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Thunderball - James Bond Wiki


  • A NATO Vulcan bomber carrying two atomic bombs has crashed in the Caribbean. The SPECTRE organization then informs the British government that it has hijacked the plane's bombs. Unless a staggering ransom of £100,000,000 is paid in seven days, a major city in the UK or the US will be nuked. MI6 calls in all its top agents. With only four days to complete his mission, flies to the Bahamas to meet the Vulcan's pilot's sister, Domino. He soon discovers that Domino's lover, Emilio Largo, SPECTRE Number 2, is the ruthless man behind the bomb theft.

Release Date:

  • December 9, 1965


  • PG (US)
  • PG (UK)

Box Office Results:

  • $141.2 million


  • 1966: Academy Awards- Best FX/Special Visual FX (won)
  • 1966: BAFTA Awards- Best Brit Art Direction (nominated)
  • 1966: E.A. Poe Awards- Best Foreign Film (nominated)
  • 1966: Laurel Awards- Action Drama (won)
  • 1966: Satellite Awards- Best Classic DVD Release (nominated)

Issued Sidearm:

  • Walther PPK

Running Time:

  • 130 minutes


  • Bell Textron Jet Pack
  • Underwater Breather
  • Camera Geiger Counter
  • Underwater Jetpack
  • Modified Rolex Submariner/ Geiger Counter



  • Richard Maibaum
  • John Hopkins
  • Based on the original story by Ian Fleming, Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham



  • The main theme and soundtrack were composed by John Barry.

Best Quotes:

  • Bond: "That looks like a women's gun."
    Largo: "Do you know a lot about guns, Mr. Bond?"
    Bond: "No, but I know a little about women."

  • Bond (after taking off the jet pack):"No well dressed man should be without one."

  • Bond (after killing Vargas with a spear): I think he got the point."

  • Bond (after leaving the "Irrigation Station" at Shrublands): "See you later....irrigator."


  • Bond's jet pack doesn't fit inside the trunk of his Aston Martin.
  • The boat captain's hat is knocked off 2 times during the fight scene.
  • The Panamanian flag on the Disco Volante is upside down throughout the film.
  • Domino steps on a spine with her right foot. Bond removes it from her left foot.

Distinguishing Features:

  • It is the only film in which all the Double-O'sin Europe are seen together.
  • The first film to use the actor playing Bond in the gun barrel.
  • Debut of Maurice Binder's title sequences that have become iconic of the Bond series.
  • Terence Young's third and final shot in the director's chair.
  • This was originally planned to be made as the first James Bond movie, but the budget at the time did not allow for a shoot of such proportions. They were able to make it as the fourth film in 1965.


  • Thunderball was shot primarily in the Bahamas, where producer Kevin McClory resided. Consequently, McClory was able to suggest locations for many key sequences of the film. The home of a local millionaire couple, the sullivans, served as Largo's estate, Palmyra and the SPECTRE underwater assault begins in the grounds of another millionaires' home. The pre-credits sequence was filmed at the Chateau d'Anet near Paris, while interiors were shot at Pinewood.

Bond Statistics:

  • Conquests: 3
  • Martinis: 0
  • Kills: 22
  • "Bond, James Bond": 0

Title References:

  • The codename for MI6's operation (Thunderball) shares it's name with the title of the movie.

Detailed Synopsis:

A man with the initials "JB" lays dead in a chateau in France. But the corpse isn't "James Bond", it's "Col. Jacque Boitier", whom Bond (alongside French agent La Porte) is paying last respects to. But Boitier isn't as dead as he seems, posing as his own widow and striking Bond after his own funeral! Bond takes him down (and paying his last respects once again) before escaping from other spies both by way of jetpack and by water streams from his Aston Martin.

Meanwhile in Paris, respectable businessman Emilio Largo attends a meeting being held by his true employer SPECTRE, where his leader Blofeld takes care of some "old business" of money launderers before Largo goes into his new daring plan: the complex abducting of two atomic bombs from a British naval bomber on test flight. The first part of the plan, as organized by Count Lippe, involved the transformation of agent Angelo Palazzi into NATO pilot Major Derval by way of a British health clinic in Shrublands. Unknown to SPECTRE, Bond was asked by MI6 to recooperate at the same health clinic after his previous mission, where he heals while likewise seducing nurse Patricia Fearing into taking a "steam bath" with him. Bond and Lippe face off against one another in the clinic: Lippe sabotaging a massage machine to tenderize Bond, Bond sabotaging a steamer to cook Lippe.

At the same time, Major Derval is under the seductive entracement of Fiona Volpe, who sleeps with him and keeps him close unknowing of the plot against him. When Palazzi appears at his door with Derval's face, the original is dealt with while Volpe gets the necessary paperwork to allow him to perfectly match the original with ease. At the site of the NATO test, everything goes easily as according to plan: the bomber with two atomic bombs loaded begins it's training mission, Palazzi poisons the oxygen when finally in the cockpit and takes control of the plane, flying it near a designated area around the Bahamas. Largo, awaiting the plane onboard his ship the Disco Vilante, guides Palazzi to a specific underwater landing strip where the atomic bombs are loaded onto Largo's ship. Palazzi is then killed for wanting to extort money from his backer.

