Goldfinger (1964)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Glamorized Spy Film  |   Run Time - 117 min.  |   Countries - UK  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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The third film in the remarkably durable franchise, Goldfinger set the gold standard (naturally) for future James Bond adventures. With the films' signature elements firmly entrenched -- including globe-trotting story, salacious credits sequence, Q's exasperation, and 007's phenomenal abilities with women and antagonists -- Goldfinger began to up the ante. Bond's well-equipped Aston-Martin and Goldfinger's elaborate Fort Knox model presaged future technical extravagance, while Bond's near castration via a giant laser was one more sign of the series' humorous self-awareness. Loquacious villain Auric Goldfinger, lethally hat-throwing Oddjob, and inimitably named Bond girl Pussy Galore were already outrageously tongue-in-cheek baddies long before Mike Myers parodied them in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997). Dispatching enemies, making puns, and seducing females with equal aplomb, tough-yet-debonair Sean Connery gracefully walked the line between straight-up action hero and sly burlesque, offering further evidence as to why he would be the definitive 007. Building on its predecessors' success, Goldfinger swiftly became one of the most popular films of 1964 (and Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger" theme a hit single), leading the way for flashier Bond spectaculars.