Casino Royale - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Casino Royale Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 20, 2012
20/07/2012 (ONLINE)
Super Reviewer
½ February 6, 2012
Okay, I've only rated one film on this website at 0.5 stars, and that was "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." In my opinion, it's the worst mainstream film ever made. This film is a close second. For those of you who are confused by the idea of a "Casino Royale" film in the 60s, here's a brief history. Basically, 2 production companies had the rights to different Bond books to adapt to the screen. One was run by Albert Broccoli who made "Dr. No" and cemented Sean Connery as a sexy sexy man. The other was still in the process of developing "Casino Royale" and seeing that they couldn't directly compete with Sean Connery, decided to make their film into a spoof of Bond. The result is this disaster that manages to star some of the most talented minds in Hollywood (Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, and ORSON WELLES) and ended up being a money blackhole. So, what exactly is wrong with it? IT'S THE MOST INCOHERENT THING I'VE EVER SEEN (And I'm a fan of Terry Gilliam). It feels like 5 different movies stitched into one film (which it essentially is, considering it had 5 different directors, most who went uncredited at the fear of the film's reputation destroying there careers). Speaking of uncredited crew, you ever heard the expression "Too many cooks spoil the broth?" This film is the embodiment of that. Only 3 writers receive credit. The other SIX didn't want to be associated with the film. You read that right. This film had NINE writers during its development, including Hollywood legend Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard and a million other movies in the 50s and 60s). Some people really think this is funny considering the time period. This isn't an excuse. "The Silencers" was a James Bond spoof released one year after this film and its infinitely funnier. In fact, it has one gag that had me on the floor laughing. "Casino Royale" only made me laugh twice during its TWO-AND-A-HALF-HOUR RUNTIME. "The Silencers" was an hour shorter, and infinitely funnier. In total, this is one of the worst films I've ever seen. Only watch it as a retrospect on how badly the development of a film can go.
Super Reviewer
½ December 24, 2007
Bizarre madcap comedy that isn't really that funny, but has a great taste. In the vein of later comedy masterpieces like Blazing Saddles, but with none of the humor. The cast is fantastic and everyone gives great performances, but the film itself just isn't very good.
Super Reviewer
December 11, 2010
This movie is half good, but half bad too. There's an all-star cast, and the story is a spoof of spy movies at the time, so it has both of those things going for it. It has some really funny scenes, but then it has a lot of unfunny comedy scenes too. Overall this movie is okay, you'll like it better if you enjoy Woody Allen's comedy and James Bond movies.
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2007
Terribly uneven but there are things to enjoy. Most of the star cameos are fine if not outstanding. The clothes are wonderful. The women, especially Ursula Andress, are stunningly beautiful and the song "The Look of Love" is great. One question though, why did they dub Jacqueline Bisset's voice?
Super Reviewer
½ December 7, 2008
If you've ever wanted to see a train wreck of a movie then this is the one for you. Casino Royale was the lan Fleming novel that got away from Eon and with their success it was promptly made into the 1960's version of the Cannonball Run. The plot (?) is that the original James Bond (David Niven) has to come out of retirement to stop SMERSH from taking over the world. There's a bunch of other people who are also called James Bond and Peter Sellers and Orson Welles appear for about a quarter of the movie.

