Daniel Craig’s 20 best film performances – ranked!

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20. The Organ Grinder’s Monkey (2011)

Daniel Craig is nary alien to the freaky cameo (see the stormtrooper spot successful The Force Awakens) but this very overmuch NSFW abbreviated movie from the Chapman brothers is surely the freakiest. Craig gets astir 40 seconds of surface clip arsenic the dependable of creator Rhys Ifans’s post-masturbatory fantasy: a chimp with a encephalon implant who yammers Ifans’s despair astatine his creator impotence. A high-impact performance, successful each way.

19. Sylvia (2003)

This looked large connected paper: Craig arsenic earthy, passionate writer Ted Hughes other Gwyneth Paltrow’s uptight Plath, a writer struggling with her art. Craig dives into the relation with awesome committedness (including a benignant of rehearsal for his career-defining ocean-swim-trunks moment) but thing doesn’t rather work; possibly the movie is conscionable a spot excessively cautious to burnish the Plath legend.

With Gwyneth Paltrow successful  Sylvia.
With Gwyneth Paltrow successful Sylvia. Photograph: BBC/Allstar

18. Happy and Glorious (2012)

Not strictly speaking a film, oregon adjacent a performance, but Craig’s comedy skit with the Queen was the climax to the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, suggesting that HM parachuted into the stadium from a helicopter. Craig isn’t required to bash overmuch much than stride astir purposefully successful his 007 tux, but the small cough helium gives to pull the Queen’s attraction is an acting masterclass successful itself.

17. Enduring Love (2004)

Craig’s honeyed, soft-spoken tones and donnish frown has allowed him to make a bully sideline successful academics and intelligence types. Here helium is fundamentally a much buff mentation of Ian McEwan successful the Roger Michell-directed adaptation of McEwan’s stalker-thriller. The movie itself ne'er rather lives up to the barnstorming opening successful which Craig joins efforts to halt an out-of-control balloon, but his controlled show suits his character.

16. No Time to Die (2021)

This was Craig’s 5th and final clamber up the James Bond tree, and if we are being honorable the strain was starting to show, a bit. The makers attempted to inject a wintry, valedictory code into proceedings – understandably, perhaps, fixed wherever they wanted to spell with the communicative – but the Bond films are ne'er particularly bully astatine introspection and regret. Craig keeps his extremity up but mentally speaking, helium had already near the building.

With Paul Newman successful  Road to Perdition.
With Paul Newman successful Road to Perdition. Photograph: 20th Century Fox/Allstar

15. Road to Perdition (2002)

One of Craig’s earliest forays into Hollywood, playing a tiny but cardinal relation successful Sam Mendes’s retro gangster thriller, adapted from a graphic caller by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner. It’s precise overmuch the atrocious feline part: Craig is Connor, the twitchy, murderous lad of Paul Newman’s pack brag John Rooney. Sample dialogue: he’s asked astatine a aftermath wherefore he’s ever smiling; Connor replies, grinning maliciously: “Because it’s each truthful fucking hilarious.”

14. The Trench (1999)

Craig often seems happier (and much effective) arsenic portion of an ensemble – astatine slightest until Bond meant helium had to transportation a movie connected his own. He played a hardbitten archetypal satellite warfare platoon sergeant successful William Boyd’s adaptation of his ain novel; the troopers waiting to spell implicit the apical astatine the Somme included fresh-faced Danny Dyer, Cillian Murphy and Ben Whishaw. The relation brought retired Craig’s earthy aerial of command, invaluable aboriginal arsenic 007, arsenic helium repeatedly clashes with Julian Rhind-Tutt’s nervy officer.

13. Copenhagen (2002)

In the days erstwhile BBC Four made long-form drama, Craig was charged with upholding 1 of their bravest (or astir foolhardy, considering the ratings) attempts to elevate the code of the culture. Adapted from Michael Frayn’s play astir the wartime gathering betwixt physicists Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr, Craig played the erstwhile (of “uncertainty principle” renown), who mightiness oregon mightiness not make atomic weapons for the Nazis. An impressively high-minded film, and astir apt Craig’s astir uncompromising of his assemblage of academics.

With Jamie Bell successful  Defiance.
With Jamie Bell successful Defiance. Photograph: Momentum Pictures/Allstar

12. Defiance (2008)

Craig utilized his recently acquired 007 clout to get gigs successful large though not ever peculiarly earth-shattering films; but this warfare film, from an astonishing true-life communicative of a household of Jewish Belarusians warring the Nazis from a wood hideout, is beauteous decent, if a spot old-fashioned. Craig plays older member Tuvia Bielski, wearing that aerial of earthy bid again, the person of a campy wherever hundreds of Jews instrumentality refuge.

11. Spectre (2015)

Riding precocious connected the occurrence of Skyfall, Craig takes 007 into bureau authorities territory arsenic Bond scraps with his recently installed main (played by Ralph Fiennes) and his rival (Andrew Scott). The accepted Bond enactment open, with a chopper careering implicit a Day of the Dead parade successful Mexico City, is 1 of the best, and Craig complements this by astutely handling the gags and one-liners that capsicum the script. Bond performances thin to beryllium constructed alternatively than acted, but Craig builds his efficaciously here.

With Toby Jones (as Truman Capote) successful  Infamous.
With Toby Jones (as Truman Capote) successful Infamous. Photograph: Warner Independent/Allstar

10. Infamous (2006)

Craig was handed a plum Hollywood relation here: Perry Smith, 1 of the convicted killers successful the In Cold Blood murders, arsenic memorialised by Truman Capote, successful the 2nd movie astir the lawsuit successful successive years. The nonstop quality of Smith and Capote’s narration is disputed, but this movie suggests intersexual interaction and a near-rape incidental successful the prison. The dynamic betwixt the brace is not a cardinal miles distant from Francis Bacon and George Dyer successful Love Is the Devil, but present the stakes are acold higher.

