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Hugh Scott

18 Best Action Scenes In The James Bond Movies

James Bond in No Time to Die

There are a lot of fun arguments to be had over James Bond movies. Who is the best lead/villain? What’s the best theme song? Who’s the most iconic Bond Girl? One thing that cannot be argued, though, is that the action scenes across the series are always phenomenal. As the franchise has matured, so has the action, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t gems in each era. Here are our choices for the 17 best action scenes in James Bond movies. 

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Parkour Scene - Casino Royale

You can’t start this list with anything other than the parkour scene at the beginning of Casino Royale. It’s truly a “welcome to the franchise, Daniel Craig” moment. After Bond’s cover is blown in Madagascar while trying to apprehend a bomb-maker, the super spy chases the baddie across a construction site. The practical stunts performed by free runner Sébastien Foucan, who plays the bomb maker, are mind blowing and 100% worth the price of admission alone. 

(Image credit: MGM)

Ski Chase - The Spy Who Loved Me

The Roger Moore era of the James Bond series is often remembered more for the campiness of the films, rather than the action, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great stunts and explosions. Take, for example, the pre-credits scene in The Spy Who Loved Me. It truly has everything a Bond fan loves. 

Bond, after a rendezvous with a beautiful woman, sets out on skis after declaring that “England needs him.” The woman betrays him, sending agents after our hero and they pursue with gusto down the mountain, but Bond eludes them, skiing off a cliff and revealing his Union Jack parachute as he floats to safety. 

(Image credit: MGM)

Snowboard Chase - A View To A Kill

Speaking of mountain sequences, the opening scene of another Moore-era film starts on the snow as well. In A View To A Kill, Bond is sent to retrieve a microchip from another double-0 in Siberia. After he’s discovered by the Soviet soldiers, they chase him on skis. 

Bond loses a ski and hijacks a snowmobile, then a helicopter takes that out, leaving Bond with only the front ski from the machine. In true Bond style, he fashions the ski into a makeshift snowboard and heads down the mountain to the tune of The Beach Boys' “California Girls.” The campiness is omnipresent in Moore's movies, but the stunt, performed by snowboarding pioneer Tom Sims, was groundbreaking at the time.  

(Image credit: MGM)

Tank Chase - Goldeneye

If camp defines the Moore era, over-the-top ridiculousness defines the Pierce Brosnan James Bond era. Nothing is more over the top than Bond being chased by Russian baddies while driving a tank through the streets of St. Petersburg in his first 007 film, Goldeneye. It truly takes James Bond action – and cinema car chases – to another level. The calm on his face as he crashes the tank through a truck full of Perrier, is a perfect representation of Brosnan as Bond. It’s a true classic and one of the best chase scenes in the whole series. 

(Image credit: MGM)

Helicopter Fight - Spectre

Spectre might not be a perfect Bond film, but its opening sequence is absolutely as good as it gets. Starting with the unbroken shots and leading to the white knuckle fight between Daniel Craig’s Bond and SPECTRE's Marco Sciarra (Alessandro Cremona). It's all fantastic, from the fight on the helicopter to the piloting of it. The flight may have been digitally added to appear as though it was above a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Mexico City’s Zócalo Square, but the stunt work is still amazing. 

(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

Train Fight - From Russia With Love

The 1960s were a very different decade for cinema than the most recent decades, and that’s obvious when looking back at the action sequences of the Sean Connery Bond films. The fight on the train between Bond and SPECTRE agent Red Grant might seem quaint by today’s standards, but it's a great bit of stunt fighting and one of the most fondly remembered scenes in the whole series. It’s so beloved that train fights have become a staple of the series. 

(Image credit: MGM)

Car Chase On Ice - The Living Daylights

The two Timothy Dalton James Bond films were unpopular at first, but have been re-evaluated in recent years, and a big part of why is the grittier action scenes that were sometimes non-existent in the Moore years. The best action scene in either of Dalton’s two movies has to be the car chase on ice in The Living Daylights. Bond and Kara Milovy are chased by the KGB and police through Czechoslovakia. Bond finally escapes his pursuers by driving across a frozen lake, then sledding across the Austrian border on Milovy’s cello. It’s a good thing 007 had the skis installed. 

(Image credit: MGM)

Boat Chase - Live And Let Die

The boat chase through the bayou in Live and Let Die has everything you would ever want in a Roger Moore Bond film. It’s got amazing stunts throughout the chase, with boats making dramatic turns and taking huge jumps, and it’s got quippy one-liners from the hapless Sheriff JW Pepper, whose car is taken out by one of Mr. Big’s men’s boats. It’s not the last time we see JW Pepper in the series either, as he was a passenger when Bond does the famous corkscrew jump in The Man With the Golden Gun, which is one of the best stunts in the whole Bond series and one of the best car chases in cinema.

(Image credit: MGM)

Motorbike Chase On A Rooftop - Skyfall

Speaking of amazing vehicle chases, the motorbike chase on the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul in Skyfall is flat-out amazing. Like all the Daniel Craig-era films, Skyfall sets a new standard for action sequences and this chase has to be up there with the all-time greats. Bond’s stunt double for the chase, pro biker Robbie Maddison, explained just how dangerous the stunts were to ESPN, noting the "metal stakes" someone could "stab yourself" on, which were on the roof. It’s Tom Cruise-level motorcycle work and makes for one insane scene. 

