Who Has Played James Bond?

Who Has Played James Bond?

James Bond, Agent 007, is a fictional British Secret Service agent created by writer Ian Fleming. The character first appeared in the 1953 novel “Casino Royale” and has since become an iconic figure in popular culture.

Bond is known for his suave demeanour, deft skills in espionage, and a charm that has made him the strongest babe magnet in the history of the world. And six decades of film adaptations has made the series is one of the longest-running and most successful in cinematic history.

The success of the franchise is down to its thrilling action sequences, engaging storylines, and memorable villains, and of course the actors who have stepped into the shoes of the legendary character.


Each actor has brought a unique interpretation to the role, with their varying portrayals helping shape the image of James Bond and contributing to the character’s enduring appeal. But who has played James Bond?

In this post, we’ll take a look at the six different actors to have played the iconic spy, and also take a look at the actors to have played James Bond unofficially – how naughty!

Actors To Have Played James Bond

Sean Connery (1962-1967, 1971)

Sir Sean Connery was the first actor to portray James Bond on the big screen, setting the standard for all subsequent portrayals of the character. The Scottish actor’s suave and charismatic performance quickly became synonymous with the role, and many fans consider him the quintessential James Bond.

Sean Connery as James Bond

Sean Connery starred in a total of seven Bond films, starting with Dr. No (1962) and followed by From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and the unofficial film Never Say Never Again (1983).

As the first actor to portray James Bond, Sean Connery set the tone for the entire film series with his cool, confident demeanour and effortless charm. Connery’s performances not only defined the character for a generation of moviegoers but also influenced future Bond actors, who often looked to his interpretation for inspiration.

George Lazenby (1969)

Australian actor George Lazenby had the almost-impossible task of following Sean Connery when he was cast as the second James Bond. Lazenby, a former model with limited acting experience, took on the role with the intention of making it his own.

George Lazenby

George Lazenby starred in just one Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). Despite mixed reviews at the time of its release (probably down to it not being Connery), the film has since gained a strong cult following and is considered by many to be one of the best entries in the series, thanks to its strong storyline and emotional depth.

After On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, George Lazenby decided not to continue playing James Bond, citing the constraints of the role and the changing cultural landscape. Although his tenure as Bond was brief, Lazenby’s performance is remembered for its unique blend of vulnerability and toughness, as well as the tragic ending of his film, which set it apart from other Bond films.

Roger Moore (1973-1985)

Sir Roger Moore, a British actor known for his roles in television series such as “The Saint” and “The Persuaders!”, took on the role of James Bond in 1973. Moore’s portrayal of the character was distinct from his predecessors, emphasizing English gentlemanly charm, wit, and a lighter touch.

Roger Moore starred in a total of seven Bond films, making him the longest-serving actor to have played James Bond. His tenure began with Live and Let Die (1973), followed by The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983), and A View to a Kill (1985).

Roger Moore as 007 in Live and LEt Die

Roger Moore’s interpretation of James Bond was characterized by a more light-hearted and humorous approach, often incorporating witty one-liners and a tongue-in-cheek attitude.

This change in tone resonated with audiences, leading to a more family-friendly and accessible version of the character. Moore’s portrayal also coincided with a shift in the film series towards more extravagant and fantastical plots, further distinguishing his tenure from those of Connery and Lazenby.

Although some fans appreciate Roger Moore’s unique take on the character, others argue that it strayed too far from Ian Fleming’s original vision.

Timothy Dalton (1987-1989)

British actor Timothy Dalton took over the role of James Bond in 1987, following Roger Moore’s departure. Known for his classical acting background and a more serious approach to his roles, Dalton sought to bring the character closer to Ian Fleming’s original vision and emphasize the darker aspects of Bond’s personality.

Timothy Dalton starred in two Bond films: The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989). These films focused more on espionage, political intrigue, and character development, moving away from the larger-than-life plots and gadgets that had become a staple of the franchise during Roger Moore’s tenure.

Timothy Dalton was the fourth actor to play James Bond

Timothy Dalton’s portrayal of James Bond was a stark departure from the light-hearted approach of his predecessor. Emphasizing Bond’s ruthless and brooding nature, Dalton’s interpretation was considered by many to be a return to the character’s literary roots.

His films delved deeper into the moral complexities and psychological challenges that Bond faced as a secret agent. Although Dalton’s tenure as Bond was relatively short-lived, his portrayal is often praised for its authenticity and has become more appreciated over time, with many fans considering it a precursor to the grittier, more realistic Bond films under Daniel Craig.

Pierce Brosnan (1995-2002)

Irish actor Pierce Brosnan took on the role of James Bond in 1995 after a six-year hiatus in the film series. With his polished looks and natural charisma, Brosnan effortlessly combined elements of his predecessors’ portrayals, blending the suave sophistication of Connery with the humor of Moore and the intensity of Dalton.

