Goldfinger (1964)

Directed by Guy Hamilton
Cinematography Ted Moore, BSC

Bond is back and his next mission takes him to Fort Knox, where Auric Goldfinger and his henchman are planning to raid Fort Knox and obliterate the world economy. To save the world once again, Bond will need to become friends with Goldfinger, dodge killer hats and avoid Goldfinger’s personal pilot, the sexy Pussy Galore. She might not have feelings for Bond, but will 007 help her change her mind?

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Effortless cool, Bond was never greater

5 October 2008 | by The Spectacular Spider-Man (Can you get me a cup of coffee, please?) – See all my reviews

Now, we’re talking.

What Goldfinger does, that so many subsequent Bond movies forget, is not overdo things. It underplays everything. This is a movie of such effortless cool and style that it’s sweeps the viewer along with charm. Many Bond movies also jar between action and non-action scenes (The World is Not Enough, for instance). Goldfinger moves through the gears with aplomb.

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Goldfinger is so stylish that even the pre-credit sequence contains more cool than the entirety of most 007 films. You have the iconic wetsuit/tuxedo scene; Bond lighting a cigarette just as an explosion goes off; the unflinchingly brutality of Bond electrocuting a man then just turning away to make a quip; and finally him slamming the door – even than leads perfectly into the Shirley Bassey theme.

Everything is pitch perfect. Goldfinger himself is the ideal combo of vulgar greed and gentlemanly host. A perfect foe for for Bond. Pussy Galore combines the voluptuousness of 60’s Bond girls with the spirit of the more modern ones. Connery himself is the epitome of Bond; charismatic, tough, ultra-suave.

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There are plenty of standout scenes; the laser-beam table is unmatched in the series for sheer, pure tension; the aston martin chase is again one of the best in the series and shows up similar scenes in the likes of Die Another Day as merely visual showcases – this one is genuinely exciting. Bond’s fight with Oddjob set the template for numerous, ‘How do I stop this guy?’ cat-and-mouse fight scenes, especially in Spielberg movies.

You might argue than Goldfinger could do with at least one more action set-piece, as it does slow down before the climax whilst Bond is Goldfinger’s guest. But it wouldn’t really fit into the story. As a Bond film, Goldfinger is practically perfect. Connery even has the best wig.

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Best Bond movie ever.

10/10
Author: MovieAddict2016 from UK
7 May 2004

Goldfinger could best be described as the quintessential, definitive Bond film, the first of the series to set the necessities of the entire saga in motion. It is also the best of the Bond movies, arguably the most suave and sophisticated, far superior to the Roger Moore era and those who followed in Connery’s footsteps. It is the Bond ultimatum, so to speak.

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Goldfinger was the first of the iconic legacy to feature Q (Desmond Llewelyn) as a recurring comic relief figure. (He was introduced in From Russia with Love, the second film in the series, where he was credited as Major Boothroyd, and given little screen time.) It was also the first to truly setup the suave nature of 007, the tongue-in-cheek humor (absent in the first movie, Dr. No), the far-fetched gadgetry (including fast cars, this one being an Aston-Martin) and, arguably, the first of the series to feature the famous line, “Bond, James Bond,” as a 007 catchphrase, versus a mere line of dialogue. When Bond storms out onto the patio of the motel room, the camera zooms in towards his face, the 007 theme song roars through the speakers, and he says his motto with cool confidence. It’s Bond, baby.

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Both of Goldfinger’s predecessors were darker, more serious motion pictures — more in-tune with the writing of Fleming versus the suaveness to later be salvaged from the series with the third installment. Although Dr. No was a terrific movie, and although From Russia with Love is exciting, Goldfinger beats them both. It features the best (and most famous) Bond villain to ever grace the screen, constantly spoofed in countless productions: Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), the target of Austin Powers in Goldmember and, according to IMDb, referenced and spoofed in well over 100 other productions.

