Thunderball (1965) / Action-Adventure
MPAA Rated: PG for violence and mild sexuality
Running Time: 130 min.
Cast: Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi, Rik Van Nutter, Guy Doleman, Molly Peters, Martine Beswick, Bernard lee, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell
Director: Terence Young
Screenplay: Richard Maibaum, John Hopkins
Review published January 7, 2004
For those who think that the worst of Sean Connery's Bond adventures is still better that the best Roger Moore ever did, I hereby submit Thunderball as an end to that argument. Overlong and far too bloated, Thunderball is padded in almost every scene, especially in the arena of underwater battles that go on seemingly forever. It's a shame too, as this should have been one of the strongest of the Bond entries in plot, but it gets buried under the mind-numbing action to the point of non-importance.
The plot involves the evil crime organization known as SPECTRE, who hijack a British bomber, gaining two atomic bombs in the process. In exchange for the bombs, they demand $100 million in diamonds from NATO, so it's James Bond (Connery, Dr. No) to the rescue.
As much as I love Connery, especially as Agent 007, he just can't do much to save this clunky outing from inducing boredom, seeming to sleepwalk through his performance without the charisma and panache that had served him so well in the three previous Bonds. Watching the endless barrage of stunts, there's only one word to describe it: overkill. That this film stopped the creative momentum of the two best Bonds, From Russia with Love and Goldfinger, is the biggest disappointment of all.
-- Remade in 1983 a little more successfully in Connery's novelty comeback film, Never Say Never Again. Followed by You Only Live Twice
©1998 Vince Leo