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. The longtime Saltzman-Broccoli producing team could never get their hands on the rights until now, despite earlier misadventures by others using the same title, and maybe it’s just as well, because it provides a fresh starting place. And it returns to the family fold; with her father’s passing, Barbara Broccoli is producer.
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Casino Royale (2006)
After earning 00 status and a licence to kill, secret agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007. Bond must defeat a private banker funding terrorists in a high-stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, Montenegro.
Casino Royale is a 2006 spy film based on the Ian Fleming character James Bond, produced by Eon Productions and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. It is the twenty-first Eon-produced James Bond film and the third screen adaptation of Fleming’s 1953 novel of the same name.
Directed by Martin Campbell from a screenplay by Neil Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis, it stars Daniel Craig in his first appearance as Bond, alongside Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, and Jeffrey Wright. In the film, Bond is on assignment to bankrupt terrorist financier Le Chiffre (Mikkelsen) in a high-stakes poker game at the Casino Royale in Montenegro.
Following Die Another Day (2002), Eon decided to reboot the franchise, attempting to counteract perceived unrealistic elements of previous entries and instead explore a less experienced, more vulnerable Bond. Casting involved a widespread search for a new actor to succeed Pierce Brosnan as Bond; the choice of Craig, announced in October 2005, drew controversy.
Principal photography took place in the Bahamas, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic, with interior sets built at Pinewood Studios and Barrandov Studios. Casino Royale is notable for primarily featuring practical stuntwork as opposed to computer-generated placements seen in other Bond films.
Casino Royale premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square on 14 November 2006, and was theatrically released first in the United Kingdom on 16 November, and in the United States a day later. The film received critical acclaim, with praise for Craig’s reinvention of the character and its departure from the tropes of previous Bond films. It grossed over $616 million worldwide, becoming the fourth highest-grossing film of 2006 and the highest-grossing James Bond film until the release of Skyfall (2012). The sequel, Quantum of Solace, was released in 2008.
Casino Royale (2006) Trailer
Casino Royale (2006) Reviews
Year after year, attending the new Bond was like observing a ritual. There was the opening stunt sequence that served little purpose, except to lead into the titles; the title song; Miss Moneypenny; M with an assignment of great urgency to the Crown; Q with some new gadgets; an archvillain; a series of babes, some treacherous, some doomed, all frequently in stages of undress; the villain’s master-plan; Bond’s certain death, and a lot of chases.
It could be terrific, it could be routine, but you always knew about where you were in the formula.
With “Casino Royale,” we get to the obligatory concluding lovey-dovey on the tropical sands, and then the movie pulls a screeching U-turn and starts up again with the most sensational scene I have ever seen set in Venice, or most other places. It’s a movie that keeps on giving.
This time, no Moneypenny, no Q and Judi Dench is unleashed as M, given a larger role, and allowed to seem hard-eyed and disapproving to the reckless Bond. This time, no dream of world domination, but just a bleeding-eyed rat who channels money to terrorists. This time a poker game that is interrupted by the weirdest trip to the parking lot I’ve ever seen. This time, no laser beam inching up on Bond’s netherlands, but a nasty knotted rope actually whacking his hopes of heirs.
And this time, no Monte Carlo, but Montenegro, a fictional casino resort, where Bond checks into the “Hotel Splendid,” which is in fact, yes, the very same Grand Hotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary where Queen Latifah had her culinary vacation in “Last Holiday.” That gives me another opportunity to display my expertise on the Czech Republic by informing you that “Pupp” is pronounced “poop,” so no wonder it’s the Splendid.
I never thought I would see a Bond movie where I cared, actually cared, about the people. But I care about Bond, and about Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), even though I know that (here it comes) a Martini Vesper is shaken, not stirred. Vesper Lynd, however, is definitely stirring, as she was in Bertolucci’s wonderful “The Dreamers.” Sometimes shaken, too. Vesper and James have a shower scene that answers, at last, why nobody in a Bond movie ever seems to have any real emotions.
Which brings up another thing. Most of the chases and stunts in “Casino Royale” take place in something vaguely approximating real space and time. Of course I know they use doubles and deceptive camera angles and edits to cover impossibilities, but the point is: They try to make it look real. Recently, with the advent of portable cameras and computerized editing, action movies have substituted visual chaos for visual elegance.
I think the public is getting tired of action sequences that are created in post-production. I’ve been swamped with letters complaining about “The Bourne Ultimatum.” One guy said, “Why don’t critics admit they’re tired of it?” Actually, we’re tired of writing about how tired of it we are.
The plot centers on a marathon high-stakes poker game, in which Bond will try to deprive Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) of 10 million or more pounds that would go to finance terrorism. Le Chiffre (“The Cypher”) has problems on his own, because he owes money big-time to the people who supply it to him.
