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Which James Bond Films Would Look Best in 3-D? A Vulture Ranking

There’s an awful rumor going around that the James Bond series might be converted into 3-D, starting with Dr. No. And while this strikes us as something that hopefully will never happen, we couldn’t help but think about which James Bond movies would work best in 3-D. So here’s a list, counting down from the least-promising candidates to the most. (With, of course, the blanket acknowledgement that pretty much all of the credits sequences would look great in 3-D.) Enjoy.

23. Dr. No
It’s very good, but it’s also one of the more cerebral Bond films — if there can be such a thing — so it’s not exactly made for 3-D. Even the opening credits for this one probably wouldn’t work in 3-D.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
That scene where Sean Connery sings “Underneath the Mango Tree” with a bikini-clad Ursula Andress. Just because. Also: the tarantula.

22. The Living Daylights
This one is kind of underrated, but for all the reasons that wouldn’t make it a good 3-D conversion: It’s a Bond film that feels more like a somber, absorbing Cold War spy novel than a cartoonish action movie of the type that was being made in the mid-to-late eighties.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
Bond (Timothy Dalton) fleeing a crashing Soviet military transport plane in a jeep.

21. Octopussy
It might be Homer Simpson’s favorite movie (he saw it … twice), but it’s also one of Moore’s weakest efforts.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The opening sequence, in which Bond, flying a tiny spy plane, out-maneuvers heat-seeking missiles by luring them into an airplane hangar filled with bad guys. Also, Roger Moore dressed as a clown, infiltrating Octopussy’s traveling circus. Colorful and ridiculous!

20. Skyfall
Much beloved, and quite good, but let’s face it: If 3-D were going to make this one any better, it would have been in 3-D. Everything else is these days.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The Istanbul-pulverizing opening train chase. Also, the colorful, eye-popping scenes in Shanghai should look very nice in 3-D. Unfortunately, the fire-lit finale in Scotland would probably look too dark in the format.

19. Goldfinger
We can see the tired marketing tagline already: “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die! ... in 3-D!” Thanks, but no thanks. With its sharp dialogue and slow build, this film doesn’t need any gimmicky doodads to make it any better.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
Odd job’s hat. Pussy Galore’s aerial raid on Fort Knox. And the infamous car chase with the ejector seat. Oh, and Goldfinger getting sucked out of that airplane.

18. Casino Royale
One of the best Bond films ever, but, not being set-piece-centric, it’s probably not a particularly good candidate for 3-D conversion.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
That ridiculous parkour chase at the beginning. And the car crash near the end where Bond swerves to avoid hitting a tied-up Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). Also, something tells us the infamous naked torture scene would be just that much more excruciating.

17. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Christopher Nolan’s favorite Bond movie has a vulnerable hero and a twisty-turny plot, but, aside from a great climax, not a whole lot of 3-D-friendly moments.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The ice battle at the end, which clearly inspired Inception (a movie that, come to think of it, could look pretty great in 3-D).

16. GoldenEye
Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as Bond was an attempt to merge the somewhat more realistic tone of the recent films with a bit more of the verve and dash of Connery and Moore. It kinda sorta worked.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
Lots of jumping off high places in this one — perfect for 3-D. Also, the scene where Bond goes off a cliff in a motorcycle; boards an empty, crashing airplane; then flies away in it.

15. Quantum of Solace
It’s not a good movie — at all — but it’s got a couple of excellent chase and fight scenes.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The great opening car sequence. The catastrophic foot-chase through Siena. 

14. Moonraker
It’s a terrible movie, but c’mon, it’s James Bond in space!
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The sky-diving fight with Jaws (Richard Kiel). And the hilariously awful climactic space battle, which would look even weirder in three dimensions.

13. The Man With the Golden Gun
More subdued than your average Bond flick, and we don’t exactly need to see Scaramanga’s (Christopher Lee) third nipple in 3-D, but still, this one could create some cool spatial effects with an extra dimension.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
Villainous sidekick Nick Nack’s fun house, where Scaramanga lures his prey to kill them, would be appropriately trippy.

12. The World Is Not Enough
It’s one of the worst Bond films ever, despite having one of the better casts (Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlisle, Robbie Coltrane!), some great locations, and a pretty good theme song by Garbage. 3-D can only improve it.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The boat/balloon chase on the Thames and above the Millennium Dome with the notorious Cigar Girl. Meanwhile, Bond girl Denise Richards is practically already in 3-D.

11. A View to a Kill
Pretty much the only reason to see this movie is for Christopher Walken and Grace Jones as Bond villains.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The opening ski-snowboard-helicopter chase, even though it’s weak by James Bond standards. Also: Grace Jones jumping off the Eiffel Tower, and the ensuing chase along the Seine, which ends with Bond jumping onto a boat and into someone’s wedding cake. And the finale over the Golden Gate Bridge.

