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GoldenEye is the seventeenth spy film in the James Bond series, and the first to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6marker agent James Bond. Released in 1995, the film was directed by Martin Campbell and unlike previous Bond films, is unrelated to the works of novelist Ian Fleming. The story was conceived and written by Michael France, with later collaboration by other writers. In the film, Bond fights to prevent an arms syndicate from using the GoldenEye satellite weapon against Londonmarker in order to cause a global financial meltdown.

GoldenEye was released in 1995 after legal disputes forced a six-year hiatus in the series, during which Timothy Dalton resigned from the role of James Bond and was replaced by Pierce Brosnan. M was also recast, with actress Judi Dench becoming the first woman to portray the character. GoldenEye was the first Bond film made after the dissolution of the Soviet Unionmarker and the end of the Cold War, which provided a background for the plot.

The film accumulated a worldwide gross of $US350.7 million - considerably better than Dalton's films, without taking inflation into account. Some critics viewed the film as a modernisation of the series, and felt Brosnan was a definite improvement over his predecessor. The film also received award nominations for "Best Achievement in Special Effects" and "Best Sound" from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.


In 1986, MI6 agents 007 (James Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan) and 006 (Alec Trevelyan, played by Sean Bean), infiltrate an illicit Soviet chemical weapons facility at Arkhangelskmarker and plant explosive charges. Trevelyan is apparently captured and shot dead by Colonel Arkady Ourumov (Gottfried John), but Bond steals an airplane and escapes from the facility as it explodes.

Nine years later (1995), Bond arrives in Monte Carlomarker to follow Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), a suspected member of the Janus crime syndicate, who has formed a suspicious relationship with a Canadian Navy admiral. She murders the admiral to allow Ourumov (now a General) to steal his identity. The next day, they steal a prototype French Tiger helicopter that can withstand an electromagnetic pulse, despite Bond's efforts to stop them. They fly it to a bunker in Severnaya, where they massacre the staff and steal the control disk for the dual GoldenEye satellite weapons. The two program one of the GoldenEye satellites to destroy the complex with an electromagnetic pulse, and escape with traitorous programmer Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming). The pulse also destroys three Russian MiG-29 aircraft dispatched to check on the facility; causing one to crash into the complex, utterly devastating it. Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco), the lone survivor, contacts Grishenko and arranges to meet him in St. Petersburgmarker, where he betrays her to Janus.

In Londonmarker, M (Judi Dench) assigns Bond to investigate the attack due to circumstantial evidence. She also tells Bond to not go out for revenge against Ourumov when he is found (for Trevelyan's death) and he flies to St. Petersburg to meet CIA agent Jack Wade (Joe Don Baker). He suggests Bond meet Valentin Zukovsky, (Robbie Coltrane), a Russian Mafia head and business rival of Janus. After Bond gives him a tip on a potential heist, Zukovsky arranges a meeting between Bond and Janus, who reveals himself as Trevelyan. A descendant of those Cossack clans who did collaborate with the Nazi forces in WWII, Trevelyan faked his death, having vowed revenge against Britain for their involvement in his parents' deaths. He ties Bond up with Simonova in the Tiger helicopter programmed to self-destruct, from which the two escape using its ejection system. They are immediately arrested by the Russian police and interrogated by the Russian Minister of Defence, Dmitri Mishkin (Tchéky Karyo). Just as Simonova reveals the existence of a second satellite and Ourumov's involvement in the massacre at Severnaya, Ourumov bursts into the room, shooting Mishkin and dragging Simonova into a car. Bond steals a T-55 tank and pursues Ourumov through St. Petersburg to Janus' armoured train, where he kills Ourumov as Trevelyan escapes, locking Bond in the train with Simonova. As the train's self-destruct countdown begins, Bond cuts through the floor with a laser watch while Simonova locates Grishenko's satellite dish in Cubamarker using a computer. The two escape just before the train explodes.

In Cuba, Bond and Simonova fly a plane over the jungle before they are shot down. As they stumble out of the wreckage, Onatopp rappels down from a helicopter and attacks Bond, who resists and kills her. Minutes later, he and Simonova watch a lake being drained of its water, uncovering the dishmarker. They infiltrate the control station, where Bond is captured. Trevelyan reveals his plan to steal money from the Bank of Englandmarker before erasing all of its financial records with the remaining GoldenEye, concealing the theft and destroying Britain's economy.

