Review: ‘Thunderball’

Sean Connery plays his indestructible James Bond for the fourth time in the manner born, faced here with a $280 million atomic bomb ransom plot. Action, dominating element of three predecessors, gets rougher before even the credits flash on. Richard Maibaum (who coscripted former entries) and John Hopkins' screenplay [based on an original screenplay by Jack Whittingham, from the original story by Kevin McClory, Whittingham and Ian Fleming] is studded with inventive play and mechanical gimmicks. There's visible evidence that the reported $5.5 million budget was no mere publicity figure; it's posh all the way.

Sean Connery plays his indestructible James Bond for the fourth time in the manner born, faced here with a $280 million atomic bomb ransom plot. Action, dominating element of three predecessors, gets rougher before even the credits flash on. Richard Maibaum (who coscripted former entries) and John Hopkins’ screenplay [based on an original screenplay by Jack Whittingham, from the original story by Kevin McClory, Whittingham and Ian Fleming] is studded with inventive play and mechanical gimmicks. There’s visible evidence that the reported $5.5 million budget was no mere publicity figure; it’s posh all the way.

Underwater weapon-carrying sea sleds provide an imaginative note, as does a one-man jet pack used by Bond in the opening sequence, reminiscent of the one-man moon vehicle utilized by Dick Tracy in the cartoon strip.

Connery is up to his usual stylish self as he lives up to past rep, in which mayhem is a casual affair.

Adolfo Celi brings dripping menace to part of the swarthy heavy who is nearly as ingenious – but not quite – as the British agent, whom, among other means, he tries to kill with man-eating sharks.

Terence Young takes advantage of every situation in his direction to maintain action at fever-pitch.

1965: Best Visual Effects (John Stears)

Thunderball

UK

Production

McClory. Director Terence Young; Producer Kevin McClory; Screenplay Richard Maibaum, John Hopkins; Camera Ted Moore; Editor Peter Hunt; Music John Barry; Art Director Ken Adam

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1965. Running time: 130 MIN.

With

Sean Connery Claudine Auger Adolfo Celi Luciana Paluzzi Rik Van Nutter Bernard Lee

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