By Lily Rothman
November 6, 2015

For more than a half century, James Bond has made his way to the big screen at a rate of about once every other year—with mixed results. Some of the movies have won raves from TIME’s critics (“Not even Margaret Thatcher would dare consider slowing him down”), others have been panned (“Bond [has] degenerated into a male model”) and a couple have received the ultimate diss: no review at all (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The World Is Not Enough).

Here’s what TIME said about every one of the 24 official 007 movies:

Dr. No: “Agent Bond, in short, is just a great big hairy marshmallow, but he sure does titillate the popular taste. In the past ten years the ten novels in which he figures have sold more than 11 million copies in the U.S. and abroad. And now at last the varlet pimpernel can be seen on the screen. He looks pretty good.”

Read the full review here

From Russia With Love: “Sophisticated? Well, not really. But fast, smart, shrewdly directed and capably performed. And though the film will scarcely eradicate the sex and violence that encumber contemporary movies, it may at least persuade producers that sick subjects may be profitably proffered with a healthy laugh.”

Read the full review here

Goldfinger: “A bit much? Yes, but it’s meant to be.”

Read the full review here

Thunderball: “Though From Russia with Love remains the liveliest Bond opera to date, Thunderball is by all odds the most spectacular. Its script hasn’t a morsel of genuine wit, but Bond fans, who are preconditioned to roll in the aisles when their hero merely asks a waiter to bring some beluga caviar and Dom Pérignon ’55, will probably never notice.”

Read the full review here

You Only Live Twice: “Ever since his cinema debut in 1962, James Bond has been the subject of cult and caricature, spoof and spectacular. Now, five films later, he is the victim of the same misfortune that once befell Frankenstein: there have been so many flamboyant imitations that the original looks like a copy.”

Read the full review here

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: Not reviewed, though the earlier book review noted that “Bond is threatened with what, for an international cad, would clearly be a fate worse than death: matrimony.”

Diamonds Are Forever: “Bond seems to grow more resilient with age. Since 1962 and his first screen incarnation in Dr. No, several wars, untold natural disasters and the Beatles have all come and gone. Bond looks better than ever, partly because Sean Connery has returned to play him.”

Read the full review here

Live and Let Die: “…Live and Let Die is the most vulgar addition to a series that has long since outlived its brief historical moment — if not, alas, its profitability.”

Read the full review here

The Man With the Golden Gun: “The flying car, in fact, is much like what is wrong with The Man with the Golden Gun and what has been wrong with the whole Bond series for a while. Overtricky, uninspired, these exercises show the strain of stretching fantasy well past wit.”

Read the full review here

The Spy Who Loved Me: “Does anybody know this flick has nothing to do with 1962 novel of same name, since Ian Fleming nixed sale of anything but title to movies? Does anybody care? All that’s left of Bond formula here is 007 character, sexy starlets and gee-whiz gadgets. (Question: What else did it ever consist of?)”

Read the full review here

Moonraker: “Those who have held out on Bond movies over 17 years may not be convinced by Moonraker, but everyone else will be. With their rigid formulas and well-worn gags, these films have transcended fashion. Styles in Pop culture, sexual politics and international espionage have changed drastically since Ian Fleming invented his superhero, but the immaculately tailored, fun-loving British agent remains a jolly spokesman for the simple virtues of Western civilization. Not even Margaret Thatcher would dare consider slowing him down.”

Read the full review here

For Your Eyes Only: “To evaluate For Your Eyes Only and the other Bond movies, it helps to think of them not as, say, different vintages of a fine Bordeaux but as successive models off the Pontiac assembly line. In one vehicle there may be an annoying ping in the engine of narrative; in another the dialogue may be as sleek as Genuine Corinthian Leather. But all meet the same standards of speed, styling and emotion control.”

Read the full review here

Octopussy: “When he had started playing this game of Save the Planet—when he was roguish Sean Connery and the world was so much younger—Bond had been a kind of role model for people of a certain class and ambition. Savoir-faire meant the aristocracy of style: which wine to decant, which brand of cigarette to smoke, which automatic weapon to carry under the armpit. Now that he was Roger Moore, 20 years later, Bond had degenerated into a male model, and something of a genial anachronism.”

Read the full review here

A View To a Kill: “If the picture did not carry the credits of Writers Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson and Director John Glen, one would suspect it was made by microchips making overdrafts on a depleted memory bank.”

Read the full review here

The Living Daylights: “Perhaps 007 was finally ready for his pension. But wait! It’s Indiana James to the rescue! In Timothy Dalton’s interpretation in The Living Daylights, one finds some of the lethal charm of Sean Connery, along with a touch of crabby Harrison Ford. This Bond is as fast on his feet as with his wits; an ironic scowl creases his face; he’s battle ready yet war-weary. And in the age of AIDS, even Bond must bend to serial monogamy; this time, for reasons of plot and propriety, he’s a one-gal guy.”

Read the full review here

Licence to Kill: “In Licence to Kill, the bad guys’ hideaway blows up real good too. And there are some great truck stunts. A pity nobody — not writers Michael G. Wilson , and Richard Maibaum nor director John Glen — thought to give the humans anything very clever to do.”

Read the full review here

Goldeneye: “How well do Bond’s established conventions survive after a third of a century’s hard use, the post-cold war deglamourization of espionage and the arrival of yet another actor in the central role? The short answer is, on wobbly knees.”

Read the full review here

Tomorrow Never Dies: “CHRISTMAS WISH: To clone Goldeneye‘s glamorous grosses.”

Read the full chart here

The World Is Not Enough: Not reviewed

Die Another Day: “That the Bond Girl rising from the sea is the reigning Oscar queen says plenty about the staying power of the understated British spy whom Ian Fleming created 50 years ago. Though Fleming’s 14th and last Bond book was published 36 years ago–two years after his death–his character launched the most successful franchise in film history. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary with the release this month of the 20th official Bond film, the series has come roaring back from its midlife crisis of the 1980s.”

Read the full review here

Casino Royale: “Casino Royale was Ian Fleming’s first 007 novel, and Bond here is an agent on his first big case, a rough diamond who has not yet acquired his savoir faire or taste for the double entendre. The Craig Bond might know no French at all; he’s not the suave, Oxbridgian 007 of legend but the strong, silent type, almost a thug for hire, and no smoother with a sardonic quip than John Kerry. Still, he fits one description Fleming gave of his hero: ‘[His face was] a taciturn mask, ironical, brutal and cold.'”

Read the full review here

Quantum of Solace: “Well, an action figure, real or plastic, is just what this brisk exercise (the shortest Bond film ever) needs. Director Marc Forster–whose résumé includes a lot of gimmicky art-house fare, from Finding Neverland to The Kite Runner–does much better when he has no moral in tow; he can concentrate on shepherding the second-unit stunt work and setting a tempo of nearly nonstop suspense. What’s lost in reverberations from the series’ blithe old movies is gained in daredevil vigor.”

Read the full review here

Skyfall: “The cool accomplishment of Skyfall, 23rd in the Broccoli franchise, is that it seems a necessary, rather than mandatory, addition to the year’s popular culture. While trading on viewers’ familiarity with the series’ venerable fetishes (a cheer rises at the sight of Bond’s old Aston Martin and the sound of Monty Norman’s guitar theme from Dr. No), Skyfall has the life, grandeur and gravity of a satisfying, stand-alone entertainment.”

Read the full review here

Spectre: “This sophisticated sugar rush is the longest Bond film ever, but it cruises by with an elegant sense of danger.”

Read the full review here, or in the new issue of TIME.

Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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