Fan Reviews - Thunderball
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"Thunderball" by Icebreaker
"I hope we didn’t scare the fishes."
Out of the 20 official entries of the James Bond series (to date)
Thunderball is often mentioned as “the underwater one”
and for a very good reason. It had big shoes to fill since the
previous year’s Goldfinger became a box-office phenomenon
across the world. Although Thunderball was even more successful,
there are debates on weather or not it was a better film. In this
fan’s opinion, it was.
Picking up after the most unusual pre-titles scene featuring
MI6 secret agent James Bond meeting his match with… a man
in drag and escaping in a jet-pack, Thunderball features the most
generic (and parodied) Bond plot: The international terrorist
organization SPECTRE, led by a mysterious unseen cat stroking
leader, hijacks two nuclear bombs for a huge extortion plan. James
Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to Nassau where Domino Derval (Claudine
Auger), the sister of the pilot who appears to be responsible
for the theft, resides with her wealthy and older husband Emilio
Largo (Adolfo Celi). Bond eventually finds out Largo himself is
the eye patch wearing SPECTRE #2 and he is in charge of the nuclear
warheads. Will he survive Largo’s squad, including lethal
assassin Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi), and a tank of sharks?
Thunderball is directed by Terence Young picking up after Guy
Hamilton from the previous film. Young, who directed the first
two films of the series, is certainly one of the most important
filmmakers of the Bond saga. In the hands of some hack, Thunderball
could have easily been an overlong boring disastrous attempt,
but Young fills the screen with the same thrilling charm and glamour
that made the first two Bonds so unique. The most cinematic of
all Fleming novels, the movie is quite faithful to its source
material while adding some welcomed changes (the character of
Fiona Volpe for example) an therefore making it a more entertaining
The action is mostly underwater and that is what usually divides
fans of the series since some find them sleep-inducing. The special
effects crew was awarded with a Best Special Effects Oscar in
1966 and for a very good reason. The film’s extensive use
of underwater photography was quite breath-taking for it’s
time. And the visual effects themselves are quite impressive,
especially the explosion featured in the climax which shattered
many windows in Nassau. Thunderball is based mostly on thrills
than stunts, which is something recent Bond films should start
to concentrate on. It is all well orchestrated to one of John
Berry’s most memorable contributions to the Bond saga. The
“007 theme” is used at its best during the action
sequences, especially during the climatic fight at Largo’s
yacht. The theme song, sung by Tom Jones, is one of the most memorable
tunes of the series, although I prefer the original unused song
Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Two usual standards of the series, villains and girls, are both
filled quite successfully. Adolfo Celi is one of the most parodied
villains (eye patch anyone?) but his portrayal of #2 is incredibly
fun to watch. He is indeed a one-dimensional character, but a
very memorable one. Claudine Auger is one stunning-looking woman
and her acting skills are above average for the time. She is one
of the most likable Bond girls around and her lack of clothing
makes her quite heir apparent to Dr. No’s Honey Rider in
terms of sexiness. But Luciana Paluzzi steals the show with Fiona
Volpe. She is the first Bond girl to stand up to the agent’s
charms (Pussy eventually gave up) and the psychotic look of rage
in her eyes responding to Bond’s macho insult is particularly
memorable: “But of course, I forgot your ego, Mr. Bond.
James Bond, the one where he has to make love to a woman, and
she starts to hear heavenly choirs singing. She repents, and turns
to the side of right and virtue... (she steps on Bond's foot)...
but not this one!” Volpe stands second only to Xenia Onatopp
among the sexy girl villains.
This is the last time we see Connery at his best portraying 007
before he was eventually bored with the in later entries, particularly
in Diamonds are Forever. He indeed shows why he is considered
by most fans to be the best among the Bonds. He has amazing screen
presence and a suave charm of a sophisticated playboy that just
makes every guy want to be him and every girl want to be with
One of my personal favourites and certainly on my top five, Thunderball
is one of the most well rounded Bond adventures to date. Exotic
locations, beautiful women, battle sequences, gadgets, suspense,
terrific music, and a memorable villain add up to the best of
the "popcorn" Bond movies. Terrific entertainment!
"Thunderball" by Live Once For Everything
When Thunderball was released in 1965, it had an very difficult
act to follow: 1964's Goldfinger. Goldfinger brought crowds from
all across the nation to their nearest cinema to see this phenomenon.