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There isn’t much of a plot, really. Goldfinger plans to rob Fort Knox and become the richest man in the world. Bond finds out and tries to put a stop to his mission. What entices us, and what makes the film so entertaining despite the absurdity, is its leniency towards itself. It doesn’t mind being silly because the entertainment value far outweighs any flaws. Plus, it has some of the most memorable scenes in history, and arguably the best Villain Explanation Scene to ever be recorded. “Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?” Bond (Sean Connery) asks as a laser beam slowly makes its way towards his groin. “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” he says with mock ridicule, before walking away. The following shots is one of the only sequences in James Bond history where the iconic character actually seems fairly worried that fate may be playing a deadly hand.

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Released in 1964, forty years later it stands as one of the most risqué Bond films to date. Especially for its time, there is brief nudity during the opening credits, sexual scenes, constant innuendo (including a Bond girl named “Pussy Galore,” played by Honor Blackman) and implications of lesbianism.

Galore’s sexual orientation is not delved into as deeply and explicitly as it may be dealt with in today’s day and age, but the inclusion exists. Bond struggles verbally with Galore, trying to woo and seduce her, and she subtly implies from their very first meeting that she will not be seduced, claiming it is impossible for Bond to get very far with her, thereby insinuating that she is, in fact, a lesbian. According to the director of the film, Guy Hamilton, the entire situation is given much more emphasis in the novel by Ian Fleming, but it was simply too foul a subject for audiences back in 1964. Surprisingly, the verbal exchanges and implications behind the subject matter are much more effective.

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All of the actors in Goldfinger are, at the very least, very good. But of course, it is really Sean Connery who demands our utmost attention and respect, for it is Connery whose inhumanly strong screen presence launched Bond into the heights of Movie Legend.

Recently in London I attended a James Bond exhibition, and as I made my way through a maze of Bond memorabilia and objects used in all twenty-something movies, I found myself realizing that the myth of 007 propels the films farther than anything else ever could. There is a sort of iconic legacy surrounding the entire Bond franchise that will probably never die. Different action heroes come and go, and nowadays Rambo looks criminally out of date, but Bond, in his black-and-white tuxedo, with all his suave sophistication, will never grow old, because he is a timeless hero who is comprised of all the greatest heroic attributes to ever be assembled, and although his style and looks may grow weary amid the changing ages, his character will remain the ultimate hero, and I very much doubt that we will ever live to see a day when Bond.

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The superlative James Bond film

9/10
Author: Kyle Milligan (toldyaso@planeteer.com) from Toronto, Canada
20 July 1999

First of all, I must state for the record, Sean Connery is THE James Bond. Even though the first Bond film I ever saw was “For Your Eyes Only” with Roger Moore. I was very young and very much drawn in. I have seen every one of the Bond films and without a doubt, “Goldfinger” is the finest the 007 saga has to offer.

Before I had begun an appreciation of the Connery films, i.e. before I’d seen them, a good friend and cartooning mentor, Ross Paperman, sorted me out. He helped me see how Connery’s Bond was suave and sophisticated but also demonstrated a quality the other Bonds do not portray: fear.

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Not a panicky soil-your-pants kind of fear, mind you. But Connery’s Bond actually has a few anxious, sweat-soaked-brow moments. A perfect example is when Bond is strapped to a table as Goldfinger’s captive with a laser beam primed to cut him in half. 007 has to think fast. “Do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” A famous scene and line from Bond’s most enjoyable film.

Perhaps what makes the earlier films more enjoyable is that they had fresh, innovative elements that have now become cliché and gimmicky. The new films are often stale and already covered ground and they don’t even appear to be trying anymore.

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But it’s more than that. Even watching “Goldfinger” today, having seen all the latest in special effects and technology that Hollywood has to offer, it still is riveting and thoroughly entertaining. That is also without the added advantage of being overly nostalgic about “Goldfinger”. How could I? I hadn’t even been born when it first hit theaters, and it was far from my first 007 experience. The story, the characters and the fun of “Goldfinger” is timeless and if given a chance could probably rope in a whole new generation of fans. It just doesn’t seem likely to happen.

