|Casino Royale is the twenty-first film in the James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Directed by Martin Campbell and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis, the film marks the third screen adaptation of Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel of the same name, which was previously produced as a 1954 television episode and a 1967 satirical film. Casino Royale is set at the beginning of Bond’s career as Agent 007, just as he is earning his licence to kill. After preventing a terrorist attack at Miami International Airport, Bond falls for Vesper Lynd, the treasury employee assigned to provide the money he needs to bankrupt terrorist financier Le Chiffre by beating him in a high-stakes poker game. The story arc continues in the following Bond film, Quantum of Solace (2008).
Casino Royale reboots the franchise, establishing a new timeline and narrative framework not meant to precede or succeed any previous Bond film, although elements of the plot do run into the subsequent film, Quantum of Solace. This allowed the film to show a less experienced and more vulnerable Bond and for the first time in the series the character of Miss Moneypenny does not appear. Casting the film involved a widespread search for a new actor to portray James Bond, and significant controversy surrounded Craig when he was selected to succeed Pierce Brosnan in October 2005. Location filming took place in the Czech Republic, The Bahamas, Italy and the United Kingdom with interior sets built at Pinewood Studios. Despite setting a part of the storyline in Montenegro, not a single scene was shot there. Casino Royale was produced by Eon Productions for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures, making it the first official Bond film to be co-produced by the latter studio.
Casino Royale premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square on 14 November 2006. It received largely positive critical response, with reviewers highlighting Craig’s performance and the reinvention of the character of Bond. It earned over $594 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing James Bond film to date.
After killing a traitorous MI6 section chief—who has been selling classified information—and the station chief’s contact, James Bond gets his double-0 status. The new agent 007 then goes to Madagascar in pursuit of an international bomb-maker named Mollaka. After a free running chase to an embassy, Bond kills his target and blows up a part of the building in order to escape. Searching through Mollaka’s cell phone, Bond discovers a text message which he traces to Alex Dimitrios, an associate of banker and terrorist financer Le Chiffre. Le Chiffre’s investments involve short-selling stock in successful companies and then engineering terrorist attacks to sink their share prices.
Bond travels to Dimitrios’ house in the Bahamas and seduces his wife, Solange. While answering a phone call, Solange reveals that her husband is flying to Miami; Bond leaves to pursue him. In Miami, 007 kills Dimitrios during a fight and then follows Le Chiffre’s henchman, Carlos, to Miami International Airport. There, Bond foils Le Chiffre’s plan to destroy the prototype Skyfleet airliner.
Left with a huge loss and under pressure to recoup his terrorist clients’ money, Le Chiffre sets up a high-stakes Texas hold ’em tournament at the Casino Royale in Montenegro. Hoping that a defeat would force Le Chiffre to aid the British government in exchange for protection from his creditors, MI6 enters Bond into the tournament. On the train to Montenegro, Bond meets an ally, Rene Mathis, and Vesper Lynd, a Treasury agent who is looking after the $10 million buy-in. During the tournament, Bond loses his initial stake and Vesper refuses to give him $5 million to continue playing. Distraught over his failure, Bond resolves to assassinate Le Chiffre. Before he can, a fellow player reveals himself as CIA agent Felix Leiter, who offers to stake Bond in exchange for custody of Le Chiffre. Back in the game, Bond begins to amass chips. Le Chiffre and his associates attempt to kill Bond by poisoning his drink, but he survives and wins the tournament, and the winnings are deposited into a Swiss bank account. Soon afterward, Le Chiffre abducts Vesper and uses her as bait to capture Bond.
Le Chiffre tortures Bond for the access code to the game’s winnings, but is interrupted by Mr. White, who kills Le Chiffre and his associates. Bond awakens in a hospital on Lake Como and orders Mathis, whom Le Chiffre identified as a double agent, arrested. Bond admits his love for Vesper, and posts his resignation to M. The couple then goes to Venice. There Bond learns that his poker winnings were never deposited in the Treasury’s account. Realising that Vesper has stolen them, he pursues her and members of the organisation she is working for into a building under renovation, which is being kept from sinking only by inflatable supports. A gunfight ensues and the supports are punctured. Bond kills the henchmen and tries to rescue Vesper, but she locks herself in an iron-frame lift and allows herself to drown as the building sinks. Mr. White, watching from a nearby balcony, walks away with the money.
Bond rejoins the service and learns that Vesper had a French-Algerian boyfriend who was kidnapped by the organisation behind Le Chiffre and Mr. White, and that she agreed to deliver the money in exchange for saving Bond’s life. Bond then discovers White’s name and mobile phone number and later shoots him in the leg, introducing himself to his hostage: “The name’s Bond — James Bond.”