007 at 50: What Makes for a Great James Bond Film?

007 at 50: What Makes for a Great James Bond Film?

Oct 05, 2012

Today is the 50th anniversary of James Bond on film, marked by the release date of the first theatrical 007 installment, Dr. No. Between this occasion and the fact that everyone is hummingly celebrating their favorite Bond theme song in many years this week (hear Adele's Skyfall track here), it's a great time to discuss the iconic British secret agent and his 22-25 movies -- the total number dependent on your acceptance of non-EON works.

But what is there to poll on that hasn't been done a million times? Best film, best Bond, best song, best Bond girl, best gadget, best villain, best product placement, etc., are just not worth asking anymore. So, I'm curious about which of these elements is the best thing about Bond, and which is the most important ingredient to get right in the recipe for a great Bond movie. Obviously all elements should be great to add up to the perfect installment, but I'm sure there are some factors over others that you're less forgiving of being just passable. For example, maybe you're okay with great stunts even with a weak villainous plot or a hot Bond girl that makes up for duller lead actor.

Let me confess that I'm the very opposite of a Bond connoisseur. I'm not a non-fan or a hater or anything of that sort, but I'm anything but an expert on the character. I've maybe completely seen five of the movies at most, and that includes the comedic Casino Royale. And honestly, I've never quite understood why they're so highly regarded over any other film series that has gone on fairly repetitively through numerous sequels. So, part of this is to help me out, because the Internet has all but declared I'm not fit to continue writing about movies, even after all these years, without familiarity with the whole half-century of 007.

I guess what might make a Bond movie great for me is cleverness, as in gadgets, fine, but also surprising stunts and smooth innuendo and a bad guy whose plans are simply stated yet still ingenious. And it doesn't have to be some best-of-the-year-level good so long as it keeps moving. Honestly, I think I'm describing the latest Mission: Impossible movie, but maybe that's just what I prefer.


What makes a great James Bond movie? 

To kick things off, here are some responses received so far via Twitter:










Join the next discussion on Twiter by following Christopher Campbell (@thefilmcynic) and Movies.com (@Moviesdotcom).


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