Die Another Day

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Die Another Day
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLee Tamahori
Written by
Based onJames Bond
by Ian Fleming
Produced by
CinematographyDavid Tattersall
Edited byChristian Wagner
Music byDavid Arnold
Distributed byMGM Distribution Co. (United States)
20th Century Fox (International)
Release dates
  • 20 November 2002 (2002-11-20) (United Kingdom)
  • 22 November 2002 (2002-11-22) (United States)
Running time
134 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$142 million
Box office$431.9 million

Die Another Day is a 2002 spy film and the twentieth film in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions. It was directed by Lee Tamahori, produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. The fourth and final film starring Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond, it was also the only film to feature John Cleese as Q, and the last with Samantha Bond as Miss Moneypenny. It is also the first film since Live and Let Die (1973) not to feature Desmond Llewelyn as Q as he died three years earlier. Halle Berry co-stars as NSA agent Giacinta "Jinx" Johnson, the Bond girl. It follows Bond as he attempts to locate a traitor in British intelligence who betrayed him and a British billionaire who is later revealed to be connected to a North Korean operative whom Bond seemingly killed. It is an original story, although it takes influence from Bond creator Ian Fleming's novels Moonraker (1955) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1965), as well as Kingsley Amis's novel, Colonel Sun.

Die Another Day marked the James Bond franchise's 40th anniversary. The film includes references to each of the preceding films. It received mixed reviews; some critics praised Tamahori's direction, but others criticized its reliance on CGI, product placement and its unoriginal plot, as well as the villain. Nevertheless, it was the highest-grossing James Bond film up to that time.


MI6 agent James Bond infiltrates a North Korean military base where Colonel Tan-Sun Moon is trading weapons for African conflict diamonds. After Moon's right-hand man Zao receives notification of Bond's real identity, Moon attempts to kill Bond and a hovercraft chase ensues, ending with Moon's craft tumbling over a waterfall. Bond is captured by North Korean soldiers and imprisoned by the Colonel's father, General Moon. After fourteen months of captivity and torture at the hands of the Korean People's Army, Bond is traded for Zao in a prisoner exchange across the Bridge of No Return. He is sedated and taken to meet M, who informs him that his status as a 00 Agent has been suspended under suspicion of having leaked information under duress to the North Koreans. Bond is convinced that he has been set up by a double agent in the British government. After escaping MI6 custody, he finds himself in Hong Kong, where he learns from Chang, a Chinese agent and old colleague, that Zao is in Cuba.

In Havana, Bond meets with NSA agent Giacinta "Jinx" Johnson, and follows her to a gene therapy clinic, where patients can have their appearances altered through DNA restructuring. Jinx kills Dr. Alvarez, the leader of the therapy, while Bond locates Zao inside the clinic and fights him. Zao escapes, leaving behind a pendant which leads Bond to a cache of conflict diamonds bearing the crest of the company owned by British billionaire Gustav Graves. Bond learns that Graves only appeared a year prior, apparently discovering a vein of diamonds in Iceland leading to his current wealth and celebrity. At Blades Club in London, Bond meets Graves along with his assistant Miranda Frost, who is also an undercover MI6 agent. After a fencing match that escalates into a claymore duel, Graves invites Bond to Iceland for a scientific demonstration. M restores Bond's Double-0 status, and Q issues him an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish with active camouflage.

Aston Martin V12 Vanquish and Bombardier MX Rev Ski-Doo used in the film

At his ice palace in Iceland, Graves unveils a new orbital mirror satellite, "Icarus", which is able to focus solar energy on a small area and provide year-round sunshine for agriculture. Frost seduces Bond and Jinx infiltrates Graves' command centre, but is captured by Graves and Zao. Bond rescues her and discovers that Graves is Colonel Moon, who has used the gene therapy technology to change his appearance and amassed his fortune from conflict diamonds as a cover. Bond confronts Graves, but Frost arrives to reveal herself as the traitor who betrayed him in North Korea, forcing Bond to escape from Graves' facility. He returns in his Vanquish to rescue Jinx, who has been recaptured in the palace. As Graves uses Icarus to melt the ice palace, Zao pursues Bond into the palace using his Jaguar XKR. Bond kills Zao by causing a ice chandelier to fall onto him, and revives Jinx after she has almost drowned.

