Bond Girls: The Best and Worst
Only time will tell how Bérénice Marlohe and Naomie Harris will fare as a ''glamorous, enigmatic character called Severine'' and a ''field agent called Eve,'' respectively, in Sam Mendes' Skyfall; see the legacy they will add to from the 22 previous films in the classic series.
BEST HONEY RYDER (Ursula Andress) Dr. No (1962)
The first truly was the best. The Swiss native's voice may have been completely dubbed over in postproduction, but, well, the goods were all hers. Her sultry walk out of the waves set the tone for every sexy-strong Bond girl who followed and led a generation of men to dream about lying down ''underneath the mango tree.''
WORST DR. CHRISTMAS JONES (Denise Richards) The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Let's review: Denise Richards played Dr. Christmas Jones, a nuclear physicist who wore a tank top and hot pants. Bloody hell, even Q didn't have a gadget to help Bond escape from that disaster.
BEST PUSSY GALORE (Honor Blackman) Goldfinger (1964)
Really, her name alone would have been enough to rank her among Bond's best loves. But Brit Blackman rounded off Pussy's cardboard edges, introducing fans to the series' first real woman — a gorgeous dame who can fly a plane and kick butt (check out her rumble in the hay with 007) as well as coo and woo.
WORST HOLLY GOODHEAD (Lois Chiles) Moonraker (1979)
Bond babe? Try bland babe. Chiles worked the CIA counterespionage thing just fine, and none of 007's ladies looked better in zero gravity (of course, nobody else actually made it to outer space, thank God). But the ex-model was the worst victim of one of the biggest Bond Girl traps: a thorough lack of chemistry with her leading man.
BEST JINX (Halle Berry) Die Another Day (2002)
Remember that throwback orange bikini? Yowza! Need we say more? Actually, we do, for Berry's Jinx was the rare Bond babe whose wits in every way matched her, uh, bountiful wares.
WORST OCTOPUSSY (Maud Adams) Octopussy (1983)
Swedish model-actress Adams was gorgeous, the only woman to play a leading love interest in two different movies (she got offed halfway through The Man With the Golden Gun), and the only one to have a whole film named after her character. And yet, for all that, do you remember a single thing about her biggest role? Neither do we.
BEST VESPER LYND (Eva Green) Casino Royale (2006)
In 2006's reenergizing of the series, she fit the bill perfectly, embodying all the traits that characterize 007's most memorable minxes — the smarts of Pussy Galore, the drive of Melina Havelock, the sobriety of Anya Amasova, and the, ahem, jewels of Tiffany Case. An instant classic.
WORST STACEY SUTTON (Tanya Roberts) A View to a Kill (1985)
Roberts was beautiful, sure, but she was also totally miscast as a geologist with a vendetta. (No wonder she got upstaged by Grace Jones' glowering henchwoman.) The squeaky-voiced former Charlie's Angel gave off so little steam that we half forgot that Bond Girls were supposed to be smart and sexy.
BEST WAI LIN (Michelle Yeoh) Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
She wasn't the first woman of color to match wits with 007 (although, woefully, there haven't been many). But in 1997 she became the first one you could take seriously. Hong Kong action veteran Yeoh's skilled and savvy Chinese agent was the first babe that could be called superhot on a truly global scale.
WORST MARY GOODNIGHT (Britt Ekland) The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
Come on, what self-respecting Bond Girl would tremble at the sight of...Hervé Villechaize? Another Swede who was all sex and no spunk, Ekland may have had one of the series' best bikinis, but her dopey, doltish portrayal was a turnoff as much to filmgoers as to fans of Ian Fleming's novels, in which Goodnight is one of 007's closest allies.
BEST ANYA AMASOVA (Barbara Bach) The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Bach may have been an American girl, but in the mid-1970s no more exotic a woman appeared on screen than her KGB spook (code name, ahem, Agent XXX). Equally at home fighting in the Sahara and rolling in the sheets, she was the Bond Girl response to women's liberation, in every respect 007's first modern equal.
WORST PAM BOUVIER (Carey Lowell) License to Kill (1989)
We see what the Bond brain trust was trying to do by naming their main dame after Jackie O (and even winking at that fact during one extended sequence). But Lowell fumbled this attempt at giving 007 a modern, independent counterpart by turning her into a nagging pest. Who cared if she and our hero ever got it on? She just needed to shut up.
