The best James Bond moments

Some of the most iconic moments from throughout James Bond's career

No Time To Die has finally arrived in cinemas – and there’s never been a better time to reflect on the best James Bond movie moments now that Daniel Craig has said bon(d) voyage to the role. 

These are the some of the best thrills, iconic introductions, and jaw-dropping stunts from across 007's illustrious career on Her Majesty's secret service. There's always going to be some of your favourites missing from a list such as this, as Bond has some many great moments, but get ready to hold your breath, laugh a little, and remember some of the greatest moments in cinema history. For England, James…

By Simon Kinnear

Off The Cuff

The Film: Skyfall (2012)

The Moment: In dogged pursuit of an adversary in Istanbul, Bond leaps into a passenger train then takes a moment to casually adjust his cuffs.

Most Iconic Element: Daniel Craig had redefined 007 as the ultimate blunt instrument. Here, finally, was a glimmer of Bond’s old-school insouciance. Matchlessly cool.


The Film: Thunderball (1965).

The Moment: The first of many Q-branch gadgets to take 007 skywards, as he escapes his enemies with the help of a jetpack.

Most Iconic Element: The sequence leading up to the escape, as Bond (having discovered his target has faked his death and is disguised as his own widow) fights a man in drag.

Bare Bond

The Film: Casino Royale (2006).

The Moment: Daniel Craig's 007 emerges from the ocean wearing just a pair of swim shorts.

Most Iconic Element: The sly callback to Ursula Andress' entrance in Dr. No showed a new, buff Bond who proved to everyone that Craig looked more than at home in the role.

Bond Meets Blofeld

The Film: You Only Live Twice (1967).

The Moment: After several films in which Blofeld kept behind the scenes, he finally takes center stage (and stands up) when Bond arrives in his lair.

Most Iconic Element: The role has been recast several times, but it's Donald Pleasence's Nehru-jacketed, bald-headed, scar-faced portrayal that remains the most indelible. Just ask Dr. Evil.


The Film: Moonraker (1979).

The Moment: Bond leaves a flying jet without a parachute, with Jaws in hot pursuit.

Most Iconic Element: Bond's daredevil, vertigo-inducing freefall dive to wrestle a parachute off a hapless bad guy's back.


The Film: Licence To Kill (1989).

The Moment: Bond sets up Franz Sanchez's business partner Milton Krest in order to gain his trust, and Sanchez exacts revenge in the bloodiest way imaginable.

Most Iconic Element: Krest's head explodes as Sanchez takes an axe to the decompression chamber in which he's trapped, a key reason for this being a 15-certificate James Bond film.

Remote Control

The Film: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997).

The Moment: How is Bond going to get his car back when it's being guarded? With Q's latest gadget a remote control.

Most Iconic Element: The sight of Pierce Brosnan driving a car from the back seat is a quintessential 007 move, combining silliness with thrilling stuntwork.

Hangar On

The Film: Octopussy (1983).

The Moment: Bond's escape is all sorted, via an Acrostar mini-jet. All he has to do now is get that heat-seeking missile off his tail.

Most Iconic Element: Bond flies the jet through a hangar, squeezing through the doors a split second before they clang shut. Then the missile hits the doors KABOOM!

Loop The Loop

The Film: The Man With The Golden Gun (1974).

The Moment: Stuck on the wrong side of the river and the bridge broken and buckled beyond repair, Bond has no choice but to attempt an impossible car jump.

Most Iconic Element: The one-take, computer-planned stunt is one of 007's best… but turn the volume down unless you want the effect ruined with a rubbish comedy sound effect.

A Dinosaur Out-Roared

The Film: Goldeneye (1995).

The Moment: Judi Dench's M makes her mark on the role by giving 007 a dressing-down.

Most Iconic Element: M pre-empts the critics by accusing Bond of being "a sexist, misogynist dinosaur" and "a relic of the Cold War".

Taken For A Spin

The Film: Quantum Of Solace (2008).

The Moment: The second Daniel Craig 007 movie begins with a blistering, breathless car chase that highlights the kinetic, post-Bourne action style of the Daniel Craig era.

Most Iconic Element: The realization that we're watching events moments after the end of Casino Royale, as Bond takes Mr. White out of his car boot.

Killer Vs. Killer

The Film: The Man With The Golden Gun (1974).

The Moment: A meeting of equals, as Bond and Scaramanga go head-to-head in a deadly showdown.

Most Iconic Element: For all the surrealism of the funhouse setting, the real pleasure lies in the sparring of Christopher Lee, perfectly cast as Scaramanga.

Live And Light Die

The Film: Skyfall (2012)

The Moment: In Shanghai, Bond scraps with mercenary Patrice, their combat silhouetted against an ever-shifting neon lightshow.

Most Iconic Element: Master cinematographer Roger Deakins made Skyfall one of the most beautiful, most breathtaking of the Bonds. This was the ultimate view to a kill.

Never Miss

The Film: The World Is Not Enough (1999).

The Moment: The treacherous Elektra King taunts Bond, claiming that he wouldn't have the stomach to kill her because "you'd miss me."

Most Iconic Element: Bang! "I never miss," Bond replies, too coldly to be meant as a pun. This is 007 as his most serious.

Hanging Around

The Film: The Living Daylights (1987).

The Moment: Bond and Soviet killer Necros fight to the death, while hanging out of the back of a bomb-loaded plane, connected only by a flimsy cargo net.

Most Iconic Element: How difficult does Bond need to make it? This is proper, old-school stuntmen-with-balls Bond action.

No Head For Heights

The Film: For Your Eyes Only (1981).

The Moment: After a chase, assassin Locque is marooned in his car on the edge of a crumbling clifftop. Bond helps him on his way.

