Weekend Roundtable: Your First James Bond Movie

When a movie franchise has been around as long as James Bond has, the majority of viewers going to see ‘Spectre’ this weekend weren’t even born when the first film, ‘Dr. No‘, was released to theaters back in 1962. I certainly wasn’t. When were you first introduced to Agent 007?

This week’s topic has a few parts:

  • What’s the first James Bond movie you remember watching? How did you see it (theater, TV, VHS, etc.)?
  • What’s the first Bond movie you saw in the theater?
  • Since you’ve been of moviegoing age, have you seen all the subsequent Bond movies in a theater, or did you miss some?
  • Which actor do you consider your James Bond (i.e. not necessarily the best, but the one that you most associate with the role)?

If you have any special (good or bad) memories associated with the franchise (time bonding with Dad, etc.), share those as well.

Shannon Nutt

The first Bond movie I remember watching was ‘Moonraker‘, and it was one of those ABC Movie of the Week deals that probably aired on a Sunday night.

I fully remember that the first Bond movie I saw in a theater was actually the “unofficial” Bond film, ‘Never Say Never Again‘. My first official Bond experience in the theater was the rather lackluster ‘A View to a Kill’, and I’ve seen every Bond title after that in the theater.

Although he’s not my favorite in the role, I must confess that Roger Moore was my Bond for the longest period of time, having grown up in the 1970s and ’80s. Timothy Dalton was my favorite in the role for the longest time, although Daniel Craig impressed me so much in ‘Skyfall‘ that I changed my allegiance in the last few years.

Mike Attebery

My first Bond film was ‘A View to a Kill’, which I saw in the theater in 1985. After that, my dad and I watched every Bond film we could catch on TV. (Then I eventually realized the bookshelf on his side of the bed was filled with Bond paperbacks, which I devoured in my teens.)

Since my first Bond film, I’ve seen every subsequent release in the theater. I can’t imagine missing one.

My Bond? That’s a hard one, since the actors playing the role have had unusual turnover since I’ve been a fan. I liked Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton, and for a long time Pierce Brosnan seemed the ideal Bond, but Daniel Craig has made the character his own, so these days I’d say he’s my Bond.

Brian Hoss

Bond movies are so integrated into the culture that there’s no pre-Bond watching that I can recall. (If there was, TBS obliterated it ages ago.) I can remember being a kid and attending an ’80s movie VHS marathon that featured ‘Predator’, ‘Aliens’, ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Licence to Kill‘, which is pretty funny since that’s one of my least favorite Bond movies.

GoldenEye‘ was a huge deal (the return of Bond, post Cold War), with a bad follow-up, but seeing ‘The World Is Not Enough‘ with Bond fan friends in the theater is a nice memory.

More recently, screening ‘Skyfall’ early was big deal for me. I’ve seen the last six movies in theaters. As the years and the Bonds go by, I fixate on Sean Connery in ‘Goldfinger’ as the coalescence of on-screen Bond. (I enjoy the less superpowered WWII vet of the books as well.) In ‘Goldfinger’, Bond gets himself repeatedly in and out of trouble, usually by mixing worldliness and personal manipulation but somehow without ever losing the moral high ground. It’s better to be lucky than good, but Bond is both. Just don’t stand too close.

I’ve had countless copies of the movies, books, CDs, and so on (even a trivia CD-ROM!). I’ve played a dozen Bond videogames (mostly bad), but a decade ago I got some friends together to play the first 007 Scene It? board game. What a disappointment! I recall one of the questions involved showing a car chase from the Roger Moore era and then asking the name of the casting director’s sister.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

As far back as I can remember, my grandfather has been a frothing-at-the-mouth fanatic of James Bond. (He actually burst into tears when I gave him a framed poster of ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ one Christmas, and I love the puzzling juxtaposition of that really sweet moment with how completely ridiculous the poster actually is.) During family get-togethers during the holidays, he’d always, always, always have the TV tuned to a Bond marathon. The first one I have vivid memories of seeing from start to finish is ‘You Only Live Twice‘, and I’d even do impressions of Sean Connery’s “Why do Chinese girls taste different from all other girls?” to anyone who’d listen… or to no one at all, completely by myself. I don’t know why.

For the longest time, Bond was just something to watch on television during certain times of the year, and I somehow made it through the entire DVD era without owning a single one of these movies. I don’t think I even saw a Bond film theatrically until ‘Quantum of Solace‘, which is a sad statement for a great many reasons. In the years since, I’ve made it a point to pick up the Blu-ray releases of all the Connery-era movies – minus the unsanctioned ‘Never Say Never Again’, anyway — as he always has been and always will be my Bond.

