Never Say Never Again  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Never Say Never Again is a 1983 spy film starring Sean Connery and directed by Irvin Kershner. The film is based on the James Bond novel Thunderball, which was previously adapted in a 1965 film under that name. Unlike the majority of Bond films, Never Say Never Again was not produced by Eon Productions, but by Jack Schwartzman's Taliafilm in association with Kevin McClory, one of the original writers of the Thunderball storyline with Ian Fleming and Jack Whittingham. McClory retained the filming rights of the novel following a long legal battle dating from the 1960s.

Connery played the role of James Bond for the seventh and final time, marking his return to the character 12 years after Diamonds Are Forever. The film's title is a reference to Connery's reported declaration in 1971 that he would "never again" play that role. As Connery was 52 at the time of filming, although nearly three years younger than incumbent Bond Roger Moore, the storyline features an aging Bond, who is brought back into action to investigate the theft of two nuclear weapons by SPECTRE. Filming locations included France, Spain, the Bahamas and Elstree Studios in England.

Never Say Never Again was released by Warner Bros. in October 1983, and opened to positive reviews, with the acting of Connery and Klaus Maria Brandauer singled out for praise as more emotionally resonant than the typical Bond films of the day. The film was a commercial success, grossing $160 million at the box office, although less overall than the Eon-produced Octopussy released in the same year. In 1997, the film's distribution rights were transferred to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the current distributor of the Eon Bond films; the company has since handled all subsequent home video releases of the film.

Plot

After MI6 agent James Bond, 007, fails a routine training exercise, his superior, M, orders Bond to a health clinic outside London to get back into shape. While there, Bond witnesses a mysterious nurse named Fatima Blush giving a sadomasochistic beating to a patient in a nearby room. The man's face is bandaged and after Blush finishes her beating, Bond sees the patient using a machine which scans his eye. Bond is seen by Blush, who sends an assassin, Lippe, to kill him in the clinic gym, but Bond manages to kill Lippe.

Blush and her charge, a United States Air Force pilot named Jack Petachi, are operatives of SPECTRE, a criminal organisation run by Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Petachi has undergone an operation on his right eye to make it match the retinal pattern of the US President, which he uses to circumvent iris recognition security at the fictitious RAF Station Swadley, an American military base in England. While doing so, he replaces the dummy warheads of two AGM-86B cruise missiles with live nuclear warheads; SPECTRE then steals the warheads, intending to extort billions of dollars from NATO governments. Blush murders Petachi, by causing his car to crash and explode, to cover SPECTRE's tracks.

Under orders from the Foreign Secretary, Lord Ambrose, M reluctantly reactivates the double-0 section and Bond is assigned the task of tracking down the missing weapons. He meets Domino Petachi, the pilot's sister, and her wealthy lover, Maximillian Largo, SPECTRE's highest-ranking agent. Bond follows Largo and his yacht to the Bahamas, where he spars with Blush and Largo.

Bond is informed by Nigel Small-Fawcett of the British High Commission that Largo's yacht is now heading for Nice, France. There, Bond joins forces with his French contact Nicole, and his CIA counterpart and friend, Felix Leiter. Bond goes to a health and beauty centre where he poses as an employee and, while giving Domino a massage, is informed by her that Largo is hosting an event at a casino that evening. At the charity event, Largo and Bond play a 3-D video game called Domination; the loser of each turn receives a series of electric shocks of increasing intensity or pays a corresponding cash bet. After losing a few games, Bond ultimately wins. While dancing with Domino, Bond informs her that her brother had been killed on Largo's orders. Bond returns to his villa to find Blush has killed Nicole by drowning her in a water bed. After a vehicle chase on his Q-branch motorbike, Blush captures Bond. She admits that she is impressed with him, and forces Bond to declare in writing that she is his "Number One" sexual partner. Bond distracts her with promises, then uses his Q-branch-issue fountain pen to kill Blush with an explosive dart.

Bond and Leiter attempt to board Largo's motor yacht, the Flying Saucer, in search of the missing nuclear warheads. Bond finds Domino. He attempts to make Largo jealous by kissing Domino in front of a two-way mirror. Largo becomes enraged, traps Bond and takes him and Domino to Palmyra, Largo's base of operations in North Africa. Largo coldly punishes Domino for her betrayal by selling her to some passing Arabs. Bond subsequently escapes from his prison and rescues her.

Domino and Bond reunite with Leiter on a United States Navy submarine and track Largo to a location known as the Tears of Allah, below a desert oasis on the Ethiopian Coast. Bond and Leiter infiltrate the underground facility and a gun battle erupts between Leiter's team and Largo's men in the temple. In the confusion, Largo makes a getaway with the second of the warheads, the first already defused in Washington DC. Bond catches and fights Largo underwater. Just as Largo tries to use a spear gun to shoot Bond, he is shot with a spear gun by Domino, taking revenge for her brother's death. Bond retires from duty and returns to the Bahamas with Domino, vowing never again to be a secret agent.

Cast




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Never Say Never Again" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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