Watch GoldenEye (1995), Story, Stars, Reviews & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie
Years after a friend and fellow 00 agent is killed on a joint mission, a Russian crime syndicate steals a secret space-based weapons program known as “GoldenEye” and James Bond has to stop them from using it.
GoldenEye is a 1995 spy film, the seventeenth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, and the first to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Directed by Martin Campbell, it was the first in the series not to utilize any story elements from the works of novelist Ian Fleming.
It was also the first James Bond film not produced by Albert R. Broccoli, following his stepping down from Eon Productions and replacement by his daughter, Barbara Broccoli (along with Michael G. Wilson, although Albert was still involved as a consultant producer; it was his final film project before his death in 1996).
The story was conceived and written by Michael France, with later collaboration by other writers. In the film, Bond fights to prevent a rogue ex-MI6 agent (Sean Bean) from using a satellite weapon against London to cause a global financial meltdown.
The film was released after a six-year hiatus in the series caused by legal disputes, during which Timothy Dalton resigned from the role of James Bond and was replaced by Brosnan. M was also recast, with actress Judi Dench becoming the first woman to portray the character, replacing Robert Brown.
The role of Miss Moneypenny was also recast, with Caroline Bliss being replaced by Samantha Bond; Desmond Llewelyn was the only actor to reprise his role, as Q. It was the first Bond film made after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, which provided a background for the plot.
Principal photography for GoldenEye took place in the UK, Russia, Monte Carlo and Puerto Rico; it was the inaugural film production to be shot at Leavesden Studios. The first Bond film to use computer-generated imagery (CGI), GoldenEye was also the final film of special effects supervisor Derek Meddings’s career, and was dedicated to his memory.
The film accumulated a worldwide gross of over US$350 million, considerably better than Dalton’s films, without taking inflation into account. It received positive reviews, with critics viewing Brosnan as a definite improvement over his predecessor. It also received award nominations for “Best Special Visual Effects” and “Best Sound” from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
GoldenEye (1995) Trailer
GoldenEye (1995) Reviews
But instead of sexy small-talk, she asks Bond: “How can you act like this? How can you be so cold?” And Bond replies not with a sophisticated wisecrack but with, “It’s what keeps me alive.” In the earlier Bond adventures, no woman would have asked such a question, and 007 certainly would not have provided such an answer.
More evidence of Bond’s loss of innocence: He is now aware that his history is repeating itself. Although all the Bond films have followed a story pattern so rigid that 007 could have predicted the next scene just by looking at his watch, there has always been the fiction that each adventure is more or less unique. Bond has never used an obvious line like, “Do you realize you’re no less than the 12th megalomaniacal madman striving for world domination that I’ve met?”
There is always one absolutely obligatory scene: Bond has been captured by the madman, who needs only to kill him. But he always talks first. Explains his plans for world domination. Boasts.
Preens. Doesn’t realize that his mistress will become attracted to Bond. This scene is so inevitable, indeed, that it helped give rise to the definition of the Talking Killer in Ebert’s Little Movie Glossary.
In “GoldenEye,” the unthinkable happens. Both Bond and the madman apparently have read the Glossary, and can no longer act unself-consciously. Bond has fallen into the clutches of an evil genius who plans to rule Earth from cyberspace, via a powerful communications satellite. He narrows his eyes and says: “How shall we kill you?” And Bond replies: “What – no small talk? No chit-chat? That’s the problem with the world these days — no one takes the time to conduct the proper interrogation.”
Perhaps our popular conception of maleness has changed so much that James Bond can no longer exist in the old way. In “GoldenEye,” we get a hybrid, a modern Bond grafted onto the formula.
The result is not uninteresting. The special effects and stunts, of course, are satisfactorily spectacular, including slick footage of the theft of a high-tech helicopter, a chase between a car and a tank, a crash between a tank and a train, and such unexpected bonuses as a Russian country & western bar, with “Stand by Your Man” in a Slavic accent.
