Best Action Scenes of All-Time: James Bond Edition

*Last Updated: 6/27/2022

Since 1962 the Bond franchise has had twenty-six films, six different Bonds, and by my count, well over one hundred and fifty action sequences. This sheer persistence and staying power of Bond over seven decades offers a chance to see the evolution of cinematic action. In its long history the Bond franchise has sometimes set the trend for action, at times it was just a collection of mediocre set pieces going through the motions, and at other times it merely imitated the trends of the day. One thing I've learned the Bond franchise would never change no matter the action trends of the time: sequences set in the snow, in the water (preferably with sharks), or fights in hotel rooms. Seriously, there are 12 action sequences alone set in the snow, that averages out to nearly 1 out of every 3 movies had Bond skiing, snowboarding, bobsledding, or driving on the ice!

In general, I found that the action in the early Bond films just do not hold up well. The fight, chase, and shootout sequences were still very primitive compared to even what you can find in a standard television episode today. You can see the series learning and finding its footing - how much action, how big, how expensive? In general, I'd describe most of the franchise's major actions sequences as "quirky spy fantasy" where the action set pieces are highly imaginative and exaggerated versions of something that possibly could be taking place in the spy world. While the overall plots and characters could be fun, I found most of this style to suffer from poor pacing, overly simplistic choreography (static fights and shootouts), and over-dependency on outlandish and stylized props/sets. It was really Timothy Dalton's run, continued by Brosnan, that began Bond's transition to look a lot closer to not just the content (what they copied in the past) but the style of what contemporary action films were doing. Some could say it was Brosnan's double down return to the old "quirky spy fantasy" set pieces in Die Another Day that ended his run. It was certainly Daniel Craig's Bond that confirmed the death of quirky spy fantasy and took the penchant for large action set pieces and grounded them in the style of contemporary action heroes like Jason Bourne, Ethan Hunt, and John Wick. 

For my money, the best the James Bond franchise has to offer are large scale, big budget, and practically shot chase scenes in beautiful locations endured by a skillful, intelligent, athletic and yet calm and sophisticated spy who is always willing to take the serious air out a bit with a funny quip. That's it - that's the Bond formula at its best. I've tried making a comprehensive list here and to keep it somewhat manageable I kept the commentary to 'B-' sequences and up. If you don't have the time to go through it all, jump down to the top ten - I think it's fairly representative of the best of the franchise.

All Actions Scenes Rated & Ranked

Largely bad/insulting sequences that have at some kind of redeemable quality 
Dr. No (1962)

159. "Bond & Honey Ryder vs. Metal Fire Breathing Dragon" -Dr. No (1962)
158. "Babe Fight: Bond vs. Bambi & Thumper" -Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
157. "Epilogue: Bond vs. Nick Nack" -The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
156. "Bond Fights Two Sumo Wrestlers" -The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
155. "Ambushed by Hockey Players in the Rink" -For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Mediocre sequences that have some flaw or issue I find somewhat insulting or offensive.
The Living Daylights (1987)

154. "London Finale: Saving Swan from an Exploding Building" -Spectre (2015)
153. "Finale: Bond vs. Scaramanga" -The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
152. "Opening: Tracking & Killing Blofield During Surgery...or Does He?" -Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
151. "Epilogue: Bond vs. Pair of Assassins Giving Room Service" -Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
150. "Assembly Line Fight: Bond Takes Out a Couple of Guards" -A View to Kill (1985)
149. "Calming a NYC Car After a Driver is Taken Out" -Live and Let Die (1973)
148. "Bond's Sunbeam Outmaneuvers the Bad Guys" -Dr. No (1962)
147. "Ejecting from Inevitable Missile Death" -Goldeneye (1995)
146. "Kobe Docks Shootout & Fight" -You Only Live Twice (1967)
145. "Finale: Stopping a Nuke in a Cave and Underwater" -Never Say Never Again (1983)
144. "Finale: Blowing Up the Poppy Fields and Inflating Kanaga" -Live and Let Die (1973)
143. "Finale: Helicopter & Bond Attack Blofield's Oil Rig Base" -Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
142. "Afghanistan Tarmac: Shootout on the Ground, Fight in the Skies" -The Living Daylights (1987)
141. "Mayday: Final Fights Aboard Grave's Plane" -Die Another Day (2002)
140. "Gypsy Camp is Raided by the Russians" -From Russian With Love (1964)
139. "Second Ski Chase with Blofield and Avalanches" -On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
138. "Escaping a Flooded Mine Under a Fault Line" -A View to Kill (1985)
137. "Shark Attack! Scuba Bond is Betrayed!" Never Say Never Again (1983)
136. "Lunar Rover Chase in the Desert" -Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
135. "Snow Rescue: Plane vs. Trucks" -Spectre (2015)

Mediocre sequences that lack anything that makes them stand out. Decent, but forgettable.
Die Another Day (2002)

134. "Opening: Blowing an Oil Depot & Giving an Electrified Bath" -Goldfinger (1964)
133. "Opening: Blofield Hijacks Bond's Helicopter & Regrets It" -For Your Eyes Only (1981)
132. "Dune Buggy's Ambush Bond on the Beach" -For Your Eyes Only (1981)
131. "Finale: Capturing Whitaker & General Koskov" -The Living Daylights (1987)
130. "Escaping a North African Prison With the Girl" -Never Say Never Again (1983)
129. "Pyramid Chase & Fights: Bond Faces Jaws & Some Henchmen" -The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
128. "Finale: Averting Nuclear Disaster On a Submarine" -The World Is Not Enough (1999)
127. "Prison Escape: Using a Secret Gas to Get Upper Hand in Fight" -The Living Daylights (1987)
126. "Epilogue: Train Fight with Claw Henchmen" -Live and Let Die (1973)
125. "Female Assassin Fails & is Chased Down by Bond" -Goldfinger (1964)
124. "Finale: Sabotaging Dr. No's Nuclear Reactor" -Dr. No (1962)
123. "Safin's Island Finale: Exploration & Destruction" -No Time to Die (2021)
122. "Hotel Harassment: Bond Fights a Goon in Tracy's Room" -On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
122. "Bond & Nieces vs. Karate Fighters of Bangkok Fighting School" -The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
121. "House Shootout: Bond with a Shotgun vs. Goons" -A View to Kill (1989)
120. "Explosive Diversion: Stealing a Lektor at the Russian Embassy" -From Russia With Love (1964)
119. "Destroying & Escaping the Drug Lab" -Licence to Kill (1989)
118. "Docks Shootout: Bond vs. Helicopters with Saws" -The World Is Not Enough (1999)
117. "Escape from Bio-Dome Leads to Ice Racing & Surfing" -Die Another Day (2002)
116. "Assassination Attempt Spoiled by Hong Kong Ninjas" -Licence to Kill (1989)

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

115. "Bond vs. Grenade Dropping Helicopter" -From Russia With Love (1964)
114. "Belly Dancer's Dressing Room Fight: Bond vs. Henchmen" -The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
113. "Cairo Rooftop Fight Ends in an Assassin's Fall" -The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
112. "Health Club Fight: Bond vs. Strong Man from the Gym to the Kitchen" -Never Say Never Again (1983)
111. "Haiti Hotel Surprise: Bond Takes Out Thug Hiding in His Room" -Quantum of Solace (2008)
110. "Escaping Custody & Chasing Down a Train with a Car on Rails" -Octopussy (1983)
109. "Boat Betrayal: Ash Turns on Felix and Bond" -No Time To Die (2021)
108. "Train Trouble: Rescuing Natalya & Escaping Imprisonment" -Goldeneye (1995)
107. "Bilboa Opening: Bond Visits a Banker to Extract a Name" -The World Is Not Enough (1999)
106. "Finale: Hot Air Balloon Trouble Over the Golden Gate Bridge" -A View to Kill (1985)
105. "Underwater Battle for the ATAC Transmitter" -For Your Eyes Only (1981)
104. "Egyptian Ruins Encounter: XXX & Bond vs. Jaws" -The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
103. "Operation Grandslam at Fort Knox" -Goldfinger (1964)
102. "Shootout in a Shark Warehouse" -Licence to Kill (1989)
101. "Jamaican Arrival: Taking Out a False Driver" Dr. No (1962)
100. "Bond Escapes Henchmen in a Skinny Boat Chase" -The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
99. "Airplane Lesson Escape from Goons" -Live and Let Die (1973)
98. "Helicopter Shootout Over Japanese Volcanoes" -You Only Live Twice (1967)
97. "Speedboat Finale: Oil Drum Surprise" -From Russian With Love (1964)

