The Worst-To-Best Filmation movies

About six months ago, I wrote a blog based on a internationally famous animation film company, that is Walt Disney Pictures. Of course, it’s also produced live-action movies, but many people mainly recognize the company for it’s animated features. So now, I’m going to rank some animated films which was produced by a studio that is very rarely discussed nowadays and hasn’t been in business for some time. This company is called Filmation.

Last year, the last of the founding members of Filmation passed away due to a bladder related issue. Because neither of them are with us no more, I am dedicating the rankings to them guys. For those of you who don’t know, Filmation was a production company which produced television programmes and feature films, mostly animation, from 1963 – 1989. Hal Sutherland (that’s the guy I was talking about) had previously worked with Disney as an animator for films such as Peter Pan, Lady & The Tramp and Sleeping Beauty. After the apparent failure of Sleeping Beauty, some of the staff was laid off and I would presume Hal was one of them. Later, he, Lou Scheimer and Norm Prescott commenced business, thus was born, Filmation. Filmation became famous for producing Saturday morning cartoons such as He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe, Bravestarr and Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids, plus remakes of Star Trek, Flash Gordon and Ghostbusters. Mainly television, but there were also a few films Filmation produced. Filmation was notable for its limited animation technique and use of rotoscoping. Basically it involved a limited amount of frames per seconds and used less paper, which in a way is economical. Probably the reason why Filmation is one of the least discussed is because after the box office failure of its final three films, it eventually and alas went bankrupt in 1989, so many people would’ve forgotten about it, except for those who grew up in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

I would label Filmation as an ‘okay’ company. Personally I like the majority of its programmes better than its films. But sometimes, Filmation didn’t seem to be very original, considering that it remade such programmes as Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, Superman, Batman and so forth. However, stuff like He-Man, Bravestarr and Fat Albert were actually created by them, so they can be regarded as original. I also quite like the animation. And it did lead the way for certain crew members and actors who would appear in higher profile productions.

So just to keep things short, I will review the features. Here’s what I regard as The Worst-To Best movies produced by Filmation;

6. Journey Back To Oz

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Kicking off our list is a film which apparently took twelve years to bring to the silver screen; an ill-fated unofficial sequel to The Wizard Of Oz, one of the best movies ever made. Journey Back To Oz is so bland and forgettable. How many songs can you sing along to? Hint; there’s no Over The Rainbow, or Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead, or even… those were the days! It’s a totally weak sequel to anything whatsoever. Not even Mickey Rooney or Liza Minelli can uplift the spirits. There’s better films you can enjoy.

5. Treasure Island

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What a joke! Treasure Island? I’ve seen Walt Disney’s Treasure Planet and it was so much more original compared to this! If you want a movie from 1973 that shows off limited animation techniques, look at Robin Hood or Heavy Traffic. They are much more smoothly animated compared to this!

4. Mighty Mouse: Great Space Chase

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Well that’s much more of an improvement. I’ve always loved Mighty Mouse. I, of course, realise that Mighty Mouse: Great Space Chase is an anthology movie, but I ain’t big on anthology movies with the exception of Fantasia, that one’s awesome, but the Many Aventures Of Winnie The Pooh can kiss my butt! In fact, some of Quentin Tarantino’s movies are anthology and they’re awesome! Mighty Mouse: Great Space Chase looks a bit much like a television series. I would’ve preferred it if the segments was separate, because after a viewing of each one, I then forget what’s happened. But the action can still keep us relaxed.

3. Pinocchio & The Emperor Of The Night

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We’re half way through and this is another rather unofficial sequel to a legendary film. Pinocchio & The Emperor Of The Night is one of them movies I both really admire and really despise simultaneously. Although I’m glad I saw it, I ain’t sure if it was a good way for Filmation to boost its numbers after the He-Man and She-Ra movie only performed moderately successful at the box office. I admit there is some good stuff in the film, but there are flaws. Okay what’s the story?; the film takes place a year after Pinocchio’s origin. He volunteers to deliver a valuable box to the mayor for his father Gepetto. But he comes across them two thieving creatures, Scalawag and Igor, who trade a phony piece of jewelry for the box. Gepetto is annoyed, so Pinocchio who decides to make amends, plans to apply for a job at a mysterious carnival in order to mature. This leads to an amount of complications, involving a visit to the Land Where Dreams Come True, the reluctant teaming up with Scalawag and Igor, the kidnapping of Gepetto and a final showdown between Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, hence the title, lol. Let’s start with the good stuff; first of all, the casting. My god, James Earl Jones is fantastic as the Emperor. His voice is kickass. His voice performance as Darth Vader really paid off. The voice of the protagonist is a young Scott Grimes. I ain’t joking. It’s the same guy who voiced Steve Smith in American Dad. There’s also Rickie Lee Jones who voices the fairy and she provides a cool ballad, Love Is The Light Inside Your Heart. Speaking of which, the music is awesome. It ain’t exactly When You Wish Upon A Star or Give A Little Whistle, but the fairy’s song which I just mentioned is so underrated. Even You’re A Star is cool. And that organ music which is played while Pinocchio is transformed back into a puppet. My god, it’s melodic enough to give a viewer nightmares. Also, the animation is truly epic. I know Filmation are well known for their limited animation techniques, but each time we see the Emperor, the scale is much larger and smoother, I dunno how to reword it. The villains including the Emperor and Puppetino are also badass. I love Puppetino’s cockney accent and laugh. Moving on, where does the film fall flat? Some of the animation on the characters ain’t brilliant. To me, the way Pinocchio is designed, he is meant to be a year older than in the Disney version, but I swear he looks a bit younger. He of course has a sidekick, only this time, it’s a glowworm called Gee Wilikers, who, let’s be honest, ain’t much of a replacement to good old Jiminy Cricket. I know Jiminy was created by Disney and Filmation attempted to avoid plagiarizing the Disney version, even though they did get sued at one point, but Gee’s voice irritates me so much. I really hoped for that toad to eat him. And frankly, I ain’t keen on the dialogue. It’s so simplistic and cliched. It’s like “I’m coming to get you” and so forth. And what’s this I hear about the fairy being named The Fairy Godmother. That is so Cinderella, a totally different story to Pinocchio.

