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The movie

  • Adaptation Displacement: The licensed video game is at least as famous as the movie, and in some circles, definitely more so.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Badass Decay:
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    • At the beginning of the film, it seems to have happened with Bond. The mission at the dam doesn't go so well, he's belittled for his womanizing, the Russians no longer take him seriously, the new M looks down on him, even Moneypenny has grown tired of his flirting. Then he starts tearing through St Petersburg in a tank.
    • Also subverted in real life. Pre-production, many of the financial backers and studio executives were worried that Bond might not have much of a purpose in the post–Cold War world.
  • Broken Base: Eric Serra's score for the film. Some dislike it, with even some critics saying it was the most unlikely soundtrack for a Bond film up to that point. Others however genuinely love it for the same reasons. See Awesome Music above.
  • Complete Monster: Xenia Onatopp, a sadistic Russian assassin working for the Janus Syndicate, has the dubious honor of being the most depraved Femme Fatale Bond has ever come across. Initially seen as a charming, elegant woman, Xenia reveals her true nature when, in bed with her target, she kills him by crushing him between her thighs to suffocate him, getting clear sexual ecstasy from the murder; she later tries to kill Bond the same way. She steals his security clearance and murders several innocent sailors before eluding Bond. Later, when Xenia arrives in a Russian facility, she massacres all the techs with machine gun fire, getting very visibly aroused by the killings; even her partner for the mission looks a bit stunned at this. Xenia has one of the largest body counts for a Dragon in the franchise, and unlike the majority of her male counterparts, Xenia is in it for money and thrills. She has no issue helping to use the GoldenEye satellite to plunge England into the dark ages as long as she gets rich from it. The fact that this gives her the ability to express her sexualized love for killing is just a bonus.
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  • Contested Sequel: As was always going to be the case with a series as long-running as Bond. While largely well-received upon release and being a favourite of many fans – in part due to being their first Bond film because of the issues in the series' development – there is a large crowd that considers the film overrated and unfairly popular, particularly in the wake of Craig's Bond. Others consider it to pale in comparison when compared to Dalton's Bond.
  • Dry Docked Ship: The way James Bond reacts to Alec Trevelyan's betrayal seems more like a lover's reaction than a co-worker's. Cue Foe Yay.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: It's actually difficult to find a character in this film who isn't well-liked by the fanbase, largely because this film (and the accompanying video game) was the Holy Grail for those who grew up with Pierce Brosnan as Bond.
    • Trevelyan. On Bond villain countdowns, it's common to find him as the highest-placed character not to have appeared in an Ian Fleming novel, and Yaoi Fangirls also like him for some unknown reason.
    • Ourumov, who despite answering to Trevelyan is himself a great villain in his own right, and every bit as despicable as the man he's sworn loyalty to.
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    • Natalya and Xenia are both found in many "Greatest Bond Girl" lists online, which is particularly impressive in Natalya's case because her character is probably one of the most down-to-earth and, besides a bikini scene, fanservice-less in the franchise. Fans have latched onto Famke Janssen's absolutely scene-stealing performance and delight in playing such an over-the-top villain who is still dangerous.
    • Zukovsky, who was brought back for The World Is Not Enough.
    • And who could forget Boris? I AM INVINCEEEBUL!
  • Evil Is Sexy / Evil Is Cool:
    • Onatopp is perhaps the most abhorrent Bond henchman in her behaviour and easily ranks alongside Dario of the prior film in her depravity; despite this, it is Famke Janssen in her late twenties attempting to break James Bond in two during a tryst in a spa - and she looks and sounds utterly fantastic while doing it.
    • Alec Trevelyan is going to destroy a country, kill millions and steal even more, and he forces himself on lead girl Natalya before proceeding to crow about how she tastes to Bond; regardless of this he is played by Sharpe-era Sean Bean, meaning some wouldn't object to it too much.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Boris and his infamous Hawaiian shirt may be just be the trope codifier for this one.
