How successful each lead has been in the James Bond movies

Playing a world-famous spy really pays off at the box office


    Ever since the early ‘50s, the world has been in love with the suave and sophisticated secret agent, James Bond. Initially brought to life in Ian Fleming’s novels, the character has been impressing audiences on the big screen for over 55 years now. During that time, many different people have played the role of Bond, with each of them bringing their own unique charm to the character. If you’ve ever wondered how each actor fared at the box office, you’ll be glad to know we combed through all the James Bond movies to find which of their films performed the best.

    ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (George Lazenby)

    Having only ever appeared in one Bond film, it’s pretty obvious which of George Lazenby’s movies was his most successful. In 1969, he played the secret agent in, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” taking over the role from Sean Connery. Lazenby was something of an unknown at the time, and that may have hurt the film’s chances of commercial success. Raking in around $64,600,000, it became the second-lowest grossing movie in the series. Reviews at the time also weren’t great, although modern interpretations of the picture have been a little more favorable.

    ‘Thunderball’ (Sean Connery)

    If it weren’t for Sean Connery, the James Bond movies might never have become as popular as they are today. The actor was the first to ever hit the big screen as the secret agent, and he remained in the role for six successful movies. Out of all these, “Thunderball” performed the best commercially, raking in an estimated $141,200,000 at the box office. It was quite a jump from his first outing, 1962’s “Dr. No,” which still stands as the series’ worst grossing movie. However, it’s impact lives on, as does Connery’s unforgettable time in the driving seat.

    ‘The Living Daylights’ (Timothy Dalton)

    Another actor who only played Bond briefly, Timothy Dalton appeared in just two movies during the late ‘80s. These were “The Living Daylights” and “License to Kill,” with the former the more successful of the two. It brought in over $191,000,000 after it debuted in 1987, and received relatively good reviews too. Some people showed concern over the darker, more serious tone that Dalton brought to the franchise. However, others felt that the change of pace was ideal for a movie series that’s always revamping itself.

    ‘Moonraker’ (Roger Moore)

    With seven separate appearances in the franchise, Roger Moore takes the award for playing the lead in more James Bond movies than anyone else. Working alongside directors like Guy Hamilton, Lewis Gilbert, and John Glen, the actor produced some of the most beloved movies in the series. Out of all these, “Moonraker” stands as the most commercially successful with earnings of $210,300,000. It might not have been Moore’s best-received film, but its visual effects were nominated for an Academy Award. That was probably down to its massive budget, with “Moonraker” also Roger’s most expensive movie to make as well.

    ‘Die Another Day’ (Pierce Brosnan)

    The Pierce Brosnan collection of James Bond movies didn’t always get things right, with “Die Another Day” considered one of the worst in the series. However, from a commercial standpoint, this era was one of the best. All of the movies raked in over $300,000,000, with the aforementioned critical failure topping the list at $432,000,000. Intriguingly, Pierce Brosnan is the only James Bond actor whose most successful movie changes if inflation is taken into account. In that instance, “Goldeneye” actually leads the pack with $518,500,000.

    ‘Skyfall’ (Daniel Craig)

    Daniel Craig’s third outing in the franchise is not only his most successful film, but it’s also the highest-grossing of all 24 Bond films. Pulling in over $1,100,000,000, “Skyfall’s” action-packed scenes and insane budget ensured people made the effort to go out and see it. Although Craig’s reportedly bowing out after 2020’s “No Time to Die,” he can feel proud of his success over the last twelve years. The ticket sales of his four movies alone make up nearly half of the $6,800,000,000 total that the series has made at the box office. Not bad, Mr. Bond, not bad at all.


    Given that the next film is said to be Craig’s last, we expect that people will be eager to see how this actor’s story ends. Whether that will help “No Time to Die” become the best-grossing of all the James Bond movies, we don’t know yet. However, we wouldn’t put it past the franchises’ most successful actor to pull it out of the bag once again.