Director Martin Campbell builds suspense in the extended poker game by not being afraid to focus for long seconds on the eyes of the two main opponents, which is all the more effective because Le Chiffre’s left eye has tears of blood, inspiring a classic Bond line. Bond’s absences from the table are of more than ordinary interest.
This is Campbell’s second Bond picture, after “Goldeneye” (1995), but he breaks with his own and everyone else’s tradition. He’s helped by Craig, who gives the sense of a hard man, wounded by life and his job, who nevertheless cares about people and right and wrong. To a certain degree, the earlier Bonds were lustful technicians. With this one, since he has a big scene involving a merchant’s house in Venice, we can excuse ourselves for observing that if you prick him, he bleeds.
Casino Royale (2006) Credits
Casino Royale (2007)
Daniel Craig as James Bond
Eva Green as Vesper Lynd
Judi Dench as M
Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter
Giancarlo Giannini as Mathis
Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre
- Martin Campbell
- Neal Purvis
- Robert Wade
- Paul Haggis
Based on the novel by
- Ian Fleming
Casino Royale (2006) Plot
MI6 operative James Bond gains his license to kill and promotion to 00 agent status by assassinating the traitorous Dryden and his contact at the British Embassy in Prague. In Uganda, Mr. White introduces Steven Obanno, a high-ranking member of the Lord’s Resistance Army, to Le Chiffre, an Albanian private banker to terrorists. Obanno entrusts Le Chiffre with a large sum of money to invest; Le Chiffre shorts the stock of aerospace manufacturer Skyfleet using insider knowledge of a terrorist attack.
In Madagascar, Bond blows up an embassy in the course of killing bomb-maker Mollaka. MI6 chief M admonishes Bond for causing an international incident and ignoring her orders to capture Mollaka alive. Using information captured from Mollaka, Bond is led to corrupt Greek official Alex Dimitrios in the Bahamas, who had hired Mollaka at Le Chiffre’s request.
After winning his Aston Martin DB5 in a poker game and seducing Dimitrios’ wife Solange, Bond pursues Dimitrios to Miami and kills him, then chases down the new attacker Dimitrios has hired. Bond thwarts the destruction of Skyfleet’s prototype airliner, costing Le Chiffre his hundred-million dollar investment. Surmising that somebody talked, he tortures Solange to death.
To recoup his clients’ money, Le Chiffre organizes a Texas hold ’em tournament at the Casino Royale in Montenegro. MI6 enters Bond in the tournament, believing a defeat will force Le Chiffre to seek asylum with the British government in exchange for information on his clients. Bond is paired with Vesper Lynd, a British Treasury agent protecting the $10 million buy-in.
They meet their contact René Mathis in Montenegro. Obanno, furious that his money is missing, ambushes Le Chiffre but allows him to continue playing to win back the money, though Bond kills both Obanno and his bodyguard. Bond loses his stake as Le Chiffre has been tipped off about his own tell. Vesper refuses to cover the $5 million rebuy, but fellow player Felix Leiter, a CIA agent, stakes Bond the money to continue in exchange for taking Le Chiffre into American custody.
Le Chiffre’s lover Valenka poisons Bond’s martini but Vesper rescues him. He returns to the game and wins. Le Chiffre kidnaps Vesper to trap Bond, and brings them to an abandoned ship where he tortures Bond to reveal the password to the winnings, but Bond resists. Mr. White bursts in and kills Le Chiffre, sparing Bond and Vesper.
Bond awakens in an MI6 hospital and recovers with Vesper at his side. He resigns from MI6 and they run away to Venice. When M reveals the money was never deposited, Bond realizes Vesper has betrayed him. He follows her to a handoff of the money, where gunmen take her captive upon spotting him. Bond shoots the building’s flotation devices, causing it to sink into the Grand Canal. He kills the gunmen, but Vesper is imprisoned in an elevator. She drowns after locking herself inside to prevent Bond from rescuing her, while Mr. White escapes with the money.
M informs Bond, who has returned to service, the organization behind Le Chiffre[n 1] threatened to kill Vesper’s lover unless she became a double agent. When Bond denounces Vesper as a traitor, M deduces that she likely made a deal with White, trading the money for Bond’s life. Realizing Vesper left her phone to help him, Bond checks the contacts and locates Mr. White at an estate in Lake Como. Shooting him in the leg, 007 introduces himself: “The name’s Bond, James Bond”.
Casino Royale (2006) Box office
The film has earned $606,099,584 worldwide. Casino Royale was the fourth-highest-grossing film of 2006, and was the highest-grossing installment of the James Bond series until Skyfall surpassed it in November 2012.
