This September, Daniel Craig is back as James Bond in No Time To Die – and it may well be his last appearance as 007.
With Bond having left active service, he is pulled back into the fray by his friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), who enlists his help in the search for a missing scientist. When it becomes apparent that the scientist has been abducted, Bond must once again confront a danger that threatens the entire world.
Daniel Craig’s time as Bond is chock-full of incredible moments including awe-inspiring parkour, fistfights with henchmen twice his size, showing off in speedos and several squirm-inducing torture scenes.
So here are five classic scenes that prove, as far as Craig’s Bond, is concerned, this is no time to die...
1. Double-O status (Casino Royale, 2006)
People have no doubt forgotten the fury from fans when the Bond producers cast a blonde man as 007. It was a genius move, then, to open Craig’s debut in black and white, which removes the blonde issue and also helps ground Craig's debut in a gritty reality far removed from the Pierce Brosnan era.
Following the overly corny events of 2002’s Die Another Day, Casino Royale was quick to show audiences that this was a brand new, more brutally realistic Bond. As Bond does one of the many things he does best, sitting in a chair with a gun and coolly threatening a bad guy, we are given flashes of Bond’s battle with said villain’s accomplice.
Rather than the one-punch knockout fights usually associated with Bond, this is a ferociously rough brawl that crumbles walls, destroys sinks and breaks knuckles. It ends with the apparent drowning of the goon in a shallow sink, as Craig brilliantly portrays the physical struggle that comes with gaining the famous licence to kill.
Immediately afterwards, the baddie springs back into life to shoot Bond but he’s too late – Bond retaliates right on target, and the iconic gunbarrel sequence is created in the process. It’s a clever way of interlinking the old with the new, setting up Casino Royale as one of the greatest Bond films ever made.
2. A lovely night at the opera (Quantum of Solace, 2008)
One of Bond’s most appealing qualities is his unwavering confidence. Able to confront danger with a wry line and smirk, Bond’s self-assurance is infectious and certainly one of the reasons why the character has been so enduringly popular.
Craig carries this confidence perfectly when crashing a meeting of the villainous cabal, Quantum, when they attend a rather opulent night out at the Viennese opera. Donning a tuxedo (naturally), Bond gathers the necessary evidence while mocking these dangerous men as only he can, revelling in having the upper hand and putting a smile on all our faces as we marvel at his audacity.
3. Bond, meet Q (Skyfall, 2012)
In a legacy full of gun fights and car chases, it’s surprising that one of Craig’s best Bond moments simply features two characters having a chat in a museum.
Expecting to meet the new quartermaster (the person who will supply him with gadgets), Bond instead finds himself sitting next to a young man and discussing Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire, a painting depicting the inevitability of time. The symbolism is clear, as Bond finds himself losing his place in the modern world, his methods having become outdated and in need of an overhaul.
Of course, Bond seemingly misses this entirely and merely sees a big ship. Getting up to leave, the young man (Paddington’s Ben Whishaw) reveals himself as the new Q – in a brilliant twist on audience expectations, Whishaw’s young age offers a new angle on the pair’s playfully antagonistic relationship.
This simple scene is so effective in condensing the struggle of this new, modern-era Bond, giving us more information about the character than ever before, and all without any hint of action.
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4. Homecoming (Skyfall, 2012)
Strip Bond of his gadgets, his weapons and his fancy cars and he’ll still win the day and kill everyone. Following former-agent-turned-terrorist Silva’s (Javier Bardem) infiltration of MI6, Bond takes M (Judi Dench) off the grid, retreating to the only safe place he can think of: his childhood home in the Scottish Highlands.
Knowing Silva will follow, Bond, M and gruff groundskeeper Kincade (Albert Finney) set about arming up, Home Alone-style, and using nothing but his wits and lacklustre resources, Bond manages to kill all the bad guys and blow everything up.
The Skyfall finale is Bond stripped of all the bells, whistles and exploding pens, and shows that it is not the gimmicks that make the character so capable, but his natural ingenuity. It all leads to what is arguably the most exciting and emotionally resonant finale of Craig’s Bond career.
5. Day of the Dead (Spectre, 2015)
Spectre opens in spectacular style with an unbroken tracking shot through Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival. We see Bond proceed through the motions of seduction, a quick outfit change and a relaxed stroll across several rooftops while prepping an assault rifle, all within the first four minutes.
After a botched assassination attempt, the film explodes into a quintessential Bond set-piece as buildings collapse and force 007 to make a hazardous escape that involves falling onto a conveniently positioned sofa.
Navigating his way through the overwhelming crowd, and taking out several henchmen without even breaking a sweat, the calamity ends with Bond throwing his target out of a spiralling helicopter. He then eliminates the pilot and calmly brings the vehicle back under control – because clearly, this is no time to die.
Jon Fuge is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.