Thunderball vs. You Only Live Twice- which do you prefer?

chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
in Bond Movies Posts: 17,283
The two BIG Bond movies of the Sixties.
TB has a fully engaged Connery, and lots of cool underwater stuff for us divers.
YOLT has a marginally engaged Connery (works for the character beginning to burn out IMO), and peerless cinematography as well as the famous commando raid.
Both have awesome Barry scores, both have crazy beautiful women....
But YOLT is my pick for the best BIG Bond.
Thoughts?
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Comments

  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,262
    I'd have to say Thunderball, but I'm biased against YOLT because of how much I love the book, and how dissimilar they are.

    Having said that though, I always feel like I'm missing something with Thunderball because it gets a ton of love but I can't seem to quite see it. I always watch it with an open mind, thinking about what makes it so special for people but I'm always left feeling underwhelmed.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,283
    I'd have to say Thunderball, but I'm biased against YOLT because of how much I love the book, and how dissimilar they are.

    Having said that though, I always feel like I'm missing something with Thunderball because it gets a ton of love but I can't seem to quite see it. I always watch it with an open mind, thinking about what makes it so special for people but I'm always left feeling underwhelmed.

    Me too. And I get the same feeling from NSNA... although TB is the better film.
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 7,460
    I'd have to go with Thunderball as well. I know a lot of people find it bloated, but I find it quite elegiac and atmospheric and it has, for my money, Connery at his most confident.

    YOLT? I love bits of it. A set piece here, a line of dialogue there, Barry's score always. But it's a totally daft film.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,283
    I'd have to go with Thunderball as well. I know a lot of people find it bloated, but I find it quite elegiac and atmospheric and it has, for my money, Connery at his most confident.

    YOLT? I love bits of it. A set piece here, a line of dialogue there, Barry's score always. But it's a totally daft film.

    I must agree that YOLT is daft... but growing up in the Sixties with Batman on TV makes it look rather serious....
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    edited January 4 Posts: 7,262
    I'd have to go with Thunderball as well. I know a lot of people find it bloated, but I find it quite elegiac and atmospheric and it has, for my money, Connery at his most confident.

    YOLT? I love bits of it. A set piece here, a line of dialogue there, Barry's score always. But it's a totally daft film.

    The Wedding is one of my favourite tracks in the whole franchise.
    chrisisall wrote: »
    I'd have to say Thunderball, but I'm biased against YOLT because of how much I love the book, and how dissimilar they are.

    Having said that though, I always feel like I'm missing something with Thunderball because it gets a ton of love but I can't seem to quite see it. I always watch it with an open mind, thinking about what makes it so special for people but I'm always left feeling underwhelmed.

    Me too. And I get the same feeling from NSNA... although TB is the better film.

    NSNA is another one I have to give another shot soon!
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    edited January 4 Posts: 6,704
    Over the years I’ve started to vibe more with YOLT because it’s basically one big cartoon full of set pieces. We get more glorious Ken Adam sets. A luscious Barry score. Sure, Connery looks bored, and I don’t blame him, because this isn’t a film about characters like the previous ones were. They’re all one-note characters because the filmmakers are more concerned with atmosphere and spectacle. When viewed as such, it’s as much a delight as TSWLM and MR.

    THUNDERBALL has gone down my estimation. It just feels like wheel spinning. This goes for both the book and the film, ESPECIALLY the book. There are Ken Adam sets but it’s all too brief because we quickly move to location shooting in the Bahamas. The set pieces aren’t exciting. The climax is ruined by overuse of blue screen and speeding up the film footage (an old editing method I’m glad Hollywood abandoned by the 70s).
  • goldenswissroyalegoldenswissroyale Switzerland
    edited January 4 Posts: 3,791
    I preferred TB to YOLT for many years. TB has some great dialogues, stunning women, a perfect SPECTRE meeting and hungry sharks. However, the last two times I watched TB, I felt a bit bored in several scenes, mainly because of the too long diving scenes and the lack of cool action scenes. Therefor, I would rank YOLT slightly higher at the moment

    Both films were and will always be lower in my rankings than the other 60s Bond films. They belong to the last third of my ranking for sure.
  • KenAustinKenAustin United States
    Posts: 226
    I preferred You Only Live Twice...I thought it brought a little potential realism to the Bond character pitting him against a real world enemy versus a fictional super villain although I totally love the super villain stores and the good versus evil stories as well.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,470
    chrisisall wrote: »
    I'd have to go with Thunderball as well. I know a lot of people find it bloated, but I find it quite elegiac and atmospheric and it has, for my money, Connery at his most confident.

    YOLT? I love bits of it. A set piece here, a line of dialogue there, Barry's score always. But it's a totally daft film.

    I must agree that YOLT is daft... but growing up in the Sixties with Batman on TV makes it look rather serious....

