The first Bond film in which Felix Leiter is played by an African-American actor (Bernie Casey). The character is also African-American in the EON Productions official series movies Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008).
The title is (allegedly) based on a conversation between Sean Connery and his wife. After Diamonds Are Forever (1971) he told her he'd *never* play James Bond again, and there he was, playing James Bond again. Her response was for him to "never say never again".
This Warner Brothers film was intended to go head-to-head with the official Eon Bond series film Octopussy (1983) at the box office. Never Say Never Again (1983) was released just 4 months after Octopussy. Because the films starred Roger Moore and Sean Connery, each equally recognized to the movie going public as James Bond at the time, much of the talk in the press was of a "Bond vs. Bond" or "Battle of the Bonds" showdown at the box office. Most industry analysts predicted that Never Say Never Again would win out at the box office due to the return of Connery, more press, and a significantly larger production budget than Octopussy. According to a press release from Variety in 1985 this was not the case. Variety quoted figures from MGM and Warner Brothers that listed Octopussy's US gross at $67.9 million and Never Say Never Again's US gross at $55.4 million. It also listed Octopussy's worldwide gross at $187.5 million, and Never Say Never Again's worldwide gross at $160 million. The article also stated that according to the studios, Octopussy had $34.031 million in US rentals, while Never Say Never Again had $28.2 million in US rentals. When the final results were in Never Say Never Again and Sean Connery ended up losing the much discussed "Bond vs. Bond" showdown.
This "Bond film" was not part of the franchise produced by MGM and Danjaq. Kevin McClory, who was producer and co-writer of Thunderball (1965), won a legal battle against Ian Fleming to make his own Bond movie. The settlement stipulated that it had to effectively be a remake of Thunderball.
As Sean Connery was 52, it was decided to make James Bond a retired secret agent in this film. However, he was three years younger than Roger Moore when he played the still-serving Bond in Octopussy (1983) the same year.
A stunt involving a horse jumping off a cliff caused controversy among animal rights activists including the RSPCA. it became standard practice for movies to include a disclaimer (when applicable) indicating that animals were not mistreated during production.
This movie is based on the original "Thunderball" screenplay and not the script for the released version of Thunderball (1965). The Maximilian Largo character in Never Say Never Again (1983) was called Emilio Largo in Thunderball. In early outlines / treatments for that movie, he was known as Henrico Largo. Fatima Blush, a double agent from the original treatment, was renamed Fiona Volpe for the movie and excised completely from the book, then revived for NSNA. Domino Smith from the treatment became Domino (Dominique) Derval in Thunderball and Domino Petachi in NSNA. The Italian ship Disco Volante was Anglicised for NSNA as Flying Saucer. The Palmyra estate was relocated from the Bahamas to Morocco.
During the closing credits, there's a "Thanks A.K." listed. This refers to Adnan Khashoggi, the Saudi arms dealer who allowed them to film aboard his 282 yacht, the "Nabila". He later sold this yacht to Donald Trump, who renamed it the "Trump Princess". It is currently owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia.
When Bond arrives at the spa, he is driving a convertible Bentley. This is easily seen when the valet pulls his suitcase from the backseat and the flying B is on the hood. This is a tribute to the original Ian Fleming novels where James Bond drove a convertible Bentley, not an Aston-Martin like in the other films.
James Bond's Bahamian romantic interlude in this movie and credited as the Lady in Bahamas was played by Valerie Leon. She also appeared in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) as the Hotel Receptionist at the Cala Di Volpe Hotel in Sardinia.
In the early 1990s, producer Jack Schwartzman was supposedly planning a special edition laserdisc, with an all-new expanded cut of the film. There was also talk of having the film re-scored. To date, this has not come to fruition in any form.
The film was released four months after Octopussy (1983). This was the second of two times that two "James Bond" films were released in the same year. It previously occurred sixteen years earlier with Casino Royale (1967) and You Only Live Twice (1967).
The Thunderball court case began on 19 November 1963. Ian Fleming made a settlement with Kevin McClory after ten days, on 29 November 1963, giving McClory the film rights to this movie and £50,000 damages.
