Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. 100
    This movie is NEW from the get-go. It could be your first Bond. In fact, it was the first Bond; it was Ian Fleming's first 007 novel, and he was still discovering who the character was.
  2. Casino Royale is fresh, actually fresh.
  3. Relaunches the series by doing something I wouldn't have thought possible: It turns Bond into a human being again -- a gruffly charming yet volatile chap who may be the swank king stud of the Western world, but who still has room for rage, fear, vulnerability, love.
  4. Flat-out one of the best Bonds ever.
  5. 90
    Casino Royale is quite possibly the best action movie of the year.
  6. 90
    This is Bond as we've never seen him, more naked, alive and mysterious than ever.
  7. 90
    What's appealing about Bond is precisely its unhip classicism -- its promise of clean, crisp excitement delivered without the interference of whiplash-inducing camera pyrotechnics, attention-deficient editing patterns, gratuitous color tinting and/or ear-splitting rock ballads.
  8. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    90
    Craig, excellent in both art house endeavors (The Mother, Enduring Love) and blockbuster think pieces (Munich), has both a nasty streak and a soft side never before seen in the series; Fleming would recognize him as most like his literary creation: damaged goods in a tailored tux.
  9. 90
    The script updates Ian Fleming's first Bond novel to a post-9/11 world and scales back the silliness that always seems to creep into the series; director Martin Campbell (The Mask of Zorro) contributes some superior action set pieces but keeps the camp and gadgetry to a minimum.
  10. 88
    Craig gives us James Bond in the fascinating act of inventing himself. This you do not want to miss.
  11. Eleven years ago director Campbell made "GoldenEye," the first of the Brosnan Bond pictures. Casino Royale trumps it every which way.
  12. Fans of anyone other than Sean Connery who has played James Bond may want to look away, because admirers of Ian Fleming's 007 novels are almost bound to agree that Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Sean.
  13. 88
    This is no longer the James Bond we know from the '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. Welcome to the new world of MI6's most storied agent.
  14. Craig makes you aware of something that the Bond series, in its pursuit of steamy sex and cartoon action, quickly lost sight of: 007 is a killer. That's what he's licensed to do.
  15. What a relief to escape the series' increasing bondage to high-tech gimmicks in favor of intrigue and suspense featuring richly nuanced characters and women who think the body's sexiest organ is the brain.
  16. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    80
    Contrary to pre-release nay-sayers, Daniel Craig has done more with James Bond in one film than some previous stars have in multiple reprises. This is terrific stuff, again positioning 007 as the action franchise to beat.
  17. This Bond is haunted, not yet housebroken, still figuring out the persona. In Casino Royale, the reset button has been pressed in the manner of "Batman Begins."
  18. The latest James Bond vehicle -- call him Bond, Bond 6.0 -- finds the British spy leaner, meaner and a whole lot darker.
  19. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    80
    Martin Campbell (who also directed Pierce Brosnan's first outing as Bond in "Goldeneye"), has chosen to give us a Bond who's both metaphorically and literally stripped bare. Let me take this opportunity to thank him for both.
  20. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    Craig comes closer to the author's original conception of this exceptionally long-lived male fantasy figure than anyone since early Sean Connery.
  21. Daniel Craig isn't merely acceptable, but formidable. His Bond is at least the equal of the best ones before him, and beats all of them in sheer intensity.
  22. Turns out to be cracking good entertainment, as well as a fresh start for the perdurable 21-picture franchise.
  23. 78
    The good news is Craig, who was riveting as a London pharmaceutical salesman in the recent Brit import "Layer Cake," is equally mesmerizing here.
  24. 75
    Eva Green...Gaspingly beautiful, wouldn't you say?
  25. Like Connery - but in different proportions - Craig is earthy and erotic, holding himself like a smoking gun.
  26. 75
    As M, Dench knows she has a tiger by the tail and isn't fazed in the slightest. Reservations aside, the film marks the beginning of a new phase in James Bond's history, and it promises to be a gripping one.
  27. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    The film is about a half hour too long. The third act drags and an extended high-stakes poker game doesn't always keep our attention. But this is a superior Bond.
  28. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    If you miss the old cliches, consider whether, after 21 Bond films and countless parodies, your response is simply Pavlovian.
  29. 75
    Surprisingly light on fab gadgets, there are, of course, double crosses, fast cars, and lots of gunplay.
  30. The payoff is the revitalization of Bond by making him closer to what Fleming envisaged: a sociopath who, fortunately, is on our side.
  31. For the first time in memory, the film ends not just with the promise of more Bonds but without a firm conclusion.
  32. 75
    See Casino Royale for a Bond you've never seen before, and then imagine him in a film two-thirds the size. Here's hoping the writers of the next Bond movie employ the same personal trainer that Craig did to keep the script tight and lean.
  33. 75
    Casino Royale marks a shrewd relaunching of a franchise. But Campbell and company show too much of their sweat. If these movies continue to follow Fleming's profane pilgrim's progress, the next Bond movies should be more emotional and funny, with a bit of brass-knuckled charm.
  34. 75
    In its overt attempts to balance high-spirited spy adventure with more realistic acting and actio--conveying the realities of government-sponsored murde--Casino Royale is a step in the right direction for the Bond franchise. But it's a small, tentative step.
  35. Though the film's final break-the-bank action sequence in Venice is worth waiting for, Casino Royale's 2-hour, 24-minute running time is long enough to exhaust all but the series' biggest fans.
  36. 70
    Craig has the courage to present a hollow man, flooding the empty rooms where his better nature should be with brutality and threat. His smile is more frightening than his straight face, and he doesn’t bother with the throwaway quips that were meant to endear us to the other Bonds.
  37. 63
    The movie is simply too long for its own good.
  38. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    60
    This is a Bond with great body but no soul.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 818 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 52 out of 345
  1. Jun 1, 2011
    10
    Easily one of the best, is not the best, Bond films since the days of Connery. The dark and gritty tones are a welcome change of pace, andEasily one of the best, is not the best, Bond films since the days of Connery. The dark and gritty tones are a welcome change of pace, and the story still manages to infuse humor in the right places, and in my opinion also in the right quantity. Easy 10. Full Review »
  2. Sep 24, 2011
    8
    The movie is a revolution to the Bond franchise. Mark Campbell presents to the audience that James Bond is not a hero who kills the bad guysThe movie is a revolution to the Bond franchise. Mark Campbell presents to the audience that James Bond is not a hero who kills the bad guys and gets laid with girls using his gadgets and slick words. Using Daniel Craig, he presents a Bond that actually gets hurt and looses the ones he love. Through this change of portrayal, Bond has become a stronger character and a worthy franchise to watch. Kudos Campbell (and you too Craig)!!! Full Review »
  3. JeffF.
    Nov 20, 2006
    3
    The new Bond is a humorless stiff. One long pointless chase is followed by a long pointless fistfight followed by a long pointless card game The new Bond is a humorless stiff. One long pointless chase is followed by a long pointless fistfight followed by a long pointless card game followed by a long pointless shootout. We know who is going to win the poker tournament just get on with it. The movie just goes on and on and on. Other than Die Another Day this is the worst Bond ever. The thrill is gone. Full Review »