Goldfinger (film)

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Goldfinger - UK cinema poster.jpg
British cinema poster for Goldfinger, designed by Robert Brownjohn
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on Goldfinger
by Ian Fleming
Music by John Barry
Cinematography Ted Moore
Edited by Peter R. Hunt
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • 17 September 1964 (1964-09-17)(London, premiere)
  • 18 September 1964 (1964-09-18)(United Kingdom)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget$3 million
Box office$125 million

Goldfinger is a 1964 British spy film and the third installment in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, starring Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It is based on the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. The film also stars Honor Blackman as Bond girl Pussy Galore and Gert Fröbe as the title character Auric Goldfinger, along with Shirley Eaton as the iconic Bond girl Jill Masterson. Goldfinger was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman and was the first of four Bond films directed by Guy Hamilton.

The spy film genre deals with the subject of fictional espionage, either in a realistic way or as a basis for fantasy. Many novels in the spy fiction genre have been adapted as films, including works by John Buchan, le Carré, Ian Fleming (Bond) and Len Deighton. It is a significant aspect of British cinema, with leading British directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and Carol Reed making notable contributions and many films set in the British Secret Service.

Eon Productions film production company known for producing the James Bond film series

Eon Productions is a British film production company that produces the James Bond film series. The company is based in London's Piccadilly and also operates from Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom.

Sean Connery Scottish actor and producer

Sir Thomas Sean Connery is a retired Scottish actor and producer, who has won an Academy Award, two BAFTA Awards, one being a BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award, and three Golden Globes, including the Cecil B. DeMille Award and a Henrietta Award.


The film's plot has Bond investigating gold smuggling by gold magnate Auric Goldfinger and eventually uncovering Goldfinger's plans to contaminate the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. Goldfinger was the first Bond blockbuster, with a budget equal to that of the two preceding films combined. Principal photography took place from January to July 1964 in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States.

United States Bullion Depository

The United States Bullion Depository, often known as Fort Knox, is a fortified vault building located adjacent to the United States Army post of Fort Knox, Kentucky. The vault is used to store a large portion of United States official gold reserves and occasionally other precious items belonging or entrusted to the federal government. It is estimated to hold roughly 2.3% of all the gold ever refined throughout human history.

Fort Knox US Army post in Kentucky, United States

Fort Knox is a United States Army post in Kentucky, south of Louisville and north of Elizabethtown. It is also adjacent to the United States Bullion Depository, which is used to house a large portion of the United States' official gold reserves. The 109,000 acre base covers parts of Bullitt, Hardin, and Meade counties. It currently holds the Army Human Resources Center of Excellence to include the Army Human Resources Command. It is named in honor of Henry Knox, Chief of Artillery in the American Revolutionary War and first United States Secretary of War.

A blockbuster is a work of entertainment – especially a feature film, but also other media – that is highly popular and financially successful. The term has also come to refer to any large-budget production intended for "blockbuster" status, aimed at mass markets with associated merchandising, sometimes on a scale that meant the financial fortunes of a film studio or a distributor could depend on it.

The release of the film led to a number of promotional licensed tie-in items, including a toy Aston Martin DB5 car from Corgi Toys which became the biggest selling toy of 1964. The promotion also included an image of gold-painted Shirley Eaton as Jill Masterson on the cover of Life .

Aston Martin DB5

The Aston Martin DB5 is a British luxury grand tourer (GT) that was made by Aston Martin and designed by the Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera. Released in 1963, it was an evolution of the final series of DB4. The DB series was named honouring Sir David Brown.

Shirley Eaton is an English actress, model and author. She was a sex symbol in the 1950s and 1960s, often dubbed the Cockney blonde bombshell for her London accent, blonde hair and sex appeal.

<i>Life</i> (magazine) American magazine

Life was an American magazine published weekly until 1972, as an intermittent "special" until 1978, and as a monthly from 1978 to 2000. During its golden age from 1936 to 1972, Life was a wide-ranging weekly general interest magazine known for the quality of its photography.

Many of the elements introduced in the film appeared in many of the later James Bond films, such as the extensive use of technology and gadgets by Bond, an extensive pre-credits sequence that stood largely alone from the main storyline, multiple foreign locales and tongue-in-cheek humour. Goldfinger was the first Bond film to win an Academy Award and opened to largely favourable critical reception. The film was a financial success, recouping its budget in two weeks.

The idiom tongue-in-cheek refers to a humorous or sarcastic statement expressed in a mock serious manner.

In 1999, it was ranked #70 on the BFI Top 100 British films list compiled by the British Film Institute.

In 1999, the British Film Institute surveyed 1,000 people from the world of British film and television to produce the BFI 100 list of the greatest British films of the 20th century. Voters were asked to choose up to 100 films that were 'culturally British'. The list also includes two non-British films, namely My Left Foot and The Commitments.

British Film Institute Film archive and charity in the United Kingdom

The British Film Institute (BFI) is a film and charitable organisation which promotes and preserves filmmaking and television in the United Kingdom.


After destroying a drug laboratory in Latin America, MI6 agent James Bond travels to Miami Beach for a vacation. He receives instructions from his superior, M, via CIA agent Felix Leiter to observe bullion dealer Auric Goldfinger at the hotel there. Bond sees Goldfinger cheating at gin rummy and stops him by distracting his employee, Jill Masterson, and blackmailing Goldfinger into losing. After Bond and Jill consummate their new relationship, Bond is knocked out by Goldfinger's Korean manservant Oddjob. When Bond awakens, he finds Jill dead, covered in gold paint, having died from "skin suffocation."

