The Bond franchise was in need of a shot in the arm after the retirement of Pierce Brosnan and an over-reliance on wonky effects and bad gags. Step up, Daniel Craig, previously best known for films like Layer Cake and Munich. GoldenEye director Martin Campbell returns behind the camera, and the script takes the character right back to the beginning—when Bond first earns his 007 licence—by drawing on Ian Fleming's 1953 novel of the same name. Punchy, serious-faced and infused with tragic romance, this winner became an immediate Bond classic. We have no problem ranking it this high.—DC
Theme song: Soundgarden's late Chris Cornell punches in with a workmanlike soft-rock entry in the Bond song canon. Catchy enough, hardly legendary.
The Bond girl: Born to this kind of role, Eva Green is Vesper Lynd, an agent for the British Treasury with whom Bond falls in love. Their relationship offers more than the usual brief moment of eye candy.
The killer moment: A parkour chase on a construction crane showed Craig's Bond to be a no-nonsense physical presence.