NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN
1983, Park Circus/MGM, 134 min, UK/USA, Dir: Irvin Kershner

Sean Connery learned not to say “never” when he returned to the screen as James Bond after swearing off the role following DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. In this second adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Thunderball, the British Secret Service agent must recover a pair of nuclear warheads stolen by SPECTRE operative Maximillian Largo (Klaus Maria Brandauer). Made outside of the franchise’s usual Eon Productions, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN features some new faces playing familiar characters (Max von Sydow as Blofeld, Edward Fox as M) as well as Kim Basinger and Barbara Carrera as the requisite “Bond girls.”


QUANTUM OF SOLACE
2008, MGM/Park Circus, 106 min, UK, USA, Dir: Marc Forster

The most recent installment of the James Bond franchise picks up right where CASINO ROYALE left off, with 007 (Daniel Craig) out for revenge against the men who killed his lover. The shadowy Quantum organization appears to be involved, and when Bond starts to track down its agents, the trail leads to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), an environmentalist with an interest in the Bolivian countryside that's hardly benevolent, and Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), the man's lover, who is also on a mission of revenge. Yet another huge hit, the 22nd Bond film - the next, SKYFALL, is on deck for release later this year - further raised the bar for action sequences with several hair-raising chases over air, land and water.


CASINO ROYALE
2006, MGM/Park Circus, 144 min, UK, USA, Dir: Martin Campbell

Previously filmed in 1967 as an all-star spy spoof, this deadly-serious take on Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel opens as the rough-and-tumble British secret agent has just earned his double-0 status. After foiling a bomb plot, Bond follows the trail to terrorist financier Le Chiffre to challenge him in a poker game where the stakes couldn't be any higher. While some fans were skeptical of the choice of Daniel Craig to inherit the mantle of 007, his portrayal of the iconic character as fallible but brutal won raves, and this relaunch of the movies’ most durable franchise became the highest-grossing Bond film ever. Co-starring Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen and Judi Dench (the sole carryover from previous installments of the series).


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