The film's plot has Bond investigating gold smuggling by gold magnate Auric Goldfinger and eventually uncovering Goldfinger's plans to contaminate 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 took place from January to July 1964 in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the US 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 the extensive use of technology and gadgets by Bond, an extensive pre-credits sequence that was not part of the main storyline, multiple foreign locales and tongue in cheek humour. 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 two weeks, and is hailed as the Bond canon's quintessential episode.
In 1999, it was ranked #70 on the BFI Top 100 British films list compiled by the British Film Institute.
After destroying a drug laboratory in Latin America, James Bond—Agent 007—travels to Miami Beach to receive instructions from his superior, M, via CIA agent Felix Leiter. He is to observe bullion dealer Auric Goldfinger at the hotel there. Bond sees Goldfinger cheating at gin rummy and stops him by distracting his employee, Jill Masterson, and blackmailing Goldfinger into losing. After Bond and Jill consummate their new relationship, Bond is knocked out by Goldfinger's Korean manservant, the hulking giant Oddjob. When Bond awakens, he finds Jill dead, covered in gold paint, having died from "skin suffocation."
In London, Bond learns his objective is determining how Goldfinger smuggles gold internationally. The chancellor of the exchequer and M explain that gold prices vary across the world, allowing one to profit by selling bullion internationally. Bond arranges to meet Goldfinger socially at his country club in Kent, and wins a high-stakes golf game against him with a recovered Nazi gold bar at stake. Bond follows him to Switzerland, where Tilly, Jill's sister, makes an unsuccessful attempt at revenge by firing a rifle at Goldfinger.
Bond sneaks into Goldfinger's plant and discovers Goldfinger smuggles 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 Goldfinger talking to Chinese agent Mr. Ling about "Operation Grand Slam." Leaving, Bond encounters Tilly as she tries to kill Goldfinger again, but trips an alarm in the process; Oddjob kills Tilly with his hat. Captured, Bond is tied to a cutting table underneath an industrial laser, which begins to slice a sheet of gold in half, with Bond lying over it. Bond lies to Goldfinger that MI6 knows about Grand Slam, causing Goldfinger to spare Bond's life to mislead MI6 into believing Bond has things in hand.
Bond is transported by Goldfinger's private jet, piloted by 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. Although they are each promised $1 million, Goldfinger tempts them that they could have the million today, or $10 million tomorrow, and relates his plan to rob Fort Knox. He then kills them using some of the neurotoxin he plans to release over Fort Knox.
Bond is recaptured and tells Goldfinger why the plan to rob the gold depository will not work, claiming that he will not have time to move the gold before the Americans intervene. Goldfinger hints he does not intend to steal the gold, and Bond deduces Goldfinger will detonate a dirty bomb inside the vault, designed to render the gold useless for 58 years. This will increase the value of Goldfinger's own gold and give the Chinese an advantage from the potential economic chaos.
Operation Grand Slam begins with Pussy Galore's Flying Circus spraying the gas over Fort Knox. However, Bond had seduced Galore and convinced her to replace the nerve gas with a harmless substance and alert the US government about Goldfinger's plan. The military personnel of Fort Knox play dead until they are certain that they can prevent the criminals from escaping.
Believing the military forces to be neutralised, Goldfinger's private army breaks into Fort Knox and accesses the vault itself as Goldfinger arrives in a helicopter with the atomic device. In the vault, his henchman Kisch handcuffs Bond to the bomb. The troops attack; Goldfinger takes off his coat, revealing a US Army colonel's uniform, and kills Mr. Ling and the troops seeking to open the vault, then makes his escape. Kisch attempts to stop the bomb, but Oddjob kills him. Bond frees himself from the handcuffs, but Oddjob attacks him before he can disarm the bomb. Bond manages to electrocute Oddjob, then forces the lock off the bomb but is unable to disarm it. An atomic specialist who accompanied Leiter arrives with seconds to spare, and simply turns off the device with the timer stopped on "0:07".
