Best James Bond Films

James Bond hits the silver screen just in time for his 50th birthday, preparing the field for the next 50 years.

James Bond turns 50 this year. His much-loved franchise is celebrating that milestone birthday, but 007 himself actually remains timeless, never really aging. In fact, ever since "Dr. No" hit screens back in 1962 starring a 32-year-old Sean Connery, the British superspy generally hovers somewhere between the age of 35 to 45, depending on which actor is currently wearing his shoes.

These days, 44-year-old Daniel Craig is making it look easy as he carries the Bond mantle forward in "Skyfall," an exhilarating, emotional, incredible new chapter in the ongoing tale of the man who seemingly single-handedly keeps the British empire (and the world) safe from evil. In this, his third outing as the dapper MI6 agent, Craig continues to play Bond as a darker version of his earlier on-screen persona. It's a throwback to the way the character was in the original Ian Fleming novels where Bond began his life, and it's a perfect fit for the actor, who brings a gravitas to everything he does.

As all good Bond films do, "Skyfall" starts out with an action sequence, although we've seen that one before. It happens in Istanbul and, under the steady hand of Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes ("American Beauty," "The Road to Perdition"), it starts strong and ends spectacularly. In fact, that is the case for the whole movie, which is a beautifully structured, mostly fast-moving and intense tale of treachery and revenge.

It certainly helps that Mendes has populated "Skyfall" with some of the most talented actors working today, including multiple Oscar nominees Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney. Oscar winner Javier Bardem, sporting blonde hair and a slightly fey manner, makes a perfect foil for Bond as a fallen spy out for ultimate revenge. As he, Craig and Dame Judi Dench (another Academy Award winner, reprising her role as Bond's capable boss "M") go toe-to-toe in this action-packed yet deeply psychological thriller, it is a delight to watch.

There is no doubt that "Skyfall" with Adele’s theme song will remain tops in the annals of the series, but really where are the truly knockout Bond girls? Also, aren’t we missing a proper dose of gadgets and Bond without a fancy modern tricked-out ride? What will the short-lived retro return of the Aston Martin DB5 be replaced with? One thing is for sure, Bond will be back … this time with Miss Moneypenny.