Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, sophisticated British secret agent
Cuba, Spring 1995
Release Date: November 13, 1995
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
For St. Patrick’s Day, it only makes sense to write the first post for this blog about the only Irish actor yet who has played James Bond. And since Pierce Brosnan was also one of the few Bonds to ever wear an outfit that was predominantly green – the traditional St. Paddy’s Day attire – let’s take a look at his green military-styled assault gear in the finale of Goldeneye, his inaugural Bond film.
What’d He Wear?
Bond’s assault gear is comprised of a utility shirt, tactical vest, and cargo pants in various shades of olive drab. Olive drab is a grayish-green color typically found on military uniforms and fatigues. The U.S. Army replaced its long-standing use of olive drab in 1981 with its adoption of the M81 woodland camo fatigues, but it had previously used olive drab for all BDUs (Battle Dress Uniforms) from World War II through the Vietnam War.
Although none of Bond’s outfit is military issue, it is all very military-inspired and looks efficient for a covert jungle mission like his foray into Cuba.
Most nations have also adopted the more effective multi-color camouflage for its fatigues, but Cuba is one of the few remaining nations that retains the solid olive drab for its uniforms, making Bond’s use of it even more appropriate.
Bond wears an olive green utility shirt with seven brown-toned plastic buttons down a front placket, although he rakishly leaves the top three unbuttoned to combat the jungle heat. Although this Hasselhoff-esque style would be inappropriate in polite society (even for James Bond), Bond can be excused due to the Cuban heat and his desire to show off to his lady sidekick, a Russian computer programmer he’s been intimate with on several occasions.
The shirt has a spread collar, reinforced elbows, and two large box-pleated chest pockets that button with flaps. It has button cuffs, but Bond wears his sleeves rolled up.
Military-style clothing is typically made of a cotton/polyester blend, but the shirt looks like it is likely just cotton, which would be cooler in the jungle. The two reinforced holes under each armpit also ventilate.
This type of shirt is very common for rugged outdoor activities like camping and can often be found from outdoor-specific retailers like Eddie Bauer or L.L. Bean, although almost all major clothing designers have put out some version of the utility shirt.
Over the shirt, Bond wears a zip-up tactical vest in a slightly lighter shade of drab than the shirt. The zipper is brass, but Bond wears the vest open throughout his mission, allowing him easy access to his Walther PPK underneath.
This type of vest was designed specifically for missions like this, and the abundance of secure pockets are essential for Bond with his variety of bombs, ammunition, and exploding pens. (And, for some reason, his passport?) The choice of a vest rather than a sleeved jacket is optimal for Bond’s mission, since he needs the extra layer for its pockets and weapon concealment, but the heat prevents a jacket from being efficient.
There are six visible pockets, three on each side. On the right side, there is one small chest pocket that closes with a black-buttoned flap and curves slightly inward. Below it are two larger hip pockets with flaps that close either with a concealed button or with velcro. The left side is the opposite of the right, with two small button-flapped pockets on the chest and one large lower double pocket. The pockets are all a shade lighter in color than the rest of the vest.
There are two flapped vents on the top of each side. (Although based on the discoloring, these may also be pockets. Can anyone confirm?)
The waistband of the vest is adjustable, with a silver loop on each side to operate the straps.
Underneath, Bond indeed wears his black leather shoulder holster, a right-hand draw model with his trusty blued Walther PPK hanging under his left armpit. The best glimpse we get is the strap when Xenia is trying to strangle him with her thighs (!)
I can’t tell if it’s the Galco Executive model that Brosnan typically wore with his suits as Bond, but since he wears a $2,400 watch for the mission, it’s not unlikely that he would opt for a $150 holster.
Bond’s cargo pants are similar to paratrooper fatigue pants. They are likely a cotton/polyester twill material which is soft but durable for jungle missions. There are six total pockets, with front slash pockets on each side, box-pleated cargo pockets halfway down each leg, and two flapped rear pockets that close either with velcro or a concealed button.
Paratrooper trousers often have adjustable waist tabs and drawstring ankle ties in addition to belt loops, but Bond’s trousers look like a simpler model with just belt loops and a button closure above the brass zipper. His belt is brown leather with a squared two-eyelet dulled brass clasp in the front.
The seat and knees are reinforced for durability, and the seams are double-stitched to also remain durable during heavy activity like running, jumping, or getting shot at while rolling down a concrete lakebed to the entrance of a hidden Soviet-era satellite station.
Bond tucks his cargo pants into his socks to keep his legs freer for movement and to keep moisture out of his boots. He wears sand-colored thermal boot socks made of moisture-wicking fabric that dries quickly.
The boots themselves are brown leather combat boots with heavy black rubber soles. They lace through 5 eyelets and up through two hook closures.
GoldenEye marked the beginning of a new era for James Bond in several ways. In addition to being the first post-Cold War Bond adventure, it also marked the major first departure from the Rolex era for wristwatches. (Yes, Roger Moore had worn several digital Seikos during the late ’70s and early ’80s, but he also wore the occasional Rolex and Tim Dalton also wore a Rolex for both of his underrated late ’80s films.)
After a sixteen-film stretch of predominantly Rolex watches, the Bond team began its partnership with Omega, and Pierce Brosnan strapped an Omega Seamaster Professional Diver to his wrist for each of his four outings as Bond. He would later switch to the 2531.80 Chronometer, but for GoldenEye he wore the Omega Seamaster Professional 2541.80.00 300M Quartz with a blue face and bezel on a stainless steel bracelet.
Alec Trevelyan, the former 00 agent, also wears his old MI6-issued Seamaster, and is thus familiar with the pusher to deactivate Bond’s remote bomb. Both watches identify the day as the 25th of the month, although we are never told what month. Since the movie was filmed in the spring of 1995, we can assume it is likely around April due to climate hints. (The code, “April is a spring month”, may also lend some credence to this theory.)
