Goldfinger (1964)

Agent 007 drinks, gambles, womanises – and uncovers a fiendish conspiracy masterminded by gold bullion dealer Auric Goldfinger.

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Introduction

“After the first five minutes of outrageous violence, callous fun and bland self-mockery, the tone is so firmly set that the film could get away with almost anything.”
Monthly Film Bulletin, 1964

The commonplace view that this third instalment of the Bond series set the kiss-kiss bang-bang template for over 20 sequels is true enough, but overlooks what was only fitfully retained as the franchise continued. The film’s iconic scenes – a girl suffocated with gold paint, a laser torture sequence updated from Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum, henchman Oddjob wielding his lethal bowler hat – are closer to the surrealist spirit of serial fiction than the more spectacular sequels.

All the same, the elements stack up from the moment Sean Connery’s Bond unzips his wetsuit to reveal a white dinner jacket. As well as production designer Ken Adam and composer John Barry, honours are due to the creator of Bond’s modified Aston Martin, John Stears.

A box-office sensation, Goldfinger prompted a flood of spy movies and television series, its title still worthy of parody 38 years later for Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002).

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