|Daniel Craig as James Bond.
English novelist Ian Fleming, real-life veteran of Allied spy games during WWII, conjures first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, despite self-doubts (calls it his "dreadful oafish opus"). British agent 007 is named after ornithologist who pioneered serious studies of Caribbean birds. Fleming conceived Bond as "a blunt instrument" who worked with "cruel good looks" as a man of action.
American Barry Nelson is first on-screen 007 in U.S. version of Casino Royale for TV series Climax! He is clumsy and lacks charisma as "Jimmy" Bond. Argh!
Rugged Scot Sean Connery is first "official" Bond in Dr. No, after Patrick McGoohan turns role down -- and first choice Cary Grant gets fussy about contract. Connery plays 007 as a sex magnet -- flirtatious, horny, rebellious, clever, manly, tough-as-nails. Yet still takes 58 minutes to use licence to kill for first time. Fleming finds the movie "simply dreadful" but later warms to Connery and establishes character's Scottish ancestry in print.
Connery's Bond gets more caustically funny, using double entendres to amuse himself -- and the audience.
In unofficial Bond movie, Casino Royale features David Niven and others as James Bond, spoofing character. Temporarily turns Bond mythology into a joke.
In thriller On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Aussie actor George Lazenby is first to officially replace Connery. Keeps physical stuff intact -- hewing even more closely to Fleming's original -- but character lacks panache.
Connery returns in Diamonds Are Forever, restoring Bond's vigour.
Suave Englishman Roger Moore (The Saint) replaces Connery for next seven instalments, starting with Live and Let Die. Moore is lightweight, lovable, quick-witted and smoother. But, of course, 007 is no longer a physical brute who can kill as quickly as make love to a woman. Moore keeps up sexcapades but without lethal element.
Having turned down the role in 1968, believing himself too young, Welshman Timothy Dalton finally takes over as 007 for The Living Daylights. Tries too hard to make Bond "vulnerable" and human. Despite acting chops, also makes Bond franchise dour and dull.
Irishman Pierce Brosnan, another star who missed earlier chance to play Bond, finally gets chance in GoldenEye. His 007 is a delicate balance of humour, sex appeal, slick good looks and lightning ability to turn dangerous. This Bond restores franchise.
Despite rumours about Clive Owen and others, Englishman Daniel Craig takes over role for "real" version of Casino Royale. Craig's Bond is closer to Connery's than any since. But he is even rougher, tougher, grittier and more vicious. Hell, he does even care if his martini is shaken or stirred. Craig is best actor to ever play the role.
After a four-year hiatus since Quantum of Solace, Craig re-invigorates the franchise in Skyfall.