Jacob Osborn

How to Watch the James Bond 007 Movies in Order | Man of Many

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.

James Bond Movies in Release Order

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.

1. Dr. No (1962)

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.

2. From Russia with Love (1963)

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.

3. Goldfinger (1964)

“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.

4. Thunderball (1965)

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.

5. Casino Royale (1967) UNOFFICIAL

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.

6. You Only Live Twice (1967)

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.

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

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.

8. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

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?

9. Live and Let Die (1973)

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.

10. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

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.

11. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

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.

12. Moonraker (1979)

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.

13. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

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.

14. Octopussy (1983)

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.

15. Never Say Never Again (1983) UNOFFICIAL

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.

16. A View to a Kill (1985)

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.

17. The Living Daylights (1987)

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).

18. Licence to Kill (1989)

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.

19. GoldenEye (1995)

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!

20. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

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.

21. The World is Not Enough (1999)

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.

22. Die Another Day (2002)

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.

23. Casino Royale (2006)

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.

24. Quantum of Solace (2008)

“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.

25. Skyfall (2012)

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.

26. Spectre (2015)

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.

27. No Time to Die (2021)

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:

Novel 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.

Spectre 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):

Cold War 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:

Reboot Order

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