The James Bond Books Compared to Their Film Adaptations: Tier Ranking the Books and Films

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The James Bond films have had an enormous cultural impact over the past 60 years, but what about the books that inspired them?

In their own way, Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels were similarly groundbreaking, giving the emerging spy fiction genre a sense of style and panache while also bringing its brutality out of the shadows.

Bond became an archetype and role model despite his many character flaws. But Fleming didn’t create Bond just to entertain readers. He had other objectives in mind, too.

In this video, I discuss some of Bond’s origins and influences in the books Fleming wrote between 1952 and 1964. I also evaluate the books and compare them to their film versions.

0:18 Ian Fleming background
2:32 Bringing Bond to the page
5:11 A new kind of literary spy
6:14 Bond as propaganda
8:50 Bond’s snob appeal
10:11 Evaluating the books
10:45 The evolution of the Bond novels
15:01 Bond films differ from the books
18:03 Book/film comparisons
20:01 Casino Royale
21:33 Live and Let Die
22:46 Moonraker
24:09 Diamonds Are Forever
25:28 From Russia with Love
26:35 Dr. No
27:34 Goldfinger
28:29 For Your Eyes Only
30:04 Thunderball
31:11 The Spy Who Loved Me
32:34 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
33:27 You Only Live Twice
34:35 The Man with the Golden Gun
36:06 Octopussy & The Living Daylights
37:26 Patterns

In another video (, I discuss the early history of the spy genre leading up to James Bond.


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