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3 how to watch james bond in order

How to Watch the James Bond 007 Movies in Order

So you’ve decided to watch all the James Bond movies in order. But which order? In accordance with the original novels (i.e. story chronology)? By order of release date? That’s the question and we can think of no better time to answer it, as we all wait…and wait…and wait…for “No Time to Die” to arrive on some sort of screen. Seriously, any screen will do.

The beautiful thing about watching all the James Bond movies—in order or at random—is that you end up covering a full spectrum of styles and paradigms. This franchise dates all the way back to the early 1960s, after all, and has come a long way in the time since. So too has the art of blockbuster cinema, which continues to tighten the pacing and dial up the spectacle.

That’s not to mention the character himself. From Sean Connery through to Daniel Craig, James Bond has undergone dramatic changes in terms of both his physical appearance and his outward demeanour. To watch the earliest instalments is to bear witness to certain misogynistic anachronisms, for example, which haven’t exactly aged well. On the other hand, some of those very same films are amongst the best in the entire series so take from that what you will.

As we mentioned above, there’s more than one way to watch the James Bond movies in order. We’ll start with the most classic method and then cover a few alternate methods. Try one or try them all and then dive straight into “No Time to Die” now that it has officially been released. So cue the John Barry intro music and grab the popcorn because we’re going deep on this iconic franchise. Here are the James Bond movies in various orders.

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James Bond Movies in Release Order

Our first James Bond movie list is the most traditional, in that it goes by the initial release date. That takes us all the way back to 1962 and then right up to the present day. By spanning over five decades, the franchise vicariously wrangles in a host of styles, performances, hits, and misses. Here we go.

1. Dr. No (1962)

Shot on a low budget and slightly rough around the edges, the first Bond film nevertheless became a critical and commercial smash. Played by Sean Connery, Agent 007 heads to Jamaica to locate a missing British agent. Once there, he squares off against SPECTRE operative Dr. No, a crazed scientist with metal hands. We also meet Bond girl Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), who famously emerges from the sea.

Actor playing Bond: Sean Connery
Director: Terence Young
Box office: 59.5 million USD

2. From Russia with Love (1963)

The second Bond film expands upon SPECTRE and cements the evil organisation as a recurring motif. It also introduces a number of franchise stalwarts, including the following: a pre-credits scene, a theme song, Bond gadgets, a helicopter sequence, and an action-based denouement after the story’s climax.

Actor playing Bond: Sean Connery
Director: Terence Young
Box office: 79 million USD

3. Goldfinger (1964)

Bond’s third big-screen outing is one of his best, if not the best. Perfecting the formula, it comes fully loaded with Bond girls (including the legendary Pussy Galore, played by Honor Blackman), gadgets, memorable villains, chauvinistic overtones, John Barry’s brassy score, stylish opening credits, and more. Those watching the Bond movies in order could very well start their journey here, should they want to abridge the experience.

Actor playing Bond: Sean Connery
Director: Guy Hamilton
Box office: 125 million USD

4. Thunderball (1965)

“Who works for number 2?!” That Austin Powers reference could also pertain to this popular Bond film, which climbs the SPECTRE ladder and stops at bossman #2. Under his watch, the evil organisation threatens nuclear destruction if they don’t get £100 million in diamonds. Meanwhile, Dr. Evil-precursor Ernst Stavro Blofeld—vaguely introduced in the previous film—once again appears in silhouette form. He becomes more of a known presence in subsequent outings.

Actor playing Bond: Sean Connery
Director: Terence Young
Box office: 141.2 million USD

5. Casino Royale (1967) UNOFFICIAL

Not to be confused with Daniel Craig’s James Bond film of the same name, this poorly aged parody skewers various spy tropes. Loosely adapted from Ian Fleming’s novel, it pits Sir James Bond (David Niven) against the criminal organisation SMERSH. File this one under “for completists only,” though it did enlist some huge names both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

Actor playing Bond: David Niven
Director: John Huston, Ken Hughes, Robert Parrish, Joseph McGrath, Val Guest
Box office: 41.7 million USD

6. You Only Live Twice (1967)

Fans of “The Simpsons” will recognise this title, which was later parodied as “You Only Move Twice.” It finally reveals the true identity of SPECTRE leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasence), who hopes to kick off WWIII by way of a devious plan. Not so fast, says Agent 007.

Actor playing Bond: Sean Connery
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Box office: 111.6 million USD

7. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Presenting George Lazenby’s one and only performance as Agent 007. Despite the Aussie actor’s fleeting presence, this particular instalment continues to garner new appreciation. Not just truer to the spirit of the original novels, it also features more romance and drama than its predecessors. In the film, Bond contends with Blofield (now played by Telly Savalas) once again and even gets hitched.

Actor playing Bond: George Lazenby
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Box office: 82 million USD

8. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Sean Connery is back in this somewhat middling franchise entry. While trying to uncover a diamond-smuggling operation, Bond faces off against SPECTRE yet again. That’s when Blofield (now played by Charles Gray) brings his satellite lasers out to play.

