James-Bond-Countdown

All 27 James Bond Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

You know his name. You got his number. Since 1962, James Bond has been the spy whose reputation precedes him: As international man of mystery, as guru of gadgets and espionage thrills, and as the agent who never encountered a boundary – country, or personal space – he couldn’t sneak across.

The Ian Fleming adaptations started with a bang: Dr. No remains among the best-reviewed of 007’s movies, bringing forth that first legendary era of Sean Connery suited up as the debonair rogue that women crave and men aspire to be in vain. Case in point: 1967’s Casino Royale had no less than six James Bonds within its spooferifous walls, none holding a candle to the Con’. The non-comic caper is the worst-reviewed James Bond movie, and was produced outside of franchise gatekeepers Eon.



As celebrated was Connery’s reign was – the late actor’s films occupy three of the top five slots on this list – the sun sets on every empire, and thus was ushered in the age of the Lazenby. A mild administration for George, yes, with only 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service released, though Certified Fresh.

Then it became time to move over for Roger Moore, who offered a lightly winking and intelligent Bond for those burned-out ’70s times. Three of his movies are Rotten, three are Fresh, and one is Certified Fresh. Not bad, and he even traveled into space.

In 1981, Connery came back for non-Eon Bond Never Say Never Again, just as HQ was hiring Timothy Dalton for the job. Dalton’s Bond: Cool and menacing, and his films The Living Daylights and License to Kill are praised by modern fans for their dark, grittier take on the spy game. It’s something Daniel Craig would pick up on in the future, but with a bigger budget and fewer a-ha theme songs.

Pierce Brosnan brought back the sophisticated sex appeal, as the best Bond in the not-so-greatest movies. GoldenEye was intoxicating Certified Fresh fun, while the three that followed are all Rotten.

After Austin Powers took the piss out of the franchise for a decade, Eon turned to resurrecting James Bond as the brooding, brutish hulk we have today. Casino Royale was a return to form, Daniel Craig’s sneer and occasional smile calibrated to the modern cynical viewer. Skyfall was likewise Certified Fresh, but there was not so much critical love for in-betweener Quantum of Solace and the most-recent Spectre of 2015.

Six years passed until No Time To Die, the longest wait between Bond movies. At 15 years, Craig holds the record for longest uninterrupted on-screen ownership of Bond, but Connery spread his appearances as Bond across 21 years. Now, we’re reaching into the classified files for every James Bond movie ever ranked by Tomatometer!

#27

Casino Royale (1967)
25%

#27
Adjusted Score: 28398%
Critics Consensus: A goofy, dated parody of spy movie clichés, Casino Royale squanders its all-star cast on a meandering, mostly laugh-free script.
Synopsis: This wacky send-up of James Bond films stars David Niven as the iconic debonair spy, now retired and living a... [More]

#26

A View to a Kill (1985)
38%

#26
Adjusted Score: 41947%
Critics Consensus: Absurd even by Bond standards, A View to a Kill is weighted down by campy jokes and a noticeable lack of energy.
Synopsis: After recovering a microchip from the body of a deceased colleague in Russia, British secret agent James Bond (Roger Moore)... [More]
Directed By: John Glen

#25
Adjusted Score: 43951%
Critics Consensus: A middling Bond film, The Man With the Golden Gun suffers from double entendre-laden dialogue, a noteworthy lack of gadgets, and a villain that overshadows 007.
Synopsis: Cool government operative James Bond (Roger Moore) searches for a stolen invention that can turn the sun's heat into a... [More]
Directed By: Guy Hamilton

#24

Octopussy (1983)
43%

#24
Adjusted Score: 46190%
Critics Consensus: Despite a couple of electrifying action sequences, Octopussy is a formulaic, anachronistic Bond outing.
Synopsis: James Bond (Roger Moore) may have met his match in Octopussy (Maud Adams), an entrancing beauty involved in a devastating... [More]
Directed By: John Glen

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 57462%
Critics Consensus: Plagued by mediocre writing, uneven acting, and a fairly by-the-numbers plot, The World Is Not Enough is partially saved by some entertaining and truly Bond-worthy action sequences.
Synopsis: Bond (Pierce Brosnan) must race to defuse an international power struggle with the world's oil supply hanging in the balance.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 60729%
Critics Consensus: A competent, if sometimes by-the-numbers entry to the 007 franchise, Tomorrow Never Dies may not boast the most original plot but its action sequences are genuinely thrilling.
Synopsis: Media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) wants his news empire to reach every country on the globe, but the Chinese... [More]
Directed By: Roger Spottiswoode

#21

Die Another Day (2002)
56%

#21
Adjusted Score: 62408%
Critics Consensus: Its action may be bit too over-the-top for some, but Die Another Day is lavishly crafted and succeeds in evoking classic Bond themes from the franchise's earlier installments.
Synopsis: James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is captured by North Korean agents and must serve a grueling prison sentence. He's finally released,... [More]
Directed By: Lee Tamahori

#20

Moonraker (1979)
60%

#20
Adjusted Score: 64395%
Critics Consensus: Featuring one of the series' more ludicrous plots but outfitted with primo gadgets and spectacular sets, Moonraker is both silly and entertaining.
Synopsis: Agent 007 (Roger Moore) blasts into orbit in this action-packed adventure that takes him to Venice, Rio De Janeiro and... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Gilbert

#19

Spectre (2015)
63%

#19
Adjusted Score: 77447%
Critics Consensus: Spectre nudges Daniel Craig's rebooted Bond closer to the glorious, action-driven spectacle of earlier entries, although it's admittedly reliant on established 007 formula.
Synopsis: A cryptic message from the past leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the... [More]
Directed By: Sam Mendes

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 68929%
Critics Consensus: Diamonds are Forever is a largely derivative affair, but it's still pretty entertaining nonetheless, thanks to great stunts, witty dialogue, and the presence of Sean Connery.
Synopsis: While investigating mysterious activities in the world diamond market, 007 (Sean Connery) discovers that his evil nemesis Blofeld (Charles Gray)... [More]
Directed By: Guy Hamilton

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 75406%
Critics Consensus: Brutal and breathless, Quantum Of Solace delivers tender emotions along with frenetic action, but coming on the heels of Casino Royale, it's still a bit of a disappointment.
Synopsis: Following the death of Vesper Lynd, James Bond (Daniel Craig) makes his next mission personal. The hunt for those who... [More]
Directed By: Marc Forster

#16

Live and Let Die (1973)
65%

#16
Adjusted Score: 69772%
Critics Consensus: While not one of the highest-rated Bond films, Live and Let Die finds Roger Moore adding his stamp to the series with flashes of style and an improved sense of humor.
Synopsis: When Bond (Roger Moore) investigates the murders of three fellow agents, he finds himself a target, evading vicious assassins as... [More]
Directed By: Guy Hamilton

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 70411%
Critics Consensus: While the rehashed story feels rather uninspired and unnecessary, the return of both Sean Connery and a more understated Bond make Never Say Never Again a watchable retread.
Synopsis: An aging James Bond (Sean Connery) makes an uncharacteristic mistake during a routine training mission, leading M (Edward Fox) to... [More]
Directed By: Irvin Kershner

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 77718%
Critics Consensus: With exotic locales, impressive special effects, and a worthy central villain, You Only Live Twice overcomes a messy and implausible story to deliver another memorable early Bond flick.
Synopsis: During the Cold War, American and Russian spacecrafts go missing, leaving each superpower believing the other is to blame. As... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Gilbert

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 75068%
Critics Consensus: For Your Eyes Only trades in some of the outlandish Bond staples for a more sober outing, and the result is a satisfying adventure, albeit without some of the bombastic thrills fans may be looking for.
Synopsis: When a British ship is sunk in foreign waters, the world's superpowers begin a feverish race to find its cargo:... [More]
Directed By: John Glen

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 77473%
Critics Consensus: Newcomer Timothy Dalton plays James Bond with more seriousness than preceding installments, and the result is exciting and colorful but occasionally humorless.
Synopsis: British secret agent James Bond (Timothy Dalton) helps KGB officer Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) defect during a symphony performance. During... [More]
Directed By: John Glen

#11

Licence to Kill (1989)
78%

#11
Adjusted Score: 81724%
Critics Consensus: License to Kill is darker than many of the other Bond entries, with Timothy Dalton playing the character with intensity, but it still has some solid chases and fight scenes.
Synopsis: James Bond (Timothy Dalton) takes on his most-daring adventure after he turns renegade and tracks down one of the international... [More]
Directed By: John Glen

#10

GoldenEye (1995)
79%

#10
Adjusted Score: 84370%
Critics Consensus: The first and best Pierce Brosnan Bond film, GoldenEye brings the series into a more modern context, and the result is a 007 entry that's high-tech, action-packed, and urbane.
Synopsis: When a powerful satellite system falls into the hands of Alec Trevelyan, AKA Agent 006 (Sean Bean), a former ally-turned-enemy,... [More]
Directed By: Martin Campbell

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 85360%
Critics Consensus: Though it hints at the absurdity to come in later installments, The Spy Who Loved Me's sleek style, menacing villains, and sly wit make it the best of the Roger Moore era.
Synopsis: In a globe-trotting assignment that has him skiing off the edges of cliffs and driving a car deep underwater, British... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Gilbert

#8
Adjusted Score: 87836%
Critics Consensus: George Lazenby's only appearance as 007 is a fine entry in the series, featuring one of the most intriguing Bond girls in Tracy di Vincenzo (Diana Rigg), breathtaking visuals, and some great ski chases.
Synopsis: Agent 007 (George Lazenby) and the adventurous Tracy Di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg) join forces to battle the evil SPECTRE organization... [More]
Directed By: Peter R. Hunt

#7

No Time to Die (2021)
83%

#7
Adjusted Score: 105751%
Critics Consensus: It isn't the sleekest or most daring 007 adventure, but No Time to Die concludes Daniel Craig's franchise tenure in satisfying style.
Synopsis: In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace... [More]
Directed By: Cary Joji Fukunaga

#6

Thunderball (1965)
87%

#6
Adjusted Score: 93137%
Critics Consensus: Lavishly rendered set pieces and Sean Connery's enduring charm make Thunderball a big, fun adventure, even if it doesn't quite measure up to the series' previous heights.
Synopsis: Led by one-eyed evil mastermind Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), the terrorist group SPECTRE hijacks two warheads from a NATO plane... [More]
Directed By: Terence Young

#5

Skyfall (2012)
92%

#5
Adjusted Score: 108066%
Critics Consensus: Sam Mendes brings Bond surging back with a smart, sexy, riveting action thriller that qualifies as one of the best 007 films to date.
Synopsis: When James Bond's (Daniel Craig) latest assignment goes terribly wrong, it leads to a calamitous turn of events: Undercover agents... [More]
Directed By: Sam Mendes

#4

Casino Royale (2006)
94%

#4
Adjusted Score: 105576%
Critics Consensus: Casino Royale disposes of the silliness and gadgetry that plagued recent James Bond outings, and Daniel Craig delivers what fans and critics have been waiting for: a caustic, haunted, intense reinvention of 007.
Synopsis: After receiving a license to kill, British Secret Service agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) heads to Madagascar, where he uncovers... [More]
Directed By: Martin Campbell

#3

Dr. No (1962)
95%

#3
Adjusted Score: 101096%
Critics Consensus: Featuring plenty of the humor, action, and escapist thrills the series would become known for, Dr. No kicks off the Bond franchise in style.
Synopsis: In the film that launched the James Bond saga, Agent 007 (Sean Connery) battles mysterious Dr. No, a scientific genius... [More]
Directed By: Terence Young

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 102214%
Critics Consensus: The second James Bond film, From Russia with Love is a razor-sharp, briskly-paced Cold War thriller that features several electrifying action scenes.
Synopsis: Agent 007 (Sean Connery) is back in the second installment of the James Bond series, this time battling a secret... [More]
Directed By: Terence Young

#1

Goldfinger (1964)
99%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104451%
Critics Consensus: Goldfinger is where James Bond as we know him comes into focus - it features one of 007's most famous lines ("A martini. Shaken, not stirred.") and a wide range of gadgets that would become the series' trademark.
Synopsis: Special agent 007 (Sean Connery) comes face to face with one of the most notorious villains of all time, and... [More]
Directed By: Guy Hamilton

(Photo by Fox. Thumbnail: WB/courtesy Everett Collection)

Every ’90s Blockbuster Movie Ranked

Thirty years on, the 1990s has solidified its stature as one of the magical decades in filmmaking, much like how we view the ’30s and the ’70s. Precisely, this Gen X-decade pulled together the Hollywood studio power of the ’30s and the groundbreaking creativity of the ’70s, crocheting commercialism and art into the movie behemoths we speak of in legend as the ’90s blockbuster — which we’ve now ranked all by Tomatometer!

First off, in putting together this list, we didn’t want no scrubs: We defined the ’90s blockbuster as any film that made over $100 million at the box office — movies that had people literally lining up around the block to spend their easy-earned cash. (The economy was booming after all.) This, of course, ushers in all those films synonymous with ’90s blockbusterism, including Jurassic Park, Speed, Twister, Independence Day, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Phantom Menace, Armageddon, Wild wild West, and Batmans with three different guys.

But the ’90s blockbuster was more than just fast buses, exploding White Houses, and bat nipples. Audiences opened up wallets and handbags (they’re European!) on brazen independent films (Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, The Blair Witch Project), big comedies (Sister Act, The Nutty Professor, The Waterboy, Dumb & Dumber, The Birdcage), and romances both funny and dramatic (Pretty Woman, Shakespeare in Love, Jerry Maguire, Ghost).

It was the era of the Disney renaissance (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King), special-effects breakthroughs (Toy Story, Total Recall, The Matrix), and where the most popular movies of the year could reasonably expect a Best Picture statue come next February (Unforgiven, Titanic, Dances With Wolves). A scintillating ’90s blockbuster can transport us to that moment before cinematic universes, before CGI overload, and before ubiquitous cell phones and Internet; today, Lloyd Christmas can just DM Mary Samsonite and say “Hey, I have your briefcase :)” if he weren’t still illiterate.

Now, relive the rush of the decade without the searing sting of slap bracelets, or shotgunning Fruitopia, with our guide to every ’90s blockbuster ranked by Tomatometer!

