Films: Dr No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) Modus operandi: Smooth, rugged, the hint of a manly lisp, almost feline in movement.
Finest hour: Goldfinger: whether strapped to a table with a laser inching up between his legs, barrelling around in an Aston Martin DB5 or pursuing Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), Connery is the consummate international golf pro with a gun.
Misfire: A geriatric return – well, he was 53 – with an obvious rug in the rogue Never Say Never Again (1983). Produced outside of the official Bond canon, it was a remake of Thunderball. He should have left his legacy alone.
Killer line: “Shocking. Positively shocking.” (Goldfinger)
Film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Modus operandi: Rough, tough, don’t mess with him.
Finest hour: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: although Australian, Lazenby was the outside choice and cast on the strength of a chocolate bar advert. He did his own stunts and handled the humour and the emotional punch of the ending (no spoilers).
Misfire: His voice being dubbed for a lot of OHMSS (by George Baker), which wasn’t very fair on the chap, was it?
Killer line: “We have all the time in the world.” (OHMSS)
Films: Live and Let Die (1973), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983), A View to a Kill (1985)
Modus operandi: The Saint with better weaponry, never shaken, never stirred, ready with a quip.
Finest hour: The Spy Who Loved Me: it’s Moore’s favourite Bond film, presenting the most comedic 007 in a serious light, driving the Lotus Esprit into and out of the sea, and seeing off dentally galvanised henchman Jaws.
Misfire: A View to a Kill: one Bond too many for Moore, now almost 60, and replaced on screen by an army of stunt doubles.
Killer line: “There’s no sense going out half-cocked.” (Live and Let Die)
Films: The Living Daylights (1987), Licence to Kill (1989)
Modus operandi: Shakespearian, imperious, blameless victim of political correctness.
Finest hour: Licence to Kill: boldly violent (the BBFC demanded cuts), Dalton presents Bond as a vengeance-driven cookie who goes rogue when his licence is revoked.
Misfire: The Living Daylights: lumbered with the timely “new man” task of falling in love with a cellist, Dalton’s 007 likes classical music, making him more Morse than Bond.
Killer line: “I had a few optional extras installed.” (The Living Daylights)
Films: GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Die Another Day (2002)
Modus operandi: Solid, deep, squinty, the first to be turned into a character in a concurrent video game.
Finest hour: GoldenEye: in a total reinvention of the franchise, Brosnan treads softly but surely through this rip-roaring post-Communist Russia crime yarn, never more spectacularly than in a duel with Sean Bean on a giant satellite dish Bond was back!
Misfire: Rarely put a foot wrong, although the bit with the invisible car in Die Another Day was difficult to walk away from with his handsome head held high. Killer line: “I always enjoyed learning a new tongue.” (Tomorrow Never Dies)
Films: Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012)
Modus operandi: Hewn from blond granite, grumpy, initially unaware of his own catchphrases.
Finest hour: Casino Royale: let’s not reductively objectify Craig, but he looked great in those blue trunks. Certainly the buffest Bond, impervious to torture, and impressively punchy, he’s likely to have bloodstains on his cuffs during card games.
Misfire: Quantum of Solace: actually, Craig is still superb, but the plot is underpowered, and there’s too much product placement.
Killer line: “The name’s Bond… James Bond.”
Now you have your say – and you could win every Bond film!
Send us the name of your favourite Bond actor and the reasons you like him, along with your name and address, and you could win Bond 50 on Blu-ray. Entries must be received by 18 September. One entry picked at random will win the prize. Normal competition rules* apply.
To enter simply click here
or send the above information to Best Bond Competition, PO Box 501, Leicester L694044.
The identity of your favourite Bond and the winner will be revealed in a future issue of Radio Times.
Bond 50: All the bonds. All the girls. All the action. All in HD. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment mark James Bond’s golden anniversary with the release of Bond 50, the complete 007 experience showcasing all 22 classic films on Blu-ray together for the first time, packaged into one cool, sleek, collectable box set – out on 24 September.
*Competition rules: Bulk or third-party entries prohibited. Winners will be first correct entry drawn at random.