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Much of the satire from the Austin Powers films is directly derived from the Connery films, especially “Goldfinger” and “Dr. No”, proving their lasting effect on popular culture. As well, John Barry’s scores from the Connery films are finding their way into the ears of a new generation through pop music as snippets from his soundtracks are sampled by such artists as Robbie Williams, Mono and Curve, to name a few.

But if by some fluke you read this and you haven’t seen “Goldfinger” yet, do yourself right and acquaint yourself with the real James Bond. You’ll probably be hooked by the time you hear Shirley Bassey’s voice in the famous opening theme.

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Bond’s third is a charmer

9/10
Author: goya-4 from PA USA
7 September 2000

Sean Connery’s third go around as James Bond has become the quisessential James Bond Flick and for good reason..from the catch opening chorus by Shirley Bassey and the intro pretty lady decked out in gold to oddjob’s hat and the name of the bond girl Pussy Galore..What else could one ask for? The most popular and arguable the best Bond as James tries to stop Goldfinger and his pilot from robbing Fort Knox.. On a scale of one to ten… Goldfinger strikes a 9

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Genuine candidate for “Worst Bond Ever”

2/10
Author: Jack from Minnesota, USA
9 January 2006

I had a lot of problems with this movie. Let me list them:

1) The number two person in the conspiracy to nuke Fort Knox changes sides and betrays her comrades…because Bond slept with her? Gimme a break. Judging from her personality, she’d be about the last person in the world I’d expect to do such a thing. It’s obvious that the writers couldn’t think of any way of getting out of the corner they’d written themselves into, so they tossed in a deus ex machina cop-out ending.

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2) Bond just doesn’t do much of anything in this movie. He spends the last half of the movie sitting in a cell while other characters run around and do things that don’t advance the plot one bit. It’s boring. I appreciate the fact that he uses his brains to get out of trouble, but he never really “gets out” of trouble, he just turns a bad situation into a slightly less bad one. This is about the only Bond movie where he’s so ineffectual, and it makes for a very unentertaining film.

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3) Bond allows himself to be captured by the bad guys so that he can go and check on the condition of a woman who got hit with a flying hat? He barely knew her! He gave her a ride to a gas station; that’s it. It makes no sense that he’d jeopardize his mission in order to check on the condition of a stranger. What was he going to do, give her CPR? He certainly didn’t want to be captured as part of any sort of plan, as he spent the next ten minutes of the movie trying to get away again.

4) Why didn’t Goldfinger just kill Bond? He hit the nail right on the head when he said that Bond only knew the name of the operation (blockbuster), but he didn’t know any of the details. Then Bond tells him that if he is killed, they’ll send another agent. Well, obviously. Goldfinger certainly must have assumed as much. But how would anyone even know if Bond was killed? It was just another poorly thought out scene.

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5) Pussy Galore is a really unlikable character. Not only is she just plain homely, but she brags and brags and brags about herself.

6) The ending on the plane felt very tacked on and silly. Are we to believe that a woman and a fat guy overpowered all the soldiers in a military aircraft hanger and stole a plane right out from under their noses?

Oh, there are a few good things about the movie. The Swiss Alps are beautiful, even in Summer. The car is really cool. And of course the theme song is fantastic.

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Overall, this is easily the worst Connery Bond film. Much worse than any Roger Moore or Timothy Dalton or George Lazenby Bond movie. I can’t for the life of me understand why people hold it in such high esteem, the writing is just so ridiculously sloppy. I enjoy most of Connery’s other Bond films, but this thing sticks out like a big, stinky sore thumb.

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Awesome Bond film!

