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Film Review: Goldfinger

Updated on December 22, 2016
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In 1964, Guy Hamilton directed Goldfinger, based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, as the third film of the franchise. Starring Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Fröbe, Shirley Eaton, and Harold Sakata, the film grossed $124.9 million at the Box Office.

Synopsis

While at Miami Beach, James Bond receives instructions to observe bullion dealer Auric Goldfinger and learns that his main objective is to learn how the man smuggles gold internationally. The mission leads him to learn that Goldfinger is conspiring to detonate an atomic devise inside Fort Knox to irradiate the gold, rendering it useless for 60 years.

Review


The Bond film that's probably the most parodied by popular culture, Goldfinger is a great film as it took what the previous two entries did, reworked them and established how the rest of the franchise would play out. The first to have the character have a heavy reliance on technology, it introduced his briefing in Q-Branch with tongue-in-cheek demonstrations of many background gadgets. Though the other two movies had some interesting vehicles, this was really the first one to have a vehicle with some gadgets. The car in this film has a razor in his tire and a GPS locator. This film also introduced how the title sequences would be displayed. While the other two had theme songs and the silhouettes, this one was the first to have the actual theme played over the silhouettes for the entire duration.

As a hero, this film paints Bond in a variety of lights. On one hand, he’s so observant that he can notice when he’s being snuck up on due to the man’s reflection in a pretty woman’s eyes and he manages to keep a tuxedo from getting ruined or wrinkled under a wetsuit as well as bluff his way out of getting killed. On the other hand, for most of the film, Bond is really fumbling around in the dark, with no idea what’s going on. In fact, he’s largely incorrect in how Goldfinger is going to enact his plan or even what it is. While in other films, Bond has at least some understanding of what’s going on before the audience does and is mostly up to par with the villains, he really learns at the pace of the audience with this one. It's a well-done example of Bond showing his humanness very early on in the franchise.

Goldfinger is also an incredibly interesting villain, especially with him being the only villain from the films pre-Moore to have no connection to SPECTRE. Further, he’s incredibly smart for one of Bond's villains. He puts him in the laser death trap, not as a ploy to get Bond to give information, but to simply just die. What's more is he doesn’t assume the trap is going to kill the hero as intended and stays around to watch, just to make absolutely sure it kills him. Even after Bond bluffs his way out, Goldfinger still keeps him alive just to fool everyone else into thinking that Bond is actually succeeding. This shows his pragmatism as he’d have to do everything all over again if Bond is killed and a replacement is issued. He also has a brilliant plan for a manically insane criminal as he knows he would never be able to steal gold from Fort Knox. Instead, he does the next best thing which is to render it unusable and goes with irradiation. Goldfinger's apathy to the number of deaths his plan would cause is also on display, seen when he compares it to the amount of car related deaths in the span of two years. However, the film does exhibit how Goldfinger can act without thinking due to him deciding to shoot a firearm while on an airplane.



5 stars for Goldfinger

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinion

Awards won

Academy Awards

  • Best Effects, Sound Effects

Golden Screen Awards

  • Golden Screen

Golden Laurel Awards

  • Action Drama
  • Action Performance (Sean Connery)
  • Third Place - Supporting Performance, Male (Gert Frobe)

Nominated for

BAFTA Awards

  • Best British Art Director (Colour)

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best DVD/Blu-Ray Collection (Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection

Edgar Allen Poe Awards

  • Best Foreign Film

Grammy Awards

  • Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show

IGN Summer Movie Awards

  • Best Movie Blu-Ray (Bond 50 Box Set)

Comments

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    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      3 years ago from The Garden State

      Goldfinger is my favorite Connery Bond film. I just re-visited it a few months ago for the first time in a few years and it still holds up very well.

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