The 10 Best Daniel Craig Movies: All an actor needs is one role to make him timeless. Perhaps an iconic character who has a history of high-profile suitors. Daniel Craig was fortunate enough to land the most iconic character in film history, James Bond. Even though it was not at the start of his acting career – in fact, almost 15 years after it had started – Bond has changed his life forever. Craig is a bonafide A-list actor now and a good thespian for desperate directors. His quintessential English charm and inherent comic nerve are not apparent when one alludes to his drama capabilities. But he is the complete package.
Craig has it all – fame, screen presence, and incredible acting talent. On the eve of his massive success in Glass Onion, we have decided to write a list for you ranking some of Daniel Craig’s best works. The list has a lot of unseen gems, and those unfamiliar with his body of work can go on and watch them. Here are 10 Great Daniel Craig movies you must watch!
10. Road to Perdition
Sam Mendes knows how to make a good film. Irrespective of the subject, the filmmaker has demonstrated astute control and understanding of his subject material, often surprising on the positive side. In fact, he has directed Craig on two occasions – Spectre and Skyfall, both Bond features. And has done so admirably. But his narrative prowess in Road to Perdition is unmatched. He is, of course, helped by a very professional technical effort in other significant departments of sound, sight, and otherwise. Mendes ties up all the good work in a supremely mounted effort to tell an uncomfortable story.
The bombastic ensemble cast is every cinemagoer’s dream. You will hardly find a more talented bunch working together on screen. Road to Perdition is a very undynamic experience. There are no colourful dimensions to the storytelling. Even the characters feel quite detached from themselves and are difficult to relate to as a result. A lot of uncomfortable silences, reluctant speech, and confrontational truths about worldly ideas define the narrative. It is truly a drama film without theatrics and histrionics, one that works best in its sedate tenor.
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9. No Time To Die (2021)
How can the swan song for Craig’s most iconic character not feature on the list? Even if it would not have been the last dance for Bond, No Time to Die would have still made it. Although Rami Malek makes for a relatively subdued Bond villain, this installment has all the trappings of quintessential spy entertainment. Not only that, but the film also makes space for closure which became so precious for Bond in the end. And the viewers as well. We also had a female spy agent joining the force, positively indicating that this might become a trend going forward.
The only negative was Malek’s unconvincing ploy as the central villain. For some reason, I could not authentically see him do justice to the part like other illustrious actors – Javier Bardem and Mads Mikkelsen did. Malek’s act is different in dimension, ambition, and ruthlessness. But the modern touch does not work for me. Craig’s final hurrah pretty much covered all aspects that a viewer wants from cinema. Most importantly, it retains the grand experience of watching a bid-budget behemoth that actually makes use of the money in tangibles and not just computer screens!
8. Infamous (2006)
Truman Capote described murderer Perry Smith as between the “tender and the terrible.” Such may be said about writer/director Douglas McGrath’s superior Infamous, a tale of Truman Capote’s (Toby Jones) love affair with his innovative novelization, In Cold Blood, and its protagonist, Perry Smith (Daniel Craig). The Kansas murders shook the soul of the nation and brought forth a compelling opportunity for documentation. McGrath decides upon an academic approach to churn out the conflicts that Truman faced with respect to his writings.
Like a hopeless romantic, he fell in love with Perry and the idea of turning the events into words. Jones and Craig make a very good pair, neatly complimenting each other and their characters’ energies. Daniel Craig’s Smith has the power to get under our skin without betraying the brutal side of his nature. What Capote felt is another story. He lies so blatantly, so beautifully that it’s impossible to tell. Maybe even Capote himself couldn’t tell.
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7. The Mother (2003)
A very important quality in a film is the imposition by the filmmaker to make his audience feel a certain way. They themselves must be clear on the idea about what to do. Making a distinctive choice helps establish the narrative to the viewer with more clarity and gets the message across rather well. While some try to be fully n control, others allow you to settle on a judgment probing your own instincts and experiences. Roger Michell’s The Mother squarely falls in the latter category of films.
Anne Reid and Daniel Craig have the immense responsibility of showing you both the persons they are in real life and the part of them that is devoted to bringing their characters to life. It is a remarkably beautiful conflict to be involved with, and both actors make the most of this opportunity.