But when EON Productions in association with United Artists released
Thunderball, the response was even bigger, and the Bond phenomenon
reached it's peak.
Thunderball's budget more than tripled Goldfinger's, and Albert
R. Broccoli made good on his promise to make every penny spent
show on the screen.
When an evil organization calling itself SPECTRE hi-jacks two
Atomic Bombs, James Bond is put on the case, along with every
other 00-Agent in Europe. 007 travels to the Bahamas, and follows
his leads using his charm, strength and sophistication to solve
the case, and save the world.
Thunderball features many magnificent actors, including Sean
Connery as Her Majesty's Secret Agent himself, James Bond 007.
Connery was at his biggest and best in TB, setting a standard
that was not reached again for many years. The film also stared
Claudine Auger as Domino Derval, who is the mistress of Emilio
Largo, who is played by Adolfo Celi. Luciana Paluzzi also plays
an extremely effective henchwoman, Fiona Volpe.
This outstanding cast, as well as an excellent screenplay and
a magnificent plot, teamed with with one of my favourite John
Barry musical scores, makes this one of my favourite Bond movies
I would highly recommend this movie to anyone and everyone.
"Thunderball" by Kronsteen
1965 and Bond was huge. Goldfinger had been a complete box-office
success all over the world; it would be rather difficult to top
The novel Thunderball was chosen to be re-written into a movie
script, and when it was finally released in cinemas around the
world no one was disappointed!
Thunderball has got the most classic plot of all Bond films:
SPECTRE, a world-wide criminal organisation, is stealing two Atomic
Bombs and holds the world as hostage. It sounds silly at first,
but the movie is anything but silly.
James Bond is sent to Nassau, Bahamas, to stop the madness, which
he naturally succeeds with. Thunderball is a very entertaining
movie, one of the best in the series of Bonds. It’s got
a great cast, great locations, nerving action, very suitable music,
an intriguing story and of course a striking charm.
The cast is one of the best in the series: Adolfo Celi acts with
great confidence as he gives his character, Emilio Largo, everything
a villain should have; elegance, evilness, madness and charm.
Claudine Auger is also one of the most memorable girls. She’s
not only memorable through her good looks, but also through her
fine acting skills. Rik Van Nutter is the best Felix Leiter to
date, Luciana Paluzzi gives Fiona Volpe a fantastic mix of sexiness
and evilness and Philip Locke as Vargas should not be forgotten
either. The presence of Sean Connery is magical of course. He’s
still in his element and his impression of James Bond is marvelous
as always. He’s elegant, tough, nonchalant and witty –
all contributing to the charm Bond is known for.
The action is as good as it can be. The pre title-sequence fight
gives the audience exactly what they want, and it all goes on
from there with car chases, boat fights etc. Not to be forgotten
is the excellent under-water scenes, always accompanied by John
Barry's great music.
The Thunderball title song is not one of the best in the series,
but it goes well together with the great title-sequence.
One scene is more especially more memorable then the rest - and
it’s the casino scene. Connery and Celi go well together
and their presence and their acting make the scene truly wonderful.
First there is the physical tension between them: the card game.
Then there is the psychological tension between them: Bonds wits
against Celi's evil, as they know they are also enemies outside
the casino. It’s great to see these two actors in a perfectly
well-written scene like this.
I would recommend this movie anytime..
"Thunderball" by Captain Blackvegetable
"Look up! Look down! Look out! Here comes the biggest Bond
of all!" This was one of the taglines for Thunderball. After
the international success of Goldfinger, the Bond mania was at
its highest point, so the expectations for the fourth 007 adventure
were very high. But did Thunderball live up to the hype?
Sean Connery returns for his fourth outing as the world's most
famous secret agent. Sprouting sarcastic lines, making passes
at beautiful women and throwing punches, he now seems to be fully
comfortable in the role. The plot of the film is actually one
of the most "realistic" ones of the Bond series (or
at least, one of the most probable): the SPECTRE organisation
hijacks a NATO Vulcan bomber and steals the two bombs on board,
threatening to detonate them over a major Western city if the
sum of 100 million pounds is not paid. Bond finds a connection
with Nassau when he sees a picture of the missing NATO pilot Derval
with his sister on the island. His mission is to contact her and
find out where the bombs are.