Meanwhile, Simonova programs the satellite to initiate atmospheric reentry and destroy itself. As Trevelyan captures Simonova and orders Grishenko to save the satellite, Bond triggers an explosion with his Parker Jotter pen grenade provided by Q, and escapes to the antenna cradle. Bond sabotages the antenna, preventing Grishenko from regaining control of the satellite, before turning and facing Trevelyan. Bond pushes Trevelyan off the antenna and into the dish before escaping aboard a helicopter commandeered by Simonova. The cradle collapses, crushing Trevelyan. Grishenko survives the satellite crash and screams, "Yes! I am invincible!" just before liquid nitrogen tanks break open and freeze Grishenko, who is still yelling in triumph. Meanwhile on the surface, Bond and Simonova are rescued by Wade and a platoon of U.S. Marines.




Licence to Kill had underperformed at the American box office and was the worst domestic grossing movie of the James Bond films. Also, in 1989, MGM/UA was sold to the Australian based broadcasting group Qintex, which wanted to merge the company with Pathé. Danjaq, the Swiss based parent company of EON Productions, sued MGM/UA because the Bond back catalogue was being licensed to Pathé, who intended to broadcast the Bond series on television in several countries across the world without the approval of Danjaq. These legal disputes delayed the film for several years.

While the legal disputes went on, Timothy Dalton was still expected to play Bond in the new film, The Property of a Lady, as he had originally signed up for a three-film contract. Pre-production work began in May 1990 with a story draft written by Alfonso Ruggiero Jr. and Michael G. Wilson. Production was set to start in 1990 in Hong Kongmarker for a release in late 1991. However, the legal disputes meant that these dates slipped. In an interview in 1993, Dalton said that Michael France was writing the story for the film, which was due to begin production in January or February 1994. However, the deadline passed, and in April 1994, Dalton officially resigned from the role. To replace Dalton, the producers cast Pierce Brosnan, who had been prevented from succeeding Roger Moore in 1986 because of his contract to star in the Remington Steele series. Judi Dench was cast as M, thus making GoldenEye the first film of the series featuring a female M. The decision is widely believed to be inspired by Stella Rimington becoming head of MI5marker in 1992.

GoldenEye was produced by Albert R. Broccoli's EON Productions. With Albert Broccoli's health deteriorating (he died seven months after the film's release), his daughter Barbara Broccoli described him as taking "a bit of a back seat" in film's production. In his stead, Barbara and Michael G. Wilson took the lead roles in production. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer approached John Woo to make GoldenEye, but Woo turned down the opportunity despite being honored with the offer. The producers then chose New Zealandermarker Martin Campbell as the director. Brosnan later described Campbell as "warrior-like in his take on the piece" and that "there was a huge passion there on both our parts". Campbell would go on to direct Casino Royale in 2006. The producers had originally chosen not to use Richard Maibaum, long-time writer for the series; he died in 1991. After Michael France wrote the original screenplay, Jeffrey Caine was brought in to rewrite it. Caine kept many of France's ideas but added the prologue prior to the credits. Kevin Wade polished the script and Bruce Feirstein added the finishing touches. In the film, the writing credit was shared by Caine and Feirstein, while France was credited with only the story, an arrangement he felt was unfair, particularly as he believed the additions made were not an improvement on his original version. Wade did not receive an official credit, but was acknowledged in the naming of Jack Wade, the CIA character he created.

While the story was not based on a work by Ian Fleming, the title GoldenEye traces its origins to the name of Fleming's Jamaican estate where he wrote the Bond novels. Fleming gave a number of origins for the name of his estate, including Carson McCullers' Reflections in a Golden Eye and Operation Goldeneye, a contingency plan Fleming himself developed during World War II in case of a Nazi invasion through Spainmarker.

Since the release of Licence to Kill, the world had changed drastically. GoldenEye was the first James Bond film to be produced since the fall of the Berlin Wallmarker and the collapse of the Soviet Union. This cast doubt over whether James Bond was still relevant in the modern world, as many of the previous films pitted him against Soviet villains trying to take advantage of the Cold War. Much of the film industry felt that it would be "futile" for the Bond series to make a comeback, and that it was best left as "an icon of the past" However, when released, the film was viewed as a successful revitalization and it effectively adapted the series for the 1990s. One of GoldenEye's innovations was the casting of a female M. In the film, the new M quickly establishes her authority, remarking that Bond is a "sexist, misogynist dinosaur" and a "relic of the Cold War". This is an early indication that Bond is portrayed as far less tempestuous than Timothy Dalton's Bond from 1989.

Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan and Mel Gibson were suggested for the role of James Bond. Sam Neill, who wanted to play James Bond was also considered. There were rumors that Gibson could play James Bond, but Gibson refused to do a screen test. Pierce Brosnan was named the "new James Bond" in a press conference on June 7 1994.


Principal photography for the film began on January 16 1995 and continued until June 6. The producers were unable to film at Pinewood Studiosmarker, the usual location for Bond films, because it had been reserved. Instead, an old Rolls-Royce factory at the Leavesden Aerodrome in Hertfordshiremarker was converted into a new studiomarker. The producers later said Pinewood would have been too small.

The bungee jump was filmed at the Verzasca Dammarker in Ticino, Switzerland. The film's casino scenes and the Tiger helicopter's demonstration were shot in Monte Carlo. Reference footage for the tank chase was shot on location in St. Petersburgmarker and matched to the studio at Leavesden. The climactic scenes on the satellite dish were shot at Arecibo Observatorymarker in Puerto Rico. The actual MI6 headquartersmarker were used for external views of M's office. Some of the scenes in St. Petersburg were actually shot in London — the Epsom Downs Racecoursemarker doubled the airport — to reduce expenses and security concerns, as the second unit sent to Russia required bodyguards.

The French Navy provided full use of the frigate FS La Fayette and their newest helicopter, the Eurocopter Tiger to the film's production team. The French government also allowed the use of Navy logos as part of the promotional campaign for the film. However, the producers had a dispute with the Ministry of Defence over Brosnan's opposition to French nuclear weapons testing and his involvement with Greenpeace; as a result, the French premiere of the film was cancelled.

The sequences involving the armoured train were filmed on the Nene Valley Railwaymarker, near Peterboroughmarker in the UK. The train was composed of a British Rail Class 20 diesel-electric locomotive and a pair of BR Mk 2 coaches, all three heavily disguised to resemble a Soviet armoured train.


GoldenEye was the last film of special effects supervisor Derek Meddings, to whom the film was dedicated. Meddings' major contribution were miniatures. It was also the first Bond film to use computer generated imagery.

Among the model effects are most external shots of Severnaya, the scene where Janus' train crashes in to the tank, and the lake which hides the satellite dish, since the producers couldn't find a round lake in Puerto Rico. The climax in the satellite dish used scenes in Arecibo, a model built by Meddings' team and scenes shot with stuntmen in England.

Stunt car coordinator Rémy Julienne described the car chase between the Aston Martin DB5 and the Ferrari F355 as between "a perfectly shaped, old and vulnerable vehicle and a racecar." The stunt had to be meticulously planned as the cars are vastly different. Nails had to be attached to the F355 tires to make it skid, and during one take of the sliding vehicles, both cars collided.

The largest stunt sequence in the film was the tank chase, which took around six weeks to film, partly on location in St. Petersburg and partly at Leavesden. A Russian T-55 tank, on loan from the East England Military Museum, was modified with the addition of fake explosive reactive armor panels. It was chronologically equivalent to a modern upgraded T-55 equipping the Russian Army Reserve of the period, such as the T-55M5. In order to avoid destroying the pavement on the city streets of St. Petersburg, the steel off-road tracks of the T-55 were replaced with the rubber-shoed tracks from a British Chieftain tank. A rectangular viewport was cut in the glacis plate and covered with tinted Perspex, allowing a trained driver to maneuver the tank from a prone position inside the driver's compartment while Pierce Brosnan sat in the (modified) driver's seat with his head protruding from the driver's hatch, creating the illusion he was driving the tank "unbuttoned". The filming at Leavesden also called for the destruction of a number of Lada cars, so many that the production company were unable to provide all of them and were reduced to flagging down vehicles in the vicinity of their offices and offering the owners cash for their vehicles so that they may be used in filming.

For the confrontation between Bond and Trevelyan inside the antenna cradle, director Campbell decided to take inspiration in Bond's fight with Red Grant in From Russia with Love. Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean did all the stunts themselves, except for one take where one is thrown against the wall. Brosnan injured his hand while filming the part in the extending ladder, making producers delay his scenes and film the ones in Severnaya earlier.