This film had five directors. That's right five. They all had a segment. Then someone called for a linear story. No shit! Too bad its linear story leads right to the toilet. Let's throw in some Burt Bacharach and psychadelia to make the kiddies want to go see it and bam. This film is a mess that we can call Ian Fleming's Star Wars Holiday Special.
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2007
1960s spoof of the Bond series, should be good, but the Carry-On style humour just doesn't work for me.
Super Reviewer
½ July 11, 2007
The 'other' Casino Royale. Yup. Directed by different directors. James Bond acted by different actors. The story is a jumbled mess. There's semi-funny scenes. I liked Orson Wells cheating at the Casino. David Niven was a good James Bond; it probably earned him his role in "Murder by Death". Woody Allen was a complete goof. Parts of this were like Doctor Strangelove. The ending was sucky. After all the trouble they invested in this movie, I'm glad they didn't simply shelve it. Maybe some insane person can explain it so I'll understand. It has a great title song and set design. This is a farce which I like watching when I'm in a silly mood.
Super Reviewer
½ March 2, 2007
Bizzare, fragmented, and absurd. A schizofrenic, rambling excuse for a plot... and as a satire, it works beautifully. A simple delight to watch, and given its broad (or rather, totally erratic) range of humor, there is likely to be at least some humor that fits your tastes. Just don't try to appreciate its finer, subtle points.
Super Reviewer
½ February 12, 2007
I thought it was pretty stupid. i don't really like Woody Allen though.
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2006
Wacky comedy extravaganza of James Bond spoof.
Super Reviewer
½ November 20, 2006
Not quite as dreadful as I had heard, but not terribly far off, Casino Royale depicts the Bond saga as a freewheeling spy epic with several 007s. Though the quickfire comedy is sometimes bang-on in its lampoonery (is that a word?), or times it is simply trite (a pricless wig referred to as an 'hairloom' - painful). In this regard, it suffers many of the ignominities of the standard bawdy 60s sex comedy, granting the same kind of titillation and mirth as a saucy British postcard. A shame really, as the cast is normally highly commendale. Woody is wasted on a slapsticky part sans his usual intellectual wit (and therefore charm), and Niven seems a million miles away throughout. Some grace is given in Sellers' segments, his comedic genius given time to shine in all of his segments (plus his parts feature the sumptous 'The Look Of Love'). Orson Welles also aquits himself as the gambler Le Chiffre, but suffers from a terribly blunt death scene. Overall, not a disaster, but unjustifiably long and meandering.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ September 12, 2012
Wow, it took them four films before they finally got around to adapting what was the first installment in the "007" novel series, and this film isn't even an official member of the "007" film series, or at least not as far as EON Productions is concerned. Well, seeing as how this film boasts an ensemble team of skilled directors - one of whom is John Huston - and performers, - one of whom is Orson Welles - I suppose you could that this film was worth the wait, though I wouldn't particularly recommend that you say that, seeing as how this is anything but the serious piece you would expect it to be, considering the names attached. Oh yeah, you've got Peter Sellers, whose only other espionage-esque role was Chief Inspector Clouseau, so this clearly has to be hardcore serious. Speaking of serious, "seriously" though, if you was a "seriously" "serious" film take on James Bond's debut, then go out and check out the one with Daniel Craig... which showed up when we were 20 installments into the "official" EON series, alone. Boy, I tell you what, James Bond may make for a pretty good series and a really good spy, but he's anything but the most organized spy in the film industry, or at least just when it comes to organizing the order of film adaptations, because "Live and Let Die" was the second book and eight EON film, "Moonraker" was the third book and eleventh EON film, "Diamonds Are Forver" was the fourth book and sixth EON film, and, well, the list goes on. Eh, whatever, at least the order of the official film adaptations is less all over the place than this film. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this film just fine, even if Ken Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish, Val Guest and an uncredited Richard Talmadge aren't quite Martin Campbell when it comes to directing an enjoyable adaptation of "Casino Royale", yet make no mistake, this film's gamblings don't always turn up in the final product's favor.

