Back to IndieWire

If Daniel Craig is Your Favorite Bond, Are You Really a Bond Fan?

If Daniel Craig is Your Favorite Bond, Are You Really a Bond Fan?

“‘Skyfall’ is the least typical Bond film in the series, which directly correlates to the fact that it might now be my favorite Bond.” — Russ Fischer, /Film

That comment was tweeted last night a short while after “Skyfall‘s press screening in Austin, and it’s far from unusual. In this week’s Criticwire Survey, six critics named “Skyfall” as their favorite James Bond movie ever — four days before the film even opens in theaters. Improbably, this 23rd James Bond picture may wind up the most critically acclaimed in the franchise’s 50 year history (it’s currently pulling a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and an A- on Criticwire). Those sorts of reviews are something new. Bond’s been beloved throughout his history — but never really respected.

That said, the larger results of this week’s Criticwire Survey surprised me in a way that few have since we started doing them last spring. Out of more than 40 critics, the most popular response to the question “What is your favorite James Bond movie?” was not one of the standard bearers from Sean Connery’s original run, like “Goldfinger” or “From Russia With Love,” but Daniel Craig’s “Casino Royale.” When you tallied up the votes by Bond actor, Craig came out on top that way, too; his three films scored 19 votes to Connery’s 14 (followed by Roger Moore with 9, George Lazenby with 4, Pierce Brosnan with 2, and Timothy Dalton dead last with a single, measly vote). It’s one decidedly unscientific poll with a very small sample size, but it suggests the success and popularity of Craig’s version of character. Which is interesting for one very big reason: Craig doesn’t really play “James Bond” — at least not as he’s been played by the five men who came before him. 

Every actor to play Bond has brought something different to the part, but they all essentially followed the template established by Connery: confidence, dark wit, machismo. Connery’s replacements were less entirely new characters than variations on a theme: Moore emphasized humor, Brosnan played up the sexuality and the swagger. It wasn’t just the actors who adhered to a template, either. Their films did as well: gun barrel intro, cold open, Binder/Kleinman opening titles, M briefing, Moneypenny flirting, Q gadgetry, assault on the villain’s island lair, all sprinkled with assorted sexual encounters and double entendres. The phrase “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all” has rarely applied more clearly — or more deliberately — to a film series. Historically, Bond movies didn’t attempt to defy their audience’s expectations, they tried to play into and satisfy every single one of them. 

Craig’s tenure, in contrast, has been defined by its (and his) surprises. Every other Bond, even Connery’s, arrived fully formed, without origin or motivation. Bond is simply Bond, and no more explanation was required. Craig’s Bond, on the other hand, is not yet the suave, confident gentleman spy. As “Casino Royale” begins, he hasn’t even earned the codename 007 yet (even more troubling: his taste for floral prints). He has no support from Moneypenny and Q; he almost never jokes, rarely uses gadgets, and even less rarely uses women. Instead, they use him — even, to some extent, his M, played by Judi Dench.

With a few notable exceptions, no matter who played Bond, no matter which of his traits they emphasized, he was always one thing: untouchable, physically and emotionally. Craig’s Bond is all vulnerability: seduced and controlled by women, then consumed with his thirst for vengeance after they’re taken from him. It is hard to conceive any of the other 007s (except maybe Dalton) cuddling with a woman in the shower to help her deal with the shock of a violent assault. Craig did it before he ever introduced himself as “Bond, James Bond.” Connery et. al. presented Bond as the ultimate flawless man; Craig’s is all flaws.

In essence, Craig (and the filmmakers he’s worked with) have specifically positioned him as an alternative to classic Bond. As Russ Fischer put it, Craig makes “the least typical” Bond films — 007 for people who don’t like 007. But, by that rationale, if Craig is your favorite Bond — and if “Casino Royale” or “Skyfall” is your favorite Bond movie — then does that mean you’re not really a Bond fan? Going to a Bond movie has, for decades, been a ritual of nostalgic identification: the actor in the role may change, the effects may get bigger, but the traditions remain the same. Craig’s 007 upends tradition. His Bond is defined by his lack of Bondian qualities. So is a vote for him as the best of all time a vote against Bond in general?