Bond is invited to the White House for lunch with the President. However, Goldfinger hijacks the plane carrying Bond there. In a struggle for Goldfinger's revolver, the gun fires, shooting out a window, creating an explosive decompression. Goldfinger is blown out of the cabin through the ruptured window. With the plane out of control, Bond rescues Galore and they parachute safely from the aircraft before it crashes into the ocean.Sean Connery as James Bond (007): A British MI6 agent who is sent to investigate Auric Goldfinger. Connery reprised the role of Bond for the third time in a row. His salary rose, but a pay dispute later broke out during filming. After he suffered a back injury when filming the scene where Oddjob knocks Bond unconscious in Miami, the dispute was settled: Eon and Connery agreed to a deal where the actor would receive 5% of the gross of each Bond film he starred in. It was while filming Goldfinger that Connery also became a fan of golf.
Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore: Goldfinger's personal pilot and leader of an all-female team of pilots known as Pussy Galore's Flying Circus. Blackman was selected for the role of Pussy Galore because of her role in The Avengers and the script was rewritten to show Blackman's judo abilities. The character's name follows in the tradition of other Bond girls names that are double entendres. Concerned about censors, the producers thought about changing the character's name to "Kitty Galore", but they and Hamilton decided "if you were a ten-year old boy and knew what the name meant, you weren't a ten-year old boy, you were a dirty little bitch. The American censor was concerned, but we got round that by inviting him and his wife out to dinner and [told him] we were big supporters of the Republican Party." During promotion, Blackman took delight in embarrassing interviewers by repeatedly mentioning the character's name. Whilst the American censors did not interfere with the name in the film, they refused to allow the name "Pussy Galore" to appear on promotional materials and for the US market she was subsequently called "Miss Galore" or "Goldfinger's personal pilot".
Gert Fröbe as Auric Goldfinger: A wealthy, psychopathic man obsessed with gold. Orson Welles was considered as Goldfinger, but his financial demands were too high; Theodore Bikel auditioned for the role, but failed. Fröbe was cast because the producers saw his performance as a child molester in the German film Es geschah am hellichten Tag. Fröbe, who spoke little English, said his lines phonetically, but was too slow. To redub him, he had to double the speed of his performance to get the right tempo. The only time his real voice is heard is during his meeting with members of the Mafia at Auric Stud. Bond is hidden below the model of Fort Knox whilst Fröbe's natural voice can be heard above. However, he was redubbed for the rest of the film by stage actor Michael Collins.
Shirley Eaton as Jill Masterson: Bond Girl and Goldfinger's aide-de-camp, whom Bond catches helping the villain cheat at a game of cards. He seduces her, but for her betrayal, she is completely painted in gold paint and dies from "skin suffocation" (a common medical belief in the 1960s, but the skin's contribution to total respiration is negligible). Eaton was sent by her agent to meet Harry Saltzman and agreed to take the part if the nudity was done tastefully. It took an hour-and-a-half to apply the paint to her body. Although only a small part in the film, the image of her painted gold was renowned and Eaton graced the cover of Life magazine of 6 November 1964.
Harold Sakata as Oddjob: Goldfinger's lethal Korean manservant. Director Guy Hamilton cast Sakata, an Olympic silver medalist weightlifter, as Oddjob after seeing him on a wrestling programme. Hamilton called Sakata an "absolutely charming man", and found that "he had a very unique way of moving, [so] in creating Oddjob I used all of Harold's own characteristics". Sakata was badly burned when filming his death scene, in which Oddjob was electrocuted by Bond. Sakata, however, kept holding onto the hat with determination, despite his pain, until the director called "Cut!" Oddjob has been described as "a wordless role, but one of cinema's great villains."
Tania Mallet as Tilly Masterson: The sister of Jill Masterson, she is on a vendetta to avenge her sister, but is killed by Oddjob.
Bernard Lee as M: 007's boss and head of the British Secret Service.
Cec Linder as Felix Leiter: Bond's CIA liaison in the United States. Linder was the only actor actually on location in Miami. Linder's interpretation of Leiter was that of a somewhat older man than the way the character was played by Jack Lord in Dr. No; in reality, Linder was a year younger than Lord. According to screenwriter Richard Maibaum, Lord demanded co-star billing, a bigger role and more money to reprise the Felix Leiter role in Goldfinger that led the producers to recast the role. At the last minute, Cec Linder switched roles with Austin Willis who played cards with Goldfinger.
Martin Benson as Mr. Solo: The lone gangster who refuses to take part in Operation Grand Slam and is later killed by Oddjob and crushed in the car in which he is riding.
