Watching James Bond movies in order, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig

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Sean Connery with Aston Martin DB5

Sean Connery in a relaxed moment on the set of Goldfinger, with the iconic 1964 Aston Martin DB5.

Getty Images

You’ve never watched a James Bond movie? Even so, you probably know at least a little something about 007, the big-screen secret agent with a license to kill who’s been a pop culture powerhouse for six decades and counting. A man in a tuxedo holding a pistol. Sean Connery’s accent. Daniel Craig’s abs. Billie Eilish’s Grammy-winning theme song for No Time to Die. That enduring catchphrase: vodka martini — shaken, not stirred.

And now you’ve decided to watch your very first Bond movie, maybe even do a full-on binge. After all, you want to be ready for when No Time to Die, aka Bond 25 and expected to be Craig’s last outing, arrives in movie theaters on Oct. 8. But do you watch the Bond movies in chronological order (they started with Connery in Dr. No way back in 1962), start with the most recent movie, or just go with the first one you come across?

To help you get started, this is your beginner’s guide to James Bond, who’s long defined a certain type of style and swagger. Or if you’re already a confirmed 007 fan — and there are a lot, including Tenet director Christopher Nolan — it’s a chance to weigh in on Connery’s quips, Roger Moore’s merits, Pierce Brosnan’s run or George Lazenby‘s one-and-done Bond career. Movie fans have strong feelings about who played Bond best (and worst).

Here are not one, but two places for you to get started with the iconic spy from MI6, from opposite ends of the franchise. Take your pick: the modern Bond or the original.

Start with: Casino Royale

Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond is a terrific spy/action movie, period. It’s that heart-poundingly good. But trik casino online Royale (2006) also did what no previous Bond movie could do: It completely rebooted the franchise, blowing up a formula that many saw as played out, with far-fetched gimmicks and belabored puns, even as it remained a steady box office draw. It’s based on Ian Fleming‘s very first Bond novel and gives us Bond very much as he was introduced to the world. It stays true to that original story in many essential ways (not a hallmark of Bond movies in general) while at the same time updating it for modern audiences.

Daniel Craig as James BondDaniel Craig as James Bond

When Daniel Craig donned the dinner jacket, we got a James Bond reinvented for the 21st century.

Greg Williams/Eon Productions via Getty Images

Craig himself delivers all the muscle and menace the character deserves, in keeping with Fleming’s depictions and as measured against Connery, still the standard by which all other Bonds are invariably judged. There’s nothing glib about this Bond, and if he does look good in a tuxedo, you always know there’s a brute inside ready to battle the baddies. You learn right off the bat how he earned his double-0 (license to kill) rating, then it’s off to a spectacular chase and gunfight. That’s just in the first 18 minutes.

High points, too, for a nasty villain in Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre, Judi Dench as Bond’s no-nonsense boss M and Eva Green as Bond’s female foil.

Casino Royale also opens the door to the strong series of movies that follow — Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015), with No Time to Die waiting in the wings. There’s more than just action here: There’s an arc that leads us deeper into Bond’s past and how it drives him in the here and now.

Start with: From Russia With Love / Goldfinger

This whole franchise got going with Connery, so you can’t go wrong starting there. But for now let’s skip the very first movie, Dr. No. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but the two movies that followed are more definitive — they’re often the top two in lists of the best Bond movies. Pick either of these and you’re getting absolutely top-shelf Connery, the man who defined Bond and who was the heart of the franchise when it exploded into a phenomenon.

From Russia With Love (1963) gives you an honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned spy story, with no tech wizardry to speak of and no evil plan to destroy the world. It’s Bond on an intimate scale, a character-driven tale of our spy, the woman sent to seduce him and the assassin (a buff and square-jawed Robert Shaw) assigned to take him down. (It also gives us our first glimpse of Blofeld, the recurring uber-villain.) In the finest Bondian tradition of <a website locales, this one cozies up to Istanbul and takes a memorable ride on the Orient Express. The fight scene in the train compartment is rightfully a classic.

Then along came Goldfinger (1964), the third movie. This one ratcheted things up and pretty much set the splashy tone for all the movies up till Craig arrived — the outlandish plot (set off a nuke to irradiate the gold at Fort Knox), the over-the-top villain and henchman, the Aston Martin DB-5 sports car tricked out with machine guns and ejector seat, the laser with which Goldfinger memorably threatens 007 (“No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die”). Plus: One of the greatest theme songs of the series.

Connery is dashing, virile, devilish, supremely confident — everything you’d expect from a modern action hero, in part because he was the template.

See also: The aircraft of James Bond: Little Nellie, a Vulcan bomber and a Concorde

Digging deeper into Bond

I’d recommend getting a handful of Craig and/or Connery movies under your belt before venturing out more widely. Best to watch the Craig installments in sequence, but the Connerys (like the Moores, Daltons and Brosnans) you can watch in any order. Stick with the five Connery films from the 1960s before looking toward his two comeback efforts. The early movies are very much of their time, of course, so while you might chuckle at the quaintness of the tech and the fashions and the cinematography, you may cringe a bit at some of the ethnic depictions and sexual mores.

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