Every Roger Moore James Bond movie ranked, from worst to best

Roger Moore's James Bond looks confused as he stands in a giant room
Roger Moore starred in more official Bond films than any other actor. (Image credit: MGM)

After sitting out On Her Majesty's Secret Service, original screen Bond Sean Connery was tempted back for one final mission in Diamonds are Forever. He wasn't interested in returning for 1973's Live and Let Die, however, so long-standing 007 producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman turned their attentions to an English actor by the name of Moore. Roger Moore.

Moore had the unenviable task of putting his own mark on Ian Fleming's spy after Connery had done so much to define the role. To his credit, he didn't try to imitate his celebrated predecessor, instead opting to replace Connery's ruthless edge with his trademark easy charm and mastery of the double entendre. It was such a successful formula – for many, Moore is still the best James Bond of all – that the star went on to play 007 in more official Bond movies than anyone else.

But while they're home to many of the greatest – and most spectacular – stunts in the entire franchise, the Roger Moore James Bond movies are something of a mixed bag. Sure, there's at least one bona fide classic in there (The Spy Who Loved Me) but there's also a few stinkers. Read on to find out how we've ranked Roger Moore's seven-film run in the famous tuxedo – and, on occasion, safari suit. You can also check out our guide to watching all 25 James Bond movies in order.

7. A View to a Kill

Christopher Walken and Grace Jones talk to someone off camera in A View To A Kill

A View to a Kill would be even worse without its villains. (Image credit: MGM)

Where to stream: Max (US); available to rent and/or buy on select platforms, including Apple TV and Amazon (UK); Prime Video, Stan (Australia)

It was a case of one movie too far for Roger Moore in 1985's A View to a Kill, his final outing as 007. 

Moore was more or less the same age David Niven had been when he played an ageing Bond in 1967 spoof Casino Royale, so it’s no longer possible to pretend – as the movie frequently does – that he’s still a secret agent in his prime. Alas, the leading man's advancing years are one of the less significant issues with a film so bad it’s often unintentionally funny.

A View to a Kill has two saving graces. The first is Duran Duran’s theme song, which is up there with the franchise’s best. The other is Christopher Walken, who hams it up spectacularly as Max Zorin, a mad industrialist plotting to wipe out California’s Silicon Valley – his unconventional delivery can make even the most mundane lines of dialogue worth listening to. Nonetheless, you have to question the wisdom of a villain who tries to flee the scene of the crime in a very slow airship with his name emblazoned across the side. Did he really think he was going to get away with it?

6. Moonraker

Roger Moore sits down in a palace room and stares at someone off screen in Moonraker

James Bond contemplates an appointment with Star Wars. (Image credit: MGM)

Where to stream: Prime Video (US); available to rent and/or buy on select platforms, including Apple TV and Amazon (UK); Prime Video, Stan (Australia)

At the climax of Moonraker’s predecessor, The Spy Who Loved Me, the familiar end-of-credits message says "James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only". And that was indeed the plan until Star Wars (find out how to watch the Star Wars movies in order) kickstarted a Hollywood-wide obsession with outer space. Even 007 booked himself an unlikely ticket into orbit.

In truth, Moonraker is a very ordinary cover version of The Spy Who Loved Me (same director, one of the same writers) that introduces missing space shuttles in place of AWOL submarines. Unfortunately, the tone is silly rather than funny – the double-taking pigeon in Venice is a low-point for the franchise – with Roger Moore’s famous raised eyebrow getting more of a workout than ever. Returning muscle Jaws (Richard Kiel) is also totally defanged when he finds romance, which is a waste of such an iconic character. The biggest disappointment, however, is the special effects – although the film came out two years after Star Wars, the visuals aren't in the same league.

5. The Man with the Golden Gun

James Bond and Francisco Scaramanga stand back to back with pistols raised in The Man With The Golden Gun

Scaramanga was the perfect adversary for 007 in The Man with the Golden Gun. (Image credit: MGM)

Where to stream: Prime Video (US); available to rent and/or buy on select platforms, including Apple TV and Amazon (UK); Prime Video, Stan (Australia)

This movie is named after its villain and rightly so – Christopher Lee’s elite assassin Francisco Scaramanga is easily the best thing about this middling Bond outing. The Dracula star was famously the step-cousin of 007’s creator, Ian Fleming, and he delivers a performance of charming menace as a professional killer who just happens to have a golden bullet with Bond’s name on it.

Otherwise, The Man with the Golden Gun is a messy affair. Britt Ekland’s British field agent Mary Goodnight is two-dimensional and embarrassingly written (even by the standards of the 1970s and women in 007 movies), while Bond’s second encounter with Sheriff JW Pepper (in Thailand?!) defies explanation. 

On the plus side, the film does feature one of the series’ greatest ever stunts, when a car barrel rolls over a river – though someone thought it was a good idea to soundtrack the spectacular set-piece with a swanee whistle. Who knows why?

4. Octopussy

Maud Adams' Octopussy and Roger Moore's James Bond stand close together in Octopussy

Bond makes some questionable fashion choices in Octopussy. (Image credit: MGM)

Where to stream: Prime Video (US); available to rent and/or buy on select platforms, including Apple TV and Amazon (UK); Prime Video, Stan (Australia)

By the time Octopussy was released in 1983, adventure had a new name and it wasn’t James Bond. But 007 didn’t just have to live up to the Steven Spielberg-powered action of Indiana Jones (read our Steven Spielberg movies ranked article) – he was also competing against himself following Sean Connery's return to the role in unofficial quasi-Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again.  

