After months of speculation, EON Productions finally announced the official title of the 25th James Bond film as No Time to Die. The upcoming film's title is the latest not to directly share a novel title or draw overt influence from James Bond creator Ian Fleming's source material, but this has been the case ever since the 1980s.
To ring in the announcement of the upcoming film's theatrical title, here is a comprehensive ranking of all the titles from the 25 official James Bond movies (sorry, no Never Say Never Again). Remember that the ranking is done by the quality of the film's title, not the film itself.
The 1983 Bond film and penultimate film in the series to star the venerable Roger Moore took its title from a James Bond short story written by Fleming. Octopussy was the nickname of a woman leading her own smuggling ring based out of India that used a traveling circus as a legitimate business front before entering into business with a rogue Soviet general.
There is no way to say this film title and be taken seriously. Go ahead and ask someone if there favorite James Bond is Octopussy and you'll get a raised eyebrow, more because of the title than the film itself. In its defense, the title is perhaps the most memorable thing about the movie. Too bad the producers decided the opening title song would be titled "All Time High" instead.
24. Quantum of Solace
Audiences around their world scratched their heads collectively when the title to Daniel Craig's sophomore outing as 007 was first announced as Quantum of Solace. Also taking its title from a Fleming short story, the 2008 film's title refers to both the clandestine organization Quantum, controlling the world's rich and powerful, and Bond's own quest to find a modicum of solace after the death of Vesper Lynd. We think.
Even Craig would admit the title was a bit of nonsense but had personally advocated for its selection, as it was different from the usual titles that had often contained "die" or "kill" in the title. Fair enough, but it is still a bit much.
Named after a Fleming novel, 1979's Moonraker capitalized on the recent success of Star Wars by sending Roger Moore's James Bond into outer space to battle a maniacal industrialist for the fate of the planet. The title refers to the types of Space Shuttles used to transport Bond into orbit.
Quality of the film aside, the title itself doesn't make much sense at all. It's just a really nonsensical name for a Space Shuttle that was never supposed to go to the moon at all, as part of an evil, genocidal plot or otherwise.
Thunderball had been planned by Fleming as the first James Bond film before development was scrapped and the author turned it into a novel instead. In 1964, the film would go on to become the fourth film in the franchise, with the title referring to the codename for the mission that had 007 scrambling to find missing nuclear warheads.
A popular urban legend alleges that singer Tom Jones asked songwriter and composer John Barry what the lyric "strikes like Thunderball" meant, only to be told it meant nothing. That story sums up the general ineffectiveness of the film's title.
21. Dr. No
The very first Bond film was named after a Fleming novel that itself took its name from the story's principal antagonist. Doctor Julius No was a key operative within S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and had been tied to the deaths of MI-6 operatives in Jamaica, leading 007 to investigate.
As far as villainous names go, Julius No doesn't exactly strike fear into audiences' hearts, even using his professional title. Foreign distributors were similarly confused upon its initial theatrical release in 1962, with the original Japanese title reputedly translated as "No Need for a Doctor."
20. Diamonds Are Forever
Sean Connery's final official appearance as James Bond had the British super-spy face Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the evil mastermind who commandeers a laser-equipped satellite as part of his ongoing plans for global domination. The title, named after a Fleming novel, referred to the laser's power source of smuggled diamonds.
The big problem with the title Diamonds Are Forever is that it sounds like a jewelry ad. The Kanye West song doesn't particularly diminish the association.
Perhaps the film that was the most instrumental in establishing the cinematic formula for the franchise, 1964's Goldfinger had 007 take on the titular, gold-obsessed villain and his plot to raid the federal gold supply at Fort Knox. Named after the Fleming novel, the film has since gone on to be hailed as one of the series' best.
But in terms of title? A gold-obsessed bad guy that happens to be named Auric Goldfinger? A bit too on the nose, not particularly threatening and really nonsensical considering how heavy a German accent the character has in the film.
18. The Spy Who Loved Me
Of all of Roger Moore's appearances as James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me is widely regarded as his best. Named after the Fleming novel, the 1977 film had 007 team up with Soviet agent XXX (not Vin Diesel) to stop a business tycoon from causing a nuclear war.
While a fantastic film and superior showcase for Moore's talents as James Bond, the title itself veers a bit too much into self-parody (especially considering subsequent allusions by the Austin Powers film series and the rom-com The Spy Who Dumped Me). Fleming himself would distance himself from the actual novel shortly after its publication, reportedly dissatisfied with the final product.
