(GB, 1965, 130 mins)
CAST Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Martine Beswick, Rik van Nutter, Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn, Molly Peters


1965 was the year of spymania. Led by the popularlity of the Bond films (and Sean Connery’s fourth outing was the biggest box office hit yet) audiences seemingly couldn’t get enough espionage, more than 20 spy films went into production that year and hit TV shows included I Spy, The Man from UNCLE, The Wild Wild West and Get Smart. But of course there was only one James Bond, and that was Connery.

Here, he’s chasing down SPECTRE Number 2, Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), who has threatened to nuke Miami unless he is paid (deep breath) $100 million in diamonds.

The first Bond film directed by Terence Young, Thunderball was largely faithful to Ian Fleming’s fourth novel. It features a very cool jet-pack sequence, but it was the underwater scenes that really had an impact, transforming scuba diving into a popular past-time for the young and trendy seemingly overnight.

Connery would remake the novel, many years later, for the rogue production Never Say Never Again.

"It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Super-Bond!" Hollywood Reporter