9. Some Voices (2000)

Craig archetypal caught the oculus connected TV successful Our Friends successful the North, but helium made his bones arsenic a starring antheral successful this little-seen play from the precise patchy Britflick epoch of the precocious 90s and aboriginal 00s. Furnished with a somewhat improbable bottle-blond haircut, Craig gives it his each arsenic precocious deinstitutionalised psychiatric diligent Ray, connected medicine for schizophrenia, who strikes up a narration with feisty Glaswegian Kelly Macdonald. While it’s not precisely a tube of laughs, and ends arsenic severely arsenic you’d expect aft Ray refuses to instrumentality his meds, it’s a precise watchable film, ballasted by Craig and Macdonald’s undeniable on-screen chemistry.

8. The Mother (2003)

Craig began to accrue immoderate superior movie-star momentum with this Hanif Kureishi-scripted drama, arsenic a carpenter who starts an matter with his girlfriend’s widowed mother. Though the absorption is precise overmuch connected Anne Reid’s sixtysomething May, Craig’s relation arsenic a T-shirted hunk who is, erm, highly bully with his hands showcased some his basal carnal charisma and his capableness for gentleness and empathy. It’s a spot undermined by the histrionic last scenes, but Craig was connected his way.

7. Layer Cake (2004)

In the 00s, British cinema was obsessed with remaking GoodFellas, and this is 1 of the champion attempts: Craig parachutes successful arsenic a super-suave cocaine supplier sucked into assorted pack wars betwixt large transgression lords. Orchestrated with sizeable flash by Matthew Vaughn (then making his directorial debut, aft producing Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), you person nary occupation successful believing the sharp-suited Craig could sprout radical successful the caput from point-blank range. Craig’s unnamed trader is possibly not arsenic wired arsenic Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill, but this (in retrospect) is different measurement connected the roadworthy to Bond.

With George Harris successful  Layer Cake.
With George Harris successful Layer Cake. Photograph: Daniel Smith/AP

6. Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998)

Craig had an aboriginal occurrence successful John Maybury’s biopic of the celebrated creator arsenic the East End villain George Dyer, whom Bacon (played memorably by Derek Jacobi) entices into his furniture aft helium tries to rob Bacon’s studio. Maybury went each retired to conjure up Bacon-style pictorial effects – faces distorted by glass, cubes and grids introduced into the accumulation plan – arsenic the inarticulate Dyer heads for his tragic extremity successful a toilet successful a Paris hotel. Compared with what came later, Craig is simply a small callow and uncertain, but it each helped the character.

5. Casino Royale (2006)

Craig blasted distant Bond’s cobwebs wrong his archetypal moments, bringing a overmuch heralded “darkness” to the role. (In practice, this meant him battering an force interaction to decease successful a toilet successful a black-and-white flashback.) In truth, the Bond producers having not agelong earlier got the rights backmost to Fleming’s archetypal novel, this is simply a somewhat backward-looking entry, with paper games, seductions and sadistic torture scenes each contiguous and correct. It’s hard to recognition present the waves of antagonistic pre-publicity – NoBlondeBond and each that – but Craig carried it disconnected with aplomb.

4. Knives Out (2019)

As the extremity of his clip arsenic 007 got ever nearer, Craig could spend to agelong his legs a little, and opted to caput a stellar ensemble formed for Rian Johnson’s Massachusetts-set reply to Agatha Christie. As backstage detective Benoit Blanc, this wasn’t the archetypal clip that Craig would grapple with a preposterous accent, and helium manages to beryllium beauteous comic among each the communicative ins and outs.

3. Logan Lucky (2017)

Craig mightiness person been amusing successful Knives Out, but helium was actively hilarious successful Steven Soderbergh’s racetrack heist, equipped with an adjacent much preposterous accent. Bust retired of the slammer by brothers Channing Tatum and Adam Driver, Craig plays an explosives adept adorned with a blond buzzcut who goes by the princely moniker of Joe Bang. It’s by nary means the biggest relation successful the movie but Craig makes each 2nd count. Just brilliant.

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

David Fincher’s high-powered remake of the Swedish hacker-noir thriller (derived yet from Stieg Larsson’s novel) saw Craig instrumentality 1 of his progressively adventurous forays, arsenic journalist-investigator Mikael Blomkvist looking into the mysterious disappearance of affluent tycoon Henrik Vanger’s grandniece Harriet. In a setup not that dissimilar to Knives Out, each the main suspects are corralled astir a expansive mansion; but different Dragon Tattoo is simply a deadly serious, horribly watchable film, with respective splinters of crystal astatine its heart. Craig makes a beauteous plausible reporter, too.

1. Skyfall (2012)

Although it’s often hard to find existent quality feeling among the cacophony of a Bond movie – the blaring soundtrack chords, overpowering airy pollution, the thunderous detonations – it each came unneurotic successful Craig’s 3rd spell astatine the 007 role. Framed astir his re-entry into espionage aft being presumed dead, Skyfall’s large coup is its past fractional hour, erstwhile Bond kidnaps M and heads northbound to his puerility location successful the Highlands, thereby to laic a trap for Javier Bardem’s implacable villain. But Skyfall – the location – is the locus for a abrupt lifting of the veil arsenic the misery of Bond’s formative years is briefly, and cruelly, exposed. Craig gets the bitterness conscionable right, each the portion squaring his shoulders alongside Albert Finney and Judi Dench to spot disconnected the threat. And Craig shows existent tenderness successful M’s last decease country successful a tiny chromatic church, Bond mourning the parent helium ne'er truly had.

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