Ranking the Cold Openings and Final Scenes
Today we rank the Bond Cold Opens and Final Scenes.
Originally this article was going to be just the cold opens and a ranking of our favorite action sequences (with the final scenes list a little easter egg that wasn’t going to be announced in the title), but the sequences list got bigger than I expected and there was no way I was gonna get it up in time, so I just left these by themselves and made the action sequences list a standalone list that’ll go up tomorrow. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.
That said — the two lists do work well together. The cold open leading into the credit sequence is one of the few traditions the franchise will adhere to no matter what. And the final scenes are — well, they’re interesting. I didn’t actually give much thought to listing them until I did the cold opens and realized how — well, you’ll see when we get to them. Not too many of them are memorable.
But, that’s today. Today’s gonna be a pretty simple day, especially as compared to tomorrow. Just wait til we get to tomorrow…
Ranking the Bond Cold Openings
23. Skyfall (temporarily)
Once again, this’ll get ranked as soon as TokyoRemix and I both see the film.
22. Dr. No
There isn’t one. This seemed obvious.
It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Most of the cold openings don’t really have anything to do with the plot, but this one just seemed completely unnecessary. South American base next to horse show, Bond impersonates one of them, an escape, a plane chase — it’s just pretty flat to me. When the most entertaining thing about an opening sequence is a non-sequitur Roger Moore quip, there’s a problem.
20. For Your Eyes Only
It’s offensive and I hate it.
(But outside of the Blofeld thing, I will say the concept is pretty good. But the opinion stands.)
19. A View to a Kill
Pretty much a Spy Who Loved Me rehash, but with the sex at the end, and in a dick sub instead of a cabin. Meh. It’s fine and all, and the location looks nice in HD, it’s just — I’ve seen this before. It’s pretty tiresome. Plus Roger Moore was actually pushing 58 when he did this. You’re gonna put him in a fucking ski chase? Really?
18. Tomorrow Never Dies
It’s a perfectly entertaining opening sequence, it just doesn’t do all that much for me. I don’t know. There’s just not all that much to make it better to me than the rest of the ones on this list.
16. Diamonds Are Forever
It’s Bond out for revenge after Tracy’s death (or going after Blofeld after You Only Live Twice, take your pick). It’s a good opening sequence. Not great, but good. I like that it quickly and easily brings Connery back without making a big deal of it.
I was never a big fan of this one. It works, but it just feels like one of Bond’s bullshit missions. He blows up a drug warehouse, faces no opposition in doing so, then goes back to his hotel room to fuck a belly dancer, is attacked, fights off the guy and leaves the country. There’s not much here outside of Connery being awesome. If it weren’t for Connery, this sequence would be much lower for me.
Of course, it is Goldfinger, so it does remain a classic opening sequence. I just — don’t love it.
15. The Living Daylights
14. Die Another Day
12. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
11. Licence to Kill
10. Live and Let Die
This one’s not online, but basically it begins with someone at the U.N. being killed, then this guy being killed, then someone being sacrificed at a voodoo ceremony. What I like about it is that none of it features Bond, and it’s all just set up for the plot. And the deaths are pretty cool (mostly that one), and then it adds intrigue to what the fuck is going on. I’m sure this is more of a personal decision, and most people wouldn’t put it this high, but what the fuck is this if it’s not my list?
9. The World Is Not Enough
Only half the sequence is online, but it’s the important half.
8. From Russia with Love
7. The Man with the Golden Gun
It’s on Dailymotion, not Youtube. But whatever.
This is a great sequence. Another one without Bond. I love how perfectly it sets up the film. Here’s this badass assassin, and here’s who he’s gonna kill next. Sets up the film perfectly.
5. You Only Live Twice
I only found that section.
3. The Spy Who Loved Me
2. Casino Royale
1. Quantum of Solace
– – – – –
Ranking the Bond Final Scenes
23. Skyfall (temporarily)
Don’t know what it is, and even if I did, I wouldn’t rank it for another two and a half weeks. Copper.
