The top 10 best Pierce Brosnan films

Duncan salutes the mighty Pierce Brosnan, with a countdown of the one-time James Bond's best ten films...

Over the years here at Den Of Geek, I’ve written countless times about the nature of hero worship. It’s a subject that utterly fascinates me, especially in the context of action movies. The reason I’m telling you this now is because in the rather lengthy article that follows, there’s a distinctly personal stance on the films that I hold to be Pierce Brosnan’s best as, for me, he’s one of the greatest screen heroes of all time. It’s fair to say that it’s taken years for me to finish this list – not because of the length, but because of how important the films are to me. I’m more than aware of how strange that sounds, but hopefully by the end of the article this introduction will make more sense.

In short, Brosnan managed to embody the best of all the James Bonds, using Connery’s brutality, Moore’s charm and Dalton’s coolness to make arguably the finest rendition of the super spy to date. During his time as Bond, Brosnan had some of the most emotional and downright incredible moments, many of which are listed below, but when GoldenEye burst on the screen it was the first time I remember feeling like there was finally a modern Bond that connected on a personal and relevant level, while remaining faithful to Bond’s rich history.

A love of Bond aside, the choices below reflect a diverse career that saw him take multiple chances at the height of his career, with some fine results. The most curious thing that presented itself when looking at Brosnan’s career as a whole were the themes that seem to have remained constant in most of his work.

He has a fine track record for starring in literary adaptations, with Ian Fleming, John Le Carré, Alistair MacLean, Stephen King and Frederick Forsythe all making contributions. Then there’s the drinking, smoking, spying and shagging – at one point I even considered making the screencaps just out of those shots – though it should also be noted that most of his leading ladies have all been age appropriate too, a theme especially relevant in The Thomas Crown Affair. That said, most of his onscreen relationships with women have remained difficult to say the least, with everything from good old fashioned divorce, to death by volcanic rock causing upset for his characters.

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This being a DOG list, there will obviously be a sway towards his more geek oriented roles, though as with any top ten I usually refrain from putting more than one movie from a franchise on the list, although having said that…

10. Tomorrow Never Dies

“You made your bed.”

To hell with it, let’s make an exception for once and apply the playground rules of ‘my bat, my ball.’ I love Tomorrow Never Dies, so it would be totally remiss of me not to mention it in slightly more detail, especially as it never quite seems to have received the same level of praise as GoldenEye. For the record, Tomorrow Never Dies would rank near the top of this list, but since it shouldn’t really be here, in at number ten it goes. Plus it also knocks out After The Sunset, which means I don’t have to confess that there’s a Brett Ratner film I like.

The strengths of Tomorrow Never Dies are manifold. It marked the debut of David Arnold’s terrific run as the Bond composer, and for my money the Tomorrow Never Dies soundtrack is the most exciting, especially as it reintroduced the classic Bond theme that many had missed in Eric Serra’s experimental score for GoldenEye. The sublime mix of techno with the classically orchestral added to its individuality, with Arnold even tapping The Propellerheads for a contribution to the track Backseat Driver, as he’d been working with them for his album Shaken And Stirred, which covered and reworked the classic Bond opening songs. Frustratingly, though, Mr Arnold had also concocted a belter of an opener with k.d. lang entitled Surrender, but was overruled in favour of the more ‘populist’ choice of Sheryl Crow by the producers.

Tomorrow Never Dies also contains what I hold to be the best of Brosnan’s James Bond performances, as he seems to have utterly relaxed into the role after his superb, but high pressure debut in GoldenEye. There’s a sense of complete ease to his portrayal, like Bond had become a second skin, and the story allows for a much more powerful emotional core with a rare connection to a female character in Teri Hatcher’s Paris Carver – adding an element of tragic revenge gave a greater motivation to Bond’s often basic ‘For Queen, country and a good shag’ trajectory. The “You made your bed” seduction scene still holds up as one of the franchises most believably passionate too, as well as being the most bitey.

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Talking of strong scenes, the action set pieces are uniformly superb throughout, even if the final shootout feels a little dry compared to the vast spectacle that’s preceded it, with two moments in particular ranking among the greatest – the backseat driver chase is thrilling, but its Brosnan’s joyous smile and silent performance that makes it work, especially when the tyres re-inflate. Silence is a theme that’s also employed to comic effect during the music room interrogation, which sees larger and more preposterous impromptu weapons deployed in the background, with the final weighing of the ashtray a perfect coup de grace. Cracking little moments, but ones that contribute towards an entirely rounded and solid Bond film.