Clandestine chemistry is chemistry carried out in secret, and particularly in illegal drug laboratories. Larger labs are usually run by gangs or organized crime intending to produce for distribution on the black market. Smaller labs can be run by individual chemists working clandestinely in order to synthesize smaller amounts of controlled substances or simply out of a hobbyist interest in chemistry, often because of the difficulty in ascertaining the purity of other, illegally synthesized drugs obtained on the black market. The term clandestine lab is generally used in any situation involving the production of illicit compounds, regardless of whether the facilities being used qualify as a true laboratory.

Latin America Region of the Americas where Romance languages are primarily spoken

Latin America is a group of countries and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere where Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, and French are predominantly spoken; it is broader than the terms Ibero-America or Hispanic America. The term "Latin America" was first used in an 1856 conference with the title "Initiative of the America. Idea for a Federal Congress of the Republics", by the Chilean politician Francisco Bilbao. The term was used also by Napoleon III's French government in the 1860s as Amérique latine to consider French-speaking territories in the Americas, along with the larger group of countries where Spanish and Portuguese languages prevailed, including the Spanish-speaking portions of the United States Today, areas of Canada and the United States where Spanish, Portuguese and French are predominant are typically not included in definitions of Latin America.

M is a fictional character in Ian Fleming's James Bond book and film series; the character is the Head of the Secret Intelligence Service—also known as MI6—and is Bond's superior. Fleming based the character on a number of people he knew who commanded sections of British intelligence. M has appeared in the novels by Fleming and seven continuation authors, as well as appearing in twenty-four films. In the Eon Productions series of films, M has been portrayed by four actors: Bernard Lee, Robert Brown, Judi Dench and Ralph Fiennes, the incumbent; in the two independent productions, M was played by John Huston, David Niven and Edward Fox.

In London, the governor of the Bank of England and M explain to Bond that gold prices vary across the world, allowing one to profit by selling bullion internationally, and his objective is determining how Goldfinger does it by smuggling. To help in his mission, Bond is given a modified Aston Martin DB5 and two radar trackers by Q. Bond arranges to meet Goldfinger socially at his country club in Kent, and wins a high-stakes golf game against him with a recovered Nazi gold bar at stake. Aware of Bond’s ulterior motives, Goldfinger warns Bond not to interfere in his affairs, reinforcing the threat by having Oddjob demonstrate his steel-rimmed derby as a deadly weapon. Bond follows Goldfinger to Switzerland, where Tilly, Jill's sister, attempts to avenge her sister by assassinating Goldfinger with a rifle and fails.

Bond sneaks into Goldfinger's plant and discovers Goldfinger smuggles gold by melting it down and incorporating it into the bodywork of his Rolls-Royce Phantom III, which he takes with him whenever he travels. Bond also overhears Goldfinger talking to Chinese nuclear physicist Mr. Ling about "Operation Grand Slam." Leaving, Bond encounters Tilly as she tries to kill Goldfinger again, but trips an alarm in the process. Oddjob kills Tilly with his hat, and Bond is captured and tied to a cutting table underneath an industrial laser, which begins to slice a large sheet of gold in half, with Bond lying over it. He then lies to Goldfinger that MI6 knows about Grand Slam, causing Goldfinger to spare Bond's life to mislead MI6 into believing Bond has things in hand.

Bond is transported by Goldfinger's private jet, piloted by Pussy Galore, to his stud farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Bond escapes and witnesses Goldfinger's meeting with American mafiosi, who have brought the materials he needs for Operation Grand Slam. Goldfinger reveals that his plan is to rob the U.S. Bullion Depository at Fort Knox by releasing Delta 9 nerve gas into the atmosphere. After Bond is recaptured by Pussy, Goldfinger has the mafiosi killed using the gas.

Bond points out to Goldfinger that his plan to rob the depository will not work, as he will not have enough time to move the gold before the Americans intervene. Goldfinger hints he does not intend to steal the gold, and Bond deduces that Goldfinger will detonate a dirty bomb inside the vault, designed to render the gold useless for 58 years. This will increase the value of Goldfinger's own gold and give the Chinese an advantage from the potential economic chaos. Goldfinger subtly threatens that should the Americans attempt to locate the bomb or interfere with his plan, he will simply have it detonated somewhere else of significance in the United States.

Operation Grand Slam begins with Pussy Galore's Flying Circus spraying the gas over Fort Knox, seemingly killing all of the military and government personnel nearby including Felix. Goldfinger's private army breaks into Fort Knox and accesses the vault as Goldfinger arrives in a helicopter with the atomic device. In the vault, his henchman Kisch handcuffs Bond to the bomb. Unbeknownst to Goldfinger however, Bond has convinced Galore to alert the Americans and replace the gas with a harmless substance. The troops arise and attack, killing many of Goldfinger's men. Seeing this, Goldfinger locks the vault, takes off his coat, revealing a US Army colonel's uniform, and kills Mr. Ling and several troops, before escaping. Kisch realizes they are trapped and attempts to stop the bomb, but Oddjob throws him to his death. Bond frees himself with Kisch's handcuff keys, but the superhumanly strong Oddjob batters him before he can disarm the bomb. Eventually Bond manages to electrocute Oddjob, then forces the lock off the bomb using gold bullion bars from the vault, but ultimately is unable to disarm it. After finally killing all of Goldfinger's men, the troops open the vault and rush to disarm the bomb. An atomic specialist who accompanied Leiter arrives with seconds to spare, and simply turns off the device with the timer stopped on "0:07".

