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Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) - Illustrated Reference

Updated on November 5, 2016

Tomorrow Never Dies was directed by Roger Spottiswoode and premiered on December 12th, 1997. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, Gotz Otto, Vincent Schiavelli and Joe Don Baker. Screenplay by Bruce Feirstein. Music by David Arnold. Theme sung by Sheryl Crow. 119mins.

Bond is sent to investigate billionaire media baron Elliot Carver. He discovers Carver intends to start a war between Britain and China for his own gains. 007 teams up with Chinese special agent Wai Lin to stop Carver’s mad scheme.

The 18th Bond movie ends with the words “In Loving Memory of Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli” Cubby had died of heart failure in 1996, he was 87. He had produced 16 Bond films, the first 9 with co-producer Harry Saltzman (1915-1994). Cubby’s daughter Barbara Broccoli and his stepson Michael G. Wilson were now in charge of the Bond franchise.

The movie was novelised by American author Raymond Benson. Benson had written 6 Bond novels and 3 novelisations between 1997 to 2002, they included Zero Minus Ten, The Facts of Death, High Time to Kill and DoubleShot.

Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan
Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Pryce
Teri Hatcher
Teri Hatcher
Michelle Yeoh
Michelle Yeoh
Judi Dench
Judi Dench
Pierce Brosnan with Michelle Yeoh
Pierce Brosnan with Michelle Yeoh
Desmond Llewelyn with Pierce Brosnan
Desmond Llewelyn with Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan (1953-) / James Bond

Born in Navan, Ireland, Pierce Brosnan's films include - The Long Good Friday (1980), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Goldeneye (1995), Mars Attacks (1996), Dante's Peak (1997), The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), The World is Not Enough (1999), The Tailor of Panama (2001), Die Another Day (2002), After the Sunset (2004), The Matador (2005), Seraphim Falls (2006), Mamma Mia (2008), Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2010), The Ghostwriter (2010), and Remember Me (2010). TV series Remington Steele (1982-1987)

Elliot Carver: Good morning my golden retrievers. What kind of havoc shall the Carver Media Group create in the world today? News?
Newsman: Floods in Pakistan, riots in Paris, and a plane crash in California.
Elliot Carver: Outstanding!

Jonathan Pryce (1947-) / Elliott Carver

Mad media mogul Elliott Carver's insane scheme was to start a war so his company the Carver Media Group Network could have sole broadcasting rights in China for the next 100 years. Anthony Hopkins was considered for the role of Carver.

Born in Flintshire, Wales, Jonathan Pryce's films include Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983 as Mr. Dark), Brazil (1985 as Sam Lowry), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), Evita (1996 as Juan Peron), Ronin (1998), Pirates of the Caribbean (2003), The New World (2005 as King James ) and G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (2009).

Paris Carver: Tell me, James: do you still sleep with a gun under your pillow?

Teri Hatcher (1964-) / Paris Carver

Paris is married to 'mad media mogul Elliott Carver' and she once had a close relationship with Bond.

Born in Palo, Alto, California, Teri Hatcher found fame as Lois Lane in the TV series Lois & Clark (1993-1997) and as Susan Mayer in the hit series Desperate Housewives (2004-2012). Italian actress Monica Bellucci was considered for the role.

Michelle Yeoh (1962-) / Wai Lin

Wai Lin of the Chinese People's External Security Force is skilled in martial arts, she teams up with Bond to thwart Carver’s plans.

Born in Perak, Malaysia, Michelle Yeoh is one the greats of Hong Kong action cinema, her movies include The Heroic Trio (1993), Fearless (2006) and the award winning Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000).

Gotz Otto (1967-) / Mr. Stamper

Born in Hesse, Germany, 6 ft 6 inch tall Gotz Otto plays the lead henchman, Mr. Stamper is trained in Chakra torture by Dr. Kaufman. He can inflict enormous pain on his victims while keeping them alive, he himself can’t feel pain. Oddly enough despite his name he doesn’t stamp his victims to death.

James Bond: It won't look like a suicide if you shoot me from over there.
Dr. Kaufman: I am a professor of forensic medicine. Believe me, Mr. Bond, I could shoot you from Stuttgart und still create ze proper effect.

Vincent Schiavelli (1948-2005) / Dr. Kaufman

A professional hitman working for Elliot Carver.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, the late actor will probably be best remembered as the angry subway ghost in Ghost (1990).

Q: Here's your cell phone 007. You talk here and listen here.
James Bond: So that's what I've been doing wrong all these years?

Bond drives a tricked out silver BMW 750i complete with bullet proof body and windows, electric shock defence system, self-inflating tyres, GPS tracking, rockets, metal wire cutter, metal spikes and voice assisted navigation. The car can be controlled by a special Ericsson mobile phone with touch pad that can also deliver 20,000 volts of electric shock. You won’t find this on eBay.

Perhaps the most memorable action sequence in the film is the exciting car chase through a car park with Bond in the back seat controlling his BMW by remote control. It took three weeks to film and 17 BMWs were used.

Watch out for the scene where Bond and Wai Lin first try to get on the motorbike while handcuffed, the director privately talked to each actor telling them they were driving the motorbike. The squabble over who gets in the driver’s seat is real.

Sheryl Crow sung the main theme “Tomorrow Never Dies” which peaked at #12 at the UK charts, it was nominated for a Golden Globe. A different song “Surrender” by K.D. Lang is played over the end credits. The theme music from this song is used in the film.