    Oh yes, completely daft, but I too slightly prefer it over TB. Less weird editing, better theme song, fantastic cinematography and some real standout scenes that just click with me. It is also just more fun.
  • Posts: 5,224
    Thunderball would be my pick. Last few viewings of You Only Live Twice have not been good! Connery is at his peak in the former, beautifully shot, Claudine Auger!!!!, great script, and I prefer the underwater finale to YOLTs volcano attack. The whole Turning Japanese/ wedding scenes drag YOLT down a lot for me also!
  • R1s1ngs0nR1s1ngs0n France
    Posts: 1,664
    I adore both films almost equally so it’s hard to choose one over the other.
    TB boasts the best collection of Bond women, a very solid villain and Connery has never been better. This movie oozes class like no other and its soundtrack is one of Barry’s best.
    YOLT, despite having a visibly uninterested Connery, is a visual and aural feast of the highest order, runs at a brisk pace and has the awesome Donald P. and his man-eating piranhas.
    I give a slight edge to YOLT as it’s one of the very few Bond movies (along with DN and GF) that I can watch at any given time and never get tired of it.
  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper By the powers INvested in me by this parish, I hereby do commandeer this message board
    edited January 4 Posts: 6,685
    I'd also side with YOLT, no matter how silly it is at times. But my TB appreciation truly suffers from myself having watched NSNA several times before ever seeing TB for the first time, and sort of being trained to like it or at least be accustomed to it. I still think that TB is more boring and less entertaining than NSNA (whatever the merits on cinematography and whatever stuff in comparison), but this definitely shaped my view of TB. Therefore, YOLT takes the cake here.
  • I’ve really come around on TB, and now prefer it to YOLT (which I still really enjoy). Thunderball feels like a wonderful nexus point between the more serious espionage oriented earlier Terence Young films, and the gadget filled comic book epics to come, balancing many of the best elements of both. Connery is certainly more engaged in the film, and has more engaging material to work with particularly with the villains. I love the ambiance of the Bahamas in the film and I’ve come to appreciate the underwater scenes, which are technically impressive and give the film a unique atmosphere. Also Largo’s shark pool > Blofeld’s piranha pond.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,262
    I’m gonna have to do a double bill soon; love all the positive things being said about both films here. Clearly a lot to love.
  • Posts: 631
    Thunderball. It’s hugely flawed but I don’t care
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,283
    j_w_pepper wrote: »
    I'd also side with YOLT, no matter how silly it is at times. But my TB appreciation truly suffers from myself having watched NSNA several times before ever seeing TB for the first time, and sort of being trained to like it or at least be accustomed to it. I still think that TB is more boring and less entertaining than NSNA (whatever the merits on cinematography and whatever stuff in comparison), but this definitely shaped my view of TB. Therefore, YOLT takes the cake here.

    This is interesting! I've never met anyone who saw NSNA before TB! I've always felt that NSNA is 'badly traced copy' of TB, but somewhere in your mind that must somehow be reversed, eh?
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,262
    Off topic but in a similar vein, the recently released "Godfather: Coda" director's cut of GFIII is the only version of Godfather III I've ever seen.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,283
    Off topic but in a similar vein, the recently released "Godfather: Coda" director's cut of GFIII is the only version of Godfather III I've ever seen.

    Did you like it? I don't remember GFIII being that bad.... but then I only saw it once.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,262
    I did.. As far as I understand it, the Coda just has far less Sophia Coppola, which does seem like the right call.
  • chrisisall wrote: »
    j_w_pepper wrote: »
    I'd also side with YOLT, no matter how silly it is at times. But my TB appreciation truly suffers from myself having watched NSNA several times before ever seeing TB for the first time, and sort of being trained to like it or at least be accustomed to it. I still think that TB is more boring and less entertaining than NSNA (whatever the merits on cinematography and whatever stuff in comparison), but this definitely shaped my view of TB. Therefore, YOLT takes the cake here.

    This is interesting! I've never met anyone who saw NSNA before TB! I've always felt that NSNA is 'badly traced copy' of TB, but somewhere in your mind that must somehow be reversed, eh?

    I also watched NSNA well before Thunderball actually. I watched NSNA as a kid and somehow it wasn’t until the last 5 years that I actually got around to watching Thunderball which was the only Bond film I had left unwatched. It was always the favorite of one of my close childhood friends with a shared appreciation for Bond which probably added to my disappointment when I finally got around to seeing it since I built my expectations too high haha. Fortunately I’ve come around on it on repeat viewings.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,283
    watched NSNA as a kid and somehow it wasn’t until the last 5 years that I actually got around to watching Thunderball which was the only Bond film I had left unwatched. It was always the favorite of one of my close childhood friends with a shared appreciation for Bond which probably added to my disappointment when I finally got around to seeing it since I built my expectations too high haha. Fortunately I’ve come around on it on repeat viewings.
    So. Do you like TB better than NSNA? Or is that imprint as a kid still too vivid for that?
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    edited January 5 Posts: 6,704
    NSNA was the VERY first Bond movie I ever saw back in 1997 (TND was the first official one I saw a year later). My friend had been hyping about Bond at the time due to the GoldenEye video game which had just been released around the time. HBO had NSNA regularly (but no other Bond film, due to not having MGM titles). I was 10 years old. This was my very first impression: “Why is this elderly man revered by women?”

