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Die Another Day (2002) - Illustrated Reference

Updated on January 3, 2017

Die Another Day was directed by Lee Tamahori and premiered on 18th November 2002. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike and Rick Yune. Screenplay by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade. Music by David Arnold. Theme sung by Madonna. 133mins.

While on a secret mission in North Korea James Bond is captured and tortured. He is released 14 months later in a prisoner exchange. Furious at what had happened Bond decides to complete his mission and find out who betrayed him. His search leads him to billionaire Gustav Graves and a plot involving an orbiting laser cannon which can destroy everything in it’s path.

Die Another Day was the 20th movie in the series and 2002 was the 40th anniversary of the first Bond movie Dr. No (1962). The movie features several references to past Bond adventures. The film was novelised by Raymond Benson.

Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan
Halle Berry
Halle Berry
Toby Stephens
Toby Stephens
Will Yun Lee and Rick Yune
Will Yun Lee and Rick Yune
Rosamund Pike
Rosamund Pike

Pierce Brosnan (1953-) / James Bond

Born in Navan, Ireland, Pierce Brosnan's films include - The Long Good Friday (1980), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Goldeneye (1995), Mars Attacks (1996), Dante's Peak (1997), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), The World is Not Enough (1999), After the Sunset (2004), Seraphim Falls (2006), Mamma Mia (2008), The Ghostwriter (2010), and Remember Me (2010). TV series Remington Steele (1982-1987)

Jinx: Giacinta Johnson. My friends call me Jinx.
Bond: My friends call me James Bond.

Halle Berry (1966-) / Jacinta Johnson aka Jinx

A National Security Agent who is after the terrorist Zao. Berry’s first appearance walking out of the sea in a bikini was an homage to Bond girl Ursula Andress memorable entrance in the first Bond film Dr. No (1962).

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Halle Berry starred as the mutant Ororo Munro / Storm in the popular X-Men series of films. The actress had won a Best Actress Oscar for Monster’s Ball (2001) and a Worst Actress Razzie for Catwoman (2004).

Toby Stephens (1969-) / Gustav Graves

Graves is a billionaire who works in diamond mining and laundering African conflict diamonds. He has built a giant space laser in orbit around the Earth, with which he intends to use on the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

Born in London, England, Toby Stephens films include - Twelfth Night (1996), Photographing Fairies (1997), Space Cowboys (2000), Severance (2006)

At 33 years of age Stephens was the youngest main villain in the Bond series. 61 year old Curt Jurgens (The Spy Who Loved Me) the oldest.

Colonel Moon: I studied at Oxford and Harvard. Majored in Western hypocrisy.

Will Yun Lee (1971-) / Colonel Moon

For the first time in the Bond movies two actors play the main villain. Colonel Moon of the Korean People’s Army after a run in with Bond escapes to Cuba where he has DNA replacement therapy, turning himself into Gustav Graves, played by Toby Stephens.

Born in Arlington, Virginia, of Korean descent Will Yun Lee's films include - Torque (2004), Elektra (2005), The King of Fighters (2010) and Four Assassins (2011).

Rick Yune (1971-) / Zao

Zao is a North Korean terrorist working for Colonel Moon, after Bond rigs a case full of diamonds with explosives it blows up in Zao’s face scarring him.

Born In Washington DC of Korean descent, Rick Yune's films include - The Fast and the Furious (2001), The Fifth Commandment (2008) and Ninja Assassin (2009).

James Bond: Can I expect the pleasure of you in Iceland?
Miranda Frost: I'm afraid you'll never have that pleasure, Mr. Bond.

Rosamund Pike (1979-) / Miranda Frost

Frost is an MI6 agent trusted by M who turns out to be the traitor who betrayed Bond to the Koreans. In a final duel to the death in a burning plane she is stabbed through her cold heart by Jinx.

Born in London England, Rosamund Pike's films include - Pride & Prejudice (2005), Doom (2005), An Education (2009), Surrogates (2009) and Wrath of the Titans (2012).

Michael Madsen (1957-) / Damian Falco

Falco works for the US National Security Agency and is also Jinx's boss.

Born in Chicago Illinois, Michael Madsen's films include - Wargames (1983), The Doors (1991), Thelma and Louise (1991), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Free Willy (1993), Wyatt Earp (1994), Species (1995), Donnie Brasco (1997), Kill Bill Vol.1-2 (2003-2004), Sin City (2005) and Bloodrayne (2005).

