J. H. Minde | Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York | 11/04/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THUNDERBALL (1965) the fourth of the James Bond 007 series is among the best of the films. As a follow-up to the phenomenally successful and definitive GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL is just a shade less satisfying. In terms of tone and composition the two films are of an era in the James Bond mythology. Sean Connery returns as the inimitable British Secret Agent, this time set against SPECTRE Agent Number Two, Largo (Adolfo Celi). SPECTRE has stolen an atomic bomb and is holding the world hostage. Largo is a worthy adversary. Strongly-built, silver-haired, wearing an eyepatch, and more physically intimidating than Gert Frobe's plump Goldfinger, Celi's Largo lacks the faintly tongue-in-cheek air which animated Goldfinger's behavior. In fact, the entire film lacks the decidedly humorous undertone of GOLDFINGER. The villains are more vicious, and Connery's Bond, his wit more honed than ever, is playing for keeps. The theme song (with Tom Jones singing), plot and story are at least on a par with the predecessor film; however, the action, based in the Caribbean, takes place largely around, and under, water, and the film drags deplorably during most of the underwater sequences despite the fact that one of these is the climactic fight scene. The change in tempo between land and undersea action is jarring and detracts from the movie in a manner that its innate excellence in other respects cannot compensate. Of course, Bond successfully seduces just about every woman on the set (except for Miss Moneypenny, the Penelope of the series). While he is able to win an ally in Domino (Claudine Auger), he is less successful with others, though as he admits, after all, it is "all for King and Country." What a sense of selfless sacrifice the man has!THUNDERBALL was later remade as NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN in which Connery, still trim, fit, and feisty (but with toupee) returned to the James Bond role after more than a decade's hiatus. The remake is great to watch as a counterpoint to the original. While THUNDERBALL is not as much fun as GOLDFINGER, if all subsequent Bond films could have been as good as THUNDERBALL, even Timothy Dalton would have been a tolerable 007. Let's give this one FOUR AND A HALF STARS."
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 09/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After the phenomenal success of "Goldfinger," Bondmania reached its box-office peak with this spectacular 1965 adventure. Though the adaptation by Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins is needlessly complicated in spots, "Thunderball" has all the requisite 007 elements: Sean Connery's classic performance, solid direction from Terence Young, an impressive supporting cast, and John Barry's memorable score. The first widescreen Bond production makes the most of its Bahaman locales and John Stears' Oscar-winning visual effects. Slightly overlong, "Thunderball" is a notch below the previous 007 films, but well worth having."
This is what Bond is all about! Clearly the best Bond film
Steve Forsyth | Denton, TX USA | 09/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I noted that this is the only Bond film of the entire series that, to date, has not received a single 1-star review here on Amazon. That's pretty dang good!
Director Terrence Young had introduced us to Bond in DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. Guy Hamilton then took us down the GOLDFINGER road, and while his attention to action made that the first SMASH Bond film, he also seemed to lose alot of the more down-to-earth flavor that made the first two Bonds so much better.
But, Terrence Young returned for his final Bond film, and somehow managed to provide the perfect mesh of the realistic Bond from the first two films, and the more action-oriented Bond of GOLDFINGER. The result is a very happy marriage indeed - it's just too bad there were very few legitimate children born of it!
THUNDERBALL contains all the great locales, villains, and Bond coolness that we love, without getting into the ridiculous, gadget-filled territory of the later films. It introduces us to our first true Bond femme fatale, and also gives us the first really interesting Bond girl in Claudine Auger's Domino character.
The music in the movie by John Barry is very nice, high-lighting the slower pace of much of the film. This movie is longer than the previous three by almost 20 minutes, and it is a nice extra cushion to really build the tension. In fact, Bond is largely absent from the first 45 minutes of the movie, and we finally see more of the villians plans - what they are and how they are being accomplished - in almost meticulous detail. Somehow, this makes the threat more real. Speaking of the threat, the plot being about terrorists stealing nukes and demanding ransom to prevent blowing up an undesignated city, is as fresh as today's headlines!
The only real gripe that can be levied at the film is that Connery does indeed seem a little less interested in the role than he had been. I think he's still mostly on track here, but he's missing the total devotion that he showed in the first three films.
That aside, THUNDERBALL is simply the best Bond - offering everything that makes Bond great, and eliminating all the over-the-top sillieness that made the later films so excruciating to sit through!"
"You don't think I got any pleasure out of it, do you?"
Paul Kyriazi | Los Angeles,, CA. United States | 01/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, that's what Bond says to the just bedded villianess
once he's captured. You gotta admire the style of it.Though a little slow at times expecially in the underwater
scenes this fourth Bond adventure is pushed forward
by the music, the cast, and great locations. Bond gets off
lots of good lines and the girl is especially beautiful.
The villian, Largo,is one off the top five baddies in the
series. The title sequence is one of the best with Tom Jones
giving his all and falling unconscious in the
recording booth after holding the last note of the hit
title song. Way to go Tom!"
A Must Own on DVD
paperbackriter | USA | 08/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Explosive action, stunning locales, a tight plot and Sean Connery's most convincing turn as the world's favorite spy make Thunderball one of the finest-- if not the finest -- entries in the James Bond film series. Add to that a DVD package chock full of dynamic extras such as "behind the scenes" documentaries and two highly informative audio commentaries and you've got yourself a must own movie.The most visually stunning of all Bond films, Thunderball's sheer cinematic beauty comes glistening through on the remastered DVD print. The light, tropical hues of The Bahamas radiate like never before and the vast scope of the dazzling underwater scenes are fully appreciated on the widescreen transfer. Having personally viewed this Bond classic at least 200 times on standard video, I felt as though I was seeing it for the first time via widescreen DVD.The plot involves Emilio Largo(Adolfo Celi) as sinister SPECTRE baddie #2 who threatens to nuke Miami unless paid a hefty ransom by the British government and NATO. Of course, Bond has just four days in which to save the world -- four days filled with such distractions as an array of willing women, killer sharks, and exploding cars and boats! Celi is absolutely captivating as Largo,the eye-patched criminal mastermind. Deliberate and understated, Largo catches on to Bond, and his intent, early on. The ensuing cat and mouse chase begins cordially before turning deadly. The pursuit of Bond through the Junkanoo Parade in the streets of Nausau is positively nerve-wracking. Ditto a pair of horrific scenes in Largo's swimming pool which convieniently doubles as a deadly shark tank.Italian actress Luciana Paluzzi nearly steals the show as Fiona Volpe a femme fatale killer who yearns for Bond in more than one way. Paluzzi lights up the screen, oozing equal parts temptation and evil.Former Miss France, Claudine Auger turns in a fine performance as Bond's main love interest Domino. The fact the Domino just happens to be Largo's mistress doesn't stop our favorite super-spy from pursuing her. Rik Van Nutter's portrayal of CIA operative Felix Leiter is perhaps the series' finest. Of course, Moneypenny, Q and M all flawlessly reprise their respective roles.A perfect blend of From Russia with Love's suspense and Goldfinger's fun-filled explosiveness, Thunderball is undoubtedly one of the best Bond films. MGM did a great job on the DVD, thus making Thunderball a necessary addition to every Bond fan's collection."