Vehicles featured included the Flying Saucer yacht (which translates as Disco Volante) and was known as the Nabila during filming and became the Kingdom 5KR and now Trump Princess; a black 1937 Bentley 4 1/4 litre B129JY Gurney Nutting 3-Position-Drophead Coupé ; Fatima's gold metallic Mercedes-Benz SL convertible and red 1983 Renault Turbo 2; Q-shop's black Yamaha XJ 650 Turbo motorbike ridden by Bond; a black Chevrolet Camaro SS; US Navy submarine and XT-7B helicopter; Rockwell B-1A Lancer ; Ford Taunus; Peugeot; Renault 5 GT Maxi Turbo and a rubber dinghy.
The original/working title for the film was "James Bond of the Secret Service" but in a London court case between Eon Productions and Kevin McClory, the court ruled that this title could not be used as it was too similar to the title for On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
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".
Kevin McClory originally planned for the film to open with some version of the famous "gun barrel" opening as seen in the EON Productions Bond series, but ultimately the film opens with a screen full of "007" symbols instead. When the soundtrack for the film was released on CD, it included a piece of music composed for the proposed opening.
To date (2010), this is the only 007 movie to be directed by an American - Irvin Kershner. However, this was not Kershner's only outing with Sean Connery, having first directed him in A Fine Madness (1966) 17 years earlier.
A number of the villains in the movie who work for SPECTRE had an Agent Number assigned to them. Maximilian Largo was SPECTRE Agent #1 whilst Fatima Blush was SPECTRE Agent #12. Blofeld for the first time in a Bond movie did not have a SPECTRE Agent number as he was Supreme Commander instead. French agent Nicole's agent number was Agent No. 326.
This movie was basically made because of remake rights owned by Kevin McClory relating to Thunderball (1965). According to the 20-26/10/1997 edition of the trade paper Variety, characters and situations which McClory claimed he owned included: SPECTRE and its octopus signia; characters Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Domino Smith, Fatima Blush and Fiona Volpe; James Bond up against the hijack of an A-bomb; James Bond fighting Sicilian Mafia; the Shrublands Health Clinic; Bahamas location; a yacht with a hidden hydrofoil and the rocket-firing motorbike. EON Productions owned the James Bond theme and logo plus a considerable number of characters and situations. Elements that were shared by both parties included James Bond, casino gambling, M, Q, Miss Moneypenny, Felix Leiter and the Aston Martin DB5. Interestingly of the latter, this vehicle did not appear in this movie whereas it did in Thunderball (1965). Further, despite the claims, the Bahamas was still a location in Casino Royale (2006).
Actor Manning Redwood, who appears as General Miller in this film, Also appeared in the franchise's next Bond Film, A View to a Kill (1985), as Bob Connelly, one of Max Zorin's associates. Redwood shares the distinction of appearing in back-to-back Bond films with different Bond actors playing both a good guy and a bad guy. (Walter Gotell and Joe Don Baker played good guys after playing bad guys.)
SPECTRE in the earlier Bond films stood for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. SPECTRE has also been known as the Special Executor for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. James Bond creator Ian Fleming originally had the acronym meaning slightly more simply the Special Executive for Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.
Kevin McClory, Ian Fleming and Jack Whittingham collaborated 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. For whatever reasons, the movie was never made. 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. Although Thunderball (1965) was 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 on that movie is possibly just another term of the settlement. The case was settled out of court.
Wendy Leech, who has a minor role in this film as a girl hostage, is the daughter of stuntman George Leech, who played a Spectre 'Disco Volante' vessel crewman henchman in Thunderball (1965), which this movie is a remake of.
In the book, "Kim: Longer Than Forever," Kim Basinger's ex-husband Ron Snyder quotes her as confiding that Sean Connery grabbed and deeply kissed her off-set when she came to say goodbye before production went on hiatus for Christmas break in 1982, Kim saying of the encounter, "I think he wanted to do more," but she had pulled away. Snyder considered the alleged behavior especially audacious of Connery, since he and Basinger both knew Sean's wife Micheline Roquebrune.
The title song of Never Say Never Again (1983) is sung by Lani Hall is also the name of a song recorded previously by The Bee Gees and heard on their 1969 double LP album, "Odessa". In 2008, an original song recorded but never used for the film was revealed to the public. Stephen Forsyth and Jim Ryan wrote the song which was also called "Never Say Never Again". It was sung by Phyllis Hyman and Warner Brothers intended it to be the film's title song during the making of the movie. The film's composer Michel Legrand allegedly maintained that he had contractual rights over the title song and considered suing. Consequently, the Ryan-Forsyth track reportedly had to be jettisoned by the studio just before the release of the movie due to legal reasons. The song was never released until 2008, when for the first time, the song was made available to the public - released on an album and made accessible via the internet.
