Saturday, 21 May 2016

GoldenEye: From the Big Screen to the Small Screen

Six months after the original theatrical release, on May 21st, 1996, GOLDENEYE first reached two home video formats, VHS and LaserDisc, troughout the world. We have made a home video special reviewing most of the home releases of the first film of the Pierce Brosnan era.


Two different covers accompained the premiere release of GOLDENEYE in VHS, both featuring Pierce Brosnan as James Bond with his two female counterparts Izabella Scorupco and Famke Janssen and evoking the US and International poster campaigns, with minimal retouches such as the 007 logo (in gold, instead of red) and the use of a different close up of Bond pointing his Walther PPK replacing the one John Stoddart took for the American campaign.

Some releases offered a different artwork, again with Pierce Brosnan, Famke Janssen and Izabella Scorupco. The black background was replaced by the Severnaya Control Center exploding and the 007 logo was removed. This artwork was mainly used in Europe.

In the United States, the GOLDENEYE VHS was sold with The Ultimate James Bond Dossier, a CD-Rom featuring clips, audio, images and a trivia game featuring the first 17 films.

The Laserdisc edition presented the film in widescreen format and featured a few bonus: TV spots, trailers, a five minute featurette and "The World of 007", a television special hosted by Elizabeth Hurley.


In 1997, GOLDENEYE was the first James Bond to be released on DVD format.

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These first editions (reprising the covers of their respective VHS releases) were mainly featured in the US and Europe. The American edition, presented in a clamshell plastic package, featured both screen versions of the film (Pan & Scan and Widescreen) and the trailers, with the European edition adding an audio commentary featuring director Martin Campbell and an 8-page booklet. The menu screens were static film captures.

The menus are presented in 16:9 version in the European release, while the American edition features them on Pan & Scan. An interesting curiosity between the US and the European version is that the European DVD replaced the original print location text for an electronic one in the respective language.


Shortly before the release of THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, the James Bond films were released in the form of Special Edition DVDs, that were packed with many extra features such as documentaries and deleted scenes. GOLDENEYE was, of course, part of this collection.

Both the American and European edition featured the same special features and a making of booklet that came with these releases. The US edition used a modified artwork of the one that served for the VHS and Laserdisc editions, while the European market went for their own VHS variation.

This time, the DVDs contained animated menus. In the case of GOLDENEYE both designs were almost similar.

US DVD Menu Screenshots:

European/Australian DVD Menu Screenshots:

Just like all the Bond SE DVDs, the viewer is asked to "Activate" the navigation system. In the European version the user is first asked to select the menu language, while in the American version the interactive menu is only available in English and a female voice (omitted in the European DVD) introduces the animation by saying "Welcome to GOLDENEYE Special Edition DVD. Please activate the navegation system."

The American menu plays the 10th track of the film soundtrack ("A Pleasent Drive trough St Petersbourg", not heard in the film) adding some soundbites of the movie, while the European menu completely ommits any dialogue.

Watch a clip of the Special Edition DVD Menu animation (Australia, same as the European version):

The Special Features were very interesting by the time:

  • Audio Commentary featuring Michael G Wilson and Martin Campbell
  • "The World of 007" documentary, hosted by Elizabeth Hurley
  • "Making Of" Featurette: The GoldenEye Video Journal
  • Music video "GoldenEye" by Tina Turner
  • Behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Trailers (2) and TV Spots (12)
  • Tomorrow Never Dies Playstation Game Trailer

Most of the featurettes were previously seen on TV or in the Laserdisc edition, yet in a time where YouTube didn't exist it came very handy to get these gems secured, particularly Liz Hurley's documentary.

The Region 2 edition from Europe had many cuts to reach the 12 rating (mainly during the fight of Bond and Trevelyan and the Xenia scenes), while the US Region 1 was uncut. 

Languages available for the featurette film were English and French for the US edition (subtitles in English and French for the movie only) and in the European editions it depended on the country (the UK had only English with multiple subtitles, while Spain featured English, French and German with menus and subtitles in these languages). In the Region 2 edition, the special features were also subtitled.

