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How to watch the James Bond movies in order

The best James Bond movies and how to watch them in chronological order, ahead of No Time To Die

No Time To Die
(Image: © MGM)

”The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

It’s nearly six decades since Sean Connery first uttered those immortal words in Dr No, and 24 (official) movies and six actors later, the Bond series remains one of the most popular franchises in movie history.

But with all those missions to choose from, working out how to watch the James Bond movies in order isn’t quite as simple as it might seem. Sure, you could view them in release date order, but what if you prefer the quippy charm of Roger Moore to Sean Connery’s more rugged portrayal of a government assassin? What if Daniel Craig, the current incumbent of the famous role, is your definitive 007? And what if you’d rather skip the more disappointing entries in the franchise entirely – A View to a Kill and Die Another Day, we have you in our sights…

With the long-delayed 26th entry in the 007 series, No Time To Die, arriving in theaters on September 30 (UK)/October 8 (US), we’ve taken a tour through nearly 60 years of glamorous locales, femmes fatales and vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred, naturally) to explain how to watch the James Bond movies in order.

We’ve included the release date sequence, of course, but we’ve also ranked the films by IMDb rating, sorted by leading man, and even put 007’s adventures into (something resembling) chronological order.

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James Bond movies in release order

  • Dr No (1962)
  • From Russia with Love (1963)
  • Goldfinger (1964)
  • Thunderball (1965)
  • Casino Royale (1967) UNOFFICIAL
  • You Only Live Twice (1967)
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
  • Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  • 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)
  • Never Say Never Again (1983) UNOFFICIAL
  • A View to a Kill (1985)
  • The Living Daylights (1987)
  • Licence to Kill (1989)
  • GoldenEye (1995)
  • Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
  • The World is Not Enough (1999)
  • Die Another Day (2002)
  • Casino Royale (2006)
  • Quantum of Solace (2008)
  • Skyfall (2012)
  • Spectre (2015)
  • No Time to Die (2021)

Other movie franchises have nothing on 007 when it comes to longevity. 2021’s long-awaited No Time To Die will be the 25th official James Bond movie (in other words, those produced by long-term rights holders Eon Productions), and there are two additional non-canon Bond movies: 1967 spoof Casino Royale, and Sean Connery’s 1983 comeback Never Say Never Again (the latter released the same year as Octopussy). Due to some quibbles over rights, Never Say Never Again is effectively a remake of Thunderball.  

The best James Bond movies: ranking the 007 films

Considering the Bond franchise has been running for close to 60 years, 007 has headlined surprisingly few bona fide classics. Ranking the 26 existing films based on IMDb user scores, however, it’s no surprise to see Casino Royale, Daniel Craig’s brilliant debut in the role, topping the table – closely followed by Goldfinger, arguably the film that established the gadget-heavy, over-the-top villain template that Bond would follow for years to come. 

The upper end of the list is dominated by Sean Connery, with his first five outings in the tuxedo all sitting pretty in the top 10. Roger Moore is defiantly midtable, while Pierce Brosnan (always a reliable 007) sees three of his four appearances languishing in the bottom 10 – the fun GoldenEye (which shot the franchise back into theaters in spectacular style after a six-year absence) is the exception. It’s also interesting to note that films called Casino Royale appear at opposite ends of the chart – though a title is pretty much the only thing the two Bond adventures have in common.

James Bond movies by actor

Daniel Craig’s 007 rediscovers his classic Aston Martin DB5 in Skyfall.

Daniel Craig’s 007 rediscovers his classic Aston Martin DB5 in Skyfall. (Image credit: Eon Productions)

Like British TV stalwart Doctor Who, James Bond eras are defined by the actor playing him. This list would be identical to James Bond movies in release date order were it not for Sean Connery’s two departures and subsequent returns to the role. 

With Connery having quit the gig after his fifth Bond movie, You Only Live Twice, George Lazenby briefly took over for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Connery was then tempted back for Diamonds Are Forever two years later, before leaving again – seemingly for the final time… Until he was tempted back as an older 007 over a decade later in the unofficial Never Say Never Again – directed by The Empire Strikes Back helmer Irvin Kershner.

While Connery was keeping the tuxedo warm, David Niven played Sir James Bond, a retired version of 007, in the unofficial spoof Casino Royale. He wasn't the only James Bond in the movie, either, as the plot revolved around the idea that there were numerous agents – played by the likes of Peter Sellers and Dr No’s Ursula Andress – using the famous name as an alias.

Despite being older than Connery, Roger Moore took over the famous role in 1973’s Live and Let Die, and would go onto play 007 in a record-breaking seven original movies. By the time the risible A View to a Kill rolled around in 1985, however, the years and mileage were starting to show, and Eon plumped for a younger model.