22. For Your Eyes Only
Three words — Margaret Thatcher, parrot. This is easily the worst Bond final scene of all time because the franchise devolved into actual parody of a character. (And you might say that’s the second time they did it in the movie.) At least Willard Whyte is only sort of modeled on Howard Hughes. I don’t think Hughes would have been as dumb as Whyte is. But still — Bond completes one of his typical missions. This one’s not even that bad. He completes the mission, and Margaret Thatcher wants to congratulate him. He doesn’t care, he wants to fuck Melina. So he puts his watch phone on a parrot stand and lets the parrot talk to the prime minister. Seriously? Nothing about this scene works and the combination of this and that cold opening probably make the combination of beginning and end scene the worst in the franchise.
21. Die Another Day
You know why this goes here for me? Because of the abysmal dialogue. The set up is fine — Bond and Jinx get away and are in an oceanfront villa, fucking and enjoying themselves. Thing is, randomly during this chase we find out (by an out-of-nowhere close up) that there are a shitload of diamonds on the plane. So Bond and Jinx abscond with them when they escape and are now fucking all over them, and Jinx is sticking one of them up her butthole — it’s chaos. And Jinx complains how they have to give them back because she wants to keep them, and Bond says they have to give them back, they’re the good guys. But then he says he’s not quite sure how good she is. And she says, “I am so good,” and he says, “Especially when you’re bad.”
And then they fade out and that’s the end of the movie.
What the fuck is that?
That doesn’t even make any sense, and it comes out of nowhere. And that’s how you fade to black? Good fucking riddance, that movie. That line makes it real hard for me to find anything redeeming about the movie. It makes me almost forget how good the first 40 minutes of it are, and how nice its grandmother was to me. No encounter with MI6, no one trying to find him, just a horrible fucking line. If the dialogue were better, this would go higher, but as such, it’s offensive and I hate it.
What a terrible way for Pierce Brosnan to go out.
20. Tomorrow Never Dies
Man, they just shit all over Brosnan with these things, didn’t they? It’s not that this is a bad ending as much as it’s just so fucking abrupt. It’s like they said, “Uhh, we’re running long, gotta get the fuck out of there,” and just ended it as soon as they could. (Which is funny, since the film doesn’t even run two hours.) Here’s what happens — Bond gets rid of Stamper (leaving him chained to an exploding bomb) and dives in the water to save Wai Lin, who is in chains and holding her breath. He dives down and kisses her, giving her air in the process (even though she’d pretty much drowned before he even got down there, but it’s Bond, so we let that stuff go). And the bomb goes off overhead, and then they go back up to the surface. Then they end up on a barge with helicopters looking for them. And Wai Lin says they’re looking for them, and Bond says, “Let’s stay under cover,” and it ends. Now, it’s not horrible (though that line is), but it happens so goddamn quickly that it’s literally like Scout finishing her breakfast after she tied to run out for school and Atticus told her to finish eating before she left. Just do it as quickly as possible and get the fuck out of there. That’s no way to end a Bond movie. Shame on you.
Mostly because it’s generic and uninspired like the rest of the film is. Bond and Octopussy escape Kahn’s plane before it explodes. Then we cut to MI6, who say that Bond will be recovering for a few months. Then we cut to him in traction on Octopussy’s boat, and she laments that he’s in traction. Then he removes himself from his braces and proceeds to fuck her. Now, this is good in theory, but if you were in traction, do you really think you could just remove the braces to fuck like that? If so, then you don’t really need the braces. So any kind of interest that had is taken away. It’s a generic final scene.
18. The Living Daylights
Bond has killed Brad Whitaker and General Koskov has been taken away, presumably to be shot. (And maybe cornholed a few times, because that’s fun.) We cut to Kara, having a concert in Vienna, her dream, with M and General Gogol there, for some reason. They lament that Bond is on another mission and couldn’t be there and make fun of some A-rabs, just to pass the time. Then Kara, sad, goes back to her dressing room to find Bond (and two martinis, the only touch about this ending that I liked) waiting for her.
There are two things I don’t like about this ending. First, Bond uses his key ring to show that he’s there. I guess it’s like a motif between them or something. Yawn. Second — it’s like a fucking romantic comedy. I mean, seriously? They only did this shit with Dalton. They wanted to go for a more serious Bond, and then they made his scenes with women like a fucking Meg Ryan movie. You can’t have both. But go ahead dive into that pool.