Overall, the film isn’t as great as the awesome Disney version, nor will it beat the Two Ronnies parody, but there are worse versions. Is Pinocchio & The Emperor Of The Night corny at times? Of course. Does it have it’s flaws? Sure. But there is some good ingredients to balance the film. I love the soundtrack, I love the villains, the bug characters can kiss my butt. If you’re familiar with the story of Pinocchio, I’d give this film a viewing. If not, I’d start with the Disney version. All I can say at the moment is “Come back, Jiminy Cricket! Come back!”

2. Bravestarr: The Legend

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Ah, Bravestarr. One of Filmation’s delightful TV creations transforms into an underrated full length-feature, Bravestarr: The Legend. Alas, Bravestarr was Filmation’s final TV series before they reached their black day. Yet, the movie wasn’t commercially successful. I guess after Pinocchio & The Emperor Of The Night, Filmation was beginning to reach its end. Does that make Bravestarr: The Legend a bad movie? Good God no! It’s so action-packed and will appeal to sci-fi fans and western fans alike. It’s also more original compared to most of Filmation’s other features. Sure, it’s based on a TV programme, but Filmation created Bravestarr in the first place. it’s their project. What do you expect? So the film concerns a planet known as New Texas which of course receives similar consequences to the population of the generic city in the Streets Of Rage games and Bravestarr arrives to put a stop to the corruption.

Yup, that’s good enough for me. In fact, did you know it was one of few cartoons back then to use CGI?

1. He-Man & She-Ra: Secret Of The Sword

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‘Ere we go, ‘ere we go, ‘ere we go, ‘ere we go! Another TV programme-based feature. Yet, another one of Filmation’s own projects, that is He-Man & She-Ra: Secret Of The Sword. Not many films based on TV programmes are great; however, Thunderbirds Are Go, awesome! Wallace & Gromit In The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, awesome! South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut, you guessed it, awesome! But the movies to Garfield and Scooby Doo (blows raspberry!). I’m quite surprised this film only got a moderate amount at the box office, because He-Man & She-Ra: Secret Of The Sword is so unique. Okay, maybe it’s a compilation film of episodes, but no one will notice. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the uniqueness. He-Man and She-Ra fight against Skeletor. They fancy each other, but it is discover later in the film that they are already family. Yes stupid, they’re brother and sister; a bit like the Osirias and Isis story; innit though? And of course we get to know their back-stories. At last, a bit of continuity. He-Man & She-Ra: Secret Of The Sword is an enjoyable fantasy action adventure cartoon.

So that was my ranking of all the movies I’ve ever seen to be produced by the long defunct Filmation. Though I hear Dreamworks has acquired the rights to it recently. Cool stuff.

Thank you for reading this review. I’ve never seen Happily Ever After in case you’re wondering. Moving on. If there are any filmmakers/companies you can recommend me to review, feel free to let me know.

The Worst-to-Best Pixar Movies

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Some of you are probably wondering why I left the Pixar movies out when I ranked the Disney Animated features. Well, all of the stuff Pixar has done is animated and they have always worked with Disney. In fact, they are owned by Disney. But a) I was ranking the features which were produced by a company called Walt Disney Animation Studios and b) I needed to narrow things down.
Well, if anybody’s a Pixar fan, now’s the chance! For me, Pixar is a fine film studio. It certainly introduced CG animation, which is creative, but nowadays has become obsessive and clichéd. There are good ones, but anyway, here’s the list!;

10. Cars (2006)

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Who’s up for a bit of speedway? Remember The Love Bug and its many sequels, about a racing Volkswagen beetle with a life of its own, and Disney’s version of Robin Hood, which had anthropomorphic animals with no humans in it whatsoever? Basically, Cars is about a racing car living in a world inhabited by other anthropomorphic vehicles. Sounds a bit weird, don’t you think? Okay maybe it’ll be a bit like Budgie The Little Helicopter and Top Gear (the latter which I ain’t never been much of a fan of, long story) tied together. I’m all for motor racing and I give credit for the vehicle designs (extra points for including a Volkswagen camper van!), but Cars is a bit too obnoxious and dull for me. Certain scenes get in the way of my enjoyment. I can’t believe they had to include a scene where the tractors fart. For crying out loud, if you wanted them to pass wind, at least make the farts sound like car engines turning on!

9. A Bug’s Life (1998)

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I think I enjoyed A Bug’s Life better when I was a kid, but now that I’m older, it ain’t as great as I remember it. I have to admit, I love the liberal message the film gets across. The fact is, when this movie came out, another bug-related cartoon came out the same year. That movie was Antz. Antz was the film I saw at the pictures. I later watched A Bug’s Life on one of my neighbours’ videos. Now if there’s one film I’d choose between Antz and this one, I would say Antz. The reason is because compared to Antz, A Bug’s Life lacks enough detail for a CGI cartoon. The characters, especially the ants, are not animated right! If them producers thought they could rival Antz, why are the ants missing two legs? And why are they blue?! Apart from its decent values, it’s just an excuse for cutesiness.

8. Monsters INC (2001)

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Monsters INC is one of them films I saw at the cinema. I was 12 at the time. When I first watched it, I enjoyed it. But then, after it was released on VHS, teachers over-showed it to us, probably due to students’ requests, I dread to think. Looking back, and this is why I said ‘I dread to think’, Monsters INC ain’t as great as I remember it. I was really invested in the film’s liberal values, the fact that Waternoose and Randall come up with this machine built to kill the kids, which will put all the monsters out of work, because they’re hired to scare the kids in order to generate power. That’s really creative. But the more I watch it, the more annoying it gets, though not everybody will feel that way. The problem with Monsters INC is the cast of characters. Sure Sulley is a good protagonist, Randall and Waternoose are awesome villains, Roz is hilarious, but about half the cast irritate me; Mike, Celia, geez I could slap her(!), sometimes Boo can be annoying, but I am invested in the relationship between her and Sulley, but the most annoying characters from this film are Smitty and Needleman. God their voices hurt my ears! It’s like they’re trying to rip-off the character of the Squeaky Voiced Teen in the Simpsons (of course he’s a great character). I’m also not a huge fan of Randy Newman’s songs. They ain’t bad, they’re just not brilliant. But I enjoy some of the visuals (like the door scene for example) and I really admire the ending (mustn’t give anything away). The values are cool, the villains are cool, half of the rest of the cast can kiss my butt. I’m glad I watched Monsters INC when I had the chance, but I’ve seen it enough times.