Upon its release in the United Kingdom, Casino Royale broke series records on both opening day—£1.7 million—and opening weekend—£13,370,969. At the end of its box-office run, the film had grossed £55.4 million, making it the most successful film of the year in the UK, and, as of 2011, the tenth-highest-grossing film of all time in the country.
On its US opening day, Casino Royale was on top with $14,741,135, and throughout the weekend grossed a total of $40,833,156, placing it second in the ranking behind Happy Feet ($41.5 million). However, Casino Royale was playing in 370 fewer cinemas and had a better average ($11,890 per cinema, against $10,918 for Happy Feet). It earned $167,445,960 by the end of its run in North America, marking what was at the time the highest-grossing film of the series, before being surpassed by Quantum of Solace‘s $168.4 million.
On 18 November 2006, Casino Royale opened at the first position in 27 countries, with a weekend gross of $43,407,886 in the non-UK, Irish, US and Canada markets.
The film retained the top spot at the worldwide box office for four weeks.
Casino Royale (2006) Critical Response
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 94% based on 263 reviews, with an average rating of 7.9/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Casino Royale disposes of the silliness and gadgetry that plagued recent James Bond outings, and Daniel Craig delivers what fans and critics have been waiting for: a caustic, haunted, intense reinvention of 007.”
On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 80 out of 100 based on 46 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A−” on an A+ to F scale.
Craig’s performance and credibility were particularly praised. During production, Craig had been subject to debate by the media and the public, as he did not appear to fit Ian Fleming’s original portrait of the character as tall, dark and suave. The Daily Telegraph compared the quality of Craig’s characterization of Bond to Sean Connery’s and praised the script as smartly written, noting how the film departed from the series’ conventions.
The Times compared Craig’s portrayal of the character to that of Timothy Dalton, and praised the action as “edgy”, with another reviewer citing in particular the action sequence involving the cranes in Madagascar. Critics Paul Arendt of BBC Films, Kim Newman of Empire, and Todd McCarthy of Variety all described Craig as the first actor to truly embody Ian Fleming’s James Bond from the original novel: ironic, brutal and cold. Arendt commented, “Craig is the first actor to really nail 007’s defining characteristic: he’s an absolute swine”.
The film was similarly well received in North America. MSNBC gave the movie a perfect 5 star rating. The film was described as taking James Bond “back to his roots”, similar to From Russia with Love, where the focus was on character and plot rather than the high-tech gadgets and visual effects that were strongly criticized in Die Another Day.
Entertainment Weekly named the film as the fifth best of the series, and chose Vesper Lynd as the fourth best Bond girl in the series. Some newspaper columnists and critics were impressed enough by Craig’s performance to consider him a viable candidate for an Academy Award nomination.
Roger Ebert gave the film a four out of four star rating, and wrote that “Craig makes a superb Bond … who gives the sense of a hard man, wounded by life and his job, who nevertheless cares about people and right and wrong,” and that the film “has the answers to all my complaints about the 45-year-old James Bond series,” specifically “why nobody in a Bond movie ever seems to have any real emotions.
” Time Out New York‘s Joshua Rothkopf called Craig “the best Bond in the franchise’s history,” citing the actor’s “crisp, hateful, Mamet-worthy snarl … This is a screwed-up Bond, a rogue Bond, a bounder, a scrapper and, in the movie’s astoundingly bleak coda, an openhearted lover.”
Vicky Allan of the Sunday Herald noted Bond himself, and not his love interests, was sexually objectified in this film: A moment where he rises from the sea is reminiscent of Ursula Andress in Dr. No; he feels “skewered” by Vesper Lynd’s criticism of him; “and though it would be almost unthinkable now have a female character in a mainstream film stripped naked and threatened with genital mutilation, that is exactly what happens to Bond in [the film].”
So although the film backed off from past criticism of Bond girls being sex objects, “the once invincible James Bond becomes just another joint at the meat market.” This sentiment is shared by the University of Leicester’s James Chapman, author of Licence to Thrill, who also notes Craig’s Bond is “not yet the polished article”; he felt his incarnation of Bond is close to Fleming’s because he is “humourless,” but is also different because “Fleming’s Bond did not enjoy killing; Craig’s Bond seems almost to relish it.”
Andrew Sarris of The New York Observer wrote that this particular Bond film is “the very first that I would seriously consider placing on my own yearly 10-best list. Furthermore, I consider Daniel Craig to be the most effective and appealing of the six actors who have played 007, and that includes even Sean Connery.”
Roger Moore wrote, “Daniel Craig impressed me so greatly in his debut outing, Casino Royale, by introducing a more gritty, unrefined edge to the character that I thought Sean [Connery] might just have to move over. Craig’s interpretation was like nothing we’d seen on screen before; Jimmy Bond was earning his stripes and making mistakes. It was intriguing to see him being castigated by M, just like a naughty schoolboy would be by his headmaster. The script showed him as a vulnerable, troubled, and flawed character.
