Fan Reviews - Thunderball

Fan Reviews of the James Bond films can be submitted to MI6 via the Contribute page, or on the Reviews board of the "Keeping The British End Up" discussion forums. The views expressed on this page are those of the individual and not

"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 movie-going experience.

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 him.

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 ever made.

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 that.

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 of SPECTRE.

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.