Nobody did it better. 007 reasons why Roger Moore was the best Bond.
I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Roger Moore yesterday. His interpretation of Bond was my father's favorite. And just as favorite sports teams are passed down to sons, my father passed down his favorite Bond to me. When it came time for me to watch the Bond films, some of the first ones I saw were with Roger Moore. He was the suavest of the Bonds and his take on Bond was probably the smoothest character in the history of cinema (and that's counting Lando Calrissian). I loved his films as a kid and they are still my favorite Bond films today. Admittedly, I write this post with a strong bias, but here are what I believe to be 7 objective reasons for why Roger Moore was the best Bond:
1. He beat Connery in the "Battle of the Bonds"
Yes, the comparison of Connery and Moore is a debate that has boggled pop culture enthusiasts' minds as much who was the better captain, Kirk or Picard? Many people forget that the question of who was the better Bond, Connery or Moore, was settled long ago in 1983. Because of a legal battle for the film rights to Thunderball, Sean Connery was able to reprise the role of 007 once again in 1983's unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again. What made this even more interesting was the fact that Octopussy, Roger Moore's sixth Bond film, was released that same year. Octopussy earned $183.7 million at the box office that year, while Connery's film earned $160 million. Thus, Moore was the winner in box office receipts as his film out grossed Connery's by $23.7 million. Thus, it was Moore who was more popular than Connery in a rare, one-on-one contest that often does not take place with big franchises like the Bond films. Beyond that Moore's Octopussy is the better film because it has better stunts, more exotic locales, and Moore is more comfortable in the role than Connery, who had taken a 12 year hiatus from Bond since Diamonds are Forever.
2. He played 007 the longest
Roger Moore was James Bond from 1973 until 1985. His 12 years as 007 cemented his status as the one and only Bond in the minds of many young gen x'ers, including my father's. I think one of the things I loved most about Roger Moore was that he truly loved playing 007. Sure, there were some long negotiations that happened for his later films, but out of all the Bonds he was the most eager pick up that Walther PPK and play Bond again. Fortunately, because of his attitude towards playing Bond we were able to enjoy seven official Bond films starring Roger Moore, more than any other Bond actor.
3. He didn't need to beat women for information, he seduced them with his charm
There was a scene in The Man with the Golden Gun, Moore's second film, where the filmmakers tried to have Moore physically abuse a woman to get information from her, much like the Bond in Connery's films. It didn't work however. Moore wasn't believable as a misogynistic brute. His suave, sophisticated style was more suited to a Bond that was a well-mannered English gentleman and after that early film his Bond evolved to become just that. Moore's Bond used his charm, not his fists to get information from women. Most of all those whom he seduced usually stayed on his side as allies afterward they succumbed to his charms.
4. He had the best one liners
Even hardcore Connery fans must agree, no one could deliver a one liner like Roger Moore. Moore's Bond had the perfect combination of comedy and elegance. While Connery's or Dalton's one liners were used to take the edge off of serious situations and Brosnan's often fell flat, Moore's one liners were genuinely funny. Sometimes I will watch one of Moore's Bonds that I haven't seen in awhile and I will laugh out loud at his one liners. This is one area of Bond fandom that is inarguable.
5. He was the best dressed Bond
Many Bond fans will disagree with me on this. They will say Moore's safari suits belong in the 70's along with the flared trousers he sometimes wore. However, any of the above pictures should be convincing enough of Moore's timeless style. Connery's skinny ties and suits are akin to the suits from Mad Men, attractive but stuck in the sixties. Lazenby had a nice three piece suit, but the rest of his clothes are too embedded in the late 60's style. Dalton was a dressed down Bond because he wanted to portray Bond as a less sophisticated and more down to earth spy. Because of this Dalton's Bond suffers more than any other Bond in the wardrobe department. Brosnan's Bond also did not have a very elegant wardrobe, with his suits being more rooted in a European banker look, resulting in a more everyday look for Bond. Moore's clothing as Bond is so influential it has even influenced some of Craig's outfits as evidenced by the picture comparison below:
Moore's clothing style was and still is right where it should be, more sophisticated than the common man, but not so garish as to be unattractive.
6. He carried a real man's weapon
Connery or Dalton fans will talk about how Roger Moore was too light to be taken seriously as Bond. Those same fans don't mention how their favorite Bonds never carried a nickel plated .44 magnum like Moore did in Live and Let Die. One of the biggest problems with the Bond films is that they often do not have Bond use the proper weapon for the task at hand. A .32 caliber Walther PPK will get by on some occasions, but when more firepower is needed Bond often carries the ill-suited and relatively small calibered .32 PPK. Not the case in Moore's first outing, with the high-powered S&W .44 magnum he uses to intimidate and dispatch of voodoo cult members. Out of all the Bonds and their guns, Moore's .44 magnum was the most powerful handgun Bond ever carried and there is nothing unmanly about that.
7. He was voted the best Bond in two Academy Awards polls
In 2004 and 2008, Roger Moore was voted the best Bond in Academy Awards polls. That's right, in a poll (2008) that was post-Craig, Moore was deemed to be the best Bond. If an Oscar were given out for best Bond, Moore would have received it twice.
Moore's Bond was more debonair, more charming, and more capable than any other Bond. We will never forget you Roger. You were the best.
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