Timothy Dalton only managed two movies as a more politically correct ’80s version of the spy, as the franchise went on hiatus after 1989’s Licence to Kill. When James Bond eventually came good on his promise to return in 1995‘s GoldenEye, he was played by Pierce Brosnan, who'd previously missed out on the role thanks to his commitments to 1980s TV show Remington Steele.

With its invisible cars and giant ice palaces, Brosnan’s final Bond movie, Die Another Day, had carried the series into the realms of parody. So, in response to the successful, rather grittier Jason Bourne movies, Eon took 007 back to basics with origin story Casino Royale. Daniel Craig was their man.

The long-awaited No Time to Die will be Craig’s fifth and final outing as the world‘s most famous spy. By the time he hangs up his Walther PPK, he won't be the oldest Bond – but he will be the longest serving, having first played the role back in 2006. That's 15 years on Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Now speculation is rife about who'll be the seventh actor to (officially) play the United Kingdom’s most iconic action movie hero on the big screen.

Sean Connery

  • Dr No
  • From Russia with Love 
  • Goldfinger 
  • Thunderball 
  • You Only Live Twice 
  • Diamonds Are Forever
  • Never Say Never Again

David Niven

  • Casino Royale (1967)

George Lazenby

  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 

Roger Moore

  • 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

  • The Living Daylights
  • Licence to Kill 

Pierce Brosnan

  • GoldenEye
  • Tomorrow Never Dies 
  • The World is Not Enough 
  • Die Another Day  

Daniel Craig

  • Casino Royale
  • Quantum of Solace
  • Skyfall
  • Spectre
  • No Time to Die

James Bond movies in chronological order

Pierce Brosnan’s Bond has his regular appointment with Q branch.

Pierce Brosnan’s Bond has his regular appointment with Q branch. (Image credit: Eon Productions/007.com)

This is where things gets really complicated and confusing, because there is no definitive Bond timeline as there is for a saga like Star Wars – indeed, some elements of 007’s long screen life are actually contradictory. 

Bond usually exists in a Simpsons-like state of suspended animation, where the man stays more or less the same age (give or take a decade or two) while the world evolves around him. One long-standing fan theory attempts to explain this – and the secret agent’s ever-changing appearance – with the idea that James Bond is not actually one man, but an alias for a succession of spies with the 007 codename. We think that’s unlikely, however, because various elements of Bond’s personal history continue between agents – and Skyfall quite explicitly shows us the Bond family home. 

It’s probably better to look at the Bond series as two distinct continuities. The original saga began with Dr No, and runs all the way through to Die Another Day, released 40 years later. Although it’s never explicitly stated, you can comfortably assume that these films run in sequence. In fact, there are several key continuity elements that appear to confirm this. 

The most compelling piece of evidence is the fact that in several movies released after On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond refers to the fact he was married once – his wedding turned into a wake when Bond’s wife was assassinated by Blofeld in that film. This is most explicit in For Your Eyes Only, where we see 007 visiting his late wife Tracy’s grave, before going on a revenge mission against Blofeld. Blofeld never appeared again in the original continuity, so it’s safe to deduce that being dropped into a chimney did actually kill him. 

We also know that The Man with the Golden Gun takes place after Live and Let Die because 007 meets Sheriff JW Pepper for the second time. The same reasoning can be applied to super-sized henchman Jaws in The Spy who Loved Me and Moonraker, or Valentin Zukovsky, the former KGB agent played by Robbie Coltrane in GoldenEye and The World is Not Enough. 

The second continuity began with origin story Casino Royale (2006), and runs all the way to the upcoming No Time to Die. This is the beginning of James Bond’s double-0 story – based on Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel – as we see him qualifying as a government assassin and embarking on his first mission. The movies that followed have all been part of the same chronology, much more serialized than we ever saw in the original Bond run – particularly with evil organizations Quantum and Spectre providing a throughline between each movie. 

Whether the events of the five Daniel Craig films take place before Dr No is open to debate. On the yes side, we do see Bond’s first encounter with Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Spectre – and it’s there the bad guy gets his famous scars. On the against side, in No Time to Die Craig will be nearly 20 years older than Sean Connery was in Dr No, while the fact Bond takes his classic Aston Martin DB5 out of storage in Skyfall suggests that Goldfinger is in his past. Maybe Craig’s films just exist in a parallel timeline like JJ Abrams’ Trek movies…

The 1967 Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again exist entirely separately from the official continuity. 

See, we told you it was confusing.

Daniel Craig continuity

  • Casino Royale
  • Quantum of Solace
  • Skyfall
  • Spectre
  • No Time to Die

Original run

  • Dr No 
  • From Russia with Love 
  • Goldfinger 
  • Thunderball 
  • You Only Live Twice 
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 
  • Diamonds Are Forever 
  • 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 
  • The Living Daylights 
  • Licence to Kill 
  • GoldenEye 
  • Tomorrow Never Dies 
  • The World is Not Enough 
  • Die Another Day