7. Brave

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Pixar’s animated feminine version of Braveheart. What can a guy like myself say about a princess-related movie? Well it’s so much more than that. There’s plenty of action to enjoy and I admire how Merida constantly stands up to her controlling and overprotective mom, always a great sign and she’s a regular Robin Hood. The Scottish background is also well-designed. There’s just one thing that I don’t get and that’s the bit where Elinor turns into a bear. It is a great climax when we see Merida trying to get her back into a human and we understand the witch’s betrayal, but turning into a bear after eating a cake. I can understand the idea of boys making literal jackasses out of themselves, parents pigging at a theme park and turning into pigs, an Inuit transforming into a bear after slaughtering one. But cakes and bears? Was the cake honey-flavoured? I’d probably get it.

As you probably get, apart from Braveheart, Brave seems to have taken elements from previous Disney films; Pinocchio, Robin Hood, Mulan, er… Brother Bear (?)…, but it doesn’t make it a bad movie. It’s still decent.

6. Finding Nemo (2003)

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Ironically, I didn’t see Finding Nemo at the cinema when it came out.

Audience: What?!

Yeah I know, big blockbuster. But I haven’t seen every single blockbuster in the world you know. I ain’t even seen Inception yet. The reason why I avoided Finding Nemo in the first place was because I thought it was just going to be an excuse for cutesy bits. I mean let’s face it, it’s about a bunch of little clown fish. The trailers and advertisements made it look like it was just going to be a movie aimed at really young children and I had only just become a teenager that year, so I felt I was too old. I of course was over analyzing, because one is never too old for Disney. But at the time, I wanted to see more ‘grown-up’ films. However, a college friend of mine persuaded me to watch it and so we had a movie night and watched Finding Nemo. It was better than I thought it would be. I enjoyed the visuals and the character development. I was really invested when Marlin lost his wife and how Nemo became the only child of his that survived and as a result becomes so overprotective of his son that Nemo sneaks away to the shore, leading to his kidnap. So it’s not a bad film. My only nitpick would be the villain, Darla, who once shook a fish to death. Was it a good idea to make a disabled child the villain? Would viewers get the wrong impression? I don’t know. But overall, Finding Nemo is a pleasant experience. It provides a perfect anti-fishing moral to viewers. What works really works. Visual, liberal, you name it.

4/5. Toy Storys 1 & 2 (1995 / 1999)

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And starter from five (and four), we now come to the franchise in which Pixar is probably best remembered for; the Toy Story films. Some of you may ask, why am I tying the first two films together? And of course, some of you may think I’m just too lazy to pick a favourite from the series. Well to be quite frank, I don’t have a particular favourite Godfather movie, nor can I decide which Lord Of The Rings film I like best. When I ranked the Walt Disney Animated Features, I found both Rescuers features as good as each other. In fact, that’s the same opinion I have with both Toy Storys 1 and 2. I think they’re both so good, I can’t decide which one is better. I ain’t too keen on the detailed features for the human characters, except for Al and Geri. I especially think Pixar ought to have gone for a more Antz or Beowulf look, personally. Though I realise that Toy Story was Pixar’s first full CGI-made feature and the first full CGI-made feature in general, so I can let Pixar off. Randy Newman’s soundtrack is okay. Of course it’s better than the soundtrack from James & The Giant Peach (yuk!). But the best things about TS 1 & 2 are the storylines, the dialogue, the attentions to detail, character backgrounds and of course the originality.

Now if you’re wondering about Toy Story 3, we’ll get to that one later. Right now though…

3. WALL-E (2008)

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I was 18 at the time WALL-E came out and yet, I felt I was too old to watch such a ‘cute-looking’ film. Maybe I was over-analysing; at the time I was studying A-Level Film Studies and I learned that one shouldn’t judge a film just by its target audience. I certainly didn’t enjoy Robots which further distanced myself from WALL-E. However I later saw WALL-E on BBC1 and it was much better than I thought. The film is a mostly silent movie set in a dystopian future where Earth is nothing but a garbage dump. That is awesome! It’s like a futuristic nightmare for many people who predict the future. And there’s WALL-E whose job is to clear the trash. He falls in love with a female robot called EVE whose mission is to seek out any vegetation left on the planet. So as you can see, this is a very unique love story. Not only that, but the film portrays communication through sound effects and includes strong messages of humanity and environmental issues. There’s one thing that bugs me; part of the second act; the humans. They all look the same and don’t have much of the personally, therefore I can’t remember any of them individually. That was the strong point to Atlantis. However, that’s a personal nitpick and I can understand why they are overweight and are unfit to exercise, due to the fact they relied too much on the modern technology.

I would’ve been a total wally, had I not given WALL-E at least one viewing.

2. Toy Story 3 (2010)

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Some of you may have been wondering why I didn’t tie Toy Story 3 along with the other two. Well I’m about to reveal the answer. First of all, can I just say?; when Toy Story 3 came out, I wanted to see it, but I was too tied up with college work at the time, so I didn’t get much chance. Sorry If I shocked you. Yeah I know, big blockbuster and Best Picture nominee. However, I think Toy Story 3 deserved that Oscar nomination. In fact, I site this one as my favourite movie from the Toy Story series. It contains extremely powerful visuals, it’s darker and there’s also more drama. I cried a bit at the ending, but mostly at the scene where the toys are imprisoned by Lotso. I also really felt for Woody when he reminded his fellow toys about their past losses including his girlfriend Bo. I was quite saddened that she wasn’t in this one. I especially enjoy the finale in the incinerator and how deeply detailed the trash is and of course the tension. Another cool point to the movie is Sid’s cameo.

