daniel craig as james bond 007
(Sony Pictures)

A Rundown of All the Actors Who Have Taken Up the 007 Mantle

The name remains Bond, James Bond, even if the face changes.

Few film franchises have been as successful as the Bond movies—and few have run as long since the very first installment arrived in cinemas in the early ’60s and the series has been steadily releasing hit after hit all the way into the 2020s. 

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Based on the 12 novels and two collections of short stories written by author Ian Fleming, the life and times of British Secret Service agent James Bond—codename 007, the double-0s signifying his license to kill—have been adapted into 25 movies. 27, if one counts the two projects that were not produced by Eon Productions, the company that currently holds all rights to any adaptation of Fleming’s novels.

The franchise’s impact extends way beyond its native genre, spy story mixed with thriller and action, and can be found all over wider pop culture—in good ways and bad ones, of course. On the one hand, I think we can all agree that the “Bond girl” trope is a thing that should be better left in the past. On the other, the fact that James Bond was included in the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics is pretty cool.

Of course, such a popular series of movies needs an equally iconic face to represent it—and if the franchise is as long-running as the James Bond one, then there are actually multiple faces that have taken up the mantle of 007 across the years. So here’s your rundown of all the actors who have played James Bond ever since the beginning of the series—intended as the 25 movies produced by Eon.

Sean Connery

Sean Connery was the very first incarnation of James Bond on the big screen—and many believe him to be the best one, even though apparently Fleming himself wasn’t particularly convinced of him fitting the description of Bond. Connery starred in five consecutive films, starting with Dr. No in 1962 and continuing with From Russia with Love in 1963, Goldfinger in 1964, Thunderball in 1965 and You Only Live Twice in 1967. He then “skipped” the sixth movie of the franchise and returned with Diamonds Are Forever in 1971, which was the last time he wore the tailored suit of agent James Bond.

George Lazenby

George Lazenby’s run as James Bond is the shortest one of all the actors that have taken up the role. He only starred in one film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which was released in 1969. He’s also the only actor to play Bond to not be from Europe since he was born and raised in Australia. Everyone else has been either British (Moore, Dalton and Craig), Scottish (Connery), or Irish (Brosnan).

Roger Moore

While most people might picture Sean Connery or Daniel Craig when thinking of James Bond, the one who lent his face to 007 the most is actually Roger Moore—who starred in seven Eon movies overall. His tenure as Bond started with Live and Let Die in 1973 and continued with The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974, The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, Moonraker in 1979, For Your Eyes Only in 1981, Octopussy in 1983, and finally A View to a Kill in 1985.

Timothy Dalton

The second-shortest tenure in all Bond history is Timothy Dalton’s, who took over the role after Roger Moore’s departure and starred in two movies—The Living Daylights in 1987 and Licence to Kill in 1989.

Pierce Brosnan

The James Bond of the Nineties—and early 2000s—is Pierce Brosnan, who started his run as 007 with GoldenEye in 1995 and continued with Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997, The World Is Not Enough in 1999, and Die Another Day in 2002. While his tenure was not the longest one, he’s definitely one of the best-known faces of Bond alongside Sean Connery and Daniel Craig.

Daniel Craig

The last incarnation of James Bond—so far, since the search for the next one is very much underway—is Daniel Craig, who put his own spin on the character by making him at times more vulnerable, both physically and emotionally, while still maintaining all the charm and coolness Bond is known for. His first movie as 007 was Casino Royale in 2006, followed by Quantum of Solace in 2008, Skyfall in 2012, Spectre in 2015, and No Time to Die in 2021.

(featured image: Sony Pictures)


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Author
Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.