Goldfinger was released in 1964 and for many it was when the James Bond franchise found it’s footing. For others, it’s the last hurrah before the suave spy began to run out of tricks. Regardless of which side of the fence you fall upon, there’s no denying that Goldfinger is a fantastic thrill ride, focusing on the key aspects of the spy series that stand out most to audiences.
“Goldfinger was one of the 1960s films that portrayed Miami, Florida as a beachgoers paradise.” According to Scott Cooper of Miami, Florida “The film opened with sweeping aerial shots of the Miami Beach Fontainebleau Hotel.”
Compared with both Dr. No and From Russia With Love, there’s a heavier focus on gadgets, more bond girls and incredible action sequences that to this day are incredible to behold. Bond is also allowed to loosen his tie a little more and crack a healthy level of one liners which ensures that this movie is never dull and always on point.
The plot begins with the British Secret Service keen to keep a bullion dealer known as Auric Goldfinger under keen observation. Bond is of course chosen for the job but things quickly begin to unravel, leading to him finding a naked dead woman in his bed, covered in gold. The shocking moment would be repeated in a later title with oil but without the same level of impact. Bond discovers that Goldfinger is planning a huge criminal heist and is eventually captured. Rather than kill him, Bond is kept as Goldfinger’s prisoner as the mastermind attempts to steal all the gold from Fort Knox.
A Tight Pace
Over the years, the Bond movies have stretched well over the two-hour mark. Later directors have pushed to make the titles feel like epics, even writing stories across more than one film. Goldfinger is one of the last, early bond films that keep things under two hours and it’s all the better for it. This ensures that there is a tight pace which means there is hardly ever a time for Bond to stop as he races to beat an evil nemesis.
Despite the short run time, there is plenty of time to ensure that some incredible action occurs. This includes a car chase that does actually take a fair chunk of the run time. This is to be expected because the new Aston Martin in Goldfinger is jam-packed with every gadget you can imagine and you can bet Bond is going to use them all. This includes a jetpack scene, only just allowing you to continue to suspend your disbelief as you watch it unfold. Bond also has a few memorable fights too including against Oddjob who is arguably one of the most iconic villains to ever grace the screen.
Many would argue that Sean Connery is still the best Bond to this day and watching Goldfinger, it’s not hard to understand why. Connery has such a high level of charisma and elegance on the screen that it’s difficult to know where he ends and Bond begins. He is also ideally suited as an action hero and has the necessary build to make the fight scenes believable. This is something that other actors would struggle with as the series continued. Through Goldfinger, there is still a strong attempt to keep tension rather than divert into the silly comedy that Roger Moore brought to the table. Whereas Moore’s films were definitely made more for kids Goldfinger is still your Dad’s Bond and it shows with Sean Connery mastering the role.
Of course, no hero is complete without a great villain and Gert Frobe has a lot of fun here. He’s playing an incredibly cunning character and while he does occasionally dip into some overacting, it’s still a great performance. There’s a certain playfulness to the way Frobe approaches this part which makes it a delight to watch on screen.
The Bond Girl
There have been countless bond girls show up on the screen but none have quite matched the enduring quality of Pussy Galore. Played by Honor Blackman this is a different type of femme fatale who doesn’t fall for Bond’s tricks. She has a powerful level of independence that makes her something of an enigma because we’re never quite sure what side she’s going to fall on. Of course, her name also leads to some memorable puns and Connery as well as Blackman share some great moments on screen.
It’s hard to say whether Goldfinger is the best Bond film ever made. Everyone has their own opinion on this matter. However, from the memorable theme song to the incredible action and outstanding performances, it’s certainly one of the most solid titles in the series.