  • Fetish Retardant: Xenia Onatopp's sex scenes. The problem has nothing to do with her (she's drop dead gorgeous), it's just that the only "real" sex scene she has in the movie is with a balding, overweight guy. And it ends with him being forced to enjoy a good squeeze. Hell, the "sex" scene with the Admiral is nothing compared to how Bond reacts during his "sex scene" with Xenia in the sauna; check out his expression upon being trapped by Onatopp's Murderous Thighs: he's seriously stressed at the possibility of being raped. It should be noted that the latter scene is the only time "safe sex" is ever mentioned, in any context, in the series' entire history.
    Xenia Onatopp: You don't need the gun... Commander.
    James Bond: Well that depends on your definition of "safe sex."
  • First Installment Wins: Generally regarded as Brosnan's best Bond film. There are fans who prefer The World Is Not Enough, but that one is a more divisive entry than ''GoldenEye''.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: 006 and 007. They used to share EVERYTHING. It doesn't help that their reaction to each others' betrayal — real or perceived — comes off looking more like scorned lovers. Yaoi Fangirls took that and RAN. It also helps that the theme song is explicitly about a spurned lover looking for revenge.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • "Maybe you two would like to finish debriefing each other at Guantanamo, hmm?" Post-9/11, maybe not so much.
    • Perhaps also Hilarious in Hindsight, but in this film, M criticizes Bond as "A relic of the Cold War." In Skyfall, this same M is hauled before a government committee which criticizes her and MI-6 as a whole for the exact same thing.
    • Also the famous tank chase; In San Diego, a deranged ex-Army soldier hijacked a tank at a National Guard base and led police on a rampage through the city streets before he was finally cornered and neutralized by police, in the exact same year this film was released.
    • Boris' hacking the US Department of Justice for kicks, and joking that if he is caught, "The Chief of Computers will call me a genius, move me to Moscow, and give me a million bucks hard currency", has become less funny after the allegations that Russian hackers tried to influence the US election in 2016.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: M tells Bond "If you think I don't have the balls to send a man out to die, your instincts are dead wrong. I've no compunction about sending you to your death. But I won't do it on a whim." Raoul Silva's backstory in Skyfall makes clear that it's not an empty threat. On top of that, Silva, like Alec Trevelyan, is a turncoat MI-6 agent with a desire for revenge against the agency as its Big Bad, and Silva, while sharing a few of Trevelyan's traits, isn't as devious as him. He is MORE devious and successful, though his plan doesn't involve destroying London entirely.
  • Heartwarming Moments:
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • It Was His Sled: Janus is Alec Trevelyan.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: For a very select group of female moviegoers who usually don't watch action flicks, they paid money to go see GoldenEye so that they can swoon over Remington Steele—err, Pierce Brosnan on the big screen. For some girls who were in their late childhood or adolescence in 1995 (and therefore were too young to have watched the show that first made Brosnan a sex symbol), they noticed the ultra-handsome actor in trailers and TV spots, so they were more than happy to accompany their father, older brother or boyfriend to the cinema to catch their very first James Bond film.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Once James Bond's best friend, Alec Trevelyan was the son of Cossacks who killed themselves after the betrayal of the British and Stalin's execution squads. Seeking revenge, Alec faked his death, betrayed the British and formed the Janus Crime syndicate. Alec proceeds to manipulate and organize several schemes to get his hands on the Goldeneye Satellite, even completely outwitting Bond and nearly killing him on several occasions, all while intending on robbing the British bank and then using the Goldeneye to erase the records, also nearly collapsing western civilization. One of Bond's most personal adversaries, Alec Trevelyan conducts himself with pure charisma, able to get under Bond's skin like no other by knowing him better than anyone else.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: Xenia and Ourumov definitely cross it when they slaughter the entire staff at Severnaya without a hint of remorse... with Xenia clearly deriving sexual pleasure as she carries out the massacre.
  • Narm: Boris' ridiculously obvious choice of password that he tests Natalya with, which takes her the entire middle act of the film to figure out, and only after Bond guessed it correctly without needing more than half a second to dwell on it.
