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The top 12 best James Bond movies you can watch right now
In April 2020, we were supposed to be watching the 25th official James Bond movie, No Time To Die, in theaters. Instead, thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, the latest adventure of British superspy 007, played for the fifth time by Daniel Craig, has been delayed until October 2021. However, there are still many great James Bond movies you can stream and binge-watch this week in its absence. In fact, many of them are currently available to stream for free via Pluto TV.
We have put together our list of the 12 best James Bond movies you can watch online right now. You will likely be both shaken and stirred by this list.
Best James Bond movies:
Editor’s Note – We will update this list as more James Bond movies are released
The movie that started the longest-running film franchise of all time was released in 1962. Producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli bought the rights to most of the James Bond spy novels written by Ian Fleming. However, after having actors like Cary Grant, David Niven, and James Mason pass on the role, the producers picked unknown Sean Connery to play 007. In retrospect, it’s hard to see anyone else in this role at this time. Connery was suave, but he was also tough as James Bond. He has to be in his first cinematic adventure as he takes on a plot to destroy America’s space program.
The third James Bond movie in 1964 firmly establishes the formula for these films for several decades. That includes having a super-rich but evil villain who wants to commit a huge crime. In this case, it’s Auric Goldfinger, played perfectly by Gert Fröbe, who wants to increase his gold supply by any means necessary. Connery is back in full force as 007, and he has to stop Goldfinger, and his dangerous henchmen Oddjob, from accomplishing this caper. He gets some help from his Aston-Martin DB5 “with modifications” like machine guns, oil slicks, and more. It’s definitely one of the best James Bond movies. It also has the first truly memorable James Bond song, sung by Shirley Bassey.
You Only Live Twice
Connery was getting tired of being James Bond by his fifth outing as 007 came about in 1967. However, that didn’t stop this movie from being entertaining and more than a little over the top. US and Soviet space capsules are being stolen in orbit, and each country blames the other. However, the evil organization Spectre is to blame, and Bond has to stop the terrorist group from causing World War III. The finale of this movie takes place in Spectre’s volcano lair in Japan, and it’s spectacular. We also get the first full appearance of Spectre’s leader, Blofeld, played by Donald Pleasence.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
This is one of the best James Bond movies, but it sometimes gets short-changed by even big 007 fans. That’s mainly due to the somewhat wooden performance by the “one-and-done” 007 actor George Lazenby. However, this film takes some risks in having Bond actually fall in love with one of his conquests, Tracy, played by Diana Rigg. The plot 007 has to foil this time is a threat against the world’s food supply. This movie also has an ending that might make you cry.
Live and Let Die
Roger Moore debuts as 007 in style in this 1973 movie. His version of Bond is more quick-witted than Connery, but that doesn’t mean Moore is a pushover. He has to deal with a small island nation’s leader who wants to flood the US with drugs. There are some great action sequences in this movie, and Yaphet Kotto is terrific as the main villain, Dr. Kanaga. We also get yet another terrific song by Paul McCartney and Wings.
The Spy Who Loved Me
We will skip over the fact that this movie’s plot, in which US and Soviet submarines are being stolen, is basically a remake of You Only Live Twice. This 1977 movie is Roger Moore’s best in the role as he has to stop a nuclear holocaust prepped by a rich megalomaniac who wants to live under the sea instead. Once again, there are some great action and stunt sequences, including one of the franchise’s best at the beginning of this movie. We also get introduced to one of the movie’s most popular henchmen, Jaws, who comes back in 1979’s Moonraker.
The Living Daylights
Like Lazenby, Timothy Dalton doesn’t get as much respect as the other actors on this list for his work as James Bond. However, his debut in this 1987 entry is still entertaining, as he brings a tougher performance as Bond. This time, he has to deal with a Soviet general who says he wants to defect but may not be as honest as he seems. There’s a great concluding action sequence in Afghanistan as well.
License to Kill
Dalton’s second and last run as 007 in 1989 takes a few risks with the standard James Bond movie formula. For much of the film, Bond is no longer part of MI-6 as he goes on a personal vendetta against the South American drug lord who nearly killed his long-time friend Felix Leiter and did kill Leiter’s new bride. This film was also one of the most violent James Bond movies, but it still has an awesome final action sequence that’s still fun to watch.
Six years after License to Kill, James Bond finally returned to movies. Pierce Brosnan looks like he was born to play 007. Thankfully, he also has the acting chops to play rough like Connery and Dalton and is as suave as Moore. This 1995 entry has Bond dealing with the after-effects of the Cold War, as he has to fight off a villain who has stolen an orbiting EMP device called Goldeneye. It’s without a doubt one of the best James Bond movies.
Tomorrow Never Dies
This 1995 entry has Bond, played by Brosnan, going up against a mad media tycoon. Jonathan Pryce’s Elliot Carver wants to engineer a war between China and the UK for his own purposes. Bond, of course, has to make sure Carver’s news organization doesn’t make a real war happen. Some nice action sequences include one where Bond remotely drives a car to take out enemies and a final sequence on board Carver’s stealth boat.
Casino Royale (2006)
After a horrible spoof of the James Bond movies with the name Casino Royale was released in the 1960s, the rights to Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel finally got back in the hands of EON Productions, the makers of the official Bond films. They decided to do a soft reboot of the series, starring Daniel Craig, who played Bond as a skilled but somewhat reckless younger version of 007. He has to go after a banker for terrorists by playing a game of high-stakes poker. However, there are still some excellent action set pieces in this movie.
Craig returned for his third 007 movie with this 2012 release. This time, he’s playing an older and worn-out secret agent who actually gets shot and is presumed dead before the opening credits. We see Bond return to duty after MI-6’s headquarters is bombed by a terrorist, and M sends 007 out to find how who did this. Director Sam Mendes does an excellent job mixing high drama with high action, concluding with a major battle at Bond’s Scotland home of Skyfall.
Here are a few more films that didn’t quite make our best James Bond films list
- From Russia With Love – A cult favorite among hardcore fans, this is perhaps the most grounded of the Bond films.
- Thunderball – This movie, about Bond trying to retrieve two stolen nuclear bombs, was remade in a non-EON Productions film decades later, Never Say Never Again.
- Moonraker – Yes, it’s way, way over the top (Bond actually goes into Earth orbit to stop its main villain), but it’s so over the top that it’s also entertaining.
- A View To A Kill – Roger Moore’s final Bond film isn’t perfect, but watching Christopher Walken as the main villain is a treat.
- The World Is Not Enough – The only Bond movie (so far) where the main villain is a woman, played by Sophie Marceau.