Speaking of which…
17. Licence to Kill
What was I just saying about Dalton? Now, this one should go much lower, but I’m being nice with this one. Bond is at a party at Sanchez’s former house, which is now Lupe’s house. Lupe thanks him for all he did for her and kisses him. Pam sees this and gets upset and storms off. Bond then leaves Lupe and jumps off the balcony and into the pool to show Pam he really cares for her. It’s also romantic comedy shit (though I do enjoy him jumping into the pool, even though it’s not a Bond thing to do at all), and made even worse by the fact that I feel he chose the wrong woman? How can you turn down Lupe for Pam? Seriously. Like I said, this should be much lower for me, but I like the idea of him jumping into the pool. I don’t know. It’s still not good. Actually, now that I think about it, this should be #18. But I’m too lazy to change it. Whatever. It’s an easter egg list. You should just be happy to be getting it. Don’t get all up in my shit about technicalities.
16. The Man with the Golden Gun
Scaramanga is dead, and Bond and Goodnight are sailing away on the junk. Bond says it’s finally Goodnight’s turn to get fucked by him, and they start getting busy. The Nick Nack shows up and tries to kill Bond (I guess because Bond fucked him out of his inheritance). Then there’s a comic midget chase, and Bond locks Nick Nack in a suitcase. Then it’s implied that Bond throws him overboard. Bond and Goodnight go to fuck, but then MI6 calls him up. Bond is too busy fucking, and puts down the phone. M shouts, “Goodnight? Goodnight!” and Bond says, “Goodnight, sir,” and hangs up the phone. Honestly, had it stopped there, this would have went higher. But then they cut to Nick Nack tied to the mast of the ship, which is really just a shot that doesn’t need to be there. So I dock that final scene for that shot. (I’ll even ignore the song that plays at the end, since a bunch of these films have questionable song choices over the end credits.)
It’s abrupt, and it’s not really all that interesting. The final showdown itself is rushed and poorly edited. The real climax of the film is that underwater battle. Once we get above water, it’s not that interesting. The boat careens out of control — whatever. Anyway, they get off the boat, it explodes and kills Largo. Then Bond pops open a raft and he and Domino get inside. Then a plane comes, and like Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight, a skyhook picks them up out of the water and they fly away.
I could rank this higher except — there’s no final line! Bond and Domino escape off the boat with a dude who helps Domino escape (I think he’s a scientist or something), and the dude says, “I can’t swim,” and Bond says, “Well there’s no better time to learn,” or something like that, and pushes him overboard. And we never see him again. Presumably he’s dead. And then they get in the raft, and are picked up. And there’s no final line in the film. I can’t accept an ending where Bond doesn’t say anything? How you gonna let Domino go out like that? She’s one of the better Bond girls ever. You’re not even gonna let them fuck on the raft? (Also, as I go through this list, I notice how few of the girls Bond actually fucks. We don’t know for sure that Bond and Domino fuck. Same for Kissy Suzuki. We just assume they fucked. Which really makes that “Bond doesn’t sleep with Camille argument” seem like whining. Since I know we like to think they fuck, and there’s nothing to say they don’t fuck — but come on. Bond doesn’t actually sleep with a lot of primary Bond girls by the end of the movie.)
14. Diamonds Are Forever
This should probably be lower, but it just kind of ended up here by default. Bond presumably kills Blofeld at the oil rig, and then he and Tiffany go off on a cruise together. Apparently it’s a gay cruise, because Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd are also on it. They pose as waiters and try to kill Bond. He lights Mr. Kidd’s kabobs on fire and sends him overboard, and Mr. Wint ends up being blown up by the bomb hidden in the bombe surprise (get it?). And then Bond and Tiffany go to fuck and she looks up at the stars (one of which is Blofeld’s satellite made from all the diamonds he’s stolen) and says, “How the hell are we gonna get those diamonds down?” Now, in a way, this is the first Bond ending to use the trope of the henchman (in this case, henchmen) coming to kill him at the very end for one last action scene, but in another way — it’s just not that interesting. It’s all right, but it’s really not one of the better endings out there. But on the other hand, it’s memorable, so I guess that counts. Definitely on the lower half of the list for me, though.
13. A View to a Kill
Bond has just thrown Zorin off the Golden Gate and Zorin’s airship has exploded. He goes back to Stacey’s house, and the two of them go have a shower and fuck. And MI6 wants to know Bond’s status (as usual), and Q sends in his little robot to find him. And the robot goes into the shower and sees the two of them in there getting busy (we’ll ignore how creepy it is that Bond was older than Tanya Roberts’ mother at the time), and Bond sees the robot and throws a towel over it so it can’t see them and continues to fuck her.
