Bond, James Bond. It seems we just can’t get enough of the suave spy known to his handlers as 007. Everyone has their own favorite Bond and their own favorite Bond movie – here then is our list of our 7 Best 007 flicks.
1. GOLDFINGER (1964, Connery)
Most 007 aficionados consider Goldfinger the best Bond ever, and there’s a reason–it really is the best. Bond is sent to battle Auric Goldfinger, an evil millionaire bent on blowing up the U.S. gold reserves at Fort Knox to increase the value of his own gold supply. The third Bond flick is exceptional at everything we’ve come to expect from the franchise: the best Bond–Connery at his finest, the best bad guy henchman–Oddjob with his killer hat, the best victim–a suffocated Shirley Eaton covered from head to toe in gold paint, the best Bond car–a souped up Aston Martin DB5, and the best Bond babe name–Pussy Galore.
2. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963, Connery)
The second Bond film introduces worldwide criminal organization SPECTRE and the first Q-produced gadget (a gas-spewing briefcase). Bond is assigned to escort a beautiful Russian defector with a top secret decoding device, but the mission turns out to be a trap set by SPECTRE. Filled with suspense and fast-paced action, especially a helluva fight aboard the Orient Express between Bond and assassin Robert Shaw. Best of all is the too cool villainess Rosa Klebb with her poison-spiked shoe.
3. THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977, Moore)
It took Roger Moore three chances at Bond before he finally got it right. In this mission, Bond teams up with voluptuous Russian agent Triple X (Barbara Bach) to stop a villain bent on controlling the world from an undersea fortress. This one’s thoroughly enjoyable from the amazing pre-credits ski chase to the introduction of Jaws, a steel-toothed giant who resurfaces in 1979s Star Wars-inspired Moonraker.
4. FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981, Moore)
A terrific Cold War story that has Bond racing against the Russians to retrieve a top secret missile targeting unit which sank in a British submarine. Moore gives one of his best performances, and there’s some of the best stunts in the Bond series including an amazing scene in which Bond and babe are dragged from a ski boat over a coral reef.
5. THUNDERBALL (1965, Connery)
A great adventure story featuring some oft-repeated Bond perils: an evil villain threatening the world with stolen nuclear warheads, a shark-infested swimming pool, and beautifully choreographed underwater battles against scubamen. Bond even seduces the bad guy’s girl, another quintessential Bond moment. The film was remade in 1983 as Never Say Never Again produced outside the usual Bond producing circle (for legal reasons way too complicated to get into here) with an aging Connery returning to the 007 role after a 12-year absence.
6. YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967, Connery)
Bond’s first encounter with SPECTRE mastermind Ernst Stavro Blofeld, a recurring character exceptionally established here by Donald Pleasence. When SPECTRE steals Russian and American space capsules in an attempt to launch WWIII, 007 fakes his own death and travels to Japan to stop Blofeld. There’s some impressive special effects including a mid-air battle between four helicopters and the mother of all Bond gadgets–a secret fortress hidden in a fake volcano.
7. GOLDENEYE (1995, Brosnan)
Pierce Brosnan revives the 007 franchise, six years since Timothy Dalton bored fans to tears. Bond battles a rogue double-0 agent raiding weapons stockpiles in the former Soviet Union and planning to utilize the Goldeneye military satellite to destroy civilization. Disregarding the dreary theme song by Tina Turner, it has all the elements that once made Bond great: an amazing (not to mention gravity-defying) jump off a cliff behind a plummeting airplane, a sexy yet menacing villainess appropriately named Xenia Onnatopp who crushes victims with her thighs, and a very cool secret base beneath a phony lake. But this is a Bond for the nineties: M is a woman, Ms. Moneypenny is a bit of a feminist, and Bond has an emotional connection to the mission (he was personally betrayed by 006).
Kick-Ass TV Heroines: Xena – Warrior Princess
What was not to love about Xena? As Lucy Lawless says: “Xena is a bad-ass, kick-ass, pre-Mycenaean girl.” Evildoers, clearly, must stand down, but not only bad guys (and girls) have Xena-phobia. Even heroes quake when she swings her broadsword.
Originally created as a syndicated complement to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena pretty much kicked Herc to the curb. It was like when the Bionic Woman made us lose interest in the Six Million Dollar Man–only more so.
Unlike Lindsay Wagner’s early half-woman, half-machine, Xena wasn’t prone to frailty. Nor did she need robot parts. In fact, the Warrior Princess never lost. If she’s down, it’s not for long.
