GOLDENEYE (MGM/United Artists, 1995)

Contributed by: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin

★★★ The seventeenth James Bond movie produced by Eon Productions, it marked the debut of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. US release date: November 17, 1995. Budget: $60 million. Worldwide box office gross: $356.4 million (US domestic gross: $106.4 million; international gross: $250.0 million).[1] Running time: 130 minutes.

The Setup

A throwback to the intrigue-laden Bond films of the ’60s, GoldenEye pits 007 (Pierce Brosnan) against an old friend and double-0 comrade, Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), who is now the head of a fanatical splinter group of the Russian mafia. His plot: revenge against his native England through the destruction of its economic system. His method: unleashing a deadly electromagnetic pulse from a commandeered Russian space satellite code-named GoldenEye—an attack that will disable Britain’s entire electrical grid. In a nod to previous female assassins like Fiona Volpe in Thunderball and Fatima Blush in Never Say Never Again, the writers introduced the amazingly athletic Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), a gorgeous assassin who knocks off her victims with her “killer thighs.” Bond is helped along the way by another beauty, computer expert and love interest Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco).

Behind the Scenes

Audiences had been waiting for Pierce Brosnan to assume the James Bond mantle ever since it was announced that he couldn’t get out of his Remington Steele contract to star in The Living Daylights. He was a perfect choice for 007—handsome, cool as a cucumber, good with his fists, comfortable with the opposite sex, and adept at the type of witty throwaway humor that had been missing from the deadly serious Timothy Dalton Bond films. When asked what it meant to play Bond at the opening press conference for the film, Pierce Brosnan responded, “It’s pretty emotional in many ways—actually only because it was in my life in ’86 and it went out of my life in ’86. When something happens in your life, [then] happens for a second time, it carries a certain significance.”

Brosnan assured fans that his character was “still a ladies man—he has an eye out for the women. It’s a classic Bond; he gets the women. As a boy of eleven years old, Sean was the first Bond I ever saw.” But he wasn’t going to lean on nostalgia; he noted that as he waited for the press conference to begin, “I stood there and I could hear the clamor outside of the press, and everything went into slow motion, and then they put the music on, the Bond music, and suddenly I’m doing this—I’m about to stand in front of all these people and announce to the world that I’m going to do this role and also have colossal fun. There’s no ghosts here. There’s no ghosts of Sean, there’s no ghosts of the ’60s, there’s no ghosts of Roger . . . it’s like a fresh, clean slate.”[2]

The early 1990s had been a difficult time for the Bond franchise, stuck in a complicated legal war over Bond distribution rights that stalled the series for six years. However, given all that time, the writers came up with a believable story that won over international audiences. Highlights: the exciting teaser sequence involving Bond racing over a cliff in a motorcycle and skydiving into a crashing private plane; Famke Janssen chewing the scenery so well as Onatopp; and Dame Judi Dench as a new M with “balls.”

The Cast
James Bond Pierce Brosnan
Alec Trevelyan Sean Bean
Natalya Fyodorovna Simonova Izabella Scorupco
Xenia Zaragevna Onatopp Famke Janssen
Jack Wade Joe Don Baker
M Dame Judi Dench
Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky Robbie Coltrane
Defense Minister Dmitri Mishkm Tcheky Karyo
General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov Gottfried John
Boris Grishenko Alan Cumming
Q Desmond Llewelyn
Miss Moneypenny Samantha Bond
Bill Tanner Michael Kitchen
Caroline Serena Gordon
Severnaya Duty Officer Simon Kunz
French Warship Captain Pavel Douglas
French Warship Officer Olivier Lajous
Admiral Chuck Farrell Billy J. Mitchell
IBM Computer Store Manager Constantine Gregory
Irina (Zukovsky’s Mistress) Minnie Driver
Anna Michelle Arthur

The Crew
Crew Member
Presented by Albert R. Broccoli
Director Martin Campbell
Screenplay by Jeffrey Caine
Bruce Feirstein
Story by Michael France
Executive Producer Tom Pevsner
Producers Barbara Broccoli
Michael G. Wilson
Associate Producer Anthony Waye
Director of Photography Phil Meheux
Music by Eric Serra
Title Song Performed by Tina Turner
Production Designer Peter Lamont
Costume Designer Lindy Hemming
Casting Debbie McWilliams
Stunt Coordinator Simon Crane
Title Designer Daniel Kleinman
Editor Terry Rawlings

[1] “Goldeneye (1995) ,” The Numbers, accessed May 20, 2020,

[2] Special features, GoldenEye, James Bond Ultimate Edition (1995; MGM, 2006), DVD.


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