From Academic Kids

For other uses, see Goldfinger (disambiguation).
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2002 Penguin Books paperback edition

Goldfinger is the seventh novel by Ian Fleming, featuring James Bond, secret agent 007, published in 1959. In 1964 the novel was adapted into a film by EON Productions and starred Sean Connery in his third appearance as James Bond.

Goldfinger was the first James Bond film to be shown on U.S. television, which occurred on September 17, 1972 on ABC. At the time, it garnered the highest Nielsen ratings of any film broadcast on television with 49% of all viewers.


The novel

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1961 edition by Pan Books.

Plot summary

The novel begins in a similar fashion to Moonraker with an acquaintance of Bond (Mr. Du Pont from Casino Royale) running into him in Miami and requesting that he sit in on a Canasta game between him and the eponymous villain of the novel, Auric Goldfinger. Du Pont suspects Goldfinger of cheating and offers to pay Bond to confirm his feeling. As it turns out Goldfinger is indeed cheating and is shortly foiled and forced to admit he is to Mr. Du Pont.

After Bond returns to London he inquires into the background of Goldfinger to find that he's the world's top gold smuggler, the richest man in England, and after further investigation Bond learns Goldfinger is a communist criminal working as the treasurer for the Soviet assassination agency SMERSH.

Bond learns that Goldfinger intends to finance SMERSH's schemes by stealing fifteen billion USD worth of gold bullion from the U.S. bullion depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky, an operation codenamed "Operation Grand Slam". James Bond, along with Felix Leiter work to prevent the villain from executing his plan, which involves killing the soldiers of Fort Knox with a water-borne toxin and then using an atomic bomb to break into Fort Knox's impregnable vault.

In the novel, Pussy Galore is the head of a criminal organization from New York City called the Cement Mixers. Her group, as well as various other mobs including the Spangled Mob from Diamonds Are Forever, attempt to aid Goldfinger in "Operation Grand Slam".

In terms of gadgets, this Fleming novel is closest to the Bond films technological underpinnings. The secret agent is issued a battleship grey Aston Martin DB3 with lethal accessories, as well as a homing device similar to that seen in the movie, however, Q is not in the book.


ISBN numbers

Comic strip adaptation

Fleming's original novel was adapted as a daily comic strip which was published in the British Daily Express newspaper and syndicated around the world. The adaptation ran from October 3, 1960 to April 1, 1961. The adaptation was written by Henry Gammidge and illustrated by John McLusky. It was reprinted by Titan Books in 2004.

The film


Plot summary

The cinematic version does not follow the plot of Ian Fleming's novel. In the film, James Bond discovers "Operation Grandslam", a plot by Auric Goldfinger and his organization, sponsored by Communist China, to apparently steal the gold from the U.S. Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Bond later learns that Goldfinger's intention is not to steal the gold, a completely unfeasible goal, but to destroy it by detonating a nuclear bomb within the depository and contaminating the United States's gold reserve, thereby increasing the value of his own gold.

The most famous scene in the film — arguably the most famous scene in any Bond film — is Goldfinger's repartee with the recalcitrant Bond tied down in the path of a laser beam:

Bond: "Do you expect me to talk?"
Goldfinger: "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die."

This scene differs from the corresponding scene in the novel: Goldfinger, using a buzz saw, spared Bond's life, not because of claimed knowledge of Goldfinger's plan, but in acceptance of Bond's offer to work for him. In addition, that same high power laser cannon is used to cut through the door to the main vault at Fort Knox.

In the novel, Bond is issued a car with modifications such as revolving license plates, reinforced bumpers, etc. The film greatly expands on the idea, with the spy receiving an Aston Martin DB5 with special modifications such as forward right- and left-wing machine guns, anti pursuit devices like an oil slick dispenser and a smokescreen burner, bullet-proof windscreens, telescoping tire slashers, and, most famously, a passenger ejector seat for ejecting unwanted passengers. The popularity of this car in the film led to the increased inclusion of spectacular gadgetry, including other special vehicles.

Additionally, Goldfinger set the tone for how the secret agent would be introduced before the opening credits — with a teaser showing Bond in mid-mission, which may or may not be unrelated to the main plot of the movie. A teaser was used in the previous film, From Russia With Love, but it didn't feature the real James Bond.

Cast & characters



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Original Goldfinger soundtrack cover

Goldfinger is the first of three James Bond films with a theme song sung by Shirley Bassey. Though she only performed three out of the many Bond film theme songs, her strong, brassy style became a Bond theme trademark. James Bond film series crew veteran John Barry composed, this, his second, credited James Bond film soundtrack.

