Bond, James Bond. A man who usually doesn’t need introduction, yet always finds his way into the right conversations. Created by Ian Fleming, and unveiled to the world with 1953’s Casino Royale, the original stories would eventually trigger a cinematic legacy that would lead to Daniel Craig becoming the most recent actor to embody the role.
But how does one watch the James Bond movies in order? For some, this is a trivia question that kills every single time. With others, it’s a bit of a chore to remember whether Moonraker goes before or after The Spy Who Loved Me. No matter which group you fall into, let this handy guide help keep you on the straight and narrow, as you watch all of the 007 movies in order.
Where To Start With The James Bond Movies
Before we go through the entire James Bond legacy in order, it’s time to decide how you want to start your 007 journey. The answer will depend on whether you’ve never seen a Bond movie before, or if you’re already familiar, but want a new experience.
If You’ve Never Seen A James Bond Movie
Congratulations on deciding to watch the James Bond movies! Your first viewing experience can happen in one of two ways, and it all comes down to one factor: time.
If you’re on a shortened schedule, or want to sample something closer to home before diving deeper, it’s recommended that you watch the entire Daniel Craig era of 007, from start to finish. However, if you have all the time in the world, then the obvious answer is to start from Dr. No and take the entire ride through No Time To Die.
If You’ve Seen The James Bond Movies Already
Here’s where the fun really begins! Should you have already taken a spin in the James Bond universe, we’ve got a couple of special runs of 007 movies that tell a story. Further on down the line, you’ll be able to read about two special playlists, The SPECTRE Run and The Tracy Run, that tell their own stories throughout Bond history.
We’ll save that fun for later, as right now all you need is the following rundown to dig into the complete history of James Bond. Let’s start driving down the path of every 007 adventure in order, starting with the era of Sean Connery!
The Sean Connery James Bond Era (1962 - 1967)
The first actor to play the official EON Productions incarnation of James Bond, Sean Connery would occupy the tuxedo for the first five consecutive films. While he’d return for one more down the line, here’s what Connery’s original run consisted of:
Dr. No (1962)
Our cinematic introduction to James Bond. Dr. No sees the 007 investigating some strange events on a remote island in Jamaica, which could turn the tide of the space race.
From Russia With Love (1963)
On assignment in Istanbul, James must navigate what’s assuredly a SPECTRE trap. The prize is a Soviet encoding device known as the Lektor, with the lovely Tatiana Romanova (Daniella Bianchi) being used as bait, and the brutish Red Grant (Robert Shaw) poised to snap the trap and kill Bond.
When a gold obsessed madman (Gert Fröbe) plans an act of terrorism that’ll unbalance the world economy, it’s up to 007 to save the day. Teamed with unwilling partner Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), James Bond will have to keep his head on straight if he means to keep it.
After hijacking two atomic bombs in the name of SPECTRE, bon vivant Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi) helps his organization hold the world hostage. The Bahamas are soon the home to the showdown between Largo and James, with Emilio’s mistress Domino (Claudine Auger) playing her own part in the balance.
You Only Live Twice (1967)
James Bond is dead, long live James Bond! Faking his death to investigate the disappearance of several spacecraft, 007 finally meets his archnemesis: Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasence).
If the James Bond series was the MCU, you could consider You Only Live Twice the Avengers: Infinity War of its day. Which only makes the next chapter even more exciting, as this first batch of serialized films leads to what’s arguably one of the best Bond movie ever…as well as one of the most debated entries.
The George Lazenby James Bond Era/Sean Connery’s Return (1969 - 1971)
After Sean Connery left the role of James Bond during the production of You Only Live Twice, the hunt was on for a new 007. That search led to Australian model George Lazenby, who picked up the Wather PPK in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
James Bond (George Lazenby) is in love! James Bond is in trouble! James Bond is in over his head, as his mission to foil another plot for world domination by Blofeld (Telly Savalas) intersects with a chance meeting with the love of his life, Countess Teresa ‘Tracy’ di Vicenzo (Dame Diana Rigg).
