ABOUT THE FILM
Thunderball (1965) is the fourth spy film in the James Bond series starring Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, which in turn was based on an original screenplay by Jack Whittingham. It was directed by Terence Young with its screenplay by Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins.
The film follows Bond’s mission to find two NATO atomic bombs stolen by SPECTRE, which holds the world to ransom for £100 million in diamonds, in exchange for not destroying an unspecified major city in either England or the United States (later revealed to be Miami). The search leads Bond to the Bahamas, where he encounters Emilio Largo, the card-playing, eye patch-wearing SPECTRE Number Two. Backed by CIA agent Felix Leiter and Largo’s mistress, Domino Derval, Bond’s search culminates in an underwater battle with Largo’s henchmen. The film had a complex production, with four different units and about a quarter of the film consisting of underwater scenes. Thunderball was the first Bond film shot in widescreen Panavision and the first to have running time of over two hours.
Thunderball was associated with a legal dispute in 1961 when former Ian Fleming collaborators Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham sued him shortly after the 1961 publication of the novel, claiming he based it upon the screenplay the trio had earlier written in a failed cinematic translation of James Bond. The lawsuit was settled out of court and Bond film series producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, fearing a rival McClory film, allowed him to retain certain screen rights to the novel’s story, plot, and characters, and for McClory to receive sole producer credit on this film; Broccoli and Salzman were instead credited as Executive Producers.
The film was a success, earning a total of $141.2 million worldwide, exceeding the earnings of the three previous Bond films. In 1966, John Stears won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and Production Designer Ken Adam was also nominated for a BAFTA award. Thunderball is the second-most financially successful film of the series when adjusting for inflation, after Skyfall. Some critics and viewers showered praise on the film and branded it a welcome addition to the series, while others complained of the repetitively monotonous aquatic action and prolonged length. In 1983, Warner Bros. released a second film adaptation of the novel under the title Never Say Never Again, with McClory as executive producer.
When two colleagues of James Bond are murdered, James follows the widow of a double agent who has been killed – and a confrontation ensues. The double agent is part of SPECTRE, and the organisation’s meeting in a secret lair in Paris regrets the agent’s passing as it deals with new criminal business. Emilio Largo, a ruthless and flamboyant one-eyed enforcer, has hatched a scheme against the North Atlantic Treaty powers that begins at a rehabilitation clinic near an RAF airbase. Scheduled to pilot an RAF Vulcan strategic bomber on a normal “fail-safe” flight is Francois Derval, who is having a passionate affair with the magnificently endowed beauty Fiona Volpe – an affair that SPECTRE exploits. Soon, the Vulcan and its warlord of two nuclear bombs have been hijacked, the bombs seized by Largo, for use in SPECTRE’s most audacious extortion scheme yet. James Bond, however, finds a key clue in the sister of Francois Derval, Dominique “Domino” Derval, a beautiful young woman who is a passionate scuba diver living in Nassau. When James investigates Domino, he comes into contact with a SPECTRE operation on the island, and he gets help from HMSS’ man in Nassau, Pinder, and in old CIA chum Felix Leiter. But when James and Felix find out what SPECTRE is up to, it may be too late to save a major US coastal city from nuclear annihilation.
Year of Film
Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi, Rik Van Nutter, Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell
Origin of Film
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Adventure | Thriller
Budget: $9,000,000 (Estimated)
Opening Weekend: Unknown
Gross: $141,200,000 (Worldwide)