As news reaches England regarding the abduction of the NATO plane and the bombs onboard, Bond is forced to cut his health getaway short and head back to MI6. On his way back, Count Lippe tries to deal with Bond himself, but is assassinated by a missile-equipped motorcycle driven by Volpe. Back at headquarters, Bond is forced to immediately go to a special conference being held including M, a representative of the Prime Minister and every 00 Agent of the force! The conference involves a ransom by Blofeld for the atomic bombs, which location is unknown to anyone and with the threat to use on a specifically chosen target anywhere in the United States or England. Looking through a package set up by his superiors regarding "Operation Thunderball", Bond discovers a particular clue: a picture of Major Derval with his sister, Dominique taken in Nassau in the Bahamas. Before being shipped to Canada for the operation, Bond tells his particular lead to M and gets his permission to persue it, even at the chance that it may be a wild goose chase.

In the Bahamas, Bond meets Dominique Derval, or "Domino" as he notices a bracelet on her ankle reads, while diving and later that night when she is with Largo at a local casino, Bond beats him in a game of cards. The two immediately recognise each other as enemies but play a mutual psychological game of cat and mouse, and Bond also gets slightly closer to Domino during dinner and a dance that same night, before Largo invites Bond over for lunch at his island home on Sunday. Later that evening Bond finds one of Largo's men in his room, and sends him away, with no information, back to Largo. Upon finding out that the henchman didn't find anything, Largo has him thrown into his pool of sharks and killed.

Felix Leiter and Q soon arrive in the Bahamas and rendezvous with 007 and his assistant, Paula. Q provides Bond with a few new gadgets; a small breather system, an underwater jetpack, a homing device for Bond to swallow, an underwater infared camera and a distress signal flare. That night Bond discreetly swims underneath Largo's boat and snaps a few pictures of a distinctive logo on the hull of the boat before escaping suspicious henchmen and swimming ashore, where he is picked up on the side of the road by Fiona Volpe, who offers him a ride back to his hotel, where she happens to be staying also. In the car he notices that she wears a ring with the same logo from under Largo's boat.

On Sunday Bond goes to Largo's island mansion and their game of cat and mouse continues as they practise skeet shooting. Largo also shows Bond his collection of Golden Grotto sharks during the visit.
Shortly thereafter, Bonds assistant Paula is abducted by Largo's men and taken to the mansion. Bond attempts to rescue her that night but finds that she has killed herself with poison instead of giving up information. Bond barely escapes Largo's mansion himself after a close encounter in the shark pool.
Upon his return to his hotel room, Bond finds Fiona Volpe and they sleep together before she betrays him, holding him at gunpoint as more of Largo's thugs enter. They take Bond to the local junkanoo festival, where he manages to escape into the crowd. In the ensuing chase, Fiona tries to kill Bond but is instead accidentally shot by her own bodyguard.

The following day Bond and Felix fly out in a helicopter and find the Vulcan on the sea bed in shark infested waters, along with the corpses of the crew and Angelo, the counterfeit NATO observer pilot.
Bond goes to Domino and explains the situation, including the fact that Largo was responsible for her real brothers death. She agrees to help him and tells him how to replace one of Largo's men on an important SPECTRE mission that night. Bond does so, taking the henchmans diving gear as a disguise, and learns of Largo's plan to detonate the bombs in Miami beach. En route to the undersea cave where the bombs are stored, however, Bonds cover is blown by Largo and he is forced to kill a couple of Largo's men as Largo escapes with the bombs.

The very next morning, Bond releases his distress flare when he hears Felix' helicopter nearby. Bond is rescued by Felix, who has a unit of the United States coast guard men parachute into the water to intercept Largo and his men. Bond joins in the underwater warfare, killing several SPECTRE agents. After a long and brutal battle, the remaining henchmen surrender as Largo flees back to the Disco Volante, pursued by Bond. The Disco Volante manages to escape from the incoming Navy ships but Bond sneaks up to the bridge and engages in hand-to-hand combat with Largo and two of his remaining men. After a fist brawl, Largo gains the upper hand and is about to shoot Bond, but Domino appears behind him and fires a spear into his back, killing him. Bond and Domino jump off the speeding ship and into the water before it crashes into the rocks, exploding. Shortly after, the two of them are rescued from the sea by a U.S. Navy B-17 airplane equipped with a sky hook.

The Disco Volante:

  • The original hydrofoil used in the film was called the "Flying Fish". It never sailed again after the making of Thunderball. It was rented as a stationary houseboat docked at a marina in Miami until it sank at the dock in the early 1980s.
  • In the 'unofficial' remake of Thunderball in 1983, Never Say Never Again (a title coined by Connery's wife in reference to his reprisal of the role of James Bond) the Disco Volante becomes the English equivelent, the 'Flying Saucer'. In real life, the 282-foot yacht that was used in long shots for the film was known as the Nabila and was built for Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi. The yacht was later sold to Donald Trump, who renamed it Trump Princess. Later Trump sold it to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, who christened it the Kingdom 5KR.

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