This article is probably going to be controversial. “James Bond” is one of those cultural franchises that people get really emotional about. It seems that they will take a position regarding which “James Bond” movie was the best and they basically will stick to it come hell or high water.
This is one of those cases where, regardless of how well argued and how well put together your case may be, you’re going to head on into personal preference.
This is why it’s really important to understand that when you’re dealing with any kind of cultural franchise like “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” or in this case, “James Bond,” it really boils down to personal preference.
I know that sounds like a cop out, but it’s ultimately true. You have to understand that the “James Bond” series is made up of many movies. The same goes with “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.” In fact, “Star Trek” has so many different versions.
If you think that there is some sort of magical answer here, you run the risk of comparing apples to oranges. I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked, comparing apples to oranges is not exactly a productive use people’s time. It’s pointless making it. It’s pointless hearing about it.
So, what is the best way to go about identifying the best “James Bond” movie ever?
Start with Your Preferences
The first thing that you need to pay attention to is your personal bias and preference.
Now, I know that the word “bias” comes with a lot of baggage. A lot of people think that once they are said to have a bias, that they are somehow, some way, some sort of a bad actor or there’s something wrong with them.
No. That’s not true because everybody has a bias. Even the best people in the world have a bias. We’re all prejudiced at some level or another.
Now, of course, there’s a hierarchy to this. There are certain prejudices that we could almost all agree are universally bad, and there are some prejudices that are basically just a product of your upbringing, your experiences, and your unique way of looking at the world. Learn to tell the difference between the two.
You’re not really doing yourself any big favors by assuming that you automatically have to go about this with absolutely no bias at all. No. The best approach would be to be as clear with your own prejudices and biases coming in. In other words, come clean.
If you are big on storytelling, be aware of that. If you are a stickler for leading man presence, then there’s no problem with that. Just make sure that you are fully aware that that is your bias.
This is the key. A little bit of self-knowledge can go a long way.
What is it about the typical “James Bond” movie that you first look at? What is the most important to you? What is your priority? How do you make sense of this long running series based on your biases? You’d be surprised as to the answer that you find.
A lot of people think that everybody else expects them to give them some sort of “intelligent answer.” A lot of people are under the impression that they’re supposed to like a movie because of the plot line or some sort of social, economic, cultural and political significance.
Well, when you do that, you’re just lying to yourself because that’s not the real you. That’s not how you really enjoy these types of movies.
So, there’s no need to come off as somebody you’re not. You’re not playing to the crowd here. Instead, you’re trying to discover what makes sense to you.
How Well Do You Remember Each Movie?
When trying to figure out the best “James Bond” movie ever, you have to be fair to each installation. In other words, you have to, first, watch all of them. Second, you have to remember enough of their details to make a well-reasoned and qualified judgment.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t even bother with this. A lot of people think that if they remember just one scene, that’s good enough.
In fact, some people are so jaded and skeptical about certain types of movie series that they think that if they’ve seen one movie, they have seen it all.
This can cut both ways. For every critic, there is also a die-hard, almost unthinking fan who say that “As long as the movie says “James Bond,” I’m good to go. That movie is legit.”
Well, you have to understand that both extreme options are off limits to you. Focus instead on what you actually remember.
Based on what you remember, can you render a decent judgment? Are there enough facts that you can glean from your experience so as to support whatever claim you’re making now? Otherwise, you would be unfair to the movie.
You can say that “Live and Let Die” sucked, but maybe you just saw one YouTube clip. Maybe it would be better if you actually saw the movie thoroughly for you to render a judgment.
Remember that It All Boils Down to Argumentation
At the end of the day, there’s really no right or wrong answer. But you know you’re doing things right if you can back up your claims. In other words, if you can make a claim, make sure that there are facts from the movies that can back up what you’re saying.
If you’re saying that Sean Connery is the best James Bond ever and nobody even came close, back it up. What is it about the Sean Connery movies that you think are so awesome? What do you think about Sean Connery’s acting as James Bond that made him the best thing since sliced bread?
If you’re drawing a blank, then you’re not arguing well. If it doesn’t make sense to you, what do you think it will look like to other people you’re trying to convince? That’s the bottom line.
So instead of automatically assuming that there is a one best movie, or that you can definitively say that the best “James Bond” movie ever exists, you have to do the heavy lifting. You have to point to facts and let people come to their conclusions.