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
After seemingly getting revenge against SPECTRE and its vicious Number One man, Bond (Sean Connery) uncovers a diamond smuggling ring that takes him from the canals of Amsterdam to the glitz of Las Vegas. But a past danger resurfaces, spelling danger for James and his companion, Tiffany Case (Jill St. John).
As you can see, a bump in the road between On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever led to a bit of a change up in leading men. With George Lazenby being convinced to leave the series after one movie, and Connery only returning for one last official go-around, the stage was set for the longest consecutive run any actor has ever had in the role.
The Roger Moore James Bond Era (1973 - 1985)
Previously known to the world as The Saint, Roger Moore’s era as James Bond ushered in a new dynamic. Gone was the cold blooded killer, and in his place was the Moore variant, who loved his quips as much as his clothes.
Live And Let Die (1973)
Running afoul of a powerful drug kingpin (Yaphet Kotto) and romancing the clairvoyant who assists him (Jane Seymour), death might be in the cards for Commander Bond (Roger Moore) as he investigates the murder of several MI6 agents.
The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) is the best hired gun in the world. He can kill with one shot, thanks to his weapon of choice: a golden pistol. His latest target of choice: James Bond, 007.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
A shipping magnate (Curt Jürgens) wants to reboot humanity in his own, underwater utopia. It’s a plot so deadly, James Bond is forced to team up with an unexpected ally: Soviet operative Major Anya “XXX” Amasova (Barbara Bach).
Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale) has plans for the human race, and he’s putting things in motion among the stars. 007 goes above and beyond the atmosphere in an attempt to save the planet.
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
A powerful missile system is about to be offered to the highest bidder by a shady smuggler (Julian Glover). A young woman (Caroline Munro) seeks vengeance for the death of her parents. In the midst of it all is James Bond, who must do what he can to prevent this dangerous sale, while mentoring his companion on the ways of revenge.
A nuclear bomb is being smuggled past the Iron Curtain and into the start of World War III. There’s no time to clown around, as 007 has to fend off a vicious prince in exile (Louis Jourdan), while trying to decide if he can trust the alluring smuggler known as Octopussy (Maud Adams).
A View To A Kill (1985)
Silicon Valley is in for a rude awakening, thanks to a charismatic baddie (Christopher Walken) and his right hand woman (Grace Jones) targeting the area for destruction.
Despite taking his final few assignments at leisure, and scrapping the casting of James Brolin and Pierce Brosnan in the process, Sir Roger Moore is still the 007 with the most movies under his belt. His departure set a pretty high bar to beat for that record, and opened the door for a past candidate to return.
The Timothy Dalton James Bond Era (1987 - 1989)
If history had shaken out a bit differently, Timothy Dalton could have starred in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Turning down the role because he felt too young, he would eventually land the gig when Pierce Brosnan’s all but announced casting was cancelled at the last minute. Instead, we got the following duology of experimental Bond movies
The Living Daylights (1987)
The defection of a KGB general (Jeroen Krabbé) to the West sends James Bond (Timothy Dalton) on the run with a beautiful cellist (Maryam d'Abo). Constantly questioning who he can trust in this dangerous game, no one is who they seem.
License To Kill (1989)
A personal vendetta sees 007 resigning from active service, in order to get closer to a shrewd but nefarious drug dealer (Robert Davi).
Legal woes from the sale of MGM led to a delay in James Bond films so long, it saw Timothy Dalton’s contract expire. Declining to renew his license to kill, Dalton would exit the franchise with a couple unmade irons in the fire. As it turns out, that was the least of the worries for the higher ups.
The Pierce Brosnan James Bond Era (1995 - 2002)
The hunt for a new Bond, and the fall of the Soviet Union posed two large obstacles that this storied franchise would have to overcome. Thankfully, Pierce Brosnan’s 007 era was just about to kick off, and in grand fashion.
The theft of a top secret EMP satellite system threatens to plunge England into the dark ages. In order to win this battle, James Bond 007 (Pierce Brosnan) must match wits with the one person who knows him best: Alec Trevelyan 006 (Sean Bean).
