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Thunderball (1965) Poster

(1965)

Trivia

According to "Bond-Gadget-Designer" Ken Adam, the jetpack that Bond uses to escape his enemies, was no special effect, but a real jetpack provided by the U.S. Air Force. Initially, Sean Connery was to fly the jetpack without a helmet (and some publicity photos of him with the jetpack were made with him without a helmet). This was because he would have looked more debonair. It was later decided that he wear a helmet in the scene. This was for risk/safety reasons, as the pilot refused not to wear a crash helmet, and the scenes had to match.
Jump to: Cameo (6) | Spoilers (6)
Bond's jetpack was actually flown by engineer Bill Suiter. He was one of only two people in the world qualified to fly it.
Bond enters the reception area, hangs up his hat, then enters the meeting with M. When he exits M's meeting, after his chitchat with Miss Moneypenny, he goes to the hat rack to find that his hat is gone. Bond states, "I thought I wore a hat when I came in.." This was the final appearance of James Bond wearing a hat as a fashion statement. (With the exception of the opening scene of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969))
In the underwater scenes, where Bond encounters sharks, Sean Connery was supposed to be protected by clear plastic panels shielding him from sharks in close-ups. However, the panels only extended about three feet in height and sharks could swim over them. As a result, in some scenes (notably during the pool fight at Largo's mansion), Connery got much closer to the real sharks than he wanted. Director Terence Young said, in an interview, that scenes used in the film, where Bond reacts in fright at the approach of a shark, were miscues, in which Connery was reacting with genuine terror, as a shark approached, unobstructed by plastic shielding.
The only Bond film where we get a glimpse of all 00 Agents in one shot. They are summoned to M's briefing, and 007 is the last to join in. He sits down in the only available chair - the seventh from the left. Only one of the other 00's faces are revealed, however, they are filmed from behind, or their faces are hidden, and Bond is seen in close-up.
Sean Connery performed the gun-barrel sequence for the first time because of the new Panavision process used in the movie. Beginning with this film, the sequence would be performed by the actor playing Bond in the film itself.
The rocket-propulsion jetpack seen in the film, was originally designed and invented for military use. It is also known as the Small Rocket Lift Device (SRLD). The original intention, as conceived during the 1950s, was for soldiers to be able to improve their agility, depth-of-field, and ability to commandeer terrain by being able to jump over impeding landmarks and waterways. The Bell Aerosystems Rocketbelt model was used for this movie. Its flight goes for twenty-one seconds, and provides 1,000 brake horsepower.
This was the most popular Bond movie, with paying audiences, racking up 140 million ticket sales. Goldfinger (1964), with 130 million ticket sales, ranks number two in popularity.
The dictionary definition of the word "thunderball" is, it was a military term used by U.S. soldiers to describe the mushroom cloud seen during the testing of atomic bombs. Hence its use as a title, because this would be the result of SPECTRE detonating the stolen atomic bombs.
Claudine Auger's heavily accented English was deemed too "French-thick" by the filmmakers after shooting initial scenes of her. Nikki Van der Zyl, who dubbed Ursula Andress' voice in Dr. No (1962), was brought back to dub Auger's lines. For similar reasons, Adolfo Celi (Largo) had his lines dubbed over by Robert Rietty, to hide his thick and distinctive Sicilian accent.
It's rumored that a Royal Navy engineer approached the producers after the film's release to ask them how they designed the mini-rebreather. Apparently, he had been working on something similar but could not figure it out. He was devastated when the producers told them their secret. The actors were holding their breaths. The amount of time one had to breathe underwater in the movie, utilizing the Rebreather mini-aqualung, was four minutes.
For the opening main title sequence, title designer Maurice Binder filmed swimmers swimming naked in black-and-white, before adding in the color by an optical process.
While there really is an area known as the "Golden Grotto" in the Bahamas (now rechristened the "Thunderball Reef"), the Golden Grotto sharks that Largo keeps in his swimming pool, and describes as "the most dangerous, the most savage" shark species of them all, are entirely fictional. The Bull/Zambezi shark is regarded as the most dangerous to man in all tropical waters.
Final James Bond film directed by Terence Young.
Peter R. Hunt claims that the scene with a dog urinating in the shot during the Junkanoo (at around 87 mins) was at first left on the cutting room floor, feeling that the footage wasn't that great. However the producers, who noticed the take as they checked the dailies, enjoyed the shot so much that they demanded it remain in the film. Also, in the parade behind the dog, a group who arrived for filming as part of the parade dressed up wearing "007" on their hats. Filmmakers attempted to edit around the group, but the dog's impromptu nature call kept the "007" group in the film.
The character of Count Lippe is a reference to Ian Fleming's old friend from his days as an intelligence officer, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. Bernhard was born as Bernhard von Lippe Biesterfeld. Prince Bernhard was very pleased by the reference.
The AMC channel erroneously cited this as Sean Connery's favorite during its recent Bond retrospectives. Connery's favorite of the films was From Russia with Love (1963), one of the most critically acclaimed in the series. He confirmed that, in a 2002 interview with Sam Donaldson, for ABCNews.com.
The budget for this film was more than the combined budgets of the first three Bond films.
Largo's two-section yacht, the Disco Volante was adapted from a hydrofoil vessel called "The Flying Fish". It cost 500,000 dollars to acquire from Puerto Rico, and transfer to Miami for refitting and refurbishment. It was given a cocoon shell, which was fifty feet long, and could be separated from the main boat, as seen in the movie's finale.
