Thunderball - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Thunderball Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 16, 2012
"...And he STRIKES!!! Like Thunderbolt!!!" (Gotta love that Tom Jones theme song)

A bit overlong but still remains my personal favorite Sean Connery-era James Bond film. Great larger-than-life set pieces perfectly balanced out by carefully crafted slow-burn suspense sequences. Terence Young (Dr. No, From Russia with Love) returns to helm and I think this movie demonstrates that he was by far one of the franchises best directors next to Martin Campbell, John Glen, and Sam Mendes.

Connery gives probably his most self-assured performance yet as James Bond and Fiona Volpe (played wonderfully by the beautiful Luciana Paluzzi) remains one of my favorite femme fetales of the series next to Xenia Onatopp of "Goldeneye."

The usual make-or-break element of this film are the extensive underwater sequences, but personally I love them. They are gorgeously shot and the epic underwater battle between the good and evil Spectre army is fantastic.
Super Reviewer
October 22, 2012
"Thunderball" may not be a crowd favourite, but I really got a kick out of the story in this film and how well the underwater action scenes presented themselves. The action is top-notch and I could easily re-watch this film for that reason alone. As always, the acting is fantastic by the entire cast, especially Sean Connery, and all the elements of a great Bond film are present. It is definitely not without it's overlong running time, but if you sit through the film and be patient, you will get was you deserve. This film has great direction and very solid effects for it's time. "Thunderball" is one of the better bond films I've seen.
Super Reviewer
February 25, 2013
Though the gadgets get too gimmicky and the climax feels like anything but, 'Thunderball' is significant because it is carried by Connery's most assured performance as Bond.
Super Reviewer
April 16, 2007
This is the fourth entry in the James Bond series, and this timearound Bond once again finds himself squaring off against international criminal organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E.- specifically their member Emilio Largo- an eye patch wearing nut job who drops enemies and ineffectual henchman into a tank full of hungry sharks. Largo has hijacked a NATO nuclear bomber and hidden the bombs in the ocean depths. He gives the British government one week to pay him a ransom of 1,000,000 pounds or else he'll launch the weapons.

Well, it doesn't take long before Bonds sets of for Nassau to foil this diabolical plot, and he's get a few beautiful woman to accompany him along the way.

This is a fun one. It's Connery (once again), and, while he's not as strong as he was in the previous two entries, he's still quite strong here, and very comfortable with the role. It's a solid film, but maybe one of my least favorite of the Connery era. It's not a bad movie, just not quite as exciting as some of the others. It's a bit goofy, but I think it really only adds to the charm.

Plus, we get some great underwater scenes, and those are quite well done, especially for the time period. Those are some of the best parts, but the cinematography in general is quite good, and there's some okay land sequences as well.

With a decent title theme from Tom Jones, a fine score in general, and an entertaining title sequence, this is a really fun movie, and a decent entry in the long running series. Give it a go.
Super Reviewer
March 13, 2009
It's easy to see why this became the most commercially successful Bond entry in the whole franchise to this day. It is the first that has the blockbuster, epic feel that James Bond can nail when done right. It's not as cheesy as Goldfinger, but not as serious as From Russia With Love. It's also the first entry to clock in over 2 hours. It is a little long and the pace is slow at times, but the action sequences are fantastic (especially the underwater sequences, which have some great cinematography) and the story is not as hard to understand as the ones before it. A more than worthy entry into the Connery Bond canon.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2012
A slickly performed and well-crafted action film. An energetic, thrilling and extremely fun movie. Connery`s Bond is slick, funny and never better or beat. It`s loaded with amazing scenery and beautiful locations as well as amazing under-water action sequences.
Super Reviewer
December 1, 2006
SPECTRE steal two nuclear weapons and threaten to destroy two cities unless their ransom demands are met. Thunderball was the first James Bond film as we know them today; it introduced the now familiar gadgetry and various plot elements have been used and re-used in Bond films ever since. In this way Thunderball can be considered the most influential 007 of them all, and as such the gaping lapses in logic can be overlooked (surely adding settings to health equipment that can kill you is just plain bad for business?!) The formula of a globetrotting Bond encountering exotic beauties at every turn, aided by the ubiquitous Q and Felix Lighter has now passed into cliche, but Connery's quips still have wit, rather than the dumb one liners of Roger Moore and there are some strong female characters, particularly SPECTRE's fiery assassin and 007's beautiful assistant played by Martine Beswick. Adolfo Celi is suitably menacing without ever turning into a Bond caricature and there is a thrilling climax on a speeding hydrofoil. Its only real flaw is its length; some of the sequences are rather longer than they really needed to be, such as the overlong chase through a carnival and the unwisely dialogue -free underwater battle which slow things down considerably. Other than that, it's a good solid outing for the original and best Bond.
Super Reviewer
October 9, 2012
Here Connery returns for the fourth time as Bond, this time to battle S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and sharks. Thats right, this is the James Bond vs. Sharks movie(although he never actually battles a shark). Here Bond has to stop Emilio Largo aka Evil guy with an eye patch from detonating nuclear bombs in the ocean. The movie has the same charm as the previous three movies, it just doesn't quite meet up to their standards. The action is good, but the movie drags quite a bit. This is also the first Bond movie to go overboard on the gadgets. "Goldfinger" started it, but here they get crazier and crazier. Jet pack anyone? May be cheesey, but it's Bond darnit!Connery is still perfect as Bond, and he gets more tail in this movie than any mere mortal man can handle:-p Also, this has a fantastic theme song sung by Tom Jones. While not the best Bond movie, it certainly isn't the worst.
Super Reviewer
April 9, 2010
28/06/2012 (DVD)
Super Reviewer
November 29, 2011
They have really stept up their game production wise. It looks a lot more high budget (and it is). Lots of crazy underwater fight filming and things like that. But's all the same. And I can't really remember it. So was it worth it?
Super Reviewer
July 8, 2010
The fourth Bond film features some impressive underwater action scenes, a meandering and somewhat forgettable plot, probably the most ludicrous love scene in the entire series, and some A+ Bond Girls, including Claudine Auger, Luciana Paluzzi, and Martine Beswick.