Honestly, there really was no better way for Roger Moore to go out. I’m a fan of this ending for the film and for his tenure. Solid all around. (The ending, not the tenure. The tenure was pretty rocky, all things considered. Though he did shepherd the franchise through some rough times, so I’ll give him that.)
12. Quantum of Solace
It’s tough for me to rank this one, because it’s so tied to Casino Royale. So Bond takes care of Dominic Greene and then goes to confront Vesper’s boyfriend. He finds her with a Canadian intelligence chick, about to pull the same shit he did on Vesper again. Bond holds him at gunpoint, sends the chick out of there, and presumably is about to kill the guy. But then we cut to him leaving, and M outside (with some agents about to bring the dude in). Bond says he didn’t kill him, and we get some wrap-up exposition. Bond says that M was right about Vesper, says he “never left” and drops Vesper’s locket in the snow, finally over her. It’s a pretty quiet ending. It gets the job done, and is very subtly a good ending for the film and for the character, but it just doesn’t lack the punch most Bond endings have. It’s fitting though, so that’s why I ranked it so high. I couldn’t put it top ten, though. I just couldn’t.
Bond and Goodhead have just escaped Drax’s exploding space station. They’re in a spaceship and are fucking in zero gravity. MI6 peeks in on them and sees them fucking. Bond looks at the video link and smiles. Then goes back to fucking. And M asks what Bond is doing, and Q says, “I think he’s attempting reentry, sir.” (Genius.) And then Goodhead says, before they fade out, “Oh James, take me around the world one more time.” Now — this would go higher for me, though it’s pretty much a rehash of the Spy Who Loved Me ending. That docked it a bit for me. But still — it’s a great ending. This is what Bond endings should be.
10. The World Is Not Enough
I’m a sucker for this one. I do like it. Bond and Christmas have gotten off Renard’s sub and are now in Turkey. MI6 is looking for him. They use an infrared scanner that’s built into his car. They search the surrounding area for him. It picks up body heat. It shows him on a roof. It goes from orange to red, indicating his body heat is rising. M says she thought he was with Dr. Jones. We see a leg move out from under him. They’re fucking. Then new Q closes the computer to give them privacy and says it must be “some form of the new millenium bug.” And then we cut to Bond who says, “I was wrong about you. I thought Christmas comes only once a year.” Look — as someone who will go anywhere for a great/terrible pun, there is no way that if I were writing this movie and I thought of that line that I wouldn’t have done the exact same thing. So, to me, that line, and that ending, is perfect.
9. Live and Let Die
Bond and Solitaire are on a train, playing cards. She wants to fuck. So they go to fuck. But Tee Hee is on the train. There’s one last boss fight, and Bond manages to throw Tee Hee out the window. He then opens up the bed (where Solitaire was stuck for the fight) and she asks what he was doing, and he says, “Just being disarming, darling,” and then they go to fuck. And then we cut outside the train, where Baron Samedi is sitting at the end of the car. And he looks into the camera and laughs. Now, I know TokyoRemix doesn’t like the ending, because he doesn’t know whether it’s implied that Baron Samedi is immortal or not. I, personally don’t care. I think the ending on its own is pretty great, and I think the tag, whatever it implies, of Baron Samedi is a perfect little bow on the film. So I’m a fan of the ending. It’s certainly one of the most memorable final shots of the franchise, so that alone puts it on the better half of this list.
I like this because of one image in particular. Bond and Natalya escape the destroyed hideout and are about to fuck in the grass. She’s nervous, but Bond says “there’s no one around for miles.” And just then we hear Jack Wade go, “Yo, Jimbo!”, and he comes waltzing right up to them. And they wonder how the fuck he knew where they were. And he said he told them he’d be there, and then up pops a platoon full of marines, who were all around Bond and Natalya the entire time, hiding as weeds and bushes and shit. It’s a pretty great shot. And then they give them a ride back home and Natalya chides Bond about getting onto a helicopter with him, since every form of transport she’s shared with him to that point has blown up. And he says, “Darling, what could possibly go wrong?” I think that’s a pretty solid ending, in all. I can’t really find any fault with it, and with a good portion of the films not really having good/memorable endings, that makes this one of the best ones by default.
