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I don't think I can name another Bond film (except for maybe Dr. No) that holds so many images that stick with you from the first time you see it. A lady killed with gold paint, a man who kills people with his razor-lined hat, "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die..." This one is chock full of great Bond lines and also one of the most heavily favorited villains of all the films, Auric Goldfinger.
Guy Hamilton replaces Terence Young as director with Goldfinger, a film that re-energizes the franchise and really defines the genre as it is still known today. For good or ill, I should say, since of Goldfinger's features were taken to abominable extremes in the Roger Moore era. From now on, the Bond films are more outrageous and comedic (the laser table scene is only the best known example), are full of neat gadgets, and we can really call them action films as opposed to spy thrillers. Auric Goldfinger and Oddjob are iconic, Pussy Galore has that name and a squadron of Amazon pilots, there's a weird murder that leaves a girl painted gold, and the villain builds a huge model of Fort Knox's environs because, well, because Ken Adam is the god of production design. We also get the first proper teaser before the story begins, and it's as sharply written, violent, sexy and witty as the rest, and the first proper "hit song" with credits rolling around on girls. There are only two things missing from the formula and that's exotic location work (Kentucky highways are really a step down, though I appreciated the Swiss Alps), and James Bond actually being effective. This is a story in which he spends most of his time as a captive, he rebuffed by two Bond girls, stupidly crashes the Aston-Martin, and is shown up by an unnamed extra in the climactic atomic bomb scene. But we're almost there!
I really don't understand some of the comments. As an avid Bond fan, I can easily say that this is one of, if not the, best Bond film.
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In 14 official lists
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This movie ranks #35 in Action! The Action Movie A-Z
This movie ranks #48 in All Time Box Office
This movie ranks #54 in Taschen 100 All-time favorite movies
This movie ranks #69 in Roger Ebert: the great movies
This movie ranks #70 in BFI 100
This movie ranks #71 in AFI's 100 years...100 thrills
This movie ranks #166 in Empire 500
This movie ranks #187 in FOK! top 250
This movie ranks #334 in NY Times' The Essential 1,000 Films to See
This movie ranks #362 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #367 in 501 Must See Movies
This movie ranks #409 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #434 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #639 in Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films