Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

James Bond's Best Scenes Ranked By Masculinity

For decades, movie audiences have been entertained by the ongoing adventures of iconic British super-spy James Bond, as conceived in a series of espionage novels penned by Ian Fleming. 

Since 1962, Bond has been the cinematic face of MI6, the British government's premier intelligence agency, defending the free world from megalomaniacal terrorists and nefarious syndicates around the world. Played by a variety of actors across dozens of films, Bond has utilized dazzling gadgets and vehicles, performed high-octane stunts, and charmed countless beautiful women to get the job done. In doing so, he has become an enduring symbol of masculinity, blending sophisticated bravado, unceasing virility and unflinching grit in order to flex his license to thrill.

Below are the most masculine sequences from across the Bond films, for better or worse. Whether 007 has been pulling off death-defying stunts that have to be seen to be believed or exuding unflappable cool and swagger in the face of mortal danger, he has remained remarkably unchanged over six decades, even into a modern age when everything is being reevaluated. With a new Bond on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how Bond's macho ways will be re-interpreted — if at all. 

14. Bond exemplifies his appeal in Skyfall's assassination mission

Daniel Craig's portrayal of Bond always had an air of self-awareness postmodernism, with 007 and his supporting characters subverting expectations and calling out the franchise's typical touchstones. This is perhaps at its most apparent in 2012's "Skyfall," which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the film series. 

While "Skyfall" concludes with an emotional climax in Bond's Scottish backyard, the movie also contains a vignette that plays out like a standalone Bond adventure.

Tasked with intercepting an assassin in Shanghai, Bond goes through all the motions of a typical mission with stylish aplomb, battling his target in a neon-lit skyscraper before infiltrating a casino in Macau. This culminates with another blistering fight against a group of henchmen before Bond enjoys a romantic interlude with the mysterious Sévérine (Bérénice Marlohe). Everything that longtime franchise fans have relished about Bond's adventures is distilled in this dazzling sequence, with Craig taking what he does best and leaning into it.

13. The Bond franchise is defined in Goldfinger's prologue

With Sean Connery in the lead, 1964's "Goldfinger" established a lot of the cinematic formula that would define the Bond film series, including a gadget-laden car and a prologue sequence largely unrelated to the rest of the movie's story. Just as the "Skyfall" sequence in Shanghai and Macau would highlight Craig's strengths as 007, the "Goldfinger" prologue served as an excellent showcase for Connery's tenure. More than just informing the trajectory of the film series, this sequence would be imitated numerous times, both in and outside the franchise.

"Goldfinger" opens with Bond destroying a drug manufacturing facility in an unspecified Latin American country, then killing a henchman interrupting an amorous encounter. With two previous films under his belt, Connery is in top form here, able to handily lay out his enemies before delivering one last quip — all while effortlessly charming beautiful women. The concept of a secret agent concealing a full tuxedo under a stealthy suit would get direct nods in "True Lies" and "XXX," both among the many films citing this scene as a progenitor.

12. No Time to Die gives Craig's Bond a Cuban hurrah

After holding the role for 15 years, Craig's swan song as Bond was in 2021's "No Time to Die," bringing his tenure as the character to a definitively explosive end. 

In the interim five years between the movie and its immediate predecessor "Spectre," Bond has retired to a quiet life in Jamaica; of course, he is forced back into duty. In a standout sequence in Cuba, Bond proves he hasn't lost a step during his self-imposed retirement, finding himself in the middle of a trap.

Teaming up with newly-trained secret agent Paloma (Ana de Armas), Bond learns that the SPECTRE meeting he infiltrates in Havana is an elaborate scheme to lure him out by Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz). In between taking out SPECTRE operatives and contending with a new 007 Nomi (Lashawna Lynch), Bond is sharing drinks with Paloma like no time has passed at all. "No Time to Die" may end on a thoroughly bittersweet note, but Bond's Cuban smackdown gives him a thrilling return to form.

11. Skyfall has Bond emerge triumphant from a midlife crisis

In several ways, Craig was the first canonical Bond whose films directly acknowledged the character being well into middle age. 

In 2012's "Skyfall," Bond returns to service after being presumed killed in action for months. 007 soon comes to the realization that he isn't as physically capable as he once was. After formally being reinstated, Bond finds himself reinvigorated during an attack on MI6 itself by the villainous Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) in the heart of London.

Intentionally allowing himself to be captured and interrogated by MI6, Silva stages a daring escape, leaving Bond scrambling after him before targeting M while she testifies at Parliament. Racing across the British capital on foot, Bond arrives just in time to save M and drive Silva away after a fierce gunfight. Arriving on the scene with a quiet wink to his besieged allies, it's clear that Bond is back and never has to worry about passing a physical ever again.