The only individual James Bond movie to win a Visual or Special Effects Oscar (Academy Award). It was for Best Effects, Special Visual Effects and awarded to John Stears in 1966. Moonraker (1979) was nominated for Best Effects, Visual Effects in 1979 but did not win. Albert R. Broccoli received the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy for producing the group of James Bond movies in 1982. Goldfinger (1964) won the first Bond Oscar for Sound Effects.
To prevent anyone using the Vulcan bomber mock-up for future filming, the production team blew up the plane with dynamite. The frame work left behind has since become a reef.
During the recording of the title song "Thunderball", Tom Jones asked the song's writer what the "strikes like thunderball" line meant. The song's composer allegedly replied that he didn't know. Jones nearly fainted after recording the nine-second final high note at the end of recording the song. This echoes a story told by Shirley Bassey who, when recording the Goldfinger (1964) theme, could only hold the final note after removing her constricting bustier.
The line where Fiona derides Bond's ability to turn women to the side of right and virtue was taken from a critique of Goldfinger (1964), where the critic derided Bond's ability to turn Pussy Galore away from Goldfinger.
Martine Beswick had played one of the Gypsy girls in From Russia with Love (1963), and Paula Caplan in this movie. She is well-tanned in the film, but before shooting, she was pale white, due to years of stage work in England. So before filming in Nassau, she was required to spend approximately two weeks sunning herself to get the proper tan of a native girl.
A timely reference to the recent British Train Robbery was inserted into the script at the last minute. This can be heard during the SPECTRE meeting after the opening credits. In the film's story, Agent 005 reported that SPECTRE was paid a 250,000 pound consultancy fee, for the British Train Robbery.
When Bond and Domino meet underwater and disappear behind a rock, the scene was originally supposed to show Domino's bikini float out from behind the rock. Albert R. Broccoli vetoed this, because he felt it was too suggestive.
Albert R. Broccoli pursued Raquel Welch for the role of Domino after seeing her on the cover of Life Magazine. She had to drop out in order to star in Fantastic Voyage (1966).
This film and From Russia with Love (1963) are the only Bond movies to use the wipe editing technique in scene transitions.
Maurice Binder returned to the franchise to design the main title sequence for this movie, after being absent from the previous two Bond movies, From Russia with Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964). He had designed the opening titles for Dr. No (1962), and would continue on every Bond movie after this one, until his last on Licence to Kill (1989).
Some release prints did not show "James Bond will be back in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)" at the end of the film's credits. This was because a late change, meant filming of that movie due to difficulties in scheduling, and shooting during Winter, meant that film was postponed. You Only Live Twice (1967) became the next James Bond film. The solution put forward by Peter R. Hunt was simply to remove the name of the title from the final credits.
Stuntman Bill Cumming was paid a 450 dollar bonus to jump into Largo's shark-infested pool.
In Italian, Disco Volante translates as "Flying Saucer."
On October 27, 2010, the Aston Martin DB5 used in this movie and Goldfinger (1964), was sold, fully "loaded", to American classic car collector Harry Yeaggy, for a reported 4.6 million dollars, by London's RM Auctions. The car had only one previous private owner, an American radio station owner named Jerry Lee, who purchased the car directly from the Aston Martin factory in 1969 for 12,000 dollars. Lee had kept the car at his Pennsylvania house for over forty years.
There is debate over who provides Blofeld's voice in this film. Some sources say Joseph Wiseman. Other sources give credit to Eric Pohlmann. In any event, Anthony Dawson, who provided Blofeld's body in From Russia with Love (1963), makes a return appearance.
According to Behind the Scenes with 'Thunderball' (1995), in the scene were Bond climbs out of the shark tank right as a shark makes a run at him, the shark in question is dead, and pulled by a wire.
This is the first James Bond film to be shot in Panavision.
Goldfinger (1964) director Guy Hamilton was originally offered the directing job by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli. However, due to fatigue at the time, he felt he could not add anything more, and turned it down. He considered himself worn out and "creatively drained".
The Boeing B-17G-95-DL, 44-85531, registered N809Z, flown in the film with the Fulton Skyhook recovery system (later used on U.S. Air Force HC-130 Hercules rescue service aircraft), was owned by Intermountain Aviation, a secretive company based at Marana Air Park, Arizona, which was revealed in the 1970s to have actually been a CIA proprietary company, wholly owned by the Agency, set up to cloak discrete operations, as reported by author and B-17 historian Scott A. Thompson. This aircraft is now known as "Shady Lady", registered N207EV, with the Evergreen Aviation Museum, Portland, Oregon, where Howard Hughes' HK-1 Hercules, a.k.a. the "Spruce Goose", is also displayed.
The Fiona Volpe character was originally Irish, and called Fiona Kelly in earlier drafts of the script. But the surname was changed, to suit the Italian nationality of Luciana Paluzzi, who was cast, after being rejected for the role of Domino. The character does not appear in the novel.
First 007 film in which Bond doesn't smoke. Interestingly though, a large papier-mache Marlboro box can be spotted on the right side of the screen during a festival.
