Who's the Better Bond
The Cornell Daily Sun

Who's the Better Bond
Pierce Brosnan

By OBrien

Nov 20 2006

Pierce Brosnan
James Bond is one of the most iconic figures in Western
film, bringing class to the role of the action hero and
defining two generations of male power fantasies. This
week, Daniel Craig becomes the 6th actor to don a
tuxedo and take on the role of the British super-spy. In
honor of that, I present the heretical view that Pierce
Brosnan was the best Bond ever. Here's why:

1. Brosnan Brought Bond Back.
By the mid-90's, many critics had proclaimed the death
of 007. The archetypical Cold Warrior, James Bond
seemed to have little place in the new unipolar world.
Ironically, Brosnan's resurrection of the spy predicted
the post-9/11 “Bondification” of foreign policy, as the
Western world became increasingly fearful of fanatical
non-state arch villains (bin Laden, Zarqawi, Tom Cruise)
rather than foreign powers. Interestingly, Brosnan's pre-
9/11 enemies all came from within Western capitalist
culture: a rogue MI:6 agent-turned-terrorist, a Ted
Turner-esque media mogul, and an oil heiress. But I

The important thing is that Brosnan succeeded where
many thought he would fail, remaking Bond into a 21st
Century hero. Film sales tell the story of his success:
Brosnan starred in the four highest grossing Bond films
ever made. Pierce Brosnan also managed to make the
character attractive to modern audiences while
maintaining Bond's raging misogyny. This was an
important acting accomplishment. Unlike “Sir” Sean
Connery, Brosnan isn't an unbelievable bastard in real

Bond's storied relationship with women brings me to
my next point:

2. Brosnan’s Bond Shoots Women
In the climax of The World Is Not Enough, James Bond
chases Elektra King (the franchise’s first female arch
villain) to her bedroom. The usual cat-and-mouse
seduction game ensues, until Elektra tries to alert her
terrorist boyfriend via walkie-talkie. In a sudden and
brutal expansion of Bond's moral license to kill, he guns
down the unarmed woman. I thought this was great.
Bond films are all about sex and death, but The World Is
Not Enough was the first film where 007 personally
murdered a former lover. This served as an important
reminder to audiences: for all of Bond's gentlemanly
behavior, he is at his core a stone-cold killer. And
Brosnan depicts this ruthlessness in a way that the
other Bonds could never pull off. Connery always
seemed self-consciously gallant, whereas Moore looked
more familiar with a croquet mallet than a Walther PPK
(proving again that Brits shouldn't play the role).

3. Wikipedia Says So
I quote from the “Pierce Brosnan” entry of Wikipedia:
“Brosnan's appointment as Bond brought things full
circle for the actor, who stated in interviews that the
very first movie he ever saw was Goldfinger and that
Sean Connery's performance as Bond had inspired him
to enter show business. Ironically, Brosnan would far
surpass Sir Sean in his portrayal of 007. Pierce Brosnan
was, without a glimmer of doubt, the greatest James
Bond ever.”

An astute reader might note that it sounds as if I edited
this entry. That would be both true and irrelevant.
Wikipedia never lies, and if you don't believe me I invite
you to Wiki “Wikipedia.” (I edited that entry too)

4. Brosnan Looks the Part
In 1959, Ian Fleming commissioned a sketch of his
famous creation — it's Brosnan all the way, complete
with the wayward tuft of hair. Actor Christopher Lee
(you probably know him from Lord of the Rings and the
new Star Wars), a close friend of the late Fleming’s, has
repeatedly confirmed this resemblance.

5. Brosnan Fleshed Out the Character
Connery made Bond, but he was never fully aware of the
legend he was creating. Roger Moore messed it up,
turning 007 into a goofy fop. Lazenby and Dalton are
unmentionable. Brosnan, however, made the first effort
to really flesh Bond out. What drives this merciless
soldier? Why does he love sports cars and hate women?
What's the deal with the martinis? Brosnan made an
effort to hint at Bond's troubled past, to suggest at a
trace of humanity behind the cruel charm. This makes
the character much more interesting and his violent and
sexual exploits all the more entertaining.

I haven't seen Casino Royale yet, but I have high hopes.
I've read that Craig plays an even grittier Bond, and that
Casino forgoes many of the distracting gadgets of the
franchise (such as jetpacks and invisible cars). It may
be that Daniel Craig will surpass Brosnan as the best
Bond, and that's fine. I'll just have to go back to
Wikipedia and make it official.
Ian Fleming's impression of
James Bond. Artist (unknown)
was commissioned by Fleming as
an example for the Daily Express
comic strip.