Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. United Kingdom, 1965. Eon Productions. Original story by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham, Ian Fleming, original Screenplay by Jack Whittingham, Screenplay by Richard Maibaum, John Hopkins. Cinematography by Ted Moore. Produced by Kevin McClory. Music by John Barry. Production Design by Ken Adam. Costume Design by Anthony Mendleson. Film Editing by Ernest Hosler. Academy Awards 1965.
James Bond is on the scene once again when the diabolical SPECTRE organization steals a test-model airplane loaded with dangerous nuclear weapons. The company holds the entire world hostage and demands two hundred million dollars, or else they will turn the nukes on a major world city and cause all sorts of destruction. Naturally, all the world really needs is the magnificent Mr. Bond, who sweeps into SPECTRE’s secret Bermuda lair and finds their underwater headquarters. This lower-level Bond adventure features all the girls, gadgets and crazy stunts you could want, but the screenplay is so choppy and the action so sporadic that it feels more like a collection of cliches than an actual movie. The climactic underwater fight scene is beautifully filmed by talented stuntmen, but an underwater battle isn’t nearly as exciting as something you could come up with on land in a speeding car. Still, in comparison to the worst of the Roger Moore adventures that would dominate the seventies, Thunderball looks like a classic, but when you realize that it came after Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger it comes up mighty short.