20 years later, Pierce Brosnan's first Bond movie is still his best.
After a six-year absence from the big screen, 007 returned with the very-90s, but very action-packed, "GoldenEye." Despite headlines in the press asking if the world needed James Bond anymore, audiences seemed to think it did -- they helped the film become a huge hit at the box office, spawning three more films for Brosnan and a popular Nintendo game.
In honor of the film's 20th (?!) anniversary on November 17, here are 20 things you may not know about one of 007's most popular missions.
1. Legal issues prevented MGM from getting a new Bond movie out after the tepid reaction to 1989's "License to Kill," grounding 007 for six years -- the longest wait in-between films in the franchise's history.
2. In 1990, before the title and plot were locked down, producer Michael G. Wilson contributed a treatment and "Wiseguy" writer Alphonse Ruggerio was hired to flesh it out into a screenplay -- with Timothy Dalton intended to return as Bond. (He officially vacated the role in 1994.) That version of the story was reportedly titled "Property of a Lady", and it would have seen the Bond film series return to using Ian Fleming titles. While this story is hard to track down, word 'round the campfire is that it would have taken place in Hong Kong.
3. Brosnan was originally set to play Bond back in 1987, but contractual obligations to his NBC series, "Remington Steele," prevented that from happening.
4. Other actors considered to play Bond -- or rumored to be -- included Liam Neeson, Mel Gibson and Sam Neill. At one point, the press reported that Bond's gender was going to be swapped, and Sharon Stone was considered to play the role.
5. The first day of production was January 16, 1995, and it featured scenes between Bond and Robbie Coltrane's character, the Russian gangster Vladimir Zukovsky.
6. The villainous 006, Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean, left), wasn't originally intended to be Bond's peer. He was scripted to be older and more like 007's mentor. The producers set their sights high in terms of casting, wanting Anthony Hopkins for the roll. When the Oscar-winner refused, the character was later re-written to be younger. ("GoldenEye's" director, Martin Campbell, would later work with Hopkins in "The Mask of Zorro.")
7. Speaking of Martin Campbell, this is the first Bond movie ever directed by a non-Brit. Campbell was born in New Zealand and he would also go on to direct Daniel Craig's first Bond adventure, "Casino Royale."
8. When Brosnan was first introduced to the press as Bond, he was sporting a very shaggy beard. Why? Because he was about to shoot 1997's "Robinson Crusoe."
9. "GoldenEye" was the first Bond movie ever released on DVD.
10. The film's title has ties to Bond author Ian Fleming's past. "GoldenEye" is the name of Fleming's Jamaican estate. It was also the codename for a special operation that Fleming participated in during his time with British Naval Intelligence.
11. This marks the first time computer graphics were used for the iconic opening gun barrel sequence (pictured).
12. Due to several plot parallels between this movie and 1994's "True Lies," the script for "GoldenEye" had to undergo some last-minute changes.
13. In one of the earliest drafts of the film from writer Michael France, dated January 1994, the film does not open with it's now-famous bungee jump sequence. Instead, Bond's riding a train through the French Countryside, and then he must go out on top of it. (This feels very similar to the end of "Mission: Impossible" and to a Diet Coke ad aping 007 that a pre-Bond Brosnan starred in.)
14. The film's final pre-title sequence occurs nine years before the rest of the plot's main action -- the longest time period ever covered on-screen in a Bond movie. This puts it between the Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton eras but 007 doesn't care about timelines and neither should you.
15. Other changes from script-to-screen include Bond breaking into the chemical weapons facility from the pre-titles sequence and taking out two guards while they are playing chess, and a slightly-different first meeting with M, where she implies that Bond's charms may have worked on her 10 years ago, sparking a relationship between the two. (The former is included as a deleted scene on the DVD.)
16. Tina Turner wasn't the first choice for singing the title song -- it was Ace of Base. The Swedish pop group, hot off their debut album (it sold more than 50 million copies), recorded a demo for "GoldenEye." But their record label pulled it and the song from the project, as the label was worried that the movie was going to be a flop and hurt the band's standing. The movie obviously didn't flop, and Base's song was eventually released as "The Juvenile" with slightly-altered lyrics. Click here to listen.
17. This movie marks the first on-screen appearance of MI6 Chief of Staff Bill Tanner since "For Your Eyes Only" in 1981.
18. You know that big satellite dish that Bond battles 006 on at the end of the film? It's the same dish that plays a role in the plot of 1997's "Contact."
19. At the time, the movie was the most successful Bond film since 1979's "Moonraker." The only thing more popular than the movie was the N64 game based on it. "GoldenEye 007" is considered one of the best shooters of all-time by gamers, and it sold 8 million copies.
20. "GoldenEye" was the last Bond movie overseen by the franchise's legendary producer, Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, and the first to be produced by his daughter and current co-keeper of the franchise, Barbara. Due to Cubby's poor health (he died seven months after the film's release), Barbara and Michael W. Wilson took on day-to-day producing duties and have continued to do so for each subsequent Bond picture.