The plot involves an Earth satellite that has been lurking in secret orbit and can disrupt Earth communications, giving the person who controls it power over governments and markets. After Xenia Onatopp (an ex-fighter pilot) and her accomplices steal a priceless Tiger helicopter that is invulnerable to the satellite, Bond traces her to St. Petersburg, Russia, where the Janus arms syndicate is located. This leads to a sex scene involving Onatopp that owes a lot to Sumo wrestling.
Watching the film, I got caught up in the special effects and the neat stunts, and I observed with a certain satisfaction Bond’s belated entry into a more modern world. Brosnan was quite adequate, although all of the later Bonds suffer from the reality that no one else will ever really replace Sean Connery. I had a good enough time, I guess, although I never really got involved. I was shaken but not stirred.
GoldenEye (1995) Credits
Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp
Sean Bean as Alec Trevelyan
Joe Don Baker as Jack Wade
Izabella Scorupco as Natalya Simonova
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond
Judi Dench as M
- Martin Campbell
Based On A Story by
- Michael France
- Bruce Feirstein
- Jeffrey Caine
GoldenEye (1995) Plot
In 1986, MI6 agents James Bond and Alec Trevelyan infiltrate a Soviet chemical weapons facility in Arkhangelsk. While Trevelyan is caught and assumed killed by Colonel Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov, the facility’s commanding officer, Bond destroys the site and flees.
While undergoing an assessment nine years later, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Bond attempts to prevent Xenia Onatopp, a member of the Janus crime syndicate, from stealing a Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter during a military demonstration in Monte Carlo, but is unable to prevent the theft.
Returning to London, Bond oversees MI6 staff monitoring an incident in Severnaya, Siberia, after the stolen helicopter turns up at a radar facility there. An electromagnetic pulse blast suddenly hits the site, destroying it and Russian fighter aircraft, while knocking out all satellite systems in orbit above.
The newly appointed M assigns Bond to investigate, after it is determined the blast came from a Soviet-era satellite armed with a nuclear electromagnetic pulse space-based weapon, codenamed “GoldenEye”. Although Janus is suspected of initiating the attack, Bond suspects Ourumov, now a general, had involvement due to the weapon system requiring high-level military access.
Travelling to Saint Petersburg, Bond is advised by his CIA contact Jack Wade to meet former KGB agent-turned-gangster Valentin Zukovsky and have him arrange a meeting with Janus. Escorted to the meeting by Onatopp, Bond discovers that Janus is led by Trevelyan, having faked his death at Arkhangelsk, and learns he is descended from the Lienz Cossacks who were repatriated to the Soviet Union after collaborating with the Axis powers during World War II.
Learning that Trevelyan seeks revenge against Britain for betraying his parents, Bond is sedated and trapped in the stolen Tiger alongside Natalya Simonova, a survivor of the Severnaya attack. After escaping the helicopter’s destruction, the pair are interrogated by Russian Minister of Defence Dimitri Mishkin.
The heated argument between the men leads Natalya to affirm Ourumov’s involvement in the use of GoldenEye, and that fellow programmer Boris Grishenko survived along with her and is now working for Janus in operating a second GoldenEye satellite. Before Mishkin can act on the information, Ourumov kills him and captures Natalya. Commandeering a tank, Bond eventually pursues Ourumov to a missile train used by Janus. He kills Ourumov and escapes the train with Natalya before it explodes.
Bond and Natalya travel to Cuba, after Boris is traced to a location within the island’s jungles. While flying over the area, the pair are shot down. Onatopp attacks them after they crash land, but Bond kills her during the fight. The pair soon uncover a hidden base beneath a large lake, concealing a satellite dish, and proceed to infiltrate it.
Bond is captured while trying to rig the base base to explode, and learns from Trevelyan that he intends to use GoldenEye to devastate London in order to conceal the theft of financial records from the Bank of England. While Natalya is captured as well, she hacks into the satellite and reprogram it to initiate atmospheric re-entry and thus destroy itself. When Boris loses his cool trying to undo her programming, Bond uses the moment to trigger a grenade, concealed in a pen, to allow him and Natalya to escape.