Quite the opposite to my Bond! Craig was, and is, very much the Bond Ian Fleming had described in the books – a ruthless killing machine. It was a Bond that the public wanted.” Moore also quipped that his praise was “not heaped lightly,” because he had to purchase the DVD himself. Raymond Benson, the author of nine Bond novels, called Casino Royale “a perfect Bond film.”
The film met with mixed reactions from other critics. John Beifuss of The Commercial Appeal said, “Who wants to see Bond learn a lesson about ego, as if he were Greg Brady in his ‘Johnny Bravo’ phase?” Anthony Lane of The New Yorker criticized the more imperfect and self-aware depiction of the character, saying, “Even James Bond, in other words, wants to be 007.”
Though American radio personality Michael Medved gave the film three stars out of four, describing it as “intriguing, audacious and very original … more believable and less cartoonish, than previous 007 extravaganzas”; he commented further that the “sometimes sluggish pacing will frustrate some Bond fanatics.”
Commentators such as Emanuel Levy concurred, feeling the ending was too long, and that the film’s terrorist villains lacked depth, although he praised Craig and gave the film a B+ overall. Other reviewers responded negatively, including Tim Adams of The Observer, who felt the film came off uncomfortably in an attempt to make the series grittier.
In December 2006, Casino Royale was named the best film of the year by viewers of Film 2006. In 2009, UK ice cream company Del Monte Superfruit Smoothies launched an ice lolly moulded to resemble Craig emerging from the sea. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly named Casino Royale the 19th-best film of the past 25 years.
Casino Royale (2006) Accolades
At the 2006 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, Casino Royale won the Film Award for Best Sound (Chris Munro, Eddy Joseph, Mike Prestwood Smith, Martin Cantwell, Mark Taylor), and the Orange Rising Star Award, which was won by Eva Green.
The film was nominated for eight BAFTA awards, including the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film of the Year; Best Screenplay (Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis); the Anthony Asquith Award for Best Film Music (David Arnold); Best Cinematography (Phil Méheux); Best Editing (Stuart Baird); Best Production Design (Peter Lamont, Simon Wakefield); Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects (Steve Begg, Chris Corbould, John Paul Docherty, Ditch Doy); and Best Actor (Daniel Craig).
This made Craig the first actor ever to receive a BAFTA nomination for a performance as James Bond. He also received the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor.
Casino Royale won the Excellence in Production Design Award from the Art Directors Guild, and singer Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name” won the International Press Academy Satellite Award for Best Original Song. The film was nominated for five Saturn Awards— Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film, Best Actor (Daniel Craig), Best Supporting Actress (Eva Green), Best Writing (Purvis, Wade and Haggis) and Best Music (David Arnold).
The 2006 Golden Tomato Awards named Casino Royale the Wide Release Film of the Year. Casino Royale was also nominated for, and has won, many other international awards for its screenplay, film editing, visual effects, and production design. At the 2007 Saturn Awards, the film was declared to be the Best Action/Adventure/Thriller film of 2006.
Several members of the crew were also recipients of 2007 Taurus World Stunt Awards, including Gary Powell for Best Stunt Coordination and Ben Cooke, Kai Martin, Marvin Stewart-Campbell and Adam Kirley for Best High Work.
|American Cinema Editors Awards||Best Edited Feature Film – Dramatic||Stuart Baird||Nominated|
|Art Directors Guild Awards||Excellence in Production Design for a Contemporary Film||Peter Lamont||Won|
|British Academy Film Awards||Best Actor in a Leading Role||Daniel Craig||Nominated|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography||Phil Méheux||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Stuart Baird||Nominated|
|Best Original Music||David Arnold||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Peter Lamont, Lee Sandales and Simon Wakefield||Nominated|
|Best Sound||Chris Munro, Eddy Joseph, Mike Prestwood Smith, Martin Cantwell and Mark Taylor||Won|
|Best Special Visual Effects||Steve Begg, Chris Corbould, John Paul Docherty and Ditch Doy||Nominated|
|Outstanding British Film||Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli, Martin Campbell, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis||Nominated|
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Excellence in Contemporary Film||Lindy Hemming||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Original Song||“You Know My Name” (Chris Cornell, David Arnold)||Won|
|Saturn Awards||Best Action or Adventure Film||Casino Royale||Won|
|Best Actor||Daniel Craig||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Eva Green||Nominated|
|Best Writing||Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis||Nominated|
|Best Music||David Arnold||Nominated|
|Visual Effects Society Awards||Outstanding Special Effects in a Feature Motion Picture||Chris Corbould, Peter Notley, Ian Lowe and Roy Quinn||Won|
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