Most Iconic Element: 007's kick is an uncharacteristic, Connery-esque moment from Roger Moore whose toughness isn't alleviated by the typical quip: "He had no head for heights."

Cello, Goodbye

The Film: The Living Daylights (1987)

The Moment: Within sight of the border but lacking skis or a vehicle, Bond and Kara Milovy have to improvise their downhill escape using Kara's cello case.

Most Iconic Element: As ludicrous as anything in '80s Bond, but because it's played straight it's also a strangely charming and romantic moment as Bond and Kara waltz across the border towards Vienna.

A Domed Affair

The Film: The World Is Not Enough (1999).

The Moment: After the mysterious Cigar Girl causes an explosion at MI6, Bond gives chase along the Thames in Q's latest speedboat.

Most Iconic Element: A rare UK-based action set-piece, whose climax comes at the then-new Millennium Dome.

For England?

The Film: Goldeneye (1995).

The Moment: Pierce Brosnan shows he's not going to be a pushover in the role as he coldly dispatches friend-turned-foe Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) by letting him fall into a radar dish.

Most Iconic Element: "For England, James?" pleads Trevelyan using his signature line. Bond replies simply, "No, for me," and lets him go.

Ejected From The Premises

The Film: Goldfinger (1964).

The Moment: Bond runs Goldfinger's henchmen ragged in his customized Aston Martin DB5.

Most Iconic Element: Even after Bond is captured and forced to drive at gunpoint, this car has plenty of hidden tricks notably, the ejector seat.

Man With A Cat

The Film: From Russia With Love (1963).

The Moment: Behind the scenes at SPECTRE, as "Number 1", AKA Ernst Stavro Blofeld, unleashes his dastardly plan to discredit Bond using a sex scandal.

Most Iconic Element: Face unseen, Blofeld is depicted sitting at his desk, stroking a white Turkish Angora cat the classic Bond villain.

You Know His Name

The Film: Dr. No (1962)

The Moment: James Bond introduces himself to a worldwide audience (and baccarat-playing Sylvia Trench) for the first time with three iconic words.

Most Iconic Element: "Bond. James Bond." A line that’s been repeated throughout the franchise and is 007’s most recognizable quip, bar none.

Speedboat Surprise

The Film: Live And Let Die (1973).

The Moment: Bond escapes by boat from Kananga's men through the Louisiana bayou, with Sheriff J.W. Pepper also in hot pursuit.

Most Iconic Element: The then-Guinness World Record-breaking speedboat jump.


The Film: Goldeneye (1995).

The Moment: An hour into Brosnan's debut and he gets his defining set-piece, chasing a crooked ex-Soviet general through the streets of St. Petersburg in a tank.

Most Iconic Element: The Bond theme makes a dramatic, triumphant appearance over the scene, in a film otherwise notable for Eric Serra's controversial score.

All Shook Up

The Film: Casino Royale (2006).

The Moment: Dramatic irony alert, as a bartender chooses the wrong moment to ask Bond if he wants his vodka martini shaken or stirred.

Most Iconic Element: Daniel Craig hisses back, "Do I look like I give a damn?" and it's so intense we forget it's an in-joke.

Lotus Shower

The Film: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).

The Moment: Bond has fun with Q's latest toy: a Lotus you can drive off a pier without it rusting.

Most Iconic Element: The underwater car complete with sea-to-air missile is second only to Goldfinger's Aston Martin in the pantheon of classic 007 vehicles.

Spy On Skis

The Film: On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).

The Moment: Bond escapes from Blofeld's mountaintop base Piz Gloria the only way he can downhill.

Most Iconic Element: The first and greatest of Bond's many ski chases is an edgy, inventive action set-piece given added drama by John Barry's propulsive theme.

Back To Front

The Film: Casino Royale (2006).

The Moment: After the familiar theme tune has been kept at bay throughout 007's reboot, the end of the film acts as the catalyst to resume normal service.

Most Iconic Element: Daniel Craig finally gets to deliver his character's signature line. "The name's Bond, James Bond."

Jumping Back Into Action

The Film: Goldeneye (1995).

The Moment: 007 had been away for six years, the Berlin Wall had fallen and there was a danger Bond was a relic. And then he found another wall specifically, a 720ft high dam from which to make his comeback.

Most Iconic Element: That jump.

Murder On The Orient Express

The Film: From Russia With Love (1963).

The Moment: SPECTRE assassin Red Grant has 007 just where he wants him but with a little help from Q's briefcase of doom, Bond turns the tables and the two fight to the death in the confined quarters of an Orient Express train carriage.

Most Iconic Element: An urgently edited, intensely physical fight that marked a new level of brutality in movie fight scenes and showcased Bond's modernity.

Rule Britannia

The Film: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).

The Moment: Bond's mountainside escape from the Russians is seemingly thwarted by a sheer drop, but you don't get to be 007 without planning ahead.

Most Iconic Element: The "skiing off a mountain" stuntwork is impeccable enough, but this moment is really on the list for the cute patriotism of 007's Union Jack parachute.

Bond On Parade

The Film: Spectre

The Moment: Bond makes his way through Mexico City’s day of the dead celebrations, keeping a low presence before finally taking out his target.

Most Iconic Element: Sam Mendes directs the entire thing as one take – warming the director up for 1917, a movie that’s entirely one take.

Great Expectations

The Film: Goldfinger (1964).

The Moment: Auric Goldfinger has Bond at his mercy, spread-eagled before a laser beam that's pointing straight at his manhood.

Most Iconic Element: The revelation that this isn't an interrogation, because Goldfinger doesn't expect Bond to talk. "I expect you to die!"


Some of the most iconic moments from throughout James Bond's career