Pierce Brosnan made his first appearance as James Bond in this action thriller, the 18th in the series featuring the suave British super-agent. As the story begins, Agent 007 and his partner Agent 006 (Sean Bean) pull a daring raid on a chemical weapons plant in the Soviet Union. However, they are captured by Russian troops, and while Bond is able to escape, 006 is not so lucky. Several years later, the Soviet Union and the Cold War are a thing of the past, but Bond is still at work ferreting out evildoers everywhere. Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), a beautiful but vicious villain working with the Russian Mafia, spearheads the theft of the controls to GoldenEye, a high-tech satellite weapons system, and with her gunmen, she kills most of the soldiers and guards at a top-secret military facility in the process. Bond joins forces with Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco), one of the base's few survivors, to help track down Onatopp's minions and the controls to GoldenEye, which can destroy all electronic circuits in a given area in a matter of seconds. However, in time, Bond discovers the true identity of the criminal mastermind who is behind this bid for unholy power and world domination -- none other than Alec Trevelyan, the man Bond once knew as 006. -- Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
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In addition to Brosnan, GoldenEye also marked another significant cast change for the Bond series -- Judi Dench made her debut as M, Bond's superior.
Minnie Driver (Circle of Friends) has a cameo as a nightclub singer.
This was the last film in the Bond series for special effects supervisor Derek Meddings, who died in the midst of production; the film was dedicated to him.
At the Royal Premiere in London, Alan and Dame Judi performed the "backwards bow" after receiving formal instructions on how to bow.
Alan pretended to be James Bond while growing up in Scotland.