$543m From Russia With Love (1963) US$543 (budget: US$12m)
Premium bonds The stats behind the stars
Sean Connery Nationality: Scottish Films: 7 Became Bond age: 32
Classic quote: “Why, Pussy, who taught you judo?” Before Bond: Big Sean was a model, naval recruit, third place in the 1953 Mr Universe competition and offered a contract to play for Manchester United, all by the time he was 23. Post-Bond: Forgettable ’70s (Ransom, Meteor or Cuba, anyone?) followed by stellar ’80s (Highlander, Rising Sun). Now retired.
George Lazenby Nationality: Australian Films Only one: 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Became Bond age: 30
Classic quote: “This never happened to the other fella!” Before Bond: Car salesman and chocolate model (yes, that’s a thing). Post-Bond: “Bond is a brute. I’ve already put him behind me. I will never play him again.” Peace – that’s the message now. Lazenby took a hippie turn and was never seen onscreen again. Shame.
Roger Moore Nationality: English Films: 7 Became Bond age: 36
Classic quote: “There’s no sense going out half-cocked.” Before Bond: Moore was already a Stateside TV star in The Saint and Maverick. Generally considered to be a ready-made Bond-in-waiting – especially with the eyebrow thing. Post-Bond: Pretty much consigned to tuxedo cameos in which he is billed as either ‘Spy’ or ‘Himself’. Also did Spice World, but don’t judge him.
Timothy Dalton Nationality: Welsh Films: 2 Became Bond age: 43
Classic quote: “In my business you prepare for the unexpected.” Before Bond: No offence to the others, but Dalton’s possibly the only Proper Actor to play 007, having been a RSC stalwart and BBC costume drama go-to guy. Post-Bond: He’s filled a few suitably saturnine TV roles, including Sir Malcolm Murray in black-hearted Showtime series Penny Dreadful.
Pierce Brosnan Nationality: Irish Films: 4 Became Bond age: 42
Classic quote: “I think you’ve been down there long enough.” Before Bond: Served a dutiful apprenticeship in bottom-shelf action nonsense and US Bond-lite TV laxative Remington Steele. Popped up (literally) at the end of The Long Good Friday too. Post-Bond: Walked a self-deprecating line through late-night cable filler. Then Mamma Mia!
Daniel Craig Nationality: English Films: 4 (including Spectre) Became Bond age: 37
Classic quote: “You only need one shot. Make it count.” Before Bond: Sterling mix of theatre, TV and film work. All while having a face like a dented coal scuttle. Post-Bond: Who knows? Although turns in high-profile flops like The Golden Compass, Cowboys & Aliens and The Invasion suggest he might want to consider sticking with Bond for as long as they’ll have him.
Missing in action The men who could have been 007
Adam West US TV’s satin-clad Batman turned down the role as he felt that Bond should be played by a British actor. Fair play, sir.
Lord Lucan Unbelievably the 7th Earl of Lucan – who later disappeared in the wake of a murder – was offered a chance to test for the part.
Burt Reynolds Another square-jawed American who felt he lacked Bond’s stiff upper lip, saying “an American just can’t play Bond.”
Liam Neeson The smouldering Irishman eschewed the role in 1994 as he didn’t want to star in action moves. Ahem.
Dominic West The Wire’s Jimmy McNulty dithered over the part in 2005 before eventually ruling himself out.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes The adventurer was turned down by producer Cubby Broccoli for having “hands too big and a face like a farmer”.
Puntouchable Bond’s best worst lines
“I discovered it had a crush on me.” Moore to Michael Lonsdale’s Hugo Drax in Moonraker, having just dispatched the pet anaconda Drax has sent to squish him.
“No, I’m just looking.” Connery to Ursula Andress’ Honey Ryder when they meet on the beach in Dr. No and she asks, “Are you looking for shells too?”