Pierce Brosnan was born in Navan, County Meath, Ireland and lived there until he moved to England when he was 11 years old. His father left when Pierce was young, and though they would reunite later in life, they never became close. His mother would later remarry and Brosnan’s stepfather, Bill, treated Brosnan like his own son. It was Bill who took him to see Goldfinger, and it was at that moment that Brosnan knew he wanted to be an actor. At 20, he enrolled in The Oval House and continued his studies at The Drama Center in London. After graduation, Brosnan performed in several West End stage productions including Franco Zeffirelli’s Fulimena and Tennessee Williams’ The Red Devil Battery Sign at the York Theater Royal. Brosnan came to America, Los Angeles to be specific, in 1982 and immediately landed the role of private investigator Remington Steele on the popular NBC television series of the same name. Following the show’s cancellation in 1987, Brosnan took his talent to the silver screen where he starred opposite Michael Caine, Ned Beatty and Joanna Cassidy in the 1987 action/thriller The Fourth Protocol. Other roles followed in television movies as well as motion pictures. Brosnan’s ultimate dream came true when he finally became famed secret agent James Bond in 1995’s GoldenEye. He would play the role in three more movies until he passed the torch to Daniel Craig following 2002’s Die Another Day. Brosnan has also shared the screen with some of Hollywood’s sexiest and most talented women such as Stephanie Zimbalist, Salma Hayek, Rene Russo, Halle Berry and Julianne Moore just to name a few. Besides his acting pursuits, Brosnan is an avid activist, especially for ovarian cancer, which his first wife, Cassandra Harris, died from in 1991. Brosnan and Harris had a son, Sean, together plus Brosnan has two children, Dylan and Paris, with his second wife, Keely Shaye Smith. In honor of his 51st birthday, here is a Top 10 list of Pierce Brosnan movies.
10. I Don’t Know How She Does It: – In this 2011 comedy was based on Allison Pearson’s novel of the same name. Brosnan co-starred with Sarah Jessica Parker and Greg Kinnear. Brosnan played Jack Abelhammer, a client of Parker’s character, finance executive Kate Reddy, who becomes enamored with Reddy as she tries to spend time with her husband (Kinnear) and two small children, including a daughter, who complains that she’s never home. Also starring Olivia Munn, Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, Kelsey Grammer as well as SNL alums Seth Meyers and Jane Curtin, the movie wasn’t well received by critics, but I thought Brosnan’s wit shone through despite the small role as his character joked with Parker’s character, expressed his feelings but was ultimately shot down and bowed out gracefully.
9. The Lawnmower Man: – This 1992 horror/science fiction film had Brosnan starring as Dr. Lawrence Angelo, who worked for a company experimenting with increasing the intelligence of chimps using virtual reality and drugs. Dr. Angelo eventually needs a human subject and takes Jobe Smith, (played by Jeff Fahey) a local gardener, who is intellectually disabled under his wing. Jobe become smarter as the sessions of virtual reality and drugs continue, but eventually get out of hand when the project director switches the drugs being used for more dangerous ones just to see their effects on Jobe. Then, Jobe’s behavior and telekinetic abilities become more violent and out-of-control. Brosnan did a wonderful job playing a man caught in the middle of technological progress and ethical behavior. Austin O’Brien also starred in the movie as young Peter Parkette, Angelo’s neighbor and young friend of Jobe, who Jobe saves from his abusive father using his telekinetic powers. IMO, this movie was ahead of its time in terms of its technological theme and Brosnan should consider doing an update given all of the advances in the field since this movie’s release.
8. The Mirror Has Two Faces: – This 1996 romantic dramedy was produced by, directed by and starred Barbra Streisand. Co-starring Jeff Bridges, Lauren Bacall, Mimi Rogers, Brenda Vaccaro, Austin Pendleton and George Segel, Streisand played Rose Morgan, a shy English Literature professor at Columbia University. Rose is enamored with Alex (Brosnan,) who her sister, Claire (Rogers) just married. Meanwhile, Gregory Larkin, a math professor at Columbia, who has been burned by attractive women and believes that sex complicates a relationship, places a personal ad that Claire responds to as Rose. Rose and Greg click and they eventually marry because Rose doesn’t want to spend her life as a spinster living with her mother (Bacall.) Along the way, Rose and Greg fall for each other, unbeknownst to either of them but miscommunication leads to them breaking up and Rose making herself over physically. That’s when Alex finally notices Rose and when Claire cheats on him, Rose finally has the opportunity she’s been waiting for. Brosnan played a somewhat naïve guy brilliantly as he goes from loving Claire one minute to being smitten with the “new” Rose the next, but not in a dastardly, slimy way. Again, for a relatively small role, Brosnan’s good looks and boyish gullibility made moviegoers root for Rose and Greg to reunite and for her to forget about her childish infatuation with Alex.