BEST TIFFANY CASE (Jill St. John) Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
She was devious and devilish, but that only made Bond — and, well, men everywhere — want her more. (Her terrifically corny-comely moniker didn't hurt either.) But beyond all that, seeing this voluptuous lady running around a burning oil rig in a Technicolor bikini was all it took to make Sean Connery's dreariest outing as 007 eminently watchable.
WORST CORINNE DUFOUR (Corinne Clery) Moonraker (1979)
An attempt to sex up the series with the star of the French soft-core spectacular The Story of O backfired when Clery wound up the weakest of the second-tier Bond Girls, those who pop up for three scenes and then haplessly die. Mlle. Dufour could fly a helicopter, but she got outwitted by Bond in two seconds and outrun by some deadly dogs in one. C'est un scandale!
BEST XENIA ONATOPP (Famke Janssen) GoldenEye (1995)
Those eyes! Those thighs! And with a name like that, guys knew they were going to get what they'd secretly longed for: a woman who really does use sex as a weapon — and can't get enough of it. Onatopp (stop snickering!) is said to be the first Bond Girl seen having an orgasm, and she returned 007's leading ladies to smooth sailing after years in the doldrums.
WORST BIBI DAHL (Lynn-Holly Johnson) For Your Eyes Only (1981)
To appeal to younger filmgoers — or maybe just fans of Ice Castles — the producers cast the then-22-year-old figure skater to jump a few triple axels around the then-53-year-old Roger Moore. She was harmless at best, but it took more than one vodka martini for us to wash the icky daddy-daughter innuendo (especially her goofy ski-lodge flirtation) out of our minds.
BEST TRACY DI VICENZO (Diana Rigg) On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
As it happened, Rigg replaced fellow Bond Girl Honor Blackman on TV's The Avengers, where her Emma Peel became renowned as the toughest of dames. Opposite one-time 007 George Lazenby, however, she gave the series' most heartfelt and least comic performance as a lovelorn Mafia heiress, the only woman you could imagine the superspy settling down with.
WORST KARA MILOVY (Maryam d'Abo) The Living Daylights (1987)
Timothy Dalton's first Bond Girl got off to a promising start, appearing through a window as a rifle-wielding KGB assassin. And yet, inexplicably, she fast devolved into a charmless wimplet, dragged around the snows of Europe and the deserts of Afghanistan with a blank stare — and a cello that always seemed to be in the way. A freakin' cello!
BEST ROSA KLEBB (Lotte Lenya) From Russia With Love (1963)
Unsexy, you say? Not a real Bond Girl? We beg to differ. Dr. Freud would have had a field day with this Russian agent's manic obsession with, er, sticking her knife (fabulously concealed in a tight leather shoe) into our hero. The first dominatrix Bond girl (and, amazingly, not the last), she never doffed her duds, but she was as memorable as they get.
WORST HELGA BRANDT (Karin Dor) You Only Live Twice (1967)
The unexotic German star's SPECTRE spy and short-time lover (those piranhas gobbled her up even faster than 007 did) looked out of place in a movie where Sean Connery was getting sensuous sponge baths on Japanese mountainsides. Watching Bond cut off her dress was like watching him finally get it on with Rosa Klebb. Eeeew.
BEST MELINA HAVELOCK (Carole Bouquet) For Your Eyes Only (1981)
As the quintessential Bond girl-with-a-vengeance, she never smiles or says much as she gets even for the murder of her parents with a little crossbow and a helluva lot of determination. Still, with legs like those (among the most iconic images in all of 007-dom), who needs a personality?
WORST STRAWBERRY FIELDS (Gemma Arterton) Quantum of Solace (2008)
For another in a long line of Bond's conquests, the best we could say about Strawberry Fields is that she sure had a cool look about her.
BEST CAMILLE MONTES (Olga Kurylenko) Quantum of Solace (2008)
As Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote in her review, Camille didn't have time for bedroom thoughts since she was plotting a vendetta against nefarious Monsieur Greene (Mathieu Amalric). Her badass intensity was a really good complement to Daniel Craig's gritty new Bond.