James BondCredit: James Bond

James Bond has been one of the longest running film series in cinema history. Since the 1960s, there have been a number of films released starring a variety of actors as the British secret agent James Bond, or 007. The James Bond espionage series has been one of the most notable in Hollywood history.

The novels produced by Ian Fleming during the 1950s provided the foundations for the James Bond series. In 1953, Fleming published the first Bond book "Casino Royale" that was the first to star the agent. Then a number of further James Bond novels followed including "Live and Let Die," "Moonraker," "Diamonds are Forever" and "Dr No" in 1958.

All were converted to James Bond films, but "Dr No" was the first Fleming novel to become a film in 1962. This film starred Connery as James Bond, who uncovers a plot to disrupt an American manned space launch with radio beam weapon during an investigation in Jamaica. The film had enough box office impact to ensure its continuation during the 1960s.

Since then, there have been a number of James Bond eras and a variety of Bond films. These eras can be broken down as follows.

The Connery Era: 1962 – 1971

As mentioned, Connery began the series with "Dr No." Hereafter, he continued in the role for the rest of the 1960s. Five more Bond films followed with "From Russia With Love," "Goldfinger," "Thunderball" and "You Only Live Twice." Connery's era seemed to have ended with Lazenby's only Bond movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service;" however, as Lazenby turned down a second film Connery returned in 1971 for "Diamonds are Forever." A few of Connery's films are among the best in the series such as "From Russia With Love" and "Goldfinger," which featured the famous Bond theme music "Goldfinger" by Sherley Basset.

Moore: 1973 – 1985

Moore replaced Connery for the 1973 movie "Live and Let Die." Moore would go on to star in a record number of films into the mid-1980s. Among these Moore starred in "Man with the Golden Gun," "The Spy Who Loved Me" and "Moonraker." From here, further Moore films would not be based on Fleming novel titles such as "For Your Eyes Only2 and "Octopussy." Moore's final film was a "View to Kill in 1985." Not all Moore's films were especially great Bond movies, but they continued the series for more than a decade.

Dalton: 1987 – 1989

Dalton emerged as Moore's successor in 1987. His era was a short-lived one with two additions to the series: "The Living Daylights" and "License to Kill." However, Dalton would not continue in the role because legal disputes halted the Bond series in the '90s. As such, Dalton resigned from the role.

Brosnan: 1995 – 2002

Brosnan emerged as Bond for the film "Goldeneye." What was more unique about this Bond film was that it was the first not based on the Fleming novels. Further films included "Tomorrow Never Dies," "The World is Not Enough" and "Die Another Day." As the more recent in the series, Brosnan's films were undoubtedly some of the best in terms of technical effects and stunt work.

Craig: 2006

The most recent movies have starred Daniel Craig. The first was "Casino Royale," which returned to the original Ian Fleming novel and origins of the series. In that film Bond bankrupts a terrorist financier in a high-stakes poker game. That was one of the best Bond movies of more recent times. Its follow-up, "Quantum of Solace," continued the plot of the previous film, but it was not a superior sequel. "Skyfall" is the most recent addition to the series.

The series continues with another Bond movie set for release in 2015. That will be "Spectre," which is a MGM/Sony partnership. So the Bond series continues to go strong, and is one of the highest grossing movie franchises in box office history.