Plus, she was in touch with the dark side: This big-boned bruiser had definite moments of blood lust, as well as lust of some other varieties. Garbed in a leather miniskirt and armed with her trademark razor-edged, boomerang-action chakram, we watched Xena single-leggedly kick down entire platoons of Roman soldiers.
Sure, there were murmurings about Xena and her softer female sidekick, Gabrielle (actress Renée O’Connor). So what if they liked to conserve bathwater by doubling up? And what’s wrong with close friends frenching once in a while?
Then again, maybe it was true–and there’s anything wrong with that.
Actress: Lucy Lawless
Show: Xena: Warrior Princess
Classic TV Revisited: McMillan And Wife
Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James, McMillan and Wife was a super cute crime-solving saga from the 1970s made for the NBC’s Mystery Movie series.
Who were they?
Hubby was the debonair San Francisco police commissioner Stewart McMillan.
Sally was a foxy, rather scatterbrained dame with a knack for finding corpses.
Worked down the morgue did she?
Hardly. Sally’s finds were usually in some glitzy mansion which the couple were frequenting for a weekend cocktail party. She also had a habit of getting her life threatened or being kidnapped.
Who was in it?
Tragic Hollywood star Rock Hudson no less. He took on Stewart McMillan in his first TV role, after years as a matinee idol with movies such as Giant.
Fans of the lantern-jawed star were dismayed when he went public about having Aids. He had long kept his homosexuality secret. He carried on working in ’80s glam drama Dynasty, but make-up could not disguise the deterioration of this once-statuesque man. He died in 1985, aged 59.
What about Sally?
That role fell to raven-locked Susan Saint James. The Ali MacGraw lookalike was previously in shows such as Alias Smith And Jones and The Name of the Game.
A vital ingredient to McMillan And Wife was sharp-tongued housekeeper Mildred, played by Nancy Walker. Somebody needed to keep the place tidy while they gallivanted about solving crime.
Famous guest stars?
The couple’s conception?
Like Hart To Hart, the idea was borrowed from Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man books of the ’30s.
Gritty crime drama?
Hardly. These were cosy whodunnit cases, where the brutality of murder was never portrayed. The show was more about the interplay between McMillan and Sally.
Had viewers arrested?
Certainly in the US. It was the fifth highest-rated show in 1972 and 1973.
Fate of the golden couple?
Susan Saint James quit in 1976 over a contractual dispute. Nancy Walker also packed away her duster as housekeeper Mildred.
The dame’s exit was a fatal blow?
Certainly for the character of Sally – she was killed off in a plane crash. But Rock soldiered on with new assistant Sgt Steve DiMaggio (Richard Gilliland). The show became McMillan.
Audiences dwindled and the plug was pulled.
Cosy pillow talk, cocktail parties, Rock Hudson, pyjamas and numerous corpses.
Let’s go to bed. Turn the light out, darling.
Must you eat toast in bed, darling. Apologies, but I’ve got terrible flatulence. Separate bedrooms.
Not to be confused with
My Wife Next Door, Harold Macmillan, The Merry Wives Of Windsor and Mr And Mrs.
Classic TV Revisited: The Royal
The Royal was an ITV drama commission and was inspired by its sister programme Heartbeat.
The lowdown: This nostalgic family drama is set in the swinging 1960s and centres on the staff of a cottage hospital in Yorkshire. Newly qualified doctor David Cheriton (Julian Ovenden) is determined to make a difference to the world and arrives at St Aidan’s Royal Free Hospital in Elinsby full of big ideas. But he clashes with the hospital’s secretary TJ Middleditch (Ian Carmichael) who is determined to run things his way. Then there is the Matron (Wendy Craig) who rules her nurses with a rod of iron and tries in vain to stop them being distracted by the handsome arrival.
Memorable moments: Watch out for former Heartbeat favourite Bill Maynard who crosses dramas and continents as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. Greengrass has returned from a Caribbean holiday with a mystery illness but that doesn’t stop him trying to earn a fast buck. It doesn’t take long before Claude attracts Matron’s ire.
Trivia: The Royal is a family affair for real life husband and wife Robert Daws (Ormerod) and Amy Robbins (Weatherill). No fewer than seven members of their clan have appeared in the series including their daughters and stepson.
Michelle Hardwick, who played receptionist Lizzie, says her favourite moment in the whole series didn’t come on screen but in the actors’ green room. She says: “I was sitting in there with Wendy Craig and Honor Blackman and we were having a lovely conversation. I sat back and thought ‘Wow, this is great, I can’t wait to tell my gran’.”
A modern day set version called The Royal Today aired 7 January – 14 March 2008.
First broadcast: 2003
Starred: Wendy Craig, Ian Carmichael, Michael Starke, Robert Daws and Julian Ovenden
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