Whenever an iconic role is poised to be recast on the big-screen, there’s always one example that moviegoers cite as the template for how a popular character can live on for decades. Ever since Sean Connery first swaggered on-screen as James Bond in the 1962 film Dr. No, several actors have succeeded him as the suave super-spy with a knack for charming the ladies and saving the world.
So, as rumors swirl that the current Bond, Daniel Craig, might be set for a $150 million deal to return for two more films in the franchise, we take a look back at the history of the character with a ranking of all who have played James Bond to date.
For the record, we’re only looking at actors who starred in at least one of the 24 official Eon Productions films spanning from Dr. No to 2015’s Spectre. Accordingly, this will not include the 1967 version of Casino Royale. So don’t expect to see David Niven or any of the cast members posing as James Bond within the context of that film.
6. Timothy Dalton
Following the departure of Roger Moore after a seven-film tenure, Timothy Dalton stepped in to take over. His debut in The Living Daylights marked a creative shift for the series — taking it into a less tongue-in-cheek direction than Moore’s Bond — and was a critical and commercial hit.
However, some feel that he didn’t truly capture the character in as memorable of a way as his predecessors. No wonder his second film as 007, 1989’s Licence to Kill, marked his final appearance in the franchise, setting the stage for a six-year hiatus that wouldn’t end until Pierce Brosnan was cast.