Which Bond is best? A challenge for 2013

I’ve been given an interesting challenge to kick off 2013: pick my favourite James Bond film.

That’s quite a feat, I think. The series has been created over 50 years, with 6 lead actors and 23 films (so far), so picking any one film as a clear favourite is a tough call. Like most people, I’ve seen a fair few Bond films already, so I’m coming into this challenge with a number of preconceptions that, frankly, I need to shake.

Firstly, even though the last few Roger Moore films and those of Timothy Dalton were released in my lifetime, I didn’t see Bond at the cinema until Pierce Brosnan made his debut in Goldeneye. For a long time Brosnan equalled Bond to me, even after watching films starring the other actors. My first task, then, is to remember that there are 6 James Bonds, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Secondly, my father hates Roger Moore.

That might sound stupid, but what it means is that I don’t think I saw a Moore film all the way through until I was near my twenties, and I’m pretty sure the first one I saw was Moonraker, which I remember as being basically horrible. For me, Moore is the worst of Bond: camp, formulaic and uninspired. Another preconception of which I need to let go.

Lastly, I need to remember that most Bond films are products of different eras. I love Daniel Craig as 007, influenced as they were by other modern action flicks such as the Jason Bourne films, but I can’t watch Octopussy and mark it down for not having the same gritty semi-realism.

Over the next few months, I’m going to watch all of the Bond films in turn, starting with Dr No and ending with Skyfall*. I’m going to pick out the bits I both love and hate, and I’m going to rate each film in an effort to find what I think is the best Bond film.

No spoilers, please!

EDIT: Click here to read the first review (Dr No)!

* One caveat: for the moment, I only plan on working my way through the films that are counted as ‘canon’, which means that I won’t be watching Never Say Never Again or the original Casino Royale this time around. I may return to these films later.