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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Thunderball can be found here.

When a British Vulcan bomber containing to two nuclear warheads is stolen by one-eyed SPECTRE agent Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi) and a ransom of 100,000,000 is demanded (or he will detonate them in the UK and US), the head of the British Secret Service, M (Bernard Lee), sends 00 agents around the world in an attempt to locate the warheads. Agent 007 James Bond (Sean Connery) requests assignment to Nassau based on a recent photo of Dominique "Domino" Derval (Claudine Auger) and her brother Franois (Paul Stassino), who just happens to have been the pilot of the hijacked plane.

All of the James Bond movies are based, in some part, upon novels by British author Ian Fleming [1908-1964]. Thunderball is based on Fleming's 1961 novel of the same name. It was adapted for the screen by Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins. Thunderball was remade in 1983 as Never Say Never Again. Both movies starred Sean Connery as Bond.

Thunderball is sung by Welsh singer Tom Jones.

A "thunderball" is a series of explosions that happen within the mushroom effect of a nuclear explosion. The term actually arose during nuclear testing in Nevada. In the movie, Thunderball was the code name of the operation to recover the atomic bombs. When Bond and the rest of the 00 agents are briefed on the hijacking of the atomic bombs in the MI6 conference room, M (Bernard Lee) tells them "You may now open the folders in front of you." A close-up shot follows of Bond's hand breaking a paper security band around a file folder with Thunderball printed on it. M then says, "Code name - Thunderball."

Yes. SPECTRE has stolen two NATO nuclear bombs and is holding the world ransom in exchange for 100 million or he threatens to destroy an unspecified city in either England or the U.S. (It turns out to be Miami, Florida.)

SPECTRE stands for "The SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion." SPECTRE is an international terrorist organization run by Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played in this movie by Anthony Dawson). Its members are recruited from the Gestapo, Smersh, the Mafia, and the Union Corse among others. With the exception of Goldfinger, all of the Bond villains from 1962-71 came from this organization.

Blofeld gave MI6 specific instructions to make Big Ben strike seven times at 6 PM if they agree to meet their demands, but the striking is not actually shown. However, at Pinder (Earl Cameron)'s place in Nassau, Bond hears a news bulletin on the radio that says it did happen. The misstrike was attributed to mechanical failure.

Bond is driving the silver 1964 Aston Martin DB5 that was presented to him in Goldfinger after the destruction of his Bentley in From Russia With Love.

Connery has a tattoo on his right forearm, dating from his youthful service days in the Royal Navy. The tattoo reportedly reads "Mom and Dad" and "Scotland Forever."

Baccarat. A description of the game and its rules can be found here. The game is featured several times throughout the run of the Bond series.

No explanation was given in the movie as to what might have happened to SPECTRE agent Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi) to cause him to wear an eyepatch. The best explanation is that the character didn't seem particularly menacing, so the eyepatch was added to make him look like a dangerous master criminal instead of a middle-aged man that 007 could beat up in less than ten seconds.

Dom Prignon is an expensive brand of sparkling champagne produced by Mot et Chandon, an exclusive winery in France. It is named after Dom Pierre Prignon [1638-1715], the Benedictine monk who developed the method for preventing refermentation of bottled champagne (which can result in explosion). Bond's other signature drink is a vodka martini, shaken not stirred.

That was Junkanoo, a Bahamian street parade that occurs in Nassau and many other towns across The Bahamas during the dark hours on Boxing Day (26 December) and again in the early morning hours on New Year's Day. In the movie, however, some of the marchers are carrying signs saying Happy Easter. The official website for Junkanoo can be found here.

Largo transfers the bombs from the Vulcan onto the Disco Volante. Domino (Claudine Auger) activates the geigercounter that Bond gave her (in order to detect when the bombs are aboard, but Largo catches her. He tortures her with cigarettes and ice to get her to reveal how much Bond knows. Meanwhile, the Disco Volante stops at an underwater cave near Miami where the bombs are going to be temporarily stored, but Bond intercepts them so that Largo ends up storing just one of the bombs in the cave. He then heads toward Miami, leaving Bond stuck in the cave. Felix (Rik Van Nutter) homes in on the homing device that Bond swallowed earlier and pulls him out with a helicopter. As Bond goes back in the water to catch up with the Disco Volante, Felix alerts the Coast Guard, and they send in divers to intercept the boat. Bond and the divers catch up with the Disco Volante, and a long underwater skirmish takes place. The SPECTRE frogmen are eventually overpowered but not before Largo escapes on the Disco Volante with one bomb still aboard. He jettisons the cocoon so that the boat can move faster, but he doesn't know that Bond is hanging on underwater. Bond climbs aboard and incapacitates the crew while the boat drives on uncontrolled and at high speeds, several times nearly missing the rocks. Just as Largo is about to shoot Bond, Domino shoots Largo in the back with a speargun. Then they notice that the boat is headed straight into the rocks but the steering is jammed, so Bond and Domino jump overboard just in time. The boat hits the rocks and explodes. Bond and Domino climb into a rubber raft. In the final scene, they are picked up by the sky-hook of a U.S. Navy airplane.

Disco Volante is Italian for "Flying Saucer" and is the name of Largo's ship.

The book introduces SPECTRE and its members are numbered randomly (Largo is taking his turn as No.1), and they take an active role in their operation. Apart from Blofeld (No.2), who is described as an overweight man with a black crew cut. He does not have a cat. Blofeld kills one operative for having had sex with a hostage, instead of as punishment for embezzlement. Largo is a young, fit, brown-haired man with both eyes. Domino is Italian and her full name is Dominetta Vitali. Her brother's name is Giuseppe Petacchi and the plastic surgery/impostor plot was added for the film. The pre-credits sequence, shark pool and clay-pigeon shooting scenes, MI6 agent Paula and villains including Fiona Volpe, Vargas and Janni are also not in the book; nor is Q or the Aston Martin. Updating means the plane featured in the film is a real-life Vulcan bomber. Leiter in the novel has his disabilities (including a hook hand) from the shark attack in Fleming's Live and Let Die, and he and Bond explore in a seaplane not a chopper. A single US Navy submarine conducts the final assault on the Disco, rather than a fleet of ships and paratrooper-frogmen as seen in the film, with Bond and Leiter leading only a small group of volunteer divers armed only with makeshift spears. SPECTRE's target in the novel is a Bahamian rocket base. When Domino shoots Largo with the speargun at the end, they are underwater in the book and she shoots him in the neck rather than the back.

Yes. The film's story was supposedly fleshed out by Fleming, along with British producer Kevin McClory and writer Jack Whittingham at Fleming's home in Jamaica. However, when Fleming wrote the book on which the film is based, the latter two got no credit. McClory sued the film's producers and Fleming, whose ordeal in court led him to a premature death. The settlement to McClory was over 80,000 GBP, plus the rights to Thunderball, which he used to re-make the film as Never Say Never Again.

Yes, this is the first Bond film in which a Bond girl is actually seen taking her clothes off on screen. Molly Peters, who plays the beautiful blonde nurse Patricia Fearing, has the distinction of being the first Bond girl to be shown stripping off all of her clothes - specifically her nursing uniform and her panties - for the audience to see when Bond has sex with her in the steam room.

Tiger sharks. If you look closely when Bond lets them pass while he's underwater, they have stripes on the dorsal sides of their bodies that are a darker grey. The writers gave them the name "golden grotto" sharks to make them more mysterious & to connect them to Largo's evil personality.

Including Thunderball, Connery made seven movies in which he played James Bond: Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Never Say Never Again (1983).


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