9. Live Wire

“Boom.”

After the cruel Remington Steele contract stopped Pierce from taking the Bond role before Dalton, the years between saw him make several Bond-esque action movies of which Live Wire is one of the best. When I say best, of course mean in the context of alcohol as Live Wire is prime beer-and-movies fodder that is so ludicrously over the top that it’s impossible not to love it – I cherished it so much upon finding it at my local rental shop in Coventry that I convinced the owner to sell me his copy and then bought a second one several years later, just in case.

The film centres on Brosnan’s bomb disposal expert (who strangely enough has a troubled relationship with his wife) and the sinister threat he faces from a series of bizarre explosions that are leaving no trace of a mechanism. So far, so CSI, but the script’s genius is in making human beings the bombs. Oh yes, there’s explodey chemicals being ingested in water that mean the victims suffer from a severe case of pink eye before violently combusting – four stars for the concept alone, surely?

If that hasn’t sold you, then there’s a scene involving Pierce punching a clown, then pushing him in a wheelchair into a tent where he blows up – something you don’t see every day. There’s also some fine dressing gown adorning, a beardless Ron Silver, bathtub sexing and a lot of shouting. A warning, though: I had to get my DVD imported from China, such are its rare and wondrous delights.

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8. The Lawnmower Man

“Man may be able to evolve a thousand-fold through this technology, but the rush must be tempered with wisdom.”

It would appear that the omnipotent powers of Jobe, the Lawnmower Man himself, saw fit to make two of the writers here at Den Of Geek re-watch the titular film within about a week of each other, as no sooner had I scribbled out some crayon notes about the magnificent hair-off between Brosnan and Jeff Fahey, than Ryan Lambie had put finger to keyboard and written this piece looking at 10 remarkable things about the movie.

Ryan’s take on the ten craziest elements in The Lawnmower Man is, for me, all you’ll ever need to read on the film, as it affectionately singles out what an insane and entertaining film it is, though be sure to avoid the article if graphic images of bunny love are too much for you. There’s little to be added, though I have always found it strange that despite being in my teens at the time of the cinema release, I somehow missed it and only caught it some years later post GoldenEye.

Considering the hype and publicity that The Lawnmower Man received at the time, combined with my video game addiction and the fact that VR was the big, exciting ‘future of technology’ focus, I can’t imagine how it slipped past. Still, Brosnan was ahead of the curve as when GoldenEye was released three years later in 1995, that same year saw similarly themed movies with Strange Days and Virtuosity warning us of the dangers of virtual worlds.

For those who don’t know, Lawnmower Man also saw a heavily extended director’s cut release, which my VHS cover proudly states has ‘an extra 38 minutes of previously unreleased footage’. My recollections of the extra footage are hazy, though there is additional VR monkey footage, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a bonus. Full details of the director’s cut can be found here though.

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Curiously the VHS cover also features three press quotes that all discuss the ‘mind blowing effects’ rather than the film itself, my favourite of which is “Dazzling special effects, even better than Terminator 2” courtesy of The Sun, though I’m sure J-Cam didn’t lose any sleep over that rather wild claim.

Still, The Lawnmower Man does feature some fine performances, especially from Jeff Fahey who seemed set for big time stardom at the time that unfortunately never quite happened for him. It was a good chance for Pierce to shine though, especially with his devotion to keeping a straight face in the presence of lunacy. The film also ties nicely into his recurring theme for playing drinking, smoking men with women troubles, it could even be argued that since his work is governmental that there’s a tie to espionage as well. They really don’t make them like The Lawnmower Man anymore.

7. Seraphim Falls

“He teaches my fingers to fight and my hands to war.”

Happening on the existence of Seraphim Falls one day, while browsing for any missing Brosnan films in my collection, was a glorious moment. My love for Liam Neeson has been well documented on Den Of Geek over the years, so imagine the delight at finding a film which not only promised to star two of my biggest cinematic heroes, but that it would all happen in that most rare and desirable genre – the western.