Not exactly. Craig’s Bond is markedly different from the rest, but he’s similar in one key respect: like all the others, he reflects the times in which he lives. As the world as changed, so has Bond; each time the character faced extinction as a result of real-world developments, he’s evolved — and endured. Brosnan’s final Bond, “Die Another Day,” was big and bright and outrageous — and, released thirteen months after 9/11, wildly out of touch with the cultural zeitgeist. After you’ve seen real world villains carry out a plan as diabolical as any cooked up by SMERSH, it’s hard to crack jokes and shag ladies when you should be out catching the bad guys. After our own intelligence community failed to protect us, it made sense to have a Bond who could — and sometimes did — fail to protect the people around him. Saving the world was serious business again. It required a more serious Bond. Enter Daniel Craig.

There’s an interesting epilogue to this story that’s about to play out in movie theaters around the world. Without giving too much away about “Skyfall,” I have to disagree with some of Fischer’s comments. The film is much more beautiful and far more thoughtful than your typical Bond, but it’s actually the most traditional 007 adventure Craig has made. Characters missing from “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” return, as do some of the most famous gadgets, and a power-mad villain in the mold of the great SPECTRE baddies of Bond’s past. A decade after 9/11, Bond is slowly evolving again — back into the man we recognize from his earliest adventures. The end of “Skyfall” can be seen as a sort of reconfirmation of the vitality of the oldest of Bond traditions. For all the new things he’s brought to the man, Craig’s Bond is still Bond. And the more he changes, the more he stays the same.

This Article is related to: News and tagged



I read your article you shared are more article like this having good knowledge.


It may be true to Fleming’s original vision, but it’s not fun. The current Bond follows the post 9/11 trend of super serious protagonists. We no longer like catch phrase spouting heroes who kill with ease. Craig’s Bond is a tortured and unhappy soul. Despite all the critical acclaim, I could not abide Skyfall. Just more self.seriousness….


Daniel Craig is my personal favorite Bond. That said I do not consider him better than Connery, but I think he’s done something different and important with the role, as important as Connery. Connery and Craig have gotten to add a lot of mythology to Bond. I think many Bond’s like Moore and Brosnan were imitating Connery. In another life Dalton could’ve been great given better material.


Daniel Craig's next project should be remake of "3 days of the Condor".

D5K Deutsche

Craig is more akin to Goldbond Medicated Powder than James Bond 007 – only, he is an itch that just won't go away. He is adequately equipped as an actor for the sequels of the Golden Compass.


More like if you dont like the Craig films you arent a real Bond fan. Craig and his movies are a return to REAL Bond, the Bond of the early Connery films and the Bond of the novels. Not the cartoon Bond in the invisible car.


love the brosnan bond films really entertaining realyy amaze world gadget and gilrs cars and suer viilans . the treatment of danial bond as a human is really trash boring , why the makers trying to convincing the critics , to hell with the critics lease make make bond as brosnan style , if u cant make brsoana again then make anyother one but the styling should be as brosnan style
danile ountum and skyfall are boring films


I'd rather see the ripplin' Hulk Hogan be the 'Blonde Bond' than that monkey in a suit…And that's the truth, brother!




As I posted here in my link , Daniel Craig is an amazing Bond who really brings out Ian Flemming's Bond from the books. If you think Daniel Craig isn't a good Bond you aren't a real Bond fan.