1. UP (2009)

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And Thunderbirds they are go! UP is another movie that surprised me to bits. At first, I didn’t think the film would be that great; I wasn’t too keen on the idea of a comedy film including any sort of item flying with balloons or an overweight kid interacting with a senior citizen. I actually thought them elements have been done to death and felt it was too much for kids. Hence why I avoided the film on it’s release, even though the rest of my family saw it. But when we got it on DVD, I watched it and I kicked myself. UP was much more awesome than I thought. It was a great work of art! It contains an uplifting prologue which sparked tears to my eyes. Carl befriends Ellie, who is also a fan of his favourite celebrity. They get married and try for a baby, but Ellie has a miscarriage. Throughout their life, they attempt to save up for a trip to Paradise Falls to meet their idol, but are constantly forced to pay off their savings to various misfortunes, including a burst car tire. The most heartbreaking moment of the prologue is Ellie’s death. This part of the film highlights various issues adults like myself and older people can all understand and feel for. Yet of course, the rest of the film does as well. Carl somehow reminds me of Victor Meldrew from One Foot In The Grave. Both men have problems I can easily empathise with. Victor loses his job and is forced to cope with his involuntary retirement and cope with elements of the modern world which turn against him. Here in Up, Carl has lost his childhood sweetheart and all he wants to do is visit Paradise Falls, which is what Ellie would’ve wanted. At one time, he snaps at a construction worker who fiddles about with his mailbox and is ordered by the court to move to a retirement home. So he uses his balloons to fly his house away. I don’t blame him for that. As for Russell, he ain’t bad whatsoever. He’s kinda like the inner child to Carl. The animals are also fun and artistic. And of course Charles F. Muntz is a great villain.

I think I’ve said enough about the film now, but before I finish, let me just say that the fact UP was the second cartoon to receive an Academy Award nomination after Beauty & The Beast ain’t the reason why I placed it at number 1. The reason is because there’s a good reason for it.

I know there are some movies I missed out through my rankings, but here is a list of movies I still need to see or just ain’t watched all the way through;

The Incredibles (2004), I only saw a bit of this one, but not all the way through.

Ratatouille (2007)

Cars 2 (2011)

Monsters University (2013)

Thank you for reading my opinion on what I believe are the worst-to-best movies produced by Pixar. If there are any filmmakers/production companies, etc, whose movies you can recommend me to rank, feel free to let me know.

Taken 3

Taken 3 is the third and latest installment to the Taken trilogy, directed by Olivier Megaton (who succeeded Pierre Morel since Taken 2) and produced/written by Luc Besson (other works including Nikita, Nil By Mouth and The Fifth Element). While Taken 1 effectively tackled human trafficking and Taken 2 got much better, what could we expect from Taken 3? A slight step backwards.

While his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) is at college, retired CIA agent, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), re-enters a relationship with his divorced wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), after experiencing marital problems with her new husband. One day, Bryan finds Lenore dead in his apartment and is later framed for her murder. So he embarks on another dangerous mission to prove his innocence, track down the real murderers and dodge his former colleagues from the U.S. authorities who attempt to capture him.

Taken 3 does not exactly comply to the title. The first film was simply about a CIA agent attempting to rescue his teenage daughter and her friend, who are abducted by human traffickers who want them for sexual slavery while trying to spend a vacation in France, hence ‘Taken’. Taken 2 saw Bryan getting captured by the father of Kim’s kidnapper, who wishes to avenge his son’s death. This also complied to the title. As for Taken 3, there are at least two abductions in the film, but the main synopsis centres on a man, who is wrongly accused of murdering his wife and struggling to clear his name. This doesn’t really relate to the title, but the scene where Bryan observes footage of Lenore getting thrown in a van does serve as a plot point, as does the finale which involves a brief abduction and an exciting car chase.

However, the characters are more developed and we can still relate to the father/daughter relationship between Bryan and Kim. Bryan often worries about Kim getting into trouble, which is understandable for he is both a family man and a former CIA agent. Kim on the other hand is sometimes frustrated with her dad’s constant concerns, but feels vulnerable each time she hears what has happened to her family or when she is put in danger. The scene where she hears about her mother is also heart-breaking. We learn from all three films that Bryan and Kim love each other very much, which is a common factor for a typical family. The scene where Kim is reunited with Bryan in the middle of the film is heart-warming and she does happily offer support.

Overall, Taken 3 may not have the strongest storyline compared to the first two, but will definitely appeal to fans of the Taken franchise and fans of action movies.

6/10

The Worst-to-Best James Bond movies

Recently, I have been watching a section of James Bond movies on ITV1. God I love James Bond. Who doesn’t? I’ve enjoyed the movies ever since I was a kid. Myself and the rest of the family obtain a long history with the James Bond franchise. My mother’s read some of the novels, even recalls seeing at least one of the films in the cinema. I even have 007 Racing on PlayStation and a compilation album consisting of the theme songs on CD.

The James Bond films have led a massive impact on many filmmakers and TV producers over the years. These people include Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who used James Bond as an inspiration for their Indiana Jones films, even casting Sean Connery in the third one. Even Gerry Anderson seems to have created James Bond-style characters, hence Lady Penelope and her FAB1 in Thunderbirds and Joe 90, about a 9 year-old spy. The films have been numerously referenced in The Simpsons and some British sitcoms. In fact, there are some comparisons between the films and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Parodies include the Austin Powers trilogy and Johnny English.

It is over fifty years since the release of the first film, Dr. No and a new movie called Spectre is due to be released later this year. This is why I am ranking all the movies I have watched which relate to James Bond himself.

  1. Die Another Day

Released: 2002

Directed by: Lee Tamahori

Bond actor: Pierce Brosnan

Composer: David Arnold

Budget: $142,000,000

Gross amount: $431,971,116

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We begin the shooting with what I consider the weakest link of the franchise. Die Another Day takes that bullet. It ain’t totally dreadful, but it contains a few forgettable characters, including Zao, who just appears from nowhere and he, let’s be fair to him, is just trying to be creepy. He is one of the most boring Bond villains of all time. I give the film credit for the invisible car (it’s the invisible car, der-der, it’s the invisible car, der-der, it’s incredible how you can woooooooo see right through it) and the incredible opening scene. However, it’s not enough to hold a not-so brilliantly scripted synopsis, nor can it rid that awful theme tune. Madonna or no Madonna.

