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Pierce Brosnan: From ‘Remington Steele’ to ‘James Bond’ and Beyond

Take a look into some of the actor's best work over the years.

The fifth actor to play fictional secret agent James Bond in the 007 film series, Pierce Brosnan starred in four Bond flicks from 1995 to 2002. But he is so much more than the suave spy.

From his debut film in 1980’s The Long Good Friday, where he’s credited as “1st Irishman,” to his current role as Gabriel Dove in the Western Unholy Trinity, the actor has proven his talent in diverse roles throughout the last four plus decades.

Born Pierce Brendan Brosnan in Drogheda, County Louth in Ireland, Brosnan left school at 16 and decided to become a painter, but ultimately trained for three years as an actor at the Drama Centre London.

“When I found acting, or when acting found me, it was a liberation. It was a stepping stone into another life, away from a life that I had and acting was something I was good at, something which was appreciated.” Following his stage career, he rose to popularity as the title character in the well-liked television series, Remington Steele, but it was his role as James Bond that brought him worldwide fame. This, in turn, enabled Brosnan to take leads in other major films.

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The Fourth Protocol (1987) as Valeri Petrofsky/James Edward Ross

Co-starring Michael Caine as a British agent, Brosnan is a Russian infiltrating the U.K. and trying to detonate a nuclear explosion next to the American Base there in the hope of shattering the friendly relationship between the U.K. and the U.S. Its tagline: “The countdown has just begun.”

Watch now on Amazon Prime Video.

MUST-READ: Remington Steele Cast — See the Beloved 80s Investigators Then and Now

Mr. Johnson (1990) as Harry Rudbeck

In this 1923-set drama co-starring Edward Woodward, a local resident of British Colonial Nigeria tries to be equal with the colonial administration. Mister Johnson is an educated black man, something unheard of at this time and place. He doesn’t fit in with the natives or the British and is always a fish out of water. He thinks of himself as an Englishman, though he’s never stepped foot in the country. “This wasn’t a box office hit but this and The Fourth Protocol were successes for me.”

Watch now on Plex.

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Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) as Stuart Dunmeyer

One of Robin Williams’ most memorable comedies, he is hired as a nanny but disguises himself as a British lady named — you guessed it — Mrs. Doubtfire. A divorcing couple — Miranda and Daniel, as played by Sally Field and Williams — has three children, which dad can see only once a week. Brosnan is Miranda’s boyfriend, Stu. “This was a wonderful, beautiful ray of sunshine in my career,” says Brosnan. “For the first time, I was in a studio picture and I was working with wonderful actors who were all working at the top of their game. It allowed me to do comedy and play a character who was viewed as a jerk.”

Watch now on Disney Plus.

Mars Attacks! (1996) as Professor Donald Kessler

What could go wrong with Jack Nicholson as President of the United States? A seemingly routine day is hijacked when the Prez announces Martians have been spotted circling Earth and eventually land. A meeting is set up between the U.S. and the aliens, but things don’t go according to plan. “I was speechless that first morning working with Jack Nicholson,” the actor reflects. “I was having a cup of coffee and suddenly I look up and it’s Jack. ‘Hey, Pierce,’ he says. Jack Nicholson is talking to me and I’m dumbstruck. I was immobilized by the Jack-ness of it all.”

Watch now on Tubi.

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Dante’s Peak (1997) as Harry Dalton

The epic disaster adventure film stars Brosnan as a volcanologist who arrives at an idyllic small town that was recently awarded the title of second-most desirable place to live in America. Well … maybe not so much since a long dormant volcano, Dante’s Peak, has been deemed ready to blow at any time.

Watch now on YouTube.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) as Thomas Crown

Brosnan is the titular character in this remake of the heist film originally starring Steve McQueen. Crown is a self-made billionaire who also has great success with the ladies. When bored, he amuses himself by stealing priceless artwork. Rene Russo plays Catherine Banning, the detective assigned to get a recently stolen Monet back to its rightful owner. Along the way, the duo end up getting involved in a personal relationship.

Watch now on MAX.