Bond and Jinx pursue Graves and Frost to the Korean peninsula and stow away on Graves' An-124 cargo plane. Graves reveals his identity to his father, and the true purpose of the Icarus satellite: to cut a path through the Korean Demilitarized Zone with concentrated sunlight, allowing North Korean troops to invade South Korea and unite the peninsula. Horrified, General Moon rejects the plan, but Graves murders him. Bond attempts to shoot Graves, but is prevented by a soldier. In their struggle, a gunshot pierces the fuselage, causing the plane to decompress and descend rapidly. Bond and Graves engage in a fistfight, and Jinx attempts to regain control of the plane. Frost attacks Jinx, forcing her to defend herself in a sword duel. After the plane passes through the Icarus beam and is further damaged, Jinx kills Frost. Graves attempts to escape by parachute, but Bond opens the parachute, pulling Graves out of the plane and into one of its engines, disabling the Icarus beam. Bond and Jinx escape from the disintegrating plane in a helicopter from the cargo hold, with Graves' stash of diamonds. Later, they spend a romantic evening at a Buddhist temple.



After the success of The World Is Not Enough, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson asked the director Michael Apted to return to direct. Although Apted accepted, they rescinded the offer in order to ask Tony Scott and John Woo, who both declined. Scott claims to have suggested Quentin Tarantino as director, although Wilson denies that any formal negotiations were held with him. Pierce Brosnan suggested John McTiernan, Ang Lee and Martin Scorsese as potential choices, and informally discussed the idea of directing a Bond film with Scorsese on a flight. Brett Ratner, Stephen Hopkins and Stuart Baird were later in negotiations to direct, before Lee Tamahori was hired.


Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Principal photography of Die Another Day began on 11 January 2002 at Pinewood Studios. The film was shot primarily in the United Kingdom, Iceland and Cádiz, Spain. Other locations included Pinewood Studios' 007 Stage and Maui, Hawaii, in December 2001. Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, and Darrick Doerner performed the pre-title surfing scene at the surf break known as "Jaws" in Peʻahi, Maui, while the shore shots were taken near Cádiz and Newquay, Cornwall. Scenes inside Graves' diamond mine were also filmed in Cornwall, at the Eden Project. The scenes involving the Cuban locations of Havana and the fictional Isla de Los Organos were filmed at La Caleta, Spain.

The scenes featuring Berry in a bikini (designed to resemble Ursula Andress' swimming costume in Dr. No) were shot in Cádiz. The location was reportedly cold and windy, and footage has been released of Berry wrapped in thick towels between takes to avoid catching a chill. Berry was injured during filming when debris from a smoke grenade flew into her eye. The debris was removed in a 30-minute operation. Brosnan also sustained a knee injury during the shooting of an action scene in Cornwall.

Gadgets and other props from every previous Bond film and stored in Eon Productions' archives appear in Q's warehouse in the London Underground. Examples include the jetpack in Thunderball and Rosa Klebb's poison-tipped shoe in From Russia with Love. Q mentions that the watch he issues Bond is "your 20th, I believe", a reference to Die Another Day being the 20th Eon-produced Bond film. In London, the Reform Club was used to shoot several places in the film, including the lobby and gallery at the Blades Club, MI6 Headquarters, Buckingham Palace, Green Park and Westminster. Jökulsárlón, Iceland was used for the car chase on the ice. Four Aston Martins and four Jaguars, all converted to four-wheel drive, were used (and wrecked) filming the sequence. A temporary dam was constructed at the mouth of the narrow inlet to keep the salty ocean water out and thus allow the lagoon to freeze. Additional chase footage was filmed at Svalbard, Norway, Jostedalsbreen National Park, Norway, and RAF Little Rissington, Gloucestershire. Manston Airport in Kent was used for the scenes involving the Antonov cargo plane scenes. The scene in which Bond surfs the wave created by Icarus when Graves was attempting to kill Bond was shot on the blue screen. The waves, along with all the glaciers in the scene, are computer-generated.

The hangar interior of the US Air Base in South Korea, shown crowded with Chinook helicopters, was filmed at RAF Odiham in Hampshire, UK, as were the helicopter interior shots during the Switchblade sequence. These latter scenes, though portrayed in the air, were actually filmed entirely on the ground with the sky background being added in post-production using blue screen techniques. Although the base is portrayed in the film as a US base, all the aircraft and personnel in the scene are British in real life. In the film, Switchblades (one-person gliders resembling fighter jets in shape) are flown by Bond and Jinx to stealthily enter North Korea. The Switchblade was based on a workable model called "PHASST" (Programmable High Altitude Single Soldier Transport). Kinetic Aerospace Inc.'s lead designer, Jack McCornack was impressed by director Lee Tamahori's way of conducting the Switchblade scene and commented: "It's brief, but realistic. The good guys get in unobserved, thanks to a fast cruise, good glide performance, and minimal radar signature. It's a wonderful promotion for the PHASST."