10. Die Another Day
Pierce Brosnan’s final Bond, and a movie that made everyone think the franchise had basically exhausted itself.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The opening surfing sequence and the flaming hovercraft chase that soon follows it. The scenery-destroying fencing sequence. But most especially, the part where Q (John Cleese) demonstrates for Bond a high-frequency transmitter that can destroy bulletproof glass, which seems like it was specifically shot with 3-D in mind.

9. License to Kill
Being the Bond movie where 007 (Timothy Dalton) resigns and goes off on a personal vendetta against a drug lord played by Robert Davi (an actor who, let’s face it, would look even more grotesque in 3-D), this is one of the weaker efforts in the series. Still, it has enough big set pieces that would make it a worthwhile candidate.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The opening midair seizure of a plane with a hook and a helicopter. The fight in the giant pulverizer, where young Bond villain Benicio del Toro is ripped to shreds amid otherworldly clouds of cocaine. The climactic exploding tanker chase. Also: sharks!

8. Tomorrow Never Dies
A deeply underappreciated Bond film, which got terrible reviews — perhaps because it’s got one of the silliest villains of the franchise in Jonathan Pryce playing a Rupert Murdoch–like media mogul hell-bent on kicking off World War III so his newspapers can cover it.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The remote-control car chase. Also, the scene where Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh lay waste to Saigon as they’re chased by a helicopter gone vertical, while handcuffed to each other on a motorcycle — one of the better Bond set pieces in any of the films.

7. Diamonds Are Forever
With its colorful Las Vegas cityscapes, its circus set pieces, and its desert vistas, this wouldn’t be a bad choice at all.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The scene where Bond beats and sprays a guy with a fire extinguisher. The Vegas car chase. Bambi and Thumper, the two scantily clad gymnasts who try to kill 007. The climactic helicopter attack on Blofeld’s exploding oil rig.

6. Live and Let Die
This is not exactly one of the better Bonds, but it’s got a vivid sense of place, what with its Caribbean setting, its carnivalesque set pieces, and its bizarre, mostly made-up ceremonies.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The voodoo ceremonies of the snake-wielding cult priest Dambala. But most important: Yaphet Kotto’s villain Kananga blowing up like a balloon and exploding. It’s one of the most hilariously awful death scenes of all time, and it’d be even more awfulsome in 3-D.

5. From Russia With Love
True, early Bond films didn’t always match the later ones in terms of the kind of kinetic shots that might work with 3-D, but this one, with its evocative Istanbul locations, and its close-combat hand-to-hand fighting, would work well, we think.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The extended belly dancer sequence and the bodacious gypsy catfight that follows. The scene where a giant poster of Anita Ekberg’s mouth opens to reveal Soviet spies behind it. The scene where Bond is chased by a helicopter (hey, it was new then). The boat chase, with its explosive finale — still impressive after all these years. And, of course, Rosa Klebb’s (Lotte Lenya) poison-spiked shoes.

4. The Spy Who Loved Me
One of the all-time greatest Bond movies, with atmosphere to spare and one of the most iconic chase scenes. So, yes.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The awesome opening ski chase and parachute jump. The amphibious car chase. Plus, that totally crazy Egyptian Pyramids light show (which is a real thing, BTW). Also: sharks!

3. Thunderball
It’s one of the best of the Connery Bonds, and given the profusion of underwater scenes, it’d probably be perfect.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The jetpack! The Junkanoo celebration. And, of course, the underwater speargun battle between arch-villain Largo’s henchmen and what appears to be half the U.S. Coast Guard. Also: sharks!

2. You Only Live Twice
Some tacky space effects notwithstanding, this is one of the more surreal Bond movies (with a screenplay by Roald Dahl) and hence a great match for 3-D. Plus, the Ninja Training School where Bond has an extended stay, complete with dudes charging the camera and watermelons exploding in extreme close-up, seems like it was made for 3-D.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The scene where Bond falls through a chute into a Japanese spymaster’s underground lair. Also, the scene where Bond has a dogfight with a bunch of jets all the while riding Little Nellie, a portable toy airplane. And, as mentioned already, the Ninja Training School. Come to think of it, we could just watch an entire 3-D movie of the Ninja Training School.

1.  For Your Eyes Only
Okay, there are lots of people who still dismiss this one, but we consider it quite possibly the pinnacle of Roger Moore’s tenure as Bond, and one of the best in the series. More pertinent, it’s also got many of the best set pieces and stunts in the series.
Things we’d like to see in 3-D:
The ridiculously awesome motorcycle-ski-luge chase was pretty much made for 3-D. The hilarious car chase is the last word in exotic fruit-cart-ism. Also, the scene where Bond and Malina (Carole Bouquet) are keel-hauled. And let’s not forget the breathtaking mountain-climbing climax, with its amazing and death-defying stunts. Also: sharks!