Actor playing Bond: Sean Connery
Director: Guy Hamilton
Box office: 116 million USD

9. Live and Let Die (1973)

British actor Roger Moore makes his debut as cinema’s foremost superspy in this blockbuster instalment. His adversary is Mr. Big, a ruthless drug lord with Jeff Bezos-like plans to corner the market. While we’re on the subject, does Jeff Bezos not kind of look like a Bond villain?

Actor playing Bond: Roger Moore
Director: Guy Hamilton
Box office: 161.8 million USD

10. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

An assassin named Francisco Scaramanga has a golden bullet with Bond’s name on it and a golden gun too. So goes this Roger Moore outing, which further plays off the golden theme by getting solar weapons involved.

Actor playing Bond: Roger Moore
Director: Guy Hamilton
Box office: 97.6 million USD

11. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

One of the better Roger Moore efforts, this one pairs Bond with KGB agent Major Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach). Their investigation into missing submarines puts them on the path of shipping magnate and megalomaniacal scientist Karl Stromberg.

Actor playing Bond: Roger Moore
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Box office: 97.6 million USD

12. Moonraker (1979)

Bond heads into space for this campy adventure, which features villain Hugo Drax and his henchman Jaws. While a commercial blockbuster, it’s also one of the more dated entries.

Actor playing Bond: Roger Moore
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Box office: 210.3 million USD

13. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Agent 007 must find a missing launch device before it falls into enemy hands in this rather rote entry, which still made a bundle at the box office.

Actor playing Bond: Roger Moore
Director: John Glen
Box office: 195.3 million USD

14. Octopussy (1983)

James Bond movies are rarely coy when it comes to sexual themes and this one is certainly no exception, hence the title. Its eponymous femme fatale is an international jewel smuggler who reigns over an island of women.

Actor playing Bond: Roger Moore
Director: John Glen
Box office: 187.5 million USD

15. Never Say Never Again (1983) UNOFFICIAL

Sean Connery’s seventh and final performance as Bond is not officially part of the franchise canon, namely due to production rights. Based on “Thunderball,” its title makes direct reference to Connery’s insistence that he’d “never” play the role again.

Actor playing Bond: Sean Connery
Director: Irvin Kershner
Box office: 160 million USD

16. A View to a Kill (1985)

Roger Moore delivered his final performance as Bond in this 1985 thriller, which stars Christopher Walken as Max Zorin. A scheming industrialist, Zorin wants to blow up San Francisco in order to control the microchip market. The film itself hasn’t necessarily aged well, but its premise certainly has.

Actor playing Bond: Roger Moore
Director: John Glen
Box office: 152.4 million USD

17. The Living Daylights (1987)

Remember Timothy Dalton? Then you must be a true franchise fan! The first of his two Bond movies finds him helping a KGB officer defect from the Soviet Union.

Actor playing Bond: Timothy Dalton
Director: John Glen
Box office: 191.2 million USD

18. Licence to Kill (1989)

Bond loses his license to kill in this movie of the same name. That sends him on a rogue mission in pursuit of drug kingpin Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi).

Actor playing Bond: Timothy Dalton
Director: John Glen
Box office: 156.1 million USD

19. GoldenEye (1995)

The Pierce Brosnan-era of James Bond movies kicked off on a high note with this popular instalment. When the Russians get their hands on a secret space weapon, Agent 007 sets out to stop them from using it. Fun (unrelated) fact: director Martin Campbell started his career in British sexploitation comedies.

Actor playing Bond: Pierce Brosnan
Director: Martin Campbell
Box office: 352.1 million USD

20. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Bond takes on crazed media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce), who wants to spark WWIII for the sake of broadcasting rights in China. It’s a premise that seemed rather cheesy and quite far-fetched back in 1997. These days, not so much!

Actor playing Bond: Pierce Brosnan
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Box office: 333 million USD

21. The World is Not Enough (1999)

The 19th official Bond film once again depicts the manipulation of global events in the interest of personal profit. Former KGB agent Renard is behind the duplicitous plot and he gets the ball rolling with a high-profile assassination.

Actor playing Bond: Pierce Brosnan
Director: Michael Apted
Box office: 361.8 million USD

22. Die Another Day (2002)

Brosnan’s final Bond movie involves African diamonds, solar energy, grueling torture, and a military conflict between North and South Korea. And yet Halle Berry in a bikini seems to be all that anyone can remember about it.

Actor playing Bond: Pierce Brosnan
Director: Lee Tamahori
Box office: 431.9 million USD

23. Casino Royale (2006)

With his inaugural performance as James Bond, Daniel Craig rebooted the franchise and took viewers back to where it all began. Culled from Ian Fleming’s debut novel about the famous spy, this exhilarating prequel depicts 007’s very first mission.

