Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

For those of us who grew up on Pierce Brosnan's sickly and weak interpretation of Bond as a public schoolboy, or Daniel Craig's chiselled and vicious thug (the less said about Roger Moore, the better) - you are in for a treat with Goldfinger. Sean Connery proves he's the best of them all: tough, rugged, charismatic and smooth - coaxed and guided invisibly by director Guy Hamilton, who imbues this installment with delightfully cheerful, suspenseful plotting and sense of humour.

The elements of 007's franchise fall into place stealthily and easily:

Copy picture

  • Pre-credits teaser complete with a snorkelling seagull and 007 peeling off his wetsuit to reveal a pristine white tuxedo - a gag repeated near enough note-for-note in James Cameron's True Lies.
  • Glorious opening credits sequence - complete with a fantastic number by Shirley Bassey.
  • A gorgeous female sidekick, Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore - Connery's double-take is priceless on hearing the name.
  • A fantastic chase with the Aston Martin DB5, kitted out with the best set of gadgets in movie history. The Q scene is classic, setting up our expectations ("I never joke about my work!"), while rattling through the car's stunning array of features - machine guns, oil slick, smokescreen, bullet-proof shields, passenger ejector seat, hubcap sawblades - and paying them off magnificently later on.
  • The villain's weird henchmen - Oddjob, a midget Korean with a lethal steel-rimmed bowler hat. ("Manners, Oddjob. I thought you always take your hat off to a lady," 007 quips.)
  • Oh, bloody hell - almost forgot: those villain speeches. Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) arranges a delightful windbaggy presentation of his grand plan and then nerve-gasses everyone who hears it, other than 007. Of the scheme itself I will reveal little, other than it is diabolical, ingenious and well-realised.

Enough blueprint listing already, I hear you cry... is it any good or not? Thankfully, it's a cast iron classic. Goldfinger is superior slap-bang entertainment, joyously performed and directed with aplomb, with equal measures of silliness, joy and suspense. The delightful production design carries on nicely from Dr No and From Russia With Love. Frobe excels as the demented and brilliant villain, not above cheating at cards, and smart at smuggling.

Slightly jarring moments date the movie somewhat, like 007 spanking his masseuse and the moment in the barn where Pussy Galore succumbs to Connery's masculinity - there's a thin line between fierce hanky-panky and rape, and its hard to say whether or not this crosses it.

Either way, it's safe to say Goldfinger is the definitive Bond film - if not my favourite (this honour falls to From Russia With Love) - and the opportunity to see it on the big screen should not be missed.

Reviewed on: 10 Jul 2007
Share this with others on...
Goldfinger packshot
Big screen reissue offers another chance to see James Bond take on the man with the Midas touch.
Amazon link

Director: Guy Hamilton

Writer: Richard Maibaum, based on the novel by Ian Fleming.

Starring: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Fröbe, Shirley Eaton, Harold Sakata, Tania Mallet, Bernard Lee

Year: 1964

Runtime: 112 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: UK


Search database:

If you like this, try:

Casino Royale
From Russia With Love