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
War threatens to erupt between England and China, all thanks to a greedy newspaper baron (Jonathan Pryce) stirring the pot. The best agents from both sides must team together to save both of their governments, as James Bond teams with Colonel Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) to put an end to this deadly developing story.
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Renard (Robert Carlyle) has a personal vendetta with Elektra King (Sophie Marceau), the daughter of an oil magnate he previously crossed paths with. 007 must dig into the past of M (Dame Judi Dench) to figure out why this madman has it out for Ms. King, and how he can beat a man who feels no pain.
Die Another Day (2002)
Captured and interrogated by North Korea after a mission gone wrong, James Bond is determined to get to the bottom of a scheme that’ll shift the balance of power in the region. Working in the orbit of a CIA agent (Halle Berry), a fellow MI6 operative (Rosamund Pike), and a dangerously ambitious businessman (Toby Stephens), James is about to steal the shine off of some dangerous diamonds.
Pierce Brosnan’s four James Bond movies helped revitalize the legendary spy for a new era. Unfortunately, as Die Another Day’s reputation took a drubbing, and films like The Bourne Identity started to generate competition, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson decided it was time for a reboot.
The Daniel Craig James Bond Era (2006 - 2021)
After Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond exit, a 007 for the 21st century needed to be found. With one of the most interesting Bond casting hunts ever, including candidates like Henry Cavill in the mix, Daniel Craig eventually found himself slipping on the tuxedo and throwing down for Queen and country.
Casino Royale (2006)
Newly minted 00 agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) enters a high stakes game against a cruel card shark (Mads Mikkelsen) with deep pockets. While Bond loses his heart to a treasury agent (Eva Green), he also risks losing his life, and the cost is financial terrorism.
Quantum Of Solace (2008)
Shortly after the events of Casino Royale, 007 follows a trail of corruption and domination to a slimy businessman (Mathieu Amalric) with a secret. Teamed with a woman (Olga Kurylenko) bent on killing this man for vengeance, a greater game is revealed.
The sins of M’s past come back to haunt her, as a disavowed MI6 asset (Javier Bardem) is looking to get a long awaited payback. James Bond’s most personal mission awaits, and not everyone is going to make it home alive.
In the wake of Skyfall’s major finale, Bond continues to unravel the organization known as Quantum. The only problem is, what looked like a smaller scale operation is actually a world-spanning evil, run by James Bond’s most dangerous foe yet (Christoph Waltz).
No Time To Die (2021)
Seemingly retired after falling for Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), James Bond is ready to let the past go. Such dangerous notions are never easy, especially when a new foe (Rami Malek) sets the stage for the explosive finale to the Daniel Craig era.
The SPECTRE Run
As promised, we have two specialized playlists of Commander Bond’s adventures, which will come in handy for those who want a special experience. The SPECTRE Run is the first, as the following classic installments see 007 taking the fight to that shadowy organization.
- From Russia With Love
- You Only Live Twice
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service
- Diamonds Are Forever
- For Your Eyes Only
If you want to extend this experience, you can also include the entire Daniel Craig era; but that’s optional as Casino Royale (2006) rebooted the continuity. That being said, since there’s a rough line of character history up until Pierce Brosnan’s era ends, this makes for an interesting viewing order.
The Tracy Run
Named after James Bond’s late wife Countess Teresa ‘Tracy’ di Vicenzo, The Tracy Run is proof that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service truly is one of the most influential entries. Starting with the courtship that brought the lovers together, and eventually tore them apart, this lineup is made up of movies that reference and draw upon that watershed heartbreak.
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
- For Your Eyes Only
- License To Kill
- Tomorrow Never Dies
At the time of this writing, we’re current with the 25 films and almost 60 years of James Bond history on the books. With Daniel Craig’s time as 007 officially ended, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are taking the time to decide where this next reinvention of the Bond legacy will go.
After that key decision is made, we’ll more than likely see a rocket sled of action fall into place. The next tuxedoed super spy to save the day will be introduced to the world, and a new chapter of Bond history will begin. No matter what happens, newcomers and veterans alike shouldn’t be too worried; because as always, James Bond will return.