10. Craig barrels through the naysayers in Casino Royale's big chase

There's always a large burden of expectation on anyone taking over Bond; accordingly, Craig's debut in 2006's "Casino Royale" came with massive hype and immense scrutiny. 

Concerns about Craig's abilities (and the new, grittier reinvention of the character) were quickly silenced by the film's thrilling opening sequence. In the film, Bond pursues a bombmaker (played by Sébastien Foucan, the founder of freerunning) through the streets of Madagascar. When Bond's target takes a detour into a bustling construction site, the chase escalates into full-blown parkour — it's safe to say your dad never got this from Roger Moore.

Under the studied eye of Martin Campbell (who had previously directed a Pierce Brosnan Bond in "GoldenEye"), 007 races to the top of an unfinished building, then dukes it out with the terrorist in an adrenaline-fueled sequence on scaffolding before the pair work their way back down to the site. Along the way, Bond slides through openings and charges through drywall like he's Jackie Chan, stopping at nothing to close in on his target. Coming off the CGI-burdened "Die Another Day," this down-and-dirty chase sequence was the shot in the arm the franchise needed, announcing Craig's presence with authority as it established a grounded tone for his tenure.

9. Timothy Dalton's Bond era closes with a winding car chase

While Timothy Dalton earned some fans for his late '80s portrayal of Bond, he only appeared in two films. It was a tricky time for 007, one where his greatest enemy wasn't so much an evil madman but shifting cultural expectations and a full-blown AIDS epidemic that had the films dialing back on lovers in lieu of safe sex messaging. 

1989's "Licence to Kill" depicted a Bond going rogue, resigning from MI6 to pursue Latin American drug czar Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) and avenge his friend Felix Leiter (David Hedison). This culminates in Bond disrupting a large drug convoy escorted by Sanchez, resulting in an explosive car chase on oil tankers through a deadly mountain pass.

This action set piece is the last to feature Dalton as Bond, and it perfectly encapsulates how his films differed from other incarnations of the long-running franchise. From brutally dispatching henchmen to relying on his own wits and determination rather than gadgets, Dalton's Bond brought an impressive amount of grit. For Dalton, every victory was hard-earned, and his fiery showdown with Sanchez in "Licence to Kill" sent the actor out on a high note.

8. Roger Moore reminds audiences of Bond's lethal edge

Across seven films, Roger Moore starred as Bond in adventures that were significantly lighter in tone, sometimes even veering into outright camp. But 1981's "For Your Eyes Only" might be Moore's most serious take on the character, dispensing with many of the typical gadgets and tricks for something more grounded. This change in sensibility carries over to Moore's performance, including a memorable cliffside confrontation with rival assassin Emile Leopold Locque (Michard Gothard) in Greece.

Bond and Locque have been playing a deadly cat-and-mouse game across Europe when Bond raids Locque's hideout in Greece with a group of smugglers. Attempting to escape, Locque drives to the top of a nearby mountain, and is subsequently confronted by Bond, his car left hanging precariously over the edge of a cliff. In Moore's most stone-cold moment as 007, the spy casually walks up to Locque's car and sends it over the cliff with a kick, watching as the man tumbles to his death.

7. Daniel Craig's Bond gives audiences an eyeful

In one of many Bond recurring motifs, the spy has laid eyes on several potential love interests as they emerged from the water; with "Royale," the franchise acknowledged the shifting tides of society by flipping the script, making him the object of desire.

In the flick, the recently-promoted spy decides to investigate a suspected terrorist in the Bahamas by approaching his home from the sea. This involves him surfacing from the water, wearing nothing but a light blue pair of swim shorts, his full muscular frame in view.

Craig's Bond was often depicted as being in peak physical condition (even if he was older than most Bond incarnations), and this role-reversed emergence from the ocean was a welcome change of pace. Gone was the leering male gaze, replaced by a more self-aware era. Ever since Craig rose from the ocean in this shot, each subsequent film boasted at least one scene showing off his athletic frame — his shirtless scene in "Casino Royale," however, remains the best.

6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service set the stage for epic ski chases

One of the more overlooked films in the franchise is 1969's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," George Lazenby's sole appearance as James Bond when Connery temporarily left the role. In contrast to the former agent, Lazenby's Bond was emotionally vulnerable and relied more on subterfuge to get the job done. However, this Bond was no slouch in the action set pieces, and the standout from the movie is a nighttime ski chase down the Swiss Alps.

Escaping from Blofeld's headquarters on a remote mountaintop, Bond is pursued by the villainous mastermind and a group of SPECTRE operatives on skis. Set to composer John Barry's iconic score, Bond leads his hunters through winding alpine forests and off perilous cliffs before reaching a small village at the foot of the mountain. In the wake of Lazenby's brief tenure, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" set a new bar for action sequences.

5. Dalton sets the tone for a darker Bond

After seven movies fueled by Moore's light-hearted approach to Bond, Dalton took over for 1987's "The Living Daylights," marking a seismic shift in tone. Considerably less flippant and playful than his immediate predecessor, Dalton's Bond was a hardened killer, rendered world-weary and cynical by his lethal profession. This was quickly apparent once "The Living Daylights" kicked into high gear as Bond traveled to Bratislava to assist with the defection of a Soviet general (Jeroen Krabbe).

Dalton's Bond is taciturn and sullen with this assignment, disobeying direct orders to eliminate a cellist (Maryam d'Abo) who appears to be taking aim at the general with a sniper rifle. When Bond is threatened by his MI6 colleague (Thomas Wheatley) for potentially jeopardizing the entire mission, 007 says he'll thank M if he's fired. This more contemplative, morose Bond established Dalton an a unique interpreter of the character, setting him apart from predecessors and returning the franchise to its cloak-and-dagger roots.

4. Bond goes skydiving without a parachute

Sometimes, the prologue of a Bond film is the best part of the entire movie; the opening sequence to 1979's "Moonraker" is a prime example. 

After successfully wrapping up an unseen adventure, Bond is celebrating with a romantic rendezvous on a small plane. He soon discovers that he has been lured into a trap, however, with the aircraft sabotaged and no remaining parachutes. Bond is pushed off the plane by his old enemy Jaws (Richard Kiel), so he dives towards one of his would-be killers to commandeer a parachute.

What follows is a frenetic chase through the air, as Bond snatches one assassin's parachute (leaving the man to him plummet to his doom) and battles Jaws for survival. Bond successfully opens his chute while Jaws is left to tumble down to Earth, saved from an untimely end by landing on a circus tent. This dazzling, complex sequence took 88 skydives by the stuntmen and camera crew to be filmed, with weeks of planning beforehand to ensure safety for the performers and crew.

3. Bond turns the tables in a claustrophobic brawl

Widely considered one of the greatest Bond films of all time, 1963's "From Russia with Love" marked Connery's sophomore appearance as the iconic secret agent, and it was filled with plenty of Cold War intrigue. It also has one heckuva fight scene.

Bond is sent to Istanbul to seduce Soviet clerk Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi), stealing an advanced decoding machine from the Soviet embassy. The two are unaware, however, that this is all an elaborate revenge scheme by SPECTRE designed to kill and discredit Bond, overseen by assassin Red Grant (Robert Shaw).

Grant springs the trap after drugging Tatiana while she is riding out of Istanbul with Bond on the Orient Express, with Bond both outwitting and out-punching his formidable opponent. Tricking Grant into opening a boobytrapped briefcase, Bond goes on the offensive in a brutal fistfight that culminates in 007 garroting the SPECTRE operative in a tightly confined train car. In a stunning display of brains and brawn, Connery cements his portrayal of Bond as one of the best in an action sequence that still holds up.

2. Pierce Brosnan catapults into the role of Bond with a long drop

In 1995, Pierce Brosnan helped usher the Bond franchise from the context of the Cold War with "GoldenEye." The movie had Bond facing off against his old friend and former MI6 operative Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), amidst the upheaval of the Iron Curtain's fall. 

Brosnan's introduction as Bond took hold of the screen in an excellent prologue set during the final days of the Cold War, as Bond and Trevelyan raided a Soviet weapons factory, Bond making a soaring entrance.

Running onto a dam positioned directly above the factory, Bond bungee-jumps down the sheer face of the dam and infiltrates the facility through a rooftop vent, surprising a Soviet officer in a bathroom. The sequence not only maintained the grit and intensity of the preceding Dalton era, but teased Brosnan's formidable charm as he met the opposition with not just fisticuffs but also disarming quips. Further immortalizing the scene's place in the Bond franchise, it would become the opening level of the beloved "GoldenEye" tie-in Nintendo 64 video game.

1. Sean Connery gives Bond his iconic introduction

While Bond has always wielded his catchphrases as adeptly as his Walther PPK, how the man introduces himself stands above the rest. 

Giving his name simply as "Bond. James Bond," it has become a hallmark of the series that every cinematic iteration of the character has uttered the line at some point. Of course, the actor that blazed this particular trail was Connery in his debut flick, 1962's "Dr. No."

After winning big against Sylvia Trench (Eunice Grayson) in a high stakes game of baccarat, Bond formally introduces himself while lighting a cigarette. Soon enough, he's receiving orders to travel to Jamaica for his next mission, but this introduction leaves an impression on Trench, who sneaks into Bond's flat before he leaves to give him a romantic send-off. After such an iconic entrance, the phrase would appear in the majority of subsequent Bond films, each actor getting at least one chance to introduce themselves with those three famous words.