The working titles for the film were Beyond the Ice and Black Sun before changed to the just as bad Die Another Day. They should have borrowed the title from one of John Gardner’s Bond novels – Icebreaker.

Q equips Bond with an invisible car… I mean it had to happen eventually. A silver Aston Martin Vanquish V12 with adoptive camouflage, specially positioned cameras record images which are than displayed onto the cars light emitting polymer skin giving the illusion of invisibility. And if that wasn’t enough the car also has heat seeking missiles, thermal imagining, machine gun turrets, spiked tyres, bullet proof windows and bodywork and that old classic, the ejector seat.

As a celebratory Bond film Die Another Day features a scene in Q’s lab containing gadgets and equipment from past films, including the jet pack from Thunderball, the crocodile sub and mini-jet from Octopussy and the trick briefcase From Russia With Love.

Jinx drives a red 2003 Ford Thunderbird and Zao drives a green Jaguar XKR with built in missile launcher during the car chase on ice with Bond in his gadget-laden Aston Martin.

James Bond: You know, you're cleverer than you look.
Q: Still, better than looking cleverer than you are.

John Cleese returns as the new Q after old Q’s retirement, this would be Cleese’s second and last Bond film.

The gun barrel opening now includes a bullet zooming towards the screen.

The only time we see Bond with a beard in the series.

And the first time we see Bond and Moneypenny getting amorous, though it turns out to be a virtual reality program.

James Bond: Do you believe in bad luck?
Jinx: Let's just say my relationships don't seem to last.
James Bond: I know the feeling.

Send the kids to bed! Another milestone for Bond #20, the first time we see Bond having sex on screen. The sequence featuring Brosnan and Berry was trimmed in the US but left intact by UK censors.

Roger Moore’s daughter Deborah appears in the film as an Air Hostess.

A spin off movie featuring Halle Berry as Jinx was planned but the studio had second thoughts and the idea was scrapped.

Die Another Day featured a record breaking number of product placements incorporating 24 companies and a staggering $120m worth of merchandising deals.

The theme song “Die Another Day” sung by Madonna peaked at #8 on the US charts, it received a Best Original Song nomination at the Golden Globes and a Golden Raspberry nomination for Worst Original Song. Madonna has a small role playing a fencing instructor.

“London Calling” by The Clash is played during the film.

Die Another Day was the highest grossing Bond film ever at the time, an impressive worldwide total of $432m. A very pleased Pierce Brosnan would never have predicted that it would be his last Bond film.

The film producers took a risky gamble a few years later of dumping Brosnan, the most successful Bond actor in ages to give the series a reboot, but the gamble paid off handsomely.

Die Another Day was panned by Bond purists who turned their noses up at the invisible car and cringe worthy visuals featuring Brosnan ice-surfing.

But overall I thought it was an enjoyable slice of Bond escapism, with plenty of action, a cracking pace, sci-fi gadgetry, a spunky leading lady, hiss-worthy villains and another good score by David Arnold. Letting the side down are some dodgy special effects, bad dialogue and a truly awful Madonna song.

Bond would be back, younger and fitter, in Casino Royale (2006)

Die Another Day was retitled in some countries –

Die But Not Today (Russia)
Death Comes Tomorrow (Poland)
Death Can Wait (Italy and Finland)
Don’t Die Today (Czech Republic)
Another Day to Die (Argentina)

The Critics Wrote -

"I realized with a smile, 15 minutes into the new James Bond movie, that I had unconsciously accepted Pierce Brosnan as Bond without thinking about Sean Connery, Roger Moore or anyone else. He plays a preposterous character but does not seem preposterous playing him...

