The role of James Bond has been played by six different actors in the Bond film franchise that started in 1962. Each actor brought his own strengths to the rakish British spy, from brooding physicality (Sean Connery, Daniel Craig) to smooth charm (Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan).
For every actor who has portrayed Bond, there are fans who think he defined the character, and that the others merely toiled in his shadow. Craig will try to solidify his place in the Bond pantheon next month when the franchise releases its 23rd film, Skyfall.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the first film, Dr. No, on Oct. 5, we're exploring the culture of Bond on Morning Edition this week. You can join in by voting for your favorite 007 by midnight ET Thursday. We'll announce the winner on Friday's show. Update: The results are in — you can read more about which Bond was rated the best.
You can also listen to 25 songs from the Bond films in a special Spotify playlist assembled by NPR Music.
All photos courtesy of MGM/Photofest.
Note: While we hold the work of David Niven in high esteem, this survey is restricted to actors who played in the widely seen Eon/Broccoli-produced Bond films.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
It is a big time for anniversaries. This week marks half a century of 007 on the silver screen.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DR. NO")
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (as character) Mister?
SEAN CONNERY: (as James Bond) Bond. James Bond.
INSKEEP: Aren't secret agents supposed to use a pseudonym?
Sean Connery made his debut as James Bond in "Dr. No," which premiered 50 years ago this Friday. And all this week on MORNING EDITION we're going to hear how Bond became a cultural icon. We'll also learn about his favorite drink.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE)
CONNERY: (as James Bond) A martini, shaken not stirred.
INSKEEP: And we'll ask about the science behind Bond's high-tech gadgets.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DIE ANOTHER DAY")
JOHN CLEESE: (as Q) One pane unbreakable glass, one standard issue ring finger, twist so. Voila. Ultra-high-frequency single digit sonic agitating unit.
INSKEEP: The voice of John Cleese. And we'll hear from the man who created the Bond theme's signature guitar riff.
(SOUNDBITE OF JAMES BOND THEME MUSIC)
INSKEEP: You can also play the 007 game @NPR.org. You know, vote for who's your favorite among the many actors to play Bond. They range, of course, from Connery to Daniel Craig. You might even vote for Timothy Dalton. Bond Week on MORNING EDITION from NPR News.
Inskeep, Steve Inskeep. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.