Luke Hickman

The first Bond movie that I recall seeing was ‘The Living Daylights‘. My parents were watching it at home, likely on VHS, and I remember watching the opening sequence and thinking that it was pretty cool stuff. Aside from that, I don’t remember much.

You’re going to laugh, but the first entry that I saw in theaters was ‘Casino Royale‘. I personally got into Bond as a teenager with ‘GoldenEye’ (thanks to the Nintendo 64 game) around the time that ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ came out on video.

‘GoldenEye’ rocked, but ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ was so bad that I had no desire to see the other Brosnan movies on the big screen. When ‘Casino Royale’ opened, I was working as a critic at the time, but the trailers were so good that I’d have seen it even if it wasn’t my job. Since then, I’ve caught each of the Daniel Craig entries at press screenings. I loved the first two of his entries and consider Craig to be my Bond, but ‘Skyfall’ turned me off so much that I might not have seen ‘Spectre’ if it wasn’t screened for press.

Although I don’t particularly care for the goofy gadgets, the one-liners and the silliness of the old Bond entries, one of my favorite Bond memories goes back to the mid-’90s when my old man came home with his favorite Bond title on VHS. I hadn’t seen it, so we sat together one lazy afternoon and watched ‘Goldfinger‘. It’s not my favorite Bond entry, but it was a good time with my Pops.

Chris Chiarella (Sound & Vision)

I guess I’m fortunate in that my parents appreciated the charm of James Bond, and so they didn’t hesitate to take us along to big-screen showings of his latest adventures… or classic adventures for that matter. The first time I recall seeing 007 on the big screen – or possibly on any screen –was during an early ’70s revival double feature of ‘Thunderball‘ and ‘You Only Live Twice’. I definitely recall seeing ‘Live and Let Die‘ in the theater (and loving the music) as well as ‘The Man with the Golden Gun‘ (and loving Christopher Lee’s weapon of choice).

I had to wait for ABC to air ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ (long a favorite) and ‘Moonraker’ before I could catch up, then ‘Octopussy’, ‘A View to a Kill’ and ‘The Living Daylights’ back in the local cineplex. I saw ‘Licence to Kill’ on VHS and then all of the Brosnans in the theater.

Although I came of age during the Roger Moore era, I think I need to pick Sean Connery as my Bond, probably because of the frequent TV airings of his tenure, or just as probably because he originated the role. Plus he’s Sean Connery, dammit. (I even caught the out-of-canon ‘Never Say Never Again’ theatrically when a friend scored me a free ticket.) I will say this, though: This Daniel Craig is the real deal.

Josh Zyber

My earliest James Bond memory is watching ‘Moonraker’ on cable while at day care. I’m not sure I even understood who or what James Bond was at the time. As far as I knew, it was just a sci-fi movie with space shuttles and lasers and people floating around in zero-gravity. Having no sense of taste or discernment at that age, I thought it was pretty cool. Later, my first recollection of understanding that I was watching a James Bond movie came with ‘A View to a Kill’. That one was likely on VHS. I was very familiar with the theme song, which had received endless radio play since the film’s theatrical run, and really looked forward to finally seeing the movie itself. About all I remember from that viewing was thinking that Bond parachuting off the Eiffel Tower and driving half a Fiat around Paris was really neat. Oh, and it had a blimp, which was quite exciting! Again, no taste at that age.

The first Bond movie I saw theatrically was ‘Licence to Kill’, and I’ve made it a point to see everything afterwards in a theater. I almost missed ‘The World Is Not Enough’, but managed to catch it in a second-run cinema while a couple of morons behind me talked through the whole movie.

Even though I didn’t grow up with him, Sean Connery is still the definitive James Bond in my eyes. I appreciate that each of the other actors has brought his own personality and flair to the role, but Connery (at least in the early pictures) embodies the perfect combination of cultured sophistication, unflappable determination, and athletic physicality. Nobody does it better.

Tell us about your first experiences with James Bond in the Comments below.

19 comments

  1. The first I remember is THUNDERBALL, and that was in the theater, probably a couple of years after it’s initial release. I was maybe 12 years old. I didn’t get to the theater much as a kid, but a pal had a mom who would drop us off. He told her we were seeing something like SON OF FLUBBER but we’d see Raquel Welch in FATHOM or other material.

    Hit and miss in the theater after that. Probably saw most of Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton in the theater. It’s been home video since then.

    The real James Bond is Sean Connery. George Lazenby did not disgrace himself, but we expect an extra spark in 007. My wife was loyal to Brosnan until Craig appeared, and I agree he has returned vitality to the role.

