I am curious, plot-wise, what the chronological order of the James Bond films are?

I seem to recall that Casino Royal and Quantum of Solace are set in the beginning of James' career as a 00-agent and that Dr. No is set before he became aware of SPECTRE's existence. But that's about it.


2 Answers 2


Film wise (that is, ignoring depictions in television and cameo's), there are 3 continuities.

  • The simplest is the standalone Casino Royale. This is a one off spoof, but as it was produced by MGM and Cubby Brocolli, must still be considered 'official'; despite it's comedic nature.

The next two are more strictly 'canon', although they don't both employ what is known as rolling continuity.

  • From Dr. No to Die Another Day, all the Connery/Lazenby/Moore/Dalton/Brosnan films should loosely be considered in chronological order in the order they were released. This is never explicitly confirmed, but simply the style and technology of the films production roughly indicates a progression forward of time. It's problematic to be this simplistic, and it also negates the fact that for all the films to be in the same continuity Bond would likely be pushing 80 by Die Another Day.

    There is a fan theory that suggests that 'James Bond' was actually another codename (like 007) that is passed from agent to agent, and as such they were never meant to be the same person. This is disputed by the events of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which actually attempts a rolling continuity for the first time. At the end of this film, Bond's wife is murdered, and the start of the following film begins with Bond standing in front of her grave (despite a change in actor), demonstrating a direct causal link between the films.

    On Her Majesty's Secret Service also features props from the previous films to assert a continuity, and contradictingly birthed the 'Bond is different men' theory with the line "This never happened to the other fellow", referring to Bond's previous iteration.

  • The final continuity, the Daniel Craig iteration, is the strictest in sense of its's unfolding continuity. These films are linked directly, and follow one another quite obviously.

It's a misnomer to align all the Bond films in any continuity (with the exception of the Craig franchise), as most of the Connery-Brosnan years only referenced each other playingly and for humour, instead of the construction of a plot.

This is a tradition that continues into the Craig franchise, wherein the ejector seat Aston Martin from Goldfinger shows up in Skyfall. It's simply a knowing nod to the audience, it isn't supposed to assert that Daniel Craig's Bond has previously been present in the events of Goldfinger.

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    Daniel Craig's film share a """"continuity"""" with the non-spoof films, as Dame Judi Dench plays M from GoldenEye right up until Skyfall. Mar 1, 2016 at 12:51
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    @NapoleonWilson Between characters reappearing and nods towards previous films in the series, Craig's films are only as non-canon as any other Bond films have ever been - which is why this question is, in effect, meaningless. Continuity is difficult to establish when, for the most part, it has never mattered to the series. Mar 1, 2016 at 12:53
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    @DrRDizzle Indeed. Then why confuse matters by deducing a continuity from Judi Dench's presence?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Mar 1, 2016 at 12:54
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    @NapoleonWilson Because Daniel Craig's run is no more or less a reboot than Roger Moore's - it is just the latest set of films in a franchise that has no notion of continuity. It cannot be said that Craig does or does not share a canon with Moore, no more than it can be said that Moore shares a canon with Connery. It simply isn't something the series cares about, and as such trying to class Craig's run as a separate continuity when it has just as much evidence to claim it as part of the main "canon" is... strange. Mar 1, 2016 at 12:58
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    @DrRDizzle, the Craig films are clearly setting up a different proposition to their predecessors. They directly link from each other, in a way that has only ever been gestured to with the previous films (hence their separation) . It's obvious they are attempting to pull off a more cohesive continuity. Mar 1, 2016 at 23:16

You must also take into account that Thunderball the book was made as Thunderball the movie, and was also made as Never Say Never Again, both staring Sean Connery (the reasons why are long & legal, but basically, the writer of the first film script left, but still retained film rights to his script, which was made into a film years later). Just to complicate matters, there have been also more than one Casino Royale (1 with Daniel Craig, 1 with David Niven, and an earlier one too produced by an American television company as a made for television play).

As such, I'd offer that one should use the order of the Flemming books, and ignore the films, as they were not produced in order.

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