Track listing

  1. Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey
  2. Into Miami
  3. Alpine Drive / Auric's Factory
  4. Oddjob's Pressing Engagement
  5. Bond Back in Action Again
  6. Teasing The Korean
  7. Gassing The Gangsters
  8. Goldfinger - (instrumental version)
  9. Dawn Raid on Fort Knox
  10. The Arrival of the Bomb and Count Down
  11. Death Of Goldfinger, The End Titles
  12. Golden Girl
  13. Death Of Tilley
  14. The Laser Beam
  15. Pussy Galore's Flying Circus

Vehicles & gadgets

  • Aston Martin DB5 - The most famous of James Bond's company cars. It was his first car in the films, and is equipped with all of Q Branch's usual refinements (carried from adventure to adventure), including bulletproof front and rear wind screens, oil slick dispenser, smoke screen burner, front wing machine guns, rotating licence plate, and, most famously, the passenger ejector seat, which would again be used in Die Another Day, but in an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. While being the most recognized Bond car, it's actually only appeared in four films: Goldfinger, Thunderball, GoldenEye, and Tomorrow Never Dies. The Tilly Masterson character drives the then all-new Ford Mustang in a duel with the gadget-laden Aston.
  • Homer - Bond is issued two homing devices by Q Branch. The first, is the larger, and used by Bond to track the villain's Rolls Royce automobile to his base. The second, is the smaller, and allows MI6 to track Bond's whereabouts; it is hidden in the secret compartment in the heel of one shoe. He later slipped it on to the person of Mr. Solo who was taking his leave from Goldfinger's Fort Knox scheme, hoping that MI-6 could then follow and capture Solo and question him about where he got the device. Unfortunately, the tracer was destroyed when Solo was murdered and his body was crushed in a car crusher along with the car he was in.

See also


Film locations

Shooting locations

Asphyxiation argument

Although James Bond films are not known for their technical accuracy, but rather for outlandishly plausible action, one incident in this film bears mentioning.

In one scene, the villain's girlfriend, Jill Masterson, is murdered by "skin suffocation." She was painted with gold paint and died, because her skin was unable to breathe. According to urban legend, the concept was based on the death of Swiss fashion model who painted herself and asphyxiated.

Though this is a plausible explanation for this unusual method of killing, it has been argued whether or not it is possible. Humans, being mammals, achieve respiration via their mouths and nostrils to fill their lungs with air. The only animals that breathe through their skin are some insects. In fact, were it true that people breathe, in auxiliary fashion, through their skin, it would, therefore, be impossible for people to engage in extended bathing, mud baths, scuba diving and, indeed, body painting - activities requiring extended covering of the skin. If one did try murder via gilding, the victim would die of heat stroke, but only after a long period and not in the manner shown in the movie. The gold paint would clog the pores and prevent perspiration, rendering the body unable to properly regulate its temperature. Dying in this fashion, however, would take several days and is a very inefficient manner of killing.

The Discovery Channel series, Mythbusters has twice attempted to prove or disprove whether skin suffocation due to paint was possible. In both experiments one of the hosts of the series was covered head-to-toe in gold paint. The first experiment was called off when the subject began experiencing breathing and blood pressure problems. In a follow-up experiment, a different subject was covered but this time showed no ill effects.[1] (


 in Goldfinger
Sean Connery in Goldfinger
  • The villain's name was borrowed from the architect Ernö Goldfinger, and his character bears some resemblance. Ernö Goldfinger consulted his lawyers when the book was published, prompting Fleming to suggest renaming the character "Goldprick", but eventually settled out of court in return for his costs, six copies of the book, and an agreement that the characters' first name Auric would always be used.
  • The film's opening teaser sequence is based on the novel's opening where Bond is in the Miami Airport lounge thinking about the recent killing of a drug smuggler.
  • The character "Pussy Galore" was named after Ian Fleming's pet octopus.
  • Concerned about censors, the film's producers thought about changing Pussy Galore's name to "Kitty Galore".
  • Ian Fleming also contributed to the original draft screenplay for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. television series, in which one of the heroes was named "Napoleon Solo". That name originally came from the novel: Napoleon Solo is one of the crime bosses Goldfinger invites to participate in his scheme to steal the gold from Fort Knox, however, the character appearing in the fim is a gangster referred to only as "Mr. Solo" (coincidentally a working title for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), he exits the story due to "a pressing engagement."
  • Ford supplied the Lincoln Continental which is unceremoniously crushed in a junkyard compactor (causing much anger among American audiences) in return for the all-new Mustang being showcased in the Swiss mountain driving sequence.
  • In the end sequence, when the atomic bomb is defused, the original ending countdown shown was "003" seconds remaining to detonation. When the film was released in the U.S., the producers changed it to 007 seconds, but the dialogue line remained: "Three more ticks and Mr. Goldfinger would have hit the jackpot".
  • For an unknown reason Jill and Tilly's surname was changed from Masterton to Masterson for the film.
  • The gold-painted girl in the opening credits is actually Margaret Nolan who also plays Bond's Miami masseuse, Dink.
  • Sean Connery never traveled to the United States to film this movie. Every scene where Bond is in America was shot at Pinewood Studios in London.
  • For security reasons, the filmmakers were not allowed to film inside Fort Knox. All sets for the interior of Fort Knox were designed and built from scratch.
  • The 3D map Goldfinger used during his mission briefing is now on display at Fort Knox.
  • Bond is not a fan of those other British 1960s icons The Beatles. He tells Jill Masterson that they should not be listened to without earmuffs.

External links



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