  2. photogdave

    First movie I saw on TV was probably The Spy Who Loved Me (but it could have been The Man With the Golden Gun). My mom LOVED Roger Moore and Sean Connery so we would watch any Bond movie that came up on TV. She would get really excited and let me stay up late. Even before ever seeing a Bond movie I had a die-cast scale toy of the Aston Martin and a Matchbox of the Lotus submarine car. Wish I still had them!
    First theatrical viewing was Octopussy with a group of friends at a birthday party. That was a lot of fun! We thought it was the height of hilarity that the word pussy was in the title!
    I’ve seen most of the subsequent Bonds in the theatre with the exception of two or three of the Brosnans. Honestly, I can’t remember how many he did or what they were called. GoldenEye was the only good one!
    Growing up in the 70s Moore meant Bond to me but I’m with the others in that Craig is definitely my main man now. I clearly remember all the hoopla about when Brosnan was going to become Bond and how we had to wait because of Remington Steele. Everyone thought he was going to be the Ultimate Bond and he was good but his scripts sucked!

  3. merlich

    “Goldfinger,” in the theater, in it’s first run in 1964. Still my favorite Bond. I’ve seen it more times than I can count.

  4. Csm101

    I grew up with Roger Moore. Mainly tv broadcasts. I’m not sure which movie I saw first , but it was either The Spy Who Loved Me or Live and Let Die. For Your Eyes Only used to always be on HBO, and I’d watch it any chance I got. One time my parents said there was a Bond movie on and I saw that it wasn’t Roger Moore and was pissed, i just wasn’t having it. I think it may of been Thunderball. Theatrically, the first Bond flick I remember seeing was A View to a Kill, great song and I LOVE the naked neon painted chicks, some of those opening Bond title sequences were borderline spankworthy (if I knew what it was at the time.). Roger Moore opening bond sequences were the sexiest. I think I’ve seen every Bond flick in theaters since then as well. It wasn’t unit only about 10 years ( maybe a little longer) until I embraced Connery and his badassery & Lazenby when that amazing four box dvd set came out and I decided to own all the Bond movies and appreciate each one for what they were. Even bad Bond movies are still pretty good. Love em all.

  5. Barsoom Bob

    I’m old, so old that I have seen every Bond film in sequence, in a theater, during their intial runs right up to SPECTRE tonight.

    I was a precosious 13 y.o. when DR. No came out. Didn’t know anything about Bond, written or filmed, but I saw a still from the movie of the holding room on DR. No’s island with the grated occulus in the ceiling and thought that looked pretty cool. They also used an advertising blurb that ” JFK was a big fan of the series”. So I went and enjoyed it well enough.

    Then, From Russia with Love came out and it knocked me out when I saw it. That was it, I read all the novels available at that time. I was a Bond fan. Goldfinger is where the general public came on board and it was a big deal, Like everybody else I enjoyed it greatly, oddly that has waned over the years. I do have a fond memory of it though because I had to pull a James Bond to get to see it !

    Bond was such a big deal by then, that several months before Thunderball was released, there was a six page article in Esquire about the upcoming movie with all sorts of production design drawings, the original SPECTRE ring and set photos along with the written words. Thunderball pretty much delivered the goods except for that fake, over cranked boat crash at the end. You Only Live Twice was very good but that was when I got tired of “there had to be a good army against the bad army big battle” at the end. Lazenby was no Connery but the movie wasn’t bad, big battle at the end again, but redeemed by the emotional ending of Tracy’s death. Diamonds was okay but starting to get too joke-y.

    Not a fan of Roger Moore, absolutely loved him as Simon Templer, and had great expectations for him as Bond that were smashed when I saw Live and Let Die. I only have two Moore films in my otherwise complete Bond collection, Man with the Golden Gun and For Your Eyes Only. Quite enjoyed Timothy Dalton’s two turns, Ditto Brosnan, with the exception of World is Not Enough. Craig Kicked ass and is my second favorite Bond even though he is a little more brutish than sauve. Hoping SPECTRE is good tonight.

  6. charles contreras

    My first Bond movie was From Russia With Love, which my dad suggested when he saw it was going to air on ABC. I was immediately hooked after that and sought out Bond whenever any of those Connery classics aired. Then they aired some of the early Roger Moore entries. My dad wasn’t a big fan of him, he thought Moore’s Bond was clownish. But I was hooked big time and had to do some catching up before 1977.

    1977 was when I watched The Spy Who Loved Me in the theatre. There was no turning back at this point. Years later, I met Richard Kiel (Jaws) a couple of times, he was super nice! The only movies I missed were For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy, I’m still not sure how I missed out on those two.

    My Bond? Sure, Sean Connery will always be the best, but Timothy Dalton made a huge impression on me. Daniel Craig, in my opinion, has also been great, and even my dad would’ve become a fan of him as well.

  7. Bolo

    The Connery and Moore films were regulars on television when I was a kid; it’s hard to remember life before I had seen one. The one I remember being on tv the most was ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’, so I’ll guess that that was the first one I ever saw.

