Beyond Skyfall: can Daniel Craig be the most prolific James Bond ever?

In light of the news that he may have signed up for three more 007 movies, how does the Skyfall star stack up against his predecessors?

Beyond Skyfall: can Daniel Craig be the most prolific James Bond ever?
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Earlier this week Skyfall star Ben Whishaw revealed that he expects to start shooting a new 007 movie with Daniel Craig before the year is out. Even more interestingly, he told "I know that he’s doing the next three [Bond movies]”.

But if Whishaw is right, and Craig has signed up for three more films, where would that place him in the pantheon of Bond actors? Could Daniel Craig be the most prolific James Bond ever?

Pay attention 007…

In the chart below, I've compared the various Bonds in terms of number of films made, screen minutes spent in the role* and the length of their tenures (now, now, Moneypenny).

Roger Moore is the most prolific Bond, with seven films and 851 screen minutes over a 13-year period, compared with closest rival Sean Connery's six films and 672 minutes (in seven years).

Craig has also racked up seven years as Bond – mostly thanks to an unusually long layover between Quantum of Solace and Skyfall – while his three films to date put him ahead of George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton, with Pierce Brosnan firmly in his sights. 

But if Craig were to make three more films, not only would he match Connery’s tally of six and overtake him in terms of screen time, he'd also equal Moore’s 13 years in the job.

Assuming Craig’s next three Bond movies have the same average running time as his first three, he’d rack up a total of 776 screen minutes. And if he shoots a new film every two years (the time between Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace) he'd be second only to Moore in screen outings and minutes – and equal first in terms of years spent in the role.

So could Daniel Craig be the most prolific James Bond ever? It's possible – if he signed up for four more films he’d outgun Roger Moore on almost every level. In fact, there's only one area in which Craig is unlikely ever to challenge Bond number three – age at retirement. Rodge was still doing it for Queen and Country at the ripe old age of 57.

Sean Connery

Years as Bond: 7 (1962-67, 1971)

Screen minutes: 672 (or 806 if you count Never Say Never Again, which you shouldn’t)

Films: 6 - Dr No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever (or 7 if you count Never Say Never Again – which you shouldn't)

George Lazenby

Years as Bond: 1 (1969)

Screen minutes: 136

Films: 1 – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Roger Moore

Years as Bond: 13 (1973-85)

Screen minutes: 851

Films: 7 - Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill

Timothy Dalton

Years as Bond: 3 (1987-89)

Screen minutes: 252

Films: 2 - The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill

Pierce Brosnan

Years as Bond: 8 (1995-2002)

Screen minutes: 494

Films: 4 – Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day

Daniel Craig

Years as Bond: currently 7 (2006-12) + 6 (three more films) = 13

Screen minutes: 388 + 388 (three more films = 776

Films: 3 (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall) + 3 more = 6

*Screen minutes: total minutes of each actor's Bond films - ie total screen minutes in the role, if not actually appearing on screen