Thunderball (1965)

SPECTRE are back, and holding the world to ransom with stolen nuclear weapons.  The Prime Minister and M call in all the agents from the 00 programme to scour the world for SPECTRE and its agents and save the world from this latest threat…



Following up Goldfinger would be a tough act for anyone to follow, but sadly Thunderball isn’t completely up to the task.  There is some good in this movie, but many of the positives of Goldfinger seem to be lessons that Thunderball has forgotten.

Connery continues his run as an outstanding Bond and is one of the high points here.  It’s good to see that SPECTRE has been treated with the same level of mystery and foreboding as in Goldfinger, which adds to the positives of this film.

Unfortunately thats really where the positives end for this one.  The action scenes are poorly done and as a result often lack believability.  The long fight scenes underwater are very difficult to follow, and as a result seem long and drawn out.  Scuba diving while riding sea turtles was another odd moment that my wife really found unnecessary and unrealistic.  The underwater setting for a lot of the film seems to have been at the root of its issues.

All in all, this is not a terrible film, but it really isn’t that great either.  Not one to avoid, it’s worth a watch but not the greatest by a long shot.



Sean Connery.
One of the best parts of the film, but even a great Bond can only do so much with a sub-par movie.

Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi).
The villain that epitomises just about every cliche in the book – the accent, the eyepatch, the shark tank… though he still manages to do a decent job.
Paula (Martine Beswick).
The henchman’s henchman, she is played well and manages to bring some menace to her scenes.

Bond Girl:
Domino (Claudine Auger).
Nothing special, but Domino is a believable character who adds some depth to the movie and is conveniently around to help move the plot along a couple of times.

Bernard Lee.
Bernard Lee is, as always, a solid M, adding depth in this movie showing that he also has someone to answer to – the PM.

Desmond Llewelyn.
Llewelyn is let down by the script here, giving Bond some gadgets in the field, but doesn’t get much to work with here.

Lois Maxwell.
As previously, Lois’ Moneypenny does well with limited exposure.

Felix Leiter (Rik Van Nutter).
A new actor to play Leiter who gets a lot more time here, but is played quite two dimensionally.  For someone who is supposed to be Bond’s American counterpart, he is played as more of a yes-man.

While Q doesn’t get much of a go in Thunderball, the gadets are certainly there – from the jetpack in the opening gambit to the Aston Martin with a few new tricks up its sleeve Q-Branch has Bond’s back here.

1964 Aston Martin DB5.
The beautiful Aston is back, with even more tricks than before.  It is sadly underutilised, and one wonders where it keeps all that water to shoot…

Thunderball is definitely not the greatest Bond movie, but there are worse movies out there.  Worth a watch, but probably not one you’ll be coming back to as often as some others.


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