Luke Thorne’s review published on Letterboxd:
In his fourth outing as James Bond, Sean Connery comes up against the evil Adolfo Celi, who holds the world to ransom with a nuclear bomb stolen from NATO. Directed by Terence Young.
Controlled by one-eyed evil mastermind Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), the guerrilla gang ‘Spectre’ take-over two missiles from a NATO plane and looms prevalent nuclear devastation to extract 100 million pounds.
The confident Agent 007, James Bond (Sean Connery), is referred to convalesce the warheads from the sentiment of Largo's home in the Bahamas, facing submerged bouts from sharks and men comparable. He also has no option but to persuade the charming Domino (Claudine Auger), Largo's lover, to try and be an important friend.
Sean Connery gives a very good performance in his role as James Bond, the secret agent who is determined to stop Emilio from causing absolute devastation, but he knows he will to be very careful. Connery suits his role very well and definitely makes the most of the time he has on the screen.
Elsewhere, there are decent performances to be had from Claudine Auger and Adolfo Celi in their respective roles as Domino and Emilio. Domino is Emilio’s mistresses who James falls in love with, while Emilio is the evil terrorist aiming to cause as much trouble as he possibly can.
The direction from Young is very good because he allows the facial expressions to be seen to a strong effect from start to finish, while also keeping a tense atmosphere happening as well and the script is written to a decent standard by Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins as they make the movie good to follow.
The technical elements that stand out best are the set, camera and visual effects, because the set is terrific to look at and Ken Adam got a BAFTA nomination for Best British Production Design (Colour); the camera makes very good use of the locations and also captures the tense and dramatic moments well, which get the edge-of-the-seat status; the visual effects dazzle whenever they appear on screen and John Stears won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects – the last Bond film to win a golden statuette until Skyfall 47 years later.
Overall, Thunderball is a very decent adaptation of Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name, due to the very good performance in particular from Sean Connery, along with the direction, script and technical aspects.