Kevin McClory, Ian Fleming, and Jack Whittingham collaborated in 1959, on an original story and screenplay for what would have been the very first 007 film, entitled "James Bond, Secret Agent". McClory reportedly wanted Richard Burton to play James Bond. But reportedly, after an unrelated film by Kevin McClory bombed, Ian Fleming changed his mind, and backed out of the partnership with McClory. Fleming had previously cannibalized plots prepared for two other abandoned Bond spin-off projects, a newspaper comic strip and a television series, for 007 novels, and similarly turned this one into his novel "Thunderball". However, in this case his right to do so was not so clear. When Harry Saltzman bought the film rights to the Bond novels from Fleming, and went into partnership with Albert R. Broccoli, McClory initiated legal action, resulting in Dr. No (1962) rather than Thunderball becoming the first Bond film. Although this production is a fairly faithful adaptation of the published novel, McClory's suit resulted in only the earlier screenplay being credited as source material. McClory's producer credit is probably just another term of the settlement. The case was settled out of court from November 19, 1963 to November 29, 1963, giving McClory the film rights to this movie and 50,000 pounds in damages.
Members of the cast and crew were interviewed several times about the film, while it was being shot, due to the immense popularity of the Bond franchise. Sean Connery, however, consented to just one interview, and it was with Playboy Magazine.
James Bond does not drink a vodka martini "shaken, not stirred" in this movie, but he does order a Dom Perignon 55 champagne by a swimming pool while dining with Domino.
Stuntman Bob Simmons appeared to have made a very narrow escape from the car explosion stunt during filming at Silverstone Racetrack, Northamptonshire, England. Terence Young raced to the scene, whereupon Simmons surprised him from the side road as a gag. People watching the stunt, generally didn't see Simmons exit the vehicle before the explosion, probably due to his exit-point being in a blind-spot to the point-of-view of those overseeing the stunt.
The underwater bomb sled used in the film where the atomic bombs are deployed later ended up in the possession of screenwriter Kevin McClory after the real-life prop was used on promotional tours after the film's release. McClory stored the prop on his villa in the Bahamas where it decayed until he sold the property in the early 1990s - the prop was subsequently destroyed when the villa was redeveloped into a hotel resort.
The only Bond film in which Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman are not credited for their work done as producers. They are instead only credited as Executive Producers. This is the only EON Productions James Bond film to have Kevin McClory credited as a producer.
Ford produced a promotional film A Child's Guide to Blowing Up a Motor Car (1965), as a promotional film, to tie-in with the release of the movie. The seventeen minute, gently humorous short film, was about a boy's visit with his godfather Uncle Denis, to one of the movie's filming locations at Silverstone Racetrack, Northamptonshire, England. The end credits state "Made for the Film Library of FORD OF BRITAIN". It is available on the Thunderball Ultimate Edition DVD.
The production staff screened The Silent Enemy (1958) several times to glean tips on underwater warfare for the film. The Silent Enemy (1958) dealt with British versus Italian frogmen in the Mediterranean during World War II.
When SPECTRE divers are retrieving the two atomic bombs from the Vulcan bomber, clearly marked on the bombs amongst the technically data is the phrase; HANDLE LIKE EGGS.
In the trailer for the film, Bond says the line, "The things I do for England." The line was cut from the final version of the film, and then used in the next Bond film, You Only Live Twice (1967).
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The aircraft that plucks James Bond and Domino out of the life raft was a highly modified B-17G (and was a prototype for the U.S.A.F./NASA Satellite Airborne Recovery Project).
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Two early Avro Vulcan B1As from the Waddington Wing were used in the filming. In the ground sequences XA913 was used and for in flight use, XH506. Both aircraft were withdrawn from service by 1968 and scrapped the same year.
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Bond's underwater camera is a Nikonos Calypso I. It is an evolution of the Calypso-Phot, originally built for Jacques-Yves Cousteau. In closeups, the Nikonos logo under the lens is covered with black tape.
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The name of the organizational front that the headquarters of the criminal SPECTRE organization operated out of in Paris, France, was the International Brotherhood for Stateless Persons.
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The Shrublands resort was actually a converted hotel near Pinewood Studios.
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Yvonne Monlaur, Mary Menzies, Gloria Paul, and Maria Grazia Buccella were all contenders for the role of Domino.
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The conga drummer at the Kiss Kiss Club is King Errisson, and not only has a recording career of his own, but also has played in the Neil Diamond band since 1972.
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The literal translations of some of the movie's foreign language titles include Fireball (Germany and Finland); Operation Thundersky (Norway); Calm Down, Mr Bond (Netherlands); The Thunderball (Sweden); Atomic Ball (Portugal); 007 Against the Atomic Blackmail (Brasil), Agent 007 Into The fire (Denmark); The Ball of Thunder (Israel) ; 007 Averts SPECTRE/007 Averted The Spectre (China) ; Thunderball Fighting (Japan); Operation Thunder (Belgium and France); and Operation Thunderball (Italy, Japan, Spain and Poland)
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Burl Ives was originally chosen to play Largo, when Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory first tried to get the Bond franchise up and running in 1959.
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Molly Peters, who played the nurse Patricia 'Pat' Fearing, was the first Bond Girl to be seen taking her clothes off on-screen, where previous films only showed Bond's lovers after the fact. Molly strips off her nurse's uniform when she and Sean Connery make love in the steam room.
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For the scene where Major Francois Derval opens the door on himself, it was a composite shot, and not a body double.
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It took almost thirty years for the expanded soundtrack for the film to be released. This was because John Barry was still scoring the second half of the picture, when the music for the recording of the soundtrack was required. Practically no music from the second half of the movie appeared in the original score's release. While the eighty minute CD is largely complete, it is still missing about 25 minutes of extra music.
