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FBI Wanted Little To Do With James Bond, Memo Reveals

Sean Connery sits beside his co-star, English actress Shirley Eaton, covered in gold, during the filming of a scene from <em>Goldfinger </em>in 1964.
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Sean Connery sits beside his co-star, English actress Shirley Eaton, covered in gold, during the filming of a scene from Goldfinger in 1964.

Auric Goldfinger might have expected James Bond to die, but the FBI wanted nothing to do with 007. That's according to FBI records released today from the agency's vault.

At issue was a request from Harry Saltzman, who with Albert Broccoli produced the Bond films, seeking to use a military aircraft for Goldfinger. In the film, Bond thwarts the title character from stealing the precious metal from Fort Knox. (It was the 1960s, folks.)

The FBI, in the memo from director J. Edgar Hoover's office to bureaus in Miami and Los Angeles, noted that Saltzman said the bureau, which has an integral role in Ian Fleming's book of the same name, would be cast in a positive light. But the FBI wasn't interested.

"The type of book written by Fleming is certainly not the type where we would want any mention of the FBI or a portrayal of FBI Agents, no matter how favorable they might look in the movie," the memo said. "Fleming's stories generally center around sex and bizarre situations and, certainly, are not the type with which we would want to be associated."

The memo instructs the FBI's Miami bureau to contact Saltzman and "bring forcefully to his attention" the fact the law prohibited the FBI's name from being used without its permission.

Despite the objections, the film was a blockbuster.

(h/t The Guardian)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: December 9, 2014 at 12:00 AM EST
A previous version of this story said that in the movie Goldfinger, James Bond thwarts the title character from stealing gold from Fort Knox. In fact, 007 prevents Auric Goldfinger from irradiating the gold inside Fort Knox. Having to write this correction renders us both shaken and stirred.
Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.

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