Desmond Llewelyn as Q: The head of Q-Branch, he supplies 007 with a modified Aston Martin DB5. Hamilton told Llewelyn to inject humour into the character, thus beginning the friendly antagonism between Q and Bond that became a hallmark of the series. He had already appeared in the previous Bond film From Russia With Love and, with the exception of Live and Let Die, would continue to play Q in the next 16 Bond films.
Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny.
Austin Willis as Mr. Simmons: Goldfinger's gullible gin rummy opponent in Miami.
Michael Mellinger as Kisch: Goldfinger's secondary and quiet henchman and loyal lieutenant who leads his boss's false Army convoy to Fort Knox.
Burt Kwouk as Mr. Ling: A Communist Chinese nuclear fission specialist who provides Auric Goldfinger with the dirty bomb to irradiate the gold inside Fort Knox.
Richard Vernon as Colonel Smithers: the Bank of England official.
Margaret Nolan as Dink: Bond's masseuse from the Miami hotel sequence. Nolan also appeared as the gold-covered body in advertisements for the film and in the opening title sequence as the golden silhouette, described as "Gorgeous, iconic, seminal".
Gerry Duggan as Hawker: Bond's golf caddy.
Nadja Regin as Bonita: dancer who sets a trap for Bond in the pre-credit sequence.
With the court case between Kevin McClory and Fleming surrounding Thunderball still in the High Courts, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman turned to Goldfinger as the third Bond film. Goldfinger had what was then considered a large budget of $3 million (US$23 million in 2016 dollars), the equivalent of the budgets of Dr. No and From Russia with Love combined, and was the first James Bond film classified as a box-office blockbuster. Goldfinger was chosen with the American cinema market in mind, as the previous films had concentrated on the Caribbean and Europe.
Terence Young, who directed the previous two films, chose to film The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders instead, after a pay dispute that saw him denied a percentage of the film's profits. Broccoli and Saltzman turned instead to Guy Hamilton to direct; Hamilton, who had turned down directing Dr. No, felt that he needed to make Bond less of a "superman" by making the villains seem more powerful. Hamilton knew Fleming, as both were involved during intelligence matters in the Royal Navy during World War II. Goldfinger saw the return of two crew members who were not involved with From Russia with Love: stunt coordinator Bob Simmons and production designer Ken Adam. Both played crucial roles in the development of Goldfinger, with Simmons choreographing the fight sequence between Bond and Oddjob in the vault of Fort Knox, which was not just seen as one of the best Bond fights, but also "must stand as one of the great cinematic combats" whilst Adam's efforts on Goldfinger were "luxuriantly baroque" and have resulted in the film being called "one of his finest pieces of work".
Richard Maibaum, who co-wrote the previous films, returned to adapt the seventh James Bond novel. Maibaum fixed the novel's heavily criticised plot hole, where Goldfinger actually attempts to empty Fort Knox. In the film, Bond notes it would take twelve days for Goldfinger to steal the gold, before the villain reveals he actually intends to irradiate it with the then topical concept of a Red Chinese atomic bomb. However, Harry Saltzman disliked the first draft, and brought in Paul Dehn to revise it. Hamilton said Dehn "brought out the British side of things". Connery disliked his draft, so Maibaum returned. Dehn also suggested the pre-credit sequence to be an action scene with no relevance to the actual plot. Wolf Mankowitz, an un-credited screenwriter on Dr. No, suggested the scene where Oddjob puts his car into a car crusher to dispose of a dead body. Because of the quality of work of Maibaum and Dehn, the script and outline for Goldfinger became the blueprint for future Bond films.
Principal photography on Goldfinger commenced on 20 January 1964 in Miami, Florida, at the Fontainebleau Hotel; the crew was small, consisting only of Hamilton, Broccoli, Adam, and cinematographer Ted Moore. Sean Connery never travelled to Florida to film Goldfinger because he was filming Marnie elsewhere in the United States. On the DVD audio commentary, director Guy Hamilton states that other than Cec Linder who played Felix, none of the main actors in the Miami sequence were actually there. Connery, Gert Frobe, Shirley Eaton, Margaret Nolan who played Dink, and Austin Willis, who played Goldfinger's card victim, all filmed their parts on a soundstage at Pinewood Studios when filming moved there. Miami also served as location to the scenes involving Felix's pursuit of Oddjob.
After five days in Florida, production moved to England. The primary location was Pinewood Studios, home to among other sets, a recreation of the Fontainebleau, the South American city of the pre-title sequence and both Goldfinger's estate and factory. Three places near the studio were used, Black Park for the car chase involving Bond's Aston Martin and Goldfinger's henchmen inside the factory complex, RAF Northolt for the American airports and Stoke Park Club for the golf club scene.
