Climax! (1954–1958)
26 user 21 critic

Casino Royale 

American spy James Bond must outsmart card wiz and crime boss Le Chiffre while monitoring his actions.


William H. Brown Jr. (as William H. Brown)


Ian Fleming (novel), Antony Ellis (written for television by) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview:
William Lundigan ... Self - Host
Barry Nelson ... James Bond
Peter Lorre ... Le Chiffre
Linda Christian ... Valerie Mathis
Michael Pate ... Clarence Letter
Eugene Borden Eugene Borden ... Chef de Parte
Jean Del Val ... Croupier (as Jean DeVal)
Gene Roth ... Basil
Kurt Katch ... Zoltan


American Combined Intelligence Agency spy James Bond (Barry Nelson) arrives at the Casino Royale in Monte Carlo, Monaco, but is shot at while entering. He meets up with British Secret Service Secret Agent Clarence Leiter (Michael Pate) (this character was called Felix Leiter in the original Ian Fleming novel). He briefs Bond about his mission then Bond runs into old flame Valerie Mathis (Linda Christian) (she is an amalgam of the Vesper Lynd and Rene Mathis characters from the novel). She introduces him to Le Chiffre (Peter Lorre), who is the Chief Soviet Agent in the area, and is nearly always accompanied by three henchman called Basil, Zoltan, and Zuroff. Le Chiffre has been gambling with the Soviet funds of his employers, and he's down several million francs. Bond's mission is to beat him at a high-stakes card game of Baccarat so Le Chiffre will be ruined. Written by Jamie Skinner

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Unrated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


When CBS called Barry Nelson about the role of James Bond, the future first Bond-to-be was in Jamaica when he got the call. Jamaica was the home of Bond Creator Ian Fleming, who wrote all of the Bond novels at his "Goldeneye" resort in Jamaica. See more »


As Bond walks Valerie to the elevator, the shadow of the boom mic is visible at the top of the screen. See more »


James Bond: [Handling cards] All right. I don't kill Le Chiffre, what do I do to him?
Clarence Leiter: His weak spot is gambling. You're going to play baccarat with him and your job is to clean him out.
James Bond: [Handling cards] For what reason?
Clarence Leiter: To destroy him. He's been gambling with Soviet funds and he's lost eighty million francs. Now he's going to try and get it back by gambling high. He's bought the bank for tomorrow night with the last funds of the treasury of his party. He has twenty six million with which to win back the eighty ...
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Crazy Credits

Character name Leiter is misspelt as Letter in the closing credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally broadcast as an episode of "Climax!" (1954). Most prints retain the original Climax opening credits. The DVD release (as a bonus on the DVD for Casino Royale (1967) has added the MGM lion logo to reflect the fact the production is now owned by MGM. See more »


Referenced in Casino Royale: Bond 21 Press Conference (2005) See more »


Prelude for Piano, Op. 28, No. 24 in D Minor (The Storm)
by Frédéric Chopin
See more »

User Reviews

CLIMAX!: CASINO ROYALE (TV) (William H. Browm Jr., 1954) **1/2
2 January 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

The first ever screen representation of James Bond is, understandably, miles removed from the way we have come to know and love Britain's top secret agent; for starters, this 50-minute adaptation of Ian Fleming's first Bond novel is not only shot in black-and-white but was recorded live for an American TV program entitled "Climax!".

In fact, even Bond himself - occasionally referred to as Jimmy! - is an American here (played by the rather uncharismatic Barry Nelson) and the wildly international cast also consists of Austrian Peter Lorre as the villain of the piece Le Chiffre, Mexican Linda Christian as the female interest, Australian Michael Pate as C.I.A. operative Clarence(!) Leiter and Polish Kurt Katch as one of Le Chiffre's henchmen. The program concerns itself only with the all-important game of baccarat taking place in the Casino of the title and as such is much less exciting than any subsequent Bond outing but, for all that, Lorre's professionalism and the sheer naivete and, indeed, rarity of the whole thing gives it a certain charm which keeps one watching.

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Release Date:

21 October 1954 (USA) See more »


Box Office


$25,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

CBS Television Network See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (original broadcast)| Black and White (surviving kinescope prints)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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