In what was the most successful Bond film to date at the time of its release, Thunderball sees Bond (Sean Connery) take on Blofeld's criminal organisation SPECTRE in order to get back two atomic war heads that have been stolen to hold NATO and the world's governments to ransom. With this plotline comes a bigger budget and some spectacular scenes, especially the underwater battles and the theft of the nuclear warheads, yet there are times when Thunderball does drag a little compared to the previous Connery outings and some of those that follows.
Despite the fact that it drags though and that there are a few plot-holes - Bond using his mini-breather for more than four minutes for example - the film provides us with a very strong Bond storyline indeed and the build-up and theft of the missiles is a brilliant example of the great special effects in this series. The cast is also very strong, as in addition to the regulars and Connery's Bond there is brilliant Adolfo Celi as Emilio Largo, the resident villain, Rik Van Nutter as Felix Leiter, the good looking Claudine Auger as Bond girl Dominque and Luciana Paluzzi who as someone below me has mentioned works very well on screen with Sean Connery.
There is no denying that the film could have been a good half-hour shorter and the ending could have been polished slightly as after such build-up and a brilliant underwater battle scene the final scenes do fell a little rushed and are not as satisfying as the previous films. That said there are some great sand-out moments in Thunderball, the underwater fight being one of them as well as Bond operating a jet pack, Bond trapped inside a sealed swimming pool and of course the aforementioned theft of the nuclear missiles. In addition to this there is also the fantastic theme tune from none other than Tom Jones, which as with Goldfinger is a belter of a tune. Thunderball may have been one of the biggest Bond films, but it certainly isn't the best. It is however a very strong addition to the series, one for the collection.