revenge for Felix that he himself hasn’t got.
For Your Eyes Only opens with Bond at Tracy’s grave, followed by Bond finally getting sweet, sweet revenge on Blofeld by dropping his bald ass into a smokestack. This film works perfectly following Licence as Bond himself admonishes someone for seeking revenge as he himself has seen the bloodshed caused by going on a vendetta and wouldn’t wish that on Melina Havelock.
Finally, The World is Not Enough. Brosnan’s Bond never mentions Tracy but this is his best movie so it seems like a fitting ending. At the end of the six movies Bond is back to drinking, sleeping around, and making quips. It’s almost like he learnt nothing at all from all of his adventures, making this a gateway until watching any other Bond you feel like next.
Featured Image: MGM/Columbia Pictures