Goldfinger movie review – classic 007 action

Goldfinger James Bond 007 Sean Connery

While Dr. No and From Russia With Love were excellent spy movies, Goldfinger is the definitive James Bond movie as it’s packed with everything that’s made the franchise so endearing.

Goldfinger Auric GoldfingerBond (Sean Connery) is sent to investigate Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), a gold smuggler with designs on the United State’s gold supply in Fort Knox.

Bond quickly gets on Goldfinger’s bad side by ruining his card game and charming away his female companion, Jill Masterston (Shirley Eaton). Those two brash moves don’t sit particularly well with Goldfinger and he memorably deals with both offenders.Goldfinger_Golden-girl James Bond - Sean Connery and Shirley Eaton

Now with a personal stake in stopping Goldfinger, Bond sets off to stop the villain before he can unleash his sinister plan, but not even the world’s greatest secret agent can comprehend Goldfinger’s true agenda.MSDGOLD EC078

By his third outing in the title role, Sean Connery had a more relaxed swagger to him and he seems to be more at ease and able to have some fun and this is the film where Connery has his finest 007 performance and establishes the measuring stick for all the actors who would take on the role in the future.

Beyond delivering the series’ second most quoted line (even if Michael Collins actually dubbed his voice for the film), Fröbe makes Goldfinger such a memorable villain for being such a dastardly bad guy. Cheating at cards and golf is just as sensible as invading Fort Knox for him.

Goldfinger GoldfingerUnlike the latter day dashing villains, Fröbe plays Goldfinger as anything but, being slightly uncomfortable and seemingly always uneasy — the exact opposite of Bond.

But Goldfinger doesn’t have to be too worried since he has tough backup in the form of bodyguard Oddjob (a terrific Harold Sakata), whose razor top-hat made him the first great Bond villain henchman with a gimmick, which quickly became a requirement for future main goons.Goldfinger (1964)

Then there’s Shirley Bassey’s classic Bond theme, which is easily one of the series’ Top 5. Just try not to stop humming it after finishing the film.

Director Guy Hamilton took the series reins from Terence Young and the difference in tone is easily apparent. Young stuck to a more traditional, tense action style while Hamilton brings a little flair and some punch no one realized was missing until his turn behind the camera. Hamilton packs the film full of fantastic touches such as the Fort Knox air raid, lasers and the souped-up Aston Martin complete with machine guns, tire shredder and ejector seat.Goldfinger-James-Bond Sean Connery and Q Desmond-Llewelyn

While the first two films had Bond traveling to Jamaica, Italy and ‘Russia,’ his international travel is limited this time to Switzerland and Kentucky — not quite a plush destination spot for most moviegoers. Hamilton did shoot one sequence in Miami, but it’s one of the few scenes that dates the film as just one actor is clearly on location while the rest are blue-screened in.

Goldfinger Pussy Galore Honor Blackman

Series screenwriter Richard Maibaum teams with Paul Dehn in this installment and the two craft a more lighthearted script with Bond quips after dispatching foes becoming more commonplace, exotic weaponry and a full tongue-in-cheek name for Bond’s femme fatale, Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman).

Blackman was a welcome addition to the film as Bond was close to becoming too chauvinistic and Pussy Galore definitely isn’t Bond’s usual hot, but brainless companion.

The film’s final act fully raises the stakes for the franchise and really delivers a satisfying conclusion and a fitting fate for Bond’s most ingenious villain yet.Goldfinger - Goldfinger with a laser on Bond

For 007 fans or action adventure/spy movie fans in general, it really doesn’t get much better than Goldfinger, a tremendous blockbuster that entertains on every level. If you only watch one Bond film, this should be your first choice.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

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  • Fred

    Yep, still my favorite Bond flick and there have certainly been some great ones throughout the years.

  • What’s your #2?

  • Fred

    Good question, maybe “Dr. No”. But “Casino Royale”, “Thunderball”, “Live And Let Die”, “Skyfall” & “You Only Live Once’ are among my absolute favorites as well.

  • Pierre Mooney

    I saw “Dr. NO” in 1962 and I was impressed with the freshness of what was the beginning of this storied franchise. But I agree that “GOLDFINGER” and “FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE” were the height of the Bond films. There was almost a frenzy as we waited for these two films to come out. I guess it could be compared to “STAR WARS” as we waited with anxious craving to see the next one.

    James Bond still packs them in, but as I have said before I myself have grown weary of the formula. However, I do like the newer versions of “the license to kill” type of action spy films such as the “BORNE” films. May be it reflects an even more darker view about the MI 6s, the CIAs and NSAs of the world, but I think it is more the freshness of seeing the new technology at work “real time videos” in far away places, the speed of information gathering, the vast knowledge and language facility of the agents. These fresh elements are similar the “gadgets” and new characters “ODD JOB”, “PUSSY GALORE, etc., which were the fresh new elements that I found so attractive in those early “BOND” films. Yet and still these types of films still give us that sense of adventure and travel by taking us various locations around the world. They still always include that chase scene in that exotic location! Usually at the very beginning.(smile)

  • Fred

    I would be lying if I said the name PUSSY GALORE wasn’t sweet music to the ears lol. One of the greatest names in cinematic history hands down.

  • Pierre Mooney

    Oh yeah Fred, I guess sex has always been a key element of a “BOND MOVIE”. I think in the early 60s her name thrilled us young guys as much as a nude scene.(smile)

  • Fred

    Amen lol.

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