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Never Say Never Again (1983) - Illustrated Reference

Updated on July 7, 2017

Never Say Never Again was directed by Irvin Kershner. It premiered on 6th October 1983. Starring Sean Connery, Kim Basinger, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Barbara Carrera, Edward Fox, Bernie Casey and Max von Sydow. Screenplay by Lorenzo Semple Jr. Music by Michel Legrand. 134mins.

SPECTRE agents working for Maximilian Largo steal two nuclear cruise missiles from an American air base. SPECTRE head honcho Blofeld demands an exorbitant amount of money from NATO members as ransom, otherwise he will detonate the bombs on a major city. 007 tracks Largo to Nassau in the Bahamas where he meets the beautiful Domino Petachi, Largo’s mistress.

Producer Kevin McClory (1926-2006) collaborated with Ian Fleming and screenwriter Jack Wittingham on a screenplay for a James Bond movie in 1958, when the project didn’t work out Ian Fleming novelised the screenplay and published it as "Thunderball".

The book would later be made into the film Thunderball (1965) and remade in 1983 as Never Say Never Again, both starring Sean Connery as James Bond.

Q; "Good to see you Mr. Bond. Now you're on this I hope we're going to see some gratuitous sex and violence."

Sean Connery (1930-) / Bond, James Bond

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sean Connery had starred in six Bond films for Eon Productions, the last one Diamonds Are Forever (1971) was a worldwide hit but he had had enough of Bond and left the series. Roger Moore successfully took over the role.

It was Connery’s wife who suggested the title Never Say Never Again after Connery publicly stated that he would never play Bond again.

Kim Basinger (1953-) / Domino Petachi

Born in Athens, Georgia, Kim Basinger was 29 when she took the part of Bond girl Domino Petachi. It was her first big movie. The character was named Domino Derval in Thunderball (1965) and played by French actress Claudine Auger.

Kim Basinger won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for L.A. Confidential (1997).

Her films include - The Natural (1984), 9 1/2 Weeks (1986), No Mercy (1986), Blind Date (1987), My Stepmother is an Alien (1988), Batman (1989 as Vicki Vale), Final Analysis (1992), Cool World (1992), The Real McCoy (1993), The Getaway (1994), 8 Mile (2002), Cellular (2004), The Sentinel (2006) and Charlie St. Cloud (2010).

Klaus Maria Brandeur (1943-) / Maximilian Largo

Born in Bad Aussee, Austria, Klaus Maria Brandeur won acclaim for the German film Mephisto in 1981.His films include - Out of Africa (1985), Streets of Gold (1986), The Russia House (1990), White Fang (1991) and Rembrandt (1999).

In Thunderball the villain was named Emilio Largo and was played by Italian actor Adolfo Celi.

Barbara Carrera (1945-) / Fatima Blush

Born in Bluefields, Nicaragua, Barbara Carrera plays mad bad Bond girl Fatima Blush, a SPECTRE agent who enjoys seducing her victims before killing them. Carrera received a nomination for Best Supporting actress at the Golden Globe Awards for this role.Her films include - Embryo (1976), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977), When Time Ran Out (1980), Condorman (1981), I, the Jury (1982), Lone Wolf McQuade (1983) and Wicked Stepmother (1989).

In Thunderball the villainess was named Fiona Volpe and played by Italian actress Lucianna Paluzzi.

Max Von Sydow (1929-) / Ernst Stavro Blofeld

Born in Lund, Sweden, Max von Sydow was Oscar Nominated Best Supporting Actor for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) and also Nominated Best Actor for Pelle the Conqueror (1987). He received Golden Globe nominations for Hawaii (1966) and The Exorcist (1973).

Blofeld has previously been portrayed in movies by Donald Pleasance, Telly Savalas and Charles Gray. Blofeld’s face was not seen in Thunderball.

Bernie Casey (1939-) / Felix Leiter

Born in Wyco, West Virginia, Bernie Casey is the sixth actor and first African American to play CIA agent Felix Leiter.