Bond is invited to the White House for lunch with the President. However, Goldfinger hijacks the plane carrying Bond there. In a struggle for Goldfinger's revolver, the gun fires, shooting out a window, creating an explosive decompression. Goldfinger is blown out of the cabin through the ruptured window. With the plane out of control, Bond rescues Galore and they parachute safely from the aircraft before it crashes into the ocean. A search helicopter passes, but Bond claims “this is no time to be rescued” and draws the parachute over himself and Galore.



With the court case between Kevin McClory and Fleming surrounding Thunderball still in the High Court, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman turned to Goldfinger as the third Bond film. [19] Goldfinger had what was then considered a large budget of $3 million (US$24 million in 2018 dollars [20] ), the equivalent of the budgets of Dr. No and From Russia with Love combined, and was the first Bond film classified as a box-office blockbuster. [2] Goldfinger was chosen with the American cinema market in mind, as the previous films had concentrated on the Caribbean and Europe. [21]

Terence Young, who directed the previous two films, chose to film The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders instead, after a pay dispute [1] that saw him denied a percentage of the film's profits. [22] Broccoli and Saltzman turned instead to Guy Hamilton to direct. Hamilton, who had turned down directing Dr. No, [23] felt that he needed to make Bond less of a "superman" by making the villains seem more powerful. [24] Hamilton knew Fleming, as both were involved during intelligence matters in the Royal Navy during World War II. [25] Goldfinger saw the return of two crew members who were not involved with From Russia with Love: stunt coordinator Bob Simmons and production designer Ken Adam. [26] Both played crucial roles in the development of Goldfinger, with Simmons choreographing the fight sequence between Bond and Oddjob in the vault of Fort Knox, which was not just seen as one of the best Bond fights, but also "must stand as one of the great cinematic combats" [27] whilst Adam's efforts on Goldfinger were "luxuriantly baroque" [28] and have resulted in the film being called "one of his finest pieces of work". [11]


Richard Maibaum, who co-wrote the previous films, returned to adapt the seventh James Bond novel. Maibaum fixed the novel's heavily criticised plot hole, where Goldfinger actually attempts to empty Fort Knox. In the film, Bond notes it would take twelve days for Goldfinger to steal the gold, before the villain reveals he actually intends to irradiate it with the then topical concept of a Red Chinese atomic bomb. [24] However, Harry Saltzman disliked the first draft, and brought in Paul Dehn to revise it. [24] Hamilton said Dehn "brought out the British side of things". [29] Connery disliked his draft, so Maibaum returned. [24] Dehn also suggested the pre-credit sequence be an action scene with no relevance to the actual plot. [2] Maibaum, however, based the pre-credit sequence on the opening scene of the novel, where Bond is waiting at Miami Airport contemplating his recent killing of a Latin American drug smuggler. [30] Wolf Mankowitz, an un-credited screenwriter on Dr. No, suggested the scene where Oddjob puts his car into a car crusher to dispose of Mr. Solo's body. [1] Because of the quality of work of Maibaum and Dehn, the script and outline for Goldfinger became the blueprint for future Bond films. [31]


Principal photography on Goldfinger commenced on 20 January 1964 in Miami, Florida, at the Fontainebleau Hotel; the crew was small, consisting only of Hamilton, Broccoli, Adam, and cinematographer Ted Moore. Sean Connery never travelled to Florida to film Goldfinger because he was filming Marnie [3] elsewhere in the United States. On the DVD audio commentary, director Guy Hamilton states that other than Cec Linder, who played Felix Leiter, none of the main actors in the Miami sequence were actually there. Connery, Gert Fröbe, Shirley Eaton, Margaret Nolan, who played Dink, and Austin Willis, who played Goldfinger's card victim, all filmed their parts on a soundstage at Pinewood Studios when filming moved there. Miami also served as location to the scenes involving Leiter's pursuit of Oddjob. [32]

After five days in the US, [33] production moved to England. The primary location was Pinewood Studios, home to among other sets, a recreation of the Fontainebleau, the South American city of the pre-title sequence and both Goldfinger's estate and factory. [14] [2] [3] Three places near the studio were used: Black Park for the car chase involving Bond's Aston Martin and Goldfinger's henchmen inside the factory complex, RAF Northolt for the American airports [32] and Stoke Park Club for the golf club scene. [34]

The end of the chase, when Bond's Aston Martin crashes into a wall because of the mirror, as well as the chase immediately preceding it, were filmed on the road at the rear of Pinewood Studios Sound Stages A and E and the Prop Store. The road is now called Goldfinger Avenue. [35] Southend Airport was used for the scene where Goldfinger flies to Switzerland. [32] Ian Fleming visited the set of Goldfinger in April 1964; he died a few months later in August 1964, shortly before the film's release. [2] The second unit filmed in Kentucky, and these shots were edited into scenes filmed at Pinewood. [14]