  1. Diamonds Are Forever

Released: 1971

Directed by: Guy Hamilton

Bond actor: Sean Connery

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $7,200,000

Gross amount: $116,000,000

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The diamonds they are forever, saaaaahhhhh! So sang good ol’ Shirley Bassey. Diamonds Are Forever contains such a wonderful theme tune from such a wonderful British singeress. Too bad it had to be wrecked by some rapper 34 years later. As for the film, this was Sean Connery’s brief return as 007. It ain’t exactly the strongest film in the franchise. Blofeld’s return isn’t that interesting, nor is his new look, compared to his earlier films. There’s also a fairly cool scene with James fighting two women, but the film ain’t really that memorable.

  1. A View To A Kill

Released: 1985

Directed by: John Glen

Bond actor: Roger Moore

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $30,000,000

Gross amount: $152,400,000

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Yet again, another slightly forgettable film in the franchise. Apart from one of the most awesome villains in James Bond history, that is May Day, threatening and fairly silent, don’t mess with her. Well nobody would dare, except Bond of course. And how about the thrilling shoot-out on the Eiffel Tower?

  1. Never Say Never Again

Released: 1983

Directed by: Irvin Kershner

Bond actor: Sean Connery

Composer: Michel Legrand

Budget: $36,000,000

Gross amount: $160,000,000

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Okay, Never Say Never Again may not be considered a traditional Bond movie, considering it was not produced by Eon Productions, but so what? It’s got Sean Connery in it. He was in some of the Eon produced movies, so what more do you want? Never Say Never Again is basically the comedy in the franchise. James Bond ages in this one. No surprise considering Sean was in his fifties at the time. Plus he pays visits to a clinic after failing a training exercise. Also, Rowan Atkinson’s performance is awesome. If you don’t believe me, check out The Witches, Four Weddings & A Funeral and The Thin Blue Line and you’ll see that it pays off. Unfortunately, Never Say Never Again is a film I may need to watch again.

  1. Thunderball

Released: 1965

Directed by: Terence Young

Bond actor: Sean Connery

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $9,000,000

Gross amount: $141,200,000

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Thunderball has one of my favourite theme tunes out of all the movies on this list and also my favourite song ever to be sung by Tom Jones. However I don’t remember much from this movie, apart from the speedboat battle and Blofeld’s badass appearance, except for his face of course.

19. Octopussy

Released: 1983

Directed by: John Glen

Bond actor: Roger Moore

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $27,500,000

Gross amount: $183,700,000

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Octopussy, Octopussy,… 13st Bond movie to come out, the sixth one with Roger Moore in it. Also starring Maud Adams as Octopussy herself. We saw her in another Bond movie. I saw this movie twice. On the first time, I couldn’t remember much about it, apart from Bond hijacking the train. But on the second time, a bit more memorable; Bond fiddles with Q’s camera and observes a woman’s boobs. He also disguises himself as a clown in order to get rid of a bomb set to blow up a circus. Lovely.

18. For Your Eyes Only

Released: 1981

Directed by: John Glen

Bond actor: Roger Moore

Composer: Bill Conti

Budget: $28,000,000

Gross amount: $194,900,000

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I’ve only seen For Your Eyes Only once. And yet, I can remember that epic opening; Bond battling Blofeld one last time (I won’t say too much more about it for those who ain’t seen it yet), Bond’s first meeting with Melina, who wants to avenge her parents, Q’s awesome gadgets (including what we could call an early example of a digital photo scanning thing), Melina’s funny parrot and speaking of funny, Margaret Thatcher’s (personally not my favourite prime minister) cameo appearance! And of course the cars. Apart from that, I can’t remember much else. This was John Glen’s first film as the director, and I ain’t talking about the astronaut.

17. Live & Let Die

Released: 1973

Directed by: Guy Hamilton

Bond actor: Roger Moore

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $7,000,000

Gross amount: $126,400,000

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Gee, I could listen to Paul McCartney’s theme tune all day. Live & Let Die is memorable for Roger Moore’s introduction as the spy himself, Bond fighting against the crocodiles, JW Pepper’s introduction (speaking of which) and them tough guy villains. The film is about a drug lord in Harlem, Mr. Big, who attempts to rival out all the other drug barons out of their businesses. Man, this is a bit like an episode of The A-Team. And then, Bond finds three British agents dead, leading him to a fight with Dr. Kanager and facing a gang of gangsters and voodoo magic, just like in the awesome 2nd Indiana Jones film. Plenty of action to enjoy. You don’t see JW for long, but at least you saw more of him in the next film, find out later.

16. Moonraker

Released: 1979

Directed by: Lewis Gilbert

Bond actor: Roger Moore

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $34,000,000

Gross amount: $210,300,000

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(childish singing) Jaws has a girlfriend, Jaws has a girlfriend. (ceases singing) Okay enough of that. James Bond in Space, how Moonraker is remembered. But also as I just explained through my immature rant, Jaws gets himself a brand new bird, which I suppose is cute to watch; a villain with a serious romantic feeling for Dolly after she saves him from a cable car wreckage. Jaws will forever stand out as one of the best Bond villains of all time; no dialogue until near the very end. This of course is one of the best moments in the film as are the cable car scene and the finale in the spaceship. I will also offer praise to Derek Meddings’ special effects.

15. Casino Royale

Released: 2006

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Bond actor: Daniel Craig

Composer: David Arnold

Budget: $150,000,000

Gross amount: $599,000,000

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I, of course, am referring to the most recent version, which introduced Daniel Craig as the new James Bond, not the comedy version which starred David Niven and was directed by the same bloke who did Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about Casino Royale without mentioning the scene where Bond gets stripped naked and tortured; “Now the whole world’s gonna know that you died scratching my balls”. That line really cracks me up. Nor can I not mention the opening scene which I think is pretty unique for a gun barrel sequence. Then there’s the old school casino settings, it’s Casino Royale, what do you expect? Plus, Casino Royale is the first Bond movie to not finish with a happy ending, since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Yeah, don’t think I’m giving anything away. Casino Royale may not be as awesome as Daniel Craig’s later films, but it’s certainly an improvement compared to Die Another Day.