However, I tempered any expectations with the usual straight to video mentality which consists of an initial ‘Wow this film looks amazing and has a great cast, I’m sure I’ll appreciate this film even if no one else does’ and is then swiftly followed by a crushing ‘Oh dear, to the recycler with you.’ (I’m looking at you, The Contract). But Seraphim Falls proved to an absolute gem of a find, so if you’ve yet to give the film a watch, I really can’t recommend it enough – something I’ll be saying a lot over the course of this article.

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The centre of the film revolves around a cat and mouse dynamic, with Neeson, posse in tow, hell-bent on inflicting his own brutal justice (which he does so love doing) on the sympathetically hounded Brosnan. The chase itself takes place over a variety of hostile and contrasting landscapes and isn’t afraid to show, in graphic detail, what it took to survive in such circumstances and has more than a few wince inducing moments and violent outbursts. In fact watching it again, I realised it would make a fine double bill with First Blood, as the two share a lot in common – falling through trees, a reliance on a mean looking knife and the long lasting scars of war being just a few.

There’s a lot to love in Seraphim Falls, with its Spartan dialogue, fine supporting cast of character actors who always make for fine miscreants (the ever untrustworthy Xander Berkeley and Michael Wincott to name two), beautiful cinematography and punchy DTS soundtrack, but the film is driven by the two leads. Both Neeson and Brosnan are able to carry audience sympathy at the drop of a hat and their casting is key in carrying the films’ statement on the corruption and futility of war, making for an immaculate two hander.

6. The Tailor Of Panama

“Oooh look at those tits. Oh yum, yum!”

If The Matador marked the end of Brosnan’s time as James Bond with a two fingered salute, then The Tailor of Panama was a much braver role to take in between Bond movies, as it simultaneously cashed in on the spy’s success, while shocking audiences with Pierce’s repugnant performance as Andrew Osnard, a character truly bereft of sympathy and best described as a truly magnificent bastard.

As the film starts we learn of Osnard’s various indiscretions that have led to his banishment to Panama, where he immediately sets about blackmailing the titular tailor, played with the delightfully supressed mania that Geoffrey Rush so excels at. The film that follows is part black comedy, part political statement and all mischief – there’s even a cheeky Sean Connery reference in the first ten minutes.

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I remember at the time of the film’s release there were more than a few jaws dropped by hearing the seemingly wholesome Brosnan’s utterances of such lines as “Don’t be a c**t, Harry,” though I suspect those people weren’t so familiar with his earlier, more villainous roles, merely his turn as Bond. There’s also a raw sexuality running throughout, with Osnard sharing Bond’s affinity for aggressive seduction, with no sense of responsibility or respect for the women he encounters – his comments about Leonor Varela’s character Marta’s disfigurement being especially grim.

Directed by the rather great John Boorman (Point Blank, Deliverance and Excalibur to name a few that come highly recommended) there’s also a slight feel of the Coen Brothers at times, with surreal additions to the narrative that see Rush’s tailor talking to his deceased work colleague as a moral conscience and there’s also the matter of his later turn in Intolerable Cruelty that suggests the Coen’s saw him in Tailor and realised he was a good fit for their style. Elsewhere there’s the larger than life Brendan Gleeson as a Latin activist turned alcoholic and a very young Daniel Radcliffe.

As a little aside, it’s also based on the book by John le Carré and the author ranked it in his own top four best novels, alongside Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Constant Gardener and The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, so that should be recommendation enough.

Given the length of this article, we’ve had to do a split over two pages. Apologies: it’s only when articles go over a certain length that we have to do this. And, as you’ve probably worked out by now, Duncan sure loves his Brosnan.

Back over to him…

5. Dante’s Peak

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“It’s like riding a bike, you never forget.”

There’s a hidden message within the B-movie joy of Dante’s Peak and it’s one that can be applied to real life, especially during heated pub discussions about the man at the centre of this article – fuck with Brosnan and you die. As throughout Peak (and this is where things start to get full of spoilers) anyone that crosses him gets burnt, drowned or just downright smashed by the titular volcano – even old ladies aren’t safe.