The story finds Bond in the beautiful Bahamas, where he's searching for a pair of nukes that SPECTRE is using to blackmail the U.S. and Great Britain. It's not one of my favorite Bond movies, but it's certainly not a bad one. It's worth seeing for at least Domino, Fiona Volpe, and the lengthy battle scenes beneath the ocean.
Super Reviewer
½ December 8, 2008
I can't believe it's taken me so long to see the first of spectacularly silly Bonds. Now I can see how much of Austin Powers is straight out of the Bond series. Still a great window on to the 60s with the Bahamas holiday locations and even a Vulcan bomber fleet playing a central role in the movie. Pretty poor editing though in several places in the movie.
Super Reviewer
June 28, 2010
For me, Thunderball is my favorite James Bond film of the Sean Connery era along with Dr No. This is a tense thriller as two nuclear bombs disappear from two NATO aircraft. Spectre is behind the coup and James Bond is sent to investigate. A tense, thrilling film; Thunderball is one of the best James Bond films and is a thrill a minute Action thriller. This is an underrated Bond film and it deserves more praise than it gets.
Super Reviewer
½ August 4, 2006
My least favourite of the Bond films to date, found it very hard to stay with the film and keep concentration. No thrilling exciting moments.
Super Reviewer
½ November 20, 2007
while a bit slower than most bond films, its still a solid addition with a great storyline. the underwater fight at the end was inventive.
Super Reviewer
½ March 13, 2008
People may call it blasphemy but Thunderball was the first "average" Bond flick. The story follows SPECTRE's scheme of stealing a jet fighter for the two nuclear warheads it contains and using these to ransom the world in exchange for not destroying a major city. Bond (Sean Connery) follows the trail to the Bahamas and harasses Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celli) also known as number 2 in SPECTRE.

Now Thunderball has a great story. It has great characters. It has great locations. What brings this film down is all the underwater scenes, which when looking back at the picture its the final battle underwater. It's just dull as hell. Don't even try watching this if even close to bedtime because that sequence will put you out like a light. Most of the underwater stuff can be attributed to Kevin McClory, the producer who would prove to be a thorn in the side of the series for another 15 years.

Thunderball isn't a bad movie. It's just not a very good James Bond movie after the first three installments and Connery seems to have started phone some scenes in with this one.
Super Reviewer
September 29, 2008
After the legendary success of Goldfinger , expectations were understandably astronomical for the next Bond installment, with 007 producers determined to consistently push the envelope, delivering a "bigger and better Bond" than ever before. Unfortunately, this determination proved to be both the strength and weakness of Thunderball, the resulting sequel. On the whole, the film is by no means a failure, but the producers' determination to cash in on elements which made Goldfinger such a success led to overkill excesses which sink Thunderball's overall quality.