Very amused to read people's comments saying that Craig's Bond is the closest to Fleming's Bond. I read all of Fleming's Bond books (twice in most cases) before I watched any of the Bond films (except the Brosnan films) so I formed my own view of Fleming's Bond, almost untainted by any cinematic portrayals. Since then I have seen the Craig films and watched the Connery films on DVD. While I will admit that Connery's Bond is far from perfect in terms of faithfulness to Fleming's Bond, Craig's Bond has almost nothing in common with the Bond of Fleming's books. He is so weak, uncultured, uncharismatic and boring. Bond is not an unemotional sociopath in the books, but he has no time for weak men who are as melodramatic as Craig, pouting and sulking all the time, and being ordered around by a totally unbelievable 80 year old woman (Dench, who is apparently playing 'M'). I couldn't believe the opening of Skyfall where Bond has to be in constant radio communication with M ('mummy'). Is this the 'man of action and resource' (to quote Fleming, see OHMSS), the independent man-of-the-world with a 'license to kill', or an overgrown child who needs mummy's permission to do anything? I could go on and on, but this is only a blog comment!

The modern Bond films (except to some extent Casino Royale) bear little resemblance to Fleming's books and shouldn't be considered 'Bond' films. They are as awful as the modern 'Sherlock Holmes' films, which have little to do with the books (I have actually bothered to read all the Conan Doyle books, unlike apparently everyone else). If Hollywood doesn't like the source material then create new characters and new franchises, don't totally reinvent old characters and name them after characters from far-superior novels.

jose gomez

The three last Bond films are not in line with the original series. I don´t care if they are nearer to Ian Fleming's Bond. There was a tradition in the twenty previous films that has been trashed. As the author rightly said you knew what to expect. It was Bond, James Bond – shaken not stirred (The new guy drinks scotch????). The Bond girls and their names, Pussy Galore, Octopussy. Q with his gadgets. The villains who really were villains. The music, they even took away the music!!! It was fantastic. Why does it have to reflect how the world is now? What do I care if a character is developed or not? If I wanted that I would read a newspaper or watch the news and foreign french films. I go to the movies to forget about reality for a while. I like crazy criminals and secret organizations who want to take over the world. I don´t want Bond turned into Rambo. Why didn´t the producers invent a new spy, 009, 999 whatever. Why did they have to mess up Bond. Very disappointed with how this has turned out. Skyfall is definitely not a Bond movie, crap, worse than Quantum, if that is possible. Q.E.P.D. 007. It was fun. Idon´t think I will be the only one to miss you.


    Excellent well-balanced and carefully considered article, Matt. Craig’s overpumped physique is in direct inverse proportion to his charisma, credibility or believability as Fleming’s creation. Mere muscle does not maketh man.


The premise is correct: if Daniel Craig is your favourite Bond, then you aren't really a Bond fan. Why? Because Craig's Bond is lacking one crucial Bond aspect that, without it, Bond isn't really Bond.

And that missing aspect is Bond's womanising.

Bond is a womaniser, he's meant to be a womaniser. If he's not a womaniser, he's not Bond. And in Casino Royale, we did get this portrayal, but that's just because the script was already written by Fleming in the 50's (in novel form) and the filmmakers had no choice but to stick closely to the source material.

But then, left-wing extremist marxist-feminist script-writers took over, apparently, because for the next two installments there was no wanton womanising and seducing by Bond, no casually sexist dry witticisms, and without these essential character attributes, the script-writers are not being faithful to the spirit of Bond as Fleming intended him to be (and indeed as all previous actors had rightly portrayed him as).

Did you know Quantum of Solace was the first Bond film ever in which Bond didn't have sex with the Bond girl? What vandalism to a fine tradition! And Skyfall wasn't much better. Yes, he did sleep with two women, but the first one was just an anonymous body with no face and no speaking lines, and the second was a dried up bitter ex prostitute who promptly dies 5 minutes later anyway.

This is not how Bond girls are supposed to be. Bond girls are supposed to be tom-boyish but still feminine, doe-eyed and pretty, with suggestive names like Pussy Galore or Kissy Suzuki. Bond is meant to save them, redeem them, and end the film by sailing off into the sunset seducing them.

If you don't like this, if you think this is sexist, then you're clearly not a Bond fan, so what are you doing meddling with OUR hero?

