2014 sees classic Bond adventure Goldfinger celebrate its 50th anniversary, marking Sean Connery’s third entry of the 007 franchise. Arguably, it is the series most iconic film and the movie famous for cementing the franchise’s popularity.
The film often tops lists of favourite Bond films and is one of the many reasons indeed why Connery remains many people’s favourite actor to play the secret agent.
To celebrate this special occasion, here are a selection of the film’s most iconic moments as a clue to why the series has endured these past 50 years:
001: The Pre-Titles Sequence
The series has become known for its gripping opening scenes before the lavish title cards, whilst a famous singer or band belt out the latest theme tune. Previously, the pre-titles scenes were intended to be separate from the film’s main plot, creating another world within the film as we perhaps catch 007 at the end of a previous mission.
Later Bond films such as the Brosnan-era The World Is Not Enough or Die Another Day (the storyline of which bleeds into the title sequence) and recently Skyfall have flouted this and used the PTS as a precursor to the film’s main plot.
002: Bond’s Tuxedo
The series began in earnest with Dr No in 1962 with another film being released every year. Indeed whilst the first film set the ground work for the series, Goldfinger set in place the elements for the “Bond formula” that still exist to this day – a heady mix of action, adventure, gadgets, weapons, maniacal villains, fast cars, beautiful women and exotic locales.
The moment in the pre titles sequence where Bond, having destroyed the villain’s poppy fields, ditches his camouflage to reveal a classy white tuxedo encapsulates perfectly the essence of Bond.
003: Ejector Seat/Bond’s Car
Q: “I never joke about my work, 007.”
The scene in which Q explains his latest arsenal of gadgets to an increasingly restless 007 has fast become a mainstay of the series, recently revived thanks to Daniel Craig and Ben Whishaw putting a fresh twist on a classic.
This wouldn’t be so without Goldfinger, as it also introduced us to Bond’s classic car, the Aston Martin DB5. This gadget-lade vehicle boasts revolving number plate, a pre-GPS tracking device and most famously, an ejector seat, operated by a big red button atop the gear stick.
As Q himself advises, “Whatever you do, don’t touch it..!” Whoosh!
004: Oddjob Decapitates A Stone Statue
Goldfinger: “Many people have tried to involve themselves in my affairs, unsuccessfully…”
With a quick touch of his own headgear, Goldfinger instructs his musclebound manservant to show off his own deadly skills – by slicing off the head of a statue with his razor tipped bowler hat.
005: The Laser
Bond: “Do you expect me to talk?”
Goldfinger: “No Mr Bond, I expect you to DIE!”
The moment where 007 is strapped to a table whilst the lethal laser beam nearly slices his nether regions in two comes with the most famous villainous exchange in 007 history. Arguably, this scene sets up another series staple in which the central villain explains his or her scheme to Bond, usually whilst our hero is about to meet sudden doom with seemingly little hope of escape.
You’ve only to look at parodies such as the Austin Powers films and even Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles to see how much this element of the series has become part of the fabric of pop culture.
006: Jill Masterson – Golden Girl
The character of Jill Masterson isn’t on our screens for very long but for 007, her death untimely and bizarre death sets in motion a series of events that becomes more than just your average spy mission.
For many Bond fans, the image of Shirley Eaton covered head to toe in gold paint is perhaps the most iconic in the film and indeed within modern cinema. So much so that in 2012 this scene was recreated for the “Designing Bond” exhibition at London’s Barbican (thankfully, a dummy was used), to celebrate the series own 50th anniversary.
007: Pussy Galore
Ms Galore: “My name is Pussy Galore”
Bond: “I must be dreaming…”
Original 007 creator Ian Fleming created his spy novels at a time when women still maintained very much traditional roles in society. Fleming’s time at schools such as Eaton and Sandhurst and later in life as part of the Naval Intelligence and later Reuters meant he was perfectly placed to provide his suave spy with the snobbish and more macho elements audiences have endured for decades.
By the time Goldfinger was released, despite the Cold War, British society was becoming more permissive, summed up by Honor Blackman’s highly suggestive name. Despite being an openly gay character in Fleming’s novel, for the film this was toned down considerably. A memorable moniker coupled with a great performance ensures Ms Galore enters the ranks of iconic Bond girls.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of Goldfinger, the film has been re-released in the UK as a Limited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook.