Classic Film Review: Thunderball (1965)

Thunderball, 1965

Directed by: Terence Young

James Bond: Sean Connery

Also Starring: Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi, Rik Van Nutter

 

In James Bond’s (Sean Connery) fourth adventure he is assigned to prevent SPECTRE from setting off two NATO atomic bombs on an unspecified major city in either the United Kingdom or the United States. Sean Connery returns for his fourth outing as James Bond to stop Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), SPECTRE’s Number Two.

While certainly not as good as Goldfinger, it did improve on the one major issue I had with that film in having James Bond captured for a large part of it, however Thunderball makes another lengthy mistake with its use of water. Initially I loved some of the underwater scenes (SPECTRE crash-landing a NATO plane and stealing their atomic bombs all under water was brilliant, but sometimes less is certainly more, and they seemed to be fully committed to having as many scenes under water as possible. By the fifth time of having a lengthy scene under water it becomes quite tiresome, especially considering there is no dialogue or dramatic music, instead just breathing and water sounds, and the fight scenes are a lot slower (which is true to life as they are under water), and the final battle it becomes a bit confusing at times telling who is whom in their final fight, even with the armies on either side wearing opposite colour jackets (orange to black).

That aside, though, this had everything needed for a Bond film; his flirting with Miss Moneypenny, his gadgets, the cars, the women (he even sleeps with a woman under water, to truly emphasise how much under water activity goes on). The fighting in Thunderball is a lot better, with the single chops from Dr. No long since gone and replaced with well choreographed fight scenes, which is nice to see the progression of the Bond films.

The production quality is higher, the story is decent, the action flows throughout the film, the acting is fine, but too much time is spent under water (even though it does look nice), so that effects the overall enjoyment somewhat.

 

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