6 Scenes We Love from the James Bond Films

By  · Published on November 4th, 2012

There are now 23 official James Bond movies, so coming up with only six clips from the entire series for this week’s Scenes We Love was difficult. But where do you draw the line? One scene per film is too many, and if I picked all the scenes I truly love the most from the films, it would add up to even more. There would also be an imbalance, with multiple scenes from some films and no scenes from others. There’d be no focus. So, the best and simplest way to do this (in terms of clarity; I reiterate that choosing the clips was not simple) is to pick one scene I love from each of the six actors’ run as 007.

In making the selections, I had to remind myself, and I should remind you, that these are not meant to be the best scenes or even necessarily my personal favorites. They’re simply some scenes that I love that I’d like to spotlight for your pleasure in viewing and discussing. Also, Bond fans are all so different, so it’s very likely that some of these scenes that I love might be scenes that you hate. Let me know your own favorite scene – or just a scene you love – from each Bond down below.

George Lazenby – Ski Chase in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Lazenby’s run makes for easy choosing since he only had one film, but even then there are three moments that stick out in my mind, and only the spoiler one seems to be on line in clip form. The first is his dinner with the “Angels of Death,” when he feels a stiffness coming on. Maybe I just like double entendres, but it’s also a good line for unintentional purpose given how Lazenby is seen as too stiff in the role. The second scene is the daytime ski chase, particularly when the minion gets minced in a snowblower and Bond says “he had a lot of guts.” And people thought action heroes had corny quips 25 years later. But I love corny. The third is the final scene, which sort of comes out of nowhere in a narrative sense and is especially a major bummer – though also kind of significant – for Lazenby’s quick conclusion. Anyway, here’s the night ski chase, since it’s available:

Sean Connery – Police Chase in Diamonds Are Forever

As I said, I like a lot of the corny Bond, since that’s what I knew as a kid. In fact, my introduction to Bond was really Roger Moore’s appearances in the Cannonball Run films. And so, since I grew up with a fondness for director Hal Needham, that easily led to a fondness for the Guy Hamilton-helmed Bond films. Goldfinger may be his best on a certain level, but this kick-off to his trio of ’70s installments is the most fun. The bit where Bond is in a Mustang being pursued by cops through the Las Vegas strip and into a parking lot is pure joy to a guy obsessed with Smokey and the Bandit. It’s hard to believe this was so many years earlier.

Roger Moore – Alligator Farm Escape in Live and Let Die

You might say this is a combination of two great scenes, and you may argue that it’s a bit too much like the previous scene, which indeed comes from the previous film. But I love what I love. Here we have another great moment of Guy Hamilton’s American Adventures of Bond. First, the ridiculous maneuver to elude alligators by running across their heads – the only thing missing is cartoon sound effects. Then there’s the boat chase, which could have been one thing altogether on its own. But they’ve gotta throw in Sheriff J.W. Pepper and some incompetent police for comic relief.

Timothy Dalton – Bar Fight in License to Kill

I have this thing where I get really excited when something goes against tradition, and while a silly chair-smashing bar fight isn’t that much of a surprise from the Bond series at the point of License to Kill, it’s still interesting given how the character is iconically known. He’s classy, wears a tuxedo, hangs out in casinos and other ritzy joints. Here, if you look at this scene by itself, he doesn’t seem to be in a Bond movie. He seems to be in Road House. Some fans may like the repetition and convention, but I like the unexpected.

Pierce Brosnan – Introduction of Judi Dench’s M in Goldeneye

Speaking of fresh changes, there was nothing better than the introduction of Judi Dench as the new M in the first Pierce Brosnan Bond. Her meeting with 007 here is especially interesting for a few reasons through her carry over into Daniel Craig’s run. One comment she makes (not in the clip below) is that MI6 doesn’t like getting its bad news from CNN. Think of that when you watch Skyfall. Meanwhile, her relationship with Bond in Skyfall in particular is very different than it is with Bond here. I love that she makes reference to all the outdated parts of Bond as a misogynist and what not. She’s a brilliant transition piece for the post-Cold War era.

Daniel Craig – Construction Site Parkour in Casino Royale

Never mind how I loved the silly Bond when I was younger (and still enjoy it now). When Craig’s run as Bond began, it began in a powerful way that made me really jump up. By this point, I was bored with Bond and didn’t think much of his films. But the opening was and still is one of the most thrilling action sequences ever, let alone in a Bond film. The opening of Skyfall might come close, and there is something to be said about the datedness of parkour, but it was still a very awesome way to reboot a franchise.

Related Topics:

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.