After nearly two years of delays - before "No Time to Die's" original director Danny Boyle was replaced by Cary Fukunaga, it was slated for release in November 2019 – the 25th James Bond movie is now only a couple of weeks away. On October 8, 2021, the world will finally be witness to a new 007 adventure.
It's also the last time we'll be seeing Daniel Craig in the role. So, to properly prepare for his final outing, we're recommending six essential Bond films to watch first. Four will be familiar to Daniel Craig fans, and two are from the classic '60s era. All tie into the dynamics about to be put in motion soon at a theater near you.
1 / Casino Royale (2006)
Daniel Craig proved his detractors wrong in a huge way in his very first James Bond movie. Director Martin Campbell, who'd already made the best Pierce Brosnan Bond film with "Goldeneye," was the perfect filmmaker to announce the new guy in the suit. There's a lot of action in the film, as Bond travels to Montenegro to take on the menacing Le Chiffre (an effective Mads Mikkelsen). He also falls in love hard with treasury agent Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). And CIA Agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright, new to the role) is on hand, as is MI6 head M (Judi Dench, back from the Pierce Brosnan era). Campbell balances the stunts with substance. He's helped immensely by Craig as the modern Bond: strong, gritty, vulnerable…human. His penchant for actual relationships continue up through the latest entry.
2 / Quantum of Solace (2008)
The Daniel Craig Bond movies also started a new tradition: the franchise as serialized storytelling. "Quantum of Solace" continues right after the events of "Casino Royale." Bond brings in the nefarious Mr. White for questioning. Along the way in his investigations, a worldwide conspiracy reveals itself, backed by a shadowy organization known as Quantum. They'll later be connected to Bond's ultimate adversaries, the group known as SPECTRE. Expect to see more of the Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion in "NTTD." Noteworthy, too, is that Bond's currently retired at the outset of "NTTD" and living la vida loca with his amor, Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux). She happens to be the daughter of Mr. White.
3 / Skyfall (2012)
"Skyfall" represents the benchmark of the Daniel Craig era. Director Sam Mendes and his ace cinematographer Roger Deakins create gorgeous shots that are a highpoint for the franchise. Craig is at his best as the tough, conflicted warrior. Javier Bardem is a worthy opponent as a former 00 agent gone rogue. Dame Judi Dench's swan song as M is poignant and layered. This is peak filmmaking, and furthers the themes that will play into "NTTD" – action, grit, change, loss … and of course, all of the other A-list attributes of Bond lore.
Action / 2012 / PG-13
4 / Spectre (2015)
The follow-up to "Skyfall" was admittedly a letdown. Whether the whole production was a bit too rushed, it's hard to tell. But story wise, the movie's still a key piece of what's to come in "NTTD." This is the movie where SPECTRE is revealed to be the main force behind Quantum. It marks the return of Bond's greatest enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz). The young Q (Ben Whishaw), the modern Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and the new M (Ralph Fiennes) are all back. And everyone is on board in "NTTD." Lea Seydoux arrives as Madeleine Swann. Much like with his other love Vesper Lynd, Craig's Bond is ready to give her is all. Whether that's a wise decision…we're about to see.
5 / Dr. No (1962)
The latest villain in "No Time to Die" is Oscar winner Rami Malek's Lyutsifer Safin. According to Fukunaga, he's "hyper-intelligent" and "more dangerous than anyone [Bond] has ever encountered." But if the Internet is to be believed, he's not necessarily a new villain. Both in appearance (distinctly scarred and uniquely costumed) and situation, he may represent someone who took on our hero in the first James Bond movie almost 60 years ago. No? Or Dr. No? Hmm?
6 / On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
What's the connection between the one-and-done George Lazenby Bond movie and "No Time to Die"? Actually, plenty. The entire Daniel Craig era of Bond more closely resembles the Lazenby and Timothy Dalton versions, really, than Connery, Pierce Brosnan, or especially Roger Moore. In "OHMSS," Lazenby's a capable and imposing man of action, but he also has a human heart. His love for Tracy di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg of TV's "The Avengers" fame) is true. It also has a high potential for tragedy. That's true, too, for Daniel Craig's Bond. His relationship to Madeleine Swann is the key in the final trailer for "No Time to Die." Soon, time will tell if their fates will change, too.
About the Author
Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.