#128

Batman & Robin (1997)
12%

#128
Adjusted Score: 17028%
Critics Consensus: Joel Schumacher's tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that's too jokey to care much for.
Synopsis: This superhero adventure finds Batman (George Clooney) and his partner, Robin (Chris O'Donnell), attempting to the foil the sinister schemes... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#127

Godzilla (1998)
15%

#127
Adjusted Score: 19109%
Critics Consensus: Without compelling characters or heart, Godzilla stomps on everything that made the original (or any monster movie worth its salt) a classic.
Synopsis: During a nuclear test, the French government inadvertently mutates a lizard nest; years later, a giant lizard makes its way... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#126

Wild Wild West (1999)
17%

#126
Adjusted Score: 21787%
Critics Consensus: Bombastic, manic, and largely laugh-free, Wild Wild West is a bizarre misfire in which greater care was lavished upon the special effects than on the script.
Synopsis: When President Ulysses S. Grant (Kevin Kline) learns that diabolical inventor Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) is planning to assassinate... [More]
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

#125

The Flintstones (1994)
20%

#125
Adjusted Score: 22563%
Critics Consensus: The Flintstones wastes beloved source material and imaginative production design on a tepid script that plunks Bedrock's favorite family into a cynical story awash with lame puns.
Synopsis: Big-hearted, dim-witted factory worker Fred Flintstone (John Goodman) lends money to his friend Barney Rubble (Rick Moranis) so that he... [More]
Directed By: Brian Levant

#124
#124
Adjusted Score: 22136%
Critics Consensus: A game Julia Roberts gives it her all, but Sleeping with the Enemy is one stalker thriller that's unlikely to inspire many obsessions of its own.
Synopsis: After faking her death in order to flee from her violent husband, Martin (Patrick Bergin), Laura Burney (Julia Roberts) leaves... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Ruben

#123
#123
Adjusted Score: 24580%
Critics Consensus: Contrived performances and over-the-top sequences offer little real drama.
Synopsis: When the body of Army Capt. Elizabeth Campbell (Leslie Stefanson) is found on a Georgia military base, two investigators, Warrant... [More]
Directed By: Simon West

#122

Patch Adams (1998)
22%

#122
Adjusted Score: 24462%
Critics Consensus: Syrupy performances and directing make this dramedy all too obvious.
Synopsis: After struggling with depression in a mental hospital, Hunter "Patch" Adams (Robin Williams) decides he wants to become a doctor.... [More]
Directed By: Tom Shadyac

#121
Adjusted Score: 26175%
Critics Consensus: Nature Calls in this Ace Ventura sequel, and it's answered by the law of diminishing returns.
Synopsis: Legendary pet detective Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) returns for another adventure when he's coerced out of retirement while on a... [More]
Directed By: Steve Oedekerk

#120

Double Jeopardy (1999)
27%

#120
Adjusted Score: 29426%
Critics Consensus: A talented cast fails to save this unremarkable thriller.
Synopsis: Framed for the murder of her husband, Libby Parsons (Ashley Judd) survives the long years in prison with two burning... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Beresford

#119

Hook (1991)
29%

#119
Adjusted Score: 32910%
Critics Consensus: The look of Hook is lively indeed but Steven Spielberg directs on autopilot here, giving in too quickly to his sentimental, syrupy qualities.
Synopsis: When his young children are abducted by his old nemesis, Capt. Hook (Dustin Hoffman), middle-aged lawyer Peter Banning (Robin Williams)... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#118

The Bodyguard (1992)
34%

#118
Adjusted Score: 37555%
Critics Consensus: The Bodyguard is a cheesy, melodramatic potboiler with occasional moments of electricity from Whitney Houston.
Synopsis: Best-selling pop diva Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston) has a stalker whose obsession has risen to the level of disturbing threats.... [More]
Directed By: Mick Jackson

#117

The Waterboy (1998)
34%

#117
Adjusted Score: 37915%
Critics Consensus: This is an insult to its genre with low humor and cheap gags.
Synopsis: Raised by his overprotective mother, Helen (Kathy Bates), Bobby Boucher Jr. (Adam Sandler) is the water boy for a successful... [More]
Directed By: Frank Coraci

#116
Adjusted Score: 39523%
Critics Consensus: A change of venue -- and more sentimentality and violence -- can't obscure the fact that Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is a less inspired facsimile of its predecessor.
Synopsis: After snarky youth Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) loses track of his father at the airport, he mistakenly gets on a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#115
#115
Adjusted Score: 37556%
Critics Consensus: Lurid but acted with gusto, Indecent Proposal has difficulty keeping it up beyond its initial titillating premise.
Synopsis: David (Woody Harrelson) and Diana Murphy (Demi Moore) are a loving couple with a bright future. David is a talented... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Lyne

#114

Armageddon (1998)
38%

#114
Adjusted Score: 44955%
Critics Consensus: Lovely to look at but about as intelligent as the asteroid that serves as the movie's antagonist, Armageddon slickly sums up the cinematic legacies of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay.
Synopsis: When an asteroid threatens to collide with Earth, NASA honcho Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) determines the only way to... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#113

Eraser (1996)
39%

#113
Adjusted Score: 41651%
Critics Consensus: Eraser's shoot-'em-up action might show off some cutting edge weaponry, but its rote story is embarrassingly obsolete.
Synopsis: John "The Eraser" Kruger is the top gun in the US Marshall Witness Protection scheme; he erases their past and... [More]
Directed By: Charles Russell

#112

Batman Forever (1995)
38%

#112
Adjusted Score: 42282%
Critics Consensus: Loud, excessively busy, and often boring, Batman Forever nonetheless has the charisma of Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones to offer mild relief.
Synopsis: Batman (Val Kilmer) faces off against two foes: the schizophrenic, horribly scarred former District Attorney Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face (Tommy... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#111

Big Daddy (1999)
39%

#111
Adjusted Score: 42837%
Critics Consensus: Adam Sandler acquits himself admirably, but his charm isn't enough to make up for Big Daddy's jarring shifts between crude humor and mawkish sentimentality.
Synopsis: Thirty-two-year-old Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler) has spent his whole life avoiding responsibility. But when his girlfriend dumps him for an... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Dugan

#110
Adjusted Score: 43699%
Critics Consensus: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is exactly as advertised: one-liners, brawls, and general silliness. Good for the young at heart, irritating for everyone else.
Synopsis: In New York, mysterious radioactive ooze has mutated four sewer turtles into talking, upright-walking, crime-fighting ninjas. The intrepid heroes --... [More]
Directed By: Steve Barron

#109

101 Dalmatians (1996)
41%

#109
Adjusted Score: 41649%
Critics Consensus: Neat performance from Glenn Close aside, 101 Dalmatians is a bland, pointless remake.
Synopsis: Fashion designer Anita and computer-game writer Roger meet, fall in love and marry along with their dalmatians Perdita and Pongo.... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#108

Dr. Dolittle (1998)
42%

#108
Adjusted Score: 44363%
Critics Consensus: Doctor Dolittle finds some mirth in the novelty of wisecracking critters, but this family feature's treacly tone is made queasy by a reliance on scatological gags that undercut the intended warmth.
Synopsis: After a fender bender, Dr. John Dolittle (Eddie Murphy) gets back his childhood ability to converse with animals. But the... [More]
Directed By: Betty Thomas

#107

Deep Impact (1998)
45%

#107
Adjusted Score: 46597%
Critics Consensus: A tidal wave of melodrama sinks Deep Impact's chance at being the memorable disaster flick it aspires to be.
Synopsis: A comet is hurtling toward Earth and could mean the end of all human life. The U.S. government keeps the... [More]
Directed By: Mimi Leder

#106

Runaway Bride (1999)
46%

#106
Adjusted Score: 48476%
Critics Consensus: Cliche story with lack of chemistry between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.
Synopsis: Having already left three grooms at the altar, Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts) is branded "the runaway bride" by jaded city... [More]
Directed By: Garry Marshall

#105
#105
Adjusted Score: 53226%
Critics Consensus: First Wives Club is headlined by a trio of comedic dynamos, but the script lets them down with tepid plotting and a fatal lack of satirical bite.
Synopsis: Despondent over the marriage of her ex-husband to a younger woman, a middle-aged divorcée plunges to her death from her... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Wilson

#104

Phenomenon (1996)
50%

#104
Adjusted Score: 51577%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On his birthday, mechanic George Malley (John Travolta) sees a flash of light and proceeds to exhibit extraordinary mental abilities.... [More]
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

#103

Casper (1995)
51%

#103
Adjusted Score: 53185%
Critics Consensus: A meandering, mindless family movie that frequently resorts to special effects and transparent sappiness.
Synopsis: Casper (voiced by Malachi Pearson) is a kind young ghost who peacefully haunts a mansion in Maine. When specialist James... [More]
Directed By: Brad Silberling

#102
Adjusted Score: 55019%
Critics Consensus: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves brings a wonderfully villainous Alan Rickman to this oft-adapted tale, but he's robbed by big-budget bombast and a muddled screenplay.
Synopsis: Nobleman crusader Robin of Locksley (Kevin Costner) breaks out of a Jerusalem prison with the help of Moorish fellow prisoner... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Reynolds

#101
Adjusted Score: 62039%
Critics Consensus: Burdened by exposition and populated with stock characters, The Phantom Menace gets the Star Wars prequels off to a bumpy -- albeit visually dazzling -- start.
Synopsis: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) ; Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#100
Adjusted Score: 55632%
Critics Consensus: Provides lots of laughs with Myers at the healm; as funny or funnier than the original.
Synopsis: In his second screen adventure, British super spy Austin Powers must return to 1969, as arch-nemesis Dr. Evil has ventured... [More]
Directed By: Jay Roach

#99
#99
Adjusted Score: 57462%
Critics Consensus: Plagued by mediocre writing, uneven acting, and a fairly by-the-numbers plot, The World Is Not Enough is partially saved by some entertaining and truly Bond-worthy action sequences.
Synopsis: Bond (Pierce Brosnan) must race to defuse an international power struggle with the world's oil supply hanging in the balance.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#98

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
53%

#98
Adjusted Score: 55398%
Critics Consensus: Jet Li's arrival breathes fresh life into a tired franchise formula -- but not enough to put Lethal Weapon 4 on equal footing with its predecessors.
Synopsis: Detective Riggs (Mel Gibson) tries to settle down with his pregnant girlfriend, Lorna (Rene Russo), while his partner, Murtaugh (Danny... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#97
Adjusted Score: 56832%
Critics Consensus: The Lost World demonstrates how far CG effects have come in the four years since Jurassic Park; unfortunately, it also proves how difficult it can be to put together a truly compelling sequel.
Synopsis: John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) summons chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to his home with some startling information -- while... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#96
#96
Adjusted Score: 56137%
Critics Consensus: Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are a compelling team in the overlong Pelican Brief, a pulpy thriller that doesn't quite justify the intellectual remove of Alan J. Pakula's direction.
Synopsis: Taut thriller about a young law student whose legal brief about the assassination of two Supreme Court justices causes her... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#95

Basic Instinct (1992)
55%

#95
Adjusted Score: 60687%
Critics Consensus: Unevenly echoing the work of Alfred Hitchcock, Basic Instinct contains a star-making performance from Sharon Stone but is ultimately undone by its problematic, overly lurid plot.
Synopsis: The mysterious Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), a beautiful crime novelist, becomes a suspect when she is linked to the brutal... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#94

Jumanji (1995)
55%

#94
Adjusted Score: 56952%
Critics Consensus: A feast for the eyes with a somewhat malnourished plot, Jumanji is an underachieving adventure that still offers a decent amount of fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: A magical board game unleashes a world of adventure on siblings Peter (Bradley Pierce) and Judy Shepherd (Kirsten Dunst). While... [More]
Directed By: Joe Johnston

#93

Pocahontas (1995)
55%

#93
Adjusted Score: 58350%
Critics Consensus: Pocahontas means well, and has moments of startling beauty, but it's largely a bland, uninspired effort, with uneven plotting and an unfortunate lack of fun.
Synopsis: This is the Disney animated tale of the romance between a young American Indian woman named Pocahontas (Irene Bedard) and... [More]

#92
#92
Adjusted Score: 56232%
Critics Consensus: George of the Jungle is faithful to its source material -- which, unfortunately, makes it a less-than-compelling feature film.
Synopsis: George (Brendan Fraser) has raised himself since since he was a baby and a plane crash stranded him in an... [More]
Directed By: Sam Weisman

#91

Con Air (1997)
56%

#91
Adjusted Score: 59935%
Critics Consensus: Con Air won't win any awards for believability - and all involved seem cheerfully aware of it, making some of this blockbuster action outing's biggest flaws fairly easy to forgive.
Synopsis: Just-paroled army ranger Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) is headed back to his wife (Monica Potter), but must fly home aboard... [More]
Directed By: Simon West

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 60729%
Critics Consensus: A competent, if sometimes by-the-numbers entry to the 007 franchise, Tomorrow Never Dies may not boast the most original plot but its action sequences are genuinely thrilling.
Synopsis: Media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) wants his news empire to reach every country on the globe, but the Chinese... [More]
Directed By: Roger Spottiswoode

#89
#89
Adjusted Score: 60298%
Critics Consensus: Charming characters; loads of fun for kids and adults.
Synopsis: This animated comedy finds Tommy Pickles (E.G. Daily) trying to return his baby brother to the hospital after being warned... [More]

#88
#88
Adjusted Score: 63903%
Critics Consensus: Die Hard with a Vengeance benefits from Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson's barbed interplay, but clatters to a bombastic finish in a vain effort to cover for an overall lack of fresh ideas.
Synopsis: Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is now divorced, alcoholic and jobless after getting fired for his reckless behavior and bad... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#87

Twister (1996)
61%

#87
Adjusted Score: 63725%
Critics Consensus: A high-concept blockbuster that emphasizes special effects over three-dimensional characters, Twister's visceral thrills are often offset by the film's generic plot.
Synopsis: During the approach of the most powerful storm in decades, university professor Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) and an underfunded... [More]
Directed By: Jan de Bont

#86

Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
60%

#86
Adjusted Score: 63652%
Critics Consensus: Murtaugh and Riggs remain an appealing partnership, but Lethal Weapon 3 struggles to give them a worthy new adventure as it cranks up the camp along with the mean-spiritedness.
Synopsis: Veteran police detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is only days away from retiring when he and his tough partner, Martin... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#85

The Mummy (1999)
61%

#85
Adjusted Score: 65193%
Critics Consensus: It's difficult to make a persuasive argument for The Mummy as any kind of meaningful cinematic achievement, but it's undeniably fun to watch.
Synopsis: The Mummy is a rousing, suspenseful and horrifying epic about an expedition of treasure-seeking explorers in the Sahara Desert in... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Sommers

#84

Rush Hour (1998)
61%

#84
Adjusted Score: 63786%
Critics Consensus: A kick-ass addition to the cop-buddy film genre.
Synopsis: When a Chinese diplomat's daughter is kidnapped in Los Angeles, he calls in Hong Kong Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan)... [More]
Directed By: Brett Ratner

#83

American Pie (1999)
61%

#83
Adjusted Score: 66639%
Critics Consensus: So embarrassing it's believable, American Pie succeeds in bringing back the teen movie genre.
Synopsis: A riotous and raunchy exploration of the most eagerly anticipated -- and most humiliating -- rite of adulthood, known as... [More]
Directed By: Paul Weitz

#82
Adjusted Score: 67434%
Critics Consensus: Despite lacking some of the book's subtler shadings, and suffering from some clumsy casting, Interview with a Vampire benefits from Neil Jordan's atmospheric direction and a surfeit of gothic thrills.
Synopsis: Born as an 18th-century lord, Louis is now a bicentennial vampire, telling his story to an eager biographer. Suicidal after... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

