With the release of Spectre, the latest installment in the Bond franchise, Paul and I have spent many an hour cracking open the previous films. I have never really been a James Bond fan. However, my father, step father, and now husband have all been excessive in their love for this particular spy. I grew up with these films and have learned to appreciate them beyond their notorious identity of misogynists with gadgets.
Of course, there were moments when a Bond movie was the last thing I wanted to see. But because I was a child and couldn’t pay rent, I could either sit and watch Dr. No for the eighth time with my favorite person or go outside and play with all of the zero friends I had. In that moment I always looked forward to the opening title sequence, where the artistry was vivid and women dominated the screen.
Life within that spell was always decadent and magical. They are a unique staple to the franchise. So it became my reason seek out new Bond films in the theater as I got older. I was 10 when Goldeneye hit the theaters and now, 20 years later after leaving Spectre, my first comments where about the title sequence.
Here’s my lists of the best and worst Bond openings(Spectre not included). I graded them on a scale of 1 -10 based on these criteria:
My general opinion – I have one just like anyone else (complete with aesthetics!)
Camp/Class factor – The two are on opposite ends of the spectrum but equally important to me. What it doesn’t have in class can be made up in campy appeal.
Song – Essential to any good Bond opening.
Theme – All Bond openings have distinct themes to them, usually linked to the plot of the film. I like them coherent and interesting.
Ladies – The quality of lady silhouettes and direction is terribly important.
Innovation- Original concepts are so much more exciting than just a bunch of naked bitches spinning around while waving their hands.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
This was so close to being in the top 10. It’s one of the few opening themes without vocals and one solid piece of music. What dropped the score was the basic use of the same silhouettes. The hourglass imagery replaying clips from the earlier films was still intriguing making this one of my favorite title sequences in the series.
That beat tho’
10. The Living Daylights (1987)
If this song isn’t on your ipod, stop your shit and remedy that immediately. A-ha backed this awesomeness in all of its Ray-Ban glory. Headlights infused with fabulous lady tumblers make this an intro to remember. I especially love that pre Mr. & Mrs. Smith co-ed shoot-out where he carries her out of frame. Then there’s the sparkly bitch floating in the water…it’s just a lot to love!
It ends with a chick floating to the surface of a Champaign glass, resting on the edge and daydreaming with a gun- Best senior photo ever!
9. Diamonds are Forever (1971)
Cat eye turns into a diamond-BOOM, classic. Everything is classic. Shirley Bassey don’t need love, Shirley Bassey just need a sick groove to sing to all her diamonds.
8. Live and Let Die (1973)
So, not only is this the first intro with black women but the only title sequence in the Bond series with predominantly black women. It took a big step away from the sultry with Paul McCartney and Wings in this psychedelic arrangement that’s much like a black light poster…in my heart.
7. You Only Live Twice (1967)
My all-time favorite Bond song featuring Nancy Sanatra is on point. The theme is on point, visuals are on point and the racism is on point.
6. License to Kill (1989)
Gladys Knight, my god that shit is powerful. Who knew that a good hair toss twirl could be so mesmerizing?
5. Goldeneye (1995)
#1 Tina, #2 Communist imagery with ladies crawling all over everything is pretty great, #3 It’s clearly the 90’s but not disgusting- Do you know how hard that is?! For real, I watch it and am thinking, this is the mid 90’s but everything’s so sleek and sophisticated, which is what made the 90’s so gross because they’d try too hard and it all came out looking like 'The Room'.
4. View to a Kill (1985)
Yes, all of the yes. Neon 007 on boobs fresh out the gate, lasers, fire and ice, great use of streamers, such camp much wow. The theme, unlike most Bond films that are tied to the actual plot, View to a kill is more like an overall theme of the 80’s: Duran Duran and skiing.
For anyone who has actually seen this movie, blimps, horses, mines and butterflies would be too fucking insane-even for the opener.
3. Goldfinger (1964)
Gold women in bikinis is classy as fuck, especially if they are posed like statues. Shirley Bassy, again, knocked it out of the park and is a must for drag queens across the globe. This was the first original song for the Bond title sequences and is a super seductive classic. OHwnly GOhOhOhLD!
2. Casino Royale (2006)
Technology will do that.
This intro thoroughly blew me away and was a true original among the previous films. For the first time in Bond history we see a wholly masculine title sequence that doesn’t rely on naked women. In fact, the only glimpse of the better sex is a blip of Eva Greens magnificent face and that’s it! The rest is all dudes and fractals- how cool is that?!
1. Skyfall (2012)
Skyfall was the tightest title sequence to date. Guns & Knives falling to become tombstones, the proper use of hair flips, skulls, and stags all accumulated to make a coherent and downright gorgeous moment. Top it all off with Adele…bitch’ll give ya chills.
3. The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
Forgettable theme and water ripples. That’s it.
2. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Score: Also a 4.1
A trampoline and the most overplayed song in history. I love me some Carly Simon but to hell with this.
1. Die Another Day (2002)
Score: - 27
What the actual fuck. I got mad just having to watch this shit again. It was 2002 and they couldn’t have more believable CG scorpions?! That was the same year LOTR Two towers and Minority report were out. I actually remember graphics being way better than that.
At one point in that terrible song Madonna says “Sigmund Freud, analyze this “to a techno beat. I’m done.