Principal photography then moved to Switzerland, with the car chase being filmed at the small curves roads near Realp, the exterior of the Pilatus Aircraft factory in Stans serving as Goldfinger's factory, and Tilly Masterson's attempt to snipe Goldfinger being shot in the Furka Pass. [32] Filming wrapped on 11 July at Andermatt, after nineteen weeks of shooting. [36] Just three weeks prior to the film's release, Hamilton and a small team, which included Broccoli's stepson and future producer Michael G. Wilson as assistant director, went for last-minute shoots in Kentucky. Extra people were hired for post-production issues such as dubbing so the film could be finished in time. [3] [37]

Broccoli earned permission to film in the Fort Knox area with the help of his friend, Lt. Colonel Charles Russhon. [3] [37] To shoot Pussy Galore's Flying Circus gassing the soldiers, the pilots were only allowed to fly above 3,000 feet. Hamilton recalled this was "hopeless", so they flew at about 500 feet, and "the military went absolutely ape". [5] The scenes of people fainting involved the same set of soldiers moving to different locations. [37]

For security reasons, filming and photography were not allowed near or inside the United States Bullion Depository. All sets for the interiors of the building were designed and built from scratch at Pinewood Studios. [2] The filmmakers had no clue as to what the interior of the depository looked like, so Ken Adam's imagination provided the idea of gold stacked upon gold behind iron bars.

Adam later told UK daily newspaper The Guardian : "No one was allowed in Fort Knox but because [producer] Cubby Broccoli had some good connections and the Kennedys loved Ian Fleming's books I was allowed to fly over it once. It was quite frightening – they had machine guns on the roof. I was also allowed to drive around the perimeter but if you got out of the car there was a loudspeaker warning you to keep away. There was not a chance of going in it, and I was delighted because I knew from going to the Bank of England vaults that gold isn't stacked very high and it's all underwhelming. It gave me the chance to show the biggest gold repository in the world as I imagined it, with gold going up to heaven. I came up with this cathedral-type design. I had a big job to persuade Cubby and the director Guy Hamilton at first." [38]

Saltzman disliked the design's resemblance to a prison, but Hamilton liked it enough that it was built. [39] The comptroller of Fort Knox later sent a letter to Adam and the production team, complimenting them on their imaginative depiction of the vault. [2] United Artists even had irate letters from people wondering "how could a British film unit be allowed inside Fort Knox?" [39] Adam recalled, "In the end I was pleased that I wasn't allowed into Fort Knox, because it allowed me to do whatever I wanted." [5] In fact, the set was deemed so realistic that Pinewood Studios had to post a 24-hour guard to keep the gold bar props from being stolen. Another element which was original was the atomic device, for which Hamilton requested the special effects crew get inventive instead of realistic. [37] Technician Bert Luxford described the end result as looking like an "engineering work", with a spinning engine, a chronometer and other decorative pieces. [40]


Two Aston Martin DB5s were built for production, one of which had no gadgets. DB5-2.jpg
Two Aston Martin DB5s were built for production, one of which had no gadgets.

Hamilton remarked, "Before [Goldfinger], gadgets were not really a part of Bond's world." Production designer Ken Adam chose the DB5 because it was the latest version of the Aston Martin (in the novel Bond drove a DB Mark III, which he considered England's most sophisticated car). [41] The company was initially reluctant, but was finally convinced to make a product placement deal. In the script, the car was armed only with a smoke screen, but every crew member began suggesting gadgets to install in it: Hamilton conceived the revolving licence plate because he had been getting lots of parking tickets, while his stepson suggested the ejector seat (which he saw on television). [42] A gadget near the lights that would drop sharp nails was replaced with an oil dispenser because the producers thought the original could be easily copied by viewers. [40] Adam and engineer John Stears overhauled the prototype of the Aston Martin DB5 coupe, installing these and other features into a car over six weeks. [2] The scene where the DB5 crashes was filmed twice, with the second take being used in the film. The first take, in which the car drives through the fake wall, [43] can be seen in the trailer. [3] Two of the gadgets were not installed in the car: the wheel-destroying spikes, inspired by Ben-Hur 's scythed chariots, were entirely made in-studio; and the ejector seat used a seat thrown by compressed air, with a dummy sitting atop it. [44] Another car without the gadgets was created, which was eventually furnished for publicity purposes. It was reused for Thunderball . [45]

Lasers did not exist in 1959 when the book was written, nor did high-power industrial lasers at the time the film was made, making them a novelty. In the novel, Goldfinger uses a circular saw to try to kill Bond, but the filmmakers changed it to a laser to make the film feel fresher. [24] Hamilton immediately thought of giving the laser a place in the film's story as Goldfinger's weapon of choice. Ken Adam was advised on the laser's design by two Harvard scientists who helped design the water reactor in Dr No. [39] The laser beam itself was an optical effect added in post-production. For close-ups where the flame cuts through metal, technician Bert Luxford heated the metal with a blowtorch from underneath the table to which Bond was strapped. [46]

The opening credit sequence was designed by graphic artist Robert Brownjohn, featuring clips of all James Bond films thus far projected on Margaret Nolan's body. Its design was inspired by seeing light projecting on people's bodies as they got up and left a cinema. [47]

Shirley Eaton as the murdered Jill Masterson--"one of the most enduring images in cinematic history". Shirley Eaton as Jill Masterson in Goldfinger.jpg
Shirley Eaton as the murdered Jill Masterson—"one of the most enduring images in cinematic history".