14. The World Is Not Enough

Released: 1999

Directed by: Michael Apted

Bond actor: Pierce Brosnan

Composer: David Arnold

Budget: $135,000,000

Gross amount: $361,832,400

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If you thought Die Another Day was dull, then how about The World Is Not Enough, Pierce Brosnan’s third film as James Bond? A much more investible storyline, of course bearing in mind this was so before Die Another Day. Opening scene, great. Speedboat, exploding glasses, Millennium Dome, you name it.  Valentin Zukovsky returns, with his evil daughter Electra. He’s as charming as ever, though Electra isn’t very interesting, apart from the scene as explored in the image above. But I’ve seen a little more boring, i.e. Christmas Jones, but having said that, I think awarding her the Razzie for worst actress was a bit too harsh. And who can forget Renard who isn’t very interesting for a villain. I just ain’t a huge fan of Robert Carlyle. He’s just an okay actor. But Robbie Coltrane, or as I like to call the British John Goodman, is a lot of fun as Zukovsky, as is John Cleese (‘duh’) who portrays R. I should also mention Gladiators’ Diesel and Vulcan as the henchmen. I’ve given The World Is Not Enough credit for the storyline, but I also give credit for the gadgets and of course for Desmond Llewellyn’s final starring role as Q.

Rest in peace Desmond.

13. From Russia With Love

Released: 1963

Directed by: Terence Fisher

Bond actor: Sean Connery

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $2,000,000

Gross amount: $78,200,000

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For starters, the theme tune is one of my favourite songs of all time! Good old Matt Monro. Movin’ on, From Russia With Love is basically a sequel, and by sequel, I mean continuation, following Dr. No where SPECTRE plots to avenge the death of one of their henchmen. Red Grant takes part in their scheme to kill James Bond. From Russia With Love features a memorable introduction to Inspector Gadget himself, Q. And portrayed by Desmond Llewelynn. He’s probably the only guy who survived over more than fifteen movies with the same role. And of course, there’s the introduction to Blofeld, excluding his face of course. I also love the train/helicopter related climax.

  1. Skyfall

Released: 2012

Directed by: Sam Mendes

Bond actor: Daniel Craig

Composer: Thomas Newman

Budget: $200,000,000

Gross amount: $1,108,600,000

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We always knew Daniel Craig would make a difference to the franchise since Casino Royale (the recent one that is to avoid confusion). Well Skyfall is not only different to Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace, but to James Bond movies in general. The storyline is most certainly unique as the conflict actually involves M herself; yes the actor is Judi Dench in case you wanted to know why I said ‘herself’. It was also her final role as M. As confirmed for the next film yet to be released, the new M will be Ralph Fiennes who is mainly known for his villains (Amon Goeth from Schindler’s List, Victor from that Wallace & Gromit movie, etc). Why? In case anybody ain’t seen Skyfall yet, I mustn’t say or I’ll spoil the ending, but have a look and see for yourself.

  1. Tomorrow Never Dies

Released: 1997

Directed by: Roger Spottiswoode

Bond actor: Pierce Brosnan

Composer: David Arnold

Budget: $110,000,000

Gross amount: $333,011,068

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Tomorrow Never Dies contains some of the coolest gadgets the franchise has ever provided us. As far as action thrillers go, this is a movie that marks an awesome contribution to the codes and conventions. As usual we have Bond mucking about with Q’s inventions, added to that, a rather suspenseful moment where he drives his new remote-controlled BMW towards Q and manages to stop right in front of him by an inch. It’s like “wow!” The car of course proves useful during the always exciting parking lot scene; Bond of course needs not to sit in the car in order to distract his assassins. Wai-Lin is also dead sexy and the finale in the ship is a lot of fun.

  1. Goldfinger

Released: 1964

Directed by: Guy Hamilton

Bond actor: Sean Connery

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $3,000,000

Gross amount: $124,900,000

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Starter from ten, some of you lot are probably going to scowl at me for placing what has long been regarded as the (pronounced ‘thee’) masterpiece of the franchise. Not to say that there’s anything bad about Goldfinger, because there ain’t. It’s actually really really good. The opening scene is always great; Bond and Jill fighting Oddjob, Bond knocked unconscious, then discovering that Jill is covered in gold and dead. It’s a very symbolic opening, as is Shirley Bassey’s forever awesome theme song. I just bet Alfred Hitchcock wished he directed Goldfinger. In fact, there is another scene which many viewers seem to enjoy and I enjoy too and that is when Goldfinger ties Bond to a gold cutting table and a laser slices through almost reaching Bond’s groin. It’s enough to make one cringe. Somehow the actor of Goldfinger, Gert Frobe, reminds me of Dustin Hoffman. I also remember seeing him as Baron Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and you’d hardly recognise the actor. Maybe the moustache is part of it, because he doesn’t have on in Goldfinger. Plus both characters have slightly different voices.

  1. Dr. No

Released: 1962

Directed by: Terence Young

Bond actor: Sean Connery

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $1,100,000

Gross amount: $59,500,000

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I just couldn’t avoid placing the very first Bond movie in the top ten. The Dr. No in question is a man who works for SPECTRE and intends to disrupt an early American launching using a radio beam weapon. He even introduces SPECTRE to Bond, not literally if you know what I mean. We didn’t need to know their faces yet, because the producers knew and we knew sequels would follow, considering how many novels Ian Fleming wrote and we were right. Not only was this film a success at the box office, but all the rest that followed were.

What else do I like about Dr. No? I mentioned the villain. I also enjoy Bond’s first appearances and the suspenseful moments. The tarantula bit, I could watch over and over again. The three blind mice song is a bit goofy, but still symbolic considering them three guys we see in the opening.

