Thunderball Trivia: 9 Amazing Facts About This James Bond Flick

Sean Connery as James Bond in Thunderball

EON Productions / United Artists

Following the huge box office success of Goldfinger, 1965’s Thunderball sees Bond on the hunt for two atomic bombs that have been stolen by his old enemy SPECTRE. Here are 9 pieces of Thunderball trivia… 

1) The jetpack was designed for military use 

The jetpack from Thunderball has got to be one of the most iconic gadgets that Bond uses in the entire series. The real-life name for the jetpack is the Small Rocket Lift Device and it was designed for use by the military. 

2) Connery had an uncomfortably close encounter with a shark

Whilst filming underwater, Connery was in an enclosure where clear plastic screens were supposed to protect him from the sharks. However, the gap left by the screen was big enough for a shark to slip through, and a frightened reaction you see in the final film is actually Connery’s genuine terror after coming too close to comfort with a shark.

3) Sean Connery appeared in the opening gun barrel sequence for the first time 

It wouldn’t be a Bond film without the opening gun barrel sequence where we see Bond walk into frame, turn, and shoot at the camera. However, Connery didn’t actually appear in this sequence for the first three movies. Instead, it was his stunt double, Bob Simmons. Thunderball was the first movie where Connery donned the scene. 

4) The budget was higher than Dr No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger combined 

The 007 series actually had a slow launch to success. The first couple of films didn’t really make a huge impact internationally, and as such, the first three movies all had modest budgets. However, after the major box office success of Goldfinger, the budget for Bond’s fourth outing rocketed – totalling more than the first three movies’ budgets combined. 

5) Domino only wears black and white 

The costume designers were careful to ensure that Domino stuck to her name. As such, she only wears black and white outfits throughout the film. 

6) The name Thunderball comes from atomic bomb tests 

The word, ‘Thunderball,’ is in the dictionary as a term used by U.S. soldiers to describe the mushroom cloud left behind after the detonation of atomic bombs during testing exercises. 

Thunderball trivia - Sean Connery in 1965 James Bond Movie
EON Productions / United Artists

7) A reef has grown around the sunken Vulcan bomber 

After filming, the Vulcan bomber mock-up that crashed into the water during one scene was actually left underwater in the Bahamas. Now, a huge reef has grown around it, and divers can visit it to this day. 

8) Honey Ryder’s dub artist returned in Thunderball 

After filming, it was decided that Claudine Auger’s accent was too thick for English speaking audiences, so they called in Nikki Van der Zyl to dub over her lines. Der Zyl was also the actress that dubbed over Ursula Andress’ lines in Dr No. 

9) Bond dances with a girl who later appeared in 2006’s Casino Royale

At one point, when escaping Fiona, Bond dances with a girl. The same woman appears in Casino Royale, playing poker with Daniel Craig. This is because she’s the wife of Huntington Hartford II, whose estate in the Bahamas features in both films. 

There you have it – 9 pieces of Thunderball trivia! 

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