HM: The Living Daylights/License to Kill - The Dalton Films. I really couldn't decide on either one and therefore decided to give both an honorable mention. In essence, this is why neither took the #10 spot. TLD is a great "Bond" film in terms of action, armies going at it, the Bond girl (I really liked their chemistry when I was younger as it was the film I always saw), a cool car, and gadgets. However, there is no real great villain in the film and while it has one of the best opening sequences there is nothing that really pushes it into that amazing territory. LTK on the other hand has one of the better villains in Sanchez and the overall story is a completely different side of Bond. It is also chaotic with its violence that not even the Craig films go to. At the same time, both are a lot of fun, but one doesn't win over the other and they end up not rising to the top 10 list.
10. Goldeneye - At first, I struggled to put this film in the top 10, but the I realized how solid a Bond film it is a whole. It's got all the ingredients down pact. Trevelyan is a great and personal villain who is Bond's equal. Xenia Onatopp is such a fun henchwoman with her skills and aggressiveness. Natalya works as a Bond girl and she's a hacker. Boris is hilarious and the new M, Judi Dench, is wonderful. Furthermore, the stunt sequences are some of the best of the entire series: The bungee jump, the motorcycle into airplane stunt, and the tank chase. While Brosnon Bond wasn't really that great, he does good work in this film. Lastly, the title sequence and song by Tina Turner. While it never reaches legendary status, all of the elements of this Bond film work.
9. For Your Eyes Only - I really don't like Roger Moore, but he does have two films that are really well done as a whole. His campiness doesn't bring down the films at all. The first of these films starts with an opening that calls back to a film later in here with it's "Blofeld" and grave of Tracy Bond. Then comes the great Sheena Easton song. The rest of FYEO features some great scenes around the Mediterranean and a cool Bond girl with a crossbow. Julian Glover also is fairly solid Bond villain, not the best, but he works. The best of the scenes are the shark scenes, ski chase and the climactic rock climbing sequence. Topol is another fun feature of the film and while Bibi is one of the oddest Bond girls ever, she doesn't detract from an otherwise solid Moore entry.
8. You Only Live Twice -I love this film and it's one of many sparks that got me into Japanese culture. However, while it is so much fun, its duality prevents it from getting into top 5 range. The first half is steeped in Japanese lore, but the second half is more of Blofeld v. Bond. While Blofeld, played by Donald Pleasance, is great, the volcano setting isn't as cool and the final army battle while fun isn't as cool as the earlier action sequences of the car chase through Tokyo, Bond v. Tanaka, and Little Nellie. Also Aki is just so much cooler than any other Bond girl (bad or good) in this film that it's hard to find much else to enjoy. However, from the Nancy Sinatra song and the Japanese culture, this film is a fun last good run (Diamonds are Forever is the comeback, but it is nowhere near the level of Connery's first 5) of the original Connery era.
7. Spectre - Yes, I just saw this film, but it absolutely deserves to be on here as I can see myself going back to it more than some other films on this list. This entry is difficult to place. Anyways, the reason this entry is hard to place because a lot works and some of it doesn't. What does work is the opening (arguably one of the best) in Mexico City with the tracking shot and the helicopter battle, the more active MI6 team in the field, Mr. Hinx's scenes - from his intro to his big fight, the callbacks to the other Craig era films, and the adherence to a more classic Bond formula work well here. However, this is also paired against a mediocre Blofeld, (realizing how three films with Blofeld are going to be next to each other) as Christoph Walz doesn't exactly work for some reason and a debatable Bond girl with odd chemistry with Craig. Also, your overall reaction to this film is going to be if you enjoy the classic Bond formula or want only the Craig formula as it jumps around both frequently. From old school Spectre to Bond getting a different ending than the norm. Lastly, the title sequence works for me and I like the dark visuals and callbacks.
6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service - The most underrated film on this list. While Lazenby might not be the best Bond by any stretch, this film is one of the best Bond films by a long shot. Truth be told Bond is the weakest part of this film as the action set-pieces are some of the best from the intro fight scene in Portugal, the stock car battle/chase, the fight with Blofeld's henchman, the bobsled run and the best ski action scene of the series. Also, John Barry has a great score along with Louis Armstrong's song at the end. Furthermore, Telly Sevalas is a fun and well-matched version of Blofeld, the only version who could handle him. Lastly, Diana Rigg is truly one of the best Bond girls of the entire series and one of three with truly believable chemistry which makes the end so heartbreaking.