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First appearance in the James Bond franchise of a shark-infested swimming pool, used to execute a disloyal subordinate, which became the basis for Dr. Evil's "sharks with frickin' laser beams" in the Austin Powers franchise.
A promotional film, The Incredible World of James Bond (1965) was aired on American television on November 26, 1965, one month before the release of the movie. Narrated by Alexander Scourby, the 48-minute documentary aired as a one hour special. It included footage of the filming at Silverstone Racetrack, Northamptonshire, and of the fight aboard the Disco Volante at Pinewood Studios. Media coverage of Martine Beswick, Luciana Paluzzi, and Claudine Auger, and archive footage of Ian Fleming at 'Goldeneye', Jamaica. It is available on the Thunderball (1965) Ultimate Edition DVD.
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The many underwater scenes stem from Kevin McClory's interest in diving.
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A character called Fatima Blush was originally created by Ian Fleming as a double agent and existed in early treatments and outlines of this movie. She does not appear in either the book, or movie Thunderball (1965), but does in its remake, Never Say Never Again (1983).
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The title song was originally to be "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" sung by Dionne Warwick, but was changed at the last minute to "Thunderball" sung by Tom Jones. The producers were concerned about a main title song that did not include the film's title as the song title. Four different versions of the "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" song were recorded, including a version sung by Shirley Bassey and two different instrumental versions; the two instrumental versions were eventually released on disc, while Warwick's version was used in the opening credit sequence of an unreleased version of the film. This version can be heard on Audio Commentary Track Two on the DVD during the opening titles and on the James Bond 30th Anniversary double CD. The instrumental version can be heard at various parts of the movie especially when Bond enters The Kiss Kiss club.
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At the preflight briefing an officer says, "You'll be flying a Vulcan armed with two atomic bombs, MOS type." MOS stands for the Ministry of Supply which in 1946 took on increased responsibilities for atomic weapons, including the H-bomb development program. The Ministry of Supply was abolished in 1959 and its responsibilities were devolved to three single-service ministries. Later, these ministries were to merge to form the Ministry of Defence. However, in the year of this film, 1965, some H-bomb types were still referred to as "MOS type."
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Adolfo Celi's voice was dubbed by Robert Rietty who previously dubbed the voice of John Strangways in Dr. No (1962) and later dubbed Wheelchair Man in For Your Eyes Only (1981). The reason for this, was because Celi's thick Sicilian accent made his voice difficult to follow, even when speaking English.
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Thunderbeatle was the nickname for Ian Fleming, given to him by his wife Ann Fleming. The type of car that Largo is seen driving in Paris, at the start of the movie, was a 1965 Thunderbird, which was a make of car that was adored by Ian Fleming.
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This was the first James Bond movie to provide two key elements for the franchise's success. It was the first of Maurice Binder's opening titles sequences, created in the form for which they would become most famous. It was also the first to have movie posters which had panoramic adventure-scene artwork. These would become a tradition for the franchise until Licence to Kill (1989). From GoldenEye (1995) onwards, photo montages have become the staple for James Bond movie posters.
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A special 25th Anniversary Screening of the film, was held at the National Film Theatre in London in 1990, and was attended by Terence Young and Molly Peters, amongst other people associated with the production and EON's James Bond movies. It was organized by the James Bond Fan Club. A Special 40th Anniversary screening of the movie was held on November 20, 2005.
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By the time of the film's production in 1965, the popularity of the James Bond film series had resulted in a proliferation of other espionage films and television series. As a nod to this trend in popular entertainment, during the meeting of the 00 agents in M's office, the plan was originally to have the stars of other spy-related entertainment appear as their popular characters--Robert Vaughn and David McCallum from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964), James Coburn from Our Man Flint (1966), Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, Dean Martin as Matt Helm, Robert Culp and Bill Cosby from I Spy (1965), and others. However, due to the salaries required by the actors, for cameo appearances, and time constraints, the producers were forced to abandon the gimmick.
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A special charity premiere was held on February 10, 1966, in Ireland, at the Savoy Theatre in Dublin. Production personnel attending included Albert R. Broccoli, Kevin McClory, Luciana Paluzzi, and Molly Peters. Frogmen, wearing harpoons and underwater wet-suits, adorned the screening while an after-party was held at the Gresham Hotel.
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Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins for this movie include the Aston Martin DB5; Smirnoff Vodka; Rolex Watches, James Bond wears a Rolex Submariner; Cinzano Vermouth; Breitling "Top Time" watches; the Bell Textron Jetpack; Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskey; Corgi Toys; and Dom Perignon Champagne, particularly a Dom Perignon '55.
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The cargo plane which deployed the frogmen prior to the underwater battle is a Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter.
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The movie had two major re-releases with two other James Bond films: The first was with From Russia with Love (1963) in 1968 and the other was with You Only Live Twice (1967) from 1970 until 1972. The latter pairing was billed as "the two biggest Bonds of all."
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The film's title song is sung by Tom Jones. A song called "Thunderball" sung by Johnny Cash was submitted to the filmmakers, but was rejected. A cover version of the title song sung by Martin Fry can be heard on the David Arnold Bond song compilation album, "Shaken and Stirred: the David Arnold James Bond Project". Another cover of the theme song was apparently recorded by Mr. Bungle, but it has never been released.
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The Lincoln Continental limousine seen during the pre-credits teaser is a Lehmann-Peterson conversion.
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For U.S. audiences, two Bond films were released in the same year; Goldfinger (1964) in January 1965, and this film in December 1965.
