The first James Bond film, released in 1962. Yes, folks, it all started here. Goldfinger, the third Bond film, really set the template for the franchise, what with Q and a car full of gadgets, a teaser sequence, and multiple chases, but this one has enough of the right elements to be tons of male chauvinist pig goodness. Sean Connery plays Bond, and he's simply the coolest cat who ever did. He has much more fun with the role than his successors. As do the writers with the story: Ursula Andress, who rises out of the Carribean surf like Botticelli's Venus in a white bikini, is given the moniker of Honey Ryder. In the 60's, they didn't need Austin Powers; Bond films were inherently self-parodic.
Joseph Wiseman, who is not at all believable as Asian, plays the eponymous villain. Though he is really only a henchman of the man whose face is never seen: "Number One", aka Blofeld, who will be gloriously cloned in Diamonds are Forever. Bond really takes his sweet time getting down to the island and stopping the nefarious plot, preferring to lounge around tropical bars.
The rest of the recurring characters are here as well: M (Bernard Lee), Bond's stodgy boss; Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell), the secretary Bond makes flirting into an art form with; and Felix Leiter (Jack Lord), Bond's American CIA counterpart. Even Bond's lady from the opening scenes comes back for the sequel!
What I love about this movie is how unabashedly low budget it is. That famous Monty Norman theme is used throughout, even in places where it probably shouldn't be. For instance, as Bond walks around his hotel room (to which there is clearly, literally, no fourth wall):
Bond turns on a lamp.
Bond examines a picture by the bed.
BA-DAP! bummm. BA-DAP! bummm. BA-DAP-DUH-DA-DAP!
Truly suspenseful, truly silly. Good to remember where all this spy madness came from. (Of course, this was based on the novel by Ian Fleming, which was a known favorite of JFK, but let's be honest. It's Connery the world went nuts for.)