(Image credit: MGM)

Motorcycle Chase Vs. A Helicopter - Tomorrow Never Dies

The roof of the bazaar in Turkey is not the only place a phenomenal motorcycle chase happens in the world of 007. It’s hard to tell if Pierce Brosnan’s Bond and Michelle Yeoh’s Wai Lin are on the same side as both fight for control of the motorcycle, while handcuffed together. The back and forth of the characters on the bike is already one of the most amazing stunt pieces in the series and that is before the helicopter gets introduced. The sequence is one of the reasons Tomorrow Never Dies is thought of by many as the best of the Brosnan-led Bond flicks.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Car Chase/Bulletproof Astin - No Time To Die

The Craig era came to a dramatic end with 2021’s No Time To Die, and fittingly, the best action scene in the movie involved a classic 007 car. No car is more closely associated with the British spy than the Aston Martin DB5 and, it’s only right that Craig got one last white-knuckle moment in it. This time, he’s racing it through the streets of Matera, Italy, before revealing the true strength of its bulletproof exterior. Craig may be finished as Bond, but it’s a safe bet we’ll see the DB5 again. 

(Image credit: MGM)

Fight With Odd Job - Goldfinger

As one-on-one fights go, few are better than Sean Connery’s Bond duking it out – and dodging razor blades in hats – with all-time great henchman, Odd Job (Olympic weightlifter Harold Sakata), in Goldfinger. Sure, it’s a bit of a stretch to think that Bond could physically best this monster of a man, but a little electricity is all it takes. Well, okay, a LOT of electricity. Odd Job meets his end, and Bond saves all the gold in Fort Knox. Just another day at the office. 

(Image credit: MGM)

Karate Fight - The Man With The Golden Gun

In the mid-70s, the producers of the Bond films leaned hard into the movie trends of the day. The Man With The Golden Gun takes inspiration in one scene from the emerging Hong Kong kung fu movies. It's one of the most underrated films in the series, and the action scenes are fantastic, like the aforementioned corkscrew jump over the river in Louisiana. But, it’s that tribute to kung fu in the scene at a dojo full of baddies that makes the list here. Bond as Bruce Lee; it doesn’t get any better. 

(Image credit: MGM)

Underwater Fight - Thunderball

It had to be hard for the early directors in the series to take what Ian Flemming wrote and try to film it. Take, for instance, the underwater fight scene between scuba diving henchmen and Bond in Thunderball. On the, uh, surface, it sounds ridiculous, and frankly, it kind of looks a little ridiculous as the actors and stunt people are clearly struggling to make the action look exciting as they move in slow motion underwater. But, it works because Bond inspires us to suspend our belief when the series is at its best, as it is here. Sure, it looks slow and plodding, but in our imaginations, it’s peak Bond adapting to a completely foreign environment. 

(Image credit: MGM)

Las Vegas Car Chase - Diamonds Are Forever

In 1971, Connery as Bond for the final time takes a trip to the old Vegas strip and races Tiffany Case’s Mustang around the famous old casinos, being pursued haplessly by the LVPD. The car chase is most notable for one infamous reason. It has one of the all-time worst facepalms in Bond history with a continuity error for the ages.

Towards the end, Bond speeds down an alley and runs the left side of his car into the air, driving on the passenger side tires through an even narrower alley. When the car emerges, the driver’s side tires are on the ground. How no one caught is staggering, but what’s worse is that to fix it, there is a weird moment where you see the car tilt from one side to the other in the narrow passage. It’s pretty terrible, but it doesn’t ruin all the great driving before it. 

(Image credit: MGM)

Skydiving Fight - Moonraker

Moonraker gets a bit of a bad rap for the cheesy space sequences, and no, it doesn’t really work, but what does work in the film is the more traditional Bond stuff. The best action isn’t in space, but it is miles above the earth. Bond is tossed from a plane by henchman, Jaws, and is forced to wrestle in midair for a parachute from the pilot of the plane, then avoiding Jaws by pulling the ripcord after getting the chute around his waist. It’s honestly one of the most dramatic action scenes in the canon. 

(Image credit: MGM)

Mountain Hideout Raid - On Her Majesty's Secret Service

George Lazenby only got to do one Bond film, but it has one of the biggest action set pieces in the early days of the series. Bond, along with some help from villain, Draco, raids even bigger villain Ernst Blofeld’s (Telly Savalas) mountain headquarters in Switzerland. The scene in On Her Majesty's Secret Service portends the future of the whole Bond Universe with the splashy helicopter attack. As if that wasn’t enough, Bond must chase Blofeld down a bobsled track. That’s not something you get to see in many films! 

(Image credit: MGM)

Sword Fight - Die Another Day

We’ll end this with a fantastic fight scene that doesn’t really involve Bond. Instead, it’s two legendary Bond women who faced down in a sword fight towards the end of Die Another Day. Rosamund Pike, as Miranda Frost, and Halle Berry, as Jinx, choreographed an incredible fight, and even though Bond (Brosnan) isn’t part of the swashbuckling, it still lands towards the top of amazing fights in the 007 series. It makes an iffy movie worth the watch to the end. 

This list could go on and on, as there is no doubt that the future still holds more amazing action scenes in the franchise's future, but these 17 are a great place to start when you have your next James Bond marathon, which we should all have at least once a year.  

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