I read these feminist websites like Jezebel, and they hate and villify male sexuality. Oh, they think its alright for women to sleep around, "slut pride!"

But for a man to sleep around! That makes him a pig and a chauvinist! And any woman who sleeps with a "player" like that must either have low self-esteem and be "damaged" herself, or else a nobody, not worth giving any credit to at all. This is their attitude.

And that is EXACTLY the attitude that prevails in Skyfall. First of all they try to prevent Bond from being the cocky, sexist, chauvinistic, dominant man that he is supposed to be in the first place by not giving him any good dialogue or situations in which to be the alpha male, but then when they do give him girls to sleep with (which they didn't even do in QoS), they make sure the girls are either anonymous or damaged goods. Its disappointing.


None of them – Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan and Craig – have portrayed the "real James Bond". Not one of them has accurately captured the James Bond created by Ian Fleming. And all six actors should get on their knees and thank God. Because the "real James Bond" was a complete asshole. Which is why I never became a fan of the novels.

Each actor has portrayed Bond in his fashion. And that is how I want it. The last thing I want is some actor trying to re-capture the performance of another actor portraying the same character.


My favorite Bond USED to be Roger Moore. But Daniel Craig has captured my heart. I even created a Bond girl name for myself in case I ever need to go undercover with him–Chocolate Dreamsicle.


Ok, so ever since the first Craig bond movie came out I have said that daniel Craig isn't really James bond. The James bond I grew up loving Asa kid with the quick wit, unsurpassed appetite for women, cheesy gadgets, and rediculous plot situations. Ok great, for all you movie school, Quentin Tarantino wannabes, yes, Daniel Craig is "your" perfect bond. He shows a human side, laughs, cries, cuddles, buys puppies, whatever the hell you say, but that's not James bond as portrayed in the movies. The movies are only based off of Flemings novels here people. I believe there are approximately three times more movies than there are books. They developed a character in the previous movies and then abruptly changed him into something else. I think for a franchise that's a stupid decision and I don't find James bond fun to watch anymore. All we've done is give you assholes (yea, the ones who work at blockbuster and think that makes them roger ebert


I think it's offensive to accuse any lover of Craig to not be a Bond fan. Ever since Casino Royale I too have been an advocate of Craig being 'the best Bond', and exactly BECAUSE he was most like the Bond in Fleming's novel. Fleming's Bond wasn't an extravagant gadget-laden superspy, he was a tough, suave but reclusive and complex individual. Not like the actors that came before Craig.

As a lifetime fan of the films and the novels, I find it an ironically uneducated opinion to say people who like Craig aren't Bond fans. If anything, I would probably argue the opposite.


Anyone who considers Daniel Craig the best 007 Bond character is
either young and/or not a true Bond officianado. By far, the best
Bond character was Sean Connery, hands down. No contest.


daniel craig is by far the best bond they put into that series hes the least pansiest bond.I always thought bond to be bit of a sissy


If you trash Quantum of Solace are you really a Bond fan?


Daniel ♥ I love him in "SLYFALL" and "CASINO ROYALE" <3

Derek Diercksmeier

I, For One, Loved "Quantum Of Solace".


You gotta be kidding me. Daniel Craig is one of the worst Bond ever!
1- Bond isn't a cop. He isn't supposed to go after drug dealers and the likes.
The villain in Bond movies isn't your regular villain. He's supposed to be a manic
with crazy plans to take over the world. That was a major difference with other action movies.
Now they turned Bond into just a regular action movie. If I wanna see a guy chasing criminals I watch CSI.

2- Bond isn't supposed to be a brute force killer. He's an intelligent and smart and should defeat his opponents using his more of his brain rather than his muscles. If I want to watch a brute force killer I watch Rambo or Terminator. They turned Bond into a regular action movie.

3- Bond is supposed to use gadgets not seen in regular movies

4- Bond is supposed to be a playboy. He's isn't supposed to fall in love.