Actor playing Bond: Daniel Craig
Director: Martin Campbell
Box office: 616.5 million USD

24. Quantum of Solace (2008)

Widely considered a somewhat overstuffed entry, Daniel Craig’s second outing pits Agent 007 against the evil organisation Quantum. At the heart of the story is a maniacal plan to control Bolivia’s water supply.

Actor playing Bond: Daniel Craig
Director: Marc Forster
Box office: 589.6 million USD

25. Skyfall (2012)

“The Dark Knight” vibes are strong in this beloved Bond film, starring Javier Bardem as former MI6 agent Raoul Silva. Holding a serious grudge against M (Judi Dench), Silva demonstrates uncanny foresight as he enacts a series of disastrous events. A vicious game of cat and mouse ensues, with Bond unsure as to whether he’s the cat or the mouse.

Actor playing Bond: Daniel Craig
Director: Sam Mendes
Box office: 589.6 million USD

26. Spectre (2015)

The franchise comes full circle by reintroducing SPECTRE and supervillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, now played by Christoph Waltz. A blockbuster perhaps, but this instalment didn’t fare as well amongst critics or audiences as its immediate predecessor.

Actor playing Bond: Daniel Craig
Director: Sam Mendes
Box office: 880.7 million USD

27. No Time to Die (2021)

Bond comes out of retirement for this long-awaited entry, which has experienced numerous setbacks and delays. You might have to watch the Bond movies in order all over again before getting to this one. Recently unveiled, this one lived up to all the hype of the two-year waiting period.

Actor playing Bond: Daniel Craig
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Novel Order

As you may or may not be aware, the Bond franchise didn’t proceed in the same order as the source novels, nor is every film based on an Ian Fleming work. Here are just the titles Fleming wrote that were later turned into films, and in narrative order:

  1. Casino Royale (2006)
  2. Live and Let Die (1973)
  3. Moonraker (1979)
  4. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  5. From Russia With Love (1963)
  6. Dr. No (1962)
  7. Goldfinger (1964)
  8. Thunderball (1965)
  9. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  10. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
  11. You Only Live Twice (1967)
  12. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Spectre Order

Those seeking an abridged James Bond movie list may want to focus purely on the storylines involving SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion). This one’s a little harder to chronologise, since 2015’s “Spectre” arguably takes place before a number of the earlier films, but simultaneously functions as a reboot. We’ll put it at the end and let you decide when to watch it.

For the complete SPECTRE experience, you should also watch “Quantum of Solace,” as it later turns out that Quantum was a subsidiary of SPECTRE. Confused yet?

  1. Dr.No (1962)
  2. From Russia With Love (1963)
  3. Thunderball (1965)
  4. You Only Live Twice (1967)
  5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
  6. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  7. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
  8. Spectre (2015) – Reboot

Cold War Order

While on the subject of recurring themes and abridged James Bond movie lists, The Cold War plays a frequent role in the series. Time and again, Bond gets swept up in a premise involving the Soviet Union or KGB agents. Here’s the order in which one could watch just The Cold War-related entries (some of which take place after The Cold War has ended):

  1. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  2. Moonraker (1979)
  3. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
  4. Octopussy (1983)
  5. A View To A Kill (1985)
  6. The Living Daylights (1987)
  7. GoldenEye (1995)
  8. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Reboot Order

And to cap off our James Bond movies list, we present just the reboots. Each one stars Daniel Craig and retains the qualities of a modern blockbuster. More or less gone are the explicitly chauvinistic themes and campy overtones. Here’s the order in which they were released:

  1. Casino Royale (2006)
  2. Quantum of Solace (2008)
  3. Skyfall (2012)
  4. Spectre (2015)
  5. No Time to Die (2021)

Where does the franchise go from here? Rumours abound and time will tell. Until then, you have 24 films to plow through, plus two non-franchise entries (1967’s “Casino Royale” and 1983’s “Never Say Never Again”). Good luck.

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General FAQ

What is the order of the James Bond actors?

Discounting Sean Connery's appearance in 1983's 'Never Say Never Again,' the order of James Bond actors is as follows: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig.

Who has played Bond the most?

In terms of franchise entries, Roger Moore has played James Bond the most, with seven appearances. However, if one includes the 1983 film 'Never Say Never Again,' then Sean Connery has also played the character seven times.

What was the first James Bond movie?

The first James Bond movie was 1962's 'Dr. No,' based on the sixth novel of Ian Fleming's original book series.

Jacob Osborn
Staff Writer

Jacob Osborn

Jacob Osborn is an accomplished author and journalist with over 10 years of experience in the media industry. He holds a Bachelor's degree in English and Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin--Madison and co-authored a Young Adult novel through Simon & Schuster. Now based in Portland, Oregon, Jacob specialises in entertainment, technology and alcohol reporting. You might find him crate-digging at the nearest record store or sampling whisky at the nearest bar. He daydreams of travelling around the world, but for now, the world will have to come to him by way of lifestyle products, gear, gadgetry, and entertainment. Let's call it a happy compromise while he saves up for the next big trip.