Ranking the Man With the Golden Gun

I previously ranked some of the James Bond movies here and here. Last week my son and I saw The Man With the Golden Gun, from 1974 and starring Roger Moore as Bond and Christopher Lee as the villain Scaramanga, an assassin who uses a golden gun. Even though the gun is only capable of firing one (golden) bullet at a time, Scaramanga is such a skillful marksman that he always kills his target. We’ve been seeing a lot of the classic Bonds, so this is the first I have seen with my son that was really bad.

Since the Bond movies are formulaic and their quality is based on how well they fulfill the formula, I created a little rubric to rank the Bond movies, with several categories a movie can get points in. I’m going to adjust the scoring system slightly here, awarding 2 points if the movie is one of the top 3 Bond movies for a category, and 1 point if it’s in the top 7 (changed from the top 6). Here are the criteria, with a maximum of 14 points available:

Story/Plot–2 points–Is the plot coherent and logical? Are the stakes high?  (2 points, top 3; 1 point, top 7)

Action–2 points–Are the stunts exciting? The car chases thrilling?  (2 points, top 3; 1 point, top 7)

Villain–2 points–What’s a Bond movie without dastardly villains and their henchmen? (2 points, top 3; 1 point, top 7)

Setting–2 points–The Bond movies are all about exotic locations. (2 points, top 3; 1 point, top 7)

Gadgets, Vehicles, Lairs–2 points–What’s the cool stuff?  (2 points, top 3; 1 point, top 7)

Bond girls–2 points–The ladies, oh yes, the ladies. (2 points, top 3; 1 point, top 7)

Sean Connery or Daniel Craig?–1 point–These are the best Bonds (no need to debate) and get an automatic extra point if appearing in the film.

Musical theme–1 point if in the top 5

The Man With the Golden Gun
Story/Plot–The dialogue in this is terrible, and the stakes are almost comically low. Scaramanga has stolen some sort of device that allows solar power panels to become much more efficient. Why the British Secret Service would care about this is not really clear.  (0 points)
Action–The action scenes are highly implausible without being interesting. (0 points)
Villain–Christopher Lee brings an enthusiasm and energy to his role that I like, and his henchman Nick Nack, a little person played by Herve Villechaize (i.e. Tattoo on Fantasy Island), is sufficiently weird to earn a top 7. (1 point)
Setting–Some decent scenes in Hong Kong and Bangkok and a stunning location on a remote island in the South China Sea. Top 7. (1 point)
Gadgets, Vehicles, Lairs–Scaramanga’s cool island mansion/hideout gets points for being, along with the underwater lair in The Spy Who Loved Me and the beach house in Thunderball, one of the villain lairs most people would actually like to have as a real vacation house. Top 7 (1 point)
Bond Girls–Britt Ekland as Mary Goodnight is pretty useless, but astoundingly beautiful. Barely makes the top 7. (1 point)
SC or DC? No
Music–This is the worst music of any Bond I have seen so far. It’s like they saw that rock music could work as a theme song in Live and Let Die, but decided all rock music sounds the same, so why pay for anything good? (0 points)
Total: 4 points

Rejiggered points for other movies, taking into account current movie and slight change in scoring system:
Thunderball (+1) moves into top 7 for story/plot
Goldfinger (+1) moves into top 7 for action

And, here are the updated results:
1) The Spy Who Loved Me, 12 points
2) Goldfinger (10 points)
3, 4) Casino Royale, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (tied with 9 points)
5, 6) Skyfall, Thunderball (tied with 6 points)
7, 8) Live and Let Die, Spectre tied with 5 points
9) The Man With the Golden Gun (4 points)

One Comment on “Ranking the Man With the Golden Gun

  1. Pingback: Ranking From Russia With Love – Nicholas Bruner

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