There are at least seven deleted scenes that have not been made available for public viewing in any of the DVD editions. In an interview with Bobbie Wygant two months after the film's release, Kim Basinger said, "We actually shot two and a half more films, I bet, with all the footage we shot."
The literal translations of some of this film's foreign language titles include Never Say Never (Italy, Portugal, Germany, Greece, Turkey); Never Never Again (or Never Ever) (France); Agent 007, Never Say Never (Italy) ; and 007 Never More Say Never (Portugal)
Two official James Bond novels, unrelated to this movie, have titles using the word "never". These are the 1993's 'Never Send Flowers' by John Gardner and the 2001's 'Never Dream of Dying' by Raymond Benson.
Spectre (2015) is not the first time that SPECTRE has been considered as a James Bond film title as it was intended to the be title of a proposed sequel to Never Say Never Again (1983). 'The James Bond Bedside Companion' by Raymond Benson states that "SPECTRE" was one of the working titles (others were "Longitude 78 West" and "James Bond of the Secret Service") for the various original scripts, outlines, and treatments, which totaled to at least ten literary properties, that Ian Fleming, Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham developed prior to Fleming using story elements from this material for his novel of Thunderball (1965), which later was adapted into that movie, and from which resulted a long-standing legal dispute. Moreover, after McClory's Never Say Never Again (1983), which was a remake of Thunderball (1965), McClory planned "a series of James Bond films based on the copyrights of of 'The Film Scripts' and the film rights to Thunderball (1965). Paradise Productions III made an announcement in February 1984 that the first film would be titled SPECTRE".
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 [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)".
The film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Barbara Carrera for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture but she lost out to Cher for Silkwood (1983). Carrera is the only ever actress to be nominated for portraying a Bond Girl at the Golden Globes with no actress ever nominated for playing a Bond Girl at the Oscars.
Prior to the 2013 settlement between the McClory Estate and MGM & EON Productions, according to the 20-26 October 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 organisation'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 (aka 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 A-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 customised rocket-firing motorcycle (which Sean Connery as James Bond rides in the Thunderball (1965) remake Never Say Never Again (1983)).
The film is an unofficial entry in the James Bond franchise and it is a remake of Thunderball (1965) with Sean Connery returning in the role for one last time and the only ever actor to play James Bond in both an original first film and its remake.
From the entire of Bond Films, either Official Production of EON or the Unofficial Production, Never Say Never Again (1983) is the only Bond film which the main Villain (Ernst Stavro Blofeld) is played by Swedish Actor (In this case Max von Sydow. Furthermore, it's the first film that another villain (Maximilian Largo) is played by Austrian Actor Klaus Maria Brandauer, the second film to feature Austrian Actor as villain is Spectre (2015)in which Christoph Waltzplayed Franz Oberhauser.
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" (who is portrayed in Spectre (2015) by Christoph Waltz). 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 ". Blofeld was originally intended to be the villain in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
When Kevin McClory first announced he would be doing a rival James Bond picture, he suggested that the title would be "James Bond of the Secret Service " or " Warhead " . Len Deighton was to collaborate with Sean Connery on the script, and filming would be in the Bahamas and true to his roots, Ardmore studios outside Dublin. Orson Welles was to play Blofeld, and Trevor Howard was earmarked for M. Around this time McClory made a big circus special for TV, filmed in his palatial home in Straffan, Kildare, Ireland. John Huston was the ringmaster, Shirley Maclaine, Burgess Meredith and Eric Clapton were also on show and Sean Connery made a quick appearance also!
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
It is rumored that Sean Connery had an alternate ending to the "wink" in mind. As the characters walk down the street, a man brushes by them, causing them to double-take and look back at him. The camera angle shifts, and we see that it is Roger Moore, who turns to look at them and says "NEVER say never again!". Roger Moore and Sean Connery were good friends, and both were willing to do it, but they were never able to convince the director and producers.
At the end, Bond winks at the camera. The only other Bond films in which 007 breaks the "fourth wall" are Casino Royale (1967), which was a deliberate spoof, and On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), where the character was perhaps talking to himself.