The end of the chase, when Bond's Aston Martin crashes into a wall because of the mirror and the chase immediately preceding it, were filmed on the road at the rear of Pinewood Studios Sound Stages A and E and the Prop Store. The road is now called Goldfinger Avenue. Southend Airport was used for the scene where Goldfinger flies to Switzerland. Ian Fleming visited the set of Goldfinger in April 1964; he died a few months later in August 1964, shortly before the film's release. The second unit filmed in Kentucky, and these shots were edited into scenes filmed at Pinewood.
Principal photography then moved to Switzerland, with the car chase being filmed at the small curves roads near Realp, the exterior of the Pilatus Aircraft factory in Stans serving as Goldfinger's factory, and Tilly Masterson's attempt to snipe Goldfinger being shot in the Furka Pass. Filming wrapped on 11 July at Andermatt, after nineteen weeks of shooting. Just three weeks prior to the film's release, Hamilton and a small team, which included Broccoli's stepson and future producer Michael G. Wilson as assistant director, went for last-minute shoots in Kentucky. Extra people were hired for post-production issues such as dubbing so the film could be finished in time.
Broccoli earned permission to film in the Fort Knox area with the help of his friend, Lt. Colonel Charles Russhon. To shoot Pussy Galore's Flying Circus gassing the soldiers, the pilots were only allowed to fly above 3,000 feet. Hamilton recalled this was "hopeless", so they flew at about 500 feet, "and the military went absolutely ape". The scenes of people fainting involved the same set of soldiers moving to different locations.
For security reasons, filming and photography were not allowed near or inside the United States Bullion Depository. All sets for the interiors of the building were designed and built from scratch at Pinewood Studios. The filmmakers had no clue as to what the interior of the depository looked like, so Ken Adam's imagination provided the idea of gold stacked upon gold behind iron bars.
Adam later told UK daily newspaper The Guardian: "No one was allowed in Fort Knox but because [producer] Cubby Broccoli had some good connections and the Kennedys loved Ian Fleming's books I was allowed to fly over it once. It was quite frightening - they had machine guns on the roof. I was also allowed to drive around the perimeter but if you got out of the car there was a loudspeaker warning you to keep away. There was not a chance of going in it, and I was delighted because I knew from going to the Bank of England vaults that gold isn't stacked very high and it's all underwhelming. It gave me the chance to show the biggest gold repository in the world as I imagined it, with gold going up to heaven. I came up with this cathedral-type design. I had a big job to persuade Cubby and the director Guy Hamilton at first."
Saltzman disliked the design's resemblance to a prison, but Hamilton liked it enough that it was built. The comptroller of Fort Knox later sent a letter to Adam and the production team, complimenting them on their imaginative depiction of the vault. United Artists even had irate letters from people wondering "how could a British film unit be allowed inside Fort Knox?" Adam recalled, "In the end I was pleased that I wasn't allowed into Fort Knox, because it allowed me to do whatever I wanted." In fact, the set was deemed so realistic that Pinewood Studios had to post a 24-hour guard to keep the gold bar props from being stolen. Another element which was original was the atomic device, to which Hamilton requested the special effects crew to get inventive instead of realistic. Technician Bert Luxford described the end result as looking like an "engineering work", with a spinning engine, a chronometer and other decorative pieces.
Hamilton remarked, "Before [Goldfinger], gadgets were not really a part of Bond's world." Production designer Ken Adam chose the DB5 because it was the latest version of the Aston Martin (in the novel Bond drove a DB Mark III, which he considered England's most sophisticated car). The company was initially reluctant, but was finally convinced to make a product placement deal. In the script, the car was armed only with a smoke screen, but every crew member began suggesting gadgets to install in it: Hamilton conceived the revolving licence plate because he had been getting lots of parking tickets, while his stepson suggested the ejector seat (which he saw on television). A gadget near the lights that would drop sharp nails was replaced with an oil dispenser because the producers thought the original could be easily copied by viewers. Adam and engineer John Stears overhauled the prototype of the Aston Martin DB5 coupe, installing these and other features into a car over six weeks. The scene where the DB5 crashes was filmed twice, with the second take being used in the film. The first take, in which the car drives through the fake wall, can be seen in the trailer. Two of the gadgets were not installed in the car: the wheel-destroying spikes, inspired by Ben-Hur's scythed chariots, were entirely made in-studio; and the ejector seat used a seat thrown by compressed air, with a dummy sitting atop it. Another car without the gadgets was created, which was eventually furnished for publicity purposes. It was reused for Thunderball.
