BOND: Six of the Best

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SEAN CONNERY (1962-71)

"I have always hated that damn James Bond. I'd like to kill him."

The Edinburgh-born former coffin-polisher, milkman, lifeguard, Merchant Navy seaman and Mr Universe contestant - regarded by purists as the best Bond - orginally got the role because the producers thought he "moved like a cat."

(Bond writer Ian Fleming was so impressed by Dr No he created a half-Scottish, half-Swiss heritage for the literary James Bond in the later novels.)

The young Scot known as "Big Tam" stayed for the first five films, establishing the character as a charismatic, sardonic killer and ladies' man, before quitting after You Only Live Twice only to return for Diamonds Are Forever and the unofficial Bond Never Say Never Again.

His portrayal of 007 owed much to the stylistic tutelage from director Terence Young, who polished the actor's social presence - taking him to dinner, showing how to talk - while underlining his physical grace and brutal presence for the action sequences.

Best bit of Bondage: Connery, both nonchalant and suave, has the distinction of first delivering the iconic line "Bond, James Bond," as a curl of smoke wafts from his cigarette.