#81

Dick Tracy (1990)
63%

#81
Adjusted Score: 65696%
Critics Consensus: Dick Tracy is stylish, unique, and an undeniable technical triumph, but it ultimately struggles to rise above its two-dimensional artificiality.
Synopsis: Hard-boiled detective Dick Tracy (Warren Beatty) is searching for evidence that proves Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice is the city's most... [More]
Directed By: Warren Beatty

#80
#80
Adjusted Score: 69438%
Critics Consensus: Full of special effects, Brian DePalma's update of Mission: Impossible has a lot of sweeping spectacle, but the plot is sometimes convoluted.
Synopsis: When U.S. government operative Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his mentor, Jim Phelps (Jon Voight), go on a covert assignment... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#79
#79
Adjusted Score: 65940%
Critics Consensus: The Nutty Professor falls back on juvenile humor eagerly and often, but Eddie Murphy's consistently funny work in dual roles means more for audiences to love.
Synopsis: Brilliant and obese scientist Sherman Klump (Eddie Murphy) invents a miraculous weight-loss solution. After a date with chemistry student Carla... [More]
Directed By: Tom Shadyac

#78
#78
Adjusted Score: 68391%
Critics Consensus: The movie is peppered with amusing sight gags and one-liners, but the disjointed script doesn't cohere into a successful whole.
Synopsis: When a man (Christopher Lloyd) claiming to be Fester, the missing brother of Gomez Addams (Raul Julia), arrives at the... [More]
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

#77

Pretty Woman (1990)
65%

#77
Adjusted Score: 69175%
Critics Consensus: Pretty Woman may be a yuppie fantasy, but the film's slick comedy, soundtrack, and casting can overcome misgivings.
Synopsis: In this modern update on Cinderella, a prostitute and a wealthy businessman fall hard for one another, forming an unlikely... [More]
Directed By: Garry Marshall

#76

The Rock (1996)
68%

#76
Adjusted Score: 71940%
Critics Consensus: For visceral thrills, it can't be beat. Just don't expect The Rock to engage your brain.
Synopsis: FBI chemical warfare expert Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) is sent on an urgent mission with a former British spy, John... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#75

Contact (1997)
66%

#75
Adjusted Score: 70084%
Critics Consensus: Contact elucidates stirring scientific concepts and theological inquiry at the expense of satisfying storytelling, making for a brainy blockbuster that engages with its ideas, if not its characters.
Synopsis: In this Zemeckis-directed adaptation of the Carl Sagan novel, Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) races to interpret a possible message... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#74

Maverick (1994)
66%

#74
Adjusted Score: 69197%
Critics Consensus: It isn't terribly deep, but it's witty and undeniably charming, and the cast is obviously having fun.
Synopsis: This film update of the "Maverick" TV series finds the title cardsharp (Mel Gibson) hoping to join a poker contest... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#73

A Time to Kill (1996)
68%

#73
Adjusted Score: 70005%
Critics Consensus: Overlong and superficial, A Time to Kill nonetheless succeeds on the strength of its skillful craftsmanship and top-notch performances.
Synopsis: Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) is a heartbroken black father who avenges his daughter's brutal rape by shooting the... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#72

Stuart Little (1999)
67%

#72
Adjusted Score: 70988%
Critics Consensus: Critics say Stuart Little is charming with kids and adults for its humor and visual effects.
Synopsis: When the Littles go to an orphanage to adopt a new family member, a charming young mouse named Stuart is... [More]
Directed By: Rob Minkoff

#71

Independence Day (1996)
68%

#71
Adjusted Score: 71584%
Critics Consensus: The plot is thin and so is character development, but as a thrilling, spectacle-filled summer movie, Independence Day delivers.
Synopsis: In the epic adventure film "Independence Day," strange phenomena surface around the globe. The skies ignite. Terror races through the... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#70

Home Alone (1990)
68%

#70
Adjusted Score: 71393%
Critics Consensus: Home Alone uneven but frequently funny premise stretched unreasonably thin is buoyed by Macaulay Culkin's cute performance and strong supporting stars.
Synopsis: When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#69

Dumb & Dumber (1994)
68%

#69
Adjusted Score: 70196%
Critics Consensus: A relentlessly stupid comedy elevated by its main actors: Jim Carrey goes bonkers and Jeff Daniels carries himself admirably in an against-type performance.
Synopsis: Imbecilic best friends Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) stumble across a suitcase full of money left... [More]

#68

Analyze This (1999)
69%

#68
Adjusted Score: 73505%
Critics Consensus: Analyze This is a satisfying comedy with great performances by De Niro and Crystal.
Synopsis: When doctors tell a mob boss (Robert De Niro) that he is suffering from anxiety attacks, he seeks the help... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#67

Sleepy Hollow (1999)
69%

#67
Adjusted Score: 74380%
Critics Consensus: It isn't Tim Burton's best work, but Sleepy Hollow entertains with its stunning visuals and creepy atmosphere.
Synopsis: Set in 1799, "Sleepy Hollow" is based on Washington Irving's classic tale "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Faithful to the... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#66

Die Hard 2 (1990)
69%

#66
Adjusted Score: 72566%
Critics Consensus: It lacks the fresh thrills of its predecessor, but Die Hard 2 still works as an over-the-top -- and reasonably taut -- big-budget sequel, with plenty of set pieces to paper over the plot deficiencies.
Synopsis: A year after his heroics in L.A, detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is mixed up in another terrorist plot, this... [More]
Directed By: Renny Harlin

#65

You've Got Mail (1998)
70%

#65
Adjusted Score: 73756%
Critics Consensus: Great chemistry between the leads made this a warm and charming delight.
Synopsis: Struggling boutique bookseller Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) hates Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), the owner of a corporate Foxbooks chain store... [More]
Directed By: Nora Ephron

#64
Adjusted Score: 74009%
Critics Consensus: Disney's take on the Victor Hugo classic is dramatically uneven, but its strong visuals, dark themes, and message of tolerance make for a more-sophisticated-than-average children's film.
Synopsis: An animated Disney adventure follows disfigured Quasimodo (Tom Hulce), the bell-ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, who bides his time locked... [More]
Directed By: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

#63

Forrest Gump (1994)
71%

#63
Adjusted Score: 78314%
Critics Consensus: Forrest Gump may be an overly sentimental film with a somewhat problematic message, but its sweetness and charm are usually enough to approximate true depth and grace.
Synopsis: Slow-witted Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) has never thought of himself as disadvantaged, and thanks to his supportive mother (Sally Field),... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#62

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
72%

#62
Adjusted Score: 75137%
Critics Consensus: On paper, Mrs. Doubtfire might seem excessively broad or sentimental, but Robin Williams shines so brightly in the title role that the end result is difficult to resist.
Synopsis: Troubled that he has little access to his children, divorced Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) hatches an elaborate plan. With help... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#61

True Lies (1994)
70%

#61
Adjusted Score: 72197%
Critics Consensus: If it doesn't reach the heights of director James Cameron's and star Arnold Schwarzenegger's previous collaborations, True Lies still packs enough action and humor into its sometimes absurd plot to entertain.
Synopsis: Secretly a spy but thought by his family to be a dull salesman, Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is tracking down... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 76562%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining, topical thriller that finds director Tony Scott on solid form and Will Smith confirming his action headliner status.
Synopsis: Corrupt National Security Agency official Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight) has a congressman assassinated to assure the passage of expansive new... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#59

The Santa Clause (1994)
72%

#59
Adjusted Score: 75593%
Critics Consensus: The Santa Clause is utterly undemanding, but it's firmly rooted in the sort of good old-fashioned holiday spirit missing from too many modern yuletide films.
Synopsis: Divorced dad Scott (Tim Allen) has custody of his son (Eric Lloyd) on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a... [More]
Directed By: John Pasquin

#58
#58
Adjusted Score: 76486%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a charming performance from Julia Roberts and a subversive spin on the genre, My Best Friend's Wedding is a refreshingly entertaining romantic comedy.
Synopsis: Childhood friends Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) and Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney) had a deal to marry each other if they... [More]
Directed By: P.J. Hogan

#57

Sister Act (1992)
74%

#57
Adjusted Score: 75616%
Critics Consensus: Looking for a sweet musical comedy about a witness to a crime hiding out from killers in a convent? There's nun better than Sister Act.
Synopsis: When lively lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) sees her mobster beau, Vince LaRocca (Harvey Keitel), commit murder, she... [More]
Directed By: Emile Ardolino

#56

Ghost (1990)
75%

#56
Adjusted Score: 79523%
Critics Consensus: Ghost offers viewers a poignant romance while blending elements of comedy, horror, and mystery, all adding up to one of the more enduringly watchable hits of its era.
Synopsis: Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) is a banker, Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) is an artist, and the two are madly in... [More]
Directed By: Jerry Zucker

#55

Ransom (1996)
75%

#55
Adjusted Score: 79154%
Critics Consensus: Directed with propulsive intensity by Ron Howard, Ransom is a fiery thriller packed with hot-blooded performances and jolting twists.
Synopsis: Through a life of hard work, airline owner Tom Mullen (Mel Gibson) has amassed a great deal of wealth. When... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#54

The Firm (1993)
75%

#54
Adjusted Score: 79525%
Critics Consensus: The Firm is a big studio thriller that amusingly tears apart the last of 1980s boardroom culture and the false securities it represented.
Synopsis: A young lawyer joins a small but prestigious law firm only to find out that most of their clients are... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#53
#53
Adjusted Score: 79816%
Critics Consensus: Sleepless in Seattle is a cute classic with a very light touch and real chemistry between the two leads -- even when spending an entire movie apart.
Synopsis: After the death of his wife, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) moves to Seattle with his son, Jonah (Ross Mallinger). When... [More]
Directed By: Nora Ephron

#52

The Mask (1994)
79%

#52
Adjusted Score: 82197%
Critics Consensus: It misses perhaps as often as it hits, but Jim Carrey's manic bombast, Cameron Diaz' blowsy appeal, and the film's overall cartoony bombast keep The Mask afloat.
Synopsis: When timid bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey) discovers a magical mask containing the spirit of the Norse god Loki,... [More]
Directed By: Charles Russell

#51

The Green Mile (1999)
78%

#51
Adjusted Score: 83890%
Critics Consensus: Though The Green Mile is long, critics say it's an absorbing, emotionally powerful experience.
Synopsis: Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) walked the mile with a variety of cons. He had never encountered someone like John Coffey... [More]
Directed By: Frank Darabont

#50

Air Force One (1997)
78%

#50
Adjusted Score: 80411%
Critics Consensus: This late-period Harrison Ford actioner is full of palpable, if not entirely seamless, thrills.
Synopsis: After making a speech in Moscow vowing to never negotiate with terrorists, President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) boards Air Force... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#49

GoldenEye (1995)
79%

#49
Adjusted Score: 84370%
Critics Consensus: The first and best Pierce Brosnan Bond film, GoldenEye brings the series into a more modern context, and the result is a 007 entry that's high-tech, action-packed, and urbane.
Synopsis: When a powerful satellite system falls into the hands of Alec Trevelyan, AKA Agent 006 (Sean Bean), a former ally-turned-enemy,... [More]
Directed By: Martin Campbell

#48

Wayne's World (1992)
79%

#48
Adjusted Score: 85623%
Critics Consensus: An oddball comedy that revels in its silliness and memorable catch phrases, Wayne's World is also fondly regarded because of its endearing characters.
Synopsis: A big screen spin-off of the "Saturday Night Live" skit. Rob Lowe plays a producer that wants to take the... [More]
Directed By: Penelope Spheeris

#47

Scream (1996)
79%

#47
Adjusted Score: 83871%
Critics Consensus: Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some.
Synopsis: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 85172%
Critics Consensus: Sentimental and light, but still thoroughly charming, A League of Their Own is buoyed by solid performances from a wonderful cast.
Synopsis: As America's stock of athletic young men is depleted during World War II, a professional all-female baseball league springs up... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 83756%
Critics Consensus: The Prince of Egypt's stunning visuals and first-rate voice cast more than compensate for the fact that it's better crafted than it is emotionally involving.
Synopsis: In this animated retelling of the Book of Exodus, Egyptian Prince Moses (Val Kilmer), upon discovering his roots as a... [More]

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 82563%
Critics Consensus: Perfecting the formula established in earlier installments, Clear and Present Danger reunites its predecessor's creative core to solidly entertaining effect.
Synopsis: Agent Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) becomes acting deputy director of the CIA when Admiral Greer (James Earl Jones) is diagnosed... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Noyce

#43

Batman Returns (1992)
80%

#43
Adjusted Score: 87238%
Critics Consensus: Director Tim Burton's dark, brooding atmosphere, Michael Keaton's work as the tormented hero, and the flawless casting of Danny DeVito as The Penguin and Christopher Walken as, well, Christopher Walken make the sequel better than the first.
Synopsis: The monstrous Penguin (Danny DeVito), who lives in the sewers beneath Gotham, joins up with wicked shock-headed businessman Max Shreck... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#42

The Birdcage (1996)
81%

#42
Adjusted Score: 83794%
Critics Consensus: Mike Nichols wrangles agreeably amusing performances from Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in this fun, if not quite essential, remake of the French comedy La Cage aux Folles.
Synopsis: In this remake of the classic French farce "La Cage aux Folles," engaged couple Val Goldman (Dan Futterman) and Barbara... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#41

Seven (1995)
82%

#41
Adjusted Score: 86447%
Critics Consensus: A brutal, relentlessly grimy shocker with taut performances, slick gore effects, and a haunting finale.
Synopsis: When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

#40

Scream 2 (1997)
81%

#40
Adjusted Score: 86056%
Critics Consensus: As with the first film, Scream 2 is a gleeful takedown of scary movie conventions that manages to poke fun at terrible horror sequels without falling victim to the same fate.
Synopsis: Sydney (Neve Campbell) and tabloid reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) survived the events of the first "Scream," but their nightmare... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#39

Liar Liar (1997)
82%

#39
Adjusted Score: 85636%
Critics Consensus: Despite its thin plot, Liar Liar is elevated by Jim Carrey's exuberant brand of physical humor, and the result is a laugh riot that helped to broaden the comedian's appeal.
Synopsis: Conniving attorney Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey) is an ace in the courtroom, but his dishonesty and devotion to work ruin... [More]
Directed By: Tom Shadyac

#38

Total Recall (1990)
82%

#38
Adjusted Score: 87436%
Critics Consensus: Under Paul Verhoeven's frenetic direction, Total Recall is a fast-paced rush of violence, gore, and humor that never slacks.
Synopsis: Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a bored construction worker in the year 2084 who dreams of visiting the colonized Mars.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 86306%
Critics Consensus: While it's fueled in part by outdated stereotypes, Driving Miss Daisy takes audiences on a heartwarming journey with a pair of outstanding actors.
Synopsis: Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy), an elderly Jewish widow living in Atlanta, is determined to maintain her independence. However, when she... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Beresford