Pierce Brosnan starred in four Bond films: GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), and Die Another Day (2002). These films saw a return to the high-tech gadgets and elaborate action sequences that had been a hallmark of the franchise during the Roger Moore era, while also maintaining the character-driven focus introduced by Dalton.

Pierce Brosnan Bond films

Pierce Brosnan’s portrayal of James Bond is often praised for its balance of humour, charm, and intensity. His interpretation successfully bridged the gap between the lighter and darker aspects of the character, appealing to fans of both styles.

Brosnan’s tenure as Bond marked a resurgence in the popularity of the film series, with GoldenEye in particular receiving critical acclaim and strong box office results. However, by the end of his run, some critics and fans felt that the franchise had become formulaic and in need of a fresh approach.

Daniel Craig (2006-2021)

English actor Daniel Craig was chosen to play James Bond in 2006, bringing a fresh and modern take on the character. Craig’s portrayal has been widely praised for its intensity, physicality, and vulnerability, reinvigorating the franchise and setting a new standard for the role.

Daniel Craig starred in five Bond films: Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015), and No Time to Die (2021). These films took a more grounded and character-driven approach, focusing on Bond’s personal journey, relationships, and the consequences of his actions.

Daniel Craig was the sixth actor to have played James Bond

Daniel Craig’s portrayal of James Bond has been hailed for its gritty realism and emotional depth, offering a more complex and humanized version of the character than seen in previous films. Craig’s Bond was a far cry from the invincible super-spy of earlier iterations, showcasing vulnerability and emotional turmoil alongside his lethal skills.

This renewed emphasis on character development and a more realistic approach to action and storytelling has resonated with audiences and critics alike, leading to some of the most successful and acclaimed Bond films.

Actors to Have Played James Bond Unofficially

Barry Nelson (1954)

Before James Bond became a global phenomenon on the big screen, the character made his first on-screen appearance in a 1954 television adaptation of “Casino Royale.” The episode was part of the CBS live anthology series “Climax!” and starred American actor Barry Nelson as a version of Bond known as “Jimmy Bond.”

Barry Nelson played James Bond in a TV adaptation of Casino Royale in 1954

The 1954 TV adaptation of “Casino Royale” took significant liberties with Ian Fleming’s original novel, altering the plot and characters to fit the one-hour format. The most notable change was the Americanization of James Bond, with the character reimagined as a CIA agent rather than a British MI6 operative.

Peter Lorre starred as the villain, Le Chiffre, and Linda Christian played Valerie Mathis, a character loosely based on the novel’s Vesper Lynd. Although the adaptation bears little resemblance to the official film series and is not considered part of the Bond canon, it remains an interesting curiosity for fans and an important milestone in the evolution of James Bond as a cultural icon.

David Niven et. al (1967)

Casino Royale (1967) is an unofficial James Bond film based on Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel. This film is a satirical comedy starring David Niven as an aging Sir James Bond, who’s called out of retirement to take on the criminal organization SMERSH.

In addition to David Niven, Casino Royale (1967) features multiple actors portraying various versions of the James Bond character, including Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, Terence Cooper, and Woody Allen.

The film’s satirical take on the Bond character and its disjointed narrative made it a far cry from the official Bond films. However, its status as an unofficial entry has made it an interesting curiosity for Bond aficionados and a notable part of the character’s film history.

Casino Royale (1967)

Sean Connery (1983)

After saying he would never return as James Bond, the original actor to have played James Bond, Sean Connery, was back playing the legendary spy in an unofficial film, Never Say Never Again (1983).

film is a loose remake of Thunderball (1965) and was produced outside of Eon Productions due to a legal dispute over the film rights. In this film, Sean Connery was 52, younger than Roger Moore in Octopussy of the same year, and both films were released to compete against each other at the Box Office (Octopussy won).

Never Say Never Again received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, with some praising Connery’s performance, while others criticized its lack of continuity with the official Bond series.

Who Has Played James Bond?

Throughout the history of the James Bond film series, six actors have donned the tuxedo: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.

Each actor to have played James Bond has left an indelible mark on the character, bringing unique interpretations that have shaped the image of James Bond over time. The enduring appeal of the James Bond character can be largely attributed to the diverse portrayals by each actor.

From Connery’s suave confidence to Lazenby’s vulnerability, Moore’s light-hearted humour, Dalton’s intensity, Brosnan’s charm, and Craig’s gritty realism, these performances have not only entertained generations of fans but also ensured the character’s relevance and adaptability in a changing world.

The James Bond character remains an iconic figure in popular culture, with the film series spanning over six decades and showing no signs of slowing down. The combination of thrilling action, engaging storylines, memorable villains, and charismatic actors portraying the legendary secret agent has captured the imagination of audiences worldwide.

And as the franchise looks to the future, it is clear that the character of James Bond will continue to evolve and adapt, ensuring his place in the pantheon of cinematic icons for years to come.