6. Munich (2005)
Munich is a technical Marvel every film nerd likes to revisit time and again. Steven Spielberg has some of the most gorgeous sequences in modern cinema history, all bundled into this inspiring real-life ode to patriotism. Running for almost three hours, Munich dramatizes Operation Wrath of God, masterminded by Mossad in retaliation to the Olympics debacle of 1972. Craig is a part of a star-studded ensemble led by Eric Bana’s strong performance.
Despite having the overarching theme of vengeance, plenty of tender moments come from the central group’s. Spielberg has always found a way to accommodate his personal belief system into his characters, and Munich is no different.
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5. Logan Lucky (2017)
Perhaps after Benoit Blanc, Joe Bang is Craig’s most differentiated character. Craig himself instills all his trappings and extravagance, and he is surely someone we will not see too often on the screen. Steven Soderbergh’s pacy heist thriller is a treat for enthusiasts who enjoy an elaborate plan and watching it be executed with humorous pitfalls and obstacles. Because of the director’s penchant, be rest assured that everything will have an element of cleverness and melancholic dread. The film’s emotional quotient is also strong and presents a compelling story of a dysfunctional family.
Joe Bang is not an average Joe when it comes to committing crimes. He does it with a sultry touch of satisfaction. He is an artist and not just a clockwork operator who does not relish the prospect of getting jailed. He lives life on the edge and is an entertaining chap. Craig’s immense understanding of personality ensures he can play him as justly as he did James Bond. There is a difference in their very skins, but the remarkable man behind them remains the same.
4. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
David Fincher’s psychological torture will plant its roots deep within you. For the entirety of its runtime, you will not rest until the central mystery is resolved. Not only was it made painstakingly, it lingers on with a similar aching resonance with the viewer. Rooney Mara’s committed performance is the film’s highlight. It relishes in the nature of acts like these that involve completely exhuming one’s personality for taking another’s. That is perhaps what takes the attention off Craig, but like the ensemble, there are hardly any false notes here.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s bleak cinematic universe is very unyielding. Fincher approaches those aspects of his setting very directly, isolating the experience. Others call it atmospheric, and that holds true as well. It is undoubtedly the best installment of the trilogy and definitely takes you by surprise with its intensity.
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3. Knives Out (2019)
Claire saying “menagerie” to Benoit Blanc in Glass Onion is literally every one of us. There’s just something so intriguing about that accent, and it draws the listener inward. All being said, the outlandish-looking and a sounding detective is a humble bumble bee at the core. He might not be very fanciful in his tricks, but Blanc always has one up his sleeve that “peels back the layers,” so to say. Craig brings a delightful charm to the character. His warmth and genuineness reflect in his worldview and how he deals with people.
Knives Out was a compelling whodunit with a taut storyline that gave away its mystery initially. Despite the previous shenanigan, the unique setup was appreciated all over and proved to be first-rate entertainment. With the sequel on Netflix, the formula reversed, but the outcome for the viewer remained the same.
2. Layer Cake (2004)
Talking about smart, well-put-together, fast-moving films with shades of flavourful criminality and existential elements brings us to Layer Cake. Matthew Vaughn’s hugely impressive effort comes alive in the streets of London and goes through the full “Right when I’m out, they pull me back in” circle for Craig’s protagonist XXXX. No, that is not a typo. That is what he is really called. The high-stakes game moves abnormally swiftly and finds XXXX and his gang heading down the cliff facing sweet chin music at full throttle.
Vaughn’s MO usually blends the parts of his exposition with the storytelling. Layer Cake does not necessarily let you feel that there is a lot going on in the characters’ minds, but the same is apparent on rewatches. Despite the flow of the storytelling, there are still a lot of surprises, and the script manages to keep them coming without disrupting them.
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1. Casino Royale (2006)
Craig’s first endeavor as special agent 007 was as special as his last. Perhaps even more so because we saw the character being revolutionized in a sense; he was no longer the perfect charmer with an immaculate intellect. Bond became fallible; his walls of genius were brought down by love and real emotions like those. Ditched were the extravagances of gadgets, electronics, and clever play. It was more of a hit-and-grab street-smart Bond who was a survivor. For the first time, he seemed like one among us. Yet stern, brutal, and transient, like Fleming’s literary descriptions. And Craig’s manifestation of this new Bond was the final hit on the nail.
The English actor brought a certain edge to playing the super spy that was missing in previous instances. Casino Royale is undoubtedly the best Bond film of the 2000s. A lot of creative choices were spot on at a time when the franchise needed a second life. Its lease was quickly evaporating, but Craig and co.’s revaluation of the source material and Bond’s characterization saved the day.