All 6 James Bond film actors, ranked in order of greatness

30 September 2021, 16:55

All the actors who have played James Bond
All the actors who have played James Bond. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

From Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, we rank all the actors who have played James Bond on screen so far.

Only six men have played British secret agent James Bond on screen so far (well, seven if you include David Niven in the spoof version of Casino Royale), but who is the best ever?

All six actors brought their own spin on 007, each with their own flaws and greatness. Here's our ranking, so try not to get too shaken or stirred...

  1. George Lazenby

    George Lazenby In 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'
    George Lazenby In 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. Picture: Getty

    We have a big soft spot for George Lazenby, but with only one Bond film to his name, by default he has to finish last.

    For years, critics sneered at the Australian model's portrayal of 007, but over time his turn in On Her Majesty's Secret Service has been hailed as one of the series' highlights.

    Sure, Lazenby's lack of acting experience raised a Roger Moore-sized eyebrow at the time, and he is somewhat wooden at times, but his vulnerable take on the character is a joy to watch all these years later.

  2. Roger Moore

    Rogeer Moore in 1968
    Roger Moore in 1968. Picture: Getty

    No one has played Bond more times than the late Sir Roger Moore.

    Read more: This Roger Moore story will make you well up with joy

    Moore's take on Bond was with his tongue firmly lodged in his cheek, so if you're looking for fun spy capers, he's absolutely your man.

    He may have hung around a little too long into the 1980s, but it's impossible not to fall in love with his suave agent.

  3. Daniel Craig

    Daniel Craig in 2015
    Daniel Craig in 2015. Picture: Getty

    Some fans were outraged when a blonde actor was hired as the next Bond back in the early 2000s.

    But any doubts were soon put to rest when the excellent Casino Royale was released, and Daniel Craig has now been Bond longer than anyone else in terms of years.

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    While Moore was perhaps too far on the 'silly' end of the spectrum, it could be argued that Craig's tenure has been too far on the 'gritty realism' end.

    Aside from one duffer (Quantum of Solace), Craig's films have been intelligent and action-packed, even if Craig himself appears to be fed up with the role at times.

  4. Timothy Dalton

    Dalton As Bond
    Dalton As Bond. Picture: Getty

    Like Lazenby before him, Timothy Dalton has often been overlooked, arguably because he only did two films (though he wanted to do more if it wasn't for delays in the early '90s).

    Read more: All 24 James Bond theme songs ranked from worst to best

    But when you watch back his two films in the late 1980s, they are a perfect blend of fun '80s Bond and a glimpse of what Daniel Craig did two decades later.

    Dalton's Bond is fierce, but still with a little glint in his eye. Underrated.

  5. Pierce Brosnan

    Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye
    Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye. Picture: Getty

    Pierce Brosnan was the final actor in the original Bond timeline before it was rebooted with Craig.

    Read more: Why Pierce Brosnan and wife Keely's 19-year marriage is so beautiful

    Sadly, Brosnan's fourth and final film - Die Another Day - was a poor film which has arguably dented his legacy as Bond.

    However, Brosnan always shines as a perfect mix of cheeky, dangerous and charming, and he deserves more recognition.

  6. Sean Connery

    Sean Connery in Goldfinger
    Sean Connery in Goldfinger. Picture: Getty

    Well, they often say that the original is the best, and it's very much the case with the late Sir Sean Connery.

    Read more: Sean Connery's cover of 'In My Life' by The Beatles is beautiful and very poignant

    OK, Diamonds Are Forever is a bit ropey, and it was weird seeing him back as Bond in the unofficial Never Say Never Again, but no-one has bettered Sean.

    His Bond is the pinnacle when it comes to pure coolness, and everyone has tried to emulate him ever since. Will he ever be bettered?