#36

Notting Hill (1999)
83%

#36
Adjusted Score: 87296%
Critics Consensus: A rom-com with the right ingredients, Notting Hill proves there's nothing like a love story well told -- especially when Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts are your leads.
Synopsis: William Thacker (Hugh Grant) is a London bookstore owner whose humdrum existence is thrown into romantic turmoil when famous American... [More]
Directed By: Roger Michell

#35
Adjusted Score: 87433%
Critics Consensus: There's Something About Mary proves that unrelentingly, unabashedly peurile humor doesn't necessarily come at the expense of a film's heart.
Synopsis: Ted's (Ben Stiller) dream prom date with Mary (Cameron Diaz) never happens due to an embarrassing injury at her home.... [More]

#34

Jerry Maguire (1996)
84%

#34
Adjusted Score: 89300%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by dazzling performances from Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Renée Zellweger, as well as Cameron Crowe's tender direction, Jerry Maguire meshes romance and sports with panache.
Synopsis: When slick sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) has a crisis of conscience, he pens a heartfelt company-wide memo that... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#33

A Few Good Men (1992)
83%

#33
Adjusted Score: 88395%
Critics Consensus: An old-fashioned courtroom drama with a contemporary edge, A Few Good Men succeeds on the strength of its stars, with Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and especially Jack Nicholson delivering powerful performances that more than compensate for the predictable plot.
Synopsis: Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is a military lawyer defending two U.S. Marines charged with killing a fellow Marine at... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 87614%
Critics Consensus: Dances with Wolves suffers from a simplistic view of the culture it attempts to honor, but the end result remains a stirring western whose noble intentions are often matched by its epic grandeur.
Synopsis: A Civil War soldier develops a relationship with a band of Lakota Indians. Attracted by the simplicity of their lifestyle,... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Costner

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 89981%
Critics Consensus: James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson, doing what they do best, combine smart dialogue and flawless acting to squeeze fresh entertainment value out of the romantic-comedy genre.
Synopsis: Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is an obsessive-compulsive writer of romantic fiction who's rude to everyone he meets, including his gay... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#30

The Sixth Sense (1999)
86%

#30
Adjusted Score: 93232%
Critics Consensus: M Night Shayamalan's The Sixth Sense is a twisty ghost story with all the style of a classical Hollywood picture, but all the chills of a modern horror flick.
Synopsis: Young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) is haunted by a dark secret: he is visited by ghosts. Cole is frightened... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 93484%
Critics Consensus: Full of creepy campfire scares, mock-doc The Blair Witch Project keeps audiences in the dark about its titular villain, proving once more that imagination can be as scary as anything onscreen.
Synopsis: Found video footage tells the tale of three film students (Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams) who've traveled to... [More]

#28

Mulan (1998)
86%

#28
Adjusted Score: 90110%
Critics Consensus: Exploring themes of family duty and honor, Mulan breaks new ground as a Disney film, while still bringing vibrant animation and sprightly characters to the screen.
Synopsis: Fearful that her ailing father will be drafted into the Chinese military, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) takes his spot -- though,... [More]
Directed By: Barry Cook, Tony Bancroft

#27

American Beauty (1999)
87%

#27
Adjusted Score: 94772%
Critics Consensus: Flawlessly cast and brimming with dark, acid wit, American Beauty is a smart, provocative high point of late '90s mainstream Hollywood film.
Synopsis: Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is a gainfully employed suburban husband and father. Fed up with his boring, stagnant existence, he... [More]
Directed By: Sam Mendes

#26

The Matrix (1999)
88%

#26
Adjusted Score: 95178%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the Wachowskis' imaginative vision, The Matrix is a smartly crafted combination of spectacular action and groundbreaking special effects.
Synopsis: Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can... [More]

#25

Tarzan (1999)
89%

#25
Adjusted Score: 92402%
Critics Consensus: Disney's Tarzan takes the well-known story to a new level with spirited animation, a brisk pace, and some thrilling action set-pieces..
Synopsis: In this Disney animated tale, the orphaned Tarzan (Tony Goldwyn) grows up in the remote African wilderness, raised by the... [More]
Directed By: Chris Buck, Kevin Lima

#24

Titanic (1997)
89%

#24
Adjusted Score: 101430%
Critics Consensus: A mostly unqualified triumph for James Cameron, who offers a dizzying blend of spectacular visuals and old-fashioned melodrama.
Synopsis: James Cameron's "Titanic" is an epic, action-packed romance set against the ill-fated maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic; the pride... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 92350%
Critics Consensus: Perfectly cast and packed with suspense, The Hunt for Red October is an old-fashioned submarine thriller with plenty of firepower to spare.
Synopsis: Based on the popular Tom Clancy novel, this suspenseful movie tracks Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) as he... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#22

City Slickers (1991)
91%

#22
Adjusted Score: 92853%
Critics Consensus: With a supremely talented cast and just enough midlife drama to add weight to its wildly silly overtones, City Slickers uses universal themes to earn big laughs.
Synopsis: Every year, three friends take a vacation away from their wives. This year, henpecked Phil (Daniel Stern), newly married Ed... [More]
Directed By: Ron Underwood

#21

Jurassic Park (1993)
92%

#21
Adjusted Score: 102600%
Critics Consensus: Jurassic Park is a spectacle of special effects and life-like animatronics, with some of Spielberg's best sequences of sustained awe and sheer terror since Jaws.
Synopsis: In Steven Spielberg's massive blockbuster, paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#20

A Bug's Life (1998)
92%

#20
Adjusted Score: 96756%
Critics Consensus: A Bug's Life is a rousing adventure that blends animated thrills with witty dialogue and memorable characters - and another smashing early success for Pixar.
Synopsis: Flik (Dave Foley) is an inventive ant who's always messing things up for his colony. His latest mishap was destroying... [More]

#19

Men in Black (1997)
92%

#19
Adjusted Score: 97654%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a smart script, spectacular set pieces, and charismatic performances from its leads, Men in Black is an entirely satisfying summer blockbuster hit.
Synopsis: They are the best-kept secret in the universe. Working for a highly funded yet unofficial government agency, Kay (Tommy Lee... [More]
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

#18

Face/Off (1997)
92%

#18
Adjusted Score: 96505%
Critics Consensus: John Travolta and Nicolas Cage play cat-and-mouse (and literally play each other) against a beautifully stylized backdrop of typically elegant, over-the-top John Woo violence.
Synopsis: Obsessed with bringing terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) to justice, FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) tracks down Troy, who... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 100119%
Critics Consensus: Endlessly witty, visually rapturous, and sweetly romantic, Shakespeare in Love is a delightful romantic comedy that succeeds on nearly every level.
Synopsis: "Shakespeare in Love" is a romantic comedy for the 1990s set in the 1590s. It imaginatively unfolds the witty, sexy... [More]
Directed By: John Madden

#16

Pulp Fiction (1994)
92%

#16
Adjusted Score: 98552%
Critics Consensus: One of the most influential films of the 1990s, Pulp Fiction is a delirious post-modern mix of neo-noir thrills, pitch-black humor, and pop-culture touchstones.
Synopsis: Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are hitmen with a penchant for philosophical discussions. In this... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#15

The Lion King (1994)
93%

#15
Adjusted Score: 101779%
Critics Consensus: Emotionally stirring, richly drawn, and beautifully animated, The Lion King is a pride within Disney's pantheon of classic family films.
Synopsis: This Disney animated feature follows the adventures of the young lion Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), the heir of his father,... [More]
Directed By: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff

#14
Adjusted Score: 98521%
Critics Consensus: T2 features thrilling action sequences and eye-popping visual effects, but what takes this sci-fi/ action landmark to the next level is the depth of the human (and cyborg) characters.
Synopsis: In this sequel set eleven years after "The Terminator," young John Connor (Edward Furlong), the key to civilization's victory over... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 101378%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by another winning performance from Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg's unflinchingly realistic war film virtually redefines the genre.
Synopsis: Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 103577%
Critics Consensus: Enchanting, sweepingly romantic, and featuring plenty of wonderful musical numbers, Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney's most elegant animated offerings.
Synopsis: An arrogant young prince (Robby Benson) and his castle's servants fall under the spell of a wicked enchantress, who turns... [More]
Directed By: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

#11

Speed (1994)
94%

#11
Adjusted Score: 98622%
Critics Consensus: A terrific popcorn thriller, Speed is taut, tense, and energetic, with outstanding performances from Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, and Sandra Bullock.
Synopsis: Los Angeles police officer Jack (Keanu Reeves) angers retired bomb squad member Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) by foiling his attempt... [More]
Directed By: Jan de Bont

#10

Aladdin (1992)
95%

#10
Adjusted Score: 100274%
Critics Consensus: A highly entertaining entry in Disney's renaissance era," Aladdin is beautifully drawn, with near-classic songs and a cast of scene-stealing characters.
Synopsis: When street rat Aladdin frees a genie from a lamp, he finds his wishes granted. However, he soon finds that... [More]
Directed By: Ron Clements, John Musker

#9

The Truman Show (1998)
95%

#9
Adjusted Score: 101732%
Critics Consensus: A funny, tender, and thought-provoking film, The Truman Show is all the more noteworthy for its remarkably prescient vision of runaway celebrity culture and a nation with an insatiable thirst for the private details of ordinary lives.
Synopsis: He doesn't know it, but everything in Truman Burbank's (Jim Carrey) life is part of a massive TV set. Executive... [More]
Directed By: Peter Weir

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 100882%
Critics Consensus: A straightforward thriller of the highest order, In the Line of Fire benefits from Wolfgang Peterson's taut direction and charismatic performances from Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich.
Synopsis: A Secret Service agent is taunted by calls from a would-be killer who has detailed information about the agent -... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#7

The Fugitive (1993)
96%

#7
Adjusted Score: 102754%
Critics Consensus: Exhilarating and intense, this high-impact chase thriller is a model of taut and efficient formula filmmaking, and it features Harrison Ford at his frantic best.
Synopsis: Wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) escapes from the law in an attempt to find her... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Davis

#6

Apollo 13 (1995)
96%

#6
Adjusted Score: 101224%
Critics Consensus: In recreating the troubled space mission, Apollo 13 pulls no punches: it's a masterfully told drama from director Ron Howard, bolstered by an ensemble of solid performances.
Synopsis: This Hollywood drama is based on the events of the Apollo 13 lunar mission, astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 104402%
Critics Consensus: Director Jonathan Demme's smart, taut thriller teeters on the edge between psychological study and all-out horror, and benefits greatly from stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Synopsis: Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#4

Unforgiven (1992)
96%

#4
Adjusted Score: 105273%
Critics Consensus: As both director and star, Clint Eastwood strips away decades of Hollywood varnish applied to the Wild West, and emerges with a series of harshly eloquent statements about the nature of violence.
Synopsis: When prostitute Delilah Fitzgerald (Anna Thomson) is disfigured by a pair of cowboys in Big Whiskey, Wyoming, her fellow brothel... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 101368%
Critics Consensus: It follows a predictable narrative arc, but Good Will Hunting adds enough quirks to the journey -- and is loaded with enough powerful performances -- that it remains an entertaining, emotionally rich drama.
Synopsis: Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#2

Toy Story (1995)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 106146%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining as it is innovative, Toy Story reinvigorated animation while heralding the arrival of Pixar as a family-friendly force to be reckoned with.
Synopsis: Woody (Tom Hanks), a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy named Andy (John Morris), sees his position... [More]
Directed By: John Lasseter

#1

Toy Story 2 (1999)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107741%
Critics Consensus: The rare sequel that arguably improves on its predecessor, Toy Story 2 uses inventive storytelling, gorgeous animation, and a talented cast to deliver another rich moviegoing experience for all ages.
Synopsis: Woody (Tom Hanks) is stolen from his home by toy dealer Al McWhiggin (Wayne Knight), leaving Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen)... [More]

As we all settle in to stay at home and socially distance ourselves, the planet has been given a unique resource not often afforded in the modern world: time. With no place to go, what shall we do with this new abundance of free hours? Time to finish that book you have had on your bedside table? Maybe take an online French class or learn to play an instrument? Time to binge every series that ever was? Or perhaps, like us, you’re thinking of all the films you wished you’d seen but never had the time to before.

Maybe one of those epic movie franchises that seemed too daunting to jump into late in the game – don’t ever admit you’ve never seen an MCU movie, ever – or a series of which you’ve caught a few entries but want to fill in the gaps. Fear not  we have you covered with our Epic Franchise Movie Binge Guide. Read below as we break down some of the most beloved long-running movie franchises – like The Lord of the Rings, Mission Impossible, or the granddaddy of them all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and tell you the best way to approach watching them, how long the binge will take, and which titles you can skip. Because hey, even all the time in the world may not be enough time to make you sit through A Good Day to Die Hard.

Disagree with our picks or have a suggestion for a franchise movie binge? Let us know in the comments. 


The Lord of the Rings

What is it: The film adaptations of the fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, set in ”Middle-earth,” the fictitious medieval land where elves, men, dwarves, wizards, and hobbits co-exist, often not so peacefully. Over the course of several films, we follow hobbit Bilbo Baggins and later his young heir Frodo Baggins as they go on adventures and battle against the forces of evil. 

How many hours: Extended editions: 20 hours 30 minutes; Theatrical cuts: 17 hours and 12 minutes.

Starts with:  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)  

Ends with: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)  

Best way to watch: Some would argue the second trilogy – though the first by story chronology – from Peter Jackson was an unnecessary and bloated cash grab that should be avoided at all costs, but we have a better suggestion. We suggest you begin with the LOTR animated film from 1978, which will give you all the events of the films in a quicker and to-the-point format. Then, if you are compelled to see the best of The Hobbit live-action series, we would say check out the standard edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which is the best of the three. We would also suggest you try to watch the extended editions of the original live-action LOTR series – they are more than worth it for the extra content. This recommendation would make for a shorter, 16-hour watch, which could be broken up easily over two days. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. The Two Towers and The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King standard editions are streaming on Netflix.


Marvel Cinematic Universe

What is it: The 23-film saga that chronicles the epic adventures of various superheroes, based on the comics first distributed by Marvel and its subsidiaries. 

How many hours: 50 hours and 3 minutes.

Starts with:   Iron Man (2008)  

Ends with:  Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Best way to watch: Not surprising for a franchise that grossed over $22 billion at the global box office, but Marvel Studios’ 23-film, decade-long opus is quite watchable as is. Some folks would have argued in 2010 that Avengers: The Age of Ultron is a skippable mess, but as we detail here, it is essential viewing to truly appreciate the first four phases of the saga that culminated with Avengers: Endgame. Sorry for those looking for a shortcut, but watching it all is worth it. Viewing all 23 movies straight through, without breaks, however, is not the way to do it.

