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Ranking the Best of Bond: The Bond Girls

Sean-Connery-Daniela-Bianchi-From-Russia-With-Love-United-Artists-Everett-063015With the latest James Bond thriller, SPECTRE, set to explode onto movie screens on November 6th, The Workprint is doing its due diligence to rank the characters of this longest running franchise in movie history. And as with all things we’re going to let the ladies go first by ranking the Bond Girls that’ve been by 007’s side since 1962.

Now naturally, James isn’t usually a one-woman man so to qualify for this list we’ve put up the leading lady (AKA the one who James is canoodling with as the end credits start to roll) from each of the 23 films in the official series thus far. There will be a ranking of those other ladies coming in a few weeks.

So without further adieu here is the diffinitive ranking of the leading Bond Girls – how high did your favorite rank?

23. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards – The World Is Not Enough) christmasMemorable Quote: “Do you wanna put that in English for those of us who don’t speak spy?”

Surely you weren’t expecting anyone else in this low spot of honor. The casting of Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist (and the character’s overall existence entirely) is a strange and questionable addition to what is otherwise a completely top-notch Bond film. Most of her lines are as giggle inducing as her wardrobe choices but all of it is almost worth it to hear the film’s immortal closing line: “I thought Christmas only comes once a year.” Oh, James!

22. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles – Moonraker)

hollygoodheadMemorable Quote: “Take me ’round the world one more time.”

Rocket Scientist. Astronaut. CIA Agent. The ridiculously named Holly Goodhead is all of these things. What isn’t she, you ask? Well for starters she’s not played a good actress. It takes some seriously questionable acting skills to make such a potentially exciting woman so wooden, but alas that’s what we got with poor Lois Chiles

21. Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts – A View To A Kill) StacyMemorable Quote: “I’d sell everything and live in a tent before I give up.”

Gorgeous but with a voice of emphysema, Stacey Sutton is yet another beautiful young woman in a laughably ill-suited job. As a San Francisco geologist she comes in handy to deliver exposition on how the film’s villain plans to flood Silicon Valley, but beyond that she’s mostly around to unleash raspy screams every time she gets in trouble. Perhaps most glaring though: SHE LETS A BLIMP SNEAK UP ON HER! So not cool.

20. Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland – The Man With the Golden Gun) marygoodnightMemorable Quote: “Somebody locked me in a boot.”

Over the years James Bond has worked hand in hand with a number of highly intelligent and capable women. Mary Goodnight is not one of them. In fact, the thought of her actually being hired to work for the British Secret Service is so absurd that the only proper reaction to this character is hysteric laughter.

19. Tiffany Case (Jill St. John – Diamonds Are Forever) Tiffany_CaseMemorable Quote: “Keep leaning on that tooter, Charlie, and you’re gonna get a shot in the mouth.”

Tiffany Case is yet another in the line of less than intelligent Bond Girls, which makes her apparent profession of diamond smuggler questionable at best. Her razor sharp sass gives her a bit of an edge over some of the bimbos listed above but she’s still far from being one of Bond’s best mates.

18. Kara Milovy (Maryam d’abo – The Living Daylight) karaMemorable Quote: “Back end of horse!”

Insert snoring noise here for this Eastern European cellist. She could cure the worst insomnia.

17. Camille (Olga Kurylenko – Quantum of Solace)
camille

Memorable Quote: “There is something horribly efficient about you.”

As tradition goes, each Bond film ends with the gorgeous leading lady in his arms for what we assume will be a marathon session of sexy time, but Camille has the distinction of being the one lady to just walk away. And I don’t want to knock her for not putting out (Both she and Bond are clearly broken at the end of the film) but she’s not particularly engaging on any other level either. Humorless and often scowling, Camille just can’t quite compare with her far more charming peers.

16. Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama – You Only Live Twice) Kissy

Memorable Quote: “No honeymoon. This is business.”

Bond Girl names rarely come as enjoyable as the great Kissy Suzuki’s, but unfortunately the movie she stars in fails to make the most of her. For most of You Only Live Twice Bond is accompanied by the ridiculously likable Aki who unfortunately meets her end about ¾ of the way through the flick. In her place we get Kissy as Bond’s undercover wife. Sure, she’s a great swimmer and doesn’t shy away from an epic battle inside a hollowed-out volcano lair, but we never get to know her on a deeper level, which renders her one of the more forgettable ladies to end up in Bond’s arms.

 

 

15. Solitaire (Jane Seymour – Live and Let Die) solitaire

Memorable Quote: “Is there time before we leave, for Lesson Number 3?”

Live and Let Die’s Solitaire has the remarkable power to see the future using her famous tarot cards, which is obviously a lot more than any other Bond Girl can say…BUT when 007 takes away this power along with her virginity she pretty much just turns her into your standard damsel in distress. Seymour was certainly a great beauty at the time but that’s not nearly enough to make up for being a seemingly helpless character.

14. Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell – Licence to Kill) pam

Memorable Quote: “Why don’t you wait until you’re asked?”

At first glance this future Law & Order star doesn’t seem to fit the classic Bond Girl mold but her smarts, piloting skills, and handiness with a shotgun make her one of Bond’s most capable female allies. Just don’t piss her off – she’s a salty one.

13. Severine (Bérénice Marlohe – Skyfall)

Memorable Quote: “One can never be too careful when handsome men in tuxedos carry Walthers.”

In many ways Judi Dench’s ‘M’ was the true leading lady of Skyfall but since 007 never seemed interested in getting naked with his beloved superior I like to consider Bérénice Marlohe’s Severine as the real Bond Girl of that film. Gorgeous, mysterious, and full of va-va-voom appeal, Severine may have been too short-lived to contend as one of the best Bond Girl’s but her appearance was memorable enough to beat out many other members of her cinematic sisterhood.