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The girl with whom Sean Connery was dancing, when Bond was escaping from Fiona also appears in Casino Royale (2006), playing poker with Daniel Craig.
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The opening sequence, in earlier versions of the script, was set in Hong Kong at a fan-tan parlor strip joint. The man in drag story element, was still the same though. He was dressed in a peacock outfit, and sat in a gold cage.
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The large ship, that fires a cannon at the Disco Volante at the end, can be identified as the Royal Navy frigate H.M.S. Rothesay from its pennant number (F 107).
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Principal photography at Château d'Anet, Anet, Eure-et-Loir, France coincided with the French Premiere of the previous James Bond movie, Goldfinger (1964). As such, members of the production attended the French launch.
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The first film in the franchise with its own licensing campaign, a tradition that would continue with every subsequent Bond movie.
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In at least two shots in the scene where Number One accuses his underlings of embezzlement, the unnatural eye movements and blinking motions of the actors reveal that the film is actually being run backwards.
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According to the "Behind-the scenes" DVD commentary, one of the seated OO Agents in the conference room scene, where Bond walks in late, is a woman, the only time, that a female OO Agent has been portrayed in a James Bond film. Although never shown directly, she is seated third from the left, making her Agent 003 (Bond, appropriately enough, is seated seventh from the left, since he is Agent 007).
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A G.I. Joe doll was popular in the toy market at the time of Thunderball (1965)'s production, so when the film was released, the first James Bond action figure was manufactured, as part of the film's merchandising. The film's massive collectible merchandising continued the boom, which had started with Goldfinger (1964).
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Reginald Beckwith, who plays the minor part of Kenniston, died before the movie's release.
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Alfred Hitchcock briefly considered directing the film.
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Most of the underwater scenes had to be done at lower tides, due to the sharks in the Bahamian Sea.
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Vehicles featured included the return of the silver birch Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger (1964); Fiona Volpe's gold BSA 650cc A65L Lightning motorcycle and 1965 white top Ford Mustang light sky blue convertible; the Disco Volante hydrofoil yacht; Triumph Herald Cabriolet; a white 1965 Ford Thunderbird driven by Emilio Largo in Paris; Count Lippe's black 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner with retractable hardtop roof; Bell Aerosystems Rocketbelt jet-pack; 007 drives a 1965 Lincoln Continental convertible in the Bahamas; a Sikorsky S-62; a Boeing B-17 plane; a hijacked Avro Vulcan B.1 bomber aircraft; a Bell 47J helicopter; a 1965 Ford station wagon; speedboats and underwater sledges such as frogmen driven underwater motorized tow sleds and an underwater motorized bomb sled for carrying two atomic weapons.
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The film's World Premiere was held on December 9, 1965, at the Hibiya Cinema, Tokyo, Japan. The film's U.S. Premiere was on December 21, 1965, in New York City, and this is sometimes mistaken as being the movie's World Premiere. United Artists arranged one of the Bell Jetpack pilots to fly off the marquee of the Paramount Theater at 1501 Broadway, Manhattan, New York, as a promotion at the launch. Several United Artists publicity personnel, and the pilot were arrested, as no one had sought permission from the authorities. The UK launch held dual premieres in London on December 29, 1965, at the Rialto Theatre and Pavillion Theatre, Piccadilly Circus. The after-party was held at the Royal Garden Hotel, and proceeds from the night went to benefit the Newspaper Press Fund.
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The film was originally supposed to have had its premiere at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London in September 1965. It was delayed until December, because the film could not be completed in time.
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Sir Tom Jones is the first ever male singer for the film's opening sequence. Although Matt Munro sang the theme to From Russia with Love (1963), his version did not appear during the opening credits.
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According to the film's CD soundtrack sleeve notes, the title song debuted in the U.S. charts on December 11, 1965, and peaked at the number 25 spot. In the UK charts, it entered on January 13, 1966, where it peaked at number 35.
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According to Robbie Collin in UK newspaper 'The Telegraph', "Bond author Ian Fleming invented SPECTRE in 1959 to replace James Bond's usual, Soviet, enemies. Fleming believed the Cold War might be about to end and wanted to keep his spy thrillers relevant". Fleming's SPECTRE Executive Cabinet included "21 people including former Gestapo members, Soviet spy group SMERSH, Josep Tito's (Josip Broz Tito's) secret police, Italian, Corsican, and Turkish organised crime gangs", its goals were "profiteering from conflict between the superpowers, eventual world domination", and its methods included "counter-intelligence, brainwashing, murder, extortion, using weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological and orbital)".
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Prior to the 2013 settlement between the McClory Estate and MGM and EON Productions, according to the October 20-26, 1997 edition of show-business trade paper 'Variety', characters and situations the late Kevin McClory claimed he exclusively owned, included S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and the organization's octopus logo; Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his white cat; the Bond Girl characters Fiona Volpe (who appears in Thunderball (1965)) played by Luciana Paluzzi), Fatima Blush (who appears in Never Say Never Again (1983), played by Barbara Carrera), and Domino Smith (played by Claudine Auger (appearance) and Nikki Van der Zyl (voice - uncredited) in Thunderball (1965) as Domino Derval (a.k.a. Dominique Derval), and also played by Kim Basinger in Never Say Never Again (1983), as Domino Petachi); the Bahamas location (though this setting was still used in Casino Royale (2006)); the Shrublands Health Clinic; the James Bond character versus the Sicilian Mafia (an original plot outline for Thunderball (1965)) as well as Bond tackling an atomic bomb hijacking scheme; a flying saucer yacht with a hidden hydrofoil (which features in Thunderball (1965) with the vessel being called 'The Disco Volante'); and a customized rocket-firing motorcycle (which Sean Connery rides in the Thunderball (1965) remake Never Say Never Again (1983)).