The 2541.80.00 has the Omega 1538 Quartz precision movement, but the later 2531.80 worn in his next three films has an automatic movement.
Go Big or Go Home
Although you may never get the chance to infiltrate a secret terrorist base in Cuba, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have your own mini version of Bond doing just that.
After the release of GoldenEye, Sideshow Collectables created a 12″ tall action figure of Pierce Brosnan in his military-esque fatigues during the Janus infiltration. mi6-hq.com describes it:
The outfit worn by Bond is what he wears during final assault on the Janus hideout in Cuba. 007 wears a green camouflage, commando style suit with over vest. The trousers and shirt are well made and display tight stitching. Featuring thigh height combat style pockets and over socks that run up to mid calf, the trousers are extremely close to the film costume.
The over vest is a slight darker green compared to the suit, and features multiple pockets and pouches. It departs slightly from the film costume due to scale, however the visual result is just as effective.
Being dressed in jungle combat wear, Bond has walking boots that have been given a good amount of detailing. There is clear weathering and colour variation for the different materials that have been emulated on the figure, however the laces have not been as skillfully detailed.
Bond also lays out the essentials for what you should be carrying on your person at all times: your passport, your wallet, a silver Parker Jotter pen (fitted with explosives), a set of keys, and a blued Walther PPK.
You’d think that with all of those pockets, he’d have a little more on him.
After ditching his trademark Walther PPK in the explosion, Bond equips himself with “found” weapons from his enemies in true video game style, utilizing a Chinese copy of an AKS-74U and Trevelyan’s own Browning BDM.
The BDM was developed in 1991, making its appearance during the 1986 prologue a slight anachronism. (Although the film slightly corrects itself when the older Browning BDA slips in during continuity errors in the opening sequence.) Trevelyan wears the BDM on a prominent hip holster and also carries an extra magazine. Bond gets his hands on it during the climax on Trevelyan’s satellite, but it eventually runs out of ammunition and he is forced to switch to a ladder as his weapon of choice because obviously.
The BDM was Browning Arms’s attempt to modernize the venerable Browning Hi-Power with a sleeker double-action design and was developed with the aim of becoming the standard FBI sidearm after the dismal adoption of the 10 mm Auto cartridge. The FBI. Alas, the development was in vain and the FBI instead went with the SIG-Sauer P226 in 9 mm. The BDM fell into the private market and was produced continually until 1998.
The Browning BDM had a disk inlaid flush on the left side of the slide to toggle between traditional double-action mode or double-action-only, thus lending the pistol its full name – the “Browning Dual Mode”. (Although this would technically make the name the Browning Browning Dual Mode, so the marketers wisely chose the catchier “Browning BDM”.) Like its predecessor, the Hi-Power, the BDM uses a high-capacity magazine for 9×19 mm Parabellum ammunition, although the BDM carries two more rounds for a total of 15 in one magazine.
The two variants, the BRM (“Revolver Mode”) and the BPM-D (“Pistol Mode – Decocker”) lacked the toggle switch, and thus fired in double-action-only or traditional DA/SA, respectively.
It is interesting that a European criminal like Trevelyan would use the BDM, as it was only produced in North America, but since the storyline primarily has him using it in Cuba, the choice makes sense. Of the three finishes – blued, “silver” matte-chromed, and “practical” two-tone – Trevelyan uses a standard blued model.
The other “found” weapon that Bond uses in this sequence is a Chinese copy of the AKS-74U, a Norinco Type 56-1. GoldenEye finds plenty of use for the AK-74 series, a modern variant of the traditional Kalashnikov-designed AK assault rifle. The AK-47 series was developed in 1947 and was chambered for the 7.62×39 mm cartridge. Based on that logic, can you tell me when the AK-74 was introduced?
Did you say 1974? Good on you.
Bond frequently grabs AKS-74U rifles (or Chinese copies) from Russian soldiers or Janus guards during the film, notably using one when shooting up St. Petersburg before commandeering a T-55 tank to destroy the city on his way to save Natalya.
Although there are some genuine AK-74 and AKS-74U rifles seen in GoldenEye, the majority are Norinco Type 56 and Type 56-1 Chinese copies. Although the Norincos have been given plastic magazines and muzzle brakes to resemble the Russian weapon, the genuine AK-74 can be distinguished by less curved magazines for their proprietary 5.45×39 mm ammo. The Norinco uses a more curved magazine as it still uses the 7.62×39 mm. The Norincos also have distinctive hooded front sights that are not found on the Russian Kalashnikovs.
Bond carries a genuine Russian AKS-74U on the tank, but he grabs a Norinco Type 56-1 from a satellite guard in Cuba.
How to Get the Look
Wearing Bond’s full assault gear on a typical day might get you an unwanted Walter Sobchak-type reputation, but elements of the outfit paired with jeans or other trousers would make a cool military-inspired look that won’t have people dialing 911 as you walk into a store.
- Olive drab utility shirt with spread collar, large flapped box-pleated chest pockets, front placket, and rolled-up button cuffs
- Light olive zip-up tactical vest with button-flapped chest pockets (one on the right, two on the left), large velcro-flapped hip pockets (two on the right, one on the left), adjustable waistband with silver loops for straps, and upper front yokes
- Olive green flat front cargo pants with belt loops, slash side pockets, cargo pockets, and flapped rear pockets
- Brown leather belt
- Brown leather 5-eyelet combat boots with two upper hook closures
- Sand-colored moisture-wicking thermal boot socks
- Black leather shoulder holster (RHD) for Walther PPK
- Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 2541.80.00 wristwatch with blue dial and stainless bracelet/case
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
She always did enjoy a good squeeze.