Lasers did not exist in 1959 when the book was written, nor did high-power industrial lasers at the time the film was made, making them a novelty. In the novel, Goldfinger uses a circular saw to try to kill Bond, but the filmmakers changed it to a laser to make the film feel fresher. Hamilton immediately thought of giving the laser a place in the film's story as Goldfinger's weapon of choice. Ken Adam was advised on the laser's design by two Harvard scientists who helped design the water reactor in Dr No. The laser beam itself was an optical effect added in post-production. For close-ups where the flame cuts through metal, technician Bert Luxford heated the metal with a blowtorch from underneath the table to which Bond was strapped.
The opening credit sequence was designed by graphic artist Robert Brownjohn, featuring clips of all James Bond films thus far projected on Margaret Nolan's body. Its design was inspired by seeing light projecting on people's bodies as they got up and left a cinema.
Visually, the film uses many golden motifs to parallel the gold's symbolic treatment in the novel. All of Goldfinger's female henchwomen in the film except his private jet's co-pilot (black hair) and stewardess (who is Korean) are red-blonde, or blonde, including Pussy Galore and her Flying Circus crew (both the characters Tilly Masterson and Pussy specifically have black hair in the novel). Goldfinger has a yellow-painted Rolls-Royce with number plate "AU 1" ("Au" being the chemical symbol for gold), and also sports yellow or golden items or clothing in every film scene, including a golden pistol, when disguised as a colonel. Bond is bound to a solid gold table (as Goldfinger points out to him) before nearly being lasered. Goldfinger's factory henchmen in the film wear yellow sashes, Pussy Galore twice wears a metallic gold vest, and Pussy's pilots all wear yellow sunburst insignia on their uniforms. The concept of the recurring gold theme running through the film was a design aspect conceived and executed by Ken Adam and art director Peter Murton.
The model jet used for wide shots of Goldfinger's Lockheed JetStar was refurbished to be used as the presidential plane that crashes at the film's end. Several cars were provided by the Ford Motor Company including a Mustang that Tilly Masterson drives, a Ford Country Squire station wagon used to transport Bond from the airport to the stud ranch, a Ford Thunderbird driven by Felix Leiter, and a Lincoln Continental in which Oddjob kills Solo. The Continental had its engine removed before being placed in a car crusher, and the destroyed car had to be partially cut so that the bed of the Ford Falcon Ranchero in which it was deposited could support the weight.
Since the release date for the film had been pre-determined and filming had finished close to that date, John Barry received some edits directly from the cutting-room floor, rather than as a finished edit, and scored some sequences from the rough initial prints. Barry described his work in Goldfinger as a favourite of his, saying it was "the first time I had complete control, writing the score and the song". The musical tracks, in keeping with the film's theme of gold and metal, make heavy use of brass, and also metallic chimes. The film's score is described as "brassy and raunchy" with "a sassy sexiness to it".
Goldfinger began the tradition of Bond theme songs introduced over the opening title sequence, the style of the song from the pop genre and using popular artists. [Although the title song, sung by Matt Monro, in From Russia with Love was introduced in a few phrases on Bond's first appearance, a full rendition on the sound track only commenced for the final scene on the waters at Venice and through the following end titles.] Shirley Bassey established the opening title tradition giving her distinguished style to "Goldfinger", and would sing the theme songs for two future Bond films, Diamonds are Forever and Moonraker. The song Goldfinger was composed by John Barry, with lyrics by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse. These lyrics were described in one contemporary newspaper as "puerile", but what remained undisturbed was the Shirley Bassey interpretation world impact. Like the score, the arrangement makes heavy use of brass, meeting well Miss Bassey's signature belting, and incorporates the Bond theme from Dr. No. Newley recorded the early versions, which were even considered for inclusion in the film. The soundtrack album topped the Billboard 200 chart, and reached the 14th place in the UK Albums Chart. The single for "Goldfinger" was also successful, reaching 8th in the Billboard Hot 100 and 21st in the UK charts.