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First time a Bond film was released in the U.S. before the UK.
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Claudine Auger beat out 150 candidates to play Domino.
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Martine Beswick recalled an incident involving Sean Connery - "One time, we'd finished filming for the day, and there were hundreds of people milling around on the beach, all roped off watching. Sean called to the set hairdresser, "Here, you", and then he simply pulled off his toupee and threw it at the hairdresser. The hairpiece sailed over like a Frisbee and as the hairdresser caught it, Sean said something like, "That's it, I'm off". Everyone just collapsed. It was the funniest thing".
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According to editor Peter R. Hunt, the film's release was delayed for three months, from September until December 1965, after he met David Picker of United Artists, and convinced him it would be impossible to edit the film to a high enough standard without the extra time.
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In North America, this was the second highest-grossing film of 1966, after Doctor Zhivago (1965).
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The tapestries on the walls of the MI6 conference room (one of which conceals a screen) depict part of the Ancient Greek myth of Jason. The originals were made at the Gobelins Manufactory in France in the 1770s; several sets were made, one of which is in the Royal Collection and displayed at Windsor Castle.
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Coinciding with the release of the film, Milton Bradley marketed a "Thunderball" board game, having marketed a "James Bond" board game the previous year. These were just two of numerous 007 tie-ins introduced on the market at the height of the early Bond boom.
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The first outline for this movie was written by Ernest Cuneo on May 27, 1959. Cuneo was also used as the name of a character in Ian Fleming's novel 'Diamonds Are Forever,' but not in its subsequent film adaptation.
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The amount of money spent on underwater equipment for this movie, including props, cameras, and apparatus, totaled about 92,000 dollars.
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In early outlines and treatments for this movie, the character Domino Derval (a.k.a. Dominique Derval) was known as Domino Smith. She is known as Domino Petachi in this movie's remake, Never Say Never Again (1983). The Paula Caplan character was called Paula Roberts at first.
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Rik Van Nutter had a contract to appear as Felix Leiter in the next several Bond films, but they couldn't figure a way to work the character into either of the next two.
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Largo doesn't wear an eyepatch in the book. However, his head and hands are abnormally large in the book.
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The most difficult sequences to film were the underwater action scenes. The first scene shot, at a depth of fifty feet, was the scene where SPECTRE divers remove the atomic bombs from the sunken Vulcan bomber. Peter Lamont had previously visited a Royal Air Force bomber station, carrying a concealed camera, which he used to get close-up shots of secret missiles (those appearing in the film were not actually present).
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Bouvoir was originally to be strangled with his own bra, rather than the poker that was eventually used.
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The conference hall scene, where Bond and the other OO Agents are briefed, was originally to feature several famous actors, in cameos, who had previously played on-screen secret agents.
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The original climax was much different - Having been rescued from the underwater cave, Bond joins Leiter on a hovercraft and they team up with the aquaparas for the final battle as SPECTRE try to drop the first bomb in a sunken wreck. Largo escapes to the 'Disco Volante', but before it leaves Bond gets on board. Largo is killed by Domino, and Bond and Domino jump to safety from the hydrofoil which is now out of control. Kutze is left on board and destroys the ship by detonating the fuel tanks. After Domino and Bond are picked up by Leiter in the hovercraft, there is a final scene shown as the credits roll: the ransom is dropped by an air force plane and the package sinks to the sea bed where it is intercepted by a two man SPECTRE sub. As the mechanical arm extends to grab the package, it explodes.
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The final mention of Ernst Stavro Blofeld in an Ian Fleming story, was at the start of his book "The Man with the Golden Gun", his final full Bond novel.
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Domino was Italian in the book. Her full name was Dominetta "Domino" Vitali.
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Faye Dunaway tried out for the role of Domino, but her agent persuaded her to be in The Happening (1967) instead. She would later be a candidate to be a Bond girl in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Octopussy (1983).
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The surname of the Ernst Stavro Blofeld character was allegedly named after Thomas Blofeld with whom James Bond creator Ian Fleming went to school with at Eton College. Also known as Tom Blofeld, he was a Norfolk farmer, a fellow member of Boodle's, and the Chairman of the Country Gentleman's Asssociation. His son is cricket commentator Henry Blofeld. Ernst Blofeld's date of birth in the literary James Bond stories is the same date as Fleming's birthday which is 28th May 1908. Moreover, Ernest Cuneo was a friend of Fleming's. According to the book "Martinis, Girls and Guns: 50 Years of 007" (2003) by Martin Sterling and Gary Morecambe: "Cuneo may have also have inspired Blofeld's forenames - it is but a short leap from Ernest Cuneo to Ernst Stavro". According to the book "For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming + James Bond" (2009) by Ben Macintyre: "Alternatively, Blofeld may owe his name to China scholar John Blofeld, who was a member of Fleming's club Boodles, and whose father was named Ernst". In addition, the book "The Bond Code: The Dark World of Ian Fleming and James Bond" (2008) by Philip Gardner states: "The name is also revealing in a psychological way. Ernst is Teutonic for 'earnest', and Stavros is Greek for 'victor', and so he is the 'earnest victor'", and "the name Blofeld means 'blue field', a swipe at his own blue blood rampant in the field, like heraldry", and moreover, "As the creator of SPECTRE, Blofeld is in reality the spectre of Ian Fleming that looms ever present within his divided mind".
