With last week’s news that Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig will begin shooting the next James Bond film in December (the brand’s 24th feature), I was wondering if the universally beloved Skyfall was the most well-received Bond film of all time.
Granted, the tone of the series has varied through the decades; compare the gravity of Skyfall or Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale to the cheeky cheesiness of the later Roger Moore era, namely Moonraker and Octopussy. All things considered, what are the most and least beloved Bond films?
First, let’s look at the viewers’ point-of-view on IMDb, about as level a high-volume playing field as one can get (overabundant love for The Dark Knight, notwithstanding):
:: The lowest? The last Bond appearance for Pierce Brosnan, Die Another Day, with a 6.1.
To give you a bit of context for the two most frequent Bonds, Sean Connery movies range between 6.7 and 7.3, while the Roger Moore entries land between 6.2 and 7.1. Timothy Dalton (who barely appeared in two Bond movies) hits an average 6.7 or so; Brosnan has a broad range from 6.1 to 7.2. Craig has been Bond three times, with only Quantum of Solace falling way short for fans (a 6.7).
Now, on to the critics. This is a tougher analysis since the two more reliable review sites, Rotten Tomatoes and metacritic, have different scoring approaches, and the latter only lists Bond films beginning in the mid 1990s. RT only judges on a ‘yes / no’ basis, of course, with the number representing the percentage of critics who recommend a film; metacritic produces a score that reflects each critic’s passion (or lack thereof) for the movie.
:: The critics’ favorite James Bond film of all time? Well, that’s tricky.
The highest rating for a Bond entry on Rotten Tomatoes is the original Bond, Dr. No, scoring a 98. Let’s assume — and this is a pretty strong assumption — that most, if not all, of these recommendations came decades after the 1962 release, so there’s gotta be a strong dose of nostalgia and Connery fandom involved here.
But if we look at a combination of the highest metacritic rating and a complement of the strongest RT number?
The top film is Casino Royale again, scoring a 95 on RT and an 81 on metacritic. (Other 81s? Mulholland Drive, Juno and A History of Violence.)
:: How about the critical dud? With the same criteria as above, we’ve got two losers: A View to a Kill (you’d think Duran Duran could save it) and the fans’ least favorite, Die Another Day.
Can the Daniel Craig era continue to impress the audiences of the 2010s? We’ll find out November 6, 2015.