Star: Sean Connery
, Gert Fröbe, Honor Blackman, Harold Sakata
Debating the best Bond film - or even the best Bond - would be fodder for many a fine pub debate, but I'd have to say that this is my choice, right from the opening strains of possibly the best movie theme ever. And from there, it has all the hallmarks which made the series great: girls, guns, gadgets, goons and Connery, at the peak of his skills. Toad-like villain, Auric Goldfinger (Fröbe - dubbed by Michael Collins) has plans on all the gold in Fort Knox, in a convoluted plot involving an all-female aerial troupe and an atomic device and, of course, only 007 can stop him. To do so, he has to jet around the world, from Switzerland to Kentucky, hook up with "golden girl" Jill Masterson and her sister, as well as the wonderfully-named Pussy Galore (Blackman). He also gets to drive the iconic Aston Martin DB5, with all its marvellous gadgets including the passenger-side ejection-seat.
The results are endlessly entertaining, with Goldfinger one of the great villains of all-time, who gets to talk smack right back at 007, as in the famous exchange: "Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!" [He was named after Ian Fleming's neigbour in Hampstead, who was none too pleased by the choice] There's no doubt the film is a product of its time, with this hero a chauvinist pig of the highest order, but you can't help liking the guy, and that's something which was perhaps lost somewhat in the later Bond films. If Sean Connery had been in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, that would probably have got the nod; as is, you can't go past this as the best Bond ever,