The satellite attack at the end of the film was at first written to take place in Manhattan, but after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, it was moved to the Korean Demilitarized Zone.


The soundtrack was composed by David Arnold and released on Warner Bros. Records. He again made use of electronic rhythm elements in his score, and included two of the new themes created for The World Is Not Enough. The first, originally used as Renard's theme, is heard during the mammoth "Antonov" cue on the recording, and is written for piano. The second new theme, used in the "Christmas in Turkey" track of The World Is Not Enough, is reused in the "Going Down Together" track.

The title song for Die Another Day was co-written and co-produced by Mirwais Ahmadzai and performed by Madonna, who also had a cameo in the film as Verity, a fencing instructor. The concept of the title sequence is to represent Bond trying to survive 14 months of torture at the hands of the North Koreans. Critics' opinions of the song were sharply divided; it was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, but also for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song of 2002 (while Madonna herself won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress for her cameo). In a MORI poll for the Channel 4 programme "James Bond's Greatest Hits", the song was voted 9th out of 22, and also came in as an "overwhelming number one" favourite among those under the age of 24.


Reportedly, twenty companies paying $70 million had their products featured in the film, a record at the time, although USA Today reported that number to be as high as $100 million.

The eleventh-generation Ford Thunderbird was featured in the film as Jinx's car, with a coral colour paying homage to a paint option for the original model, and matching her bikini. Ford produced a limited-edition 007-branded 2003 Thunderbird as a tie-in for the film, featuring a similar paint job.

Revlon produced "007 Colour Collection" makeup inspired by Jinx. Bond Barbie dolls inspired by the franchise were also produced, featuring a red shawl and an evening dress designed by Lindy Hemming, and sold in a gift set with Ken posing as Bond in formal wear designed by the Italian fashion house Brioni.


Die Another Day had its world premiere on 18 November 2002 at the 56th Royal Film Performance, a fundraising event held in aid of The Film and TV Charity. The event took place at the Royal Albert Hall in London and Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were guests of honour. The Royal Albert Hall had a makeover for the screening and had been transformed into an ice palace. Proceeds from the premiere, about £500,000, were donated to The Film and Television Charity, of which the Queen was patron.

Die Another Day was controversial in the Korean Peninsula. The North Korean government disliked the portrayal of their state as brutal and war-hungry. The South Koreans boycotted 145 theatres where it was released on 31 December 2002, as they were offended by the scene in which an American officer issues orders to the South Korean army in the defence of their homeland, and by a lovemaking scene near a statue of the Buddha. The Jogye Buddhist Order issued a statement that the film was "disrespectful to our religion and does not reflect our values and ethics". The Washington Post reported growing resentment in the nation towards the United States. An official of the South Korean Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that Die Another Day was "the wrong film at the wrong time."

Home media

Die Another Day was released on DVD and VHS on 3 June 2003.


Box office

On the first day of release, ticket sales reached £1.2 million at the UK box office. Die Another Day grossed $47 million on its opening weekend in the US and Canada and was ranked number one at the box office. The film would compete against Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and The Santa Clause 2 during the Thanksgiving weekend. Moreover, all three films were able to defeat the underperforming animated film Treasure Planet. Later on, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Die Another Day would simultaneously reclaim the number one spot at the box office. For six months, they were both the latest films to return to the top spot at the box office, until Finding Nemo joined the group in June 2003. The film earned $160.9 million in the US and Canada, and $431.9 million worldwide, becoming the sixth highest-grossing film of 2002. Not adjusting for inflation, Die Another Day was the highest-grossing James Bond film until the release of Casino Royale in 2006.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 56% based on 220 reviews, with an average rating of 6.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Its action may be a bit too over-the-top for some, but Die Another Day is lavishly crafted and succeeds in evoking classic Bond themes from the franchise's earlier installments." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 56 out of 100 based on 43 critics, indicating "mixed and average reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "A−" on scale of A to F.

Michael Dequina of Film Threat praised the film as the best of the series to star Pierce Brosnan and "the most satisfying installment of the franchise in recent memory." Larry Carroll of CountingDown.com praised Lee Tamahori for having "magnificently balanced the film so that it keeps true to the Bond legend, makes reference to the classic films that preceded it, but also injects a new zest to it all." Entertainment Weekly magazine also gave a positive reaction, saying that Tamahori, "a true filmmaker", has re-established the series' pop sensuality. A.O. Scott of The New York Times called the film the best of the James Bond series since The Spy Who Loved Me. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the film three stars out of four, stated: "This movie has the usual impossible stunts ... But it has just as many scenes that are lean and tough enough to fit in any modern action movie". Kyle Bell of Movie Freaks 365 stated in his review that the "first half of Die Another Day is classic Bond", but that "things start to go downhill when the ice palace gets introduced."

