Seven years, four films and one amazing kill count. Pierce Brosnan owned the role of James Bond, leaving him as arguably the greatest of the six actors to have the honour of playing the spy in the franchise's 55 years of filming.
He's probably one of the slickest and smoothest Bonds to take the role. He may have an Irish-American heritage, but he played the English spy with such charm. He could deliver the one-liner with perfection, he had the cheeky smirk, and of course his effortlessly smooth hair was a hit with the ladies.
Despite all of that, Pierce, who turns 64 today, was never impressed with his role. In an interview with The Telegraph in 2014, he said: "I felt I was caught in a time warp between Roger [Moore] and Sean [Connery].
"It was a very hard one to grasp the meaning of, for me. The violence was never real, the brute force of the man was never palpable. It was quite tame, and the characterisation didn't have a follow-through of reality.
"I have no desire to watch myself as James Bond. Because it's just never good enough. It's a horrible feeling."
Well, Pierce, you're talking rubbish. There's plenty of reasons why he was the greatest Bond of all time, and we'll start with the one outstanding fact of his film life...
The Kill Count
It's a simple fact: no James Bond has more kills than Pierce Brosnan. Actually, nobody even comes close. He's the only Bond to reach triple figures in that respect. He has an outstanding 135 kills.
Second in that list is Roger Moore with 90 kills, but he starred in seven films in the series, compared to Brosnan's four. In other words, the younger actor's average kill count is truly commendable.
It all started in 1995 with Goldeneye, as Bond and Alec Trevelyan (played by Sean Bean) infiltrate the Soviet chemical weapons plant.
Credit: MGM Films
It all ended with 2002's Die Another Day, as Pierce's Bond electrocutes Gustav Graves on board his own plane before landing a helicopter loaded with diamonds while cosying up to Halle Berry.
But in between all of that, there's the actions of Bond that lead to the death of Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies and the killings of Electra King and Renard in The World Is Not Enough.
Those One Liners
Bond has always had the suave reputation. The tuxedo, the martini (shaken and not stirred) and the cigar - but each one of those was delivered with such elegance by Pierce Brosnan.
His delivery also excelled in his one-line puns, taking 007's signature wit to a new level. OK yes, much of the credit here goes to the films' writers, but those lines still need to be spoken and this is where Pierce came in.
In GoldenEye, after the first scene when he jumps down a giant dam, Bond enters a Soviet chemical weapons facility by, er, 'dropping in' on the toilets. His first line EVER as Bond is a classic: "Beg your pardon, forgot to knock." It was from that point we knew we'd love Pierce as James.
It got better though, in The World Is Not Enough, when explaining to Robert Carlyle's villainous Renard that his accomplice Davidov is dead, it's a simple message: "He caught a bullet instead of the plane." Well, that tells us what happened to him.
Ultimately, however, Bond outdoes himself for quips later in the same film. When in the bedroom with Dr Christmas Jones (Denise Richards), he utters the line: "I thought Christmas only came once a year." No further explanation needed. If you need more, ask your parents.
In Die Another Day, Bond's one-liners are plentiful. Before the opening titles roll, as Colonel Moon's hovercraft drives off the edge of a waterfall, Bond jumps and grabs hold of a bell rope overhead. A simple "saved by the bell" follows here. Perfection.
And you know that scene in the World Is Not Enough when he chases the agent across the Thames in Q's retirement fishing boat, when the boat ducks under water and Bond straightens his tie in true cool fashion? That was Pierce's idea, no one else's.
The fact that we've done this article shows exactly how highly we rate Pierce Brosnan and James Bond.
But there's more. For the modern generation, Pierce Brosnan was how we understood Bond in video game format. Goldeneye was released on Nintendo 64 and GameBoy, and later reprised Xbox and Playstation 3.
And that wasn't all - Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough were also adapted as video games, while original titles like Nightfire and Everything Or Nothing would also use Brosnan's likeness.
Credit: Electronic Arts
And when these games were released, even as originals or as remakes, there was a flood of younger people going out to buy them. Maybe not because Pierce was on the front cover, but because we knew we'd get to act as Pierce when creeping around corners, driving Aston Martin's, or shooting the baddies. Pierce, for many of us, was our first Bond.
"And what do birds do when the sun goes down," asks Halle Berry's Jinx of 007 in Die Another Day. "They feast," is his response - cue a typically Bondian night of bedroom antics.
There were very few girls that could resist Pierce Brosnan's charm. The list is, thankfully, not endless, but instead below...
- Natalya Simonova - Goldeneye. She was Boris' assistant, and it was her computer skills that helped Bond overcome the traitors.
- Xenia Onatopp - Goldeneye. Let's just say, that despite trying to kill Bond, it was him who ended up onatopp!
- Caroline - Goldeneye. She was sent to assess Bond but soon went for a spin in the Aston, and having a bottle of bubbly with him.
- Wai Lin - Tomorrow Never Dies. She teamed up with James to storm Carver's stealth ship.
- Paris Carver - Tomorrow Never Dies. Bond was sent to seduce her to gain information, he initially failed, but a jealous Carver soon helped to solve that.
- Professor Inga Bergstom - Tomorrow Never Dies. Bond used her to 'brush-up' on his Danish.
- Dr Christmas Jones - The World Is Not Enough. The nuclear physicist who spent the last moments of the film with Bond in Turkey after they helped each other at the nuclear weapons facility.
- Elektra King - The World Is Not Enough.
- Dr Molly Warmflash - The World Is Not Enough. The doctor who gave Bond his 'fit for work' examination.
- Jinx - Die Another Day. Rising out of the sea, they teamed up to defeat Zao.
- Miranda Frost - Die Another Day. Bond tried to make advances but soon figured she was a double agent.
An impressive list. I'll let you pick your favourite.
Overall, Pierce smashed the role of James Bond. Four brilliant films. Enjoy your birthday in style, Bond - our favourite Bond!
Featured Image Credit: PA
Topics: James Bond