David Arnold composed the music score, John Barry had recommended the young English composer to the producers. Arnold had previously composed the music to the sci-fi blockbusters Stargate (1994) and Independence Day (1996). His music for Bond was inspired by Barry’s work and he would go on to compose the music to the next four Bond movies.

Tomorrow Never Dies was the first Bond movie not to open at number one at the weekend box office, it was up against James Cameron’s Titanic.

But TND did manage to beat the US box office total of Goldeneye (1995). Worldwide it did about $330m, an impressive figure but $20m less than Goldeneye.

Moneypenny: You always were a cunning linguist, James.

Brosnan wasn’t happy with Tomorrow Never Dies, saying in 1999 “the last outing was just kick, bollock, scramble” , but it’s this writer's favourite of the four Brosnan Bond films. I thought it had a better pace than Goldeneye, a nutjob villain, some splendid action setpieces, an excellent score and Michelle Yeoh, the best Bond girl in ages.

The film was retitled Tomorrow is Indestructible in Turkey and 007 and The Empire of Tomorrow in Romania.

The Critics Wrote –

“Gets the job done, sometimes excitingly, often with style. The villain, slightly more contemporary and plausible than usual, brings some subtler-than-usual satire into the film, and I liked the chemistry between Bond and Wai Lin. The look of the film is authoritative; the scenes involving warships and airplanes seem sleek and plausible. There's gorgeous photography as a junk sails in a sea filled with peaks, and astonishing action choreography in the rooftop motorcycle chase. On the basis of this installment, the longest-running movies series seems fit for the 21st century.” (Roger Ebert)

"Tomorrow Never Dies is better than Goldeneye in that it doesn't waste any time getting to the heart of the story. If anything, Bond has learned that to survive in the '90s you have to cut short the foreplay." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

"All in all, Bond 18 is an impressive, entertainingly uproarious spy thriller, with a pinch of Goldfinger charm, an oasis of impossible stunts, gorgeous women and throw-away one-liners. Great stuff.” (Film Web)

"Brosnan really makes a very good Bond, the best since Connery was in his prime, and director Roger Spottiswoode (Under Fire, Air America) has a slightly more distinguished track record than most of his predecessors, reflected in the competent action sequences.” (Irish Times)

"Michelle Yeoh is the best Bond girl ever. No other Bond babe comes close to her, and she hasn't even got a silly name to make schoolboys titter. Casting Yeoh, Asia's highest-paid actress, is a masterstroke... Brosnan has become very comfortable in Bond's leather shoes, combining the tough-ass Celtic attitude of Sean Connery with the corny charm of Roger Moore and creating a character who can carry on Bonding well into the millennium.” (Jason Solomons, Express)

"A Bond movie was no place for subtlety, and Jonathan Pryce's performance as a mildly crazed media mogul who tries to start World War III to boost his ratings was as threatening as a Teletubby." (Anne Billson, Sunday Telegraph)


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    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thanks for commenting Rob. There was talk at one time of giving Michelle Yeoh her own Bond spin-off based on her character Wai Lin but that fell by the wayside.

      And Halle Berry's character Jinx from Die Another Day was considered for spin off movie too, no chance. Her playing Catwoman seems to have jinxed her career.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      I love Michelle Yoeh! I was a fan of her films from Hong Kong long before she made this one. She is not only the greatest Bond girl ever but she's probably the greatest female action star in film history.

      I agree with Brosnan that this wasn't a great Bond film, and not nearly as good as "Goldeneye" but the presence of the wonderful Michelle Yoeh makes it much more entertaining than it would otherwise have been. She and Brosnan had great chemestry and I really liked their motor cycle chase scene together.

      Terri Hatcher moves from Superman to James Bond and does a pretty good job in the few scenes she's in. And Price is probably the last of the great Bond villians. He makes an excellent bad guy. The henchman Stamper was good, too.

      This film is all about Michelle Yoeh, for me. I was so psyched when she was announced as the new Bond girl and she does a great job. Without her, I think it would be just "Kick, bollock, scramble" but she makes it a lot more fun. I never would have watched it more than once if she wasn't in it. But she is, so I've seen it three times.

      So-so film. Great Bond girl. Fun hub.


    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Flora, Cogerson your comments appreciated always.

      My preference order of the Brosnan Bonds is 18,17,20,19.

      I like Goldeneye but after the pre-credit teaser it's over an hour before we see Bond in action mode. I mean this is James Bond not Harry Palmer. :)

      I think Brosnan liked the next one a lot more because there's a bit more "drama" too it, more acting and less gadgetry, though I did like the 3D glasses Q equips him with. :)

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Not as good as Goldeneye...but I agree with Flora, Price makes a great villian....a Ted Turner losing his mind least that is what I think about when I watch the movie.

      I am surprised that Brosnan did not like this movie....I could see him complaining about the next two but I have always enjoyed this movie.

      As for Mr. Stamper he comes in at #10 in my favorite James Bond henchman....Oddjob is of course number one in that poll....awesome job with awesome photos and detail....another winner that I gladly voted up awesome and interesting.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      I quite enjoyed Price as the villain. Personally, I prefer Goldeneye over Tomorrow Never Dies, but I enjoyed this movie too. I know you will get to the other movies PB made, but the order I prefer is: Bond film #17,#18, #20, #19. I didn't care for the theme song, but I enjoy it better than the theme song for the final Brosnan film.