Instead, we suggest you go in release order and complete each day as follows: day one after Avengers; day two after Ant-man; day three after Black Panther; and finish on day four with Spider-Man: Far From Home. If you’ve previously watched the MCU and are looking to watch it in a new way, use our guide here to watch in chronological order based on the events of each film. If the thought of 50 hours of superheroes is still too intimidating for you, but you want to understand enough to get by, watch these character introduction films (Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy) and these team-up films (Civil War, Winter Soldier, Avengers, Ultron, Infinity War, Endgame). Once you have finished that, check out our Oral Histories of the MCU, in which the directors, producer, and casting director who worked on the epic franchise break down all the behind-the-scene secrets.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. All of the films save The Incredible Hulk and the Spider-Man films are streaming on Disney+. The Avengers: Infinity War and The Avengers: Endgame are streaming on Netflix; and Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, and Thor are streaming on Amazon Prime.


Die Hard Franchise

What is it: Follow John McClane, a police detective who seems to be a magnet for maniacal criminals no matter which city/structure he is in, and proves to be a tough man to kill.

How many hours: 10 hours and 14 minutes.

Starts with:  Die Hard (1988)

Ends with: A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

Best way to watch: The original Die Hard is so beloved that many argue it’s the greatest action film ever made – or maybe the greatest Christmas movie, but that is a debate for another day. The film and its follow-ups have a loyal fanbase, and though the second and third entries pale in comparison to the first, we still say they’re worth a watch. The fourth film, Live Free or Die Hard, is a true return to form and, frankly, it’s where you should stop unless you are a true completist. The series’ most recent film, A Good Day to Die Hard, is the only PG-13 entry on the list, and without McClane’s iconic “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf–ker,” there’s really no point pushing play.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discounted Bundle), Amazon,  iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Die Hard and Die Hard with a Vengeance are streaming now on CinemaxGoLive Free or Die Hard is streaming on the Starz app.


The Fast & Furious Franchise

What is it: Follow Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew, which he calls his family, as they shift from illegal street-racing criminals to heist experts and then finally emerge as a new crime-fighting unit that tackles the world of espionage.

How many hours: 15 hours and 57 mins. 

Starts with: The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Ends with:  Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Best way to watch: As Dom and everyone in the Fast franchise says – quite often – this is about family. So, if you’re looking for something to skip, it’s hard to imagine who you’d want to kick out one of the family – though, let’s be honest, 2 Fast 2 Furious is definitely not Dad’s favorite. Without Vin Diesel, that entry can barely call itself a Fast and Furious movie, and the 2009 series soft reboot, Fast & Furious, is not much better and an easy call to skip, as well. We would caution against skipping third entry Toyko Drift; its charms are significantly more than its 37% Tomatometer score would suggest (something we wax about in our book Rotten Movies We Love). Not to spoil anything, but when we finally get Fast 9 in 2021, you’ll need to have seen Tokyo Drift to understand everything fully – check out #JusticeForHan after you finish the series, and you will understand. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Hobbs & Shaw and Fast Five are streaming on HBOnow; Fast 6 is streaming on FXnow.


Rocky Franchise

What is it: Follow Philly underdog boxer-turned-champion, Rocky Balboa, as he battles various fighters in the ring, as well as his own issues outside of it, and later trains the next generation of champions.

How many hours: 14 hours and 55 minutes. 

Starts with: Rocky (1976)

Ends with:  Creed II (2018)

Best way to watch: This one’s real simple: trust us and skip Rocky V. Just pretend it didn’t happen; we’re pretty sure Sylvester Stallone did. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, VuduGooglePlayRocky Balboa is streaming on the Starz appCreed II is streaming on Hulu and Amazon.


Harry Potter / Wizarding World Franchise

What is it: The franchise based on JK Rowling’s phenomenally successful novels follows the adventures of Harry Potter, an orphan-turned-famed wizard, the evil He Who Must Not Be Named, and the Wizarding World they inhabit.

How many hours: 24 hours and 6 minutes. 

Starts with:   Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Ends with:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

Best way to watch: As this is a British series, allow us to put this as politely as possible: Fantastic Beasts is simply not quite on form. The first entry is saved by Eddie Redmayne and mesmerizing magical effects; the second entry is the first and only Rotten flick from the Wizarding World and very skippable at this stage. The original seven films are near perfect, but if you wanted to pass over The Chamber of Secrets you wouldn’t miss much – you won’t be too confused later in the series. (Though if watching as a family, this is one the kids tend to like.) If you follow that suggestion, you can finish the entire series in one day.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlayFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is streaming on HBONow.


X-Men Franchise

What Is It: Follow Professor Charles Xavier and his X-Men as they try to save the world and the lives of their fellow Mutants. Professor X and co. work with, and sometimes against, mutants like the powerful Magneto, Wolverine, and the wisecracking mercenary Deadpool.
How many hours: 21 hours and 43 minutes.

Starts with:   X-Men: First Class (2011)

Ends with:  Logan (2017)

How to watch: The critics will tell you that both X-Men: The Last Stand (the third of the original films) and X-Men: Apocalypse (the third of the rebooted, second-gen films) are shells of their brilliant predecessors. And with the last X-Men film to enter theaters, Dark Phoenix, disappointing on the Tomatometer and at the box office, you should essentially skip any film that has anything to do with Jean Gray’s Dark Phoenix. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is admittedly a hard watch to suffer through, but you kinda have to just to appreciate the brilliance of Deadpool and its sequel, if only for what they did differently with the character. Every film that character is in after Origins highlights why Ryan Reynolds was born to play the “Merc with a Mouth.”

Watching in the order of events is the best way to approach things if you don’t want to be confused by the time travel that happens later in the series. That order is: First Class, Days of Future Past, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix, X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine, Deadpool, Deadpool 2, Logan. If you leave off the aforementioned weakest entries (The Last Stand, Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix) you can complete the entire series in one day.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. X-Men: Days of Future Past and Deadpool are streaming on FXNowX-Men Origins: Wolverine is available to stream on the Starz app. 


Jurassic Park Franchise

What is it: In these films, we welcome you to Jurassic Park, a theme park – and eventually various associated islands, mansions, West Coast cities – where dinosaurs have been genetically recreated to walk the Earth alongside humans. Over the course of series we watch as that combination invariably doesn’t work out well for the humans.

How many hours: 10 hours and 1 minute.

Starts with:  Jurassic Park (1993)

Ends with:  Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Best way to watch: This was a subject of contentious debate among the RT staff: some thought the Jurassic World part of the franchise is unwatchable, while others had strong takes on Jurassic Park 3 and The Lost World. As this is only a five-film series so far, we compromised: Watch them all and make your own determinations. Either way, we all agreed that the original Jurassic Park is a bona fide classic, and if you haven’t seen it, please remedy this injustice as soon as possible. It only takes a day to watch them all. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is streaming on CinemaxGo.


Mission Impossible Franchise

What is it: Watch secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his crew of talented spies as they battle the world’s most dangerous criminals along with the bureaucracy of his own organization, the IMF. The films are based on the 1960s television show.

How many hours: 13 hours and 3 minutes.

Starts with:   Mission: Impossible (1996)

Ends with:  Mission: Impossible -- Fallout (2018)

Best way to watch: It’s apparent after six films (with a seventh on the way): Tom Cruise really likes playing Ethan Hunt. And with every film, Cruise looks to top the jaw-dropping stunts from the last. Still, there is a stark contrast between the first three films and the rest, in regards to quality and scope. Many will tell you the second film, directed by John Woo, and the third, directed by J.J. Abrams, are the weakest of the set, but they’re still thoroughly enjoyable and feature some truly astonishing stunts – so we suggest you watch them all. And thankfully this is not – yes, we’re gonna say it – impossible to do in one or two days. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Mission Impossible: Fallout is streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu; Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation are streaming on FXNow.


James Bond Franchise

What is it: James Bond, MI6 intelligence officer and international playboy, charms women, thwarts terrorist plots, and sips a shaken martini in well-tailored suits. Based on Ian Fleming’s iconic novels.

How many hours: 55 hours and 11 minutes.

Starts with:  Dr. No (1962)

Ends with:   Spectre (2015)

Best way to watch: For completists, we recommend you start with the Connery films on day one, then do a day of Timothy Dalton, David Niven (the satire Casino Royale from 1967), and George Lazenby’s films, adding one or two of Roger Moore’s. Finish with Moore on day three, then do a full day of Pierce Brosnan for day four, and end the series on day five with Daniel Craig. If that’s a bit too daunting, you can break up the films we suggested for one day across two days instead. If you’re looking for a few to skip, we’d suggest A View to Kill and Octopussy. We’d also suggest you skip Never Say Never Again, as it is a shadow of Connery’s older work; Moonraker is only enjoyable for how laughable it is; and there’s not enough vodka on earth to make The World is Not Enough a good time. Quantum of Solace is another one you can miss, but at least watch the opening scene – it’s fantastic.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, Itunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day are streaming on NetflixQuantum of Solace and Casino Royale (1967) are streaming on HBONow.


Star Trek Franchise

What is it: These are the stories of the USS Enterprise, crafted for the silver screen. Watch Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and later Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) as they lead their crews to the furthest reaches of the universe on a peacekeeping mission to discover new worlds. The films are based on the Star Trek television series and its subsequent spin-offs.

How many hours: 25 hours and 17 minutes.

Starts with:  Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Ends with:  Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Best way to watch: At the risk of angering the original series Trekkies, the first film – Star Trek: The Motion Picture – is simply not very good (it’s 42% on the Tomatometer). The same can be said of The Final Frontier. When we shift into The Next Generation part of the franchise, the series starts off strong but fizzles with Star Trek: Nemesis. We suggest you should skip those four. When you start the reboot franchise, some would advise you to skip Star Trek: Into Darkness, which was much maligned by the fandom but which we say is worth seeing for Benedict Cumberbatch, if nothing else. As far as ordering your binge, watching the series as the films were released is the way to go. Begin with the first set of films featuring the original series characters, followed by the films centering on the cast of The Next Generation, and finish with the reboot films that started in 2009. If you are skipping films following our advice, the new order is original series (The Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock, The Voyage HomeUndiscovered Country), followed by the Next Generation films (Generations, First Contact, Insurrection), and finishing with the 2009 reboot films (Star Trek, Into Darkness, Beyond).

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Star Treks 1-6, First Contact, Insurrection, and Generations are streaming AmazonStar Trek: Into Darkness is streaming on FXnow; and Star Trek Nemesis, First Contact, Generations are streaming on Crackle.


Thumbnail image: yParamount, Paramount, courtesy of the Everett Collection 

 With over fifty years of Bond villains, we thought it would be fun to see who is the fan favorite. Take a look at the poll below and cast your vote. Don’t see your favorite listed? Let us know in the comments! Also, head over to Twitter to enter for a chance to win The Ultimate James Bond Collection and Spectre on Blu-ray.

[socialpoll id=”2329464″]

Bond, James Bond is back. His 26 movies over 53 years have created a long legacy of international espionage, daring escapes, stellar gadgets, and, yes, beautiful women. Celebrate the release of Spectre with our 50 favorite Bond girls throughout history.

 

 

His name may not be instantly familiar, but his work most certainly is: over a prolific career, Vic Armstrong has been a stunt man, stunt coordinator and second unit director on some of the biggest and best-loved action movies of the past four decades — a list of credits far too long to even consider including here. He’s stunt-doubled for successive James Bonds, from Sean Connery to Pierce Brosnan, worn the cape and tights on Richard Donner’s Superman, and famously done stunt work for Harrison Ford on, among many of the actor’s other roles, the original three Indiana Jones films.

Then there’s his work with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone and Angelina Jolie, to name a handful, or — our personal favorite — his listed credit as “Unicorn Master” on Ridley Scott’s Legend. How does one get to be a Unicorn Master, anyway?

Armstrong’s robust career as a second unit action director has also seen him shoot sequences for the likes of James Cameron, Paul Verhoeven, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, while he recently completed work on Marvel’s Thor and forthcoming The Amazing Spider-Man.

This week, he releases his autobiography entitled — and with a fair claim to the crown — The True Adventures of the World’s Greatest Stuntman, which chronicles his career from riding horses for Gregory Peck through his role today as one of the industry’s most sought-after action coordinators.

Armstrong called in for a chat with RT, having just wrapped shooting on Spider-Man, to talk stunts on the new Marvel web-slinger, some career highlights and, as ever, five of his favorite movies. (And hey, if he wants to pick movies he’s worked on — who are we to say no?)

 


Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, 94% Tomatometer)


Raiders would have to be one of them. I just think the ride, the whole thing, is just fabulous entertainment and escapism — and it felt real, you know.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962, 98% Tomatometer)



Lawrence of Arabia, purely for stylistic reasons. For storytelling — and visually telling a story — it’s fantastic.

True Lies (1994, 69% Tomatometer)



True Lies, because it’s a great, great action film with the right amount of action and the right amount of storytelling.

The Terminator (1984, 100% Tomatometer)



I gotta go for one of the Terminators as well — I don’t know which one. [laughs] Probably one, because the first time I saw it… one is always more difficult than the second one, I think. I saw that in Rome after Arnie brought it over when I was doing Red Sonja. We were gonna go out to Rome one night and I said, “I can’t, I’m working, I’ve got a five-o’clock-in-the-morning start,” and he said, “Well, take this — go up to your room and watch this video.” And I watched it — and it was a rough cut of it — and I went, “Oh my god, it’s the greatest film I’ve ever seen.”

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997, 55% Tomatometer)



And then I’d say Tomorrow Never Dies, because I think you get a real bang for your buck in that — and I enjoyed making it. It was just a nice, big Bond, going back to the old style. It just kicks arse, and you believe he’s in there getting his arse kicked as well.

Next, Armstrong talks about filming action on The Amazing Spider-Man and Thor, and takes us through some of the highlights of his impressive career — including his stunt work on the original Indiana Jones films.

 

RT: You’re filming the action stuff on The Amazing Spider-Man at the moment — how’s it all going?

Vic Armstrong: Great; we just wrapped some shooting in New York. Did you see him flying? There were some amazing pictures of him flying.

I did, yeah. Everyone seems to be impressed that you’re doing this old school, with wires and practical stunt work.

It’s amazing how it’s gone full circle. Whenever you get offered a film now it’s like, “We wanna try and do as much of it for real as we can.” And one of the things we always discussed on Spider-Man was that we wanna get away from the CGI Spidey flying through the air — we wanna see it for real, and try to do it as much as we can for real. [Marvel producer] Avi Arad said the other day, “Vic, that’s exactly what you guys did.” There’s a certain movement when you see it; subconsciously you realize it’s real, you know.

Did you look at the other Spider-Man movies for a sense of motion, or is this a whole new thing?

We didn’t look at the other movies, really, because when you think about it, they would have had to look at what we were doing, or the type of work that we were doing on other things, in the old days — probably trapezes and things like that. We based ours on, not a trapeze, but literally vine-swinging, if you like — going back to [Tarzan star] Johnny Weissmuller and that type of action. You work logically: how would you “web” yourself down the street? You’d go one direction and then you’d go another way and you’d use that momentum to come back in another direction. It’s a bit like skiing.

