The James Bond film series has had a storied history, and with the franchise over 50 years old now, there are bound to be some films that have been sadly overlooked. These three films, however, are absolutely worth the watch and are excellent additions to the series.
Tomorrow Never Dies
After the smash hit, and all around excellent film Goldeneye, the Bond franchise went in a surprising direction with Tomorrow Never Dies, largely because it was a rather radical departure from formula. Goldeneye was a great film, but pitting Bond against the Russians for most of the film was nothing terribly new. Tomorrow Never Dies made the last person you’d expect as the bad guy: a television news producer. The thing is, it actually works, with some genuinely good commentary on the nature of the 24-hour news cycle. Pierce Brosnan, unfortunately, had a pretty rocky James Bond career that ended with the disastrous Die Another Day, which is really too bad because he fit the role well, even with weak scripts and genuine ridiculousness in his last two films.
The Living Daylights
Following up on Roger Moore’s James Bond had to be a difficult task. While Moore’s films are far more hit-or-miss than the Connery era, the fact that he was James Bond for 12 years meant that anyone taking over the role had his work cut out for him. Timothy Dalton only had two films and was great in the role, despite what some critics say. The Living Daylights is an excellent debut with a more serious Bond, a more seriously executed plot, but still with a dash of humor that fans had come to expect from the franchise without the campiness of the Moore era. License to Kill, Dalton’s follow-up, was not as good as this one, but it’s truly a pity Dalton didn’t more than two movies.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
This film has set off a firestorm of controversy among fans of James Bond. On one hand, George Lazenby simply isn’t that good in the role. Wooden acting and much less charm than Connery, Lazenby is the film’s weakest link. That said, George deserves a bit of a break, had he decided to stay on as Bond for the next film, the fans may have been easier on him. The film also does have some late 60s chessiness that the Austin Powers films have parodied mercilessly. The film, despite these flaws, is nearly perfect otherwise. It sticks close to its source material, making it the most true-to-Flemming Bond film. Telly Salvas, of Kojak fame, is very good as Blofeld (even though Donald Pleasence may have been more iconic), and Diana Rigg as Bond’s love interest, outshines Lazenby’s Bond in almost every way, which actually works well for the film considering its leading man is not so charismatic.