Top 20 Greatest James Bond Moments of All Time



Top 20 Greatest James Bond Moments of All Time

VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb WRITTEN BY: George Pacheco
007 has had some truly epic moments over the years. For this list, we'll be ranking the most iconic, impactful or memorable movie moments from the James Bond franchise. Our countdown includes “The World Is Not Enough”, "Casino Royale", “Diamonds Are Forever”, “Dr. No”, "Goldfinger", and more!

Top 20 James Bond Moments

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 James Bond Moments.

For this list, we’ll be ranking the most iconic, impactful or memorable movie moments from the James Bond franchise. We’ll be allowing both official and non-canonical Bond films, and the moments don’t necessarily have to feature or center around 007, just so long as they stand out within each film’s narrative.

#20: Bond Goes to Space

“Moonraker” (1979)

Sure, the source material for “Moonraker” may date back to the mid-50s, but there’s no denying the impact “Star Wars” had upon the development of Bond’s space adventure in 1979. From the futuristic production design to the climactic laser battle, “Moonraker” is a delightfully cheesy entry in the 007 canon. At the same time, however, the screenplay has fun with the concept, and the actual space battles possess plenty of thrills. Hugo Drax is a great villain, Sir Roger Moore arrives armed with his usual quips and even Jaws joins in for the fun!

#19: Farewell, Q

“The World Is Not Enough” (1999)

The James Bond franchise wasn’t just about the actors playing 007. There was a wealth of recurring roles throughout multiple films, with one of the very best being Q, MI6’s resident R&D specialist who hooked Bond up with all of his gadgets. “The World Is Not Enough” was the final time Desmond Llewellyn would play Q, having defined the role over the course of seventeen Bond films. It’s a fun sendoff for Llewellyn, too, as he leaves Pierce Brosnan’s 007 with a little bit of advice, before dropping down into a slow-moving escape hatch with a knowing look in his eye that tells us, “Thanks, and farewell.”

#18: Jaws Chomps Down

“The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977)

No one ever said the world of international espionage was going to be easy. There are tons of villainous henchmen just waiting to take a bite out of you…quite literally, in fact, when it comes to our next entry. Jaws has to be among the most iconic Bond villains out there, a huge and imposing associate of the film’s main antagonist, Karl Stromberg. Richard Kiel brings real menace and danger to the role, especially in this scene early on as he stalks and eliminates black marketer Max Kalba while Bond and Anya Amasova are in Egypt. The scene almost works as a horror movie, with Jaws subbing for a Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees type, establishing the henchman as a force to be feared.

#17: A Fatal Exercise

“The Living Daylights” (1987)

1987 signified a new start for James Bond. A fresh face was taking over the role in the form of Timothy Dalton, and the franchise was dropping its light-hearted reputation in favor of a return to real spy drama. “The Living Daylights” gets this notion going right from the jump with a scene that establishes a world of death and danger. It’s supposed to be a training exercise for MI6, with 00 agents infiltrating the Rock of Gibraltar. Unfortunately, it all goes pear-shaped after 004 is killed by an unidentified assassin who leaves behind a note that says, “Smiert Spionom,” or “Death to Spies.” The scene lets us know immediately that “The Living Daylights” isn’t going to be a walk in the park for 007.

#16: Casino Visit

“Diamonds Are Forever” (1971)

We just mentioned how the James Bond franchise was becoming known for puns and gags by the time Roger Moore’s tenure as the super spy was finished. This is a little unfair, however, as this touch had been permeating the series prior to Moore even taking over the role. Case in point? This scene from “Diamonds Are Forever,” Sean Connery’s final Bond outing apart from his performance in the non-Eon Bond flick “Never Say Never Again.” Bond is at a casino and hits it off with Lana Wood’s Plenty O’Toole, a name that, even by Bond standards, was pretty on the nose. It certainly was memorable, however, and was even parodied to great effect in the first “Austin Powers” film, with the character named…ahem, Alotta Fagina.

#15: Bond Gets a Jetpack

“Thunderball” (1965)

Ok, hands up: who wants a jetpack? We’re willing to bet that we’re all in one hundred percent agreement here that this thing is badass, because really, what’s not to like? James Bond’s “Thunderball” jetpack is one hell of a way to make an entrance, or exit or do just about anything, really. It makes an impact during the film’s pre-title scene as Bond eliminates a SPECTRE operative, but fans loved it so much that it made a cameo appearance in “Die Another Day” over twenty-five years later. The Bond franchise has always been known for its cool gadgets, but this jetpack was definitely an early home run for 007.

