British Board of Film Classification

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Thunderball

At last the wait is over for Bond fans as Skyfall is released in cinemas this weekend. If Daniel Craig and his explosions aren’t enough to thrill you then check out this correspondence from our archive file for Thunderball.

The film was submitted to the BBFC in November 1965 but our work with the film began earlier in the year. In April 1965 Eon Productions sent a shooting script to the BBFC for advice on how the finished film might be considered for classification. The letter published here details the BBFC’s lengthy response to the script. Mindful that an X certificate would not be consistent with the previous three Bond films (Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger had all been certified A) the letter specifies over thirty aspects of the script that could be problematic for an A certificate. John Trevelyan sums up the general concern of the BBFC when he explains, “I get the impression that this screenplay has been deliberately hotted up with a view to its including more sex, sadism and violence than the previous Bond pictures, and… it seems less light-hearted in tone”.

When the finished film was submitted in November 1965 only one cut was required – the sight of Bond “stroking the back of a partially nude girl with a mink glove”. Classic Bond! Thunderball was given an A certificate, and later classified PG uncut for video release in 1987. It remains at that category today.

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