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Through the years, many different actors have played Britain's top secret agent on the big screen. Catch up with James Bond lore before the next film.

James Bond Through the Years: Unique Features of the 007 Stars

Eon Productions released the first cinema adaptation of an Ian Fleming novel, Dr. No, in 1962. The film enjoyed outstanding success thanks to the role of Sean Connery, the first James Bond played in 1962’s “Dr. No.” Fast-forward to 2013, Eon production has produced and released 23 official James Bond films. So far, six actors have played the role of James Bond.

The series has enjoyed enormous popularity covering its 50 years of tenure. When not adapting to the decline in purchasing power over the years, the James Bond charter has ranked number 2 on the most successful franchises globally (Behind Harry Potter).

In fact, a report claims that approximately 20% of the global population has seen at least one series of James Bond films. Indeed, with over 20 James Bond films released in the past 60 years, many actors have left an enduring impression as Agent 007. Here’s the list of James Bond actors over the years.

Sean Connery

The first and perhaps most iconic James Bond was Sean Connery, who was chosen to play Agent 007 in Licence to Kill (released in 1962). Ian Fleming, the writer responsible for the creation of the Bond character, was not particularly happy with the choice. He would have preferred David Niven, an English actor who, at Fleming’s insistence, later became the protagonist of James Bond 007 — Casino Royale.

Connery was almost unknown to the public, and his mannerisms and acting were rather crude. In fact, the director of Licence to Kill Terence Young and the production team had to work hard to get the actor into character. The result was an extraordinary success: James Bond immediately became an icon of style and sex appeal, of virility and charisma: Connery returned to the character in 5 more films until 1971. However, in 1983, Connery once again took on the role of James Bond in the film Never Say Never.

Below is a list of films that Sean Connery starred in::

  • Dr. No (1962)
  • From Russia with Love (1963)
  • Goldfinger (1964)
  • Thunderball (1965)
  • You Only Live Twice (1967)
  • Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  • Never Say Never Again (1983).


David Niven

Ian Fleming’s initial choice for James Bond, David Niven, played the role in the 1967’s Casino Royale. When Peter Sellers and Sean Connery turned down the offer, Niven got the role. At that time, Niven was 56 years old and although only a few people believed he played the character well, Hearn and Barnes described how he interpreted the role perfectly. Although the film was financially successful, it had many negative reviews from critics. However, Niven isn’t remembered as the likes of Connery or Roger Moore, his time as an 007 agent serves peculiarity in the character’s history.

George Lazenby

Born in 1939, George Lazenby played the lead role in the film Agent 007, `On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Although Lazenby had no experience before taking on the role, Cubby Broccoli thought he would be the perfect candidate, even though he had only appeared in television commercials.

Connery had just left his role, therefore, it was going to be challenging to keep the series going. In fact, because of the pressure of replacing Connery and the constant disagreement with Cubby throughout filming, things didn’t work out for Lazenby, and he only starred in one Bond film. George Lazenby was also dismissed as he was reluctant to sign a long-term contract and the producers convinced Connery to come back and play Bond in 1971’s Diamonds are Forever.

Roger Moore

Born on 14 October 1927, Roger Moore was an English actor. Moore was the third actor to play the role of James Bond in the Eon Productions film series. The English actor is the longest-serving at 12 years. He played the role between 1973 and 1985. Roger Moore appeared in seven official James Bond films. Roger’s James Bond character was light-hearted, more than any official actor to play the role. Moore’s acting style was a sort of playboy like, with his tongue firmly in his cheek. During his time as a 007 agent, his humour served him and his audience well.

Below is the list of the Eon Productions films which Moore featured in over the years:

  • A View to a Kill (1985)
  • Octopussy (1983)
  • For Your Eyes Only (1981)
  • Moonraker (1979)
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  • The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
  • Live and Let Die (1973)

Timothy Dalton

Born on 21 March 1946, Timothy Dalton was a British actor. Timothy featured in the Living Delights (1987) and Licence to Kill in 1989, the fifteenth and sixteenth entries in the Eon Productions 007 series. Unlike Roger Moore’s light-hearted playboy interpretation, Dalton’s portrayal was more serious and darker. Instead of humour and fantasy plots, Timothy strived for a renewed emphasis on the gritty realism of the novels of Ian Fleming. The actor committed to playing truer to the unique character that Ian Fleming had described. Hence, his James Bond character was like a reluctant agent who never enjoyed his assignments. Film audiences and critics of the original novels of Ian Fleming liked the serious interpretation of the series after years of Moore’s acting style. However, many fans criticized Dalton’s James Bond series for its comparative lack of humour.

Pierce Brosnan

Born on 16 May 1953, Pierce Brosnan is an Irish actor and filmmaker. Brosnan was the fifth actor to portray the James Bond character in Eon Productions films. He featured in four of Bond’s series from 1995 to 2002. The four Bond’s films he featured include:

  • GoldenEye (1995)
  • Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
  • The World Is Not Enough (1999)
  • Die Another Day (2002)

He also portrayed the character in many video games. During Brosnan’s time as James Bond, he was more psychologically complete, sensitive, and vulnerable than the former Bond. His first series, GoldenEye, grossed $350 million globally. In fact, it was the highest gross of any flick in 1995.

Daniel Craig

Eon Productions introduced Daniel Craig as the sixth James Bond at a press conference on 14 October 2005. The actor accepted the offer based on Casino Royale’s script strength. However, significant controversy followed the Bond’s producers’ decision. A few critics and audiences expressed doubts that the producers had made the right choice. Also, all the film production period, online campaigns like showed their disappointment and threatened to boycott the series in protest.

The protesters didn’t consider Craig to fit into the charismatic, tall, and handsome image of James Bond, which fans had been accustomed to. However, Daniel Craig played his first Bond role in 2006, which saw him earn his 007 status. Despite the dissatisfaction with Craig’s appointment, his former critics and past Bonds praised him after the film’s release.

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The name James Bond has been everywhere in one of the most recognized franchises of the last five decades. In fact, we’ve seen many Bonds over the decades, and each has introduced a different flavor to the character that’s looked up to by so many. Although the actors differ in character and in role interpretation, they all stand for the same thing. James Bond.

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