#14: Poison String

“You Only Live Twice” (1967)

Bond’s female love interests and partners have varied in terms of their skill level and ability in combat, with some being more proficient than others at getting Bond’s back in a fight. Aki has to be one of the most capable and independent female protagonists in the franchise, aiding 007 throughout much of “You Only Live Twice.” Aki doesn’t survive the entire adventure, sadly, falling victim to an assassination attempt meant for James. The scene occurs when the pair are asleep, as a SPECTRE agent delivers a fatal dose of poison via a string. Bond and Aki switch places at the last moment, however, and the Japanese Secret Intelligence Service agent is taken from Bond, and us, forever.

#13: Blofeld Revealed

“Spectre” (2015)

He’s the author of all Bond’s pain, the head of SPECTRE, and 007’s perennial nemesis: Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Blofeld had been excellently portrayed in the past by actors like Telly Savalas and Donald Pleasence, but the character had largely been absent by the time 2015’s “Spectre” reintroduced Blofeld into the franchise. Christoph Waltz is hamming it up here, but we love every second of it, as the scene even features a nod to Pleasence’s performance from “You Only Live Twice” with the inclusion of a feline friend. It’s simultaneously sinister and exciting at the same time for a villain as memorable as Blofeld to be up against James Bond once again, and “Spectre” was made all the better for its inclusion.

#12: I Never Miss

“The World Is Not Enough” (1999)

We’ve made a point thus far to reference how much fun actors often have playing Bond, but it’s also important to note that 007 is still a super spy, with a license to kill. And kill he does, many times throughout the franchise… but occasionally he gets the job done in completely ruthless fashion. This was shown right from the get-go when 007 shoots Professor Dent in “Dr. No,” as well as the time Roger Moore’s Bond kicks the killer Locque off a cliff. However, it’s Pierce Brosnan’s ice-cold execution of Elektra King in “The World Is Not Enough” that’s truly shocking, as King never really sees it coming. Her over-confidence, influenced perhaps by their romantic history, is ultimately her undoing.

#11: Baron Samedi vs. Bond

“Live and Let Die” (1973)

Many film critics have noted how much 1973’s “Live and Let Die” was influenced by Blaxploitation classics such as “Shaft.” However, this fight between Bond and voodoo priest Baron Samedi is something straight out of a horror flick. It could be Samedi’s creepy face paint, his sinister smile or the fact that he faces Bond out in a graveyard, but the scene just possesses a crazy cool atmosphere. Tombstones and poisonous snakes show up, and Bond even knocks the Baron into a coffin for the coup de grace! Samedi seems to be dead…or is he?

#10: Revenge

“Licence to Kill” (1989)

Timothy Dalton’s second and final outing as 007 was perhaps one of the most violent and visceral in the entire franchise. This is thanks not only to the horrifying fate that befalls longtime Bond friend Felix Leiter at the beginning of the movie, but the revenge that James seeks at the end. The final sequence of “Licence to Kill” culminates with a standoff between Bond and drug lord Frank Sanchez, the man responsible for maiming Leiter and making him a widower. The sense of satisfaction Bond feels is almost palpable as the agent sets Sanchez ablaze using the cigarette lighter Felix had given him as a groomsman gift. It's a dish that’s, in this case anyway, not served best cold, but hot as hell itself.

#9: The Death of 009

“Octopussy” (1983)

For better or worse, we don’t see many other 00 agents out in the field when it comes to Bond movies. And when we do, they’re usually at the end of some tragic or grisly fate. The death of 009 is a bit different, however, as this sequence from “Octopussy” is more prolonged and gives the agent more respect. 009 is dressed as a circus clown, and being chased by knife throwing twins who are trying to intercept the agent and his objective: a Fabergé egg. 009 gets some licks in and manages to escape with the egg, although he does finally succumb to his wounds. It isn’t until the film’s thrilling train chase where Bond gets some suitable vengeance, remarking, “that’s for 009.”

#8: Funhouse Duel

“The Man with the Golden Gun” (1974)

“The Man with the Golden Gun” is a highlight from the early years of Sir Roger Moore’s tenure as James Bond. It boasts a fun theme song, a memorable henchman in the form of Nick Nack and a sinister villain: the titular man with the Golden Gun. Francisco Scaramanga is his name, and he faces off with Bond in a funhouse sequence that’s full of trippy visuals. Sir Christopher Lee is stoic but menacing, coldly calculating his options as he stalks Bond throughout the funhouse. Nick Nack mans the controls as Bond attempts to navigate the maze, while the score darts between subdued suspense and stark silence. 007 naturally wins in the end, but this showdown is more than satisfying.