17. The Man with the Golden Gun
Moore's sophomore outing as James Bond pitted him against Christopher Lee's eponymous villain, a famed assassin renowned for dispatching his targets with a golden pistol. The 1974 film took its title from the final full James Bond novel written by Fleming before his death.
But, man, is that a long title. Hardly rolls off the tongue. And the less said about the title song performed by Lulu the better.
16. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
George Lazenby's sole outing as James Bond was the first in the series not to star original lead actor Sean Connery. The 1969 film took its title from the first Fleming novel written after the start of the film series and had Bond battle Blofeld in the Alps while falling in love with a European countess.
Similar to The Man with the Golden Gun, On Her Majesty's Secret Service is an especially long title. Longtime composer John Barry was tasked by the producers with writing a title song for the film to keep with tradition at the time. Flummoxed by the prospect of adding lyrics to such a track, Barry made the title theme instrumental.
15. The Living Daylights
Timothy Dalton's inaugural appearance as James Bond had the secret agent in the middle of Cold War intrigue stretching from the Czech Republic to Afghanistan. Named after a Fleming short story, the 1987 film was a markedly darker, grittier installment of the franchise after the relatively light-hearted Roger Moore era.
The flag-tag mode of the classic James Bond first-person shooter GoldenEye 007 was named The Living Daylights. It was the least popular game mode in that entire video game. The film's title wasn't particularly memorable either.
14. A View to a Kill
Roger Moore's final appearance as James Bond had the secret agent take on the supervillain team of Christopher Walken and Grace Jones. Paraphrasing the Fleming short story "From a View to a Kill," the 1985 film had Bond try to stop the duo from destroying Silicon Valley and cornering the microchip market.
A little wordy but one of the better named Moore films in the franchise, the movie's title is perhaps best known for being quoted directly by Walken (with his usual vocal flair) over the course of the film than the film itself.
13. The World Is Not Enough
As James Bond prepared for the coming 21st century, he found himself embroiled in what appeared to be an industrial sabotage scheme targeting an oil heiress in Asia Minor. The 1999 film saw Pierce Brosnan in one of his more personal performances as 007 participating in a mission that proposed Denise Richards could convincingly portray a nuclear physicist.
The film takes its lengthy title from James Bond's family motto, as revealed 30 years previously in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The longest of the film titles during the Brosnan era but a nice nod to the history of the franchise.
12. You Only Live Twice
The 1967 film contained several more questionable elements, including Sean Connery's James Bond disguising himself as a Japanese man to blend in with the local population as he faced Blofeld. Named after a Fleming novel, the title refers to Bond faking his own death to better investigate S.P.E.C.T.R.E.'s activities in Japan relatively unimpeded.
The title is an interesting turn of phrase and one of the more clever titles during the Connery era, aided by a memorable title song by Nancy Sinatra.
11. Tomorrow Never Dies
Pierce Brosnan's second outing as James Bond was a bit ahead of its time as 007 took on a media tycoon who created his own incidents to report on as he built up his global empire. The title is reference to the villain's main newspaper Tomorrow, with its usual Bond twist.
And the title was actually a typo, as the producers had originally planned to name the film Tomorrow Never Lies before a random printer error on a copy of the shooting script. Can you imagine if the 1997 film was named Tomorrow Never Lies? It would not have ranked so highly on this list.
10. From Russia with Love
Still regarded as the gold standard of the long-running franchise, the second film in the series had James Bond meet with a Soviet defector in Istanbul that had allegedly become enamored with him and offered a secret decoding machine with her defection and affection. Named after the Fleming novel, a personal favorite of President John F. Kennedy, the title comes from a cheeky message Bond writes on a photograph of the defector.
Capturing the intrigue of the Cold War era and the surprising amorous setup, From Russia with Love evokes a more romanticized vision of espionage intrigue that would shape the franchise for decades to come.
The 50th anniversary of the film franchise was commemorated by 2012's Skyfall, which saw Daniel Craig's James Bond face tough questions about his own capabilities as he pursued an old enemy from M's past. The film's title refers to Bond's childhood home in Scotland where the explosive finale takes place.
Skyfall offers the most about Bond's personal backstory on screen to date, and the title is certainly ominous, succinct and with a touch of mystery.
8. Die Another Day
Pierce Brosnan's final appearance as James Bond was his most outlandish as he faced a rogue North Korean general who underwent plastic surgery to resemble a European man with an orbital laser weapon powered by conflict diamonds. None of that last sentence is made up. The title to the film is quoted by Bond when he confronts his nemesis, remarking that he "lived to die another day."
