THE WORST BOND MOVIE COUNTDOWN
5: The World Is Not Enough (1999)
The Bond: Pierce Brosnan, 68
The plot: The third Brosnan Bond outing was not without its fans: Roger Ebert, for instance, called it “a splendid comic thriller, exciting and graceful, endlessly inventive.” When an ex-KGB agent (Robert Carlyle, 60) assassinates a British oil tycoon, Bond is tasked with protecting his daughter, Elektra (Sophie Marceau, 54), and he later uncovers a nuclear plot hatched by an unexpected foe. The movie is not as ludicrous as some other entries on this list, but it all just feels a bit lackluster, with goofy gadgets that include paraglider/snowmobile hybrids and an inflatable ski jacket that turns into a hamster ball/igloo.
The worst part: In a 2008 fan poll, nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards, 50) was ranked the worst Bond girl of all time, and Richards won worst supporting actress at the 1999 Golden Raspberry Awards — sort of like the Oscars in reverse.
Watch it: The World Is Not Enough, on Pluto TV (free)
4: The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
The Bond: Roger Moore
The plot: To capitalize on the 1970s kung fu craze, producers infused this Roger Moore entry with martial arts, leading to a silly fight scene in which two teenage girls beat up an entire dojo and then high-five. Christopher Lee — Ian Fleming’s step-cousin! — steals the show as the assassin Francisco Scaramanga, who comes with a memorable sidekick played by Fantasy Island’s Hervé Villechaize. But even Lee can’t escape the wackiness unscathed: Nobody knows what Scaramanga looks like, so he’s only identifiable by his third nipple. Yes, really.
The worst part: Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland, 78), known for her dimwittedness and naivete, marks another regrettable instance of Bond-girl misogyny; at one point, she even finds herself accidentally locked inside Bond’s hotel closet. Cringe.
Watch it: The Man With the Golden Gun, on Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube
3: Die Another Day (2002)
The Bond: Pierce Brosnan
The plot: Halle Berry, 55, kicks major butt as NSA agent Jinx Johnson, but the rest of the film is an over-the-top slog, involving superweapons that concentrate sunlight, Bond surfing on an iceberg-filled tsunami, and a North Korean plot to reunify the peninsula. Worst of all, the movie represents the excesses that would come to define 21st-century blockbusters: too much CGI, absurd gadgets (an invisible car!), and so much product placement that some critics called it “Buy Another Day.” Even Roger Moore weighed in: “I thought it just went too far — and that's from me, the first Bond in space! Invisible cars and dodgy CGI footage? Please!”
The worst part: Critics were divided over the dance-heavy Madonna-sung theme song. It was nominated for a Golden Globe and two Grammys but also for worst original song at the Golden Raspberry Awards, where Madonna won worst supporting actress for her cameo as a fencing instructor.
Watch it: Die Another Day, on Pluto TV (free)
2: A View to a Kill (1985)
The Bond: Roger Moore
The plot: The Duran Duran title track is a knockout (the only Bond theme to hit No. 1 on the charts), and Christopher Walken, 78, and Grace Jones, 73, are clearly having a blast as a Boris-and-Natasha-like dastardly duo. But the plot is a total mess: Walken plays Max Zorin, a psychopathic businessman (the result of Nazi genetic experimentation) who plans to corner the microchip market by destroying Silicon Valley.
The worst part: Moore was 57 at the time of filming, and he had little chemistry with geologist Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts), who was 28 years his junior (cue more cringe). He reportedly decided to leave the franchise when he found out he was older than Roberts’ mother.
Watch it: A View to a Kill, on Pluto TV (free)
1: Casino Royale (1967)
The Bond: David Niven!
The plot: There’s much debate about whether this spy spoof even counts as an official Bond film, but it was loosely based on an Ian Fleming novel, it features many of the franchise’s most beloved characters and it even boasts a solid theme song, the Oscar-nominated “The Look of Love.” Just don’t try to follow the confounding plot, which was helmed by five different directors! When SMERSH begins assassinating secret agents, Bond comes out of retirement and recruits a team of six other “James Bonds,” including baccarat master Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers) and ex-spy Vesper Lynd (Ursula Andress, 85). There’s a flying saucer, an atomic bomb hidden inside a pill, and a biological weapon to kill all men taller than 4 feet 6 inches.Austin Powers did it better.
The worst part: The most unforgivable thing about the movie is how it wastes an all-star cast that includes Orson Welles, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, Jacqueline Bisset and John Huston.
Watch it: Casino Royale, on Apple TV, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube