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Honoring late Sean Connery by ranking best James Bond films

Sean Connery was the first to play James Bond in the hit movie franchise that has gained love from fans across generations.  – Photo by Wikimedia

On Oct. 31, the first and most iconic James Bond, Sean Connery, died at the age of 90. Connery rose to fame as the first actor to play the spy in the movie series, ending up with six Bond films to his name.

To honor his legacy, here are the best Bond films starring Connery ranked from worst to best: 

6. "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971)

The era of Connery as Bond comes to an end with his final film of the series, “Diamonds Are Forever,” turning it over to the next Bond, Roger Moore. This film was a classic concept and a great way for an iconic actor to make his last mark on screen as the character he was best known for.

Everything about the film makes for a perfect spy movie: a diamond smuggling ring, Las Vegas and the possible end of the world. This movie is fantastic and putting it in last place is both bittersweet and difficult to do.

Although it's a great film, it has some flaws, and of the six Connery films, it was not my favorite. The concept is spot on and the movie is chock-full of action and intrigue, but there is a lack of detail and a few plot holes that made the film fall into the last place.

Because Connery took a short break, there was a film between "You Only Live Twice" and "Diamonds are Forever." This caused some issues with the storyline and made the films a bit unclear. The film seemed rushed and it overlooked many important parts that would have made the transition from Connery to George Lazenby and back to Connery more smooth and cohesive. 

5. "You Only Live Twice" (1967)

One of Connery’s later works, "You Only Live Twice," is the story of Bond's mission to save the world from the brink of nuclear destruction during the time of the Cold War.

This film is full of twists and turns and more action than normal — even for a Bond film. Spoiler alert: Bond has to fake his death, while “dead” Bond has to go investigate this dangerous conspiracy.

The idea of Bond faking his death was a nice touch, but it's overplayed and that's what pushed this film toward the bottom of my list. Aside from that, the film, as all Bond films are, was great and I would watch it again. 

4. "Thunderball" (1965)

In this movie, Bond is sent on a mission to the evil Largo’s underwater lair in the Bahamas. Throughout the film Bond has to fight off deadly enemies — some sharks as well, to stop the impending worldwide nuclear disaster that Largo has planned.

This film is great, creative, full of action and adventure as every Bond film is, but the thing that pushes it into fourth place instead of in my top three is the fighting-sharks-and-underwater-lair concept.

Yes, most of the action in Bond films are unrealistic with things that don't happen on a daily basis, but fighting sharks with your bare hands and having an underwater lair is stretching reality just a little bit.

I'm all for fantasy and creativity, but I think for a spy movie they should have stuck to a more realistic setting and story.

3. "Dr. No" (1962)

This film was the first in the Bond series and definitely proved the film was worth making into the series that is still being produced today. Although this movie isn't my favorite, there are many good things about it that made it an important film for the series.

The film delves into the world and story of Bond’s character and his life before throwing us into the action. The fact that there was a bit of a backstory made the film and the series all the more intriguing and gave it a quality far above other franchises.

The only issue that made this film end up in the number three spot is that it lacked the action and heart-racing thrill that we see in the later Bond films. It definitely makes sense that the introduction to the series took a backseat in the action department for the sake of plot and character development, but compared to the rest of the films in the series it doesn't hold a number one spot. 

2. "From Russia with Love" (1963)

In this edition of the film series, Bond has to confront and battle a secret crime group called SPECTRE. Two Russian bad guys try to steal a decoding device using a woman to distract and lure Bond away from the device so they can have it all for themselves.

As always, Bond comes out on top and escapes a series of deadly obstacles to keep the decoder safe from the Russians. This film is a classic: It's fast-paced and full of excitement and danger.

Connery does some of his best work in this film and is extremely charming and witty throughout. The film lays out the groundwork for so many of the later Bond films, with iconic fight scenes and Bond's ability to charm the ladies. Honestly, this film was fantastic. It was a close call between this film and "Goldfinger" for first place. 

1. "Goldfinger" (1964)

"Goldfinger" is one of my all-time favorite Bond films ever, not just from the six Connery starred in, but in the whole series.

In this film, the bad guy Auric Goldfinger sets a plan in motion to raid Fort Knox and completely destroy the world’s economy. Bond comes in and saves the day in his gorgeous Aston Martin supercar, and once again has to face many deadly encounters.

There's so much I love about the film: the colors, all of the gold, Bond’s car (the car that made me and so many others passionate about high-end automobiles) and finally Bond's debonair nature.


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