If there’s one name that everybody knows, it’s Bond…James Bond. So, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Bond series, the Oscars ceremony will include a sequence celebrating the series. It’s been fifty years since Ursula Andress emerging from the water in that iconic white bikini in the first Bond film, Dr No, so let’s take a look back- and forward- at this classic icon.

It’s easy to see why the Bond films became a cultural phenomenon. They have a winning formula: action man, pretty girls, exotic locations, cool stunts, creepy villains and a great theme tune. There’s so many different elements there to judge, although judging the plot is not advisable. Taken out of their context, it’s debatable how many of them are actually good films but they’re enjoyable and perfect fodder for drinking games- particularly the older ones.

One negative connotation that the Bond films have is the use of women as objects- particularly prominent in the Roger Moore era where it became increasingly hard to suspend disbelief that women young enough to be his daughters would find him attractive. However, we can mainly put that down to the attitudes of the time. Bond is always modern, hence why it has lasted so long, and each Bond adopted the attitudes of their particular era. That’s why I’m a bit put-off by the older movies- though Dr No still holds up very well.

Another reason that the Bond films have lasted so long is that each Bond actor (yes, even George Lazenby, who only did one film) brings something new to the role, so despite a lot of formulae, there are some differences. My two favourite Bonds are easy: SeanConnery and Timothy Dalton. Connery is your typical sixties beefcake- a man’s man- and Dalton pioneered the cold dark killer Bond.

Many people think Bond is overrated, which is missing the point. The Bond films are meant to be fun escapism. I don’t think anyone would argue that they’re great works of art, which brings me to the problem of Skyfall. It felt more like an arty retrospective of Bond, with too much reference to the ‘glory days’, complete with a camp villain that seemed like something from the seventies. Instead of a celebration, it felt like an obituary.

So will Bond be trading in his license to kill for a pension? Daniel Craig has signed on for two more films but the crags are starting to show. Hopefully his next film will not have the Freudian angst, midlife crisis, flag-waving patriotism and cheesy one-liners that we get in Skyfall. I have a fondness for the old days of Bond running around a cardboard laboratory/villainous lair where the only enemy was an evil megalomaniac or the Soviets but there’s scope for a dark cynical Bond with an enigmatic hint of humanity. That’s why my favourite Bond moment is ironically the least Bond-like moment with the weakest Bond: the final scene of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In this film, Bond beats the baddie but loses forever his one chance at being someone other than 007 and is returned to typical Bond world.