Goldfinger is the third film in the James Bond series and also the third to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Released in 1964, 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 Frobe as the title character Auric Goldfinger, along with Shirley Eaton as famous 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.
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Produced by Harry Saltzman, Albert R. Broccoli
Screenplay by Richard Maibaum, Paul Dehn
Based on Goldfinger by Ian Fleming
Starring: Sean Connery, Gert Frobe, Honor Blackman, Harold Sakata, Bernard Lee…
Music by John Barry
Cinematography Ted Moore, BSC
Editing by Peter R. Hunt
Studio: Eon Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates: 17 September 1964 (London, premiere), 18 September 1964 (United Kingdom)
Running time: 110 minutes
Country: United Kingdom
Budget: $3 million
Box office: $124.9 million
The film’s plot has Bond investigating gold smuggling by gold magnate Auric Goldfinger and eventually uncovering Goldfinger’s plans to attack 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 American states of Kentucky and Florida.
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.
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 and an extensive pre-credits sequence that was not a major part of the main storyline. 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 just two weeks and is hailed as the series’ quintessential episode, still being acclaimed as one of the best films in the entire Bond canon.
After destroying a drug laboratory in Latin America, James Bond—agent 007—goes to Miami Beach. There he receives instructions from his superior, M, via CIA agent Felix Leiter to observe bullion dealer Auric Goldfinger, who is staying at the same hotel as Bond. The agent sees Goldfinger cheating at gin rummy and stops him by distracting his employee, Jill Masterson, and blackmailing Goldfinger into losing. Bond and Jill consummate their new relationship; however, Bond is subsequently knocked out by Goldfinger’s Korean manservant Oddjob, who then covers Jill in gold paint, killing her by ‘epidermal suffocation’.
In London, Bond learns that his objective is determining how Goldfinger smuggles gold internationally. Bond arranges to meet Goldfinger socially and wins a high-stakes golf game against him with a recovered Nazi gold bar at stake. Bond follows him to Switzerland, where Jill Masterson’s sister Tilly attempts to kill Goldfinger by sniper fire out of revenge.
Bond sneaks into Goldfinger’s plant and discovers that he smuggles the gold by melting it down and incorporating it into the bodywork of his car, which he takes with him whenever he travels. Bond also overhears him talking to a Red Chinese agent named 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. Bond is captured and Goldfinger ties Bond to a cutting table underneath an industrial laser, which begins to slice a sheet of gold in half, with Bond lying over it. Bond lies to Goldfinger that MI6 knows about Grand Slam, causing Goldfinger to spare Bond’s life to mislead MI6 into believing that Bond has things in hand.
Bond is transported by Goldfinger’s private jet, flown by his personal pilot, Pussy Galore, to his stud farm near Fort Knox, Kentucky. Bond escapes and witnesses Goldfinger’s meeting with U.S. mafiosi, who have brought the materials he needs for Operation Grand Slam. Whilst they are each promised $1 million, Goldfinger tempts them that they “could have the million today, or ten million tomorrow”. They listen to Goldfinger’s plan to rob Fort Knox before Goldfinger kills them all using some of the “Delta 9” nerve gas he plans to release over Fort Knox.
Bond is recaptured while eavesdropping and tells Goldfinger the reasons why his stated plan to rob the gold repository won’t work. Goldfinger hints he doesn’t intend to steal the gold, and Bond deduces that Goldfinger will detonate inside the vault an atomic device containing cobalt and iodine, which would supposedly 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.
Operation Grand Slam begins with Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus spraying the gas over Fort Knox. However, Bond had seduced Galore, convincing her to replace the nerve gas with a harmless substance and alert the U.S. government about Goldfinger’s plan. The military personnel of Fort Knox convincingly play dead until they are certain that they can prevent the criminals from escaping the base with the bomb.
Believing the military forces to be neutralised, Goldfinger’s private army break into Fort Knox and access the vault itself as he arrives in a helicopter with the atomic device. In the vault, Oddjob handcuffs Bond to the device. The U.S. troops attack; Goldfinger takes off his coat, revealing a US Army colonel’s uniform, and kills Mr. Ling and the troops seeking to open the vault, before escaping himself.
Bond extricates himself from the handcuffs, but Oddjob attacks him before he can disarm the bomb. They fight and Bond manages to electrocute Oddjob. Bond forces the lock of the bomb, but is unable to disarm it. An atomic specialist who accompanied Leiter turns off the device with the clock stopped on “0:07”.
With Fort Knox safe, Bond is invited to the White House for a meeting with the President. However, Goldfinger has hijacked the plane carrying Bond. In a struggle for Goldfinger’s revolver, the gun discharges, 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.
Sean Connery as James Bond
Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore:
Gert Fr?be as Auric Goldfinger
Shirley Eaton as Jill Masterson
Harold Sakata as Oddjob:
Tania Mallet as Tilly Masterson:
Tania Mallet as Tilly Masterson:
Bernard Lee as M:
Cec Linder as Felix Leiter:
Martin Benson as Mr. Solo
Desmond Llewelyn as Q:
Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny:
Austin Willis as Mr. Simmons:
Michael Mellinger as Kisch:
Burt Kwouk as Mr. Ling:
Richard Vernon as Colonel Smithers, the Bank of England official
Margaret Nolan as Dink, Bond’s masseuse from the Miami hotel sequence
Gerry Duggan as Hawker, Bond’s golf caddy
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. 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” consequently, sales of the car rose. 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. 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.
Goldfinger’s $3 million budget was recouped in two weeks, and it broke box office records in multiple countries around the world. The Guinness Book of World Records went on to list Goldfinger as the fastest grossing film of all time. Demand for the film was so high that the DeMille cinema in New York City had to stay open twenty-four hours a day. The film closed its original box office run having grossed $23 million in the United States and $46 million worldwide. After reissues, the first being as a double feature with Dr. No in 1966, Goldfinger grossed a total of $51,081,062 in the United States and $73,800,000 elsewhere, for a total worldwide gross of $124,900,000.
The film distributor Park Circus re-released Goldfinger in the UK on 27 July 2007 at 150 multiplex cinemas, on digital prints. The re-release put the film twelfth at the weekly box office.
Awards and nominations
At the 1965 Academy Awards, Norman Wanstall won the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing for his work, making Goldfinger the first Bond film to receive an Academy Award. 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. The American Film Institute has honoured the film four times: ranking it No. 90 for best movie quote (“A martini. Shaken, not stirred”), No. 53 for best song (“Goldfinger”), No. 49 for best villain (Auric Goldfinger), and No. 71 for most thrilling film. In 2006, Entertainment Weekly and IGN both named Goldfinger as the best Bond film, while MSN named it as the second best, behind its predecessor. IGN and EW also named Pussy Galore as the second best Bond girl. In 2008, Total Film named Goldfinger as the best film in the series. The Times placed Goldfinger and Oddjob second and third on their list of the best Bond villains in 2008. They also named the Aston Martin DB5 as the best car in the films.