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Thunderball
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Reviews & Ratings for
Thunderball More at IMDbPro »

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35 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

The idea of the British Government having Big Ben strike seven times at six o'clock is brilliant...

8/10
Author: Righty-Sock (robertfrangie@hotmail.com) from Mexico
8 July 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A NATO Vulcan Bomber carrying two atomic bombs had crashed in the Caribbean… To make a serious situation even more critical, SPECTRE then informed the British government that it had hijacked the plane's cargo… Unless a ransom of £100 million was paid in seven days, a major city in England or the US would be destroyed…

M16 called in all its top agents, but only one had a lead: James Bond… With four days to go, 007 flew to the Bahamas, where a femme fatale, a beautiful avenger, and a big game predator fish collector, a tough Italian mafia type posing as a millionaire adventurer in Nassau, called Emilio Largo awaited him… Largo (Adolpho Celi) is actually the ruthless one-eyed SPECTRE No. 2, who can easily turn from charmer to killer when SPECTRE business is at stake…

Fiona Volpe's introduction while wearing a sheer negligée in Derbal's (Paul Stassino) bedroom was definitely an early highlight of "Thunderball." Luciana Paluzzi is a very sexy ruthless villain… Definitely one of the better female characters in the series…

Bond appears to be a bit cavalier at times—spending far too much time bedding one conquest after another—when duty calls, he responds quickly and decisively… After three films, the 007 character has been established… Now, it's time for Bond to have a little fun—as shown in the scene where he consumes Conch Chowder, Beluga Caviar and Dom Perignon '55 (he once scorned), or the scene in the French château where he kills SPECTRE's agent and takes time to throw flowers on the body or the scene in Shrublands where he discovers the body of a NATO aerial observer and steals a bit of fruit as he leaves… Touches like these set "Thunderball" apart from other Bond movies…

With ingenious gadgets provided by Q, wonderful underwater sequences, great special visual effects (rewarded with an Oscar), nice music score, and exotic scenery, the film remains as a lavish tropical paradise where sandy beaches, coral reefs and bikinis prevailed... The viewer suddenly gets a tremendous sense of the tropics, of carefree vacations, cool tropical drinks, and moonlights romance…

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34 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

"I hope we didn't scare the fishes."

Author: fdpedro from Miami, Florida
6 September 2004

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!

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38 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

So he strikes... like Thunderball

10/10
Author: michelerealini from Switzerland
5 October 2005

This is one of the TOP Bond movies of all time.

Sean Connery is at his peak of fame as 007 and his character of Bond works in an excellent way. His portrait of the suave sophisticated super spy is tough, ironical, glamorous and a bit cynical; physically he's in great shape. This is the definitive image of Bond -which entered the movie history.

"Thunderball" is the fourth 007 movie. Many things have changed since the small budgeted "Dr.No". Here we a have a larger than life adventure, full of gadgets and jokes.

When SPECTRE steals some nuclear weapons Bond has to investigate everywhere -also under the sea- to avoid World War 3. He does it, as usual, facing a spiteful villain -Adolfo Celi- and a femme fatale -Luciana Paluzzi-. The prize for his effort is Domino -Claudine Auger-.

The film is still exciting... 40 years after its release we always wonder how underwater scenes are so accurate. The film is a mix of revolutionary technology, British humor, sex and gorgeous women. In 1965 it was unbelievable to see such films. "Thunderball" in the Sixties was like "Matrix" in 2000, maybe with a stronger impact than the latter on audiences, popular culture and fashion.

"Thunderball" marks the peak of Bondmania in the Sixties and the beginning of the gadget era for 007 -although for someone the decline of the serious James Bond begins here...