The plot is even more outlandish than Goldfinger's radiation of the fort Knox gold reserve, pushing the threat to a more global context with the destruction of major world cities by atomic weapons. As well as being a particularly poignant plot device at the time, in the midst of the Cold War, the gist of Thunderball may seem quite familiar to those who frequent more modern political action thrillers, such as The Sum of All Fears. Despite the larger than life premise, Thunderball remains far more grounded in reality than several later Bond exploits (including You Only Live Twice and Moonraker) which tended to drift into being overly silly and ludicrous. Thunderball still takes itself relatively seriously, with several surprisingly dark moments, which help counterbalance the slightly comical yet still thrilling sight of of seeing Connery in a jet pack, and dramatically aid the overall quality of the film.

However, Thunderball's significantly larger budget is mostly misused through underwater photography sequences, which, although interesting to look at (and were likely moreso back in the 1960s, where such a sight was very seldom visible to the public eye) for the most part fail to further the plot in any way, and drag on excruciatingly long. However, the film does boast some strong cinematography (and some stunning locations), the action sequences (including a tense chase sequence through a Mardi Gras parade) are solid, and an unreasonably catchy Tom Jones title track surprisingly helps not hinders the film.

Unfortunately, for however many of the film's previous strengths, the film descends into utter chaos during the film's final quarter with a painfully repetitive and indecipherable underwater battle (it is increasingly difficult to tell which underwater army is which, who is winning, or why it should even retain our interest) a boat chase flaunting special effects which have dated decidedly unfavourably, and laughably inexplicable character motivations seemingly thrown in to finally tie up the increasingly unravelling mess. It is a disappointment indeed to see what started out with such promise sink into such a banal conclusion.

The character of Bond himself is surprisingly reduced to far less screen time than is usual for a 007 film, which is unfortunate, as Connery gives arguably one of his strongest performances as Bond, oozing self assurance and panache, yet an unprecedented darkness amidst the one liners. ("I think he got the point" being the most classic) This time around Bond not only gets hurt, but is not afraid to hurt, unflinchingly bestowing surprisingly vicious physical punishment against his adversaries

The supporting cast proves to be a very hit and miss affair. While former model Claudine Augere certainly looks the part of a sixties Bond girl, but unfortunately for the most part retains the static lack of emoting also associated with them. Adolfo Celi's eye-patched frown makes a visually iconic Bond villain, and is suitably menacing, but as the film progresses, he loses his threat element more and more, eventually degrading to a flimsy carbon copy of an adversary by the final act. Luciana Paluzzi steals the show from all but Connery, making one of the most chilling Bond femme fatale figures in the franchise. Paluzzi, despite the potential to coast by on her sensual looks, refuses to play the part on autopilot, and exudes laudable charisma and threat throughout. The unfortunately named Rik Van Nutter makes the most generic and forgettable CIA agent Felix Leiter of the Bond series, but Bernard Lee and Desmond Llewelyn are on top form as the ever endearing M and Q.

As overlong and let down by some unfortunate overuse of budget and dated special effects as the film may be, Thunderball is nonetheless a noteworthy and suitably engaging early Bond effort. Connery himself, in one of his most charismatic renditions of the role is enough to merit watching, and the film for the most part runs along at a brisk enough pace to retain audience interest. While the film is less likely to enthrall those who are not already Bond purists, fans of the character or series should easily be able to extract moments of enjoyment from Thunderball
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2007
Probably my least favourite Bond film.
Super Reviewer
½ June 18, 2006
James Bond: That gun, it looks more fitting for a woman.
Emilio Largo: You know much about guns, Mr. Bond?
James Bond: No, but I know a little about women.

An okay Bond film, but a tough act to follow Goldfinger. The ending provides the most fun, with lots of 60s Bond action. Never consider watching Never say Never Again, the unofficial Bond series remake.

The story is fairly simple. An agent of the evil SPECTRE organization has stolen two nuclear bombs and is ransoming the free world for an obscene amount of money. Bond decides to travel to Nassau in the Carribean in order to follow a lead to the bad guys. Action and love making ensue, as Bond attempts to foil the evil plans.

This Bond film works well enough with the formula, with a great amount of effort placed into the action and underwater special effects.

James Bond: My dear, uncooperative Domino.
Domino: How do you know that? How do you know my friends call me Domino?
James Bond: It's on the bracelet on your ankle.
Domino: So... what sharp little eyes you've got.
James Bond: Wait 'til you get to my teeth.

The problem lies in how extended this film feels. The story really doesn't kick in until about forty minutes in, which could have been shortened. However, we still have Connery kicking ass as bond, as well as a couple of clever along with some 60s styled goofy moments.

Surprisingly this is the favorite Bond film for many, but I was never really thrilled too much by this entry. Its still a good one though and has a title song by Tom Jones.

Q: It is to be handled with special care!
James Bond: Everything you give me...
Q: treated with equal contempt. Yes, I know.
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2008
Q is introduced!
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