Visually, the film uses many golden motifs, reflecting the novel's treatment of Goldfinger's obsession with the metal. All of Goldfinger's female henchwomen in the film except his private jet's co-pilot (black hair) and stewardess (who is Korean) are red-blonde, or blonde, including Pussy Galore and her Flying Circus crew (both the characters Tilly Masterson and Pussy specifically have black hair in the novel). Goldfinger has a yellow-painted Rolls-Royce with number plate "AU 1" ("Au" being the chemical symbol for gold), and also sports yellow or golden items or clothing in every film scene, including a golden pistol, when disguised as a colonel. Jill Masterson is famously killed by being painted with gold, which according to Bond causes her to die of "skin suffocation". (An entirely fictional cause of death, but the iconic scene caused much of the public to accept it as a medical fact. [49] ) Bond is bound to a cutting bench with a sheet of gold on it (as Goldfinger points out to him) before nearly being lasered. Goldfinger's factory henchmen in the film wear yellow sashes, Pussy Galore twice wears a metallic gold vest, and Pussy's pilots all wear yellow sunburst insignia on their uniforms. Goldfinger's Jetstar hostess, Mei-Lei, wears a golden bodice and gold-accented sarong. [50] The concept of the recurring gold theme running through the film was a design aspect conceived and executed by Ken Adam and art director Peter Murton. [11]

The model jet used for wide shots of Goldfinger's Lockheed JetStar was painted differently on the right side to be used as the presidential plane that crashes at the film's end. [51] Several cars were provided by the Ford Motor Company including a Mustang that Tilly Masterson drives, [3] a Ford Country Squire station wagon used to transport Bond from the airport to the stud ranch, a Ford Thunderbird driven by Felix Leiter, and a Lincoln Continental in which Oddjob kills Solo. The Continental had its engine removed before being placed in a car crusher, and the destroyed car had to be partially cut so that the bed of the Ford Falcon Ranchero in which it was deposited could support the weight. [52]


Since the release date for the film had been pre-determined and filming had finished close to that date, John Barry received some edits directly from the cutting room floor, rather than as a finished edit, and scored some sequences from the rough initial prints. [53] Barry described his work in Goldfinger as a favourite of his, saying it was "the first time I had complete control, writing the score and the song". [54] The musical tracks, in keeping with the film's theme of gold and metal, make heavy use of brass, and also metallic chimes. The film's score is described as "brassy and raunchy" with "a sassy sexiness to it". [27]

Goldfinger began the tradition of Bond theme songs introduced over the opening title sequence, the style of the song from the pop genre and using popular artists. [51] (Although the title song, sung by Matt Monro, in From Russia with Love was introduced in a few phrases on Bond's first appearance, a full rendition on the soundtrack only commenced for the final scene on the waters at Venice and through the following end titles.) Shirley Bassey established the opening title tradition giving her distinguished style to "Goldfinger", and would sing the theme songs for two future Bond films, Diamonds are Forever and Moonraker . The song Goldfinger was composed by John Barry, with lyrics by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse. These lyrics were described in one contemporary newspaper as "puerile", [55] but what remained undisturbed was the Shirley Bassey interpretation world impact. Like the score, the arrangement makes heavy use of brass, meeting well Miss Bassey's signature belting, and incorporates the Bond theme from Dr. No . Newley recorded the early versions, which were even considered for inclusion in the film. The soundtrack album topped the Billboard 200 chart, [56] and reached 14th place in the UK Albums Chart. [57] The single for "Goldfinger" was also successful, reaching 8th in the Billboard Hot 100 [58] and 21st in the UK charts. [59]

"6 Underground", a song by the English band Sneaker Pimps from their 1996 studio album Becoming X , uses the harp melody at the beginning of the track "Golden Girl" from Goldfinger. ("Golden Girl" plays during a scene when Bond discovers the corpse of Jill Masterson covered in gold paint).

Release and reception

Goldfinger premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on 17 September 1964, with general release in the United Kingdom the following day. Leicester Square was packed with sightseers and fans and police were unable to control the crowd. A set of glass doors to the cinema was accidentally broken and the premiere was shown ten minutes late because of the confusion. [60] The United States premiere occurred on 21 December 1964, at the DeMille Theatre in New York. [61] The film opened in 64 cinemas across 41 cities [4] and eventually peaked at 485 screens. [62] Goldfinger was temporarily banned in Israel because of Gert Fröbe's connections with the Nazi Party. The ban, however, was lifted many years later when a Jewish family publicly thanked Fröbe for protecting them from persecution during World War II. [3]


1964 Aston Martin DB5, produced by Corgi Toys as a tie-in to the film 1964 Corgi Aston Martin DB5.jpg
1964 Aston Martin DB5, produced by Corgi Toys as a tie-in to the film

The film's marketing campaign began as soon as filming started in Florida, with Eon allowing photographers to enter the set to take pictures of Shirley Eaton painted in gold. Robert Brownjohn, who designed the opening credits, was responsible for the posters for the advertising campaign, which also used actress Margaret Nolan. [2] To promote the film, the two Aston Martin DB5s were showcased at the 1964 New York World's Fair and it was dubbed "the most famous car in the world"; [63] consequently, sales of the car rose. [42] Corgi Toys began its decades-long relationship with the Bond franchise, producing a toy of the car, which became the biggest selling toy of 1964. [6] The film's success also led to licensed tie-in clothing, dress shoes, action figures, board games, jigsaw puzzles, lunch boxes, toys, record albums, trading cards and slot cars. [4]