5. From Russia with Love - This is often people's favorite film. As you'll find the next set of films for me are each eras best film and undoubtedly your number 1 favorite Bond is one of these. I would also say that these five aren't just good Bond films, they're good films period. Anyways, on to my dad's favorite Bond film. This film really has it all and every part of it is effective. While I personally think that this film's song and title sequence and song are lacking it is also the first time the full Bond formula worked from gun barrel to opening scene, to title sequence, to film. There's a lot to enjoy as the Bond girl works pretty well with Connery, Red Grant and Rosa Klebb are both fantastic villains for both Bond and his girl respectively. The action is solid featuring the boat chase, the intro stealth sequence fakeout, the gypsy fight (one of the first to spark my interests!) and of course the great train fight. While there is so much to love and the Bond formula is so well done here it just doesn't reach the great heights of some of the other films that make me really enjoy them.
4. Spy Who Loved Me - I think my sole enjoyment for this film over the first is Jaws. SWLM is easily Moore's best and stays engaging primarily because Barbara Bach's XXX is such a great foil to Bond throughout the entire film and you really enjoy the banter between the two. This was one of my favorites growing up and the Lotus Espirit sequence, the Union Jack opening (one of the best), and the many encounters with Jaws make for great action. Stromberg is one of the more megalomaniac villains, but Jaws as a henchman is one of the best of all time. Still this film works from Carly Simon's great song, the concept of Atlantis, evil sharks, and the whole Soviets workings with Americans concept being a lot of fun. Truth be told FRWL is the better put together film, but SWLM is not only more fun, it is a strong film as a whole that works for me.
3. Skyfall - I love this film. I was impressed the entire way through. Yes there are plot holes (what happened to that list of agents?!?!), yes it gets over the top at times, but overall it is glorious for being a dark and deeply personal film of Bond. For action, the opening sequence is great, the silhouette fight is enchanting, the London tube chase is jocular, and the final act is relentless. Furthermore, the new Bond cast is really great, the cinematography (Roger Deakins) offers up by far the best looking Bond, the title sequence and song are both haunting, and all the 50th anniversary callbacks are enjoyable. Craig does a fine job in giving a variety of emotions, Javier Bardem is a glorious villain that ranks in the top tier of Bond villains, and Judi Dench is wonderful in her swan song. There's a lot of emotion in this film and I even shed a tear, but there's also so much Bond love throughout that it's one of the most enjoyable forays into the world of Bond.
2. Goldfinger - This often considered by critics to the best James Bond and certainly follows the 3rd film rule (Spy Who Loved Me, Goldfinger, Skyfall though Dalton never got his and I can't stand TWINE) of being one of the best Bond films of all time. The main reason why this film is so great is because literally everything works and it works well at that. The opening sequence is fun and standard fair, but that gold-tinged title sequence and glorious Shirley Bassey song (one of three outings by Bassey) will stick with you forever. The Aston Martin became the perfect gadget car, Oddjob became a most memorable henchman, Pussy Galore (yes that name totally happened) is one of the more capable Bond Girls, and Auric Goldfinger is usually considered the best villain of the series. Plus his plan happens in the US and is one of the more distinct ones. Everything blends together to an extremely great film that is one of the finest Bond and highly rewatchable. It is easily the best Bond formula film.
1. Casino Royale (2006) - This film is great for the exact opposite of Goldfinger. The wait for Casino Royale was filled with skepticism for a blonde Bond (I remember putting up pictures of each of the Bonds then getting upset at Craig's picture). However, the producers did a great job in completely rebooting the franchise. Starting from 007's first kills, first love, and many blunders, this film does a great job of saying hey forget about henchmen, standard action, big set-pieces, one time flings and more. Bond falls in love with the great Vesper Lynn (Eva Green is the third of Bond girls after Judi Dench and Diana Rigg for having the best chemistry with Bond) and then gets his heart wounded, Le Chiffre is an entertaining Bond all around, Bond is dynamic in his parkour chase, bungled fights, and lack of insight at times. He's a rougher, but also more personal Bond. The title sequence and song (Chris Cornell rocking it!!!) are one of the best moments in the series and Judi Dench still goes strong here. Lastly, the film takes place primarily in a casino with Felix Leiter assisting, who knew a casino could be so engaging for a film. Casino Royale goes completely against Goldfinger's Bond formula, but does so with so much panache that it takes the top spot for surprising me from start to finish on its quality.