The opening bungee jump at Archangel, shot at the Verzasca Dammarker in Switzerlandmarker and performed by Wayne Michaels, was voted the best movie stunt of all time in a 2002 Sky Movies poll, and set a record for the highest bungee jump off a fixed structure.

The fall of communism in Russia is the main focus of the opening titles, designed by Daniel Kleinman (who took over from Maurice Binder after his death in 1991). They show the collapse and destruction of several structures associated with the Soviet Union, such as the red star and hammer and sickle. In an interview, Kleinman said they were meant to be "a kind of story telling sequence" showing that "what was happening in Communist countries was Communism was falling down". According to producer Michael G. Wilson, some Communist parties protested against "Socialist symbols being destroyed not by governments, but by bikini-clad women", especially the Indian one, which threatened to boycott the film.

Product placement

GoldenEye was the first film bound by BMW's three picture deal, so the producers were offered BMW's latest roadster, the BMW Z3. It was featured in the film months before its release, and a limited edition "007 model" sold out within a day of being available to order. As part of the car's marketing strategy, several Z3's were used to drive journalists from a complimentary meal at the Rainbow Roommarker restaurant to GoldenEye's premiere at Radio City Music Hall. For the film, a convertible Z3 is equipped with the usual Q refinements, including a self-destruct feature and Stinger missile behind the headlights. The Z3 does not have much screentime and none of the gadgets are used, which Martin Campbell attributed to the deal with BMW coming in the last stages of production. The Z3's appearance in GoldenEye is thought to be the most successful promotion through product placement in 1995. Ten years later, The Hollywood Reporter listed it as one of the most successful product placements in recent years. The article quoted Mary Lou Galician, head of media analysis and criticism at Arizona State Universitymarker's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communicationmarker, as saying that the news coverage of Bond's switch from Aston Martin to BMW "generated hundreds of millions of dollars of media exposure for the movie and all of its marketing partners."


The theme song, "GoldenEye", was written by Bono and The Edge, and was performed by Tina Turner. As the producers did not collaborate with Bono or The Edge, alternate versions of the song did not appear throughout GoldenEye, as was the case in previous James Bond films.

The soundtrack to GoldenEye was composed and performed by Éric Serra. Prolific Bond composer John Barry said he was offered it by Barbara Broccoli, but turned it down. Serra's score has been heavily criticised: Richard von Busack, in Metro, wrote that it was "more appropriate for a ride on an elevator than a ride on a roller coaster", and Filmtracks said Serra "failed completely in his attempt to tie Goldeneye to the franchise's past."

Later, John Altman provided the music for the tank chase in St. Petersburg. Serra's original track for that sequence can still be found on the soundtrack as "A Pleasant Drive In St. Petersburg". Serra composed and performed a number of synthesizer tracks, including the version of the James Bond Theme that plays during the gun barrel sequence, while John Altman and David Arch provided the more traditional symphonic music.

Release and reception

GoldenEye premiered on November 13, 1995, at the Radio City Music Hallmarker in New York Citymarker, and went on general release in the USAmarker on November 17, 1995. The UKmarker premiere, attended by Prince Charles, followed on November 22 at the Odeon Leicester Squaremarker, with general release two days later. Brosnan boycotted the French premiere to support Greenpeace's protest against the French nuclear testing program, causing the premiere to be abrogated. The film was later released in a further 31 countries, under three alternate titles.

The film earned over $US26 million during its opening across 2,667 theaters in the USA. Its worldwide sales were around the equivalent of $US350 million. It had the fourth highest worldwide gross of all films in 1995 and, was the most successful Bond film since Moonraker, taking inflation into account.

GoldenEye was edited in order to be guaranteed a PG-13 rating from the MPAA and a 12 rating from the BBFC. The cuts included the visible bullet impact to Trevelyan's head when he is shot in the prologue, several additional deaths during the sequence in which Onatopp guns down the workers at the Severnaya station, more explicit footage and violent behaviour in the Admiral's death, extra footage of Onatopp's death, and Bond giving her a rabbit punch in the car. In 2006, the film was remastered and re-edited for the James Bond Ultimate Edition DVD in which some of the BBFC cuts -- including headbutts and violent sound effects -- were restored, causing the rating to be changed to 15. However, the original MPAA edits still remain.