"6 Underground" a song by the English band Sneaker Pimps, from their 1996 studio album Becoming X used the harp melody at the beginning of the track "Golden Girl" from Goldfinger (the song plays during a scene when Bond discovers the corpse of Jill Masterson covered in gold paint).
Goldfinger was premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on 17 September 1964, with general release in the United Kingdom the following day. Leicester Square was packed with sightseers and fans and police were unable to control the crowd due to the number of people. A set of glass doors to the cinema was accidentally broken and the premiere was shown ten minutes late because of the confusion. The United States premiere occurred on 21 December 1964, at the DeMille Theatre in New York. The film opened in 64 cinemas across 41 cities and eventually peaked at 485 screens. Goldfinger was temporarily banned in Israel because of Gert Fröbe's connections with the Nazi Party. The ban, however, was lifted many years later when a Jewish family publicly thanked Fröbe for protecting them from persecution during World War II.
The film's marketing campaign began as soon as filming started in Florida, with Eon allowing photographers to enter the set to take pictures of Shirley Eaton painted in gold. Robert Brownjohn, who designed the opening credits, was responsible for the posters for the advertising campaign, which also used actress Margaret Nolan. To promote the film, the two Aston Martin DB5s were showcased at the 1964 New York World's Fair and it was dubbed "the most famous car in the world"; consequently, sales of the car rose. Corgi Toys began its decades-long relationship with the Bond franchise, producing a toy of the car, which became the biggest selling toy of 1964. The film's success also led to licensed tie-in clothing, dress shoes, action figures, board games, jigsaw puzzles, lunch boxes, toys, record albums, trading cards and slot cars.
Goldfinger was generally a critical success. Derek Prouse of The Sunday Times said of Goldfinger that it was "superbly engineered. It is fast, it is most entertainingly preposterous and it is exciting."
The reviewer from The Times said "All the devices are infinitely sophisticated, and so is the film: the tradition of self-mockery continues, though at times it over-reaches itself", also saying that "It is the mixture as before, only more so: it is superb hokum." Connery's acting efforts were overlooked by this reviewer, who did say: "There is some excellent bit-part playing by Mr. Bernard Lee and Mr. Harold Sakata: Mr. Gert Fröbe is astonishingly well cast in the difficult part of Goldfinger." Donald Zec, writing for the Daily Mirror said of the film that "Ken Adam's set designs are brilliant; the direction of Guy Hamilton tautly exciting; Connery is better than ever, and the titles superimposed on the gleaming body of the girl in gold are inspired."
Penelope Gilliatt, writing in The Observer said that the film had "a spoofing callousness" and that it was "absurd, funny and vile". The Guardian said that Goldfinger was "two hours of unmissable fantasy", also saying that the film was "the most exciting, the most extravagant of the Bond films: garbage from the gods", adding that Connery was "better than ever as Bond". Alan Dent, writing for The Illustrated London News, thought Goldfinger "even tenser, louder, wittier, more ingenious and more impossible than 'From Russia with Love'... [a] brilliant farrago", adding that Connery "is ineffable".
Philip Oakes of The Sunday Telegraph said that the film was "dazzling in its technical ingenuity", while Time said that "this picture is a thriller exuberantly travestied." Bosley Crowther, writing in The New York Times was less enthusiastic about the film, saying that it was "tediously apparent" that Bond was becoming increasingly reliant on gadgets with less emphasis on "the lush temptations of voluptuous females", although he did admit that "Connery plays the hero with an insultingly cool, commanding air." He saved his praises for other actors in the film, saying that "Gert Fröbe is aptly fat and feral as the villainous financier, and Honor Blackman is forbiddingly frigid and flashy as the latter's aeronautical accomplice."
In Guide for the Film Fanatic, Danny Peary wrote that Goldfinger is "the best of the James Bond films starring Sean Connery...There's lots of humor, gimmicks, excitement, an amusing yet tense golf contest between Bond and Goldfinger, thrilling fights to the death between Bond and Oddjob and Bond and Goldfinger, and a fascinating central crime... Most enjoyable, but too bad Eaton's part isn't longer and that Fröbe's Goldfinger, a heavy but nimble intellectual in the Sydney Greenstreet tradition, never appeared in another Bond film."
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times declared this to be his favourite Bond film and later added it to his "Great Movies" list.
