James Bond: Classic, Cheese or Crap? – “Thunderball”

“Thunderball”

1965

Bond: Sean Connery

Classic, Cheese or Crap? CLASSIC

Thunderball. This movie practically defines why the Bond series should be considered Classic. From Tom Jones belting out the opening theme to the airlift rescue at the end, everything about this movie oozes 1960s cold war era cool. Bond uses a jet pack. The villain tries to kill him by locking him in a shark tank. He beds like 3, 4 different women (no matter which side they’re on) and they’re all gorgeous. The finale is an under water speargun war between about 200 parachuting frogmen. I’m not kidding. I mean, the villain wears an eyepatch! COME ON!! That’s AWE-some

This is the fourth movie in the Bond franchise, and the immediate successor to the smash global phenomenon Goldfinger. How could they top that? They could top it by making everything “bigger”. (Goldfinger’s budget? $3,000,000. Thunderball’s? $9,000,000) You can tell the scope of this movie is enormous, and that its budget must have been huge. It’s still an older movie though, so be forewarned… even though there’s a lot of action, its definitely slow by today’s standards.

But it really shouldnt matter much, as it’s chock full of gorgeous locations, gorgeous women, and fantastic bond gadgets.

The plot revolves around the theft of a fighter jet armed with nuclear missles. The international terrorist organization SPECTRE takes credit and demands ransom from the world’s governments. Bond is sent to investigate the sister of the jet’s missing pilot, and of course winds up uncovering the entire SPECTRE plot. Along the way he faces off against assasins, sharks, and the evil, one eyed, Emilio Largo! In the end, he saves the World, gets the girl, and makes it all look cool.

This movie is probably the high point of the Connery Bonds. If I were forced to debate between Goldfinger and this one, my head might explode. Its worth a brief mention that this was the film Kevin McClory collaborated on, leading to several years worth of lawsuits, and eventually, “Never Say Never Again” –¬†which is a loose remake. It’s also the last film before Connery began to ask out. Even though the next film (You Only Live Twice) is also classic, you can tell Connery was less than thrilled there reprising his role, and that will always diminish that movie for me. Thus, this is the last great, and arguably the best, of the “Connery in his prime” Bonds.

9 thoughts on “James Bond: Classic, Cheese or Crap? – “Thunderball”

  1. It’s definitely a classic, and the opening credits are my favourite of the Bond series, but at the time of it’s release, I would say it was the weakest Bond film. Not that it’s bad, I just find the first three Bond films very good.

    • I’ll be interested to hear your take on “From Russia With Love” then.

      It’ll definitely be a “Classic”, but I dont have anywhere near the love for it that I do for “Dr No”, “Goldfinger” and this.

      I don’t think it’s aged well…. it’s VERY slow.

  2. Classic.

    It’s actually my favorite Bond film. I don’t think it’s as “good” as Goldfinger or From Russia With Love, but Thunderball is the one that has most of the good things I think of when I consider James Bond.

    • The only one I like better is “Casino Royale” which is one of my favorite movies ever, not just in the Bond series. Of course, it has the benefit of being a modern movie. But you’re right, the Bond recipe has all of the ingredients represented in this one.

  3. Thunderball is my ninth favourite of the series. I ranked all the films a while back, so when you do a new review, I think I’ll post where I’d rank that film.

    • The classic Bond Blus are amazing. Just incredible what they can do for old movies. They’re nearly 50 years old (aside from Dr No, which IS), and they look like they were shot YESTERDAY!! So gorgeous. Really…

      I’ll probably be double dipping for the “all 22″ set at year end.

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