Choose Your Bond Adventure: Pierce Brosnan vs. Daniel Craig

007, james bond, pierce brosnan, daniel craig, spectre, skyfall, casino royale, quantom of solace, goldeneye, die another day, tommorow never dies, the world is not enough

Even if you aren’t a fan of spy movies, it’s pretty safe to say you know the phrase “Bond, James Bond.”

But when you think of Mr. Bond, whom do you picture? There’s the ever-charming and witty Irishman Pierce Brosnan, responsible for reviving the series after a long hiatus in the early 90s, and then there’s the rugged Brit Daniel Craig, of present-day Bond films. Both men have filled the shoes of the iconic spy, but they’ve each brought their own personality to the role. And with another villain born each day, the world is in constant need of their espionage abilities.

007, james bond, pierce brosnan, daniel craig, spectre, skyfall, casino royale, quantom of solace, goldeneye, die another day, tommorow never dies, the world is not enough

Let’s start with the different interpretations of James Bond himself. Brosnan brought a touch of roguish charm to the role, giving nineties Bond an air of classic sophistication. Whether it was dodging a bullet with a simple tilt of the head or swiftly disabling a weapon, Brosnan was always one step ahead of the bad guys. He captivated his captors, and could sweet talk his way out of any situation with remarkable ease. And of course, we loved his witty one-liners and various innuendos that teased in every sense of the word.

007, james bond, pierce brosnan, daniel craig, spectre, skyfall, casino royale, quantom of solace, goldeneye, die another day, tommorow never dies, the world is not enough

Craig had clearly studied Brosnan’s approach before choosing to make some alterations. Bond might still be a rogue, but while Brosnan played his cards close to his chest, Craig gives us glimpses of his full emotional depth. Occasionally brutish and rough, his take doesn’t put any stake in decorum, like his classier counterpart. At times, Craig’s Bond comes off as a little more unstable, even unsure of himself. The situations he finds himself in have been mentally and physically challenging, and Craig’s Bond allows himself to display both the effects this environment and the fact that this job has hardened him.

007, james bond, pierce brosnan, daniel craig, spectre, skyfall, casino royale, quantom of solace, goldeneye, die another day, tommorow never dies, the world is not enough

Bond, in both cases, is capable of effortlessly seducing multiple women throughout the course of a single film. But each man seems to attract a different type. Take, for instance, Brosnan in GoldenEye (watchable on Vudu). First there’s Moneypenny, who swoons during their wild car ride. Next, he was able to best the sadistic foreplay of Xenia Onatopp thanks to his experience in combat. Lastly, he captivated the heart of the intelligent and beautiful computer hacker Natalya Simonova — all women of authoritative positions. On the other hand, in the recent Skyfall (streaming info here), the only woman Craig takes the time to seduce — not counting the fling in the beginning of the film — is the very vulnerable Severine, the hostage girlfriend of the main villain, Silva. His heart was broken years before by the death of Vesper Lynd, and it’s clear that his wounds are still open.

Perhaps Craig, still feeling a tad fragile and vulnerable after going off the grid, finds a kindred spirit with the victim Severine, while Brosnan, never wavering in his confidence, goes after women of authority. All the while, both types of women speak to the characters’ personality at the time.

007, james bond, pierce brosnan, daniel craig, spectre, skyfall, casino royale, quantom of solace, goldeneye, die another day, tommorow never dies, the world is not enough

What a softie.

The plots for each era’s Bond reflect the world’s political climate at a given time, further distinguishing the Brosnan/Craig divide. The politics of Brosnan’s age tell the story of post-Perestroika Russia and an uneasiness in the face of burgeoning capitalism. In Craig’s time, the present day, he is often at war with himself. The latest Bond films have looked deeper within the character as he fights contemporary cyber-villians. To summarize M’s words in regards to our ever-changing enemies, they are no longer as apparent as they once were, and we have come to a time where we cannot see our attackers. Yet there is still some overlap. A former friend (Goldeneye), former lovers, and ex-agents (Casino Royale, Skyfall) will always turn traitor and conspire against our protagonist.

So which type of Bond do you prefer: the rough masculinity of Daniel Craig or confidence and charm of Pierce Brosnan? It’s a tough choice, and both have their merits. Craig has brought both a sense of humanity and physicality to the role, but it’s Brosnan who represents Bond as he will always be remembered — an unflappable super-spy, shaken but never stirred.

Article by contributor Beth Kelly.

7 thoughts on “Choose Your Bond Adventure: Pierce Brosnan vs. Daniel Craig

  1. Sean Connery forever! That being said, I enjoy both Brosnan and Craig tremendously. I have to give an edge to the Brosnan films since I think they have better pacing overall, and Goldeneye while not my first Bond film really drew me into the series.

  2. I like Brosnan’s Bond just because it seems to fall in better with Connery’s and Moore’s. I would like to see a return of that style of character after Craig. I do enjoy Craig’s Bond and his movies on average are better than Brosnan’s. Although, I’ve always thought Goldeneye was a better Casino Royale.

  3. I loved Bronson when i was in middle and high school, however Craig and his movies I enjoy much much more now. Bronson films just like that, a middle school version of james bond (dumb gimmicks, stupid puns, all style no substance) in my opinion. Watching them now is hard…

    I really think the whole formula changed when Jason Bourne jumped on the scene.

  4. The subject here is not which Bond movie is best. The subject here is who would you prefer, Brosnan or Craig.

    Despite not having the physicality of Connery or Craig, Brosnan still pulled off the role of Bond in an elegant fashion and carried all the movies on his shoulders alone despite some bad scripts. He had charisma, style, suave, sense of humor, seriousness, and grit. He used all these attributes appropriately at different times in his movies, not like a robot that Craig’s Bond is. Brosnan’s acting brought made Bond look more human, keeping his badass attitude intact with occasional humor!

    Daniel Craig Bond is just a brooding clown who hardly smiles and the only thing his Bond looks good at is action. Other than that he is very plain and boring.

    He is lucky to have been working with some good directors and with good scripts.

    Brosnan carried all his movies nearly single-handedly and his Bond had the characteristics of all the Bonds who appeared before him. He had the toughness of Connery, the humour of Moore, the sensitivity of Lazenby and the seriousness of Dalton.

    If Brosnan had the luck that Craig has, which he didn’t (apart from Goldeneye)
    he would have had more success in the critics’ ratings. But Brosnan performed the best and entertaining Bond, along with Connery.

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