10/10
Author: snash93 from United Kingdom
27 June 2010

The third issue of the James Bond series, Goldfinger, hit the cinemas with a huge expectation following the success of its predecessors From Russia with Love and Dr.No and it didn’t disappoint. Goldfinger was the first of four Bond movies Guy Hamilton directed and with a budget of $3million and the gross revenue being $124.9million, it is safe to say that it was the crown jewel of his career and of the James Bond franchise.

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The film has a rather basic storyline of how Goldfinger plans to raid Fort Knox and become the richest man in the world and Bond sets out to thwart him. Though the storyline may have been nothing special but the film’s use of iconography and presentation that made it outshine other Bond issues. Unlike the more recent Bond films such as Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace etc, Goldfinger has that James Bond feel to it. What I mean by this is that the newer Bond issues lack the conventions, which made it successful and unique for example there isn’t as much use of gadgets in newer Bond films. I mean you have a beautiful Aston Martin DB5 and not only has it got the speed, but those gadgets within it which Bond can utilise when he is in a chase scene, that can help make it epic and breathtaking.

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This was shown very well in this film as Bond can shoot from using in his car, track villains down, and one particular gadget, the ejector seat, which simple but effective and amusing. There is something else which also stands out in this film and which is decreased in the newer Bond films and that is clichés. For me I think it is a huge mistake of not utilising clichés in up coming Bond films, as you look in modern times, we can watch so many films of the action/adventure genre, who now also use the similar conventions such as the gadgets, the fast cars etc, that you would want a film which is unique on its own. This is where I feel clichés are really important and how it shows this film having that James Bond feel than of Quantum of Solace for example.

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One real famous cliché, which is used in this film, is when Sean Connery’s character says “The names Bond. James Bond”. The use of clichés in this film like the one I just quoted can show the iconic status of James Bond.

The acting in Goldfinger was absolutely superb especially of Sean Connery and Gert Frobe, who both had unique characters and were the perfect match in the antagonist and protagonist.

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This film displayed Auric Goldfinger as a real legitimate threat and as a sadistic psychopath. There is a famous scene which shows this aspect of his character where a laser beam is about cut Bond in half, James says “Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?” to which Goldfinger replies “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”. In the following moments we see Bond worried and I feel this can allow us to recognise Auric Goldfinger as a powerful enemy and as an equal to Bond. The fact that we see James Bond anxious is very rare in the franchise as he has a very strong screen presence and there is an expectation of him being the powerful, authoritative figure.

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With this expectation, the franchise shows itself as a fairytale and the film also displays this. The character of Bond shows to be a resilient hero that defeats the bad guy and saves the world. But the earlier Bond character, which was acted by Sean Connery, Roger Moore, showed wit and humour which so dearly lacks now. Now that we distinguished the traits and personality of the good character and the bad character, what else does every evil, manipulative villain need in the James Bond franchise? For those who haven’t guessed it, there is one word, which I’m looking and that’s henchman. Henchmen’s play a huge part in the Bond film chain (Stamper, Tee Hee and Gobinda to name a few) as they are presented as the unstoppable force that 007 has to fight. The main henchman in this film is Oddjob who is played by Harold Sakata and to be quite honest with you, he is my favourite henchman throughout the whole series.

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The reason being is that he is silent, manservant of Goldfinger but is a ruthless killer and ends up having an epic battle with James Bond, who has to use his intelligence and resiliency to defeat the Korean born wrecking machine.

As always every Bond film needs Bond girls! Now first of all I would like us to consider the fact that Goldfinger was made in 1964, so naturally back then, the female gender was seen as the inferior sex however that did not stop the persistent use of sexual innuendo but it isn’t as explicit as it used in the more recent Bond movies. The main Bond girl in this film goes by the name of Pussy Galore (note the strong use of innuendo in the name!), but she isn’t the stereotypical Bond girl that gets taken in by 007.