Thankfully for Pierce, the one person that does want to listen to him (amongst other things) is the magnificent mother of the future, Linda Hamilton. So just as with Seraphim Falls I got to see a film in which he plays opposite one of my all-time cinematic loves, raising the film from its traditional disaster movie roots into a geek dream team. Where some might cringe at the above seduction quote, I adopted it as the mark of a true ladies man – who else could make a woman fall for him with a simile about cycling?

Of course, on its cinematic release in 1997, Dante’s Peak had to fend off competition from magma-filled rival Volcano, a film which I also have a soft spot for (a man literally melts from the feet up – what’s not to love?) though despite the gruff charm of Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche, nothing was going to beat Bond and Sarah Connor versus a volcano. I miss the 90s trend of making two of the same movie (so was grateful for last year’s double header of Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down), because you were almost certain to enjoy one of them, whether it was the Crown face off mentioned below, or the comet frenzy embodied in the stern-faced drama of Deep Impact grating against the glossy glory of watching Steve Buscemi ride a nuke in space in Armageddon in 98.

Sadly Dante’s Peak doesn’t end with Pierce punching the volcano to inactivity, something that Hollywood still needs to amend, but with broiled teens and a truly panic-inducing climax, there’s still a lot to be grateful for.

4. The Thomas Crown Affair

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“Oh I enjoy women.”

I’d never made the connection before, but just as Dante’s Peak above was part of the volcano war, so too was The Thomas Crown Affair part of the thief war, going head to head with Entrapment. Now Entrapment was apparently made from a cast-off script deemed not good enough for Affair, which explains the similarities in plot and the somewhat petty casting of fellow Bond alumni, Sean Connery. Thankfully, for my money, the remake of Affair proved to be far superior in every way.

When it was released much was made of the casting decision to place Rene Russo alongside Brosnan, as both actors were of a similar age (in fact Russo is slightly older by a matter of months) and everyone praised the decision. Indeed, the chemistry and heat between the two of them onscreen was incredible, but it drew attention to Hollywood’s ridiculous and sad trend of casting younger women with older men, something Entrapment did in the worst way. In The Line Of Fire also springs to mind, though it’s probably best not mention A View To A Kill at all. Shudder.

Still, the sheer sexual chemistry that oozes off the screen in Crown really does strengthen the emotional core at the heart of the film, adding to the believable plight and conflict of Russo’s Catherine Banning as she is seduced by the force of Brosnan’s Thomas Crown at full strength. The time given to the relationship and the portrayal of everyday, intimate moments makes the film stand out as one of the best romantic depictions I can think of, though admittedly romanticism isn’t one of my cinematic fortes.

However, when the film turns its hand to thrills and especially the final heist, the directorial flair of John McTiernan shines through, as his first class action helming skills really elevate the breathless denouement, which is all perfectly set to memorable sound of Nina Simone singing Sinnerman.

The dialogue is fiercely sharp throughout and on that subject I’d be remiss not to mention the supporting turn by Denis Leary, who seems to have excelled over the years in such roles, most recently in The Amazing Spider-Man, but also in underappreciated movies such as Suicide Kings – a film still never released in this country, but well worth seeking out – and his speech in Affair about being ‘okay’ really is a great example of his unique delivery.

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I also can’t help but mention that due to my Pierce fanaticism, the only person brave enough to see Affair at the cinema with me was my Mum, so when the two stars started to get naked and intimate I have a distinct memory of having nowhere to look. It’s happened to us all, but on the big screen it really ranks amongst one the most embarrassing.

3. Mars Attacks!

“Very curious.”

If ever there was a reason to love Tim Burton’s uniquely un-Hollywood sensibilities, it’s Mars Attacks! While fellow science fiction blockbuster Independence Day had taken flag waving patriotism to giddy new heights, Attacks! was there in all its doggy disintegrating glory to shock and disgust the general public, who had innocently (see: stupidly) turned up in their droves for a conventional slice of apple pie. It’s a unique, disturbing, beautiful piece of twisted genius that I’ll forever defend as one of the greatest science fiction films ever made.

A group of my closest friends and I still talk about our memory of seeing it at a cinema in Hatfield many years ago, as we all expectedly sat on the back row and watched as an entire cinema failed to understand the spectacle before them, while their stunned silence only made the sound of our cacophonous laughter ring even louder. The above mentioned canine carnage in particular leaving our fellow audience members shocked and violated in a time when Hollywood always chose to save its cute pets.

Now that’s the way to divide an audience.

