The most thrilling James Bond films

As fans get over No Time to Die’s emotional ending, James Bond producers have assured audiences that it won’t be the last of 007.

In fact, since Daniel Craig’s retirement, rumours suggest many candidates for the role, including Grantchester’s Tom Brittney. Although nothing is for sure, the Bond franchise has nowhere to go but up.

While producers deliberate on who the new James Bond will be and what sort of missions he’ll be taking on, there is a pretty complete selection of films to enjoy in the meantime.

For fans of psychological thrillers, check out this James Bond film list that packs plot twists and drama into snappy movie titles.


For Your Eyes Only (1981)


Although it was filmed in the early 80s, For Your Eyes Only references classic Bond films from the 1960s. Cutting down on the over-the-top scenarios seen in other films – like trips to outer space or making villains pop like balloons – For Your Eyes Only centres around a classic tale of revenge.

The drama ensues when a submarine named St Georges sinks with valuable navy documents inside it. A marine scientist has been hired to locate the submarine but is murdered by a hitman. His daughter, Melina, witnessed the murder and planned to exact her revenge. Bond, assigned to retrieve the documents, crosses paths with Melina as she kills the man he’s spying on. The two eventually get wrapped up in a lover’s affair and Cold War politics. As the Soviet and Western powers pressure Bond to deliver the documents, he and Melina commit their sweet act of revenge together.


Licence to Kill (1989)


Everyone loves a classic revenge tale, and where For Your Eyes Only walks, Licence to Kill runs. When James Bond finds his friends gruesomely murdered by Dario Sanchez, he’s the one to swear revenge. Unlike typical 007 films, that follow M16 procedures or focus on someone else’s vendetta, James Bond acts as a rogue agent. As tensions run high, Bond immerses himself in Sanchez’s world, always on his tail. In one scene, Bond makes a visit to Sanchez’s casino and plays blackjack there.

While blackjack has several varieties, it’s safe to say the version that he plays here is high roller blackjack. In this version, players make daring bets, and Bond doesn’t fail. Joining the table with a quarter of a million dollars, he bets an additional quarter-million, in typical Bond fashion. Sanchez starts to sweat and brings in his dashing girlfriend, Lupe Lamora, to get Bond off track. Luckily, Bond gets away while he’s ahead. In a game of cat and mouse, Sanchez and Bond finally duel. Sanchez attempts to kill Bond with a machete, but Bond beats him to it in an epic fire show.


Casino Royale (2006)


Although it’s the most recent leg of the franchise, featuring Daniel Craig’s James Bond, this film takes place at the beginning of his spy career. An intelligent choice from the producers, this version of James Bond doesn’t focus so much on intense action scenes, but on his mysterious character. In fact, what makes the Casino Royale characters so interesting is how different they are from the stereotypical Bond characters, whose eccentric backstories often fall flat.

The bloody-eyed villain, Le Chiffre, for example, isn’t evil for evil’s sake. He is a complex character, desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to get out of a bad situation. Likewise, many critics have said that Daniel Craig in Casino Royale resembles the cold, vengeful Bond that Timothy Dalton emulated in Licence to Kill. The film is best known for its artful subtleties, which critics have claimed to be even more elaborate than stunts, including the famous poker scene. With fantastic performances from Mads Mikkelson as Le Chiffre, and Eva Greene’s emotionally-complex role as Vesper Lynd, Casino Royale is perhaps the most psychological James Bond film on the list.