On James Bond

Bonding...by the Numbers

By Ray Dempsey

An early James Bond site, alt.jamesbond, the easiest way to initiate a good argument was to state categorically that (pick a title) was the best Bond movie. There wasn’t a movie, no matter how awful, that wasn’t defended with vigor as being the best; however, without some benchmark of drama like Aristotle’s Theory of Tragedy, picking the best Bond movie is like picking the best color, the best greeting card, or the best wedding gown. It’s entirely subjective and therefore hard to defend.

That said, there are elements in all the Bond films that sparkle like little diamonds. When a defender talks about one film being the best, it is often because of one of these factors. Perhaps he or she loves the excitement of the prologue, or the intricacy of the plot. Perhaps a spectacular villain or a glamorous Bond girl makes that film his or her favorite. Perhaps the special effects, the cars, the location, or even the music propelled it to preferred status. So, in order to determine precisely which Bond film is, in fact, the best, I will be examining what each of these elements contributes to the whole, reviewing the films and, with tongue firmly in cheek, assigning a value to each of the parts, in hopes of coming up with a somewhat more objective, by-the-numbers winner–and ending those online squabbles once and for all.1

Before looking at the works produced by EON, we’ll use a film that fell outside of the Bond franchise as an  …

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