To prevent Boris regaining control of the satellite, Bond sabotages the dish’s antennae by jamming its gears. Trevelyan tries stopping him, and the ensuing fight between the two culminates in him being dangled below the antennae. When Trevelyan asks Bond if he is killing him for England, Bond admits it is for himself before dropping Trevelyan to the ground.
Natalya soon rescues Bond in a commandeered helicopter, moments before the antennae malfunctions and explodes, destroying the base and killing its personnel, with Trevelyan killed by falling debris, and Boris killed by ruptured liquid nitrogen canisters. After landing somewhere safe, the pair prepare to enjoy some solitude together, but are interrupted by the arrival of Wade and a team of U.S. Marines, who escort them to Guantanamo base.
GoldenEye (1995) Box office
GoldenEye (1995) Critical Response
GoldenEye premiered on 13 November 1995, at the Radio City Music Hall, and went on general release in the United States on 17 November 1995. The UK premiere followed on 21 November at the Odeon Leicester Square, with general release three days later.
The film also had the German premiere on 5 December, at which Brosnan was present, at Mathäser-Filmpalast (de) in Munich, with general release on December 28; and the Swedish premiere on 8 December, attended by Brosnan and Scorupco, at Rigoletto (sv) in Stockholm, with general release on the same day.
The after-party took place at Stockholm’s Grand Hôtel. Brosnan boycotted the French premiere to support Greenpeace’s protest against the French nuclear testing program.
The film earned over $26 million during its opening across 2,667 cinemas in the United States and Canada. In the United Kingdom, it grossed a record $5.5 million for a non-holiday week from 448 theatres and was the third biggest in history behind Jurassic Park and Batman Forever. 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 posted the largest revenue increase over its predecessor of any Bond film; when adjusted for inflation, it grossed 83% more worldwide than the preceding Bond film, 1989’s Licence to Kill.
The film was edited 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 knocking her out with a rabbit punch in the car.
In 2006, the film was remastered and re-edited for the James Bond Ultimate Edition DVD in which the BBFC cuts 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. Film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes holds it at a 80% approval rating. Its consensus states: “The first and best Pierce Brosnan Bond film, GoldenEye brings the series into a more modern context, and the result is a 007 entry that’s high-tech, action-packed, and urbane.” A similar site, Metacritic, holds it at 65. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A−” on an A+ to F scale.
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 the film “breathes fresh creative and commercial life” into the series. John Puccio of DVD Town said that it 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 it “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 it the best Bond film since The Spy Who Loved Me. Jose Arroyo of Sight & Sound considered the greatest success of it was in modernising the series.
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.”
Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times said that it 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.”
Often cited as Pierce Brosnan’s best Bond film, GoldenEye‘s reputation has only improved since its release. It is ranked high in Bond-related lists, as IGN chose it as the fifth-best movie, while Entertainment Weekly ranked it eighth, and Norman Wilner of MSN as ninth. EW also voted Xenia Onatopp as the sixth-most memorable Bond girl, while IGN ranked Natalya as seventh in a similar list. The film enjoys a large and enthusiastic following among Bond fans, especially those who grew up with the GoldenEye 007 video game.
In a 2021 Yahoo survey consisting of 2200 scholars and Bond superfans, GoldenEye was voted as the best Bond film, followed by Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale and George Lazenby’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In 2019, a book about the film and its many video game versions, The World of GoldenEye, was published by author Nicolás Suszczyk.
The film was nominated for two BAFTAs—Best Sound and Special Visual Effects—in 1996, but lost to Braveheart and Apollo 13, respectively. Éric Serra won a BMI Film Award for the soundtrack, and it also earned nominations for Best Action, Adventure or Thriller Film and Actor at the 22nd Saturn Awards, and Best Fight at the 1996 MTV Movie Awards.
GoldenEye (1995) Accolades
GoldenEye (1995) Movie Info
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