  1. The Living Daylights

Released: 1987

Directed by: John Glen

Bond actor: Timothy Dalton

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $40,000,000

Gross amount: $191,200,000

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What could people possibly be wrong with Timothy Dalton’s movies? Many people consider Timothy the weakest of all Bond actors. Unfortunately I don’t hate any of them, nor do I have a favourite. But I reckon Timothy provided a unique portrayal of James Bond. After all, not all films from the franchise have to look the same. The Living Daylights contains some of the greatest gadgets since The Spy Who Loved Me. If you don’t believe me, check out the car chase scene. Shame that Aston Martin V8 Vantage (Series 2) wasn’t used in the game 007 Racing. The side laser, the snow skids and so forth. In fact, the whistle bomb cracks me up. One what-appears-to-be-harmless wolf whistle and BOOM!

Gee, I even admire Bond’s dialogue. “He got the boot!” One of the best moments in James Bond history. I just bet Arnold Schwarzenegger wishes he was given that line. I even wonder if The Living Daylights was the inspiration to True Lies. Did I mention that Tim Dalton portrays the kind of Bond who stuffs M’s orders and is like “M can fire me for all I care. I’m strong and I don’t need his authority”.

Of course, even children admire James Bond in general. Mind you, they would obviously need serious accompaniment by an adult. Anyhow, The Living Daylights is a thrilling underrated action thriller which will even appeal to fans of say Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, any action movie starring Arnie, you never know.

  1. Quantum Of Solace

Released: 2008

Directed by: Marc Forster

Bond actor: Daniel Craig

Composer: David Arnold

Budget: $200,000,000

Gross amount: $586,100,000

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Many consider Casino Royale the best of all the Bond movies that star Daniel Craig. For me, Quantum Of Solace tops it. I’d probably say it’s the From Russia With Love of the Daniel era, considering that From Russia With Love is a definite sequel to Dr. No, due to SPECTRE avenging No. Well Quantum Of Solace depicts Bond avenging his girlfriend (yup, kind of spoiler from Casino Royale). But Bond ain’t the only one seeking vengeance. His new lady friend, Camille Montes, wants to avenge her family, actually also a bit like For Your Eyes Only. And in-between, we can enjoy the terrorist atmospheric action.

  1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Released: 1969

Directed by: Peter Hunt

Bond actor: George Lazenby

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $7,000,000

Gross amount: $64,600,000

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The producers, and probably at the time fans, was so unfair to poor old George Lazenby. He’s only ever had one role as James Bond, that in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I just hope the fact that it grossed lower than You Only Live Twice was not part of the case. Any viewer who is still betrayed by the fact Sean Connery bowed out in the first place must bear in mind that even high profile actors want to move on like many people do in life. They should also give newcomers, namely at the time George, the chance to adapt to a new role. It’s actually because George encountered bad experiences with the producers, hence why On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is his only film. Experienced or inexperienced, George pulls it off. He even takes his romancing with Tracy deadly seriously. In fact, who would’ve thought Bond would literally propose to his girlfriend in one of the most bitter-sweet scenes in the film. That’s quite rare for a character like James Bond. Speaking of which, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service contains what I regard as the best ending scene ever to have occurred in a James Bond movie. Not only that, that was the scene which gave me tears to my eyes and I won’t give anything away, but this was something that wouldn’t occur again until Daniel Craig’s movies. In-between, we’re provided an amazing acting talent from Kojak himself, Telly Salavas, as Blofeld and some cool skiing and bob-sleighing sequences.

  1. You Only Live Twice

Released: 1967

Directed by: Lewis Gilbert

Bond actor: Sean Connery

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $10,300,000

Gross amount: $111,000,000

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You Only Live Twice is probably the first Bond film I ever saw. Now where to begin… I know; the scene which really turns me on; when Blofeld reprimands Osato and Helga for failing to kill Bond. “This organisation does not tolerate failure,” he makes clear and then sends Helga plunging to her death in a pool of piranhas. This scene always gives me a giant grin. Seeing this as a kid, I thought; “should I be watching this?” Now I really love it.

I have also been long impressed with the opening sequence which is quite dark; an unidentified spacecraft captures an American ship snapping a cord from an astronaut still dangling out. Added to that, Bond, who is romancing with some woman in Hong Kong is gunned down and presumed dead. But after the opening credits, we are relieved when we discovered he has another life. And did I mention that after a few faceless appearances, Blofeld finally comes across Bond and this is the first time we see him as a whole?

Many consider From Russia With Love or Goldfinger as the best Bond movie that stars Sean Connery. Personally, I vote You Only Live Twice. One other thing, did I mention Nancy’s Sinatra lovely theme song? Shame Robbie Williams had to ruin it 31 years later.

  1. Licence To Kill

Released: 1989

Directed by: John Glen

Bond actor: Timothy Dalton

Composer: Michael Kamen

Budget: $32,000,000

Gross amount: $156,100,000

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Licence To Kill is a film most James Bond fans seem to dislike the most. For that, I cannot understand why. Is it to do with the fact that the film is the least child-friendly and that it’s the only film with a 15 certificate? That is sooo inexcusable. Licence To Kill is a very unique James Bond film. It is in fact unlike most of the other films a revenge flick, which highlights Bond’s personality much deeply. Bond is seeking vengeance on a drug baron who has injured his best mate, Felix, and murdered Felix’s new wife. And speaking of violence and women, have you noticed in the opening scene the way Sanchez beats up a woman (extremely powerful scene)? Following Felix’s casualty, Bond begins his own investigation, but after refusing an assignment in Istanbul, M removes the licence to kill from Bond, thus Bond is like ‘then I’ll have to do this myself’. However, he teams up with Pam Bouvier and Q, who of course is a loyal friend to Bond.

Speaking of Q, I totally love the scene where he and Bond meet each other in the hotel room; “Pam, this is Q, my uncle. Uncle, this is Miss Kennedy, my cousin,” says Bond. “Ah we must be related,” replies Q. And after a brief showing of Q’s latest gadgets, “I hope you don’t snore, Q”. Why do people say Licence To Kill lacks humour. This scene is hilarious enough to make me laugh.