7. Mrs. Doubtfire: – This 1993 dramedy was based on the novel Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine. Brosnan co-starred with funnyman Robin Williams and Sally Field. Brosnan played Stuart Dunmire, an old love of Miranda Hillard (Field,) who had come back into her life to seek her interior design expertise. Williams played Daniel Hillard, a man always in between jobs, but a loving father to his three kids. Eventually, Miranda can no longer take being the “serious one” and wants a divorce. Williams’ thanks to help from his brother, Frank (Harvey Fierstein) and his partner, who are movie makeup artists, Daniel morphs into Mrs. Doubtfire, a British nanny who applies for the housekeeper position to take care of his own children. Meanwhile, Miranda and Stuart seem to be clicking again and Daniel does anything he can to keep Dunmire from stealing his family. The scene in the restaurant when Daniel (dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire) saves Stuart from choking on a spicy piece of shrimp, whereby exposing himself as Daniel, was hilarious. In this small yet pivotal role, Brosnan showed his comedic side up against a true laugh legend!
6. Tomorrow Never Dies: – In this 1997 action adventure film and the eighth in the James Bond franchise, Brosnan’s Bond goes up against a media baron, who causes a worldwide disaster to further his news organization’s empire and in an attempt to initiate World War III. This was Brosnan’s second movie playing Bond and he continued using his debonair flair and added some more physical action alongside co-star Michelle Yeoh. Brosnan’s chemistry with Teri Hatcher as an old flame of Bond’s also added to his sex appeal in the character.
5. After the Sunset: – In this 2004 crime action comedy, directed by Brett Ratner, Brosnan co-starred with Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle and a pre-Pirates of the Caribbean Naomie Harris. Brosnan played Max Burdett, a world-class jewel thief, who wants one last big score before retiring with his partner-in-crime/love Lola (Hayek,) but FBI Agent Stan Lloyd (Harrelson) will do anything to stop him. Brosnan was suave as the crook wanting to go for one last big heist before enjoying his spoils. His chemistry with Hayek was white hot and his witty banter with Harrelson added comedy to the action. Cheadle’s appearance as the polished local thug was refreshing as his character had a battle of wits with Brosnan’s.
4. Laws of Attraction: – This 2004 romantic comedy had Brosnan co-starring opposite Julianne Moore, Michael Sheen, Parker Posey, Nora Dunn and Frances Fisher. Brosnan played attorney Daniel Rafferty, who has a unique, scruffy courtroom style as he goes up against the refined, always put-together fellow attorney Audrey Woods (Moore) in a divorce case involving a big time rock star (Sheen) and his fashion designer wife (Posey.) Along the way, Woods and Rafferty fight, banter and of course end up falling in love, but not before a bevy of misunderstandings and hysterical antics from both. Brosnan showed off his knack for comedy in this role as he and Moore played off each other swimmingly and each joke hit its mark.
3. Dante’s Peak: – This 1997 action thriller has Brosnan co-starring alongside Linda Hamilton. Brosnan played volcanologist Harry Dalton, who visits the small town of Dante’s Peak to assess the danger the dormant volcano imposes on the townspeople below it. Brosnan chemistry with Hamilton’s character, the mayor of Dante’s Peak, Rachel Wando, is subtle but definitely apparent even before disaster strikes and the volcano erupts despite Dalton’s boss’ firm assertion that it wouldn’t. Co-starring Grant Heslov, the late Charles Hallahan, Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Hoffman, Dalton and Wando fight to stay alive along with her two children, Graham and Lauren. The special effects are stellar as the sheer power of the volcano’s eruption really hits home on both the small and big screen. In this flick, Brosnan showed he could hold his own as an action star.
2. The Thomas Crown Affair: – This 1999 romantic crime thriller was directed by John McTiernan and was a remake of the 1968 film of the same name, which starred Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. This time, it’s Brosnan in the lead role, co-starring with Rene Russo, Denis Leary, Frankie Faison with brief cameos from Dunaway as Crown’s psychologist. Brosnan’s Crown becomes the prime suspect after a priceless Monet painting is stolen from New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Catherine Banning (Russo,) an insurance investigator, is put on the case as is NYPD Detective Michael McCann (Leary.) Brosnan and Russo’s chemistry as Russo’s character tries to seduce the truth out of Crown but ends up falling for him, burns up the screen. Their push-pull is spot on as moviegoers weren’t sure if Crown and Banning would end up together or Crown would just cut and run.
1. GoldenEye: – This 1995 actioner was Brosnan’s debut as 007, the ultra cool secret agent James Bond. Co-starring Sean Bean, a pre-X-MenFamke Janssen, Izabella Scorupco, Joe Don Baker, Alan Cumming and Dame Judi Dench, Brosnan’s Bond teams up with the lone survivor of a destroyed Russian research center to stop a nuclear weapon in space from being deployed while going up against the presumed dead 006 Alec Trevelyan (Bean), who Bond thought was his friend. Brosnan’s dedication to the craft shined brightly as in every scene, moviegoers could see he was giving 110% to the role he had coveted for so many years. A smash hit with critics and in the box office, Brosnan brought a new elegance to the role and would do so for three more Bond films before passing the torch to Daniel Craig.