You also did second unit on Thor prior to that, which is doing rather well.

It’s done fantastically. I was really pleased, actually, because we put a lot of effort into it and, again, we did as much as we could for real — knowing that you’re going into a surreal environment, everything that we can put into that that’s real, we did. Do you remember a picture called Starship Troopers, with all the bugs? Huge bug movie, but we did everything we could to interact the terrain, the people, the location, the studio — everything to interact with those bugs, you know. It was the same with Thor: we wanted to put as much reality into it as we could. And we put as much realism as we can into the action by using the actor, as well. Chris [Hemsworth] was fantastic: he trained up and worked with us; it was just like having another stuntman.

Did Andrew Garfield do any of his own stunts on Spider-Man?

Yep, he trained as well, down at this big warehouse we had down in Culver City, where every piece of the action we shot was all mocked up. It was quite funny if you’d seen it: lots of cardboard boxes and platforms simulating buildings or fire escapes or a bridge. Andrew would be there and he’s one of this new breed of actors that wants to be involved in every aspect of their character’s being; so he’s down there with the stunt guys and they would train him up to whatever standard we could get him to. He was very closely involved, and we’d put him in wherever the chance was. He was putting his thumbprint on it, as it were.

 

Your film credits read like a list of the biggest action movies of the past 40 years; I don’t know where we’d begin talking. I understand you got into the business because your dad owned racehorses?

Yep. I think my earliest recollection was in the ’50s, of a very famous English actor called Richard Todd — he kept racehorses with my father. So when I was seven, eight, nine years old I’d watch this guy with a big open Bentley and women in furs, and I would talk to him, in awe, and he’d tell me what films he’d been doing and I’d go off and watch them. So that was my interest on movies. And then I’d come home and get on my pony and gallop off playing Cowboys and Indians on my own, and falling off my pony — so I guess that was my introduction into it.

Were you aware that there were stunt people that did this stuff?

No! [laughs] I was Richard Todd when I was doing it. They never even said they had other people to do it. [laughs]

So, your first paying stunt job doubling for Gregory Peck on Arabesque — how’d you get that?

I had a great horse that could jump anything, and a stuntman called Jimmy Lodge would come and exercise the horses with us. He was the stunt coordinator on Arabesque. One day he said to me, “Look, can I rent your horse off you, because the ones we have on the set are useless.” I rented him the horse and he called next day saying, “We need another good riding double to jump these jumps as well.” And off we went. I thought, “Wow — 20 pounds a day.” That was a week’s wages. I thought it would work very well with my horse racing career. Everyone said don’t rely on this for a living, it’s very spasmodic. If I was a jockey, I probably would have been retired now for 35 years. [laughs] I’d be shoveling sh** now.

And a year later you’re on You Only Live Twice — that must have been something for a young guy.

Oh, I was in awe. I went out to Pinewood Studios, this great cavernous place, and inside there was the inside of a volcano — with rockets standing up and a roof for a helicopter to fly in and a monorail going round and round. I’d never seen a set before like it. The guy who would become my father-in-law, [stunt coordinator] George Leech, said, “We need people to slide down a rope four or five hundred feet,” and I said “Yeah, I can do that” — thinking, “There’s no way anyone can do that.” Again, I was in the right place at the right time of my career.

 

What was your favorite 007 stunt, of all the many films you did?

I think on the Bonds, directorially was when I had more fun — when I was starting to do it with Pierce. The boat chase, and the car chase where the BMW was remote-controlled; they were cool chases and fairly original. How do you make a car chase original? How do you make a boat chase original? And they both came out pretty original. To me, the most important thing is to have exciting and original chases, thinking that you’re not ripping anybody off. And then on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, sliding and hanging off a cliff at the end of this big old ski chase; and then there was the fight with Yaphet Kotto in the shark pen, on Live and Let Die.

Then there’s Superman

That was tremendous, Superman. We’d just finished A Bridge Too Far, another huge, huge movie. I ended up doubling Chris [Reeve], not knowing it was going to be such an iconic film. It was amazing, working with Dick Donner, a guy with such fantastic vision.

Did you get to keep the outfit?

I have, funny enough, Warner Brothers gave me a life-long loan on them: the cape, the tights, the costume. I’ve got a cinema in my house in England and I’ve got them hanging in there. I’m very proud of them.

 

Many fans are familiar with you from your work on the original Indiana Jones movies. How did you meet Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford and get involved with that crew?

When they started Raiders, Wendy, my wife, was on it — she was doubling Karen Allen — and I was in Mexico on Green Ice, with Ryan O’Neal. David Tomlin, the first assistant director, was a good friend of mine, and he said [to Spielberg], “You need to get Vic Armstrong out here, he’s a great double for Harrison.” He tried to get me and I was busy, so they shot in England and then went out to Tunisia, and had been there a week, I think, and I finished up on my film and flew out to meet them. I got there and I was just kind of standing around on the set watching. We said, “We’re not doing anything, let’s slope off and get a quick lunch before the mob get here.” So we started walking away and I heard this person calling, “Harrison! Harrison!” Then somebody grabbed me and spun me around, and it was Steven — and he went, “Oh, you’re not Harrison. What are you doing here?” I said I was a stuntman and he went, “David, come here, this guy says he’s a stuntman, he looks just like Harrison.” David said, “Yeah this is the guy I’ve been telling you about, Steven.” So that was it — straight into the deep end.

The cover of your book is a shot of you, as Harrison, on the rope bridge from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. What was that like to perform?

That was fantastic. That was an amazing construction: we had a company put up that great big bridge with cables wrapped in rope, and then we blew it up for real. It was across this ravine which was two or three hundred feet deep and the water was only 18 inches deep, so you couldn’t have anyone come off it. And then we had the real rope bridge hanging on the side of the ravine, and I did the fight with Mola Ram and then we built another bridge back at Elstree and did some more stuff with people falling off that.

 

Of all the actors you’ve worked with, who would you say was the most game in the stunt work?

That’s gotta be Harrison, Arnie, Tom Cruise or Chris Hemsworth for Thor.

What was it about Harrison?

Just everything, yeah — there’s not a stunt he didn’t do on [the Indiana Jones movies] that he wasn’t in, in some way or form. I mean, I did the jump on to the tank [in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade], but that was silly — you wouldn’t want him to do that. But every little thing — even when he was off on Temple of Doom with a bad back, when he came back the first thing we did was go straight into the fight on the rock-crushing conveyor-belt. We’d shot it with me and then we just went straight into it with him and put him into it. There’s nothing he wouldn’t go for, if you say, “Yeah, this is good and this is okay, you’re not risking too much.” Obviously we don’t want to risk them, because it’s our livelihood, you know — we don’t want them to get hurt, because we wanna keep working. [laughs]

 

You’ve long been a busy second unit action director — was that a natural extension of being a stunt man?

It’s a pure progression from a stunt man, to a stunt coordinator who thinks up the stunts, to the action unit director who works out how you’re going to shoot it. The thing I like about it is the creativity of being the director. You bring everything together: you pick the people, you work out the stunts, you work out the safety, then you get the great thrill of actually shooting them.

I was surprised to discover you shot the opening sequence of Terminator 2.

Yeah. I was supposed to do the whole movie [as second unit director] at one time but I was busy. Anyway, I got off what I was doing and they’d finished [Terminator 2] and said, “We need this opening sequence.” I was thrilled I got to work on it at all, you know, because I love Arnie and I love Cameron’s work. I was very honored to get on to it, I must say.

Has CG changed the way you coordinate second unit action sequences?

I work very, very closely with them [CG artists], and I look at it as your “Get out of jail free” card. When you really need help, that’s what you use it for. It’s like morphine: morphine is a wonderful drug if you really need it, but abuse it and it’s deadly, it’s a killer — it’s the same with CG. CG can kill a sequence. We’ve seen as many films ruined by CG as we have made good by it. But I think it’s only through misuse, you know. It’s a fantastic thing; it’s all in the use. It’s dreadfully abused at times, but it’s all through lack of knowledge of how to do it properly.


Vic Armstrong’s book, The True Adventures of the World’s Greatest Stuntman, is available now.


Spider-Man image via Splash Online. Other images courtesy Vic Armstrong/Titan Publishing.

I end my epic journey today with a writeup of Quantum of Solace, the follow-up to 2006’s Casino Royale that continues the story of a heartbroken Bond out for revenge.


Quantum of Solace (2008) 64%

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Well, here we are. After 24 whirlwind days in the world of James Bond, I’ve come to the final movie thus far in the franchise, Quantum of Solace. It’s been a remarkable experience, and I’m actually kind of sad it’s over, but all good things must come to an end. Brace yourselves, and be warned that while I’ve kept this writeup spoiler-free, you may still want to refrain from reading it until after you’ve seen Quantum of Solace.

I’ve mentioned here and there over the course of this series that watching all of these Bond films has helped me to understand the film universe of 007 on a much deeper level. There are things that I’ve come to expect from a James Bond movie, regardless of who the actor was and during what era the movie was produced. These things are the tried and true elements of the Bond persona, and while one may argue this persona has strayed heavily from its source material, one cannot deny that the silver screen Bond has established a sort of mythology all his own. I think some of you can see where I’m going with this.

Casino Royale effectively upended this mythology and sought to establish a new identity for 007. Not only was he rewritten to be darker and more ruthless, but the transformation was made complete by the controversial casting of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Daniel Craig, arguably less dashing than his predecessors but with a rugged face more suited for the brutal killer Bond would become. At the same time, Casino Royale retained a bit of charm, a pinch of humor, and enough of the familiar conventions that I had come to know and love as distinctly “James Bond.”

With all of this in mind, I also had certain expectations when I finally took my seat to watch Quantum of Solace, but again, my expectations were thoroughly challenged. I don’t want to get into specific details, because I’m not a film critic, and I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone who has yet to see the film. But while I generally liked the movie, I enjoyed it for very different reasons than Casino Royale, and truthfully speaking, I was left with somewhat of a bittersweet aftertaste.

First of all, QoS is action packed. And I mean wall-to-wall, relentless, grimy, cathartic action. The very beginning of the movie plunges the audience into a high octane car chase, the pre-credit spectacle, and the remainder pauses only briefly to expand the plot. It wasn’t always easy to tell what was going on, what with the jittery camera work, but every knuckle to the jaw resounded with a visceral crunch, every gunshot popped with fury, and every fall to the ground vibrated through my back. Bond is just as ferocious, thrusting his body into countless perilous situations and emerging victoriously with an intense glare on his face and a smattering of dirt caked onto his clothes.

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However, aside from a couple of allusions to the Bond franchise (including an obvious homage to Goldfinger), the movie suffers from a lack of signature Bond elements. Though the gadgets, one-liners, massive lairs, Q, and Moneypenny were also absent in Casino Royale, that film still felt like a Bond film because of the nature of its characters and the structure of the story. Quantum of Solace, on the other hand, sports a relatively straightforward script and, despite the promise of a continuing revenge plot, one gets the sense its plot points exist solely to provide context for the explosive action sequences. Bond is also more stoic than ever, with precious few lines of dialogue and little development of his character beyond “I’m pissed off, and someone’s gonna pay!” Whether or not it’s more faithful to Ian Fleming’s novels is moot; because the 007 of the silver screen had been established for forty years, I think it’s somewhat understandable for some fans to be distraught over this.

But this is the double-edged sword. I gained a greater appreciation for Casino Royale after having watched all of its predecessors; this is not necessary to enjoy Quantum of Solace. It’s a hard-hitting action movie that doesn’t require one to be a die-hard Bond fan to indulge in its visceral thrills, so I think fans of action flicks in general will be able to appreciate it on some level, despite it having a thinner plot and no deep connection to the previous installments. This is pure adrenaline, and if that’s all you’re after, it may suffice. If you want more than that, you’ll probably be disappointed, and those simply looking forward to James Bond wreaking havoc will have a better time.

I’ve enjoyed being able to experience all these films with you all, and I never expected to engage you as much as I did in discussing these films. From Dr. No to Quantum of Solace, a whole new universe was opened up to me, and I now have an affection for these films I never would have had before. Thanks for following along with me these past few weeks, and for those of you who have asked if we’ll do this again: yes, based on all of your support for this series, we are currently discussing doing another one, though nothing is finalized.

On a final note, also due to comments many of you have made, here are a few favorites (ane one least favorite) of mine:

  • Favorite Movie: Dr. No
  • Least Favorite Movie: Die Another Day
  • Favorite Bond Actor: Sean Connery
  • Favorite Bond Girl: Tracy di Vicenzo
  • Favorite Villain: Jaws
  • Favorite Car: 1963 Aston Martin DB5
  • Favorite Song: “Live and Let Die” – Paul McCartney and Wings

Other Articles:

Daniel Craig is the new 007, and he is one determined agent. He’s grimy and dark, but stylish and sensitive. And he’s really good at killing people.


Casino Royale (2006) 94%

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I am going to be honest here: the first and only time I saw Casino Royale two years ago, I was underwhelmed by it. Yes, I had certain ideas in mind about what Bond was like, and when Daniel Craig was chosen as the new 007, even I balked and thought, “I can’t see how he fits into my perception of James Bond.” When my friends all returned from a viewing, however, and told me how much they loved the movie, and how incredible Craig was, I decided I would give it a chance. At the time, I was disappointed, and I don’t honestly recall why. I also retained very little from that movie, which is a testament to how little I cared for it. So, when I re-viewed it last night, I was blown away by how wrong I was.

Initially, I completely forgot that Casino Royale was meant to be a reboot of the franchise, so when the opening scene makes mention of Bond just recently being granted “double-0” status, it immediately jogged my memory. Similar revelations would occur later in the film when Bond “acquires” his classic Aston Martin DB5, and when he meets Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) for the first time — since I finally had some context, I reacted to this meeting with a giddy, “Ohhh, that’s Felix Leiter!” This was a giddiness I didn’t experience the first go-round, and it would characterize several moments throughout the film for me.

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There were some things I noticed in Casino Royale that recalled elements from the series as a whole, and these were again things I didn’t pick up on without the full context. First of all, while the early parkour chase scene was incredibly shot and choreographed, it demonstrated a continuance of Bond’s habit of recklessness, as he not only destroys an entire construction site in Madagascar, but also storms into the grounds of an embassy and shoots an unarmed man on camera. Next, there’s also the disposable mistress-of-a-bad guy who he beds for information and who ultimately gets iced. Then, there’s the sophisticated nemesis who’s not only asthmatic but also sports a freaky eye that “weeps blood.” I don’t point these out as flaws; on the contrary, they are dutiful homages to the franchise that reassure us we are indeed seeing James Bond, however different in tone he might be, and I was able to appreciate them in a way I couldn’t when I first saw this movie. When Bond puts on a tux for the first time, for example, and his theme music rises in the background, I cracked a warm smile.