"Die Another Day" is utterly absurd from one end to the other, but in a slightly more understated way. And so it goes, Bond after Bond, as the most durable series in movie history heads for the half-century. There is no reason to believe this franchise will ever die. I suppose that is a blessing." (Roger Ebert)

"May be far from the best of the series, but it's assured, wonderfully respectful of its past and thrilling enough to make it abundantly clear that this movie phenomenon has once again reinvented itself for a new generation." (Seattle Post)

"There's only so much ridiculousness the human mind can take, and director Lee Tamahori crosses that line by a good 20 minutes." (Washington Post)

"This is a big, noisy blend of globe-trotting, coy sexuality and cartoonish political intrigue, solidly in the Bond tradition. But happily the filmmakers have been smart enough to push this story -- at least until its noisy, turgid ending -- in some interesting and surprising directions, making it perhaps the most satisfying Bond movie since ''The Spy Who Loved Me.'" (New York Times)

"James Bond celebrates his 40th birthday on the big screen in "Die Another Day," a mid-range series entry that sports some tasty scenes, mostly in the first half, but also pushes 007 into CGI-driven, quasi-sci-fi territory that feels like a betrayal of what the franchise has always been about." (Variety)

"This is a sharper, edgier Bond, in which first-time Bond director Lee Tamahori allows a smidgen of character work to creep in." (Hollywood Reporter)

“It’s as if Austin Powers never happened... The digitised stunts are an unconvincing cheat, and Bond also has the naffest gadget in Bond history: an invisible car.” (The Guardian)


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    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Mentalist, Rob, thanks for commenting.

      If they had carried on with Brosnan we might have seen Bond in a flying Aston Martin battling the minions of a mad super-genius 10 year old child bent on conquering the world from his undersea lair... damn those reboots! :)

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      The Bond franchise was getting pretty tired, formulaic and tedious by this point. It needed a good shot in the arm, hence the reboot. It's a shame about Brosnan being kicked to the curb but was a good decision. "Die Another Day" is tied in my view with "The World is not Enough" as the worst Brosnan film.

      This is the only Bond film I can remember where the leading lady/love interest was promoted more than the star. Halle Berry was hot at this point, coming off her oscar win in "Monster's Ball" and the popularity of the "x-men" films, so she was very heavily advertised in the promos, even more than Brosnan was.

      The invisible car was ridiculous and the kind of thing I would expect from a Roger Mooore era Bond film, not from Brosnan's period.

      I was very disappointed by the first section of the film. Our hero lanquished for over a year in prison? Sean Connery would have escapped in no time!

      John Cleese was fun as Q, playing it with a touch of Basil Fawlty's intolerence, and its a shame he only got to be in two films.

      A rather disappointing film and a poor way for the original Bond series franchise (Pre-reboot) to end.


    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      I see Madonna's song got a deserved it.;)

      It seemed to me Pierces performances as bond were a bit formulaic and so are the plots to he Bond Franchise.;)

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Flora, Cogerson sent me a message once asking why my spelling was so weird. I told him it was because I was English not American. ;)

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Steve-Canadians use British spelling too.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thanks Cogerson, comment appreciated as always. I think the next one is one of your favourites?

      Btw I know you spell "favourites" as "favorites" but we Brits add a "u" into some words, no idea why. Harbor is "Harbour" and Color is "Colour" here. I mention this in case people think I enjoy misspelling words. :)

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Great hub Steve, another winning hub....for me this one barely edges out Brosnan's third Bond movie...The World Is Not Enough. I have only seen this movie the theater nearly 10 years of the things I remember was the lack of quality of the computer graphics.

      Great pieces of information I got from this Roger Moore's daughter having a small part...and the youngest and oldest villians.....great photos(I had forgotten that Michael Madsen was in a Bond flick) as usual....getting near the end.....voted up and awesome as usual.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Hi Flora, thanks for commenting. Yes it must have been a huge shock for Brosnan when they told him his services were no longer requiered. There were unsubstantiated rumours that he was asking for a $30m paycheck for the next one.

      But I think after introducing invisible cars, virtual reality games and ice-surfing in this movie they had only one way to go, back to how it all began. The irony is that it wasn't the cold war of the 50's and 60's but set in the 1990's. Not only an updated reboot but a re-telling of the story. Craig's Bond did not have the history of the previous Bond.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      I enjoyed this movie much more than the previous Bond film. I wish Brosnan had made one more film and that the way he parted with the series wasn't so acrimonious. I loved the cinematography here as well as the homage to earlier Bond films. I hated the theme song despite the fact that I enjoy Madonna usually.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thank you KwameG, appreciate the comment. Two more Bonds to go.

    • KwameG profile image

      KwameG 6 years ago from MS

      Really great and complete job - pics and all! Enjoyed all of the interesting tidbits and I have loved the title of the movie since I first heard it. Great job! Keep Hubbing