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. It was directed by Martin Campbell and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis. 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 is a reboot, 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 therefore 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 Montenegro, Czech Republic, The Bahamas, Italy and the United Kingdom with interior sets built at Pinewood Studios. 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. It is 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 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.
In the opening sequence, James Bond is on a mission that, if successful, will qualify him for double-0 status. He goes to Prague and kills an MI6 section chief, Dryden, who has leaked classified information, and his contact, Fisher. Elsewhere, a man named Mr. White serves as a middleman introducing a banker, Le Chiffre, to a terrorist group seeking a haven for its funds. Le Chiffre assures them that there is "no risk in the portfolio," but his investments actually involve considerable risk: he short-sells stock in successful companies and then engineers terrorist attacks to sink their share prices. M, the head of MI6, sends Bond on his first mission as 007 to Madagascar in pursuit of an international bomb-maker named Mollaka. After a free running chase to the Nambutu embassy, Bond kills his target and blows up a part of the building in order to escape. He obtains Mollaka's cell phone and discovers that it has received calls from Alex Dimitrios, an associate of Le Chiffre in the Bahamas. Bond travels there and seduces Dimitrios' 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 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 by clipping the bomb onto Carlos instead, thus leaving the banker with a major loss. Now under pressure to recoup his 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. He meets up with Rene Mathis, his ally in Montenegro, and Vesper Lynd, a Treasury agent, who is assigned to look after his handling of the $10 million buy-in. After a particularly difficult hand, Bond loses his initial stake. Vesper says that it would be a waste of money to continue to stake Bond and refuses to give him the $5 million he needs for a re-buy so he can continue playing. Distraught over his failure, Bond resolves to assassinate Le Chiffre. Before he can, however, CIA agent Felix Leiter, who is also playing in the tournament, intervenes and 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. Soon afterward, Le Chiffre abducts Vesper and uses her as bait to lure Bond into a near-fatal car chase, which results in his capture as well. Le Chiffre tortures Bond for the access code to the game's winnings. When it becomes clear that Bond will not give in, Le Chiffre threatens to castrate him, telling Bond he will still get protection from the British for the information he possesses about those he has been working with, even if he kills Bond and Vesper. At that moment, however, Mr. White enters and kills Le Chiffre and his associates, apparently after hearing Le Chiffre admit he would betray Mr. White and his organisation. Bond and Vesper are left alive. 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 vows to quit the service before it strips him of his humanity. Accordingly, he posts his resignation to M and goes on a romantic holiday in Venice with Vesper. However, Bond soon 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. After killing the enemy guards outside and inside the building, Bond finds Vesper imprisoned in an elevator. Apologising to him tearfully, she locks the inside door and the elevator plunges underwater. Bond attempts to rescue her, but she drowns before he can reach her. Mr. White, watching from a balcony, walks away with the money. Feeling betrayed, Bond renounces Vesper and rejoins the service. He learns from M 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 only if they would consent to leave Bond alive. He then discovers White's name and number in Vesper's mobile phone. White, arriving at a palatial estate near Lake Como, receives a phone call and asks for the caller to identify himself. Seconds later, he is shot in the leg by a silenced Heckler and Koch UMP submachine gun. As he painfully crawls towards the villa, the caller (Bond) appears, gun in hand, and responds, "The name's Bond. James Bond."