Then there’s the Bond girl, Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd, who plays a crucial role in the film and provides the kind of sexual tension only a few other Bond girls have been able to manage. Her conversations with Bond were some of the most fun dialogue in the movie, and her role was written convincingly enough that when Bond eventually falls for her, I bought it wholesale. The twist at the end adds an even deeper level to her character, making her one of the best Bond girls, period, if not the best.

I also enjoyed M’s role in Casino Royale. Every time I thought to myself, “Gee, that was careless of him,” or “There goes Bond’s libido again,” M pretty much echoed my thoughts and spat them directly at Bond herself. She plays the voice of reason in the movie, and she let me know that the writers were aware of many of the things I’d seen in the previous Bond movies and that this new Bond was bucking the system anyway. This only further reinforced the idea that Bond does not live in an alternate universe of loose logic and no consequences; he simply doesn’t care, and he’s going to do whatever he damn well pleases anyway. In other words, Bond is a badass.

Daniel Craig makes an intimidating 007, but he is not without humor, and Casino Royale isn’t all blood and brooding. The action sequences are all pretty impressive, though some are better than others, and they are spaced out nicely by important plot elements that are engaging to watch in their own right. However, I thought Le Chiffre was a so-so villain, and I can understand some of the criticisms I’ve heard about this movie taking inspiration from the Bourne series. But I don’t fault the makers of Casino Royale for wanting to take Bond in a new direction, because it feels more in line with what modern moviegoers are looking for in an action film. Audiences are smarter and more discerning now than ever, so it makes sense to reboot the franchise with material that hits harder. With all of this in mind, be sure to come back tomorrow for my thoughts on Quantum of Solace.

Favorite line: “Now the world’s gonna know you died scratching my balls!”

Favorite moment: I loved the parkour chase. I thought it was breathtaking even the first time I saw it, and rewatching it last night was no different.


Other Articles:

We come to the end of the Pierce Brosnan era, and he exits the Bond universe in a flurry of silliness.


Die Another Day (2002) 56%

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When I went to the video store to pick up my last two rentals in this series, the guy ringing me up said, “How are you gonna rent Die Another Day and Casino Royale at the same time? Casino Royale was off the hook, but Die Another Day has an invisible car!” With that over-the-counter assessment in mind, I set off to embark on the wild ride that is Die Another Day, the final Pierce Brosnan installment and one that would yield more scribbles in my notebook than any other thus far.

The opening action sequence is the first one in a while that failed to impress me. There are hovercrafts and exploding diamonds, and it was novel (if not ridiculous) to see Bond surfing his way onto a North Korean beach, but it wasn’t very exciting. It’s also the first time we don’t see Bond escape at the end of the preliminary scenes, and as the opening credits roll by to an awful Madonna song, we see glimpses of Bond’s life in captivity, slowly transforming into Robinson Crusoe. When the song dies down and a scraggly Bond is trotted out before a North Korean general, you almost expect him to be carrying a volleyball with a face painted on it.

Usually, I can forgive lapses in logic if the execution of the story is strong enough to merit it, but this was not often the case in Die Another Day. Take, for example, the first encounter that Bond has with the central villain, Gustav Graves (played by Toby Stephens). Graves is practicing a bit of fencing in what appears to be a fancy private studio when Bond comes strolling in — we’re not even clear how either of them got here, as the last scene has Graves on his way to meet the Queen, with Bond standing in the audience as Graves drives away. Bond sidles up to the fencing instructor, played by Madonna, and after a mere exchange of names, she offers to introduce him to Graves. Why? Who knows?

Then, after the ensuing introduction, Graves and Bond engage in a friendly fencing match — okay, fine. But after Bond ups the ante with a controversial diamond from Graves’s company, Graves insists they raise the stakes, fence with real swords, and choose a winner based on who draws blood first. They do so, and everyone simply watches for about 5 minutes before Graves’s assistant steps in and stops the fight. This makes absolutely no sense. If I walked into a private gun range where Bill Gates was engaged in target practice, then challenged him to a duel at twenty paces with live ammunition, and nobody did anything to stop us, that MIGHT come close to what took place in the aforementioned scene.

If you can, with good conscience, chalk these up to subtle, innocent oversights, then consider what else Die Another Day offers. There’s the poorly constructed set pieces that look like they were built by high school drama teams in their garages; there’s Q branch’s incredible leaps in technology, like a seamless virtual reality battle simulator and the infamous invisible car; there’s Bond surfing on a tidal wave caused by a collapsing glacier; there’s Graves’s ice palace and electrified Nintendo Power Glove. I’m sorry, but when did they bring Joel Schumacher in to direct a Bond movie?

And what about the acting? Well, in all honesty, it wasn’t that bad, but there also isn’t a whole lot of opportunity for actors to emote in any of these Bond films. The “acting” here mostly consists of thinly veiled (emphasis on “thinly”) double entendres, lots of scowling, some screaming, and a few lines of expository dialogue. What’s sad is that, even with such a simple script, there is still room to screw it up, which Halle Berry (as Jinx) does on numerous occasions. Now, this might be personal bias, but I wouldn’t place Berry much higher than Denise Richards, and I never have, Oscar win notwithstanding. I have never thought she was a great actress, and she did nothing to convince me otherwise in this movie, so it was pretty much par for the course.

Overall, I thought this was an absolutely ludicrous and unnecessary addition to the Bond series. It felt like they hired the writers of the James Bond Jr. cartoon series to pen the script for Die Another Day because everyone else was too busy working on movies that actually required some logic. However — and this is a big “however” — if you’re able to turn your brain off completely, or if you’re the type of attention-deficit viewer this movie was obviously aimed at (and which I can be from time to time), it will certainly keep you occupied for a couple of hours. It’s silly, it’s inane, it’s excessive, and sometimes it’s even downright stupid, but when you break it down, it pretty much follows the same formula shared by many of the Bond films, so if you rent it, you know what you’re getting into anyway.



Favorite line: Zao: “Who sent you?” Jinx: “Yo momma.” This, ladies and gentlemen, is quality dialogue.

Favorite moment: There’s a touching scene at the end when Graves reveals his true identity to his father, the aforementioned North Korean general. The audience already knows this, and as the general enters the room, Graves is standing with his back turned to him. He turns to face his father, but all suspense is ruined when we see he’s wearing a ridiculous pair of goggles to match his Power Gloves. I actually laughed out loud.


Other Articles:

The World Is Not Enough continues Bond’s signature antics with nothing particularly new to offer. I didn’t think it was as bad as some have said, but it probably wouldn’t make it into my top 10 either.


The World Is Not Enough (1999) 52%

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Twenty films in, and my affection for James Bond only grows. The first thing I want to say before I begin is that I absolutely love the James Bond theme music. As the gun barrel spiral zeroes in on Bond in the intro before The World Is Not Enough, we hear a slightly updated version of the music, and not only is it an iconic tune, but it’s just great music, period. It’s a testament to John Barry’s talent that the same music could be used for every Bond movie, with few changes, and still sound great; it never gets old. I can’t say the same for some of the theme songs that have accompanied a few of the films, but while I’m not a Sheryl Crow fan, I thought her song for Tomorow Never Dies actually wasn’t too bad, and Garbage’s song for The World Is Not Enough was even better.

It seems they’ve finally settled Brosnan comfortably into the role of 007, as evidenced by the first handful of scenes. The pre-credits opening again sets the standard impressively high for action throughout the movie, with its improbable boat chase and freefall from a hot air balloon. Once placed in physical therapy for his injuries, Bond also recalls his skeevier days by sleeping with his doctor in exchange for a clean bill of health, allowing him to return to active duty. Then we have the obligatory Q Branch scene, albeit a sad one, as Desmond Llewelyn seems to be bidding us farewell as Q. I really loved his character, but I understand his need to pass the torch, as he was starting to resemble a muppet. I’m happy with the choice of John Cleese as his successor, though his introduction signals the beginning of a goofier Q than we’ve come to know, and I’ll definitely miss Llewelyn.

I was pleased with the idea that Sophie Marceau’s character, Elektra King, was one of the two central villains. This is, more or less, what I was referring to a few movies ago when I speculated how neat it would be to incorporate a female nemesis. I suspected early on that she was playing Bond for a fool, but there was enough intrigue in the plot to make me question my decision once or twice. Her counterpart, Renard (played by Robert Carlyle, who I like) was sufficiently menacing, but I thought he was somewhat underused. Unfortunately, while Marceau and Renard are both great actors, in my opinion, to have both of them share bad-guy duties ensured that neither of them really shone as the true villain.

The action, as I’ve mentioned, was very good yet again, though I’m noticing a few things. First of all, there are key elements that a Bond movie must have to be a Bond movie. At first I identified these elements simply as motorized chases, but I’ve come to expand on that. The chase must be either in a car or in a boat, and in the rare case will incorporate a chopper. Secondly, there is the option of having a winter sports chase, typically on skis, that results in at least one enemy falling to his or her death (on a side note, all rich people are expert extreme-skiers). Lastly, the final battle must always be so long that it becomes laborious and unexciting, which was the case for me in TWINE.

I am enjoying watching the relationship between Bond and the new M develop. Judi Dench’s M is a very different M than that of Bernard Lee. While Lee was constantly shaking his finger at Bond and treating him in much the same way that Q did, like a father giving his son a noogie, Dench plays the role with a much more serious tone. In addition, I believe TWINE is the first Bond film to involve M in the plot significantly, and I think this helps to elevate her character beyond a simple paper pusher sending Bond out on all these crazy missions.

Having said all of this, there is nothing particularly notable about The World Is Not Enough. It’s fairly typical, as far as Bond films are concerned, and nothing new or particularly earth shattering is introduced. And, of course, it had its faults; there’s Bond throwing out puns and one-liners like there’s no tomorrow, and there’s the casting of Denise Richards – I didn’t have a problem with her claiming to be a nuclear scientist, but I did have a problem with her atrocious acting, and even this isn’t something I haven’t seen before. To be honest, I took very few notes while watching this movie, because there wasn’t a whole lot to remark on. Overall, I was underwhelmed, and while the production quality of the Bond films has increased dramatically over the years, I feel that they’ve lost something in the way of charm, and with only two more films to watch, I find myself more drawn to the earlier installments.

Favorite line: “He’s no atomic scientist.” — Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones (what is this, a blaxploitation film?) when Bond is discovered impersonating a scientist. Oh the irony…

Favorite moment: It’s a sentimental one. I almost choked up when Bond turned to Q and said, “You’re not retiring any time soon… are you?” and Q descended out of view, saying, “Always have an escape plan.” You’re my boy, Q!


Other Articles:

Brosnan returns as 007 in Tomorrow Never Dies and blows up a lot of stuff. At least, that’s what I remember the most.


Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) 56%

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I found Pierce Brosnan enjoyable as James Bond, and thought GoldenEye was pretty good. I made a comment yesterday about how I noticed every first film from each of the actors to portray 007 has been of a higher caliber, and it makes sense. If you’re going to introduce a new actor, you want to present him in as palatable a way as possible, with a tighter script, exciting stunts, impressive set pieces, and pretty women. I felt that Tomorrow Never Dies was a decent follow-up to GoldenEye, and I came to another realization of mine about the Bond films as a whole.

Specifically, I realized that what prevented me from enjoying some of the older Bond films — and what simultaneously entertained me — was the fact that the production quality of those films was a bit dated. If you’re going to make a grand spy thriller with larger-than-life scenarios and characters, you need to have the budget and the technology to make it look real. While I’m sure the special effects were convincing for audiences at the time, as someone who’s watching them now for the first time, I found that they were just passable, if not hilariously obvious. Now that the Bond films have entered the 1990s and beyond, I’m starting to see a more impressive quality in them, and it’s helping me to forgive some of the other faults.

The biggest bone I had to pick with Tomorrow Never Dies was the sinister premise at the heart of the story. A media mogul (Jonathan Pryce as Elliot Carver) is willing to risk nuclear war between two world superpowers, just so that he can obtain “exclusive broadcasting rights in China for the next 100 years?” Come on, now. That’s absurd, even by Bond standards. Sure, one could argue that this simply proves how insane Carver is, but that would be kind of a copout. I think it’s more accurate to say that after 18 movies based on the same formula, the idea people were just running out of ideas.

Having said that, I thought the action scenes were well done, even thrilling at some points, and I think that’s very important for any movie that thrives on its action. Bond is as destructive as ever, and the police never seem to be around when baddies are committing such atrocities as flying a helicopter, blades angled to the ground, through a crowded pedestrian thoroughfare. Similarly, when Bond essentially breaks into Carver’s headquarters and starts blasting away at the employees there, we conveniently forget that he’s the one trespassing, and every time a scientist or paper pusher hits the floor, we cheer. But to his credit, Bond really kicks some tail, and that’s really all we want to see anyway.

Refreshingly, the women are again more than mere eye candy or reasons for Bond to flex his romantic muscle (no pun intended). I suppose that’s arguable when it comes to Teri Hatcher’s Paris Carver, but her relationship with Bond is convincing enough for me. The more impressive one is Michelle Yeoh who, like Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me, holds her own just as well as Bond does. She’s got her own gadgets, her own hi-tech hideout, her own arsenal, and her own set of combat moves to rival him. She makes a nice partner for Bond, and it would be neat to see her as a recurring collaborator for him, much like Felix Leiter. I’m fairly certain that doesn’t happen, but I think it would have worked.

As for the villain, I like Jonathan Pryce but I didn’t like him in this role. It’s difficult for me to see him as a villain in the first place, but I think he suffered even more from the ridiculous premise. It’s hard for me to take him seriously when he’s menacingly wringing his hands about tricking England and China into destroying each other so he can… get ratings. His henchman, Stamper, is a beast, like a genetically manufactured superman. But he doesn’t do much aside from the ordinary henchman duties, so he’s not particularly fun to watch.

Overall, I thought Tomorrow Never Dies was okay. The best thing about the movie was its action sequences, which were all very spectacular and well constructed. The acting was by-the-books, as were the story and the villains, so there weren’t any surprises, bad or good. Brosnan is definitely less cheeky than Roger Moore, but he retains some of the charm of Connery, and just a smidge of Dalton’s ruthlessness. Back when this came out, I probably would have gotten excited about it, enjoyed it in the theater, and promptly forgotten about it soon after.

Favorite line: “Pump her for information.” — M says this to Bond about Paris Carver. Nuff said.

Favorite moment: Michelle Yeoh is captured by Stamper and brought before Carver. When she attempts to strike out at him, Carver does his best kung fu impersonation, which goes on for a couple seconds too long, and then spits out, “How pathetic.” Yes, indeed, how pathetic.


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After two gritty films with Timothy Dalton as 007, Pierce Brosnan resurrects the series from a 6-year sleep with 1995’s GoldenEye. I liked the film, and I felt it was tightly produced. Read on for more.