7. The Spy Who Loved Me
Bond and Triple X escape Atlantis as it is destroyed and end up in Stromberg’s escape pod, which is set up seemingly to fuck women. They’re picked up by a ship and are met by M and General Gogol. They open up the windows to the pod and find the two of them fucking. And they ask Bond what he’s doing, and he says, “Just keeping up the British end, sir,” and closes the window and goes back to fucking. It’s an ending so good they took it for The Fifth Element.
The plane window is shot out, Goldfinger is sucked out, and Bond and Pussy bail before the plane hits the ocean (and explodes as soon as it hits the surface. Wonder how that one worked). And they’re safe in the forest somewhere with a parachute, as Felix and the CIA look for them in a helicopter. And Pussy stands up to get their attention (you’d think the giant orange and white parachute would do the trick), but Bond pulls her down and says, “This is no time to be rescued,” and pulls her under the parachute so they can fuck. It’s a great ending.
5. You Only Live Twice
Bond and Kissy have just escaped Blofeld’s volcano lair before it explodes. They’re on a raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Bond turns to Kissy and says, “Now, about that honeymoon…”, since they’re sort of married (though not really), and they haven’t fucked yet. Kissy says, “They’ll never let you stay,” and Bond says, “But they’ll never find us.” And then, as soon as that happens, an MI6 sub appears from underwater (the one from the beginning) and picks up the raft as it surfaces. And M tells Moneypenny to have Bond come report, and Moneypenny, eager to cockblock, says, “With pleasure, sir.” I love the idea of the sub picking up the life raft. It’s pretty great.
4. Dr. No
Sometimes the oldies are the besties. Bond and Honey have just gotten out of Dr. No’s lair before it exploded, and are drifting in a boat in the middle of the ocean. Out of nowhere comes Felix and the navy with a tow. Felix says he’s sure Bond doesn’t need it, but ties the boat up anyway. Then Bond and Honey start kissing and are clearly about to fuck, and Bond loosens the tow line and lets it slip free, leaving them adrift in the sea, about to get their fuck on. Honestly, the only thing keeping this from number three is a visual moment that I’ll explain in a second.
3. From Russia with Love
Bond has just survived a fight on a train with a highly-trained assassin, a helicopter that was trying to run him over like it was a car, and a bunch of henchmen in boats. Now he’s in Venice with Tatiana, having gotten the Lektor machine he was after and having recovered the footage of him and Tatiana fucking that SPECTRE was going to plant on their corpses. And he looks at it and goes, “He was right, you know,” which, admittedly doesn’t make much sense in the finished film (there’s a deleted scene where Grant explains what the film is and goes, “What a performance”), but still works anyway. And she asks what the film is, and he says, “I’ll show you,” and starts kissing her. And then they lay down in the gondola and Bond throws the film overboard and waves goodbye to it, and over the image of his hand waving is the “The End.” It’s absolutely perfect.
2. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
“There’s no hurry, you see. We have all the time in the world.”
Dead silence, just focusing on the bullet hole in the windshield as the credits roll. It’s such a ballsy ending that I can’t believe they even did it. Based on pure cinematic impact to the character, this should be #1. It’s definitely the most memorable ending to a Bond movie. It’s made more powerful to me because — think about film in general, and then think about mainstream, blockbuster films. How many of them do you think would have the balls to end a movie with a moment like this? Someone dies, it’s quiet, the hero doesn’t win, the villains get away, and a woman is dead in the front seat of a car. How many movies do you think would have the balls to end like that? (Also, to point out — Bond did it before Chinatown.) None that would get the kind of theatrical release a Bond movie would have. That alone should put this number one. But — well… you’ll see why it’s not in a second. But I do consider this a joint number one. I just — if I had to rank them, I’d go for the one that always causes the immediate emotional response.
1. Casino Royale
“The name’s Bond. James Bond.”
I’m sorry, this has to be number one. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is the more powerful ending and all that, but that one doesn’t make me nut in my pants the way this one does. This was the perfect ending to that movie. If you didn’t already love the new Bond by that point, you fucking did when he said that line. There’s no way this isn’t the one final scene in all the Bond movies that makes you the most giddy. It has to be number one.