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When we see her first meet James Bond, there is a clear indication that she will not be seduced and she is playing hard to get. With this we can make the clear assumption that she is not the stereotypical female, and to emphasise this further, in the film her profession is a pilot and she also has learnt judo, thus revealing the masculine nature in the character, evidently summing up why she isn’t easily taken in by Bond. Eventually however, she falls for him and again it’s mainly about Bond’s character, his wit, his bravery, and his intelligence. Having such characteristics is sure to woo even the likes of Galore.

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Bond, Bowler Hats, Galore and the Man With the Midas Touch.

9/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
21 April 2012

Goldfinger is directed by Guy Hamilton and adapted to screenplay by Richard Maibaum & Paul Dehn from the novel written by Ian Fleming. It stars Sean Connery, Gert Frobe, Honor Blackman, Shirley Eaton & Harold Sakata. Music is by John Barry and cinematography by Ted Moore.

Operation Grand Slam.

Connery’s third outing as James Bond sees 007 investigating the movements of wealthy gold dealer Auric Goldfinger (Frobe). Little does 007 or MI6 know, but Goldfinger is hatching a master plan that will spell disaster for the world’s financial climate.

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Undeniably the turning point in the James Bond franchise, Goldfinger is also one of the most fondly remembered by the cinema loving public. Here is when Bond not only went go-go gadget crazy, but he also impacted on pop culture to the point the waves created are still being felt today. Bond traditionalists are often irked by the mention of the change Goldfinger represents, and with just cause, because this really isn’t Fleming’s core essence Bond. Bond has now become a gadget using super agent, a man who laughs in the face of death, a quip never far from his lips. Yet the hard facts are that this Bond is the one the world really bought into, ensuring for the foreseeable future at least, that this type of Bond was here to say. Marketing was high pitched, fan worship became feverish and the box office sang to the tune of $125 million. Toys, gimmicks and collectables would follow, the Aston Martin DB5 would become “The Most Famous Car in the World”, in 1964 Bond truly became a phenomenon.

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Purely on an entertainment front, Goldfinger delivers royally, the sets, casting and the high energy set-pieces all seep with quality. This in spite of the actual plot being one of the weakest in the whole franchise. As great a villain as Auric Goldfinger is, with a voice dubbed Frobe simply joyous in the role, his motives are rather dull and hardly cause for some worldwide Bondian panic. But the film rises above it to the point it only really registers long after the end credits have rolled. We have been treated to Odd Job (Sakata instantly becoming a Bond villain legend), that laser, the DB5 and its tricks, the delicious Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore (still an awesome name today and still sounding like a character from a Carry On movie), the golf match, Shirley Eaton’s golden girl and the ticking time bomb finale played out during the chaotic scenes involving Ken Adam’s brilliantly designed version of Fort Knox.

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Bond staples also serve the production well, the title sequence is neatly strung together as scenes from the movie play out over a writhing golden girl, who was model Margaret Nolan and who briefly appears in the film as Dink. The theme tune is a blockbuster, sang with gusto by Shirley Bassey and the locations dazzle the eyes as we are whisked to Switzerland, Kentucky and Miami. Stock characters continue to make their marks, with M, Moneypenny and Q (setting in motion the wonderful serious v jocular axis of his “to be continued” relationship with Bond), starting to feel like old cinematic friends. Only let down is Cec Linder’s turn as Bond’s CIA counterpart, Felix Leiter, gone is the swagger created by Jack Lord in Dr. No, and while Linder is no bad actor, he doesn’t sit right in the role, he’s looks too world weary. A shame because he is integral to how the plot pans out.

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Director Guy Hamilton was helming the first of what would end up being four Bond movies on his CV, he made his mark by bringing more zip and quip to the Bond character. Connery was firmly ensconced in the role of Bond, he was a mega star because of it, but cracks were beginning to appear in how Connery viewed this gargantuan success and the impact it was having on his hopes to be viewed as a serious actor. However, he was signed up for Thunderball, the next James Bond adventure, and Terence Young would return to the director’s chair, could they top the success of Goldfinger? 9/10

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