Largely mediocre sequences that have some redeeming or standout feature. This, to me, is where the average decent action sequence ranks.
Goldfinger (1964)

96. "Opening: Nick Nack Puts Scaramanga Through an Assassin Trial" -The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
95. "Nuclear Circus: Bond Races to Stop a Bomb" -Octopussy (1983)
94. "Rio Cable Car Crisis: Bond vs. Jaws & First Responders" -Moonraker (1979)
93. "Recon on Largo's Boat: Harpooned and Bombed" -Thunderball (1965)
92. "Laser Fight in Grave's Bio-Dome" -Die Another Day (2002)
91. "Yeoh & Bond Take Out Generic Thugs in Hideout" -Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
90. "Car Chase Ends with a Magnetic Helicopter Drop" -You Only Live Twice (1967)
89. "Opening Beach Fight: Bond Faces Two Goons" -On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
88. "Train Troubles: Bond vs. Henchmen All Over a Train" -Octopussy (1983)
87. "Finale: Ambushing Cyril's Monastery on a Mountaintop" -For Your Eyes Only (1981)
86. "Opening: Airplane Fist Fight & Skydiving Tussle" -Moonraker (1979)
85. "Atlantis Finale: Rescuing XXX from Stromburg and Jaws" -The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
84. "Horse Racing Havoc: Bond Fails to Win the Race" -A View to Kill (1985)
83. "Henchmen Fight: James Bond vs. Oddjob" -Goldfinger (1964)
82. "Barrelhead Bar: Fight & Shootout" -Licence to Kill (1989)
81. "Gondola Chase in Venice" -Moonraker (1979)
80. "Opening Ski Chase Leads to Bond Parachuting Off a Cliff" -The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
79. "Double Decker Bus Chase in San Monique" -Live and Let Die (1973)
78. "Fake Assassination of General Pushkin & Escape Over Rooftops" -The Living Daylights (1987)
77. "Opening: Makeshift Snowboard Escape" -A View to Kill (1985)
76. "Ambushed by Flying Snowmobiles While Skiing" -The World Is Not Enough (1999)
75. "Fooling & Fighting a Japanese Henchmen Post Henderson's Death" -You Only Live Twice (1967)
74. "Escaping Christatos' Shark Bait Boat Drag Plan" -For Your Eyes Only (1981)
73. “Finale: Getting Revenge - Taking Out the General and Mr. Greene” -Quantum of Solace (2008)

Thunderball (1965)

72. "Escape Into a Night Parade Ends in Deadly Dancing at Kiss Kiss Club" -Thunderball (1965)
71. "Largo Estate: Recon & Rescue Leads to a Shark Pool" -Thunderball (1965)
70. "Finale: Storming Blofield's Volcano" -You Only Live Twice (1967)
69. "Finale: Submarine Shootout" -Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
68. "Opening: Bond Escapes Military Custory and Gets Away in a Small Jet" -Octopussy (1983)
67. "Bond Fights & Pursues Zao in a Cuban Hospital" -Die Another Day (2002)
66. "Infiltrating Carver's Hamburg HQ & Stealing the Red Box" -Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
65. "Elephants & Elements: Bond Chased Through the Jungle" -Octopussy (1983)
64. "Atomic Underground Shootout" -The World Is Not Enough (1999)
63. "Finale: Last Attack on Kamal Khan's Base & Plane" -Octopussy (1983)
62. "Infiltrating Goldfinger's Base & a Failed Car Escape" -Goldfinger (1964)
61. "Pipeline Panic: Stopping a Nuclear Explosion" -The World Is Not Enough (1999)
60. "Ice Cold Car Chase: Bond vs. Zao On Ice" -Die Another Day (2002)
59. "Bahamas Opening: Chasing Down Sanchez in a Helicopter" -Licence to Kill (1989) 
58. "Attacked by Plane & Helicopter Over Bolivia" -Quantum of Solace (2008)
57. "Mountain Fun: Aston Martin vs. Ferrari Testarossa" -Goldeneye (1995)
56. "Train Fight: XXX & Bond vs. Jaws" -The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
55. "Flying Saw Fight: Bond vs. Indian Mercenaries in a Palace" -Octopussy (1983)
54. "Elevator Fight with Diamond Smuggler" -Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
50. "Opening: Bond Fights Mr/Mrs Bouvar & Escapes in a Jet Pack" -Thunderball (1965)
53. "Opera Surveillance: Spoiling a Secret Quantum Meeting" -Quantum of Solace (2008)
52. "Escaping a Fiery Elevator & then Cops in a Fire Engine" -A View to Kill (1985)

Good sequences that have some issue holding it back from being solid.

50. "Nighttime Raid & Shootout at Drug Warehouse" -For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Commentary: Bond teams up with a smuggler to take down his partner who is working in drugs and with the Russians. They do a nighttime raid on his drug warehouse and we get a pretty standard shootout with at least one nice moment where Bond uses the environment to get the upper hand. The sequence ends with Bond chasing down a henchmen who is driving up to the top of a hill and Bond shoots at him causing a spin out and for his car to hang over a cliff. Bond coldly lets him fall over.

49. “Stairway Fight: Bond vs. Obanno” -Casino Royale (2006)
- Commentary: For an action film, a long and drawn out poker game doesn't really feel like a great premise for excitement does it? While the game does provide some good drama, the creatives were wise to break it up with little pops of meaningful action. During one break in the game, Bond heads to Le Chiffre's room but interrupts a moment where Le Chiffre is being overtaken by some of his African clients who feel their money isn't being taken care of. Bond and Vesper then get mixed up in a stairway fight between the two African men - one of them, Obanno, wielding a machete. The fight isn't mind-blowing, but it is engaging and well shot. James is not a traditional martial artist so his fighting is more practical and in the moment. It comes off well here as Bond fights Obanno down the stairs and ultimately Vesper must get involved to help - which causes some emotional distress. It's a nice action beat that radiates dramatically throughout the rest of the story and relationship between her and Bond. 

48. “Motorcycle Chase in Nice: Bond vs. Fatima” -Never Say Never Again (1983)
- Commentary: The best sequence from this boring and uninspired "remake" of Thunderball and grand return of Sean Connery to the role of Bond is a middling motorcycle chase with a couple of decent stunts in a beautiful location. It's nice (takes place in Nice, France too), but Connery's got a helmet on for the majority of the chase meaning the entire thing is likely done by a stunt guy and the "emotion" of the sequence suffers for it. Still, it's decent, we get a couple of nice jumps in a beautiful setting. I'll take it.

47. “Opening: Car Chase Through the Italian Mountains” -Quantum of Solace (2008)
- Commentary: I love the idea of picking up Quantum of Solace from the ending of Casino Royale. I love the idea of throwing us right into a car chase from the word go. I really don't care for the decision to edit the car chase the way they did. I don't mind quick editing for intensity/impact, but that's normally something you do within the context of larger sequences or something you have patterned your audience to expect and understand. The way the initial minute or so of this sequence is edited causes more confusion than is necessary and becomes frustrating because there are obviously some great stunts being pulled off in these picturesque winding Italian mountain roads. The scene is Bond getting away from henchmen who are trying to get Bond after he has captured Mr. White. He winds through seaside tunnels, mountains, and construction yards and leaves some nice damage behind - I just wish it was much clearer. That said - it's clear enough to still enjoy to a point and there's enough goodness here that isn't completely ruined by the editing choices.

46. "Car Chase in the Streets of Rome" -Spectre (2015)
Commentary: This is a decent car chase, but with the production budget of Bond and creatives like Sam Mendes directing, I have to admit I was underwhelmed by this one. It's a car chase sequence through Rome at night and the city under a beautiful golden glow looks gorgeous; the cars don't look bad either. This is mostly about high speeds, a few comedic gags as Bond's gadgets mostly don't work, and a couple nice ending stunts wen Bond does get some backward flames going and ultimately his eject seat. Not a bad chase, just not quite the quality you expect from contemporary standards of Bond.

45. "Finale: Shuttle Marines Approach and Overtake Space City" -Moonraker (1979)
Commentary: James Bond goes to space! In the wake of the success of Star Wars the producers of James Bond wanted their franchise to also include a space sequence. What we get isn't exactly high quality, but it is an overly ambitious attempt at throwing a space battle on the screen. The set for the space city is a masterpiece of cinema, just an incredible work of art design. The visual effects here aren't great, but I love the miniature work. Essentially the U.S. sends a shuttle of marines who have lasers (there are laser guns in Bond's canon now?) to overtake the villains space city. It's not great, but they try hard and there's some nice visuals and moments. Bond and his leading lady then re-enter on a shuttle and shoot down the villain's last attempt at harming the world. It's nearly impossible not to sit back and just enjoy the sheer ambition and silliness.

44. “Glass Museum Fight: Bond vs. Henchmen Chang” -Moonraker (1979)
- Commentary: I was surprised to find this fight, I hadn't remembered it being this good. It's not great mind you, the henchmen Chang just comes out of nowhere at night to threaten Bond and he's stereotypically dressed in a martial arts outfit, and it still features rather primitively choreographed hand to hand combat. That said, the two enter a glass museum (Bond toured it earlier) and proceed to trash the place and have a decent little sword fight in the process. They end up going to a clocktower (bathed in beautiful blue nighttime light) and Bond pushed Chang through the clock and down to the square below. A decent fight.

43. "British Fencing Club: Bond vs. Graves" -Die Another Day (2002)
Commentary: When Bond has the clue that Zao's diamonds are marked with Gustav Grave's symbol, he seeks out Gustav in London. It so happens that the adrenaline junkie Graves is into fencing and Bond challenges him to a match. The actual fencing sections are pretty tame (especially since they are completely covered) and it soon turns into an actual sword fight. I like the concept, setting, and costumes here - it's unique and stands out. However, the execution is lacking. First, Brosnan's Bond is just not the kid we expect to be incredibly agile and athletic with a sword and I feel it watching this - it's just not his bag. Second, and worst of all, the director just doesn't shoot it well - it's all quite standard and meh. Put all that together and you have a decent sword fight that stands out with a unique setting and premise.

42. “Finale: Destroying the Goldeneye Satellites” -Goldeneye (1995)
- Commentary: Bond and Natalya infiltrate the Goldeneye satellite base and radar station in Cuba. After setting some charges on a leaking fuel container, Bond is captured without much of a gunfight. Natalya working in the background gets on a mainframe computer and she is eventually caught as well. This allows Sean Bean and Alan Cumming to share their evil little plans with Bond. For as much as this is a "modern" reboot it is surprising just how much of a traditional Bond template this really is. At least there's this clever little bit with a bomb pen and Alan Cumming's finicky clicking of the pen creating a lot of suspense - I like that part. Anyways, Bond flicks the pen into some gasoline and it all goes up in flames and James makes his way to the transmitter followed by Sean Bean and a shootout occurs. Bond gets into the transmitter antenna and has a short but decent fight that spills onto a ladder that folds down and over the giant radar. Bond is in a precarious spot here, but Bean makes a mistake and knocks him off the ladder and down to the radar below. It's a pretty standard finale with an exotic location and a nice little fight - but not much beyond that.

41. “Opening: Bond Rescues a Nuke Armed Jet from a Weapons Bazaar” -Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
- Commentary: The follow-up to Brosnan's successful first Bond film is decent, but feels a bit pedestrian. Bond is surveilling a terrorist weapons bazaar in a mountainous area near Russia when the British admiralty decide to just blow up the whole area. Bond refuses to retreat because there's a nuke armed jet there and the movie assumes it will cause nuclear fallout (not how nukes work). So Bond makes himself known, gets in shootouts, blows stuff up, and gets into the cockpit of the jet. The best part here is Bond using the jet to circle and just blow stuff up. He then takes off missing the naval missile explosion but must deal with another jet on his tail and a "backseat driver" - he takes both out by hitting the co-pilot ejection seat in a comical moment that feels more at home with Hot Shots! to me than Brosnan's Bond. 

40. "Cuba Shootout: Spectre, MI6, & CIA Fight for a Scientist" -No Time to Die (2021)
- Commentary: This is a difficult one to grade. The Cuba setting is gorgeous and incredibly shot, the quick relationship with Ana de Armas' agent is bound to be remembered well, and the gunplay isn't half bad - there's some decent beats here. My problem is the setup and the competing agendas. I'm not a fan of the convoluted "master plan" of Blofield to get James Bond to this Cuban party with all of Spectre attending only to have Safin's scientist play a trick and kill all of Spectre instead. It's one of those moments where they have to do a lot of explaining while it is happening and you still don't really believe it because you're still thinking, "So Blofield is going around to everyone and seeing them on that eye?" It's an interesting concept, but when you add in Ana de Armas and Natasha Lynch and Spectre and Safin's's all just a little complicated. It really detracts from what could have been nothing but a slick sequence. Additionally, when you have moments like Bond shooting out the rigging from Lynch's 007 character, possibly killing her and the scientist, forcing them to splat on the second balcony - it's hard to wonder what exactly everyone's motivations were. In short, awesome production, messy storytelling. 

39. “Venice Finale: Shootout in Sinking Building” -Casino Royale (2006)
- Commentary: One of the great feats pulled off in this film is the unique structure. Usually, action films enter into their final act/set piece with about 30-40 minutes to go. For Casino Royale, Le Chiffre has been vanquished by then and Bond and Vesper are enjoying their holiday together in Venice - but we know as an audience that we are owed one final action climax - even if there is just 10 minutes or so left in the film. The catch of course is that Vesper is working for Mr. White against her will and this betrayal/heartbreak allows for Bond to become the cold and heartless MI6 agent we have come to know. It's a smart emotional climax. As far as action goes, Bond follows Vesper through Venice and ends up in a shootout with the faceless bad guys that leads to a house where Bond begins shooting out the floats that are keeping the house up. The house begins sinking and Vesper becomes stuck in an elevator. The shootout/fight beats between Bond and the henchmen are okay, but it does hurt that they are fairly faceless and meaningless characters. Ultimately, the elevator sinks into the water along with the building and Bond loses Vesper who locks herself in - apparently grief stricken about being forced to do what she does. It's an okay action sequence, but an even better emotional punch of an ending.

38. “KGB 'Milkman' Agent Infiltrates British Intelligence” -The Living Daylights (1987)
- Commentary: This is a fun little sequence that is able to straddle the line between a grounded "Russian assassin infiltrates a building to kidnap an agent" sequence while still having a quirky and cinematic facade to it. In this case, the Russian agent dresses up as a milkman, uses his headphones (playing New Wave Rock) as a garrote, and carries explosive bottles of milk. He makes it to the kitchen of the manor house, engages in a decent fight, and then fights his way to Koskov a defective Russian general using his explosive milk bottles. Finally, he disables Koskov and transforms his milkman outfit into an EMS man and transports the general out on a medical helicopter. Pretty fun little scene.

37. “Amazonian Boat Battle Ends in Hangliding Over the Falls” -Moonraker (1979)
- Commentary: Although this sequence feels like the producers were desperate to add a bit more action, it still turns out to be a decent little boat chase. Bond is out on the Amazon river in a speedboat and he's attacked by Jaws and two speedboats. There's some great aerial photography here and a lot of bombs exploding in the water. The coolest moment, which works very well on camera, is Bond opening a hang glider and escaping his boat before it falls over the falls. 

36. “Tanker Shootout: Bond & Soldiers Take Back the Tanker” -The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
- Commentary: In general, I find the "Bond sabotages the villain's evil lair" action sequences in this franchise to be lacking. This is probably the best of the bunch from the older films. This one takes place in an oil tanker that has been converted to secretly house nuclear submarines. The set built for these sequences is absolutely incredible to behold and its all practical. Bond and a group of Navy sailors get taken captive on the tanker, but eventually break out, make their way to the weapons hold and a shootout with lots of grenade throwing and explosions occurs. The bad guys lock down the control room and force Bond and the soldiers to take the detonator out of one of the captured nuclear missiles and blow up the armored plating protecting the control room. It's a nice little narrative within this large scale shootout which manages to distinguish itself from many of the other evil lair finales.

35. “Bangkok Car Chase: Scaramanga Escapes With Jet Wings” -The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
- Commentary: The best sequence from 1974's The Man With the Golden Gun is a decent car chase with one really nice stunt in it. After a botched opportunity while watching a Thai Boxing match, Bond is on the chase for Scaramanga. They have a car chase through the streets of Bangkok; not a long one, but there's a few nice twists and turns and a couple of crashes. They make their way to a rural area and Bond notices Scaramanga has made his way across a canal. To get across, Bond makes use of a half built something (bridge) as a launching ramp. Unfortunately, the editors put in a slide whistle sound effect while he does it, kinda ruining the feeling of awe and making it more a silly thing. Still, for moments in the city and the stunt, this is a fun little chase scene.

34. “Mustang Chase In Vegas” -Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
- Commentary: It's a fairly short chase scene, but it's a cool one. Bond is being chased by local policemen through downtown Las Vegas and we get a couple of nice turns, driving up on the sidewalk, and a nice little bit of skillful driving through a parking lot leading to a lot of chases. The finale comes when Bond turns the car on one set of tires to make it through an alleyway. It's not amazing, but there are some great views of early seventies Las Vegas here and I like the stuff they choreographed in the parking lot. Additionally the Mustang Mach 1 looks nice under the lights.

33. "Finale: Underwater Warfare & Stopping Largo's Boat" -Thunderball (1965)
Commentary: An ambitious stab at creating an entire war underwater! Largo and his men are trying to transport a nuke (I didn't quite understand why) underwater and they are stopped by Bond and a slew of men in red armed with harpoons. No fear, Largo's men have weapons of their own and the fight is on! The ambition and scope here is admirable - lots of wide shots with dozens of stuntmen fighting it out underwater. Keeping track of this and shooting this must have been a nightmare. There's even some nice beats here, with multiple shots of men getting harpooned, even stabbed, their oxygen exploding, and other underwater shenanigans. Despite the effort and some worthy moments, it never quite fully works. The logic makes no sense - why they couldn't just cast a huge net, get a huge boat presence or any other number of other means to stop Largo - nope we get dozens of agents with harpoons. I get it, it's Bond, but even granting that logical stretch, the underwater stuff carries on a bit, feels somewhat redundant, and just doesn't end up hitting quite as hard as you want. There is a small chase on the end of it where Bond follows Largo back to his boat speeding away (there's a cool little moment where his yacht transforms into a speedboat), but the fight in the control room and the ramped up footage is somewhat comical leaving a bad taste in the mouth. Kudos for the ambition and pulling some of it off, but it never quite fully works.

32. “Bridge Chase and Forest Shootout” -No Time To Die (2021)
- Commentary: Here's another No Time To Die sequence that has incredible production standards, looks great, incredible atmosphere, and then makes some questionable decisions. The chase starts well, with some beautiful bridge scenery and then Bond taking on some henchmen driving offroad on windy gravel roads and streams - this section gives us some cool vehicle destruction/flips. Once Bond decides to go into the forest and we transition into a shootout sequence, the whole thing gets less reasonable. Bond brings Madeleine and his daughter to a random abandoned house in the area to stay safe rather than hiding them in any of the numbers high grass areas or staying together. Then the sequence where Bond takes on a couple of vehicles is really underwhelming. First, he uses his grenade launcher to take out one - not bad. Then he wisely uses the steel line on a SUV to clothesline a motorcycle - okay. Then the secondary henchmen Ash literally drives himself into an accident without Bond doing a thing - dumb dumb dumb. Finally, Madeleine and his daughter are taken from that abandoned house and Bond is separated from them and can't help in time. Enjoyable enough.

31. "Haiti Harbor Hopping: Saving the Girl and Speeding Away" -Quantum of Solace (2008)
- Commentary: This, like the opening car chase, is a frustrating sequence. It is obvious that a lot of time and energy went into this speedboat chase, but it's edited so poorly that we really can't rightly enjoy it like we should. The bright harbor is a beautiful location with lovely blue water and the sequence begins with a great stunt of Bond riding his motorbike up a ramp and onto a sitting boat. Bond hops across some boats until he finds a working one he likes and speeds away on it. He rams the villain's bigger boat, grabs Olga Kurylenko's Camille, hops back on his boat and speeds away. The villains send two smaller fast boats after him and its here where the sequence just surprisingly seems to hide its best stunts, cutting away too quickly, and never giving us a good view of the hard work they clearly did. It's kind of shocking because this had the makings of a solid sequence that turned into a just alright one. 

30. “Chasing Silva: From the Tube to the Court Shootout” -Skyfall (2012)
- Commentary: Yes - Silva's plan relies a lot on coincidence and is a bit too much like Joker's plan in The Dark Knight. However, I have to say that in movies, execution and context is everything and the way that Sam Mendes executes the same makes the plan feel as intuitive and grounded as it could be. Being a former MI6 agent, being able to hack into their systems and no their sites well, one can suspend disbelief. Silva's escape from his glass prison leads Bond to an underground chase through the subway system. There's some nice back and forth here - the visuals are always stunning and Bond's knack for still closing in on Silva despite the head start is pretty neat. The moment that Silva blows up a charge and has a subway burst through is a neat stunt but has got to be the worst moment of the sequence. The sequence culminates in a shootout at the hearing about MI6 that M is currently at - this was supposed to be her assassination moment but Bond interrupts that. If the great coincidences and that tube stunt didn't sabotage this otherwise great chase, I could see it ranking even higher.

29. “Opening: Arkangel Chemical Facility Operation” -Goldeneye (1995)
- Commentary: Martin Campbell's 1995 reboot of the James Bond franchise with Pierce Brosnan got off to a pretty good start with this sold cold open. The sequence begins and ends with a nice stunt as Bond must get in and out of the secluded Arkangel Chemical Facility in Russia. The opening stunt is a free jump down the side of a damn which looks quite good and gives viewers a sense that this film would have some real ambition going forward. From there, James infiltrates the facility, meets up with another agent played by Sean Bean (who I guess didn't have to make the same jump?), and they move in to take out the Russian chemicals. When they are eventually cornered by Russian soldiers, Bean gets killed and Bond escapes during a short shootout. His escape leads to a snowy runway up in the mountains (which doesn't quite gel with the location set by the damn opening) where we get a neat stunt that sees Bond dive after a plane after its already fallen off the runway. He freefalls down into the plane and brings it up barely before it hits the ground. On paper its a neat sequence and executed it is pretty good stuff. The final stunt is a bit over the top for my preference, but beyond that - it's more of a character introduction (for more than Brosnan) than an all out action sequence.

28. “Snowy Border Escape in Two Parts: V8 Vantage & Cello Case” -The Living Daylights (1987)
- Commentary: There's a clever little escape sequence here that crosses the border a bit too much into "cartoon James Bond" that it conflicts with the general realism of the film. Bond needs to get Milovy across the border and it begins with a nice (and true technique used by spies) fakeout to get her KGB tale off-track. The authorities eventually pursue and we to see Bond put the gorgeous and tricked out Aston Marton V8 Vantage to use in the beautiful snowy mountainous setting. He ends up using lasers, missiles, traction tires, and rocket power by the end. There's some nice car chase beats here done practically, but it gets a bit to cartoony (and the next gadget is...and the next gadget is...). The car eventually crashes into a snowbank and the couple ride a cello case down a snowy incline to get to a border crossing. Eh, it's fun, and it works, but I've got some issues with it.

27. "Finale: Mountain Base Raid Leads to a Bobsled Chase" -On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
- Commentary: For whatever reason, the British government decides to make peace with Blofield instead of storming his mountain facility. Upset with this decision, Bond gathers a crime boss to help him raid the place - I'm surprised his superiors were okay with this. Anyways, the military style raid on the building is pretty decent; we get some nice aerial views of the stunning base as the helicopters come in, but the gunplay is just okay. There's a fight between Tracy and some henchmen that feels like it goes on for ages that weighs it down a bit. The best bit is Bond making his way into the facility, gathering intel and chasing Blofield out and into a bobsled chase down the mountain. The facility blows up as they head down and I know the idea is dumb, but the execution for the sled chase is actually quite good. The stuntmen do a great job (Bond and Blofield are clearly on rear projection rigs) for the majority of the sequence, really selling the intensity and speed. Two highlights here are when Blofield throws a grenade we get a nice explosion stunt for Bond. Last, there's a moment Blofield holds Bond's head to the side walls of the luge - it feels intense and real. Well done.

26. “Trouble Aboard the Wavecrest: Bond Ruins a Drug Exchange” -Licence to Kill (1989)
- Commentary: A lengthier scene that takes some time to unfold, but always engages and makes you wonder where everything is leading. Bond boards a boat owned and used by the drug dealer Sanchez. The vessel pretends to be a research ship with a small submersible, but it's a decoy for drug deals. Bond boards with the submersible and begins to infiltrate the ship. He eventually kills a man, takes his oxygen and dives into the water, the bad guys pursue. The submersible goes out to do a drug/money exchange with a plane and Bond ends up ruining the drugs in the submersible. He is discovered and chased by men with harpoons. He grabs a harpoon and shoots it into the landing float of the plane speeding away. It drags Bond away from danger and up to the water where he uses the harpoon as a kind of water ski. It's actually a really clever stunt. I prefer when that kind of stuff happens organically, versus "Bond is already skiing and gets attacked by henchmen". Anyways, he makes his way to the airplane, fights and dumps out the pilots and takes control. The ski stunt is great, everything else is decent here.

Good action sequences with much to commend about them. They are a solid entry into their genre.

25. “Opening: Training Mission on Gibraltar Goes Wrong” -The Living Daylights (1987)
- Commentary: The first action sequence of the Timothy Dalton era is a pretty good one. The setup is simple - British secret agents are going to parachute onto Gibraltar and try and infiltrate as a training exercise. Unfortunately, there's one bad guy among the mix and he begins taking out secret agents. Bond notices and goes after him. I'd say the sequence is workmanlike and enjoyable - there are several nice shots and action beats, they really parachuted people on location, really had a jeep paralleling down a winding road (with incredible vistas), and Dalton plays it all very smooth. He finds the betrayer, jumps onto his vehicle, climbs his way in, fist fights, and drives him off the road and down to the water where Bond is able to parachute out before he hits the water and the explosives in the back. I kinda like the casual vibe of Dalton here. He lands on the yacht of a bored woman to end the sequence. A pretty good start for Dalton's stint.

24. "Winter in Cortina Chase: Skies, Motorcycles, & the Luge” -For Your Eyes Only (1981)
- Commentary: Have you ever been relaxing at a winter resort, gone skiing, and ended up with a world class Biathalon on your tail? Well, then you don't live the adventurous life of James Bond. At a winter resort in Cortina, Italy, Bond has to escape goons led by a champion Biathalon (that's where you ski and shoot a gun). He tries to outrun them, lose them on a big ski jump, and in the biggest part of the scene, lose them on a luge. The stunt guys worked hard on this one (I think Roger is only shown on a rear projection screen a couple of times) and at one point we have the champion Biathlete riding a dirt bike on a luge chasing Bond on skis who is riding behind a bobsled. It's a cool moment and image (less cool when you hear a stuntman died during filming on that luge). It's a nice little winter scene that is largely done practical. I'm certain it doesn't hit as hard when we realize there are several other "winter sports" chase scenes on this list. They all so being to blend together with some sameness and repetition. 

23. "Paris Chase: From the Eiffel Tower to the Seine River" -A View to Kill (1985)
- Commentary: Continuing a major trend in the last several films, Bond does not have his big chase in a gadget laden car, but in something you wouldn't really expect. In this chase, Bond starts in a restaurant at the top of the Eiffel Tower where he witnesses an assassination. He chases the black robed assassin through the lattice and girders of the structure until they parachute off toward the Seine River. Bond jumps on the elevator to the ground level and then gets control of a taxi. From here the sequence is just one pleasing stunt after another. The car Bond uses does this really cool driving stunt backward down some awkward stairs, there's a nice ramp jump onto the top of the bus and then his car gets cut in half first horizontally and then vertically, leaving him just the front chassis. It's a pretty comical sequence with just heavy hitter stunts back to back. Bond makes the jump down to a boat on the Seine, falling into the boat and onto a wedding cake, but misses out on the assassin as she gets away on another boat. Roger Moore and John Glen found themselves a nice little template in their run of chase scenes together. I think Glen either had a better personal eye for these things or a better stunt team than his predecessors.

22. “Train Fight: Bond vs. Hinx” -Spectre (2015)
- Commentary: A handsomely produced fight between Bond and the main henchmen Hinx (played by Dave Bautista). I like that they primarily choreograph this as a bruising affair where they are largely wrestling around the train and causing destruction - it wouldn't have made sense for Bond to keep trying to square up to Hinx given their size and strength difference. There's one moment that they do square up and it doesn't take long for Hinx to get the advantage. As they flop around and into different cars Bond tries to find objects to his advantage, at one time getting Hinx's jacket on fire. It's great stuff and then it goes to the baggage cart and just kinda ends. A strong fight that just needed 1-2 more highlight beats to really make it an all-time great one. I prefer the From Russian with Love train fight over this one.

21. “Indian Market Chase: Bond Escapes Goons on a Tuk Tuk” -Octopussy (1983)
- Commentary: This chase is a breathe of fresh air in the Bond franchise eschewing gadgets and luxury cars. Being chased by goons, Bond boards a Tuk Tuk (electric rickshaw) driven by his MI6 contact and they wind through the narrow streets, alleys, and market places of an Indian city. There's a nice moment where the goons pull alongside Bond and jump onto his tuk tuk and struggle with him. There's another nice jump moment where Bond's tuk tuk gets some nice air after hitting a ramp. After coming to a stop due to the large crowds (a nice addition to this chase is just how populated everything is), Bond gets off and we get a series of little fights that hit every Indian stereotype: bed of nails, fire spitter, sword eaters, you name it. It actually kind of works as a rapid fire comedy sequence. He gets back on the tuk tuk and they hide out behind an advertisement. It's a fun sequence that stands out in the canon. 

20. “Hovercraft Havoc in North Korea” -Die Another Day (2002)
- Commentary: The best action scene from Brosnan's final outing is the opening action sequence. He surfs into North Korea and poses as an underground diamond smuggler looking to do a deal with a North Korean Colonel. Taking advantage of a window of opportunity, Bond blows up the diamonds and boards one of the hovercrafts to try and escape. As he circles he gets the chance to explode a lot of things in the courtyard - which is fun. The resulting hovercraft chase with Bond chasing the Colonel in another hovercraft over mined areas in the DMZ has a lot of nice highlight moments including a flamethrower and Bond shooting at land mines to explode them. Unfortunately, the stuff with Bond fighting on the hovercraft with the Colonel is obvious greenscreen stuff compared to the stuntman stuff in back to back scenes. Bond is ultimately captured and tortured after this sequence and the movie never really capitalizes on a pretty good setup.

19. “Winter Sports Chase: Mountains, Villages, & Stock Car Driving” -On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
- Commentary: A lengthy chase sequence (much needed for the pacing of this film) that finds George Lazenby's Bond trying to get away from Blofield's mountain facility and warn London in the village below. It begins slow with Bond trying to figure a way out of his holding room and then develops into a nighttime ski chase down the mountain with Blofield's men firing machine guns after him. Bond makes it into the village below where he tries to blend in, but after a fight and outfit alteration he still can't. Thankfully, a woman from earlier in the film shows up and together they use her car to escape. They are followed down some snow lined roads and take a turn into a stock car race to lose them. This is easily the best part of the scene. Lots of cool snow driving here and bumping, grinding, and a big fiery crash to end it. The scene slowly unfolds, builds, and by the end is pretty darn engaging.

18. "Finale: Safin's Island Staircase Shootout" -No Time to Die (2021)
- Commentary: It is a bit selfish of me to separate this part of the action finale from the whole thing, but hear me out. If I consider the finale set piece as a whole, it's a C+ at best. Why? Like the film it completes, it's largely too convoluted and confused for its own good. The choice to bring Madeleine and a daughter into this mess might have seemed good on paper, but it muddles the entire third act greatly. Additionally, Safin as a villain remains a bit of a mystery - even after given multiple chances to monologue. So the 30 minute finale here is largely them wandering around, saving Madeleine and his daughter, getting into a monologue with Safin, a random fight here and there. It's meh stuff - as you could see, it got a C when I separated it out. However, shining like a nice little gem within this 30 minute sequence is a 5 minute guns blazing John Wick style shootout up some stairs. In other words, it's the action meat of the sequence - everything else is just kind of fluff. It's so well made, largely done to look like one long take, and so engaging that it feels like its from a whole different film. My speculation is that the director turned this part over largely to the stunt guys and just said go for it. I don't know - it's unlike anything else in the movie and it rocks. It's immensely frustrating that they surrounded this gem with so much mediocre stuff.

17. “Train Car Fight: Bond vs. Grant” -From Russia with Love (1964)
- Commentary: For a long time, this was easily the best Bond action sequence and if we just narrow it down to fights, it held the crown even longer. Bond is trying to get a girl and Russian decrypter to safety and a Spectre hitman pretends to be his British contact while on a train. Grant pulls a gun on Bond and gets the upper hand in a train car. After explaining his entire plan (there's that trope) we get another trope, one of my favorites of the series. Whatever gadget is given to Bond near the beginning of the film almost always comes into play once Bond finally gets cornered or captured by an agent. In this case it's an exploding powder if you open a case wrong. Bond gets Grant to open the case, the powder explodes, and the fight starts. Kudos to the fight time because for its time, this is a cinematic gem. There's an authenticity and brutality to the fight that was completely lacking at the time. Unfortunately, there's still some dated aspects to the fight (Bond does a karate chop at one point), it's somewhat short (relative to other major action scenes), and finally when compared to some contemporary fights it really is just good. It's still a strong fight sequence, one well worth seeking out, even if its shine has worn a bit over time.

16. “Opening: Day of the Dead Mayhem” -Spectre (2015)
- Commentary: This is such a frustrating sequence to grade because I absolutely love 2/3rds of it and just despise the ending. This is the cold open for Sam Mendes' follow-up to Skyfall and it absolutely oozes confidence and style. Bond is tracking a key villain through the "Day of the Dead" festival in Mexico City and to place right into the thick of the celebration and the setup Mendes gives a beautiful "one take" tracking shot that follows Bond from the streets, into his hotel, out his hotel room, and to eavesdropping on an important exchange with our villain. After there's a small foul up and Bond fires and accidentally triggers a large explosion there's choas and multiple buildings collapse. All this is done incredibly well. Bond spots the initial villain and chases him into the central plaza where helicopter awaits and thousands of people are celebrating. This is where the scene goes off the rails for me. The helicopter takes off, Bond jumps on and a fight happens inside while the copter flips and turns all over the place. Others may be okay with this, but all of the helicopter stuff strikes me as so over the top given the cool and calm sophisticated stuff the entire scene has given us so far that it feels like it's from a completely different movie. Far too over the top in this context and it practically ruins the sequence. I love the ambition, the setting, the production, and the slick windup, but the ending is a big miss for me.

15. “Speedboat Chase on the River Thames” -The World Is Not Enough (1999)
- Commentary: After a bombing occurs at the MI6 headquarters, Bond notices an assassin sitting in the River Thames overlooking the explosion. He runs down to Q branch and jumps in the latest small boat being developed and heads out after the assassin in their speed boat. The first phase of the boat chase is largely practical and straight forward - Bond chases down the speedboat, through twists and turns, and avoids the machine gun fire. I love how intense the small boat feels, with water constantly splashing Bond in the face. The second phase of the chase see's Bond need to take a shortcut into Roger Moore action territory as his boat slips up on shore and he comically blazes through markets, shops, and restaurants until he launches back into the Thames. Normally I'd dislike this kind of silliness, but for some reason it works for me here. I guess because it's a "boat chase" and I don't quite always have high standards for them. I don't know if I'd suffer this kind of silliness for a car chase. Bond then fires two torpedoes and the assassin decides to beach themselves near the O2 Arena and board a hot air balloon. It's a strange ending to pretty good chase.

14. "Matera Opening: Chased by Bike & Car" -No Time to Die (2021)
- Commentary: There's a lot going on in this opening. Bond is in Matera vacationing with Madeleine and trying to let go of Vesper - but Spectre uses this opportunity to make Bond think Madeleine is betraying him as well and they attack him (apparently Blofield behind it). The old city of Matera provides a beautiful setting for an action sequence and this one goes through multiple phases. It begins with Bond on a bridge having to dodge a car and then use a rope to swing over the side and down to the ground. From there he is able to get control of a motorcycle and he zooms up ancient walkways and in one awesome stunt up the side of a wall and into a courtyard. There's a breather as Bond finds his way to Madeleine (who he now thinks betrayed him) and gets into the Aston Martin DB5 for the finale chase of the sequence. There's some twists and turns through the city (avoiding sheep!) and finally bad guys take shots at the car while it is stalled in a courtyard and Bond reflects on Madeleines betrayal. Eventually, he gets the car going again and turns on the gatling guns, spinning as he uses them. Then its the covering gas and he's out of there. A strong sequence with great visuals and stunts - everything you'd expect of the latest Bond film. It comes down a notch for feeling a bit choppy, start and stop - I prefer scenes like this to be one set piece without small breaks in them.

13. “Shanghai Assassination: Tracking & a Silhouette Fight” -Skyfall (2012)
- Commentary: This is just one slick piece of action here. It begins with Bond tracking a suspect from the Shanghai airport to a skyscraper. He athletically (though struggle, he is old) follows along by holding on to the elevator as it ascends dozens of floors. He gets off and the glass floor is filled with neon lights from surrounding buildings. It's a cool look. The assassin suspect is setting up and getting ready to take a target out in a building across the way. After the attempt, Bond engages him in a fight that is done nearly all in silhouette and in one take. It's sweet looking. The assassin ends up falling out of the window and to the ground below. While not a great example of fighting style, tracking technique, or anything like that - this scene excels simply on atmosphere and cinematography. It might be the single "coolest" sequence in the Bond canon.

Very good action sequences with something holding them back from greatness. These sequences are typically best in their film and represent something above and beyond expectations.

12. “Parking Garage Chase: Bond Remote Controls a BMW” -Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
- Commentary: Bond's decked out BMW sits in a parking garage. The bad guys desperately want to get into the car to get a red box. The quirky assassin holding Bond at bay has to try and get Bond to open the car for them. This gives Bond the chance to get the upper hand with his shock phone, get away from the assassin Kaufman, and slip into the garage. Bond then uses the remote control on his phone to start the car, surround it with gas, roll down the window, and drive it past himself so he can jump into the backseat where he controls the car. This is one of those gadgets that isn't just a quirky Bond gadget, but it's legit cool. Being able to remote control your car to that proficiency is cool. The chase is then supported by a ton of other gadgets that the garage setting allows for: do dads that pop tires, tires that refill their air, missiles, a wire cutter in the hood, I particularly like when a henchmen tries to fire an RPG at the car, but since there is a hole in the front and back windshields it goes right through and explodes the car following. The final move for Bond is to exit in the garage and continue driving the car to the top where he then jumps it across the street and into a shop below. It's a fun chase with a lot of practical stunts. 

11. “Finale: House Battle in Scotland” -Skyfall (2012)
- Commentary: This sequence is sometimes lampooned as the James Bond version of Home Alone. While I get that criticism, I think it misses the key idea here. The goal for Bond is that by going back to traditional roots, he would level the playing field - no computers or technology to hack/corrupt and outwit his old traditional soul. Here he knows the escape routes, he knows things like booby traps, and traditional gunplay. If Silva took the bait, he might have a chance. I get the thinking and it works in a cinematic way. Beyond that however, is the atmosphere and dread that Mendes adds through how he films this attack. As the first wave begins, Bond hides out in his classic Aston Martin DB5 and ambushes the group firing into the house. The few that make it inside are taken out by the booby traps. The first attack wave is a failure so Silva comes in on the helicopter. It's here the scene goes from good to memorable. The sound design, with Silva playing music on the speakers and then machine gunning the house is incredible. The gun just tears the house apart in an awesome visual. Silva lands with another wave of soldiers and Bond is trapped. They toss in grenades and begin a fire. The glowing red contrasts the cold ice blue outside so perfectly here. Bond wisely decides to blow the house in general and escape using an old tunnel system. The resultant blast takes down the helicopter in a glorious blaze. Silva knocked down by the blaze, looks around wildly and notices M far away moving to the chapel. He begins to chase her down, Bond heads out after. The final showdown takes place in the chapel where Bond gets the last word. I quite like this finale the more I watch it.

10. “A Yellow Citroen Chase in the Countryside” -For Your Eyes Only (1981)
- Commentary: Bond has gone to Spain to track down the killer of a family who was helping the MI6 to salvage a downed spy boat off the coast of Albania. As he infiltrates the killer's compound he is taken custody. Luckily, the daughter of the family killed, Melina, had the same idea and she takes out the killer allowing Bond to escape. Together they head to Bond's car, but his anti-theft device blows the Lotus up and they are forced to use Melina's car, a beat up yellow Citroen. The choice of car is perfect, giving this chase through the Spanish countryside through small village alleys a different feel from the gadget dependent chases of other films. There are a couple of nice maneuvers here on the hillside roads, the Citroen flips upside down in a small village (they just push it back over it's so small), and driving down the hillside and making a few jumps over the bad guys. This is a really fun chase...but it's just far too short to give it a higher grade. What we get is glorious (though I wish by now they could get away from putting Roger Moore on back screen projection shots, they are so distracting), but it just needed a couple minutes more to separate itself as an all-time great sequence.

9. “Sardinia Chase: Bond's Lotus Car is Attacked by Cars, Helicopters, and Scuba Divers” -The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
- Commentary: This car chase sequence is the pinnacle of the fantasy spy gadgets for the series - no other sequnence feels like pure fantasy while also feeling like its completely acceptable. The Lotus Esprit car takes center stage here as Bond and his female Russian counterpart XXX take flight from Stromberg's henchmen on the island of Sardinia. While traversing through the mountain Bond drives at high speed to evade a motorcycle whose sidecar is a giant explosive. We get a nice stunt where Bond drives around a semi-truck, narrowly missing oncoming traffic, and the sidecar explodes the truck and sends the motorcycle off the side of the mountain. More driving, another car off the side of the mountain, and then we get a helicopter shooting machine guns. There's some smooth driving, the Lotus just hugs the road, and Bond ends up driving the car into the sea to get away from the helicopter. The car converts into a fully aquatic vehicle and fires a missile out of the water to dispose of the helicopter nuisance (why couldn't he fire the missile out of the water?). That's not the end, some scuba divers on underwater jetski machines come at him and we get a slew of underwater gadgets to take them out. It's all pure fantasy, but pulled off so well, so over the top (yet feeling grounded - he's not launching to space here) that you just gotta smile and enjoy it. It's quintessential Bond and likely the peak of of this kind of fantasy stuff.

8. “Across the Rooftops of Siena: Chasing Down a Mole” -Quantum of Solace (2008)
- Commentary: Coming not long after the opening car chase, the villainous Mr. White is being interrogated when he insinuates that their organization "has people everywhere" - which is a signal for one of the MI6 agents nearby (who is with him) to open fire. The agent runs away and Bond gives chase through the Siena underground and pops out during the Siena Palio - a medieval style horse race with thousands in attendance. They run through doors, up stairs, and make their way to the distinctive tiled rooftops with a stunning skyline of architecture. During a stretch Bond is forced to run and jump from balcony to balcony, then onto a bus roof, and onto a gutter drain. It's a cool sequence, edited with a quick pace (it works here!) to emphasize the speed and intensity. The two meet at a bell tower and take a jaw dropping drop through the skylight of a building into its open atrium where scaffolds and ropes are present for construction purposes. They fight back and forth, get caught up in the ropes, swing back and forth and Bond ends up near the floor where his gun landed. There's a scramble, Bond grabs the gun, turns around and shoots the agent just before being shot. It's a quick paced and intense chase in the vein (but not quite as good) of the Tangiers/Desh chase from 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum

These are great action sequences with some minor issue(s) holding them back. They are typically best in their film and potentially best of the year.

7. “Miami Chase: Stopping a Bombing at the Airport” -Casino Royale (2006)
- I think this is an underrated and often forgotten action sequence of the film it is in, let alone the franchise. I've often said that the Casino Royale Bond was built in the shadow of Jason Bourne and that's never more apparent than in this sequence: The extended pursuit displaying a matching of wits as much as muscles which ultimately explodes into traditional action set to quicker edits and the feeling of a camera in handheld style. After getting important information at the next bombing from sources in Nassau, Bahamas, Bond follows a villain to Miami where he is likely to meet with the actual bomber. The extended follow/chase takes us to a convention center and then to the airport where instead of getting straight to the big action theatrics, there is a focus on just being able to keep sight of the person Bond is tracking, getting past security, opening locked doors, figuring out what the ultimate plan is and do all this without being spotted. It's all really clever and unfolds in an engaging way that few Bond set pieces to. To keep up with the bomber, Bond has to resort to a lot of clever moves, giving the audience insight into the intelligence of Bond. Once out on the tarmac we realize the plan - a gas truck we will be rammed into a new prototype jumbo jet model. The major villain has been shorting their stocks and will make a ton of money if the company goes down. Bond must thwart this bombing and now we get the more traditional action when Bond tries to alter the gas truck and take down the bomber. There's some nice action beats here, but the whole is really better than the parts. The editing, pacing, leads to a fantastic building and payoff where Bond is able to subtly slip the small bomb onto the keychain of the bomber who thought they got away with it. The sly look of enjoyment on Bond's face when the bomb destroys the bomber is priceless. Though it is imitative, it is nonetheless a satisfying and accomplished action sequence in its own right. I wish the later Craig entries had leaned into this template a bit more.

6. “Finale: Gas Truck Chase” -License to Kill (1989)
- Commentary: After destroying Sanchez' drug lab, Bond uses and airplane to catch up to a gas tanker convoy. The catch here is that the drugs have been put into the gasoline, so each tanker is worth alot. Bond hops down on a tanker, avoids Sanchez' automatic fire, and takes over one of the tankers. Trying to get to the head of the convoy, Bond's tanker is blocked by another tanker leading to some close calls from the road and passing traffic. Bond ends up pushing the tanker into the side of a mountain and disabling it. This leads to the next issue, an RPG is being shot at Bond, but he's able to ramp his truck up, causing the rocket to miss and strike the tanker behind him. It's done practically, but it's also quite silly. Some goons shoot out Bond's tires and he's forced to abandon the tanker, but not before he unhitches the load and lets it down the side of a mountain where it rambles into another tanker and explodes. Bond gets back into the disabled tanker (minus the tank) and does a wheely through a tanker fire. It's now down to Bond's tankless tanker and Sanchez in the final tanker out front. Bond speeds up, gets a hold of the tanker and climbs aboard avoiding gunshots along the way. A fight between Sanchez and Bond takes place on the tanker, but it crashes throwing them free. Bond stirs but Sanchez covered in gasoline gets to Bond first about to kill him with a machete before Bond sets him on fire with the lighter Felix gave him at the beginning of the film. A nice moment to bring that one back. There's some clear green screen like moments inside the cars, but otherwise, everything here looks like it was done practically or with high quality miniatures. I love when grand finales have one high quality focus like this - take down the gas convoy - and they execute it with a series of stunts that provide great dramatic visuals. While the overall editing and creativity aren't quite up to the standards of the best Mad Max chase sequences, this one is just a tier or so down below them. 

5. “Opening: Chasing After a Hard Drive in Istanbul” -Skyfall (2012)
- Commentary: When James arrives on the scene an MI6 operative has already been robbed and shot. James is told to leave him and get after whoever did it. He walks out into the loud and crowded streets of Istanbul. He's picked up by Eve in a 4x4 and they have the bad guys tailed in an Audi. It's not long before they are tailed by cops and they are able to get the bad guys to crash. A gunfight ensues in the market and the motorcycle cops are taken down. Bond and one of the bad guys get the motorcycles and begin a chase on them. We take a bit of a sight seeing tour and they end up on the rooftops of the grand bazaar with landmarks in the background. It's cool looking stuff shot wide M tracks everything from rainy London and Eve continues to back Bond up. They break through a window and into the marketplace below. Cut off by Bond and Eve on a bridge, the bad guy jumps onto a train below the bridge. Bond follows suit by jumping from his motorcycle and a really cool looking stunt. A shootout occurs on the train rooftops and Bond only gets an advantage when he gets into a construction crane being shipped on one of the cars. He uses the shovel hand for bullet protection and begins knocking off cars and eventually comes down onto the train car with the bad guy on it. Again, great stunts. Eve follows along and ends up driving ahead to get a good shot when they get out of town on the train. Bond and the bad guy end up in a fist fight on top of the train and Eve must make a decision to take a shot - possibly hitting Bond in the process. M encourages her loudly to take the shot. Eve shoots and takes Bond down. He flies off the train, down into the water below as the credits roll. It's an iconic opening - the second best cold open of the entire series. Not only does this sequence show the Bond filmmakers at the top of their action game, but it wonderfully incorporates a central theme of the film: M is willing to sacrifice these men at her will. She (standing in for love of country) doesn't really care about who she has to sacrifice. It's a theme that will drive the villain and the rest of the film.

Great action sequences that can compete for best of the year and best of all-time.

4. “Bond's Bayou Boat Chase” -Live and Let Die (1973)
- This is probably the most surprising find in all the Bond films - this gem of a boat chase nestled into such a boring film! As I mentioned in the opening, these large scale chases are the bread and butter of the series, but most of the sequences from the earlier years are short affairs where Bond films his bit at the studio with a rear projection screen and the stuntmen go and film a couple big moments to fill it out. Imagine my surprise when this boat chase was done nearly entirely practically with great on-location vistas, something I really miss in these CGI dependent days. The sequence begins with Bond being marooned on a small piece of land surrounded by crocodile infested waters. He gets out of the situation with one of the franchises best stunts ever - literally walking upon the heads of the crocodiles. Those were real crocodiles and it was a real stuntman doing the run. Check out the behind the scenes footage to see a few failed runs. Right next door to the crocodile pond Bond lights a Heroine facility on fire and makes off into the bayou on a stolen boat. The bad guys want Bond and they put out a call for other goons on the bayou to catch him. When one of the bad guys gets caught speeding down a roadside to get to a bridge, the sheriff J.W. Pepper spots him and the police get into the action as well and pulls him over. Bond races by and jumps his boat (in an awesome stunt) right over the head of the Sheriff J.W. The chase is on. 
In one fun stunt, Bond's boat has a bullet hole in it and is sputtering so he doesn't stop the boat at all just drives right up on their backyard, the goons following end up in the pool and Bond jumps out of his boat and runs down to the dock and takes the fresh house boat. There's another like it when Bond goes on land to take a shortcut that so happens to be hosting a wedding - the goons take out the cake. There's high speeds, turns, aerial shots of the boats racing through the bayou, and even a nice little car pileup. The chase ends with a short showdown against the fastest goon. Bond makes quick work of him using a liquid substance he worked up on some wrecked boat. There's a decent fiery crash and ending. It's a quality chase scene with a nice little story, some comedy, beautiful views, great practical driving, and lots of fantastic stunts. 

3. “Escape from Carver: Handcuffed Bike Chase” -Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
- Commentary: This is the ultimate example of balancing the big, expensive, and practical set pieces of James Bond while still crossing the line of believability in a grand, flashy, but never insulting way. The sequence begins with Michelle Yeoh and Brosnan’s Bond handcuffed together in Carver's custody at the top of a skyscraper in Saigon. Interrupting an approaching torture session, Bond kicks a table to knock down a henchmen with an automatic rifle, grabs it, and uses it to escape to the outside of the skyscraper. To escape down the building the two make use of a giant banner of Carver on the side of a building. They slide down about halfway and then break into an office. It's a cool looking stunt. Outside they get on a motorcycle and a chase through the streets of Saigon ensues. The gimmick for the chase is that Bond and Yeoh are still handcuffed and thus each person gets to control one handle of the bike when they are both facing forward. 
The chase lasts through several phases escaping gunfire and giving us a lot of nice destruction and practical stunts. My favorite moments here in the chase is a beat where Bond is driving across rooftops while being fired upon by an overhead helicopter; a scene where he's driving on the second floor as it is literally crumbling from beneath him; and a moment where he has to make a jump over a helicopter from a third floor to a second floor. All cool looking moments. I’d place this sequence even higher, but I’m not a fan of the final stunt where a helicopter uses its blades as an obstacle. The chase is great Bond action that finds a way to be epic and grounded, but that final beat is a step too far for my tastes.

2. “Escape: Driving a Tank in St. Petersburg” -Goldeneye (1995)
- Commentary: The sequence is the epitome of what made Goldeneye such a success - it captures the best of a traditional James Bond chase sequence, but managed to combine it with the best of then contemporary action sensibilities. The premise begins with Bond and Natalya being interrogated by a Russian general. Bond takes advantage of a weak moment to escape and the chase makes its way to a library where there's a shootout between Bond and the bad guys. This is done pretty darn well and there's some really cool visual beats here. They capture Natalya and make off with her in a car. James scans his options in the parking lot and happens upon a tank. We don't see his choice until he comes busting through a brick wall. Like the Bayou chase from Live and Let Die, the realness (that seems like a real tank!) and setting of this chase (they are actually in the streets!) help it stand out from today's CGI based sequences. 
There are so many scenes here of alleys, cars, and walls getting practically destroyed that its hard not to watch with a boyish grin as Bond keeps trucking along in his tank looking suave, determined, and sporting a grin of his own. The levels of destruction we get here are just joyous to watch. It reminds of that moment when you realize the chase scene from The Blues Brothers wasn't so much about the chase as it was figuring out how much damage we could show on screen. My favorite sequence is when Bond plows through a couple cars, then a Perrier truck, and finally a large statue that ends up on top of the tank. The Tank turns down an alley with a second story walk across and the statue gets stuck on it, falls down to the ground where it attaches to two cop cars following and they ram into the back of the tank. Bond looks back, nonplussed, tightens his tie and heads out. It's the perfect encapsulation of this sequence. It all ends at the train tracks with Bond staring down a train in his tank. I love how they took what could have been a disastrously cheesy concept "Tank chases cars through St. Petersburg" and instead turned out a gloriously cheeky action spectacle that remains grounded enough to never feel out of hand. Tanks alot Director Martin Campbell!

1. “Bond vs. Spider” -Dr. No (1962)
- Commentary: maybe this isn't the best action sequence ever, but is it not the most relatable action sequence? I just couldn't watch all of these films and think deeply about all of these action scenes without referencing how straight forward this scene is from the first film. As soon as Bond feels comfortable he freaks out, throws it off his shoulder and kills it with a shoe. No gadgets, no special spy tactics, just the good old fashioned freak out and wale on it method. Okay, back to the actual number one...

1. “Chase Thru Construction Site/Embassy Shootout” -Casino Royale (2006)
- After the silly action excesses at the end of Brosnan's era, the franchise needed a reboot. The producers looked again to Martin Campbell, who rebooted Bond in Goldeneye, to re-introduce Bond to a cinematic world that was being ruled by Jason Bourne. Aside from the black and white prologue, this opening action sequence succeeded not only in introducing us to Daniel Craig's James Bond but in becoming the single greatest action sequence in the entire franchise. Per the usual cliché, this is Bond chasing down a villain, this time it's a particularly fast and agile bomb maker Bond and another agent are trailing this bomb maker to a gambling ring in Madagascar when through some rookie moves their cover is blown and the foot chase is on. The chase leads to a construction site near the shore and provides the filmmakers ample opportunity to show us important elements of Daniel Craig's Bond. The bomb maker is extremely fast and is quite skillful in parkour. There's just a simple pleasure alone in watching him navigate the obstacles a construction site provides - climbing up beams, swinging round poles, and hopping through narrow openings. The easy thing for creatives to do would be to make Bond equal to this crazy parkour guy, showing that our Bond is everything all the kids these days are. Thankfully the creatives behind the scene use the opportunity to contrast the two men, showing us Bond's traits. Yes, Bond is athletic and nimble enough to keep up, but he's also required to use his intelligence and sheer brute force at times when he gets behind the bomb maker and can't keep up with the particular parkour he does. 
This is illustrated well in several great moments. There's a moment on top of a giant crane where the bomb maker goes to shoot Bond, but is out of bullets so he throws the gun at Bond. James catches it without any surprise and throws it right back at the bomb maker as if to say, "Did you think I wasn't good enough to be able to do that?" It's a nice moment and when that I couldn't see any previous Bond doing. Speaking of that crane shot, thankfully, Martin Campbell spends some extra time here with giant sweeping moves showcasing the height and beauty of the setting. The stunts and views at the top of the construction site are some of the best in all of action cinema. In another moment, the bomb maker uses a pole in the ceiling to squeeze through a narrow gap in the wall. Rather than attempt it, Bond simply powers himself right through the dry wall. What a character builder! Yes, Bond's athletic and intelligent, but if he just needs to resort to muscle at times he will. After the construction site, Bond chases the bomb maker into a foreign embassy. This final setting presents Bond with another character choice, is he willing to break the law flagrantly? Yep, without reflection Bond makes his way in and violently grabs the bomb maker, resulting in a dynamic shootout sequence with the embassy forces. The entire sequence is one of the most beautiful and compelling foot chases in cinema and it also does the extra work of masterfully building the new Bond (according to the first time viewer) entirely through action rather than words. Outstanding!

All the James Bond Films Rated & Ranked

26. Diamonds Are Forever (C-) 1971
25. Never Say Never Again (C-) 1983
24. A View to Kill (C-) 1985
23. You Only Live Twice (C-) 1967
22. Live and Let Die (C-) 1973
21. The Man With the Golden Gun (C-) 1974
20. Spectre (C-) 2015
19. Die Another Day (C) 2002
18. The World is Not Enough (C) 1999
17. No Time to Die (C) 2021
16. Goldfinger (C) 1964
15. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (C) 1969
13. The Living Daylights (C+) 1987
14. Octopussy (C+) 1983
12. Thunderball (C+) 1965
11. Dr. No (C+) 1962
10. From Russia With Love (C+) 1964
9. Moonraker (C+) 1979
8. Quantum of Solace (B-) 2008
7. For Your Eyes Only (B-) 1981
6. License to Kill (B-) 1989 
5. The Spy Who Loved Me (B-) 1977
4. Goldeneye (B) 1995
3. Tomorrow Never Dies (B) 1997
2. Skyfall (B+) 2012
1. Casino Royale (A) 2006