When you're dealing with a slew of different directors, with different tastes, taking on a loose, near-spoofy comic adaptation of a relatively serious novel, you're not likely to be able to keep things perfectly even, and sure enough, this film is all over the place, if in no other way, tonally, having moments where it's rather straight-faced, moments where it's almost kind of serious, moments where it's subtly satirical, moments where it's no nuttier than an average Bond filler film, moments where it's straightly comedic and moments where it's borderline, if not directly Mel Brooks, and after a while, the excessive unevenness of the tones doesn't just get to be exhausting, but considerably damaging to whichever tone stands present. There are too many people behind this project for artistic compromise, thus leaving every switch between directors to stand as far too palpable, to the point of leaving the film to feel extremely messy, not just in its level of seriousness, but overall atmosphere, with the only thing being consistent with each directorial effort being some varying degree of potent blandness. Still, the film's inconsistencies don't just end with the overwhelming number of different direcorial minds, as Wolf Mankowitz's, John Law's and Michael Sayers' screenplay is an absolute mess to begin with, being excessively episodic in its progression, - a situation made worse by more than a few glaring plot holes, some of which are unintentional and some of which are intentional, but just fall too flat for you to notice the intention - as well as drastically uneven in focus, taking out enormous periods of time to focus on a subplot or new character as a whole segment of the film, which of course leaves you to go thrown way off and lose quite a bit of investment in the film, which already does a weak job of grabbing you by neglecting to deliver on a whole lot of exposition or flesh-out. Still, even with all of the film's many failures to take the time to fill in story progression holes and exposition, the final product still clocks in at a, by the standard of comedies of this time, "whopping" 131 minutes, which is way too blasted long, as the film very much reminds you with its long periods of total filler, as well with its being just too bloated with varying tones, subplots, characters and so on and so forth, nearly none of which marry organically in the midst of such a messy conjunction of storytellers and an absolute mess of a hole-riddled, radically inconsistent screenplay. I wish I could figure out a way to fully describe the unevenness of the film, for although it's clear that this film's messiness is intentional, the final product gets too caught up in its intentions and becomes too messy for you to fully - pun... now intended, now that I think about it - "bond" with it. All the final product nearly is is a messy cascade of various tones, themes, styles and plots, all of which have more than a few glaring holes, and none of which meld together all that organically, and that's part of the reason why the film is so charming. The film is a mess of stunning proportions, but as I said, that's kind of what it's gunning for, and while such an intention is problematic to begin with, as well as overdone in the long run (Ha-ha, rhyme), it gives this film a charming - nay - pretty entertaining freneticism that makes it ultimately rather enjoyable, and it helps that, when this film does do something quite right, it really does delivers.

Being that it is both a satire on and celebration of the "007" series, as well as, of course, uneven in tone and theme, the film will sometimes feel like a "Bond" film, sometimes feel like the unofficial "Bond" film that it is, and sometimes feel quite considerably alien to the "Bond" series, yet if the film is consistent with nothing else that is distinctly "James Bond", then it's the fabulous taste in locations, as principal photography explores many neat and distinctly colorful areas, while gracefully playing up these locations' dynamicity and livliness with the fine photographic efforts of Jack Hildyard, Nicolas Roeg and John Wilcox. The set pieces often do a lot to define a "Bond" film, both official and unofficial, and do just that with this film, breathing into the final product quite a bit of livliness, made all the more potent by what is done right in the script. Among the strengths in the script stands the humor, or at least to a certain extent, as the film's sense of humor is, as I said, uneven, going anywhere from subtle to, as I also said, Mel Brooks, sometimes in a matter of seconds, and that kind of unevenness taints the effectiveness of the film's comedy, yet never crushes it, as the film delivers quite a few colorful jokes, both charmingly clever and delightfully outgoing, which further sparks entertainment value in this film. Another majorly flawed major strength found within Mankowitz's, Law's and Sayers' script is their extremely loose - and I really, really, really mean "loose"... or at least I think that I do, because I never actually read "Casino Royale", just watched its 2006 adaptation - take on Ian Fleming's original story, for although this film's story takes quite the blow from many a plot whole and oh so much unevenness in focus and themes, it remains colorful and dynamic, partially in the way many "007" fillers are and partially in its own unique way, thus making for a fun tale, made complimented by just as much color in the characterization. As I said, this film has way too many characters for its own good, and focuses on some too thoroughly, to the point of throwing the film's focus way off, while quite a few secondary or even tertiary characters stand as cuttable, and do indeed, in some cases, get that cut after a while, though perhaps too randomly, yet with all the flaws in the characterization, each character is distinct, colorful and, to one extent or another, actually pretty memorable, for although certain characters fail to go as fleshed out as they probably should be, most characters leave some kind of colorful impression, made all the stronger by the charismatic talents who bring them to life. A few performances are unintentionally bad, and a few others slip up on purpose, yet slip up nevertheless, yet on the whole, while you definately shouldn't go in expecting the caliber of acting found in the much more serious 2006 take on Fleming's novel, expect every member of the massive, colorful cast to bring some, well, color, whether it be David Niven, or Peter Sellers, or the all-too-late-to-arrive, late, great, Mr. Orson Welles, or most every other member of this hefty ensemble. Of course, when you get down to it, what helps in making this film as reasonably enjoyable as it ultimately is is simply entertainment value, for although the film's level of livliness isn't even all that consistent, there's enough of it there throughout this film to emphasize this film's right moves, of which, there aren't enough to fully drown out the many, many, many mistakes made by the film, yet still enough for the final product to ultimately stand as reasonably worth your time, even if this film does take up more of your time than it should.

