|Goldfinger is the third spy film in the James Bond series and 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 Fröbe 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.
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 occurred 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 a pop star singing the theme song, 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 but 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 true mission 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 there is an attempt on Goldfinger’s life by Tilly Masterson to avenge the death of her sister, Jill.
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 is about to make another attempt on Goldfinger’s life, tripping an alarm as they leave; they attempt to escape, but Oddjob kills Tilly. Bond is captured and Goldfinger ties Bond to a table underneath a laser, which begins to slice the table in half. 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 US 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 knock over 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 after hearing the details of the operation and tells Goldfinger the reasons why such a plan won’t work. However, Bond soon learns from Goldfinger that he has no intention of ‘removing’ any of the gold from Fort Knox, but to place an atomic device containing cobalt and iodine, which would render the gold useless for 58 years, increasing the value of Goldfinger’s own gold and giving the Chinese an advantage resulting from economic chaos.
Operation Grand Slam begins with Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus spraying the gas over Fort Knox. However, Bond had seduced Pussy and convinced her that the gas was poisonous and needed to be replaced with a harmless gas. The military personnel of Fort Knox convincingly play dead until they are certain that they can prevent the criminals escaping the base with the bomb.
With the military forces “neutralised”, Goldfinger’s private army break into Fort Knox and access the vault itself. Goldfinger then arrives in a helicopter with the atomic device. In the vault Oddjob handcuffs Bond to the device. The US troops attack and Goldfinger takes off his coat, revealing a colonel’s uniform, kills Mr. Ling and the troops seeking to open the vault, before escaping himself.
Bond extricates himself from the handcuffs, but before he can disarm the bomb, Oddjob attacks him: they fight before Bond manages to electrocute Oddjob. Bond forces the lock of the bomb, but is unable to disarm it, although an atomic specialist, who accompanied Leiter, turns off the device with the clock stopped on “007”.
With Fort Knox safe, Bond is invited to the White House for a meeting with the President. Goldfinger hijacked the plane Bond took, and in a struggle for Goldfinger’s revolver Bond shoots out a window, creating an explosive decompression. Goldfinger is blown out of the cabin through the window. With the plane out of control Bond rescues Galore and they parachute safely from the aircraft.