Claudine Auger as Domino Derval is perhaps the most gorgeous
Bond girl of all, playing the sister of the deceased Major Derval
and mistress to millionaire Emilio Largo. Domino can best be described
as sad; with Largo, she leads a life of luxury, but effectively,
a trapped life. She finally turns against Largo when she hears
her brother was killed by him and is keen to wreak revenge on
him. Though not exactly an Oscar-worthy performance, Ms. Auger
arguably does a better job than Kim Basinger did 18 years later
in the remake of Thunderball, Never Say Never Again, because of
her glum, ironic attitude and of course, her natural beauty.
A Bond film is never complete without a decent assortment of
villains, and that is exactly what Thunderball offers. The main
villain of the picture is Emilio Largo, a millionaire with an
eye-patch who lives in an estate on Nassau, even with his own
shark tank. Largo owns a large yacht, the Disco Volante, which
consists of a smaller, faster ship with a cocoon that can be repelled
(as is revealed later in the film). He is also Number Two in the
SPECTRE organisation, in charge of the hi-jacking of the Vulcan
bombs. Largo seems to be quite a jealous man, as he always keeps
an eye on his mistress, Domino. He certainly likes his life of
glamour and luxury, but he is also perhaps the most loyal member
The most memorable hench(wo)man of the film is without any doubt
Fiona Volpe, brilliantly portrayed by Luciana Paluzzi. She is
a woman who takes pleasure in killing and seduces her victims
with her great sex-appeal. Definitely one of the best "evil
women" of the series.
Because of the underwater-based premise, Thunderball had to have
an exotic location. And what location is more exotic than Nassau?
The film takes full advantage of the island, portraying the lovely
beaches, Largo's glamorous estate, and also the lavish Junkanoo
festival. A down point in all this is that the film has too many
underwater scenes, which slow the pace and bring the movie down
a bit. However, some of them are enjoyable; the underwater battle
at the end is exciting, especially for the time Thunderball hit
the cinemas. Then follows the fight on the Disco Volante, which
showcases Bond's ability to throw devastating punches. At the
end, Largo points his gun victoriously to Bond, having him trapped,
but meets his demise when Domino comes out of the blue and kills
him with a harpoon-gun, finally satisfying her thirst for revenge.
The ending is maybe a little disappointing (the fact that Domino
was freed by one of Largo's henchmen is a bit lame), but all is
forgotten when Bond and Domino are rescued in true 007-style.
The fourth James Bond-movie set the tone for Bond movies to follow,
and started the trend of "Bigger and better". But that
doesn't mean that it was an uninspired film. It is a truly unique
installment of the Bond series and portrays the 60s feel superbly,
making it the most "shagadelic" 007 film to date. Some
say Thunderball is boring and slowly paced, but in my opinion,
there are enough little touches to make it a worthwhile Bond experience
(for example, Bond stealing a grape in Mr. Angelo's room in the
health spa. Now that is classic Bond!) It certainly lived up to
the great hype and deserves a place between the classics.
"Thunderball" by Bond Bishop
After the big success with "Goldfinger", Broccoli
and Saltzman set their sights even higher and turned to the problematic
Fleming book that was based on an original script by Fleming,
Jack Whittingham and Kevin McClory. Broccoli, Saltzman turned
to McClory to ask him to produce with them. This was the beginning
of the best Bond movie ever made. The story is quite simple but
very much the setting for future action movies.
Two atomic bombs has been stolen by the evil organisation SPECTRE.
MI6 sends out 001 to 009 out in the world to look for them. James
Bond is sent to Bahamas where he gets more involved than he wanted.
He meets the evil Emilio Largo and his stunning niece Domino Derval.
Plus the femme fatale Fiona Volpe. Bond has to stop Largo and
SPECTRE to launch the atomic bombs or else...
Great intrigue. Great dialogue. Everything is great in this movie!
The music is beautifully composed by Barry and both 'Thunderball'
and 'Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang'. Sean Connery in his best performance.
Adolfo Celi is haunting and cold as Largo. Claudine Auger is great
as Domino and is hell of a sexy lady too. Luciana Paluzzi performs
good as the femme fatale. Even Rik Van Nutter is good as Felix
Leiter. The locations are beautiful and great, the underwater
action is great and the final battle underwater is one of movie
history's action sequences.