Licence To Kill contains some of the most powerful scenes I’ve ever encountered in a James Bond film. One of my favourites is when Bond pushes Killifer in a shark’s tank with a briefcase full of money; “You want it, you keep it old buddy!” great line! The finale involving the cocaine and gas trucks is so fun to watch, as is the lovely ending. Who says Tim Dalton was so bad? He was so involved in the productions, even achieving his own stunts. Licence To Kill is definitely one to check out.

  1. The Spy Who Loved Me

Released: 1977

Directed by: Lewis Gilbert

Bond actor: Roger Moore

Composer: Martin Hamlisch

Budget: $14,000,000

Gross amount: $185,400,000

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The Spy Who Loved Me is one of the films my mom saw in her teenage years. She also loves the title song and I have to agree. The song is great, but the opening titles are visually stunning and contrast well with the music. As for the other bits, the opening scene, brilliant. Villains, great, especially Jaws; Needs he no dialogue for his part. All he needs is his strength and steel made teeth. Seriously though, Jaws marks a valid contribution to the film. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the glorious yet hilarious finale where Bond magnetises Jaws.

I should also mention the famous Lotus Esprit. This car is as magical as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In fact, our introduction to the car is provided by Q (duh!), but the lecture is only very brief as Bond drives off leaving him behind in the middle of nowhere. Then we get a fantastic car chase followed by the Esprit’s dive in the sea and transforming into a submarine. Gee, is there anything Ian Fleming or Albert R Broccoli or whoever came with the idea can’t do?

The Spy Who Loved Me is overall a pleasant experience which you will never get bored of.

  1. GoldenEye

Released: 1995

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Bond actor: Pierce Brosnan

Composer: Eric Serra

Budget: $58,000,000

Gross amount: $352,194,034

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I’d be a right slug-head if I didn’t give GoldenEye a position in the Top 10 or even a number 2 spot, where it is now. GoldenEye, the Beauty & The Beast of James Bond (not that it got nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, hardly any of the movies did), was not only a perfect introduction to the then new actor Pierce Brosnan, but it’s actually his best one. There are so many badass plot elements, stunts, props and awesome bits of dialogue which highlight GoldenEye. First of all, each time I see Bond attaching a rope to the dam and jumping off, my epidermis shows.

Man, even the villains are as cool as hell. Xenia is my favourite of them all. She’s the one who enjoys a good squeeze and somehow reminds me of Lara Croft. She’s feisty and energetic, yet almost impossible to defeat. Boris makes me laugh with his catchphrase, “I am invincible”. I have a bit of empathy for Alec, aka 006. Yes he’s nasty and betrays Bond, but I can understand his bitterness. His motive is to avenge the death of his parents after they were betrayed by the British government during the aftermath of WW2, and so secretly attempts to lure Bond in a trap during the opening scene and pretends to die. As for the Russian Colonel, he is so great. After 006’s apparent death, he attempts to kill Bond, but Bond shields himself with a trolley of gas barrels, so orders his soldiers to hold their fire. One soldier disobeys and the Col shoots him as a result, for disobedience and to shut him up. That was the impression I got. That bit is so hilarious, but also rather dark. I mean GoldenEye is more light-hearted than Licence To Kill, but it just goes to show how dangerous it can be to live/work in a nation run by dictatorship.

In-between, we get the usual epic transport chases, the forever amusing gadget introductions from Q; this Q scene in particular being one of my favourites; “don’t touch that! It’s my lunch”, leading to a thrilling showdown between 00s 7 & 6. This is what GoldenEye is all about.

In fact, GoldenEye is a favourite Bond movie, starring Pierce, of most people. The only nitpick they seem to have is the soundtrack. But I don’t think it’s that bad. In fact, I’m surprised Tina Turner’s theme song didn’t even get an Oscar nomination. Still, the film was so popular that even a video game of the film was released and that was also a blockbuster. I’ve only managed to play a bit of it though, but that was because I never owned a Nintendo 64.

  1. The Man With The Golden Gun

Released: 1974

Directed by: Guy Hamilton

Bond actor: Roger Moore

Composer: John Barry

Budget: $7,000,000

Gross amount: $98,500,000

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And Thunderbirds they are go! Some of you may not agree with this choice, but in my opinion, The Man With The Golden Gun is the film I would award a gold medal in the James Bond Olympics. Suspenseful opening scene – check. Awesome villains – check. Fantastic gadgets, including a gun made out of a cigarette case and lighter, cuff link and fountain pen all made of gold – check. Beautiful women – check. Hilarious scenes, i.e. any part including JW Pepper – check. Upbeat music – check. Epic car chase – you guessed it, check. Well choreographed fight scenes – double check.

Before I move on, I forgot to point out when I ranked GoldenEye that M at one point refers to Bond as a ‘sexist, sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War, whose boyish charms, though wasted on me, obviously appealed to that young woman I sent out to evaluate you’. There is one scene in The Man With The Golden Gun where Bond flees a karate dojo, comes across two twin schoolgirls and faces the karate students. He tells the girls ‘stand back, girls’, which relates to his casual sexism, but the girls teach him a lesson by proving useful and helping him out with the fight. It’s hilarious, but it does have an anti-sexist and anti-ageist message.

And speaking of politics, The Man With The Golden Gun does concern the energy crisis that was occurring around the time of the film’s release. I, of course, wasn’t yet born then, but the film does provide the idea of how people suffered from the events. Francisco Scaramanga, who I have to say is my favourite Bond villain, is responsible for the stolen solar energy which he uses to create powerful gadgets and weapons and charges a large sum of money for each kill he commits. Like 006 in GoldenEye, we get to know Scaramanga’s back-story including how he spent his early childhood in a circus and experienced low wages and high level of work with the KGB forcing him to be an independent assassin, hence how this leads to burglary in regards to money and solar energy, thus putting the world in economic danger.

The Man With The Golden Gun is an extremely underrated film, which never gets tiring. Plenty of action, getting to know characters, politics, humour, etc. This is what James Bond is all about.

So this is my personal ranking of all the James Bond movies I have watched in my life. I still have yet to see Casino Royale, the one directed by Ken ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ Hughes and starring David ‘Pink Panther’ Niven that is. But when I do see it, I’ll rank it.

Now which position do you suppose Spectre will be placed?