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The title of the later film Spectre (2015) also lends its name to a trio of original Ian Fleming James Bond novels, which have also been anthologized and published as "The Spectre Trilogy". The books, all featuring archvillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, include "Thunderball", "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", and "You Only Live Twice", which were filmed in the 1960s, in a different order than which they were originally published, this being: Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), and On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
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Such was the popularity of the film, that one theater manager was threatened with divorce, because he was unable to leave the theater for several days at a time.
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In early outlines and treatments for this movie, the character of Emilio Largo was known as Henrico Largo. He is known as Maximilian Largo in this movie's remake, Never Say Never Again (1983). Emilio Largo's eye-patch was worn over his left eye, while the Maximilian Largo character was not given an eye patch.
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Ricou Browning directed the film's underwater sequences. He would later perform the same duty on the remake Never Say Never Again (1983).
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Albert R. Broccoli's original choice for the role of Domino Derval was Julie Christie, following her performance in Billy Liar (1963). Upon meeting her, however, he was disappointed by her casual appearance and relatively modest busom.
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On arriving in Nassau, Kevin McClory searched for possible locations to shoot many of the key sequences of the film and used the house of a local millionaire couple, the Sullivans, for Largo's estate, Palmyra. Part of the SPECTRE underwater assault was also shot on the coastal grounds of another millionaire's house on the island.
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Originally, Bond and Pinder were to have descended on 'Palmyra' for the night sortie. They were to have gone to a boathouse, to see what had made two tracks in the sand. They find it is just a pedalo, but accidentally set off the alarm, and in the following gun battle on the beach, Pinder is killed. The scene would have ended in the same way as the film, with Bond jumping free of the shark pool - although the line he was to have said was: 'Sorry you'll have to order something else.'
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Originally, Bond was to escape from Volpe, after bedding her, by escaping down his hotel corridor, dressed in costume for the Junkanoo. He was to pick up a cookstove from a nearby waiters trolley and use this is as a weapon, although Volpe did manage to get a shot at him - which would have led into the Junkanoo sequence.
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Neither Sean Connery, nor Albert R. Broccoli were present for the premiere. Connery escaped the spotlight, and stayed at home with his wife and children. Broccoli was in New York City - his mother had died two days earlier.
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Second film in which Bond drives his Aston Martin DB5. The eight films are: Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) (appears in a deleted scene and visible on the thermal camera near the end of the film), Casino Royale (2006), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015). The DB5 has appeared with three different licence plates; BMT 216A (Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015)), BMT 214A (GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World is Not Enough (1999)), and 56526 (Casino Royale (2006)), which was the unique DB5 for being the only left hand drive DB5 Bond drives. Therefore, with eight films, the DB5 car has appeared in more Bond films than any actor who has played Bond.
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The gun-barrel sequence that opens this film marks not only the first time the actor portraying Bond performs the scene but is also the first instance in the series where the dot opens up to reveal the 1st scene in the story.
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Q mentions a "rebreather" when issuing Bond a miniature breathing apparatus. A true rebreather recycles exhaled air in a closed loop without emitting any bubbles, which is the opposite of a scuba tank, which discharges all exhaled air as bubbles. No rebreather is obviously evident anywhere in the film, only conventional scuba tanks. Rebreathers have always been rare, dangerous due to their depth restrictions, and mostly reserved for military stealth operations, so Q's reference to a rebreather is unusual and possibly an error.
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For the scene where Count Lippe's car explodes, stuntman Bob Simmons ignited wads of petrol-soaked felt via a dashboard switch on cue. Terence Young, amid fears over Simmons' safety, filmed the car's crash and subsequent explosion although the stuntman seemed to have vanished. Young was relieved to have Simmons re-emerge behind him, having been lucky to escape with his life.
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While filming in Paris, Sean Connery took the opportunity to attend his first premier of Goldfinger (1964). While driving down the Champs-Elysees, his Aston Martin DB5 was invaded by a frenzied female fan.
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Sixty divers participated in the climactic underwater battle.
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In keeping with her name, Domino's clothes are always in black and white.
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Claudine Auger would claim that she related to her character, as she and Domino were involved with older men. (She was married to writer Pierre Gaspard-Huit.
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The SCUBA diving regulators in Thunderball are Voit products. The dual hose regulators used by the SPECTRE divers are the Voit Polaris, which is the Voit version of the US Divers Mistral. The other regulator you see in the movie, used by James Bond and the Americans is a single hose regulator, the Voit Dolphin.
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While using the underwater propulsion unit, Bond was originally going to use green dye as a smoke screen to escape pursuers. Instead Ricou Browning, the film's underwater director, used it to make Bond's arrival more dramatic.
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On June 26, 2013, Christie's auction house sold the Breitling SA Top Time watch worn in the film by Sean Connery for over 100,000 pounds; given to Bond by Q, it was also a Geiger counter in the movie.
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At Shrublands, Bond was originally to have impersonated one of the cockney staff when trapping Lippe in the sauna, and was to sing "We're having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave" as he leaves him baking.
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Jacques Bouvoir was originally named Boitier, while Count Lippe was originally named Count Lipson.
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There was originally a scene in the Bahamas with Bond meeting Paula for the first time - set in a beach bar, she was to spell out '007' in the sand as a recognition sign.