GoldenEye (1995) 79%

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The opening of GoldenEye sets a rather thrilling tone for the rest of the movie, and it continues the trend of incorporating mind-boggling stunts at the outset of each Bond film. The leap off the edge of the dam is exhilarating, and Bond’s subsequent break-in to the weapons facility is convincingly executed. Now that we’re officially in the mid-90s, the production quality is top notch and, unlike many of the previous entries, holds up relatively well compared to the action we see today.

Pierce Brosnan exudes the same kind of charisma that Roger Moore did, except that Brosnan is a little smoother and a little less stiff. All traces of the Dalton Bond seem to have disappeared here, and the first quarter of GoldenEye definitely felt like a return to the old Bond formulas. In fact, in the traditional chase scene wherein Bond meets Famke Janssen’s Xenia Onatopp, we see him driving his classic Aston Martin DB5. And with Onatopp, we also have a return to the suggestive female names.

Later on, we’re introduced to the new M, played by Judi Dench. Allusions to her “predecessor” are made in passing, and the villain, Janus (Sean Bean), a former MI6 agent himself, mentions the fact that the “new M” is a woman. I think this was an effective transition from one M to another, and since Judi Dench is so good in the role, it didn’t bother me at all.

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In fact, the acting all around is pretty solid in GoldenEye. Onatopp is a little excessive at times, and Alan Cumming is surprisingly unconvincing as a super hacker (you’d think he’d fit perfectly in a role like that), but I really felt everyone else delivered. Even Izabella Scorupco, who plays Natalya Simonova, eventually proves herself, after the first half of the movie had me thinking she’d be another one of those disposable Bond girls we hardly remember. There’s also another new Moneypenny, and while she’s fine in her 5 minutes on screen, the attempts to recreate the sexual tension that existed between Lois Maxwell and Sean Connery or Roger Moore fell far short. They weren’t clever or witty so much as cold and even a little acerbic.

The sinister plot at the heart of the story is somewhat unimportant, but Sean Bean and Famke Janssen make a mean pair. Onatopp’s rather unique “skill” is… interesting, if a bit silly; I pictured her threatening to squeeze the life out of Professor X and screaming, “Call me… the Thighmaster!” And Sean Bean, well, he’s yet another one of those actors who just looks like a bad guy; I think it’s his beady, scheming eyes. He’s quickly offed (par for the course, really) in the first few minutes of the movie, but his name shows up second in the opening credits, so it’s clear he’ll come back into play at some point. And when he does — as the film’s central villain — he’s convincing enough to make his ridiculous motives sound genuine, unlike, say, Drax, who just looked like he spent a lot of time reading Marie Claire and snacking on popcorn chicken.

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In general, the action was put together very well, I thought. There were moments of utter chaos that harkened back to the recklessness of Roger Moore’s Bond, particularly during the tank chase (side note: if you’ve ever wondered if you can drift in a tank, the answer is yes), but for some reason, I reveled in the mass destruction. The set pieces were impressive, and the fistfights were choreographed well, especially compared to the early 007 films. I think these were elements that really blossomed with the Dalton films, but here it’s quite apparent that a lot more money was spent on hardware (tanks, choppers, etc.) and special effects.

Overall, I thought GoldenEye was a tightly crafted Bond movie. I’ve obviously learned by now to suspend my disbelief to enjoy these, so I had few qualms with continuity or logic here. The story, while not the most creative, moved along at a pretty even pace, which kept me engaged for the most part. And seeing Brosnan operate as Bond really shed light on precisely how grim Dalton was in the role, which is not to say that was a bad thing at all. I think it’s fascinating to see what each actor brings to 007, and I look forward to what else Brosnan can offer.

Favorite line: “No, you’re supposed to die for me.” — Perhaps Janus had some encounters with Goldfinger during his MI6 days.

Favorite moment: Bond and Simonova are trapped inside a stolen chopper as missiles are about to destroy them. In a desperate effort to escape, Bond starts swinging his head furiously, attempting to press buttons with his forehead. Eventually he finds the Eject button, but the imagery was hilarious.


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In his second and final Bond film, Timothy Dalton continues to portray a serious Bond. Find out whether or not I would miss him.


Licence to Kill (1989) 78%

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While there are some nutty elements in the opening scenes of Licence to Kill, it’s immediately clear that this would be a darker film. Timothy Dalton returns for his second and final turn as James Bond, surveying every situation through cold, narrow eyes, and the central villain, Franz Sanchez (played by Robert Davi, aka the guy who also tried to kill the Goonies) makes a menacing debut, executing his girlfriend’s lover-on-the-side and brutally whipping her for her transgression. So when the scene ends with Bond and Leiter parachuting down to Leiter’s wedding ceremony, the shift in tone threw me off.

But once that’s over and Maurice Binder’s trademark opening credits roll through, we dive right into the story, and more violence ensues. Temporarily captured for drug trafficking, Sanchez manages to escape by paying off a DEA agent and subsequently raids Leiter’s home, murders his wife, and feeds Leiter to sharks. When the latter took place, I found myself visibly disturbed, not because the scene was particularly gory, but because I was shocked at the possibility of Leiter being killed. He survives, luckily (and yes, unrealistically), and when Bond is denied the opportunity to go after Sanchez, he storms off to embark on what amounts to a revenge story.

This is a striking departure from the plots of previous Bond films, which mainly focused on sinister masterminds with ambitious plans for world domination. Licence to Kill, despite the international intrigue it eventually develops, is pretty much about Bond on a rampage to fulfill a personal vendetta — more evidence of the pure justice that Dalton’s Bond seems to embody. And to be honest, I thought that was kind of cool.

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Also, I liked the idea of Bond presenting himself as an ally to Sanchez in order to get closer to him; I thought that this storyline played out realistically. When I wondered what would happen when Bond and Dario (a very young Benicio Del Toro), one of Sanchez’s henchmen, later ran into each other again, the results were also realistic. In fact, this movie had me in its clutches for most of its duration because I felt that the smattering of classic Bond camp was, for once, welcome relief from the gritty plot.

Robert Davi was excellent as Sanchez, I thought. He’s one of those actors who seems to play villains with a certain relish, like he enjoys being sadistic and manipulative. Though he doesn’t have a particularly imposing physical presence, he makes you believe he’s capable of evil things. He might not punch you if you insult him to his face, but he’ll smile and wait two weeks until you’re attending your daughter’s college graduation and send three thugs to gun down your entire extended family while you’re celebrating. Unfortunately, I didn’t think much of Talisa Soto as Sanchez’s woman, Lupe; Carey Lowell — while only slightly more convincing as an actress — at least made the bravado of Pam Bouvier fun to watch alongside Bond. And it’s nice to see Q, lovable old fart that he is, scuttling around and taking more of an active part in the story.

The story lost steam when Wayne Newton appeared as a cult leader, complete with a pyramid HQ set piece. In a film that seemed relatively grounded in reality and violence, the final scenes felt very out of place to me, and what could have been a great movie ended up being just good. After an hour and a half of plotting, double-crossing, and manipulation, the last thing I wanted to see was an 18-wheeler doing a wheelie and Wayne Newton fleeing from an exploding pyramid with a bag of money in his arms. It’s not that I don’t think Bond should be campy; I just don’t think it worked so well here.

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Favorite line: “Looks like he came to a dead end.” — Bond says this about a double-crossing DEA agent who’s been skewered by a forklift.

Favorite moment: Late in the movie, Lupe bursts into the hotel room where Q and Pam are preparing to leave the Bahamas, and when she confesses to Pam that Bond spent the night with her, Q rolls his eyes and breaks up the inevitable catfight. I just like that Q is sort of a (grand)father figure to Bond. I can picture him feeding pigeons and giving butterscotch candies to little kids.


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Today we come to the fourth actor to play 007, Timothy Dalton. I found his portrayal to be very different from those of his predecessors, and I liked him in the role.


The Living Daylights (1987) 74%

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With the Roger Moore era now at a close, I was eager to see what Timothy Dalton would do with 007. I believe my childhood perception of James Bond’s image came from Dalton’s portrayal of Bond, even though I never watched either of his films; The Living Daylights is the first Bond movie I personally recall opening in theaters, and his look was immediately recognizable to me. Plus, after Moore’s elderly antics in A View to a Kill, I was ready for a fresh face.

I knew, of course, that Dalton was the next Bond, so his first appearance on screen wasn’t the big dramatic reveal it could have been. What did surprise me was that, despite my expectations, the opening scenes of The Living Daylights were pretty standard fare. Another impressive skydiving sequence begins the festivities, and then it jumps right into the action. After the mysterious killer Bond is pursuing drives an exploding jeep off a ramp and into the ocean, we find Bond climbing aboard a yacht, where a scantily clad woman on a cell phone is telling someone how she wishes for a “real man.”

But as the movie went on, I began to see the stark difference between Dalton and Moore. In fact Dalton was very different from Connery, too. Moore was obviously a more jolly Bond, if smug, dropping one liners left and right and prancing about more so than strutting; Connery was a smooth-talker, arrogant and commanding, but honestly kind of a jerk. Dalton, however, is stoic, with an ideal face for scowling, and he seems less flippant, less coy. With Dalton’s Bond, what you see is what you get, and I liked that. Whatever it may imply about my own personality, I felt that, of all the Bonds so far, Dalton is the one I’d probably get along with the best. Because, you know, I regularly pal around with British spies.

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With the end of the Moore Era also came the end of Lois Maxwell as Ms. Moneypenny, so I want to say something about her. I really liked her as Moneypenny. Throughout the series, I believed that her interactions with 007, as brief and sporadic as they were, reflected a unique chemistry that was seldom found in the Bond girls he went to bed with. In fact, very early on I determined that Moneypenny would have made the perfect wife for Bond, if he ever settled down. Of course, Tracy Di Vicenzo changed all that, and I actually sympathized with the melancholy Moneypenny at their wedding. But Lois Maxwell has been replaced by Caroline Bliss, and she doesn’t quite achieve the same rapport with Bond. I shall reserve final judgment on her until I see more of her.

While Dalton himself was a more serious, heart-on-his-sleeve 007, The Living Daylights wasn’t without its measure of camp. The chase sequence in his new Aston Martin (the most beautiful Bond car since his DB5, in my opinion) includes an enemy car getting sliced in half by a laser, as well as Bond dragging a cabin across a frozen lake before gunning it and bursting through its doors. The end of that scene, to top it off, has Bond and his female companion, Maryam D’Abo’s Kara Milovy, escaping down a snowy slope on a cello case. But there are only a few such scenes, and Dalton never winks at the audience, so to speak, like Moore did; his demeanor seems to say, “I know this looks ridiculous, but I have a mission to complete!”

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Overall, I really enjoyed The Living Daylights. Perhaps some of you were right in guessing that after 7 Moore films, I’d find Dalton to be refreshingly somber. But aside from his personality, I also felt that Dalton’s Bond acted more like a spy here, squeezing information out of Kara Milovy and utilizing misdirection as effectively as his exploding key fob. You could also sense palpable frustration and anger at times, which made Bond a bit less godlike and helped ground the film. Overall, I would say I’d rank this in the upper tier of Bond films so far, and I’m looking forward to Licence to Kill.

Favorite Line: “Stuff my orders!… Tell M what you want. If he fires me, I’ll thank him for it.” — Bond says this to his partner when he’s questioned about deliberately missing a sniper shot at Kara Milovy. This happens near the beginning of the movie, and it was the first indication to me that Dalton would be a different kind of Bond.

Favorite scene: Towards the end, as Bond is attempting to steer a rogue plane down a runway, Kara comes running up from behind and hugs him, grasping his head and muffling his face. Bond is visibly annoyed and you can hear him say “Kara!” in a tone that implies “Get the hell off of me! Can’t you see I’m trying to fly a plane here?”


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After showing signs of aging in previous films, Roger Moore finally takes his last turn at playing Bond. Read on to see how much it affected my viewing.


A View to a Kill (1985) 38%

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I don’t know if Roger Moore knew this was going to be his last Bond film or not, but it doesn’t seem as if he cared, because there’s nothing particularly outstanding or notable about A View to a Kill. At the same time, strangely enough, I actually didn’t think this installment was quite as unwatchable as I was made to believe. Maybe my judgment was clouded by just a little bit of wine from an election night get-together, or maybe my expectations were so low that I could only be pleasantly surprised. Yes, this movie was laughably bad, but for some reason, I really didn’t mind. Go figure.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Roger Moore is officially eligible for the senior discount at Denny’s. You can see the loose skin dangling from his neck like a Christmas turkey, and when a stunt double isn’t doing the dirty work for him, he looks a little… tired. Even his libido seems to be on the downswing; he flirts with girls, sure, but we no longer see him forcibly storming his way into their pants. And let’s face it, at his age, that would just be creepy.

Another sour point I’ll mention is the choice of women in the film. Stacey Sutton (played by Tanya Roberts), who does have the most incredible eyes, is absolutely horrendous, on par with Rosie Carver in Live and Let Die. May Day (Grace Jones) is fine as a henchwoman of few words, blessed with superhuman strength — I’m willing to accept that. But she flips a sudden 180 very late in the movie (arguably warranted), and don’t even get me started on the love scenes. When central villain Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) has May Day pinned to the floor in a sparring match and cranes his neck in for a sloppy kiss, it’s like watching Ellen DeGeneres make out with Wesley Snipes.

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I did like Walken as Zorin, though, and I’m not just saying that because it’s hip to like Walken. His idiosyncrasies make for perfect villain material, and when Bond calls him psychotic, you almost believe it more, specifically because it’s Christopher Walken — of course he’s crazy. As a matter of fact, if someone told me that he was the product of genetic experimentation gone wrong, like Zorin, the world might actually make more sense. He doesn’t quite play up to his potential, but he was believable, I thought.

As for the campy elements, there were plenty of over-the-top scenes. There’s 007 snowboarding down a mountain to the soundtrack of “California Girls;” driving literally half a car down a motorway during a chase; engaging in a video game-style horse race, complete with moving obstacles and roughhousing opponents at his side. And what in the name of all that is holy was the fire truck scene all about? That was downright absurd, from start to finish.

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Now, after all this, you’d expect me to say that I hated this movie, right? Well, I can’t justify it — I can’t even really explain it — but at the end of the day, I was actually sort of entertained. Stupidity abounds in A View to a Kill, subplots disappear without a trace, logic and physics are tested to the extreme, performances are dubious, and there’s little action to get excited about. I can’t even say that these loony elements are what endeared the film to me, because that wouldn’t be entirely true. For whatever reason, however, the two hours just flew by for me. Next comes a new Bond, which is exciting, so it’s with a rather numb heart that I bid farewell to the Roger Moore era.

Favorite line: This is Zorin finishing a line spoken by May Day — “What a view…” “…to a kill!” I still don’t know what that means, but bonus points for using the film’s title in the dialogue.

Favorite moment: It probably has to be the make out scene between Christopher Walken and Grace Jones, because I couldn’t help wondering what their spawn would be like… Quite possibly the greatest world leader history has known. Either that, or the most eccentric UFC champion ever. Hell, maybe both.


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