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If GoldenEye had instantly launched Pierce Brosnan as a heroic icon for me, then Mars Attacks! was the film that cemented my eternal loyalty and adoration. Fresh from the extreme high profile re-launch of Bond, he could so easily have taken the safe route and rejected any risky film roles – I can’t imagine his agent being terribly thrilled at the idea of becoming a disembodied head, yet there it was for the entire world to see. Sure the supporting cast was incredible, but someone like Jack Nicholson had already worked with Burton on one of the biggest (certainly financially) films of his career with Batman and, like Glenn Close, was more established and therefore more able to take a gamble.

Dismemberment aside, the reverence and sleazy charm with which Pierce plays Professor Donald Kessler is pure B-movie in its tone and made for some of the films’ finest comedy moments, in fact I was so enamoured that my friend Dan actually bought me a pipe for my birthday, just so I could try and emulate the look.

Back in a time before Sex And The City, Sarah Jessica Parker was also part of Burton’s gang and I adored her for it, with the scene in which her character, Nathalie, interviews and mutually flirts with Kessler being one of my favourites. That their combined fate is so twisted, it really does add to the unique charm of the film as a whole and adds a level of tragic comedy that is quite haunting.

I’m still in awe that the movie was ever made in the first place and remains for me one of the greatest examples of Burton’s work, being as funny as it is disturbing. After Burton and Brosnan’s fine work together on Mars Attacks! I was almost beside myself with happiness when the Superman Lives rumours had Pierce cast as Brainiac, back when Burton and Nic Cage were both involved, as that really would’ve combined four of my favourite things in the world. More’s the pity that it never happened, as I’m still convinced it would have been amazing.

At the time of Mars Attacks! release there was talk of screening a version of the film before the CGI Martians (Burton originally wanted stop-motion, but was convinced by an effects team that CG could replicate the look he wanted) had been added, with all the actors reacting to thin air and I still live in hope it will happen. It’s a great shame that no effort has been made to make a special edition on DVD or Blu-Ray so far, as it’s a film that just doesn’t seem to get the recognition it deserves. Consider this a beg, Warner Bros.

2. The Matador

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“I look like a Bangkok hooker on a Sunday morning after the navy’s left town.”

Now the above quote is one of the many reasons The Matador is a delight.

With Clive Owen choosing to make the deliriously entertaining Shoot ‘Em Up as an ‘up yours’ to not getting cast as James Bond, so too it seemed were Brosnan’s reasons for taking on The Matador after his unceremonious removal from the franchise, especially as it was his ambition and drive to make Casino Royale into the next Bond project, that ended up seeing Daniel Craig cast due to Hollywood’s long term fad of always casting younger with a relaunch.

What made the ditching even worse was that Quentin Tarantino spoke on Jonathan Ross’ show about how he’d wanted to direct a Bond film with Brosnan in the lead, which could have been one of the greatest collaborations of all time. At least The Matador helped to make things better, as Pierce set about destroying the ideal of an alcoholic assassin.

Much like his character in The Tailor Of Panama, The Matador’s Julian Noble showed a slightly more realistic and unpleasant side to the actualities of playing a person so disconnected from reality that they can pursue a life of cold blooded murder. If I’m making the film sound bleak and depressing, then fear not, as it’s a fantastically dark comedy, full of the kind of coarse language and smut that you may never have thought would suit the mouth of an actor so adept at playing a charming gentlemen. The one-liners are as impressive as Noble’s social ineptness, as he attempts to find some kinship with Greg Kinnear’s straight edged, slightly broken salesman, Danny Wright.

At times the film is utterly affecting, with the sad and vulgar isolation of Noble played against Wright’s personal tragedy in some truly memorable and uncomfortable ways. It’s visually striking and bold throughout, with moments of surrealism thrown into the mix, so certainly not a film for everyone, though I find there’s something quite beautiful about the film’s style.

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It’s also a testament to Brosnan that his performance is pitch perfect and so destructive towards the role that made his career. A brave choice but one that, like Mars Attacks!, shows a tendency towards the material over and above the profile, which is always something to be commended.

So despite never having had the dream Bond project happen, there is always The Matador.

1. GoldenEye

“I love a woman who enjoys pulling rank.”