Critical response

Goldfinger was generally a critical success. Derek Prouse of The Sunday Times said of Goldfinger that it was "superbly engineered. It is fast, it is most entertainingly preposterous and it is exciting." [64]

The reviewer from The Times said "All the devices are infinitely sophisticated, and so is the film: the tradition of self-mockery continues, though at times it over-reaches itself", also saying that "It is the mixture as before, only more so: it is superb hokum." [65] Connery's acting efforts were overlooked by this reviewer, who did say: "There is some excellent bit-part playing by Mr. Bernard Lee and Mr. Harold Sakata: Mr. Gert Fröbe is astonishingly well cast in the difficult part of Goldfinger." [65] Donald Zec, writing for the Daily Mirror , said of the film that "Ken Adam's set designs are brilliant; the direction of Guy Hamilton tautly exciting; Connery is better than ever, and the titles superimposed on the gleaming body of the girl in gold are inspired." [66]

Penelope Gilliatt, writing in The Observer , said that the film had "a spoofing callousness" and that it was "absurd, funny and vile". [67] The Guardian said that Goldfinger was "two hours of unmissable fantasy", also saying that the film was "the most exciting, the most extravagant of the Bond films: garbage from the gods", adding that Connery was "better than ever as Bond". [68] Alan Dent, writing for The Illustrated London News , thought Goldfinger "even tenser, louder, wittier, more ingenious and more impossible than 'From Russia with Love'... [a] brilliant farrago", adding that Connery "is ineffable". [69]

Philip Oakes of The Sunday Telegraph said that the film was "dazzling in its technical ingenuity", [70] while Time said that "this picture is a thriller exuberantly travestied." [71] Bosley Crowther, writing in The New York Times was less enthusiastic about the film, saying that it was "tediously apparent" that Bond was becoming increasingly reliant on gadgets with less emphasis on "the lush temptations of voluptuous females", although he did admit that "Connery plays the hero with an insultingly cool, commanding air." [72] He saved his praises for other actors in the film, saying that "Gert Fröbe is aptly fat and feral as the villainous financier, and Honor Blackman is forbiddingly frigid and flashy as the latter's aeronautical accomplice." [72]

In Guide for the Film Fanatic, Danny Peary wrote that Goldfinger is "the best of the James Bond films starring Sean Connery...There's lots of humor, gimmicks, excitement, an amusing yet tense golf contest between Bond and Goldfinger, thrilling fights to the death between Bond and Oddjob and Bond and Goldfinger, and a fascinating central crime... Most enjoyable, but too bad Eaton's part isn't longer and that Fröbe's Goldfinger, a heavy but nimble intellectual in the Sydney Greenstreet tradition, never appeared in another Bond film." [73]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times declared this to be his favourite Bond film and later added it to his "Great Movies" list. [74]

The film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a "Certified Fresh" score of 97% and an average score of 8.6/10 based on 59 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Goldfinger is where James Bond as we know him comes into focus – it features one of 007's most famous lines ('A martini. Shaken, not stirred') and a wide range of gadgets that would become the series' trademark". [75] Goldfinger is the highest-rated James Bond film on Rotten Tomatoes. [76]

Box office

Goldfinger's $3 million budget was recouped in two weeks, and it broke box office records in multiple countries around the world. [4] The Guinness Book of World Records went on to list Goldfinger as the fastest grossing film of all time. [4] Demand for the film was so high that the DeMille cinema in New York City had to stay open twenty-four hours a day. [77] The film closed its original box office run having grossed $23 million in the United States [62] and $46 million worldwide. [78] After reissues, the first being as a double feature with Dr. No in 1966, [79] Goldfinger grossed a total of $51,081,062 in the United States [80] and $73,800,000 elsewhere, for a total worldwide gross of $124,900,000. [81]

The film distributor Park Circus re-released Goldfinger in the UK on 27 July 2007 at 150 multiplex cinemas, on digital prints. [82] [83] The re-release put the film twelfth at the weekly box office. [84]

Awards and nominations

At the 1965 Academy Awards, Norman Wanstall won the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing for his work, [85] making Goldfinger the first Bond film to receive an Academy Award. [86] John Barry was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Score for a Motion Picture, and Ken Adam was nominated for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for Best British Art Direction (Colour), where he also won the award for Best British Art Direction (Black and White) for Dr. Strangelove . [87] The American Film Institute has honoured the film four times: ranking it No. 90 for best movie quote ("A martini. Shaken, not stirred"), [88] No. 53 for best song ("Goldfinger"), [89] No. 49 for best villain (Auric Goldfinger), [90] and No. 71 for most thrilling film. [91] In 2006, Entertainment Weekly and IGN both named Goldfinger as the best Bond film, [92] [93] while MSN named it as the second best, behind its predecessor. [94] IGN and EW also named Pussy Galore as the second best Bond girl. [95] [96] In 2008, Total Film named Goldfinger as the best film in the series. [97] The Times placed Goldfinger and Oddjob second and third on their list of the best Bond villains in 2008. [98] They also named the Aston Martin DB5 as the best car in the films. [99]

Home media

The film was released in 1994 in the US as a Video CD by Philips for the Philips CD-i. [100]

