What's the best James Bond movie? The answer may surprise you, says Owen Gleiberman

By Owen Gleiberman
Updated April 02, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

What’s the best James Bond movie?

What is your favorite James Bond film? — J.A.

Sean Connery, so twinkly yet gruff, with his matching ink-black pompadour and eyebrows, will always be the quintessential 007. Which is why the answer to your question is one of the flukiest paradoxes in movie history. In 1969, Connery took a break from the role, and George Lazenby, an Australian model who was one of the least colorful actors ever to don the tuxedo, was chosen to star in ”On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” As Bond, he’s charming in a slightly stolid way, arguably a bit too much of a bruiser. Yet the movie, directed by Peter Hunt, remains the most grandly satisfying entry in the series. It’s the one that comes closest to being a sustained emotional journey, as Bond, impersonating a tweedy genealogist, penetrates a fantastically designed Swiss ski chalet that Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas) has transformed into his castle in the air. Diana Rigg is the one Bond girl our hero actually falls in love with, and the most magnificent Bond soundtrack ever makes the action scenes soar with excitement and dread.

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On Her Majesty's Secret Service

  • Movie
  • Peter R. Hunt