When GoldenEye finally made its cinematic debut, the world had gone too long without Bond. My last experience, with Licence To Kill, had seen me sneaking into a screening underage as it was controversially the first (and so far only) Bond film to be rated 15, and by GoldenEye’s turn, I was in my first year at university and allegedly grown up. In those key teenage years I’d never forgotten about James Bond, but what had faded was exactly how much I loved him.

It’s very difficult to describe the immediacy with which I connect to some actors. At the time of release, Brosnan was merely the face of Bond on a poster (and what a great poster it was, with the simple tag ‘You know the name. You know the number’), so my lack of any real association with his previous work just made me accept that he was Bond. There was something almost naïve about my excitement about the return of 007 as he, through the films of Timothy Dalton and Roger Moore, had been a core part of my growing up. University marked a new era for me, as it does for so many people, and here was a brand new Bond ready to start the journey with me, though even I couldn’t have foreseen the level of devotion that was heading my way.

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I immediately fell in love with GoldenEye and everything about it, claiming Brosnan and the film as the best Bond of all time. I felt connected to the material and the character like never before, with both women and alcohol being a dominant part in my life by that point, while the set pieces satiated the action movie junkie in me that had been left unfulfilled by the years that followed the end of the 80s. In fact, 1995 would prove to be quite the renaissance for action movies, as it saw the appearance of a fresh new talent in Mr Michael Bay and his Bad Boys.

To this day GoldenEye remains both one of the best James Bond films and one of my all-time favourite movies, and Pierce Brosnan my favourite Bond. I appreciate that everyone has their own preference, but certainly Sean Connery, as good as he was, was before my time and therefore too far removed for any real sense of connection. Moore was comically smarmy, a trait that my childhood self was blissfully unaware of, Lazenby I still can’t take to, while Dalton remains a close second to me for exactly the same reasons as Brosnan, with The Living Daylights holding an equally high rating.

While there has been much made over the years about how Pierce’s contractual obligations to Remington Steele had stopped him taking over the Bond mantle earlier in his career, it seemed perfectly timed from my point of view, as his earlier work had essentially groomed him for the hopeful eventuality that his time would come. There’s such an unadulterated joy to Brosnan’s first appearance as Bond, a sense of release and reward for all his patience and it has utterly shaped his career that followed.

Onatopp of the perfect direction (sorry) from Martin Campbell, who would later be trusted with the daunting task of rebooting Bond yet again with Casino Royale, there’s the perfect cast. Dame Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn, Samantha Bond, Robbie Coltrane, Alan “I am invincible!” Cumming, Joe Don Baker (who’d played a Bond villain in The Living Daylights and also appeared in Mars Attacks!), Tchéky Karyo, as well as two of the best Bond girls in Izabella Scorupco and Famke Janssen – there’s even a cameo from Minnie Driver.

There was also someone else… a villain maybe? Something I’m missing? Oh no wait, it was the legendary Sean Bean. As well as being one of my favourite actors, Bean also holds his own as one of the finest Bond villains, which was an element that was sadly lacking from the following movies. The idea of having a defective 00 agent was inspired, as it provided an intellectual equal to Bond while, more importantly from an action standpoint, a physical equal. There is such a lack of genuinely exciting punch ups in mainstream action movies, with most denouements resolved in a hail of gunfire, yet GoldenEye managed to include a great one that worked alongside the other set pieces, choosing an intimate confrontation instead of trying to top what had gone before.

As a side note: When I had the chance to interview Sean Bean the other year, it was an absolute moment of breathtaking euphoria when I asked him about GoldenEye and he pulled up his sleeve to reveal that he was still wearing his Bond watch.

There is nothing I don’t adore about GoldenEye, even down to Eric Serra’s controversial score, as it still helped to launch a new era of Bond. Just writing about it has made me want to watch it again, but nothing will compare to that fateful day in Coventry back in 1995.

The movie that started it all just had to be at the top.

Also recommended:

The World Is Not Enough 

Quite an underappreciated Bond movie. As far as I can tell only tarnished retrospectively by Die Another Day’s insanity and Denise “somebody’s tampered with tha’baam” Richards casting. It has one of my favourite opening scenes featuring the straightening of a tie under water, which is fuelled by David Arnold’s superlative track ‘Come in 007, your time is up’, there’s the reappearance of Robbie Coltrane, an ice cold Bond girl in Sophie Marceau, a fine turn of evil from Robert Carlyle, sadly the last appearance of Desmond Llewelyn as Q and of course a frightening revelation for M as she witnesses the true brutality of 007, which is one of the best Bond moments.

