A Woman’s Guide To The 15 Best (And 5 Worst!) James Bond Girls

A Woman’s Guide To The 15 Best (And 5 Worst!) James Bond Girls

Spectre, the new James Bond film, is finally out and to mixed reviews. What better time to reflect on the best and worst Bond girls the franchise has ever seen? Bond has changed over the years from a serial seducer of women to a more progressive, if sexually more boring, spy who you wouldn’t be entirely surprised to find out was questioning his sexuality. As Bond has changed, so have the women. But the best Bond women — sometimes villains, sometimes victims, sometimes both — are gorgeous in a swimming suit, tough but vulnerable, and very smart. The worst are gorgeous in a swimming suit, which is not nothing!

Here’s a completely arbitrary list of one woman’s favorite and least favorite Bond girls. Feel free to add yours or take issue with my assessment in the comments.

Worst: Dr. Christmas Jones

Denise Richards Christmas Jones
The Film: The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Played By: Denise Richards
Why?: “Christmas comes only once a year.”

I’m a fan of Richards, whose cinematic achievements include the role of White She Devil in Undercover Brother, the most important film of 2002. Her assets are ample, and there is something charming about her acting limitations. But wow is this bad. Richards plays a brilliant nuclear scientist who wears very little clothing and is named Christmas Jones for the sole reason that the writers wanted to make the joke above. Even for Bond puns, this one’s a croaker. And unfortunately Richards doesn’t hold her own in this very important role. You can watch the worst Christmas puns here.

Weakest: Stacey Sutton

StaceySutton
The Film: A View To A Kill (1985)
Played By: Tanya Roberts
Why?: Critics hated this movie. It was more product placement than plot, and Roger Moore was simply too old to play the part. But it had a lot going for it — great song, Christopher Walken as the villain, the amazing Grace Jones doing her thing. But wow was Roberts a weak Bond girl. She said recently that she believed the movie had cursed her from getting subsequent roles. In fact, it may just have been her acting that limited her future prospects.

Most Lackluster Character: Solitaire

JaneSeymour
The Film: Live And Let Die (1973)
Played By: Jane Seymour
Why?: Seymour is a beautiful woman. Her character was kind of meh and unmemorable.

Least Present: Paris Carver

TeriHatcherBond
The Film: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Played By: Teri Hatcher
Why?: Hatcher reportedly only took the part to fulfill her husband’s desire to be married to a Bond girl. But even so, her inability to embrace her character was notable. She was also pregnant during filming, so maybe a case of morning sickness kept her from really throwing herself into the subtle and complex character that Bond girls are known for.

Most Disappointing: Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson

Halle Berry James Bond
The Film: Die Another Day (2002)
Played By: Halle Berry
Why?: No snag.

Berry is a gorgeous woman. And her homage to Ursula Andress is great. She played the Bond girl role right after winning an Oscar, making her easily one of the most high-profile Bond girls in history. Which is why her actual role was disappointing. The entire movie was weak, and while her orange bikini is one for the ages, it did a better job of acting than she did. Berry’s character didn’t actually contribute much to the movie’s plot, and she didn’t really seem convincingly interested in Bond or vice versa.

OK, now let’s move on to the best Bond girls.

#15: Lucia Sciarra

MonicaBelluci
The Film: Spectre (2015)
Played By: Monica Bellucci
Why?: OK, so maybe she won’t deserve to be on this list, but Bellucci is an intriguing choice for Bond girl. She has a powerful screen presence, and at age 50, she’s the oldest Bond girl woman yet. She’s so sexy that she might even reinvigorate Bond’s lagging libido.

#14: Mary Goodnight

Mary_Goodnight_(Britt_Ekland)_-_Profile
The Film: The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
Played By: Britt Ekland
Why?: I have such a strong dislike for the ditzy, pining Bond girl. The one exception is Ekland, who embraces the role and makes it sympathetic and more complex than most others.

#13: Tiffany Case

Jill St. John
The Film: Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Played By: Jill St. John
Why?: St. John plays the rival of Plenty O’Toole for Bond’s affections. She wins, in no small part thanks to O’Toole ending up underwater in a pool. Kind of ditzy, but more naive, and very funny for a Bond girl.