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23 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

We've got ourselves a Broken-Arrow, James Bond style

7/10
Author: stamper from The Netherlands
13 December 2004

Thunderball is the fourth entry in the ever ongoing James Bond franchise and in my opinion one of the better installments. This film features the secret services arch-enemy SPECTRE and I must say that in this episode of James Bond adventures it works better than in From Russia with Love. What I liked about this film, was that there were a lot of good one-liners from Connery, that there weren't too many goofy stunts / henchmen / gadgets and that the film was able to maintain exciting throughout. I've read quite a few comments stating that the underwater scenes dragged on too long, but I must say that I felt even that bit to be quite entertaining and thrilling. I actually have only one criticism and that regards the ending. I felt that the whole out-of-control boat thing was really stupid. I mean I understand that they tried to make it look spectacular, but in using the same technique they used to buff up the fistfights, they made it look cheesy and cheap. Luckily this is just one short moment in the film and the film is not ruined by something as a dreadful character or a bad actor. All in all this is one of the better Bond films and well worth watching if one sets out for 2 hours of pure adventurous entertainment with a standard-formula story.

7 out of 10

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34 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

My favorite Connery Bond movie.

10/10
Author: Aaron1375
22 November 2002

Out of Connery's Bond movies this one is my personal favorite. It has the best location, the best action, and the best women. Sure it also has lots of flaws, but I still really enjoy this one. SPECTRE has hijacked some nuclear weapons and is threatning to use them if they do not get what they want. So Bond has to find the missles and put a stop to SPECTRE's plans once again. Almost the entire movie takes place on a tropical island, much like Dr. No, but this one has a better plot and a great underwater fight scene at the end that make it a much better film than Dr. No. From beginning to end I find this one of the most enjoyable Bond flicks.

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22 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Budget Bloated Bond still holds some merit

6/10
Author: pyrocitor from Ontario, Canada
27 October 2007

After the legendary success of Goldfinger , expectations were understandably astronomical for the next Bond installment, with 007 producers determined to consistently push the envelope, delivering a "bigger and better Bond" than ever before. Unfortunately, this determination proved to be both the strength and weakness of Thunderball, the resulting sequel. On the whole, the film is by no means a failure, but the producers' determination to cash in on elements which made Goldfinger such a success led to overkill excesses which sink Thunderball's overall quality.

The plot is even more outlandish than Goldfinger's radiation of the fort Knox gold reserve, pushing the threat to a more global context with the destruction of major world cities by atomic weapons. As well as being a particularly poignant plot device at the time, in the midst of the Cold War, the gist of Thunderball may seem quite familiar to those who frequent more modern political action thrillers, such as The Sum of All Fears. Despite the larger than life premise, Thunderball remains far more grounded in reality than several later Bond exploits (including You Only Live Twice and Moonraker) which tended to drift into being overly silly and ludicrous. Thunderball still takes itself relatively seriously, with several surprisingly dark moments, which help counterbalance the slightly comical yet still thrilling sight of of seeing Connery in a jet pack, and dramatically aid the overall quality of the film.

However, Thunderball's significantly larger budget is mostly misused through underwater photography sequences, which, although interesting to look at (and were likely moreso back in the 1960s, where such a sight was very seldom visible to the public eye) for the most part fail to further the plot in any way, and drag on excruciatingly long. However, the film does boast some strong cinematography (and some stunning locations), the action sequences (including a tense chase sequence through a Mardi Gras parade) are solid, and an unreasonably catchy Tom Jones title track surprisingly helps not hinders the film.

Unfortunately, for however many of the film's previous strengths, the film descends into utter chaos during the film's final quarter with a painfully repetitive and indecipherable underwater battle (it is increasingly difficult to tell which underwater army is which, who is winning, or why it should even retain our interest) a boat chase flaunting special effects which have dated decidedly unfavourably, and laughably inexplicable character motivations seemingly thrown in to finally tie up the increasingly unravelling mess. It is a disappointment indeed to see what started out with such promise sink into such a banal conclusion.