There is a strong argument that the title is the best thing about the film. In a movie filled with unnecessary slow-motion and shoddy CG visuals, the old school title is one of the less painfully audacious things about it.
7. No Time to Die
The upcoming Bond title No Time to Die was announced earlier this week, marking Daniel Craig's fifth and potentially final appearance as James Bond. While plot details about the April 2020 film are still being kept under wraps, Bond is expected to emerge from retirement in Jamaica to take on a dangerous new villain using experimental technology.
After years of titles either quoting novels by Fleming or utilizing single words, the title to the new film has the appeal of the pulp novels in which Bond got his start as well as the harder edged films starring Timothy Dalton as the master spy in the late '80s.
Pierce Brosnan's debut as James Bond was an instant fan-favorite and completely resuscitated the franchise for post-Cold War audiences. The 1995 film had 007 cross swords with a former comrade and best friend in Sean Bean's Alec Trevelyan. Named after Fleming's personal estate in Jamaica, the title refers to a Soviet weapons satellite program capable of blasting targets with a devastating electromagnetic pulse.
Simple, succinct and instantly recognizable as a Bond title while subtly celebrating the franchise's history, GoldenEye is easily the best title featuring Brosnan's incarnation of 007.
5. For Your Eyes Only
Roger Moore kicked off the series' arrival in the '80s with a film that brought the franchise back to its grounded, gritty roots after previously blasting it off to sci-fi heights with its immediate predecessor, Moonraker. The 1981 film had Bond search the Mediterranean for a missing missile control system, pitting him against Greek smugglers and the Soviet Union. Named after a Fleming short story, the title refers to the confidential nature of 007's work.
While a little long, the title has a nice double meaning, with both Bond's espionage background and a cheeky moment at the end of the film where Bond does what he does best at the end of every James Bond movie. Plus, the Sheena Easton title song still slaps over 30 years later.
Daniel Craig's fourth outing as James Bond had him face unresolved demons from his own past as he pursued a shadowy organization that had played a role in all his cinematic adventures to date. The title refers to the eponymous criminal syndicate uncovered by Bond, with very personal ties to his childhood in regards to its formidable leader.
S.P.E.C.T.R.E. was the biggest recurring organization facing James Bond on the big screen since 1962. After legal issues arose following 1971's Diamonds Are Forever, the organization and its leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, were shelved for decades. After settling the legal disputes regarding the organization and Blofled, the 2015 film's title lets audiences know instantly that Bond's greatest enemy had returned in a single word.
3. Live and Let Die
Roger Moore's debut as James Bond had the secret agent investigating the murders of three British operatives with links to a fictional Caribbean nation. Named after the third Fleming novel, the 1973 film reinvigorated the franchise with Moore at the helm for the next 12 years.
A clever turn on the popular saying "live and let live," Live and Let Die also gains a generous boost as a title from the theme by Paul McCartney and Wings that has become one of the most enduring themes in the entire history of the franchise.
2. Casino Royale
In 2006, EON Productions rebooted its venerable film series with Daniel Craig cast as James Bond. Named after the very first Fleming novel, Casino Royale followed Bond early in his career as a 00 Agent competing against a terrorist financier in Montenegro as he learned the cost of his lethal profession.
The rights to Fleming's original novel had not been included by EON Productions gaining the James Bond cinematic license initially, resulting in an unofficial Bond film being made in 1967. As the film series set off in a bold, new direction, the title instantly evokes the classic roots of the character, grounding Bond as Fleming's original cold-blooded spy.
1. Licence to Kill
Timothy Dalton's second and final appearance as James Bond was perhaps the toughest, meanest film in the entire franchise as Bond left MI-6 to pursue a vendetta against a powerful drug lord in Latin America. Titled License to Kill for its North American release, the 1989 film is the first not to be named after a Fleming novel or short story.
James Bond has always been associated with his license to kill, and the title makes the connection while also emphasizing the more brutal nature of the film's story. Initially the movie was going to be released as Licence Revoked until test audiences reportedly were unsure of what the word "revoked" meant. Probably for the best because the current title is slick, dangerous and immediately identifiable within the franchise.
Directed and co-written by Cary Fukunaga, No Time to Die stars Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright, Ana de Armas, Dali Benssalah, David Dencik, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen, and Rami Malek. It is scheduled for a USA release on April 8, 2020.