#12: Andrea Anders/Octopussy

Octopussy
The Films: The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) and Octopussy (1983)
Played By: Maud Adams
Why?: Such a good Bond girl, Adams came back for a second round. Her role as Miss Anders is oddly compelling, playing a woman who is in a bad situation and both scared and desperate to get out of it. She is calm and determined, even if she ends up dead. In Octopussy she is less compelling, beginning as a villain (but not much of one) before coming to the good side.

#11: Lupe Lamora

TalisaSoto
The Film: License to Kill (1989)
Played By: Talisa Soto
Why?: On the strength of her kiss with Bond alone.

#10: Pussy Galore

PussyGalore
The Film: Goldfinger (1964)
Played By: Honor Blackmon
Why?: Everything: the name, the fashion, the ridiculous career (leader of a flying circus), the villainy, the humor, and that she is an alluring sex object and five years older than Connery.

#9: Jill Masterson

ShirleyEaton
The Film: Goldfinger (1964)
Played By: Shirley Eaton
Why?: Yes, this movie was swimming in good Bond girls. Intelligent and kind, she’s first seen helping Goldfinger cheat at card games. After she betrays him and ends up in bed with Bond, she’s killed in most dramatic fashion (see above!).

#8: May Day

Grace Jones
The Film: A View To A Kill (1985)
Played By: Grace Jones
Why?: Everyone hates this film, but I kind of love it because of Jones — one of the most compelling performers around. Even though the movie didn’t do much with her, it did enough. A vicious villain, she is one of the few women convincingly cast as physically dangerous. Her sexual confidence oozes everywhere and is impossible to ignore. She’s tremendously underrated and if you missed this recent New York Times profile, be sure to read it. Also this NSFW hula-hoop performance of “Slave To The Rhythm.”

#7: Wai Lin

Yeoh
The Film: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Played By: Michelle Yeoh
Why?: She was easily the best thing about this movie and completely held her own against Bond. Not as a Bond girl, per se, but as an action star in her own right.

#6: Anya Amasova (Agent Triple X)

BBachBond
The Film: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Played By: Barbara Bach
Why?: I always thought Bach was the perfect Bond girl for a movie whose theme song was “Nobody Does It Better,” sung by Carly Simon. Amasova is a KGB agent who is extremely tough and fearless. And looks great with a gun.

#5: Dominetta “Domino” Vitali

Domino
The Film: Thunderball (1965)
Played By: Claudine Auger
Why?: She’s the mistress of the villain but has an immediate connection with Bond when he rescues her in a freak underwater accident. There are so many bathing suits! And they’re all fantastic. Also dramatic rescues. Auger’s Domino is better than Kim Basinger’s later version, but they’re both pretty good.

#4: Tracy Bond

DianaRigg
The Film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Played By: Diana Rigg
Why?: The only woman to marry Bond, and the only Bond woman for George Lazenby. Unlike most Bond girls who just served to advance the plot, Rigg exuded cool in her own right in a way that very few other Bond girls have.

#3: Vesper Lynd

Eva Green
The Film: Casino Royale (2006)
Played By: Eva Green
Why?: Nearly the platonic ideal of a Bond girl. She was unbelievably sexy and also managed to cultivate a real air of mystery around her character. She was a major reason why the franchise came roaring back.

#2: Fiona Volpe

Paluzzi
The Film: Thunderball (1965)
Played By: Luciana Paluzzi
Why?: She’s a secondary villain in the movie and so interesting. She also belittles Bond in such a hot way. Right before taking him captive, she says:

“But of course, I forgot your ego, Mr. Bond. James Bond, the one where he has to make love to a woman, and she starts to hear heavenly choirs singing. She repents, and turns to the side of right and virtue…but not this one!”

Also, her betrayal and death are pretty epic.

#1: Honey Ryder

ursula
The Film: Dr. No (1962)
Played By: Ursula Andress
Why?: Mostly the bathing suit, but there is something about Andress that is enchanting even with more clothing. Her speaking and singing parts were dubbed in, but the role she embodied is iconic — a beautiful woman, somewhat liberated from sexual mores, needing the aid of Bond. She added the mystery and gobsmacking beauty that stick with us to this day.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. She is Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College and a Fox News contributor. Follow her on Twitter at @mzhemingway
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