Octopussy comfortably won the Bond v Bond box office battle, and this run-of-the-mill yet entertaining entry in the series would have been a much more fitting sign-off for Moore than the risible A View to a Kill. Less grounded than predecessor For Your Eyes Only, it sees the star in his element as the tone veers back towards the tongue-in-cheek territory Moore's 007 traditionally calls home. Unfortunately that means the film’s portrayal of India – potentially a thrilling backdrop for the movie – leans way too heavily on lazy stereotypes. Ironically, the the Indiana Jones franchise that had stolen some of Bond's thunder slipped up in similar ways just a year later, with The Temple of Doom.

3. For Your Eyes Only

Melina and Bond prepare to board a vessel in For Your Eyes Only

Bond gets back to basics in For Your Eyes Only. (Image credit: MGM)

Where to stream: Max (US); available to rent and/or buy on select platforms, including Apple TV and Amazon (UK); Prime Video, Stan (Australia)

When Casino Royale kicked off the Daniel Craig era, the way it brought the long-running series back-to-basics after the invisible cars and giant space lasers of Die Another Day was a major talking point. However, it wasn’t the first course correction in 007’s history because For Your Eyes Only had already brought the franchise back down to earth after the excesses of Moonraker.

While Craig’s "blunt instrument" was the perfect fit for Casino Royale, this is a case of (almost) the right movie with the wrong Bond. Moore was by no means a cert to make a fifth outing as 007, so the movie could easily have served as a reintroduction to a grittier new take on the character. 

That may explain why the film – helmed by former editor/second unit director John Glen, who’d go on to direct all five '80s Bond movies – is a strange mish-mash of seriousness and outlandishly silly, Moore-friendly moments. The revenge-driven plot is a good fit for the character and many of the stunts – particularly a phenomenal free-climbing sequence – have stood the test of time. But at the same time, this is the one where Bond drops a Blofeld lookalike down a chimney and misses a phone call from then-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Go figure.

For Your Eyes Only is also notable as the only Bond film without an M, after original actor Bernard Lee died early on in production.

2. Live and Let Die

A sharp suited Bond sits in a chair and looks concerned in Live and Let Die

Live and Let Die is arguably the only film where Roger Moore walks the walk of a lethal assassin. (Image credit: MGM)

Where to stream: Max (US); available to rent and/or buy on select platforms, including Amazon and Apple TV (UK); Stan (Australia)

After Sean Connery chose to permanently revoke his licence to kill (until his "unofficial" comeback in 1983’s Never Say Never Again, at least), Roger Moore was anointed the big screen’s third 007. The producers were initially hoping for Connery’s return, however, and that’s clear in a script that’s edgier and less self-consciously comedic than Moore’s subsequent outings in the role. In fact, this is arguably the only Bond movie where Moore comes close to convincing as a ruthless government assassin.

Viewed through modern eyes, many elements of Live and Let Die feel like a clunky, sometimes insensitive attempt to cash in on the success of the Blaxploitation genre of the early ’70s. Clifton James’ Louisiana cop JW Pepper also veers dangerously close to caricature territory. In the positives column, returning Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton keeps things pacey, while Paul McCartney’s theme tune subverts the traditional formula spectacularly, and is arguably the franchise’s best.

And here's one for the trivia buffs... Live and Let Die is the only film between 1963’s From Russia With Love and 1999’s The World is Not Enough not to feature a scene with Desmond Llewelyn’s ubiquitous gadget specialist Q. 

1. The Spy Who Loved Me

James Bond wears a tuxedo and chats to another character in The Spy Who Loved Me

The Spy Who Loved Me is the best Roger Moore 007 movie. (Image credit: MGM)

Where to stream: Max (US); available to rent and/or buy on select platforms, including Apple TV and Amazon (UK); Prime Video, Stan (Australia)

A Bond adventure so big it prompted the construction of the vast 007 Stage at London’s Pinewood Studios, The Spy Who Loved Me is our top choice in this Roger Moore Bond movie ranking.

In many ways, it’s a retread of Sean Connery’s You Only Live Twice (both films were directed by Lewis Gilbert) but it’s also the only flick where Moore’s trademark tongue-in-cheek delivery gels perfectly with the blockbuster spectacle. That’s clear from a spectacular pre-credits sequence where 007 skis off a cliff and interrupts his freefall by unfurling a union jack parachute – Carly Simon’s classic "Nobody Does it Better" theme song couldn’t be better placed.

While Bond films are often accused of being formulaic, The Spy Who Loved Me proves that – when it’s on song – it’s a formula that works. Main villain Karl Stromberg’s scheme to build a new underwater civilisation chimes perfectly with the movie’s over-the-top vibe, while Richard Kiel’s silent Jaws is one of the franchise’s best henchmen. KGB agent Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) is an excellent foil for Bond. And, with the possible exception of Goldfinger’s Aston Martin DB5, the submersible Lotus Espirit S1 is arguably 007’s greatest ever car.

For more James Bond coverage, check out our rankings of Sean Connery James Bond movies, Pierce Brosnan James Bond movies and Daniel Craig James Bond movies. We also give our verdict on the best James Bond gadgets ever, from exploding pens to full-scale remote-controlled cars.

Richard Edwards

Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi and fantasy magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.