Impact and legacy

Goldfinger's script became a template for subsequent Bond films. [31] It was the first of the series showing Bond relying heavily on technology, [63] as well as the first to show a pre-credits sequence with only a tangential link to the main story [18] —in this case allowing Bond to get to Miami after a mission. Also introduced for the first of many appearances is the briefing in Q-branch, allowing the viewer to see the gadgets in development. [101] The subsequent films in the Bond series follow most of Goldfinger's basic structure, featuring a henchman with a particular characteristic, a Bond girl who is killed by the villain, big emphasis on the gadgets and a more tongue-in-cheek approach, though trying to balance action and comedy. [102] [103] [104] [105]

Goldfinger has been described as perhaps "the most highly and consistently praised Bond picture of them all" [107] and after Goldfinger, Bond "became a true phenomenon." [6] The success of the film led to the emergence of many other works in the espionage genre and parodies of James Bond, such as The Beatles film Help! in 1965 [108] and a spoof of Ian Fleming's first Bond novel, Casino Royale , in 1967. [109] Indeed, it has been said that Goldfinger was the cause of the boom in espionage films in the 1960s, [106] so much so that in "1966, moviegoers were offered no less than 22 examples of secret agent entertainment, including several blatant attempts to begin competing series, with James Coburn starring as Derek Flint in the film Our Man Flint and Dean Martin as Matt Helm ". [110]

Even within the Bond canon, Goldfinger is acknowledged; the 22nd Bond film, Quantum of Solace , includes an homage to the gold body paint death scene by having a female character dead on a bed nude, covered in crude oil. [111] Outside the Bond films, elements of Goldfinger, such as Oddjob and his use of his hat as a weapon, Bond removing his drysuit to reveal a tuxedo underneath, and the laser scene have been homaged or spoofed in works such as True Lies , [112] The Simpsons , [113] and the Austin Powers series. [114] The US television programme MythBusters explored many scenarios seen in the film, such as the explosive depressurisation in a plane at high altitudes, [115] the death by full body painting, [116] an ejector seat in a car [117] and using a tuxedo under a drysuit. [118]

The success of the film led to Ian Fleming's Bond novels receiving an increase of popularity [4] and nearly 6 million books were sold in the United Kingdom in 1964, including 964,000 copies of Goldfinger alone. [56] Between the years 1962 to 1967 a total of 22,792,000 Bond novels were sold. [119]

The 2012 video game 007 Legends features a level based on Goldfinger.


American Film Institute lists

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>James Bond</i> Media franchise about a British spy

The James Bond series focuses on a fictional British Secret Service agent created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short-story collections. Since Fleming's death in 1964, eight other authors have written authorised Bond novels or novelizations: Kingsley Amis, Christopher Wood, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks, Jeffery Deaver, William Boyd and Anthony Horowitz. The latest novel is Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz, published in May 2018. Additionally Charlie Higson wrote a series on a young James Bond, and Kate Westbrook wrote three novels based on the diaries of a recurring series character, Moneypenny.

<i>Diamonds Are Forever</i> (film) 1971 James Bond film by Guy Hamilton

Diamonds Are Forever is a 1971 James Bond spy film and the seventh in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions. It is the sixth and final Eon film to star Sean Connery, who returned to the role as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond, for the first time since You Only Live Twice (1967), having declined to reprise the role in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).

<i>Goldfinger</i> (novel) novel by Ian Fleming

Goldfinger is the seventh novel in Ian Fleming's James Bond series, first published in the UK by Jonathan Cape on 23 March 1959. Goldfinger originally bore the title The Richest Man in the World and was written in January and February 1958. The story centres on the investigation by MI6 operative James Bond into the gold smuggling activities of Auric Goldfinger, who is also suspected by MI6 of being connected to SMERSH, the Soviet counter-intelligence organisation. As well as establishing the background to the smuggling operation, Bond uncovers a much larger plot, with Goldfinger planning to steal the gold reserves of the United States from Fort Knox.

Gert Fröbe German actor

Karl Gerhart "Gert" Fröbe was a German film and stage actor. He is best known in English-speaking countries for his work as Auric Goldfinger in the James Bond film Goldfinger, as Peachum in The Threepenny Opera, as Baron Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as Hotzenplotz in Der Räuber Hotzenplotz and Colonel Manfred von Holstein in Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines.

Oddjob fictional character from the James Bond film series

Oddjob is a fictional character in the espionage novels and films featuring James Bond. He is a henchman to the villain Auric Goldfinger in the 1959 James Bond novel Goldfinger and its 1964 film adaptation. In the film, he was played by the Japanese-American actor and professional wrestler Harold Sakata. Oddjob, who also appears in the James Bond animated series and in several video games, is one of the most popular characters in the Bond series.

Harold Sakata American weightlifter, professional wrestler and actor

Harold Sakata, born Toshiyuki Sakata was an American Olympic weightlifter, professional wrestler, and film actor. He won a silver medal for the United States at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London in weightlifting. He was also an actor, with his most famous role as the villain Oddjob in the James Bond film Goldfinger.

<i>GoldenEye: Rogue Agent</i> 2004 video game

GoldenEye: Rogue Agent is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Los Angeles and published by Electronic Arts. The player takes the role of an ex-MI6 agent, who is recruited by Auric Goldfinger to assassinate his rival Dr. No. Several other characters from the Bond series make appearances throughout the game, including Pussy Galore, Oddjob, Xenia Onatopp and Francisco Scaramanga.