Die Another Day 

Sadly suffering from its plans to show the torture of Bond being softened into the opening credits, Die Another Day is all over the place. After a solid first act, things take a turn for the worse after the plastic surgery plot disaster, with Halle Berry pretending to be tough and failing. I have no problem with the invisible car and love both the sword fight and Rosamund Pike, but when the climax involves fighting a yuppie in a robot suit and tsunami surfing, you have to question what on earth happened to the script during the shoot.

The Fourth Protocol

A twist on his tradition of playing a spy, as this time he’s a rotter of a KGB agent who’s pitted against a smart talking government agent, played with Bondian charm by Michael Caine. It’s another literary adaptation, with a screenplay by Frederick Forsyth and a fine Cold War spy thriller that almost made the list. It’s notable for a fine supporting cast, a score by Lalo Schifrin, Caine beating up some Nazi punks and Pierce enjoying spying on a sexy party, with a most amazing leer. The two leads spend the movie apart though, so I’m curious as to whether they actually filmed any scenes together.

Alistair MacLean’s Death Train (aka Detonator) 

Aka Pierce on a train. Also stars Patrick Stewart and Christopher Lee in their wilderness years.

Night Watch (aka Detonator II) 

Aka Pierce as a thug in a suit. The cover says it all. Amazing facial hair.

After The Sunset 

Undemanding fun, with great support from Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle and Salma Hayek. It utterly pains me to include a movie made by Brett Ratner, though.

The Ghost 

A cracking, brooding thriller with a great Brosnan-as-Blair performance, but not enough screen time for it to count on this list.

Mrs Doubtfire 

I have still never forgiven Robin Williams for attempting to poison poor Pierce in this documentary about the trials of divorce. Bad Robin Williams.

Nomads 

Watch Pierce beat Adam Ant to death with a steel pipe! Also marks an early movie for Die Hard and Predator director, John McTiernan.

Butterfly On A Wheel 

Pierce plays a ‘wee boy from Glasgee’ for some strange reason, but manages to intimidate the shit out of man-mountain, Gerard Butler. Good, simple fun with a few twists and turns along the way, plus the lovely Maria Bello.

Laws Of Attraction

Standard rom-com fare, but elevated by pairing the great man with the resplendent Julianne Moore.

Mamma Mia

The voice of an angel. Seriously, I love the man that much that when he sings SOS I actually think it sounds great. Now I know just how Donald Sutherland feels in Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.

Married Life 

A fine ensemble drama which I happened to catch randomly on TV while abroad, having never heard mention of it before. Chris Cooper steals the show, but a solid performance from Brosnan, which includes a noir-esque voice over and some fine hat wearing, makes it a worthy addition to his CV.

Evelyn

Even the trailer made me cry.

Entangled 

I only watched this recently after tracking down a copy on eBay and it’s gloriously terrible. It easily ranks as a ‘so bad it’s good’ movie and also co-stars an unhinged Judd Nelson. Everyone seems to be acting in entirely different movies, the ending is completely mental and nonsensical, while Nelson bursts into shouting fits at random intervals. Glorious. Watch with beer and friends, not alone and sober like I did.

He also infamously cameos in The Long Good Friday and has a good supporting role in Remember Me.

Avoid:

The Mirror Has Two Faces

Brosnan and Jeff Bridges fall victim to the witchcraft of Streisand and spend the duration of the movie pretending to be attracted to her, which is actually quite nauseating, though sleazy Brosnan is always a treat. I refer to this film as ‘for the love of Pierce’, which was entirely the motivation for watching it.

Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief

A movie with a stellar cast, which even re-united Brosnan with Sean Bean, yet left me feeling utterly disappointed, which is a feat as I have a large soft spot for kids’ fantasy movies.

Taffin 

Despite having gained fame from the Adam and Joe YouTube meme, it’s the only film he’s made that I turned off halfway through even at the height of my love, as I just couldn’t get into its plodding pace. It does, however, feature a rare early appearance from Alison Doody of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade fame.