The character of Bond himself is surprisingly reduced to far less screen time than is usual for a 007 film, which is unfortunate, as Connery gives arguably one of his strongest performances as Bond, oozing self assurance and panache, yet an unprecedented darkness amidst the one liners ("I think he got the point" being the most classic). This time around Bond not only gets hurt, but is not afraid to hurt, unflinchingly bestowing surprisingly vicious physical punishment against his adversaries

The supporting cast proves to be a very hit and miss affair. While former model Claudine Augere certainly looks the part of a sixties Bond girl, but unfortunately for the most part retains the static lack of emoting also associated with them. Adolfo Celi's eye-patched frown makes a visually iconic Bond villain, and is suitably menacing, but as the film progresses, he loses his threat element more and more, eventually degrading to a flimsy carbon copy of an adversary by the final act. Luciana Paluzzi steals the show from all but Connery, making one of the most chilling Bond femme fatale figures in the franchise. Paluzzi, despite the potential to coast by on her sensual looks, refuses to play the part on autopilot, and exudes laudable charisma and threat throughout. The unfortunately named Rik Van Nutter makes the most generic and forgettable CIA agent Felix Leiter of the Bond series, but Bernard Lee and Desmond Llewelyn are on top form as the ever endearing M and Q.

As overlong and let down by some unfortunate overuse of budget and dated special effects as the film may be, Thunderball is nonetheless a noteworthy and suitably engaging early Bond effort. Connery himself, in one of his most charismatic renditions of the role is enough to merit watching, and the film for the most part runs along at a brisk enough pace to retain audience interest. While the film is less likely to enthrall those who are not already Bond purists, fans of the character or series should easily be able to extract moments of enjoyment from Thunderball.

-6/10

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26 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Thunderball 1965

10/10
Author: wrestlingsitewebmaster from England
8 October 2005

This James Bond film was fantastic. The characters in the film were really interesting and every single actress/actress plays his/her part with professionalism.

This film involved a lot of scenes involving water, but I'm not complaining, because it was really fascinating to see that instead of the usual dry land scenes. One interesting note was the scene in which Fiona Volpe fires the rocket at the car chasing 007, Bob Simmons the stunt driver was almost killed in the spectacular scene. Simmons also played the man dressed up as a women in the beginning of the film. Sadly Bob Simmons died in 1988.

Rik Van Nutter (yeah, yeah even I laughed when I seen his last name!) played Felix Leiter in a fantastic fashion. He was cool and when a situation arose he was calm about it. Van Nutter who is now 75 years old was not asked to play the part again, for reasons which are unknown but he will always be remembered for being one of the more memorable actors to play Leiter along with Jack Lord (Dr No, 1962) and David Hedison (Live and Let Die, 1973 and Licence To Kill, 1989).

The man they called Ernst Stavro Blofeld oh yes! was played by actor Anthony Dawson who played Professor Dent in Dr No. Although we don't see Dawson's face in the film his voice was dubbed so it could be more frightening and entertaining. Just seeing Dawson sitting in that chair behind the screen with that little white cat (isn't that cat a legend?!) sends the chills down your spine. Anthony Dawson sadly passed away in 1992 from cancer.

Finally the villain who was wonderfully played by Adolfo Celi - Largo was a fascinating character. Even this SPECTRE agent had his love for a particular animal that being Golden Grotto sharks. As suspected Celi had his voice dubbed for the final version of the film. Unfortunately Celi passed away in 1986 from a heart attack.

This film ranks up there with the best along with From Russia with Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964) and if you like James Bond you'll like this! Overall Grade - A*

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

For entertainment this achieves the highest of any other Bond movie.

7/10
Author: msia91 from Penang, Malaysia / Chicago, USA
14 June 2007

Connery is back, better and more buff than ever, as super agent James Bond 007, this time seeing him on a mission in the Bahamas to prevent a nuclear catastrophe from happening. The cinematography is beautiful, as the Bond Girl Claudine Auger, who looks smoking hot in her bikini.