Several reviewers felt the film relied too heavily on gadgets and special effects, with the plot being neglected. James Berardinelli of ReelViews said: "This is a train wreck of an action film – a stupefying attempt by the filmmakers to force-feed James Bond into the mindless XXX mold and throw 40 years of cinematic history down the toilet in favor of bright flashes and loud bangs." Of the action sequences, he said: "Die Another Day is an exercise in loud explosions and excruciatingly bad special effects. The CGI work in this movie is an order of magnitude worse than anything I have seen in a major motion picture. Coupled with lousy production design, Die Another Day looks like it was done on the cheap." Gary Brown of the Houston Community Newspapers also described the weak point of the film as "the seemingly non-stop action sequences and loud explosions that appear to take centre stage while the Bond character is almost relegated to second string." Roger Moore, who played Bond in earlier films, said: "I thought it just went too far – and that's from me, the first Bond in space! Invisible cars and dodgy CGI footage? Please!"

The amount of product placement in Die Another Day had been a contemporaneous point of criticism, with the BBC, Time and Reuters referring mockingly to the film using the title "Buy Another Day". The producers subsequently chose to limit the number of companies involved in product placement to eight for the next Bond film, Casino Royale, in 2006.


Despite favour from fans who prefer Bond's more "camp" films, a comment piece in 2020 stated that it is "considered by many to be the worst entry in James Bond's canon" and compares unfavourably to The Bourne Identity (released months earlier), which "ushered in a new era of violent, gritty action-espionage movies" and gave rise to the "stripped-down, no-nonsense" Bond of Daniel Craig. It often occupies a low rank on Bond-related lists. In a 2021 Yahoo! survey consisting of 2200 experts and superfans, Die Another Day was ranked as the third-worst installment after Quantum of Solace and Spectre. The authors of the study did, however, specify that "every Bond film...is always someone's favourite".


Die Another Day was novelised by the then-official James Bond writer, Raymond Benson, based on the screenplay by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. An effort is made to depict some of the film's more outlandish elements with more believability, in the style of Fleming's original novels' use of cutting-edge technology. So, for example, the non-bodywork elements of the Aston Martin with its 'cloaking' function (the glass windows and rubber tyres) are described as having retractable covers to achieve the invisibility effect. Fan reaction to it was above average. After its publication, Benson retired as the official James Bond novelist; a new series featuring the secret agent's adventures as a teenager, by Charlie Higson, was launched in 2005. As the novelisation was published after Benson's final original 007 novel, The Man with the Red Tattoo, it was the final literary work featuring Bond as originally conceived by Ian Fleming until the publication of Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks in 2008 to mark the 100th anniversary of Fleming's birth.

007 Legends, released in 2012, features Daniel Craig's James Bond in a Die Another Day level.

Cancelled spin-off

Speculation arose in 2003 of a spin-off film concentrating on Jinx, which was scheduled for a November/December 2004 release. It was originally reported that MGM was keen to set up a film series that would be a "Winter Olympics" alternative to the main series. In the late 1990s, MGM had originally considered developing a spin-off film based on Michelle Yeoh's character, Wai Lin, in 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies. The spin-off Jinx was announced in December 2002. Lee Tamahori initially wanted to direct, but Stephen Frears was ultimately hired. Berry and Michael Madsen were originally going to reprise their roles as Jinx and Falco, while Jinx's lover was going to be played by Javier Bardem. Bardem would later play villain Raoul Silva in Skyfall (2012). The film would have revolved around Jinx's entry into the NSA, revealing that she had been adopted by Falco after being orphaned in a bombing and being hired by him from the RAND Corporation to do a job at the NSA as a favour. Wade described the film as "a very atmospheric, Euro thriller, a Bourne-type movie." However, despite much speculation of an imminent movie, on 26 October 2003, Variety reported that MGM had cancelled the project. MGM instead decided to reboot the James Bond franchise with the next film, Casino Royale, with Daniel Craig portraying the role of the titular character. In 2020, Berry revealed that the film was cancelled over its $80 million budget, saying: "Nobody was ready to sink that kind of money into a black female action star." Purvis and Wade said that this decision was influenced by the failure of several action films with female stars, including Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, in 2003.

See also


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External links