With 15 years and five films to his credit, Daniel Craig is walking away with the record of being the longest-serving James Bond. The last film released in October 2021, No Time to Die, marks Craig’s swan song as the infamous spy before he hands on the baton to someone new.
The first James Bond film to be shot with IMAX cameras, No Time to Die, was hotly anticipated. But was it a fitting end for Daniel Craig’s Bond, or did he walk away with a whimper?
No Time to Die was due to start filming in 2018 at Pinewood Studios, but after the departure of the director, it was delayed for a year. It was then hit by unforeseen events that affected the world, and the original release date was pushed back to October 2021.
Although it’s been a long wait for fans who were anxious to see how Daniel Craig departed, it’s one that’s been worth every minute. You won’t find any spoilers in this review, but let’s just say it’s a Bond film that’s unlike any other.
And the jaw-dropping story arc is reflected in the box office figures. In its opening weekend, No Time to Die grossed more than any other Bond film in history and has smashed international records for all films since the start of the pandemic.
You’ll need to watch it to discover why Bond goes out with a bang, almost quite literally, but much of the credit for the success is due to Daniel Craig. His incredible portrayal of the spy over the last 15 years, despite initial scepticism at his appointment, has taken the Bond films to new levels.
Everyone has their favourite Bond, and with seven to choose from to date, it’s an impressive lineup. George Lazenby, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, David Niven, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan all predated Daniel Craig, all providing a very hard act to live up to.
But surveys suggest that Daniel Craig didn’t just meet expectations; he obliterated them. Opinion of the favourite Bond of all time is fairly evenly split across the other actors, but Daniel Craig is a clear winner in the popularity stakes.
Some of his scenes have been unforgettable, such as the tense game of Texas Hold ‘Em in Casino Royale. Facing the terrifying Le Chiffre, Bond takes part in a slow and calculated game of poker, played out in excruciating detail on screen. Long pauses, shock losses and the two men eye-balling each other make it a scene that’s still one of Craig’s best.
Casino Royale was Daniel Craig’s first outing as Bond, and he answered all the critics with a scintillating performance. However, much credit also has to go to the director, Martin Campbell, who went above and beyond to ensure that the poker scene was authentic.
Many film directors wouldn’t have placed much emphasis on the card game, but Campbell knew that getting it right would be vital to creating a realistic environment. In the weeks leading up to filming, he researched poker religiously, making the cast and crew play continuously and bringing in experts to explain how to handle the chips and cards.
The attention to a seemingly inconsequential detail is impressive; even the game was changed from what was written initially. Bond was supposed to be playing baccarat, but it was changed to Texas Hold’Em, a popular type of poker played in land and online casinos. Campbell’s insistence on making every tiny decision and movement reflective of a real-life poker game helped to cement Craig’s reputation as a worthy Bond.
The producer of No Time to Die, Barbara Broccoli, has confirmed that the Bond films will continue. But in acknowledgement of Craig’s phenomenal contribution to the Bond legacy, Broccoli has refused to start the search before next year, preferring instead to focus now on paying tribute to what has been a wonderful 15 years.