Each and every time a James Bond film is announced I always feel excited to see what the filmmaker will do for the opening titles. The initial sequence of any James Bond film is as important as the movie itself. Basically, the opening titles briefly describe the tone of the film and in some way it allegorically tells us the story that we're about to watch. However, no title sequence would be complete without a good song.
From the classic instrumental Bond theme to Adele's Oscar award winning Skyfall, the songs also have contributed to make Bond's films fascinating. At the moment of writing this I'm still eager and desperately looking forward to know who is going to sing Spectre's song (rumors point at Ellie Goulding and Radiohead as front runners). As Spectre is almost three months away from premiering, I took the time to watch all of the Bond films to date and selected the 8 best Bond opening title sequences. Enjoy!
Dr. No Theme - Monty Norman
Let's get back to the place where it all began. The theme that would define a franchise, the gunbarrel intro present in every Bond film since and the title sequence structure that would be featured in every movie. Those are the three Dr. No's elements inherited by the following Bond films. It's simple, it's classy and it's brief. The James Bond opening title sequences would soon become a mark of the franchise but the greatest addition would be the use of songs to accompany those titles; that is why the next one is so important.
Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey
Shirley will not only be remembered for being the artist who first sang in the opening titles of a James Bond's movie. She is also the only one that has sung in three different Bond films (Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker). Her powerful deep emotive voice in the initial sequence matches the well crafted prologue of Goldfinger, which is also one of the best Bond movies.
Tomorrow Never Dies - Sheryl Crow
Apart from Goldeneye, Pierce Brosnan's Bond movies haven been considered by many a failure. In my opinion, Brosnan was the perfect actor to incarnate Bond but he had bad luck in starring in poorly scripted films. However, not everything was a disaster in Tomorrow Never Dies. Sheryl Crow's song took us back to the the essence of a Bond movie. From the very first chords you can feel the air of a thrilling enigmatic spy story - even if the outcome was particularly captivating. Also, it's worth noting that the opening title sequence was much more elaborate than its predecessors.
GoldenEye - Tina Turner
Tina Turner may have messed it up in the role of Aunty Entity in Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome, but she kind of made peace with "We Don't Need Another Hero". Still, one of her biggest contributions to cinema came with 1995's GoldenEye. Almost six years had passed since the downfall of communism and the opening title sequence refers to it extraordinarily. Spies, false gods in the image of leaders, the hardworking class, liberty. The beginning of the movie has all the elements contained within the movie. Besides, GoldenEye is the best of Brosnan's Bond movies.
You Know My Name - Chris Cornell
I hated MGM for having cast Daniel Craig as James Bond. I did even plan not to watch the movie but who can resist a Bond film, for better or worse? It was a reboot for the franchise and the opportunity for new generations to approach the most iconic spy. You may or may not like Cornell's song but the title sequence is mind blowing! It's aesthetic, it's conceptual and it uses basic computer animation. Nobody could have ever imagined that Craig and co would have delivered such an impressive first act. After Skyfall, I hated myself for having doubted him without seeing first his iteration of the character.
The World Is Not Enough - Garbage
Shirley Manson's voice provided an exquisite touch to The World Is Not Enough. Garbage album debut put them in the ears of all the world considering the notoriety they have gained it was only natural that producers have chosen them to play in the movie. The clip is psychedelic and well paced accordingly to the use of the images that accompanied the song. At the turn of the century it was clear that well known artists would be in charge for future Bond film songs (right, Madonna?).
A View To A Kill - Duran Duran
The Fab-Five of Birmingham are responsible for one of the most catchy Bond songs up to date. It doesn't matter if A View To A Kill is one of the worst reviewed Bond films in the history of the franchise. When you look back at the 80's you'll always see Duran Duran listed amongst the most iconic bands of the time. In the opening you can immediately notice their style (they later filmed their own version of the song and it is amazing). For the record, the place of this song in the list is influenced by the fact that I'm such a Durannie.
Skyfall - Adele
Hands down... THE BEST SONG EVER RECORDED FOR A JAMES BOND FILM. Adele's performance is unique. Her voice and the lyrics contain everything you always wanted for a Bond movie song. It's soft, it's harmonic, well written and the music is simply spellbinding. The movie is perfect, the song is perfect and the opening titles are perfect too. What else could you be asking for?