For the acting, Connery is always there to take the spotlight. He zigs and zags his way around friends and foe in order to succeed. He is still the charming, witty, and deadly secret agent we have come to know him for. The villain is also good here, because not only he has one of the most diabolical plans ever, he also looks diabolical (an eye patch).

The action here is non-stop, especially the underwater scenes. Some call these scenes overlong, thus causing the length of the film to be 2 hours and 10 minutes, quite long, but to me, it's just breathless and pulse-pounding. Also, the beginning of the film will want you begging for more Connery. Most of the action sequences rely on the team's special effects, but it's no problem, since the special effects are damn good for a 1965 movie, even by today's standard. Which is why it deserved to win the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

Crew also reigns here. Producers Brocolli and Saltzman return once again, as well as Terence Young, director of the first two Bond films. This was his final James Bond film before he went on to direct Audrey Hepburn in her Oscar-nominated performance in the 1967 thriller Wait After Dark. It shows that you have a class filmmaker at the helm. John Barry gives us a beautiful and fast-paced score that mounts up the tension every time.

Overall, probably the most entertaining Bond ever.

7.73/10

Delton

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16 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Great Villain and the Best Bond Babes!

Author: shepardjessica from sparks, nevada
6 July 2004

This Bond film (the 3rd best; the others being From Russia With Love, Goldfinger and 4th would be Dr. No) has exotic locale, superb soundtrack, formidable bad-guy, the hottest real Bond gal (Claudine Auger as Domino), other hot chicks - Martine Beswick and Lucianna Paluzzi, and Sean's toupee still looked good before his final three Bond adventures.

There may have been too many Bond effects underwater in this one, but everything else about it makes up for the scuba scenes, which are necessary to the "plot". Adolfo Celi (Largo) had presence, great white hair, an eyepatch, and figured out Bond almost immediately. It flows with best scenery (Bond-wise) and had no major problems, although a tad long. A 7 out of 10. Recommended for 1965!

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Thunderous

10/10
Author: uk6strings-1 from The Twin Cities, Minnesota
21 January 2008

Thunderball is easily one of my personal favorite Bond films. The story is on a large scale but not over done (even for a Bond film), fun but not silly, and is all too easy to get involved in. Here in his fourth big-screen adventure, James Bond is sent to Nassau to recapture two atomic warheads that were stolen by the evil organization SPECTRE and prevent them from using the warheads on a British or American city.

The film is great but it is not perfect in every area. It certainly does not begin the best thanks to the corny pre-titles sequence, just a tad over the top and ridiculous (yeah, sliding an undersized chair into a grown man will knock him over / wouldn't they just step to the left or right and avoid being hit by the water gun instead of getting sprayed and falling all over the place like the Three Stooges?). Also, a handful of voice-over and other editing problems exist here and there in the film that are easy to sit through yet do nothing for the film's overall good.

However, there are plenty of other great things about Thunderball. Sean Connery gives one of his best James Bond performances ever - funny, smart, resilient - an essential Connery Bond exhibition. Thunderball also sees other aspects that are among the best ever seen in the Bond series: John Barry's slick and laid-back score, the nasty eye-patched villain Largo, and naughty-and-nice Bond girls Luciana Paluzzi and Claudine Auger. This film also has some eye-catching action, including one of the most exciting and intense concluding fight scenes ever featured in the Bond series.

The exquisite look of the film is what really makes Thunderball a truly great Bond film - it's incomparable to the rest of the series. The great wide shots, brilliant underwater filming, and exotic Caribbean locations create a terrific epic look for the film. A sizeable amount of the film's critics say that the underwater scenes are too long, and while I can't say that those who say that are exactly wrong, I do strongly disagree. I love the underwater sequences and I wouldn't touch a frame!

Thunderball is one of the biggest and most Flemingesc Bond films at the same time with spectacular action and dynamite adventure that is sure to entertain.

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