The Top 5 James Bond Titles

9781612185583_p0_v1_s600In a heavily hyped press conference in London this morning, the producers of the James Bond films finally made the announcement that every 007 diehard has been praying for since Casino Royale took the series back to its 1960s roots: Blofeld is back, baby! Probably, anyway—if you’ve read the Ian Fleming novels or seen the installments starring Sean Connery, you no doubt remember him as the fluffy cat–loving fiend heading up the Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion, which only a true evil mastermind could shorten to something as cool-sounding as SPECTRE. And hey, the just-announced title of Bond 24? Spectre.

There’s certainly a lot to be excited about if you’re one of the fans who helped turn Skyfall into a billion-dollar phenomenon (Christoph Waltz as the baddie! Sherlock‘s Moriarty as…possibly another baddie! Monica Bellucci as hopefully the Bond girl who doesn’t get killed off after five minutes!), but I wish the title was a little more evocative. Also, it doesn’t rhyme with anything, which is going to make things tough for whoever winds up singing the title song.

No matter how good the movie turns out to be, it doesn’t crack the list of our top five favorite Bond titles, most of them taken straight from the Ian Fleming novels. Titles like…

Goldfinger, by Ian Fleming
In the grand tradition of villains with oddly appropriate names, one figure outshines all others: the precious-metal-obsessed Goldfinger, star of one of the best Bonds on the page or onscreen. It’s a little ridiculous, maybe a little dirty, and entirely memorable. No one’s ever going to be like, “Goldfinger—which one was that again?”

Live and Let Die, by Ian Fleming
Another recipe for a great Bond title: take an established idiom, and just stick something spy-appropriate in there. It doesn’t matter a whit that “live and let die” makes absolutely no sense.

You Only Live Twice, by Ian Fleming
Here’s another one that doesn’t track logically, but is nevertheless unforgettable. Forget YOLO, give me #YOLT.

Win, Lose, or Die, by John Gardner
This late-era entry, written long after Fleming’s death, is so loveably 1980s, I can hardly stand it. Only the Bond series could spoof the title of a terrible game show and manage to make it work. Stop trying to be serious, movie producers! Bond titles are supposed to be ridiculous! Like, for example…

Octopussy, by Ian Fleming
Because yes, he went there.

What’s your favorite Bond title?

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