#7: Silva’s Interrogation

“Skyfall” (2012)

We’ve been discussing a lot of classic Bond moments thus far on our list, but there’s a lot to be said about the excellent work that Daniel Craig and co. have put into the franchise since the actor first debuted in 2006’s “Casino Royale.” This 2012 entry is a fan favorite, however, thanks to one very memorable Bond villain: Raoul Silva. It’s during his interrogation by M where we discover that Silva was actually once an MI6 agent named Tiago Rodriguez. Silva was left by M to be captured in China after illegally hacking into government files, and he swears revenge on MI6 after a cyanide capsule in his teeth malfunctioned and left him permanently disfigured. It’s creepy and unsettling, to say the least.

#6: First Kill

“Casino Royale” (2006)

Speaking of “Casino Royale,” this semi-origin story for 007 deals with Bond’s very first mission, and presents him as a confident, talented, but very green secret agent. As a result, we see Daniel Craig’s Bond make some understandable-yet-unfortunate rookie mistakes, such as when he’s poisoned by a spiked martini. However, we just adore the film’s opening sequence, where Bond secures his 00 status by making a double assassination. The scene is shot in stark black and white, serving as the perfect appetizer for the story that’s about to unfold. It shows us that a new Bond is ready to take the reins, and that we should expect the unexpected from this moment forward.

#5: Do You Expect Me to Talk?

“Goldfinger” (1964)

Bond fans often point to “Goldfinger” as the first Bond film to truly present the traditions of the franchise in a cohesive manner. It’s a movie that would permanently affix itself to pop culture and how we generally view the spy genre, full of gadgets, glamour…and danger. This life-and-death scene with Bond is one of those moments, as Auric Goldfinger sets a slow-moving laser to remove the pesky MI6 agent from meddling in his affairs. It’s only through some clever thinking (and bluffing) and Bond’s part where Goldfinger is convinced to stop the laser. Although, this isn’t before the villain utters his most memorable line: “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.”

#4: Bond vs. Red Grant

“From Russia with Love” (1963)

Many Bond fans consider the franchise’s second outing, “From Russia with Love,” to be something of an underrated entry. The character and series are still presented very much in the hard-boiled era of espionage, with not a lot of room for puns. It’s this seriousness that ultimately works in the film’s favor, however, particularly with this climactic fight sequence between Bond and the silent-but-deadly Red Grant. “Jaws” legend Robert Shaw plays the SPECTRE assassin with legit menace, and he seems to have Bond’s number until 007 utilizes his trick briefcase into momentarily incapacitating Grant. From here, it’s a close quarters brawl as the pair are locked in a life-or-death struggle in a small train car, with claustrophobia making the scene truly intense and exciting.

#3: The Golden Girl

“Goldfinger” (1964)

We’re back to “Goldfinger” once again for another memorable moment that all Bond fans remember for its tragic-yet-striking visual. Ignoring for a moment that covering your entire body in gold paint can’t actually cause “skin suffocation,” the image of Shirley Eaton’s Jill Masterson laid out as this sort of morbid tableau ultimately became synonymous with the franchise. Masterson may have only played a small part in the film as Goldfinger’s secretary and one of Bond’s early romantic conquests, but her tasteful and elegant performance in the film ultimately made her one of the series’ all-time icons.

#2: The Death of Tracy Bond

“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969)

With all of 007’s romantic philandering, it’s easy to forget that, at one point in the franchise, Bond was set to retire and relax with the love of his life. It’s the Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, or less formally, Tracy, who ultimately wins Bond’s heart and convinces him to settle down. However, the ending to 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” shoots all of that down in tragic and deadly fashion. Diana Rigg’s Tracy and George Lazenby’s Bond are in wedded bliss and about to embark on their honeymoon when Blofeld appears out of nowhere and assassinates Tracy in a drive-by shooting. Louis Armstrong’s “We Have All the Time in the World” then cues up, Bond cradles Tracy and there isn’t a dry eye in the house.

#1: Bond, James Bond

“Dr. No” (1962)

C’mon, could there be any other scene at number one? It’s one of the most iconic introductions of a character ever, from any genre or any decade. Sean Connery just exudes ultra-cool as 007 himself, introducing himself to Sylvia Trench while casually playing at a Baccarat table. It could be the nonchalant manner of facial expression on Connery’s face when he delivers the line, the barely-there cigarette dangling from his lips or the almost percussive manner in which he speaks. All we know is, whenever we hear the words, “Bond, James Bond,” we’re instantly transported to a place where danger, drinks and excitement lurk around every corner…and we never want to leave.