There is nothing special abound James Bond anymore. Sky Fall is just another regular action movie. That's sad and disappointing.


"It is hard to conceive any of the other 007s (except maybe Dalton) cuddling with a woman in the shower to help her deal with the shock of a violent assault. Craig did it before he ever introduced himself as "Bond, James Bond." "

I think thats kind of the point though. Casino Royale shows us the events that help shape Bond into the agent he becomes and that scene in the shower takes place before some key events that have a huge effect on Bond's character.


Yeah, having been a Bond fan all my life, I can still like Daniel Craig more than his predecessors. He's the most believable character, with actual physicality and emotion, rather than reiterating the caricature that Bond has become. Having rewatched all the Bond films in the two weeks prior to Skyfall, you really begin to realize how many of those movies are enjoyable to laugh at, as opposed to with.


I like to think of myself as a huge Bond fan, being that I've been watching these movies my whole life, but after seeing Skyfall over the weekend, I gotta say its my favorite Bond film ever with Casino Royale being a very close second. I find Daniel Craig to be much more interesting as a character than Bond in other films.

Sean Williams

Singer, you shouldve gotten a degree in philosophy, because you get way too deep into this subject. Opinionated and entitled, and Bond shifted away from Fleming once they started writing more movie scripts than there were novels. It got stale.


Daniel Craig was Good in The Three of his Movies like Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall Those Movies were Great Action and I Hoping DC will return as James Bond in Bond 24 and Bond 25.



David Thomson

I think looking at Fleming is the key here. Over 50 years the movie Bond has increasingly shifted away from Fleming's invention. By the time of Diamonds are Forever there was only the core left. Craig's Bond is the first Bond to really go back to the Fleming character and take it seriously. I mean, on the first page of Fleming's Casino Royale Bond starts in a pretty dark place getting trashed on booze and benzedrine. By the later novels (when Fleming like Conan Doyle wished his invention was dead) Bond is battered bruised and sharp with an undercurrent of self loathing. Dalton might have been doing his best to but the scripts never let him go within 100 miles of that.

I'd flip that headline on its head. If Daniel Craig is your favourite Bond you might be the most serious of Bond fans because you're demonstrating a strong taste for Flemings source material – not gadgets and comedy, of which there is almost none of in the books.

John A.

I've loved reading these pieces, and with this one, there is something to the title question – if you're liking Daniel Craig *just* because he's as atypical as he is, no, you're not a Bond fan. If you're a Bond fan with Daniel Craig as your favorite Bond, that's interesting, and maybe it's because he's arguably the closest to Fleming's. That's either his portrayal or Dalton's, when I came out of "Casino Royale," I was very impressed with how he captured the character in that novel, while still being the movie Bond. There's a lot less importance placed on humor and sexual magnetism in the Craig movies, but he can play the humorous moments when they're called for, he has a certain charisma. He's an atypical Bond, but he still feels like Bond. And yes, Bond does have to change and evolve to suit his time. It's been really interesting to see the adults who either didn't like Bond movies or were never interested in them come to the Craig movies and find find so much to enjoy in them – but for those people who are enjoying them because they're so unlike what they know to be Bond, what happens when the pendulum swings inthe opposite direction again? Because it will. "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" was followed by "Diamonds Are Forever," "For Your Eyes Only" was followed by "Octopussy" and "A View to a Kill," and although "The World Is Not Enough" wasn't exactly "Licence to Kill," "Die Another Day" was considerably sillier. I predict the Craig movies will try to stick to the vibe of "Skyfall" – much closer to a more traditional Bond movie, but not as excessive – but it'll be interesting to see what happens.

Marco Margaritoff

Really well written article, Matt. Having read a few of the Fleming novels, I've always found Craig to be a solid host for the character. I'm really excited for Skyfall, as all the music, colour schemes, and Mendes interviews have prepared me for a traditional, classical Bond film – but new, and clean.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *