With a record-breaking run that saw him take on the role exclusively for 15 uninterrupted years, Daniel Craig proved himself to be one of the greatest James Bonds of all time. His performances as the spy were always of an incredibly high standard, being able to bring the right amount of charm and heroics to the character.
The movies overall were also of a very high quality, with several of them being frequently championed as some of the best James Bond movies of all time, helping to grow the franchise even further. With some incredible action sequences, big twists, and an overarching story running throughout them, Daniel Craig’s James Bond movies will certainly go down in history for all the right reasons.
Updated on August 23rd, 2022 by Mark Birrell: Now that time has passed since the surprise ending of No Time to Die, and fans have had a little time to process it, the debate over what titles make up the best Daniel Craig Bond movies seems a little clearer. With No Time to Die and a host of other Bond movies available for subscribers to stream on Amazon Prime Video thanks to Amazon’s acquisition of MGM, now is a great time to go through the whole franchise to see whether the critics got it right.
5 Spectre (2015) – 63%
● Available on to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video
Spectreis the worst Daniel Craig James Bond movie, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes. The movie saw Sam Mendes return as the director from the previous movie, Skyfall, while Christoph Waltz stepped into the franchise as the iconic villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and Dave Bautista provided fans with one of the best Bond movie henchmen ever, playing the sinisterly silent Mr. Hinx.
While the movie did get the lowest rating of Craig’s run from critics, it’s full of great action and has a lot of fantastic fight scenes. The plot proved to be a little confusing for the audience at times, but having Blofeld be responsible for a lot of the negative things that have happened to James Bond was an interesting approach to take. However, ultimately, the movie falls short compared to other standout entries, though Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography still shines as some of the best in the franchise.
4 Quantum Of Solace (2008) – 64%
● Available to stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video
Quantum of Solace is actually the lowest-rated James Bond movie of Daniel Craig’s career according to audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, but it does just edge Spectre in the eyes of the critics. The movie sees James Bond try to avenge the death of Vesper Lynd, which leads him to the villain, Dominic Greene. Similarly to Timothy Dalton’s Bond movie License To Kill, it makes the story personal for Bond and actually shows 007 being unusually aggressive, which ends up making this one of the darkest Bond movies to date.
While certain elements of this take on the character work, the lack of fun isn’t something that audiences have yet come to expect from James Bond, who is normally a lot more cool, calm, and collected in his adventures. The issue with making James Bond as gritty and raw as this movie did is that he loses the spy quality that most fans of the movies enjoy. The gadgets that help make the character so iconic aren’t present, for example, and the visual style of the movie was much more reminiscent of the up-close-and-personal Jason Bourne series than it was of past Bond films.
3 No Time to Die (2021) – 83%
● Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video
After several delays–including the loss of its original director, Danny Boyle–Daniel Craig’s grand finale as James Bond did not disappoint critics, who have ranked it at a satisfying midway point between his tenure’s less loved entries and the heights of its greatest successes. A fitting ranking given how the movie’s story ties up plot threads from several of Craig’s other entries into the franchise.
The movie’s extensive delays were likely to have been fueled in part by the movie’s big surprise moments that have generally proven to work better for big theatrical releases rather than the instant online mauling ground that occurs with same-day streaming releases. No Time to Die certainly offers up a big franchise-first moment at the end, but the consensus of top reviews on Rotten Tomatoes highlight that the main plot, involving Rami Malek’s eccentric doomsday-plot supervillain, delivers most on the things that fans have come to expect from a James Bond movie.
2 Skyfall (2012) – 92%
● Available to stream on Netflix
Skyfall was the first 007 film that Sam Mendes took on as director, and served as a 50th anniversary celebration for Eon Productions’ run of James Bond movies, becoming an instant hit and the highest-grossing entry of Craig’s run as the character at the box office.
Taking an unusually intimate look at the superspy, his history, and his closest relationships, Skyfall brought critics back onto the franchise’s side after Quantum of Solace and breathed some new life into an old concept. The story sees Bond lose his groove before stepping back into the world of espionage to thwart Javier Bardem’s former MI6 agent, who’s hellbent on assassinating M. With Oscar-nominated cinematography from Roger Deakins, as well as committed performances from Craig, Bardem, and Judi Dench in her final movie as M, it’s no wonder why critics ranked it so highly.
1 Casino Royale (2006) – 94%
● Available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video
Casino Royale was the first and, according to the Tomatometer, the best Daniel Craig Bond movie thanks to a winning combination of fight sequences, car stunts, romance, and memorable dialogue. The scenes in the titular casino are incredibly tense, with the script’s mind games being very well assembled on screen to keep the audience engaged and on the edge of their seats throughout.
The opening chase scene is one of the franchise’s best openings, and Daniel Craig confidently proved that he fit the role perfectly from start to finish. The romantic elements of the plot really work also, demonstrating that Craig’s run would seek to change the franchise’s long track record for underwriting female characters.