Goldfinger is the Academy Award winning 3rd film in the James Bond series and the third to star Sean Connery as MI6 agent James Bond. Released in December 1964, the film was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and was the first of four directed by Guy Hamilton. Bond's mission in the film is to stop the gold-obsessed Auric Goldfinger before he can detonate a bomb in Fort Knox, irradiating the gold and thereby increasing the value of his private stock.
The film is generally regarded as the first official Bond blockbuster as well as being the template for all future Bond films; it is usually credited with triggering what is known as the James Bond craze. The film made cinematic history when it recaptured its production costs in a record setting three weeks, despite a budget equal to that of the two preceding films combined. Goldfinger was also the 1st Bond film to use a pop star to sing the theme song; which would follow for every Bond film since except On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which had an orchestral theme with no vocal. The theme song Goldfinger was an international smash, cracking the Billboard Top 5 and turning Welsh-born Shirley Bassey and her sassy, bravura delivery into the benchmark for Bond theme's that followed. It is also one of the most critically acclaimed entries in the Bond franchise. In 1965 Norman Wanstall received an Academy Award for Sound Editing for his work on the film. The American Film Institute has also 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.
Goldfinger was the first James Bond film broadcast on U.S. television, on September 17, 1972 by ABC. Simultaneously, it garnered the highest Nielsen Ratings of any film broadcast on television at that time: 49 percent of all viewers. The other "1st" the film is famous for: Bond Girls with sexually conspicous names, i.e. Honor Blackman's notorious and legendary, "Pussy Galore".
It was recently announced that Goldfinger would be theatrically re-released in the UK on 27th July 2007 on new digital prints distributed to around 150 multiplex cinemas.