    • Although it is suggested earlier on that Natalya is used to more convoluted answers to his passwords, having spent months or years stuck with him; Bond, not knowing Boris' lecherous habits, can instead go for the obvious answer.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Thanks in large part to its multiplayer function, GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64 is regarded as one of the best games of all time.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • As in many Bond flicks, the MI-6 officials only appear once in the beginning for mission briefing. However, Judi Dench steals the show in her debut as M, giving Bond a tongue-lashing that her predecessors could have only dreamed of (and contributing, no doubt, to M's increased prominence in subsequent films).
    • The return of Desmond Llewellyn's Q is delightful as always, snarking up a storm and just generally being a Cool Old Guy.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Although it is still regarded as a phenomenal movie, modern viewers might raise an eyebrow at the emphasis of Bond being modern. Even though the franchise has been wrangling with that issue, the fact is that it has been a cinematic mainstay for the past twenty years. However, in 1995, the issue was more valid, as The Great Politics Mess-Up was more recent, and Bond had been on a six-year hiatus and changed actors.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The two scenes of a cutting laser in the film fail under even casual scrutiny due to the actors: the piton gun laser is an actual laser beam being filmed, which shakes and wiggles off the actual cutting metal regularly and reveals that it's nothing but a light, while the special effects of Bond's watch laser bend as the actor moves his hand out of line with the sparks.
    • A model jetfighter crashes rather awkwardly into a model radar dish.
    • There are also several rather obvious instances of stunt doubles, particularly during the sauna scene. Even when not pointed out thanks to the commentary, the recent remasters of the film have made it obvious that it is not Famke Janssen kicking Pierce Brosnan around or pushing him onto the bench during the distance shots.
    • The very first shot of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond isn't him, it's pretty obviously a stuntman jumping off the dam.
    • The tank upsets a truck hauling obviously-empty Perrier cans.
    • The shots of the GoldenEye satellite in orbit around 'Earth'. While shots of Earth in You Only Live Twice (made in 1967) look convincing, even in the modern day, Earth in this film is rendered as a swirling mass of blue with a hazy atmosphere, leading it to resemble an amateur painting of a cloudless Neptune than anything even remotely terrestrial. The copy-pasted trail of flames as the satellite burns up in the atmosphere isn't any great shakes, either.
  • Tough Act to Follow: It's by far the most well-received of Pierce Brosnan's Bond films, and is generally rated as one of the best in the franchise. Then again, this was the film that revived the series after Development Hell.
  • Unconventional Learning Experience: For many people, this movie may have been the first time they heard about the post-World War II repatriation of the Cossacks to the Soviet Union and the atrocities that followed.
  • Values Resonance: Viewers might raise an eyebrow at the idea of Bond being a relic of the past, but in age of warrantless wiretapping and Internet surveillance, the world of espionage in general has become a place where computers and the data-crunchers that sift through the data they gather are the movers and shakers of the profession, not glorified detectives in trench coats or suave ladies men sipping martinis. This film and later, Skyfall and Spectre, all wrangle with the question and essentially come to the same conclusion: there's a place for Bond, even now. Technology is limited and made fallible by the people that control it, the world is still just as dangerous as it was before, but in a different way, and there will always be a time when men like Bond are very much needed. Taken to its logical conclusion in Spectre, when a motion is passed that wipes out the Double-O section entirely (albeit briefly).
  • What an Idiot!: Alec escapes in a helicopter when the train car crashes, leaving Bond and Natalya behind and trapped.
    You'd expect: Alec would go on his merry way or at least just kill Bond and then leave.
    Instead: He calls Bond over the radio to taunt him about the bomb and tells him that he is going to give him "the same six minutes that you gave me." Not only does Bond now know about the bomb, but gloating over the six minutes also alerts Bond to the fact that the bomb actually has three minutes on the timer instead of six since it signifies how Bond detonated a bomb much earlier in his past mission with Alec.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: A woman being pressed against a tree and then asphyxiated. Said woman kills countless people with a machine gun and with her thighs during sex, and tries doing this to Bond twice.
  • Win Back the Crowd: After the low-grossing (in America, at least) Licence to Kill and six years of no films, Bond fans and the general public were very happy to see GoldenEye. The movie was also well-liked by critics.

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