When it's all finally wrapped up, the final product is left scattered all over the place, having too many directors to keep a tone that doesn't find itself thrown radically out of evenness, as well as a script tainted by many plot holes and very little flesh-out, which brings more to attention the messy episodicity and immense focal unevenness of the story, just as much as the simple fact that this film is just so exhaustingly overlong and with little bite, thus making for a final product that is nothing short of a total mess, yet one that ultimately emerges as an enjoyable mess, boasting lively locations, - complimented by handsome cinematography - as well as a script that may be considerably flawed, yet delivers on generally effective humor, as well as a colorfully dynamic story and reasonably memorable characterization, made all the stronger by a myriad of charmers within this massive cast, which helps in fueling the entertainment value that ultimately leaves Charles K. Feldman's "Casino Royale" to stand as a fairly fun piece of filler, even if it does get to be exhaustingly messy.

2.5/5 - Fair
Super Reviewer
½ October 1, 2010
This is an odd artifact from the wild and experimental 60's in moviemaking: a spoof of James Bond. I'll say up front that its a complete train wreck as far as story, plot, and action, so be warned. However, the cast list reads like a who's who of classic film actors in a wide variety of bit parts and little vignettes. I doubt you will see a larger collection of classic film actors outside of It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. That's probably the only reason to watch this film, as it has about as much James Bond in it as Austin Powers did. It's James Bond as seen through a drug-induced haze. 9Might be the best way to watch it? You didn't hear that from me LOL)

The plot bares only a slight resemblance to the book (and later, far superior movie). The real James Bond is trying to enjoy a quiet retirement, but his old enemies and some new ones, are at it again. It takes forever to get to the real world-threatening plot, which, of course, is complete nonsense. Turns out MI6 has multiple James Bonds to save the world, but only a few of them are anywhere as competent as the original. (David Niven)

There are some really bizarre sequences, and the trivia surrounding this film would fill up a review all by itself. The film had a troubled production, with no less than five directors employed, and its still not known what happened to Peter Sellers role, which is cut short. Presumably, he had creative differences somewhere along the way.

For the time, it was a pretty risque film. Lots of half-dressed females, although this shouldn't be surprising in a Bond film of any type.

In short, a terrible waste of time and talent. It's a disjointed set of loosely strung together episodes, but it's sort of fun to watch now. Keep a notepad and pen handy and try to write down all the classic actors you see in the film.

It's also amazing that Burt Bacharach let his name be used in association with some of the the film's music sequences. Hopefully they paid him well. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass rendered the very recognizable theme for the movie.

Recommended for film buffs.
Super Reviewer
November 28, 2008
It's way too long and takes forever to get going. The last action sequence is quite amazing, though.
Critique Threatt
Super Reviewer
½ August 5, 2011
This movie is terrible. TERRIBLE! Nothing makes any sense. The editing is poorly cut, the acting is bad, and worst of all it's not even funny or satirical. Two hours and seventeen minutes of chaotic waste.
Super Reviewer
December 8, 2007
Along with Never Say Never Again, this is one of only two Bond films not considered canon. Yes it is a super poorly structered film, yes it had numerous problems and was lucky to even finish production, but there's no denying it has some very funny scenes!

P.S. On the dvd, there is a 48 minute tv episode from 1954 from a show called "Climax!" which did alot of mystery books into tv episodes. The episode included is "Casino Royale," which is James Bond's first tv/film appearance. He was played by Barry Nelson, and Peter Lorre played a great Le Chiffe, a role later played by both Orson Welles and Mads Mikkelsen.
Super Reviewer
August 23, 2006
A fascinating car crash of a film, with star faces littered throughout. A case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Still very very funny though.
Super Reviewer
½ July 19, 2008
Like "Benny Hill" on crack. This movie has its moments, funny moments, with some classic "Sellers-like" scenes, but these are interspersed between a plethora of ineffective, stupid attempts at humor. Movies like "Airplane" and "Austin Powers" captured the spirit of this genre much more effectively.
Super Reviewer
January 31, 2008
Just not especially funny.
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