    The first one I saw in cinemas was ‘Goldeneye’. At the time, most of my friends had never heard of James Bond. They just wanted to see it because it was being promoted as a big action movie. I remember some of my friends even thought I was daft when I tried to tell them that there had already been many of these films.

    Since then, I’ve seen every Bond film in cinemas, but I think ‘Spectre’ will be the last one I make any real effort to see. The series has lost my enthusiasm.

    Who is “my Bond”? To me Pierce Brosnan embodies everything I want from the character. He’s suave and elegant. He projects the smug arrogance of an entitled imperialist. And most importantly: he seems to enjoy what he’s doing.

  8. I was 5 when Dr No came out, but remeber watching it on television. By the time I was 8 or so, I started reading and read every Ian Fleming book as well. The first movie I saw in the theater was Goldfinger, still my favorite. As a seven hyear old, I found the name “Pussy Galore” quite amusing. Since then, I saw every Sean Connery movie in the theaters, and also the weirdly hilarious Casino Royale with David Niven and Woody Allen, amongst others.

    Once Roger Moore came in, I saw the first one, Live and Let Die in the theater, but never wamred up to Moore as Bond. all futuree viewings were on TV. After that, all Bond movies were seen at home on VHS initially, and then other mediums.

    I liked Brosnan better thasn Dalton, both of them better than Moore, and saw all of those at home.

    I did see Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale in the theaters, and am a fan of his interpetation of Bond. The original Sean Connery movies remain my favorites…the first 6 all classics.

  9. Deaditelord

    I think Thunderball was the first James Bond movie I saw on ABC, but I’m positive the first Bond movie I watched in theaters was The Living Daylights. Since then I’ve seen every subsequent Bond movie in the theater – good (License To Kill, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, and Skyfall), mediocre (Goldeneye, The World is Not Enough, and Quantum of Solace), and bad (Die Another Day). I plan to see Spectre on Monday, but my excitement for it is somewhat muted which is surprising given that Spectre and Blofeld are finally back as villains.

    • Deaditelord

      Oops, forgot to mention which actor I prefer. Despite how much I like Daniel Craig and Timothy Dalton as Bond (it’s a shame Dalton wasn’t able to make more movies considering how great he was in License to Kill), Sean Connery still gets my vote as favorite actor to play Bond. Really the only actor I haven’t liked as Bond is Pierce Brosnan, but that has more to do with the poor quality of the movies rather than Brosnan’s performance.

  10. nate

    First Bond movie I remember watching was Goldfinger. My dad rented it from a local video store on VHS when I was like 6 or 7 years old. First Bond movie I saw in theatres was License to kill when I was 6 my mom took me to see it. Yes I have seen every Bond movie in theatres since I been able to go to the movies by myself. Started with Goldeneye and since then I have seen every Bond movie the first day in theatres. The Bond that is my Bond and the best Bond is Daniel Craig! As far as fond memories I remember seeing Tomorrow never dies the first day it was released in the USA with my family for the holidays. Yes I am a Bond fanatic by the way for my 10th birthday all I wanted was James Bond movies and my dad got me a whole box full and I remember just having a Bond movie marathon on that birthday.

  11. david Batarseh

    My dad had all of them recorded on vhs, but his favorite and now my favorite/first viewed Bond film is the underrated “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”

  12. Chris B

    I remember seeing For Your Eyes Only on tv sometime in the late 80’s and thinking it was pretty cool. I didn’t actully see a bond film theatricaly until Tommorow Never Dies. I know this may seem like blasphemy but Pierce Brosnan will always be my generation’s Bond (at least to me). I saw 3 out of 4 of his Bond flicks in the theatre when I was in my late teens and early twenties and they still bring back good memories. Daniel Craig does a fantastic job in the role tbough, really looking forward to seeing Spectre on Tuesday night. I’m hoping Josh will have Mid-week asking readers what they thought of the film…

  13. William Henley

    Okay, this is easy for me.

    First one was Tomorrow Never Dies. I saw it on DVD – it was one of the very first movies I bought, and I pretty much bought it to show off DVD with.

    The first one I saw in theaters was The World is Not Enough. I have seen every Bond movie since in theaters.

    I then saw GoldenEye on DVD, and then Die Another Day before I ever saw another actor as Bond (the next one I saw was Connery with From Russia With Love). As I had seen NO ONE but Brosnan as Bond for about 7 years, to me, Brosnan IS Bond, and no one else compares.

  14. First viewing was From Russia With Love during one of many TBS marathons
    I’ve seen all in theaters since Goldeneye, with the exception of Quantum of Solace.
    Brosnan is my Bond, though certainly not the best.

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