Goldeneye Borrowed One Of Its Best Scenes From A Western Classic

Pierce Brosnan was the Bond I grew up with, and "Goldeneye" was his crowning achievement. Introducing the new 007, it took on a mammoth task ± reinvigorating the Bond franchise for the '90s.

But did the world really need James Bond?

"People said, 'The cold war is over, who's he going to fight?'" Brosnan recalled in an interview with Empire. "Well, you're always going to have bad guys."

Thankfully, the bad guy they came up with was one of the most terrifying in Bond history — a former 00 agent played by Sean Bean who tried to take down the establishment from within. It was such an incredibly bold move, shifting away from the comically over-the-top villains of the Roger Moore era into more realistic territory. Alec Trevelyan was a villain with a motive you could almost understand and a very personal connection to Bond himself.

"On the first day, I had my gun and I had to turn a corner and shoot two guys dead," said Bean. "I thought, 'This is great! I'm making a Bond film!' It lived up to expectations ... You grow up watching Bond on TV and you never imagine that one day you'll be in it."

One of the film's best scenes comes very early in the movie, during 006 and 007's fateful mission which leaves poor Alec for dead. And as it turns out, it was inspired by an unlikely Western classic.

Closing time, James – last call

The scene in question is part of the film's incredible opening sequence — the greatest in Bond history. "Goldeneye" begins with a flashback to 1987 as 007 makes a death-defying leap off the side of a dam. Infiltrating a Soviet-era chemical weapon facility in Arkhangelsk, he soon meets up with 006 (Sean Bean). Their mission? Blow it all to hell. But there's a catch.

006 "accidentally" triggers an alarm that brings hordes of Russian troops spilling into the chemical weapons warehouse where they're holed up. The result is a tense standoff between the 00 agents and Colonel Ourumov (Gottfried John) who has them cornered. After 006 is captured and killed, it's down to 007 to complete the mission and get out. Thankfully, he has an idea...

"I really love that awful sequence where Bond's hiding behind the trolley, and you just hear the squeak of the wheels," said director Martin Campbell. "There's no music or anything — it's just the silence and the squeaking."

Crouched behind a trolley full of chemical barrels, Bond edges his way towards a makeshift exit, knowing full well that the Russians can't fire upon him. It's a wonderfully tense and brilliantly over-the-top scene ... and it's straight out of a classic Western.

"I actually pinched a moment out of Sam Peckinpah's 'The Wild Bunch' for that."

Shut the door, Alec – there's a draught

Much the same as "Goldeneye" sees 007 double-crossed, "The Wild Bunch" don't fare much better. Pike Bishop (William Holden) leads a gang of aging outlaws looking to retire after one last job. But when a botched robbery leaves the gang penniless and with the authorities on their tails, they find themselves pressured into stealing a U.S. Army weapons shipment for Mexican Federal Army officer, General Mapache (Emilio Fernández). Of course, the whole thing is a trap, much like the scene in "Goldeneye".

On their way to deliver the weapons, they're double-crossed by Mapache's forces, led by the vile officer, Lt. Herrera (Alfonso Arau) who surrounds the gang with Mexican Army forces, to take the weapons by force.

Outnumbered and outgunned, it looks bad. Thankfully, Pike and his criminal pals aren't stupid, and they were expecting to be double-crossed. They've stuffed their wagon full of dynamite as insurance against anyone who might try to steal the weapons. Come any closer and they'll blow the lot.

The Mexican forces descend upon them regardless, exactly how the Russians flood into the chemical warehouse in "Goldeneye." But they don't dare open fire. After all, they risk destroying the weapons and getting caught in the explosion themselves. The tense standoff that follows is almost exactly like "Goldeneye" with James hiding amongst chemical weapon vats as he hatches an escape plan.

Crouching behind a squeaky chemical weapon trolley, Bond makes a break for it. And what follows is straight out of "The Wild Bunch," too.

Hold your fire! You'll blow the gas tanks!

Obviously, 007 is outnumbered. But the tension gets the better of one Russian soldier as he opens fire on the British spy ... and the gas tanks. Inadvertently peppering the chemical weapon barrels with bullets, it's a risky move that definitely doesn't pay off. After all, Colonel Ourumov instantly turns and shoots his own soldier dead.

The shot of a military leader turning on his own men in a moment of extreme tension is lifted directly from "The Wild Bunch."

"There's that bit where Holden and everybody have the wagonload of dynamite," said Campbell. "And one of the enemy soldiers gets very nervous and fires a shot, and his commander just blasts him. I took that. Sometimes you need a good moment of shock in a sequence like that."

That gunshot from Ourumov really ratchets up the tension even further — an exclamation point that shows us that the Colonel means business. It gives us a glimpse into his entirely ruthless nature, too. If he's willing to fire upon his own men, what will he do to Bond if he captures him? It doesn't bear thinking about. Thankfully, James makes his escape.

"The Wild Bunch" scene serves a similar purpose. Here, Lt. Herrera orders his other men to shoot the soldier who dared to open fire on the wagon. It's a telling glimpse of his character — a man who will give orders to shoot his own men but doesn't want to get his own hands dirty.

It's still a gripping scene, and you can see exactly why Campbell wanted to use it in "Goldeneye." It's a gambit that works, and it ultimately saves Bond's bacon. For England, James.