The critical reception of the film was mostly positive, with the film review collection website Rotten Tomatoes giving it an 84% Fresh approval rating, although a similar site, Metacritic, gave it only 65%. In the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave the film 3 stars out of 4, and said Brosnan's Bond was "somehow more sensitive, more vulnerable, more psychologically complete" than the previous ones, also commenting on Bond's "loss of innocence" since previous films. James Berardinelli described Brosnan as "a decided improvement over his immediate predecessor" with a "flair for wit to go along with his natural charm", but added that "fully one-quarter of Goldeneye is momentum-killing padding."

Several reviewers lauded M's appraisal of Bond as a "sexist, misogynist dinosaur", with Todd McCarthy in Variety saying GoldenEye "breathes fresh creative and commercial life" into the series. John Puccio of DVD Town said that GoldenEye was "an eye and ear-pleasing, action-packed entry in the Bond series" and that the film gave Bond "a bit of humanity, too". Ian Nathan of Empire said that GoldenEye "revamps that indomitable British spirit" and that the Die Hard movies "don't even come close to 007". Tom Sonne of the Sunday Times considered GoldenEye the best Bond film since The Spy Who Loved Me. Jose Arroyo of Sight & Sound considered the greatest success of the film in modernising the series.

GoldenEye was also ranked high in Bond-related lists. IGN chose it as the fifth best movie, while Entertainment Weekly ranked it 8th, and Norman Wilner of MSN as 9th. ET also voted Xenia Onatopp as the 6th most memorable Bond Girl, while IGN ranked Natalya as 7th in a similar list.

However, the film received several negative reviews. Richard Schickel of Time wrote that after "a third of a century's hard use", Bond's conventions survived on "wobbly knees", while in Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman thought the series had "entered a near-terminal state of exhaustion." Dragan Antulov said that GoldenEye had a predictable series of scenes, and Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times said that the film was "a middle-aged entity anxious to appear trendy at all costs". David Eimer of Premiere wrote that "the trademark humour is in short supply" and that "Goldeneye isn't classic Bond by any stretch of the imagination." Madeleine Williams said that "there are plenty of stunts and explosions to take your mind off the plot."


GoldenEye was nominated for two BAFTAs, Best Sound and Special Effects. Éric Serra won a BMI Film Award for the soundtrack and the film also earned nominations for Best Action Film and Actor at the Saturn Awards and Best Fight Scene at the MTV Movie Awards.

Appearances in other media

The Bunker Level of the N64 GoldenEye 007, similar to the film's story.
The only released screenshot of the cancelled Virtual Boy version of GoldenEye 007.
GoldenEye was the second and final Bond film to be adapted to a novel by novelist John Gardner. The book closely follows the film's storyline, but Gardner added a violent sequence prior to the opening bungee jump in which Bond kills a group of Russian guards, a change that the video game GoldenEye 007 retained.

In late 1995, Topps Comics began publishing a three-issue comic book adaptation of GoldenEye. The script was adapted by Don McGregor with art by Rick Magyar. The first issue carried a January 1996 cover date. For unknown reasons, Topps cancelled the entire adaptation after the first issue had been published, and to date the adaptation has never been released in its entirety.

The film was the basis for GoldenEye 007, a successful video game for the Nintendo 64 developed by Raremarker (known at the time as Rareware) and published by Nintendo. In January 2000, readers of the British video game magazine Computer and Video Games listed GoldenEye 007 in first place in a list of "the hundred greatest video games". In Edge's 10th anniversary issue in 2003, the game was included as one of their top ten shooter of all time, and in 2005, a "Best Games of All-Time" poll at GameFAQs placed it at 7th. It is based upon the film, but many of the missions were extended or modified.

GoldenEye 007 was modified into a racing game intended to be released for the Virtual Boy console. However, the game was cancelled before release. GoldenEye: Source is a fan made total conversion mod using the Source engine and based on GoldenEye 007. In January 2007, it was awarded twice in the 2006 annual Moddb awards, for the Editor's Choice award in the Reinvention category and was player-voted 3rd place in the overall category Mod of the year.In 2004, Electronic Arts released GoldenEye: Rogue Agent, the first game of the James Bond series in which the player does not take on the role of Bond. Instead, the protagonist is an aspiring Double-0 agent Jonathan Hunter, known by his codename "GoldenEye" recruited by a villain of the Bond universe, Auric Goldfinger. Except for the appearance of Xenia Onatopp, the game was unrelated to the film, and was released to mediocre reviews.

It was excoriated by several critics including Eric Qualls for using the name "GoldenEye" as an attempt to ride on the success of Rare's game.


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