Auric Goldfinger fictional character in James Bond series

Auric Goldfinger is a fictional character and the main antagonist in the James Bond film Goldfinger, based on Ian Fleming's novel of the same name. His first name, Auric, is an adjective meaning of gold. Fleming chose the name to commemorate the architect Ernő Goldfinger, who had built his home in Hampstead, near Fleming's; it is possible, though unlikely, that he disliked Goldfinger's style of architecture and destruction of Victorian terraces and decided to name a memorable villain after him. According to a 1965 Forbes article and The New York Times, the Goldfinger persona was based on gold mining magnate Charles W. Engelhard, Jr.

Pussy Galore fictional character from the James Bond film series

Pussy Galore is a fictional character in the 1959 Ian Fleming James Bond novel Goldfinger and the 1964 film of the same name. In the film, she is played by Honor Blackman. The character returns in the 2015 Bond continuation novel Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz, set in the 1950s two weeks after the events of Goldfinger.

<i>The Man with the Golden Gun</i> (film) 1974 film by Guy Hamilton

The Man with the Golden Gun is a 1974 British spy film, the ninth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, and the second to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. A loose adaptation of Ian Fleming's novel of the same name, the film has Bond sent after the Solex Agitator, a device that can harness the power of the sun, while facing the assassin Francisco Scaramanga, the "Man with the Golden Gun". The action culminates in a duel between them that settles the fate of the Solex.

<i>The Spy Who Loved Me</i> (film) 1977 British James Bond spy film by Lewis Gilbert

The Spy Who Loved Me is a 1977 British spy film, the tenth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, and the third to star Roger Moore as the fictional secret agent James Bond. Barbara Bach and Curt Jürgens co-star. It was directed by Lewis Gilbert and the screenplay was written by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum.

<i>Dr. No</i> (film) 1962 film by Terence Young

Dr. No is a 1962 British spy film, starring Sean Connery, with Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman and Jack Lord, which was filmed in Jamaica and England. It is the first James Bond film. Based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, it was adapted by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, and Berkely Mather and was directed by Terence Young. The film was produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, a partnership that continued until 1975.

<i>From Russia with Love</i> (film) 1963 film in the James Bond series directed by Terence Young

From Russia with Love is a 1963 British spy film and the second in the James Bond film series produced by Eon Productions, as well as Sean Connery's second role as MI6 agent James Bond. It was directed by Terence Young, produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and written by Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood, based on Ian Fleming's similarly named 1957 novel. In the film, Bond is sent to assist in the defection of Soviet consulate clerk Tatiana Romanova in Turkey, where SPECTRE plans to avenge Bond's killing of Dr. No.

The James Bond film series is a British series of spy films based on the fictional character of MI6 agent James Bond, "007", who originally appeared in a series of books by Ian Fleming. It is one of the longest continually-running film series in history, having been in on-going production from 1962 to the present. In that time Eon Productions has produced 24 films, most of them at Pinewood Studios. With a combined gross of over $7 billion to date, the films produced by Eon constitute the fourth-highest-grossing film series. Six actors have portrayed 007 in the Eon series, the latest being Daniel Craig.

<i>Goldfinger</i> (soundtrack) 1964 soundtrack album by John Barry

Goldfinger is the soundtrack for the 1964 film of the same name, the third film in the James Bond film series, directed by Guy Hamilton. The album was composed by John Barry and distributed by EMI. Two versions were released initially, one in the United States and the United Kingdom, which varied in terms of length and which tracks were within the soundtrack. In 2003, Capitol-EMI records released a remastered version that contained all the tracks within the film.

<i>The Incredible World of James Bond</i> 1965 television film directed by Jack Haley, Jr.

The Incredible World of James Bond was a 1965 television special produced by David L. Wolper for United Artists Television to showcase the James Bond film series and promote the upcoming December 1965 release of the film Thunderball.

<i>James Bond 007: Goldfinger</i> text adventure video game

James Bond 007: Goldfinger is a 1986 interactive fiction, text-based video game developed by Angelsoft, Inc. and published by Mindscape, Inc. for the MS-DOS, Apple II, and Macintosh computer platforms. The game is loosely based on the screenplay of EON Productions' 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger with some notable changes. It was penned by future Bond author Raymond Benson, who contributed towards the initial story plot/design, but left the project before its completion.

Ian Fleming, the writer who created the fictional character James Bond, lived to see the success of his novels depicted on screen before he died. All fourteen books in the series created by Fleming went on to be huge successes on screen. Goldfinger, one of the most epic stories in the James Bond saga, became a fan favorite with Shirley Bassey singing the iconic song, "Goldfinger", that was played for the fiftieth anniversary of the Bond series at the Oscars in 2012. Bond was played by Sean Connery and George Lazenby in the movies shot throughout the '60s. The Bond movies were filmed all across the world and by different directors each time, with some of the old directors collaborating with the new ones. The success of each Bond film lead to bigger budget prices for the following films adapted to the big screen. Each movie recovered its budget and won critically acclaimed awards the years that they came out. Of all the Bond films in cinema today, Thunderball is the most successful movie with the whole Bond series being the third highest grossing of all time in Hollywood cinema.

Films made in the 1970s featuring the character of James Bond included Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker.


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