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Grey Owl (1999) as Archie “Grey Owl” Belaney

This Western biography film is about the life and work of the Canadian fur trapper-turned-conservationist of the 1930s, who claimed to be an aboriginal North American. But was he? He meets a young Iroquois woman who asks him to teach her Indian ways. The epic picture shows how disgusted the woman is at trapped animals dying, so Archie stops trapping and becomes a guide, a naturalist writer and conservationist for beavers. Says Pierce Brosnan, “There’s a lovely line in the picture where they say to Archie, ‘A man becomes what he dreams. You have dreamed well.’ Part of the dreams go back to my childhood when I left Ireland in 1964 and I discovered the cinema.”

Watch now on Tubi.

The Tailor of Panama (2001) as Andrew Osnard

This John le Carre spy thriller brought to the big screen has more twists and turns than a pretzel. Osnard, a British spy, is banished to Panama after an affair with an ambassador’s mistress is revealed. Being a suave British gentleman, he makes connections to all the top political and gangster types in the country along with a tailor. Blackmail, political turmoil and the Panama Canal all combine in this intriguing spy film.

Watch now on Amazon Prime Video.

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The Matador (2005) as Julian Noble

A traveling salesman and lonely hitman meet in a hotel bar in Mexico City. The chance meeting blossoms into a strange friendship that provokes each to act in ways neither would have thought possible. Besides starring in the this dark comedy, which garnered him a Golden Globe nomination, Brosnan served as producer.

Watch now on Tubi.

Seraphim Falls (2006) as Gideon

This action drama brings together two Irish actors in the form of Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson in the post-Civil War 1860s. Gideon is a skilled and resourceful former Yankee officer who is hunted by Neeson’s former Confederate colonel. But what is the reason the Colonel is so hell bent on capturing Gideon? What actually happened at Seraphim Falls? “I had always wanted to do a Western growing up as a boy in Ireland, watching cowboys and Indians [films],” the actor explains. “When I went to London, Clint Eastwood came into my life with all of his great films. The Irish are very steeped in the cowboy genre. This is the story of two very hollow men, men who have lost everything in life due to war. There’s nowhere to hide in a story like this.”

Watch now on Netflix.

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The Ghost Writer (2010) as Adam Lang, former British Prime Minister

The neo-noir political thriller was directed by Roman Polanski. A ghostwriter is hired to complete Adam Lang’s autobiography. While on Martha’s Vineyard, where Lang and his wife are staying after he is accused of international rendition crimes, the ghostwriter discovers mysterious photos and a phone number, learning that the latter belongs to the former British Foreign Secretary. Brosnan has said he based his performance on former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Watch now on Tubi.

The November Man (2014) as Peter Devereaux

In another action spy thriller, Pierce Brosnan is a CIA agent brought out of retirement to extract Natalia Ulanova, the aide of Russian President elect. An attempt to use photographic evidence of Russian war crimes in the Second Chechen War against the new Russian President elect proves he was directly involved in the crimes. “Having completed the James Bond series, and after saving the world four times, there was a kind of a void left in my life,” the actor admits. Brosnan was also executive producer on the film.

Watch now on Tubi.

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Mamma Mia! (2008) and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) as Sam Carmichael

The musical comedy and its sequel boasted a stellar ensemble cast including Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Christine Baranski and more, and is based on the songs of pop group ABBA. Not knowing who her father is, a young bride-to-be (Amanda Seyfried) invites three men to her upcoming wedding, one being Sam. Hearing and seeing Pierce Brosnan sing is a delight.

Watch now on Netflix.


Pierce Brosnan starred as James Bond in GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002).

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— After chosen to portray James Bond, Brosnan wasn’t allowed to wear a tuxedo in any other film. The wardrobe people on The Thomas Crown Affair had quite the challenge.

— Brosnan is claustrophobic, which made filming Dante’s Peak difficult

— Was nicknamed “Colonel Chunky” by the crew on Mamma Mia!

— According to James Bond tailors in London, Brosnan has been both the lightest and heaviest of all the Bonds. In his first Bond movie, he weighed in at 164 pounds, making him the lightest actor to play the spy. In his fourth Bond movie, he weighed 211 pounds, making him the heaviest actor to take on the part.

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