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There were to be additional scenes between M and the Foreign Secretary involving the collection and delivery of the diamonds by armored car.
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According to the book 'James Bond: A Celebration' (1987) by Peter Haining, who passed away in 2007, "Jules Verne's Captain Nemo was the inspiration for (Ian) Fleming's Ernst Stavro Blofeld". The book states that the character "has his origins in Caprtain Nemo, the hate-fuelled rebel of Jules Verne's classic novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (1870)". Blofeld was originally intended to be the villain in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
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The original draft scripts for Thunderball (1965) did not involve SPECTRE, but Italian mobsters in the Sicilian Mafia, with Largo as a crime boss. This was the reason why many of the villains were played by Italian actors. Spectre (2015) restores this Italian connection script element, by featuring a Rome setting, with Italian-style gangsters for the film's SPECTRE board meeting.
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When Bond says goodbye to Patricia, he says Another Time, Another Place (1958), the name of a film that Sean Connery previously appeared in.
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Molly Peters had previously been an extra in Terence Young's previous film The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965).
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Guy Doleman (Count Lippe) appeared in another spy film the same year - The Ipcress File (1965), which was also co-produced by Harry Saltzman.
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Cameo 

Bob Simmons: The franchise regular stuntman in an uncredited part as Colonel Bouvard, the man in drag, who James Bond fights, in the pre-title sequence. Before "she" gets punched, the part is played by Rose Alba, explaining why "his" legs look so good in a dress. Up until this film, Simmons had appeared as James Bond in the gun-barrel sequence in the first three movies in the franchise. In this movie, however, Sean Connery performs that moment for the first time.
Diane Hartford: The wife of millionaire Huntington Hartford in an uncredited walk-on role as a girl at the Kiss Kiss Club. She had three lines with Sean Connery, whom she was dancing with, when the evil redhead Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi) cuts into their dance at the Junkanoo. Husband Huntington gets credited at end of the movie, for the use of his privately owned Paradise Island.
Henry Ford II: The grandson of Henry Ford appeared as an extra. Ford were associated with the picture providing a few vehicles, such as a light sky blue Ford Mustang convertible, Ford Bell 47J, and a 1965 Ford station wagon.
Charles Russhon: The military adviser and technical consultant for most of the early movies in the franchise, appears as an Air Force officer. He appears camera right of M during the conference with all the OO Agents. For this film, he also liaised with the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force aqua-para team to organize their participation in the film. For the production, he also organized the Skyhook rescue equipment, and a sizable amount of underwater diving gear, valued at 92,000 dollars.
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Kevin McClory: a man seated, and smoking a cigar, at the Nassau Casino, when James Bond arrives.
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George Leech: The stuntman is uncredited as a Disco Volante crewman.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

As overseen by John Stears, the special effects explosion of the Disco Volante was so powerful it shattered and blew out windows about twenty to thirty miles away in Nassau's Bay Street where the film's Junkanoo Mardi-Gras sequence was filmed. Reportedly, he had not known how potent and strong a mix the experimental rocket fuel was in order to create the explosion.
When Bond and Domino are rescued by winch at the end of the movie, it was actually by a then-real sea rescue method known as sky-hooking. It is an out of date practice today, as more advanced helicopter rescue methods are used, such as those seen in the movie The Guardian (2006).
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The first line of the novel read: "It was one of those days when it seemed to James Bond that all life, as someone put it, was nothing but a heap of six to four against." The last line of the novel read: "Then she gave a small sigh, pulled the pillow to the edge of the bed so that it was just above him, laid her head down so that she could see him whenever she wanted to, and closed her eyes."
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Spectre (2015) is the second of two major appearances of the Ernst Stavro Blofeld character in the official James Bond film franchise where Blofeld is seen with hair, as he had been in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) where he was played by Charles Gray. In both You Only Live Twice (1967) and On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Blofeld was bald, being portrayed by Donald Pleasence and Telly Savalas respectively. In minor roles and appearances, Blofeld was bald in the unofficial appearance in For Your Eyes Only (1981), but had hair in Thunderball (1965) , From Russia with Love (1963), and the unofficial film, Never Say Never Again (1983).
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The character of Ernst Stavro Blofeld has appeared in the following major and/or official James Bond movies and video-games (in order): From Russia with Love (1963), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), informally in the official film For Your Eyes Only (1981), in the unofficial film Never Say Never Again (1983), GoldenEye 007 (2010), GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (2004), 007 Legends (2012), and Spectre (2015) .
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The Ernst Stavro Blofeld villain character returns to the official film franchise in Spectre (2015) but since Blofeld last appeared in the official series films Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and informally in For Your Eyes Only (1981) and the unofficial entry Never Say Never Again (1983), Blofeld has actually appeared in three James Bond video-games. The Wikipedia website states: "Blofeld appears in the 2004 video game GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (2004)), this time with the likeness of Donald Pleasence [from You Only Live Twice (1967), voiced by Gideon Emery. Blofeld is a playable multiplayer character in the 2010 video game GoldenEye 007 (GoldenEye 007 (2010)) for the Wii, with the likeness of Charles Gray [from Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Blofeld is one of the main characters in the 2012 video game 007 Legends (007 Legends (2012)), featured in the mission based on On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) (See On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)), in which the character was an amalgamation of the three actors who had appeared in the official film series, they being Telly Savalas, Charles Gray, and Donald Pleasence). Throughout the game, he is voiced by Glenn Wrage."
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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