GoldenEye Saved James Bond’s Aston Martin (And Proved Better Than Brosnan’s Cars)

James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 vanished for 30 years after Thunderball but GoldenEye bringing it back restored it as 007’s signature car in fans’ eyes.

The return of the Aston Martin DB5 in GoldenEye reaffirmed it as James Bond‘s signature car after a 30-year absence since Thunderball. The Aston Martin returns, along with Daniel Craig’s 007, in No Time To Die. By now, the Aston Martin DB5 is as synonymous with James Bond as the Batmobile is to Batman, but there were decades where the DB5 was just a fondly remembered vehicle from Sean Connery’s Bond movies in the 1960s until GoldenEye saved the luxury ride and restored the Aston Martin’s DB5’s luster.

The new book James Bond’s DB5 by Simon Hugo and Will Lawrence contains the complete history of Aston Martin in the Bond movies. In Ian Fleming’s original James Bond novels, 007 drove Bentleys until he was outfitted with an Aston Martin in Goldfinger. Fleming envisioned Bond’s new ride as outfitted with a slew of gadgets and weapons like a tracking device, oil slick, and machine guns. This made the Aston Martin a natural fit to appear in the Goldfinger movie in 1964, which came complete with the book’s weapons and even some new features like the infamous ejector seat. The most influential Bond movie, Goldfinger‘s Aston Martin was upgraded to the DB5 and it became a sensation with audiences, especially after it was so prominently featured in the film. The DB5 returned in the opening scene of Thunderball and 007 used its bulletproof screen and weapons to fend off agents from SPECTRE. But after Thunderball, the DB5 vanished from the Bond movies despite its popularity.

Related: Casino Royale Broke A James Bond Aston Martin Tradition

GoldenEye not only brought the Aston Martin DB5 back but the battleship gray classic car played an integral part in establishing Pierce Brosnan as not only the new 007 but the very same secret agent previously played by Connery, Moore, George Lazenby, and Timothy Dalton. The DB5 appears in an unforgettable scene after GoldenEye‘s opening credits where Bond races it in Monaco to unnerve Caroline (Serena Gordon), a psychologist MI6 sent by the new M (Judi Dench) to evaluate him. Bond then pits his Aston Martin against a red Ferrari driven by Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) before he learns that the Russian seductress is his enemy in the film. When Bond stops his car, 007 completes his seduction of Caroline.

Goldeneye Bond Aston Martin

A key difference between Pierce Brosnan’s DB5 and the Aston Martin driven by Sean Connery is that the center console, which previously contained the switches and buttons that activated the car’s arsenal, has been replaced with an ice cooler and a bottle of Bollinger champagne. Otherwise, it’s clear that it’s the same Aston Martin Connery drove, and this effectively hammers home that Brosnan is the same James Bond character that Connery originated, a fact that M confirmed when she called Brosnan’s Bond “a sexist, misogynist dinosaur and relic of the Cold War” and Alec Trevelyan/006 (Sean Bean) taunted James about all of the women he couldn’t save in his career as 007.

Pierce Brosnan’s Bond movies had a licensing deal with BMW so that the “ultimate driving machine” was 007’s primary car and was heavily featured in each film. But despite Bond’s BMWs getting significantly more screen time, it was the Aston Martin DB5’s return in GoldenEye that captured longtime Bond fans’ imaginations and this helped reaffirm it as the car most closely associated with James Bond. This is especially notable since George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton’s Bonds were behind the wheels of different Aston Martins other than the DB5 and Roger Moore’s 007 never drove any Aston Martins.

After GoldenEye, the Aston Martin DB5 was briefly seen in Tomorrow Never Dies and at the start of The World Is Not Enough. Meanwhile, the BMWs that Brosnan drove in his films became more outlandish, from the remote control car in Tomorrow Never Dies to the absurd invisible car in Die Another Day. In hindsight, the Aston Martin DB5’s weaponry was remembered as more elegant and classy compared to Brosnan’s cartoonish BMWs. Daniel Craig’s Bond movies bringing back the Aston Martin DB5, which sees action in Skyfall, Spectre, and No Time To Die, cements the grey roadster as the definitive James Bond car that spans the two different 007 continuities, and it was all made possible by the Aston Martin DB5 making its long-awaited comeback in GoldenEye.

Next: Every Car Appearing In No Time To Die

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