Kill. Moore was less convincing as a brawler than Connery - he always looked like the kind of Bond who would apologise to an evil criminal mastermind for landing a punch - but he did get one of the classic showdowns with Christopher Lee’s triple-nippled Scaramanga in a funhouse hall of mirrors in The Man With The Golden Gun.

Timothy Dalton - Successful missions: 2 (The Living Daylights, Licence To Kill). Years of active service: 1987-89.

Unlike his debonair predecessor in the role, Timothy Dalton left you in no doubt that his iteration of Bond was an expertly trained and merciless assassin. His 007 is utterly relentless in Licence To Kill as an avenging angel for murdered CIA pal Felix Leiter, who is fed to a shark by sadistic drug lord Franz Sanchez played by Robert Davi. In response, Bond defies orders to mete out rough justice using a shredding machine, spilt petrol and a cigarette lighter. When puns tumbled from Dalton’s lips, they weren’t delivered with obvious relish, and there wasn’t much room left for sensuality. It was always going to be difficult to take him seriously as a silver-tongued cad, when one of his first acts of chivalry as Bond in The Living Daylights is to rescue a beautiful cellist (Maryam

d’Abo) from the KGB - by slaloming down wintry slopes with her astride her instrument’s case. That’s the closest he comes to making sweet music in the role.

Pierce Brosnan - Successful missions: 4 (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day). Years of active service: 1995-2002.

Pierce Brosnan had been mooted as Roger Moore’s successor, but the dashing Irish actor was obliged to honour contractual commitments to the TV series Remington Steele. When he finally got his hands on Bond’s Walther PPK, Brosnan made a spectacular entrance in GoldenEye, with a leap of death down the face of a dam, followed by the infiltration of a Soviet chemical weapons facility, replete with a tongue-in-cheek quip for one henchman in a toilet cubicle. For me, Brosnan comes closest to replicating Connery’s pleasing cocktail of seductive allure and brute force, and he is gifted some choice one-liners. His erotically charged verbal sparring with Xenia Onatopp - played by Famke Janssen - in GoldenEye, is a rapid-fire masterclass in double entendres. Brosnan left on a high in Die Another Day, feasting “like there’s no tomorrow” on Halle Berry’s Jinx, whose bikini- clad introduction is a cute throwback

to Ursula Andress’ Honey Ryder in Dr. No.

Daniel Craig - Successful missions: 4... so far (Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre). Years of active service: 2006-present.

Continuing the alternating sequence of suave and stoic Bonds, Daniel Craig jettisoned the warmth and charm embraced by Brosnan to portray Bond as a man who preferred to communicate with his fists and a scowl. Craig is certainly well-equipped for the physical rigours of the role, engaging in some of the series’ most brutal fisticuffs in an attempt to rival the breathless, bone-crunching fight choreography of Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne. He flaunted his impressive physique by emerging from the sea in Casino Royale, his first outing as 007, wearing a pair of tight-fitting blue swimming trunks that sent audiences into a swoon. If only Craig could convincingly have the same effect on his female co-stars. The tragic romance with Vesper Lynd - played by Eva Green - in Casino Royale, is sexually inert because he’s solid ice to her molten lava, while his seduction of Monica Bellucci in Spectre is a lot of heavy breathing that eventually runs out of puff.


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