Daniel Craig Bond Films Ranked
With his tenure as the iconic James Bond now well and truly in the past and his character surely laid to rest, now is a good time to look at and rank Daniel Craig Bond films.
From the gritty reboot that was Casino Royale to the poignant finale of No Time to Die, Daniel Craig Bond movies are somewhat different to most of their predecessors. His interpretation of the legendary British spy breathed new life into the franchise and set the stage for a new generation of Bond films.
Unlike the other actors who previously portrayed 007, Daniel Craig was given a true narrative arc throughout his five films, enabling his Bond to transform from a temperamental newcomer to a seasoned spy who recognized the passage of time – all without ever shying away from the breathtaking action sequences that have been a staple of the series.
What’s more, Craig was greatly supported by a remarkable ensemble of talented actors and newly installed iconic characters, who contributed significantly to the overall success and appeal of the films.
In this article, we rank all of Daniel Craig’s Bond films, delving into the memorable performances, unforgettable friends and villains, and thrilling action sequences that have come to define his era.
Fifth Place: Quantum of Solace
Quantum of Solace, the direct follow-up to Daniel Craig’s thrilling debut as James Bond in Casino Royale, didn’t go down as well with critics and Bond fans alike.
The film faced numerous challenges during its production, such as the 2008 Writers Guild of America strike, which significantly impacted the film’s development. This resulted in an unfinished screenplay that director Marc Forster and Craig himself had to work on.
Consequently, the movie’s plot is messy and incohesive, with a disjointed story that struggles to blend elements of revenge, environmentalist villainy, and the introduction of a new overarching antagonist organization.
Despite these issues, Craig delivers a solid performance as an emotionally wounded Bond, seeking retribution after the events of Casino Royale. His relationship with M, played by Judi Dench, is well-developed and serves as the moral counterpoint to his character. This dynamic effectively sets the stage for their interactions that helped with the success of Skyfall.
There are some fantastic scenes throughout the film and it’s certainly not all bad. Bond’s latest partner, Camille Montez (played by Olga Kurylenko) is also out for retribution, and their dual mission has plenty of positives.
However, the film’s tone swings too far into brutality, stripping it of the fun and excitement typically associated with Bond movies. Additionally, the action sequences are marred by excessive editing, further detracting from the film’s overall appeal.
Quantum of Solace also suffers from an overstuffed and unconvincing villain in Mathieu Amalric‘s Dominic Greene, as well as a bit of an annoying theme song, ironically performed by two legends Jack White and Alicia Keys.
The rest of the cast is strong, and Gemma Arterton as MI6 agent Strawberry Fields invigorates the film her short scenes, and her tripping dopey henchman Elvis (played by Anatole Taubman), makes for fun viewing and also shows her character putting country before emotions.
The movie’s heavy reliance on product placement adds to its weaknesses. On the other hand, as the shortest Bond film ever made, so it avoids unnecessary filler material and lengthy exposition.
Quantum of Solace isn’t the best of Daniel Craig Bond movies for one reason or another. Although Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Olga Kurylenko deliver strong performances, the film loses sight of the series’ ‘license to thrill’ mantra, but if you haven’t seen it, some of it will delight you.
Fourth Place: Spectre
In Spectre, Director Sam Mendes was back for his second and Daniel Craig’s fourth Bond film. And although it has its stand-out moments, it fails to live up to the heights set by its predecessor, Skyfall.
While the movie opens with a memorable sequence during Mexico City’s Day of The Dead Celebrations. It attempts to tie together loose threads from the previous three films, which makes it a little convoluted at times.
The re-introduction of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, played by Christoph Waltz, suffers from being one of the worst-kept secrets in Hollywood, and although Waltz puts in a strong performance, Blofeld’s return could have been much more explosive.
The storyline of Bond and Blofeld being stepbrothers was a bit unnecessary, but the connection with Blofeld controlling all Craig’s past villains was well thought out.
Spectre does finish strongly with its London-based climax, showcasing Bond’s character development throughout the film and highlighting how much 007 has grown during the Craig era.
Some say Daniel Craig appears tired and somewhat bored in this instalment, a sentiment that apparently led him to almost quitting the role before No Time To Die.
Léa Seydoux makes a noteworthy addition to the Bond girl lineup, providing an intriguing new dynamic. Her character Dr. Madeleine Swann and Bond make for some great action and character-building scenes, which helped the film overall.
Despite these shortcomings, Spectre is still a step above Quantum of Solace, thanks to Mendes’ direction and exciting action sequences.
Third Place: No Time To Die
No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s last Bond film, offers a fitting end to his time in the iconic role. With an invigorated performance, Craig delivers one of his most fully-rounded portrayals of Bond, exploring his entire arc from cold killer to the spy who learned to love.
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the film boasts stylish set-pieces, breathless and kinetic action sequences, and unexpected moments of humor and horror.
The film suffers from a bloated runtime and a somewhat complicated story involving both Blofeld and new villain Lyutsifer Safin, played by Rami Malek, but No Time to Die ultimately succeeds in delivering emotional resonance and character-driven depth.
The continuity that complicates the narrative also serves to enhance the film’s character work, themes, and poignancy. Memorable scenes with M (Ralph Fiennes) carry a sense of weight and history, while the introduction of Bond’s daughter and his relationship with Madeleine Swann beautifully set up his ending.