His films include - Black Gunn (1972), Cleopatra Jones (1973), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), Sharky's Machine (1981), Spies Like Us (1985), Rent-a-Cop (1987), I'm Gonna Git you Sucka (1989), Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Another 48hrs (1990), Under Siege (1992), Street Knight (1993), In the Mouth of Madness (1994) and Vegas Vampires (2003).

Edward Fox (1937-) / 'M'

Born in London, England, Edward Fox is the fourth actor to play the head of the secret service on film following Bernard Lee (Dr. No to Moonraker), John Huston (Casino Royale 1967) and Robert Brown (Octopussy to Licence to Kill). The only Bond film not to feature 'M' is For Your Eyes Only (1981).

Edward Fox's films include - The Jokers (1967), Oh What a Lovely War (1969), Battle of Britain (1969), The Day of the Jackal (1973), A Bridge Too Far (1977), The Big Sleep (1978), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Gandhi (1982), The Bounty (1984), Return from the River Kwai (1989), Lost in Space (1998), Nicholas Nickleby (2002) and Lassie (2005).

McClory held the screen rights to Thunderball and wanted to make it into a film. To moviegoers Sean Connery was James Bond and so McClory agreed to co-produce Thunderball with producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R Broccoli, they decided to make the film because they didn’t want to see a movie of Thunderball with another actor playing Bond.

Part of the agreement was that McClory was not to make another film based on Thunderball for 10 years. In 1976 McClory announced the production of the movie “James Bond of the Secret Service” which was later renamed “Warhead”. After much legal wrangling involving McClory and the producers and studio of the official Bond series the proposed film was axed.

The project resurfaced in 1983, a remake of Thunderball renamed Never Say Never Again. 53 year old Sean Connery, who's last big hit was Diamonds Are Forever (1971), was offered $3m plus a percentage of the profits to once more play James Bond, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Irvin Kershner (1923-2010) is the only American to direct a Bond movie. He is best known for directing Star Wars V The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

One interesting plot development in the early script stages was Blofeld being killed by the poisoned claws of his white cat.

Q equips Bond with a rocket propelled Yamaha XJ650 Turbo motor bike, a fountain pen that shoots explosive pellets and a wrist watch with built in laser.

A scene showing Bond and Domino on a horse falling into the sea from the top of a castle is cut in the UK editions of the film. The British censor is quite strict on animal cruelty, horse-tripping scenes in westerns and historical films are usually removed too.

There were two Bond films released in 1983, Never Say Never Again and Octopussy starring Roger Moore. Both were successful at the box office though Moore beat Connery in the final count. Octopussy grossing 187m worldwide to NSNA’s $160m.

Lani Hall sings the theme song “Never Say Never Again”. The music score by Michel Legrand was absolutely dire in my opinion, even Burt Bacharach’s Casino Royale (1967) theme was superior to this. There have been rumours that a rescored and extended version of the film would make it to blu-ray one day. I can but hope.

The film ends with Sean Connery breaking the “fourth wall” and winking at the camera, originally Connery wanted to have his friend Roger Moore walk past him at the end, turn round and say “never say never again”.

The Critics Wrote –

"What clicks best in the film is the casting. Klaus Maria Brandauer makes one of the best Bond opponents since very early in the series. Carrera lets out all the stops, while Basinger is luscious as the pivotal romantic and dramatic figure. And then, of course, there's Connery, in fine form and still very much looking the part." (Variety)

"'Octopussy'' reworked the same old Bond formula in all its anachronistic glory, with 007 winking his way through the usual intrigue, a figure of devilish charm and inexhaustible vigor. In ''Never Say Never Again,'' however, the material has been successfully updated." (New York Times)

"Never Say Never Again" is great fun and it's a pleasure to have Connery back. Sorry, Roger, but nobody does it better." (Post Gazette)

"Sean Connery says he'll never make another James Bond movie, and maybe I believe him. But the fact that he made this one, so many years later, is one of those small show-business miracles that never happen. Good work 007." (Roger Ebert)

"Well into his fifties, the thrill was indubitably gone - and so, sadly, was a great deal of Mr Connery's hair." (Julie Burchill, Girls on Film)

"It's reasonably enjoyable and Klaus Maria Brandauer makes an excellent villain, but the plot is merely Thunderball revisited, a lot of the original enthusiasm has vanished, and it's much too long-winded." (Chris Tookey)


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    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England

      Edward Fox was a little stiff as M in Never Say Never Again, he was the youngest M in the Bond movies (younger than Bond!). Fox was a lot better as Robert Shaw's explosives expert buddy in Force 10 from Navarone, an enjoyable sequel to Guns of Navarone but not as good. They were the roles Gregory Peck and David Niven played in the original. Harrison Ford is the 2nd lead after Shaw. It's worth catching next time it's on TV.

