On this day in 2002, the James Bond movie Die Another Day, starring Pierce Brosnan as the fictional British secret service agent also known by his code number, 007, opens in theaters across the United States. The film’s debut came almost exactly 40 years after the first Bond movie, Dr. No, was released in Great Britain in October 1962. (Coincidentally, the title song from the Die Another Day soundtrack, written and performed by Madonna, was released 20 years after the pop icon debuted her first single, “Everybody.”) Die Another Day also marked Brosnan’s last appearance as the debonair 007, a role he had played in three previous films.
James Bond was the creation of British author and journalist Ian Fleming (1908-1964), who wrote 14 Bond novels. The first Bond book, Casino Royale, debuted in 1953. Dr. No, the first Bond film, was adapted from the sixth Bond novel and starred Sean Connery. The Scottish-born actor went on to play Bond in From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965) and You Only Live Twice (1967). The Australian actor George Lazenby assumed the role of Bond for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), while Connery returned for Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983), a film regarded as “unofficial” because it wasn’t produced by EON Productions, the company behind all the other Bond films in the series.
The British actor Roger Moore took over as Bond for 1973’s Live and Let Die, which he followed with The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983) and A View to a Kill (1985). The Welsh-born actor Timothy Dalton portrayed Bond in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989).
Brosnan was the fifth man to assume the role of Bond, with 1995’s Golden Eye. The Irish-born actor also portrayed 007 in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and The World is Not Enough (1999), before making his final appearance as the dashing secret agent in Die Another Day, which co-starred Halle Berry. The British actor Daniel Craig became the next Bond, in 2006’s Casino Royale.
Along with George Lucas’ Star Wars series and the films based on the best-selling Harry Potter books, the James Bond franchise is among the most lucrative in the history of movies.