12. Domino (Claudine Auger – Thunderball)

Memorable Quote: “What sharp little eyes you’ve got.”

Domino is the kind of Bond Girl who – aside from looking fantastic in swimwear – doesn’t really get to do a whole lot except for mourn her dead brother and coldly tease Bond BUT when it comes time to pull her weight she really comes through in a big way. Phew!

 

11. Jinx (Halle Berry – Die Another Day) jinx

Memorable Quote: “Oh, I’ll always be a jinx to you.”

Halle Berry may have been forced to deliver some of the series’ cheesiest one-liners but she makes up for it by kicking all sorts of ass every chance she gets. She even generated enough heat to warrant talks of a spin-off film. It sadly never came to fruition but it’s a fun distinction that helps her stand out from the rest of the crowd.

10. Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi – From Russia With Love) TatianaMemorable Quote: “James, behave yourself. We are being filmed.”

Not every Bond Girl can be a great warrior and Tatiana is an example of one who ranks in the top half of this list for simply being likable. In addition to being a great beauty, Tatiana comes with an innocent and playful nature that is often missing from 007’s leading ladies. In short, she’s the kinda Bond Girl you could take home to Mom.

9. Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco – Goldeneye) Memorable Quote: “You think I’m impressed? All of you with your guns, your killing, your death. For what? So you can be a hero? All the heroes I know are dead.”

Poor Natalya was just a normal, Russian computer programmer when she got swept up into Bond’s adventures and this normally might make for a dull Bond Girl but her stunning looks, insane computer skills, and surprising bravery make her one of 007’s most unlikely but memorable partners.

8. Octopussy (Maud Adams – Octopussy) octopussy

Memorable Quote: “Oh, James, we’re two of a kind. There are vast rewards for a man of your talents, willing to take risks.”

You’ve gotta show respect for the only Bond Girl to have the whole movie named after her! She may have floated in that gray area between hero and villain but this cult leader/circus magnate/smuggler is a woman of great power and demands respects for days.

wailin7. Wai-Lin (Michelle Yeoh – Tomorrow Never Dies)

Memorable Quote: “It’s mostly dull routine, of course, but every now and then you get to sail on a beautiful evening like this and sometimes work with a decadent agent of a corrupt Western power.”

If this was a fighting competition Wai-Lin would be at the top of the list hands down. Never before has Bond worked with someone so physically capable of taking down baddies as efficiently as him. Her solo fight scene in the Vietnamese safe house: Ass-kicking GOLD.

 

 

 

6. Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet – For Your Eyes Only) melinahavelock

Memorable Quote: “I’m half Greek and Greek women like Elektra always avenge their loved ones.”

Everyone loves a good revenge story so it’s hard not to fall a little bit in love with the stunningly gorgeous Melina who heads out into the world of espionage to avenge her murdered parents with crossbow firmly in hand. Bond could have stuck around to make an honest woman out of her but he was clearly embarrassed by her jalopy of a car.

 

 

 

5. Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach – The Spy Who Loved Me) XXXMemorable Quote: “I have never failed on a mission, Commander. Any mission.”

There is probably no Bond Girl more intimidating than Major Anya Amasova who is better known by her Russian comrades as Triple X. She and Bond got off to a rough start (he did kill her lover after all) but their ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’-like pairing grows to be one of the more formidable team-ups in 007’s history. And she also gets bonus points for Bach going on in life to become Mrs. Ringo Starr.

4. Honey Rider (Ursula Andress – Dr. No) Honey

Memorable Quote: “I put a black widow spider underneath his mosquito net… a female and they’re the worst. It took him a whole week to die. Did I do wrong?”

It’s hard to beat the original of anything and as the original Bond Girl, Ursula Andress proves why that’s true. Rising out the ocean in that white bikini is one of the most iconic moments in movie history and created a nearly insurmountable benchmark for all of the women that would follow her into 007’s arms.

pussy3. Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman – Goldfinger)

Memorable Quote: “You can turn off the charm. I’m immune.”

When one hears the term “Bond Girl” it’s almost impossible to not immediately think of Pussy Galore. That cheeky name, her famous roll in the hay with Sean Connery, and that bevy of big-breasted female pilots under her control all make her top notch Bond Girl material. It’s tempting to scoff at the idea of 007 turning this lesbian straight but hey – this is pure fantasy and they don’t get much dreamier than her!

2. Vesper Lynd (Eva Green – Casino Royale)

vesperMemorable Quote: “I’m the money.”

Aside from this list’s number one choice, no Bond Girl has ever had as much impact on Bond as this tragic femme fatale. Vesper managed to get under Bond’s skin in a way that tempted him to leave the service but her ultimate betrayal left him bitter and uttering, “the bitch is dead.” But hey, at least he named his classic martini after her first!

And finally, the greatest Bond girl of all time is…

1. Teresa ‘Tracy’ Bond (Diana Rigg – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) Tracy

Memorable Quote: “Teresa was a Saint; I’m known as Tracy.”

It’s hard to imagine putting any Bond Girl other than Tracy in the Number One spot of this list. Her classic beauty, impeccable style, fierce independence, and athleticism are the traits that made audiences fall in love with her but they also worked their charms on Bond himself, which earned her the distinction of being the only woman to ever actually tie the knot with 007. Regardless of the tragic ending to their love story, Tracy lives on as a beacon of perfection that remains to be topped.

Stay tuned next week for the ranking of the greatest Bond villains!

About Matt DeGroot

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