Another interesting thing to see is that the Region 2 edition also provides English subtitles for the dialogues in foreign language:

And the difference between the electronic and burnt subtitles remained from the 1997 edition:

Notice there's also a different color grading between the two, with the European transfer looking lighter.

The Special Edition of GOLDENEYE was reedited in 2002 for the release of DIE ANOTHER DAY and James Bond's 40th anniversary.


As CASINO ROYALE was about to hit theatres with Daniel Craig as James Bond, the films were given the two disc treatment, with new material added to the Special Editions content and digitally remastered image and sound.

GOLDENEYE was given a rather disappointing cover artwork, with a flipped shot of Pierce Brosnan holding a Kalashnikov rifle and a digitally edited still of the famous tank chase. In 2008, these editions were reissued with a different and even less exciting cover artwork.

The DVD Menus were also animated but this time generic, with the same "girls and guns" style animation for every movie (featuring different music and clips depending on the film).

The digital restoration made by Lowry was a great job in other Bond films, but it didn't favour GOLDENEYE. Even if the image looks sharper and some of the dust was removed, the frames look very unsaturated. Worse is the severe crop done to the frames of the movie for unknown reasons.

Nevertheless, one thing to be thankful for are the loads of added material: 

  • Deleted Scenes With Introductions by Director Martin Campbell*
  • Directing Bond: The Martin Chronicles*
  • Building a Better Bond: Pre-Production Featurette*
  • The Return of Bond - The Start of Production Press Event*
  • Driven to Bond: Remy Julienne*
  • Anatomy of a Stunt: Tank Versus Perrier*
  • Making it in Small Pictures: Derek Meddings*
  • On Location With Peter Lamont*
  • GoldenEye: The Secret Files*
  • Pre-Title Storyboard Sequence With Director Martin Campbell*
  • 007 MISSION CONTROL (Interactive Guide Into the World of GoldenEye)*
  • Audio Commentary Featuring Martin Campbell and Michael G. Wilson
  • The World of 007 - Original 1995 Television Special Hosted by Elizabeth Hurley
  • The GoldenEye Video Journal Promotional Featurette
  • "GoldenEye" Music Video Performed by Tina Turner
  • Original Trailers (2) TV Spots (13)
  • Photo Gallery*

*New in the Ultimate Edition DVD

The deleted scenes are fascinating to see (from Bond avoiding guards in the dam to Boris and Ourumov sharing a scene or Valentin threatening a treacherous client). The other featurettes deal with Martin Campbell, Phil Meheux and Derek Meddings showing the incredible and loable effort done by the crew of this movie. The 007 Mission Control page provides clips of the movie, including a short featurette on the locations narrated by Samantha Bond and Daniel Kleinman's titles without the text.


The first GOLDENEYE BluRay release came in 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the cinematic James Bond series, tied to the Bond 50 collection. The minimaristic cover artwork featured a promoticonal still of the movie with Pierce Brosnan and Izabella Scorupco, retouched with shades of blue. The same year, a steelbook (metal case) edition was also released, featuring the US theatrical poster artwork.

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The contents are essentially the same as the Ultimate Edition DVD, including the animated menu. A much needed improvement was the picture - not only for the pristine 1080p resolution of the image but because this time the frames weren't cropped and they regained the colour grading of the original master.

For the theatrical release of SPECTRE in 2015, all the Bond BluRays recieved a new cover artwork: poorly designed, GOLDENEYE featured a still of Pierce Brosnan holding the Kalashnikov Rifle and a white band with the film's logo.

A DVD issue featuring both cover artworks was released, with the sole disc being the same as the Feature Film disc of the Ultimate Edition.

We have next to see in which format GOLDENEYE -as the whole James Bond franchise and any upcoming movies- will come next. In the meantime, we hope you have enjoyed this Home Video special for a film we all love too much.

GOLDENEYE belongs to MGM/UA, Danjaq and Fox Home Entertainment. The videos and images featrured on this article are merely educational and copyright infringment is not intended. Special thanks for Drummond for the menu screenshots, animations and cover scans. Visit his site at

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