The film-critics aggregator Rotten Tomatoes found 96% positive reviews based on 56 reviews and an average score of 8.6 out of 10 and the consensus that reads, "Goldfinger is where James Bond as we know him comes into focus - it features one of 007's most famous lines ("A martini. Shaken, not stirred") and a wide range of gadgets that would become the series' trademark.", tying with From Russia with Love (also 96%) and Dr. No (96%) as the highest-rated James Bond films.
Goldfinger's $3 million budget was recouped in two weeks, and it broke box office records in multiple countries around the world. The Guinness Book of World Records went on to list Goldfinger as the fastest grossing film of all time. Demand for the film was so high that the DeMille cinema in New York City had to stay open twenty-four hours a day. The film closed its original box office run having grossed $23 million in the United States and $46 million worldwide. After reissues, the first being as a double feature with Dr. No in 1966, Goldfinger grossed a total of $51,081,062 in the United States and $73,800,000 elsewhere, for a total worldwide gross of $124,900,000.
The film distributor Park Circus re-released Goldfinger in the UK on 27 July 2007 at 150 multiplex cinemas, on digital prints. The re-release put the film twelfth at the weekly box office.
At the 1965 Academy Awards, Norman Wanstall won the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing for his work, making Goldfinger the first Bond film to receive an Academy Award. John Barry was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Score for a Motion Picture, and Ken Adam was nominated for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for Best British Art Direction (Colour), where he also won the award for Best British Art Direction (Black and White) for Dr. Strangelove. The American Film Institute has honoured the film four times: ranking it No. 90 for best movie quote ("A martini. Shaken, not stirred"), No. 53 for best song ("Goldfinger"), No. 49 for best villain (Auric Goldfinger), and No. 71 for most thrilling film. In 2006, Entertainment Weekly and IGN both named Goldfinger as the best Bond film, while MSN named it as the second best, behind its predecessor. IGN and EW also named Pussy Galore as the second best Bond girl. In 2008, Total Film named Goldfinger as the best film in the series. The Times placed Goldfinger and Oddjob second and third on their list of the best Bond villains in 2008. They also named the Aston Martin DB5 as the best car in the films.
Goldfinger's script became a template for subsequent Bond films. It was the first of the series showing Bond relying heavily on technology, as well as the first to show a pre-credits sequence with only a tangential link to the main story—in this case allowing Bond to get to Miami after a mission. Also introduced for the first of many appearances is the briefing in Q-branch, allowing the viewer to see the gadgets in development. The subsequent films in the Bond series follow most of Goldfinger's basic structure, featuring a henchman with a particular characteristic, a Bond girl who is killed by the villain, big emphasis on the gadgets and a more tongue-in-cheek approach, though trying to balance action and comedy.
Goldfinger has been described as perhaps "the most highly and consistently praised Bond picture of them all" and after Goldfinger, Bond "became a true phenomenon." The success of the film led to the emergence of many other works in the espionage genre and parodies of James Bond, such as The Beatles film Help! in 1965 and a spoof of Ian Fleming's first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1967. Indeed, it has been said that Goldfinger was the cause of the boom in espionage films in the 1960s, so much so that in "1966, moviegoers were offered no less than 22 examples of secret agent entertainment, including several blatant attempts to begin competing series, with James Coburn starring as Derek Flint in the film Our Man Flint and Dean Martin as Matt Helm".
Even within the Bond canon, Goldfinger is acknowledged; the 22nd Bond film, Quantum of Solace, includes an homage to the gold body paint death scene by having a female character dead on a bed nude, covered in crude oil. Outside the Bond films, elements of Goldfinger, such as Oddjob and his use of his hat as a weapon, Bond removing his drysuit to reveal a tuxedo underneath and the laser scene have been homaged or spoofed in works such as True Lies, The Simpsons, and the Austin Powers series. The US television programme MythBusters explored many scenarios seen in the film, such as the explosive depressurisation in a plane at high altitudes, the death by full body painting, an ejector seat in a car and using a tuxedo under a drysuit.
The success of the film led to Ian Fleming's Bond novels receiving an increase of popularity and nearly 6 million books were sold in the United Kingdom in 1964, including 964,000 copies of Goldfinger alone. Between the years 1962 to 1967 a total of 22,792,000 Bond novels were sold.
American Film Institute listsAFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills: #71
AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains:
Auric Goldfinger: #49 Villain
AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:
"A Martini. Shaken, not stirred.": #90
AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) - Nominated