Bond is back in Thunderball, his fourth cinematic outing. Two war heads have been from deviously stolen from N.A.T.O. by criminal organisation S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and the world is being held to ransom – for $100 million dollars no less. Nobody knows where they are being kept, but Bond has a lead that will take him to Nassau in the Bahamas, where he meets some interesting characters including Domino and, soon to be uncovered, Emilio Largo. Can Bond save the day in time?
Terrence Young once again returns with write Richard Mailbaum, directing Sean Connery as Bond, and some faces who are becoming familiar in the 007 family; Bernard Less as “M”, Desmond Llewelyn as “Q” and Lois Maxwell as “Moneypenny” to name a few. If you remember Bond films from your youth, or the occasional bank holiday, then this is the one with the jetpack at the start and the underwater sequences in the main part of the film.
With Bond firmly established in the 3 previous films, in this one we see him having a bit more fun and being a little more cavalier in his approach. He’s bedding women, giving one-line quips, and has gadgets to play with. The film feels very British in it’s early stages, the whole set up with the warheads being stolen from the Vulcan bomber feel like they could have been from various 60’s hammer house films or sci-fi films of the day. There is a simplicity to the film despite the gadgets and the action, we even get to see Bond in peril as he’s almost caught and killed by S.P.E.C.T.R.E. agents, only for them to mess it all up and kill one of their own top people. Personally, I found the end a little dated and a little rushed after the build-up the film delivers, but it doesn’t detract from the viewing pleasure the films gives. When I first saw this as a child the ending seemed to be a dangerous thrill ride, now as a seasoned film fan of techniques used in cinema, the speeding up of the action does look a little fake – but hey ho, it’s fun still in a 60’s cinema kind of way.
The cast all play their roles brilliantly and nothing seems too cheesy or forced. With lovely cinematography and a great John Barry score to match this is a very entertaining and colourful film. This may not be the strongest film in Bond franchise, but it certainly is fun. I’d definitely recommend it and I can confirm that it’s family friendly and a good way to spend a few hours.
Title Song: Thunderball – Tom Jones
In terms of Bond films this is a 7 out of 10.
In terms of movies in the long and illustrious history of film I would give this a 6 out of 10.
Bond, James Bond, 007 – Ranking