The new “Bond” film “No Time to Die” is trying to save the cinema these days. Daniel Craig is seen for the fifth and final time in Her Majesty’s service. But what place does Craig take in the ranks of “007” actors?
When “James Bond” made its theatrical debut in the early 1960s, Thomas Connery, born in Scotland in 1930 and later Sir Sean Connery, was not the first choice. Producer Albert R. Broccoli favored the then Hollywood star Cary Grant and “007” inventor Ian Fleming could imagine David Niven, Roger Moore or even his cousin Christopher Lee in the role.
Connery made the running and made it – including the out-of-order Bond film “Never Say Never” – seven appearances as Her Majesty’s secret agent. Connery was the first to have a lasting impact on the image of how the character of “James Bond” was perceived. In the age of the #MeToo debate, however, it cannot be ignored that Connerys Bond was a sexist macho whose advances towards the female gender often fulfilled the issue of sexual coercion. The excuse that this was only due to the zeitgeist of those days rightly triggers head shakes today.
Humor and depth of character
George Lazenby made his only appearance as James Bond in 1969 in the middle of the Connery era. While the Australian didn’t add anything striking to the role, his solo number didn’t harm the character either. “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” is a solid “007” film that, when viewed objectively, even overshadows some Connery productions.
“Oscars & Raspberries”
Every Friday, Ronny Rüsch presents “Oscars & Raspberries”, the ntv podcast all about streaming. This time it’s about the phenomenon “James Bond”. After 59 years on the screen, “007” is more than just a single face. Bond was also always a reflection of his respective epoch.
When Roger Moore took on the role of the famous agent in 1973, the era of action comedy began in the Bond universe. Moore made his mark on the agent franchise from the first scene. Apart from sexism, his Bond had nothing in common with Connery’s interpretation. One can be divided about Roger Moore, but one fact cannot be avoided: All of his appearances as Bond – with some reservations even “The Man with the Golden Gun” – are fun and offer great action scenes. Until his last adventure, when he was almost 60 years old jumping around on the Eiffel Tower “In the face of death”, his James Bond exudes a winking, even lovable snobbery.
Timothy Dalton – the fourth in the league – was ahead of his time with his “007” portrayal in the days of the fall of the Berlin Wall. His bond was too serious for the audience at the time. Dalton’s second and last mission in “License to Kill” is considered to be one of the most humorless and toughest ever. The Welshman may not be the best Bond, but he gave “007” a depth of character that only Daniel Craig should perfect.
A closed unit in the Bond universe
Irishman Pierce Brosnan also basically did nothing wrong. His Bond was the perfect Connery Moore symbiosis: charismatic, tough, funny and aristocratic. Nevertheless, the days of the laser beam and ejector seat agent, who grabbed women’s laundry without being asked, were finally over. And so, alongside Connery and Moore, it will be Daniel Craig in particular who will be linked to the role of James Bond.
In the beginning, sardonically ridiculed as “blonde Bond”, Craig led the fictional MI6 agent into modern times. Craig’s “007” has a beginning and an end. His five missions stand in the Bond universe as a closed unit that has created a unique selling point. His James Bond broke away from the encrusted structures of its predecessors. Daniel Craig gave the character invented by Ian Fleming a life of its own. The “blonde Bond” was also able to win over Bond opponents.
Whether these facts make him the best James Bond of all time is difficult to say. After 59 years on the screen, “007” is more than just a single face. Bond was also always a reflection of his respective epoch. All six actors to date have helped shape the most famous agent in film history, and everyone has left behind one or the other facet.
more on the subject
A detailed review of all “James Bond” films – 25 of which can be streamed on Sky – is now available in the new episode of the ntv podcast “Oscars & Raspberries” with Ronny Rüsch and Axel Max.