In a short but explosive part, Ana de Armas delivers a movie-stealing performance as Paloma, providing a breath of fresh air that leaves most Bond fans hoping for her return in future instalments. A firm contender for a female James Bond if the producers ever did the unthinkable.
Some say No Time to Die‘s bold decision to kill James Bond has threatened the franchise, but it could also be seen as wrapping up the story of Daniel Craig’s Bond films, and onto something new, just as we got in Casino Royale.
Despite its flaws (nothing is perfect), it’s a good Bond flick that wraps up the Craig era with style and poignancy, leaving a lump in the throat as Louis Armstrong’s iconic “We Have All The Time In The World” plays over the closing credits.
Second Place: Casino Royale
The first Bond movie with Daniel Craig, Casino Royale, released in November 2006, defied low expectations and breathed new life into the Bond franchise when doubters were saying its best days were behind it. Daniel Craig’s appointment as the new 007 had faced a lot of backlash. How dare they go for a blonde Bond?
But Craig’s brooding intensity, impish charm, and portrayal of Bond as a more flawed character surprised fans and critics. The film laid the foundations for a new Bond, a character that isn’t afraid to share his emotions or show his infallibility, and one who’s certainly up for a dust up.
Casino Royale brought a fresh take on Bond, with Daniel Craig and director Martin Campbell reinventing the character by shedding many of the franchise’s hallmarks.
Gone were gadgets and comedy, replaced by a rough, raw, and intense Bond who felt unlike any other. The movie’s origin story for James Bond, after 20 movies and over 40 years on screen, was skillfully executed.
The strong supporting cast played a significant role in the film’s success. Eva Green‘s electric performance as femme fatale Vesper Lynd stole the show. The complex and emotional relationship between them led to a heart-wrenching conclusion that would ripple through Daniel Craig’s future Bond films.
Mads Mikkelsen delivered a chilling performance and quickly branding himself as a top tier Bond villain in Le Chiffre. American actor, Jeffrey Wright was a solid performer as Bond’s old friend Felix Leiter, but with this being a new beginning, it was actually their first meeting. It all added a nice twist on the nostalgia.
Casino Royale‘s action sequences dragged the franchise into the 21st Century, boasting sublime parkour and fight scenes, which are up there with the very best through all 25 films.
It was a tough call for the best Daniel Craig Bond films, but Casino Royale remains a standout in the series and sets a high bar for future installments, including the anticipated James Bond 26 reboot.
With its unforgettable characters, high-octane action, and a more grounded approach, the film revitalized the Bond franchise and proved that it could not only compete but also outshine its contemporaries.
First place: Skyfall
Skyfall, the king of Daniel Craig Bond films, brilliantly blends the past, present, and future of the James Bond franchise. Released in 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of the series, this cinematic marvel sees Bond facing challenges on multiple fronts.
The film explores Bond’s past through his return to his childhood home, his present via his surrogate family at MI6, and his future as he contemplates life after the passing of his mother-figure, M.
Skyfall beautifully portrays the relationship between M and Bond, providing depth unseen in previous installments. The re-introduction of key characters, like Q (Ben Whishaw) and Miss Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), adds a modern twist to the classic Bond elements.
The breathtaking cinematography by Roger Deakins showcases the barren and moody Scottish Highlands and the majestic city of Macau, making Skyfall the most visually stunning Bond film to date.
Daniel Craig’s more restrained performance perfectly complements the introspective nature of the film, as Bond’s character is deconstructed and analyzed.
Javier Bardem‘s performance as Raoul Silva in Skyfall is nothing short of exceptional. Bardem masterfully portrays a character that’s both charismatic and terrifying, embodying the essence of what makes a great antagonist, immediately placing him among the pantheon of the best Bond villains.
Raoul Silva’s introduction, as he slowly walks down the hall while lecturing Bond, is a standout moment that instantly captivates the audience. The scene perfectly showcases the villain’s unnerving presence and sets the stage for a thrilling, tension-filled showdown between him and Bond.
Skyfall strikes a delicate balance between celebrating the past and embracing the future, resulting in a gorgeous, haunting, and celebratory experience that showcases everything that makes Bond so beloved.
With a storyline that completes past, present and future of Bond, a strong ensemble cast and a standout Bond villain, all makes Skyfall an almost perfect film. Although it is near-impossible to define James Bond in a single movie, Skyfall comes the closest, solidifying its position as the best of all Daniel Craig Bond films.
Daniel Craig Bond Films Ranked
Daniel Craig divided opinion more so than any other Bond before him. Love him or loathe him, nobody can argue the Daniel Craig Bond films inpsired some memorable moments throughout his five film tenure.
As a modern James Bond, Craig left an indelible mark on the iconic franchise. His distinctive portrayal of the character, along with the memorable supporting cast and gripping storylines, redefined the world of 007 for a new generation.
Looking back on the legacy of Daniel Craig’s Bond movies, we can appreciate the evolution of the character, the risks taken in storytelling, and the unforgettable moments that solidified their place in cinema history.
From the high-stakes action sequences to the deeply emotional character arcs, some of the films will continue to be celebrated and ranked as some of the best in the long-running series.
Take a look at our James Bond Movies in Order…