      Thanks for posting Flora.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

      I.e. I haven't seen Force 10 From navarone

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

      I think this is the only reference to Edward Fox you have as a main role (not under ape makeup) that I have seen? M? Anyway, I just watched him in The day of the Jackal tonight on TCM for the umpteenth time. He was 40 when the movie was released, looked ten years younger than that and is still acting (most recently last year.) I see him all the time in British TV mysteries now.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thanks Rob, I've enjoyed your input on the Bond hubs.

      There's an interesting subject for your movie hubs, actors who break the "fourth wall" in movies, i.e. look or talk to the camera. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby were at it all the time in the Road comedies, and Burt Reynolds did it in a couple of his films. George Lazenby mentions that "this never happened to the other fella" in the precredits teaser to OHMSS. :)

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      It's always good to see Connery in Bond mode, even if it isn't one of his best films. It's a pity the originally planned "Warhead" never got made because, from what I've read, it would have been entertaining. (The idea of trained sharks swimming through the sewers with bombs attached to them to blow up landmarks like the UN from underneath sounds like a hoot.)

      This was my first look at Kim Basinger and I've liked her every since. She's probably my second favorite Bond girl after Michele Yoeh. Brandauer made a good villain. And I agree that Barbara Carrera was a bit over-the-top, but that's not so unusual for Bond villains.

      Good to see one more Bond hub. The whole collection of hubs was nicely done.


    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thank you Megan Coxe and Gypsy Willow, comments appreciated. I enjoyed revisiting these movies.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      I remember standing in lie to watch this movie when it first came out. It did not disappoint! Looking forward to the next series.

    • Megan Coxe profile image

      Megan Coxe 6 years ago from somewhere between here and there

      Great and well-constructed hub! It brings me back to when I was a child, watching these movies with my brother...

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thanks AlabamaGirl, appreciate the comment.

    • AlabamaGirl86 profile image

      AlabamaGirl86 6 years ago

      I used to watch this movie over and over when I was younger, it was not till many years later that I realized this is not an official Bond movie. Nicely done.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thank you Flora, appreciate all your comments on my Bond hubs.

      Beam me up Scotty. Trek it is than. :)

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      ooh, the Star Trek movies . I've seen those with the original cast members.

      As for this film, I actually enjoyed this more than Thunderball. Perhaps because I love Max Von Sydow. Not only is he still alive. He is still acting at 82. He is wonderful. I can't remember ever being disappointed in his performances. The earliest of his films I've seen is The Seventh Seal, my favourite by Bergman.

      It's interesting to note that regardless of the overall quality of the films, Bloefeld is generally played by solid, well respected actors.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thanks Cogerson, your input appreciated always.

      I'm not sure what series I'll do next. I want a break from the superspy genre. Maybe animation or maybe science fiction? A galaxy far far away or where no man has gone before? :)

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      I would say that you are officially done with the Bond illustrated reference hubs. Job well done. It was fun to read these hubs as they came out....the good Bond movies the bad Bond movies and the ugly Bond movies.

      As for Never Say Never Again....the story behind the scenes with Kevin McClory is fascinating.....all the lawsuits and delays in is amazing that the movie turned out as well as it did. Connery seems to enjoy playing Bond in this movie. I think the ending with Moore walking by would have been classic.

      It is hard to believe that almost 30 years have passed since the battle of the Bonds occurred...I know Octopussy made more money....but I think Never Say Never Again has a better following as the years went along.

      So now the question is.....What's next? Harry Palmer has three movies......Matt Helm?.....Derek Flint?

      And finally once again thanks for putting the Bond franchise on hub pages.