    It didn’t really interest me in checking out other Bond films. I’d try to watch it again when it was on HBO more times just so maybe I’d get the hype better. Not really.

    Contrast that with 6 years later when I rent a copy of TB and think it’s so utterly cool that I WANTED to be as cool as the 34 year old Sean Connery in his prime.

    Not so much for the 52 year old Connery, who reminded me of a grandpa that somehow escaped his retirement home.
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,001
    While both are fine films (in different ways), I find YOLT to be a more “fun” watch than TB – especially during their respective last 45 minutes or so. And while the plot of YOLT is on the outlandish side and the film straddles the line with “camp”, it never goes over that line – unlike MR does IMO. To quote Alan Barnes and Marcus Hearn in “Kiss Kiss, Bang! Bang!”: The Unofficial James Bond Film Companion”:

    Spectacular in a sense now forgotten. The Mix done right…. throughout its considerable but effortlessly sustained length, You Only Live Twice teeters constantly on the brink of excess and inanity- and never once crosses that elusive line. Magnificent.

    Barry’s score, Freddie Young’s cinematography, and the whole “Bond in Japan” vibe elevate the film for me.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    edited January 5 Posts: 17,283
    Dwayne wrote: »
    While both are fine films (in different ways), I find YOLT to be a more “fun” watch than TB – especially during their respective last 45 minutes or so. And while the plot of YOLT is on the outlandish side and the film straddles the line with “camp”, it never goes over that line – unlike MR does IMO. To quote Alan Barnes and Marcus Hearn in “Kiss Kiss, Bang! Bang!”: The Unofficial James Bond Film Companion”:

    Spectacular in a sense now forgotten. The Mix done right…. throughout its considerable but effortlessly sustained length, You Only Live Twice teeters constantly on the brink of excess and inanity- and never once crosses that elusive line. Magnificent.

    Barry’s score, Freddie Young’s cinematography, and the whole “Bond in Japan” vibe elevate the film for me.

    Perfectly put. I totally agree. That elusive line would be crossed later in the Seventies....
    YOLT was nicely acted by Connery IMO. Later in DAF he went wild. Like he was in a Flint movie. Enjoyable, but so different from the Bond he & EON created.
  • Posts: 597
    Thunderball - 8/10

    You Only Live Twice - 6/10
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,283
    CraterGuns wrote: »
    Thunderball - 8/10

    You Only Live Twice - 6/10

    I'd give them both a 7.5 of 10.
  • chrisisall wrote: »
    watched NSNA as a kid and somehow it wasn’t until the last 5 years that I actually got around to watching Thunderball which was the only Bond film I had left unwatched. It was always the favorite of one of my close childhood friends with a shared appreciation for Bond which probably added to my disappointment when I finally got around to seeing it since I built my expectations too high haha. Fortunately I’ve come around on it on repeat viewings.
    So. Do you like TB better than NSNA? Or is that imprint as a kid still too vivid for that?

    Oh I far prefer TB to NSNA. It didn’t leave too much of an impression on me even as a kid, and totally paled in comparison when I revisited it shortly after watching Thunderball.
  • Posts: 11,421
    TB in a landslide honestly. If you asked me several years ago though I would have said YOLT. TB has an A++ Connery performance - his coolest and funniest perhaps of them all. The collection of Bond girls was never bettered than in TB. SPECTRE is better used IMO with TB.

    I still like YOLT very much, but it's a clear choice for weakest of the golden age 60s run if you ask me, most importantly because of Connery's more disengaged performance. Both TB and YOLT have great title songs, great locations, and great action for sure. They're both wonderful adventures. I just think TB has it outclassed in most areas.
  • slide_99slide_99 USA
    Posts: 497
    YOLT. I like TB but the first act is a mess. Just start the movie with the jets being hijacked and get rid of all the stuff at Shrublands and you knock off 20 minutes of runtime.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,470
    chrisisall wrote: »
    j_w_pepper wrote: »
    I'd also side with YOLT, no matter how silly it is at times. But my TB appreciation truly suffers from myself having watched NSNA several times before ever seeing TB for the first time, and sort of being trained to like it or at least be accustomed to it. I still think that TB is more boring and less entertaining than NSNA (whatever the merits on cinematography and whatever stuff in comparison), but this definitely shaped my view of TB. Therefore, YOLT takes the cake here.

    This is interesting! I've never met anyone who saw NSNA before TB! I've always felt that NSNA is 'badly traced copy' of TB, but somewhere in your mind that must somehow be reversed, eh?

    That was the case for me as well. Saw NSNA in the cinema when it was released, and saw TB in a theatrical rerun three years later.
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