Settling The Bond Debate Once and For…

With the arrival of yet another installment in the seemingly timeless Bond series, slated for release in the next few weeks, I thought I would once again stoke the fires of controversy by asking that singular question, “Which Bond is the best Bond?”

Here they are for our consideration…

Now, let’s begin by eliminating the pretenders, i.e. Lazenby and Dalton. Why Lazenby? Let’s be honest. He was only in one film. If I hadn’t actually labeled his photo most people couldn’t even name him. You can’t be considered the standard when you represent less than 5% of the entire discussion. Sorry. His “body of work” doesn’t qualify him for real consideration. So, Lazenby is out. As for Dalton, I refuse to accept that he was ever Bond. C’mon. This is the same guy who’s most recent accomplishment is serving as the voice for Mr. Pricklepants. Dalton appeared in only 2 Bond films… which in my opinion is 2 too many. Seriously.

The next guy to get tossed aside has to be Mr. Brosnan. Sadly, his portrayal of Bond almost induced me to abandon the series entirely. I’m sure the ladies loved him but he just lacked that machismo (yes, I know I’m stereotyping) that defines Bond. He was just too distinguished, too elegant, too ritzy in his portrayal of Bond. Every single time he engaged the bad guy in a fist fight I fully expected for him to call a “time out” and run home so his mother could nurse his wounds.

That leaves Moore, Connery, and Craig. To be honest, I wince at the idea of even putting Moore in the same sentence (much less the same category) as the other two. Don’t get me wrong. I’d take Moore over Brosnan and Dalton any day. But Roger was no Sean or Daniel. He started off very well but the character really seemed to lose its punch as he moved into his final films. Granted, the blame probably rested more squarely on the shoulders of the writers but I refuse to crown the Octopussy Bond as king. Ain’t gonna happen.

Before we finish this debate, I need to add one qualifying statement. I am 45. I grew up watching Connery with my father. In fact, those memories remain some of my strongest to this day. Connery was Bond. Not only was he the first but he was the very personification of the character. To this day, I can’t see a picture of Connery and not think Bond. He set the standard in such a way that all his predecessors were destined to fall short of the mark. Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, and Brosnan would never be and could never replace Connery in my book. He was cool. He was cold. He was calculating. Sean Connery was Bond. And for me, no one could change that fact.

But then something unexpected happened… Hollywood chose Daniel Craig to become the latest incarnation of Bond. I have to admit that initially I thought they had lost their minds. (How do you pass up on Hugh Jackman?) But as the new movies have begun to unfold I have become captivated by his portrayal of Bond. Craig makes Bond seem real in a way that all the others failed. His Bond gets hurt (physically and emotionally). His Bond gets beaten and even loses at times. From the technology to the storyline there is a spark of realism that has replaced the fantastical and impossible acts that defined the last Bond. I watch Craig’s Bond and I can believe that it’s real. This could be really happening. And this could be me (except for the chiseled jaw, muscular frame, and British accent). I have a sense of identity with Craig that I never realized with the others. And for me, that makes Daniel Craig the best Bond.

Well, there you go. I would love for you to join the conversation. So, take a few minutes and let me know… Who is the best Bond and why?