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Thunderball is the ninth novel in Ian Fleming's James Bond series. It was created with the intention of being turned into a film, and is officially credited as being "based on a screen treatment by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming", a shared credit which has been the subject of much controversy. The novel was published in 1961 and stands, technically, as the first novelisation of a James Bond screenplay, even though at the time it was written and published, no such film had yet been produced. It was subsequently adapted as a daily comic strip beginning in 1961.
Thunderball has, to date, been adapted twice for the cinema. The first adaptation was released in 1965, with Sean Connery as James Bond. It was the fourth official Bond movie in EON Productions' series. McClory later produced an unofficial remake, 1983's Never Say Never Again, which again starred Connery as Bond. Thunderball was originally scheduled to have been the first James Bond film, in 1962, but this was later changed to Dr. No due to a lawsuit brought about by McClory.
Thunderball (1965) - The fourth spy film in the James Bond series starring Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, which in turn was based on an original screenplay by Jack Whittingham. It was directed by Terence Young with screenplay by Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins.
The film follows Bond's mission to find two NATO atomic bombs stolen by SPECTRE, which holds the world ransom for £100 million in diamonds, in exchange for not destroying an unspecified major city in either England or the United States (later revealed to be Miami). The search leads Bond to the Bahamas, where he encounters Emilio Largo, the card-playing, eye-patch wearing SPECTRE Number Two. Backed by CIA agent Felix Leiter and Largo's mistress, Domino, Bond's search culminates in an underwater battle with Largo's henchmen.
Never Say Never Again (1983) - A spy film based on the James Bond novel Thunderball, which was previously adapted in 1965 under that name. Unlike the majority of Bond films, Never Say Never Again was not produced by Eon Productions, but by an independent production company, one of whose members was 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.
The film was directed by Irvin Kershner and, like Thunderball, stars Sean Connery as British Secret Service agent James Bond, 007, marking his return to the role 12 years after Diamonds Are Forever. The film's title references how Connery said to the press in 1971 that he would "never again" play James Bond. As Connery was 52 at the time of filming, 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.