Although there are several amazing things about Goldfinger that helped turn its constituent parts into cinematic gold, one thing stands taller than the rest. Six feet and two inches tall to be precise, and without it the film would be nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for Mr Thomas Sean Connery.
His confidence and comfort in Bond's immaculately-polished shoes are apparent from the moment he removes a plastic duck from his head to the final smooch beneath a parachute with the world's greatest double entendre, Pussy Galore. But it's the details in Connery's performance that stand out; small reactions here and there that George Lazenby and Roger Moore were incapable of, that Pierce Brosnan seemed to have to force out and that only Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig since - as genuine actors - achieved naturally.
In fact Connery deploys the nostril flare with devastating effect at various points in the film when he's seething with sub-surface rage at Goldfinger and his dastardly deeds. It's there when he calls Felix Leiter to tell him about the gold-painted corpse in his room, and it reappears when Bond and Goldfinger finally meet at the golf club. It's a tiny movement of a few small muscles but it speaks volumes about Bond's state of mind; the only visible crack in his cool exterior that suggests the boiling fury beneath.
Of course it takes more than the pulling of a few faces to make a convincing James Bond. A former Mr Universe, Sean Connery is physically peerless in Goldfinger. This is just before he became one of the most recognisable faces on the planet and let fame go straight to his gut, and I don't care how rampantly heterosexual you are, there's an undeniable pleasure in watching a man who can stride about in an alarming baby-blue terry-towelling playsuit as confidently as he does in a beautiful three-piece grey plaid number.
Trust me, I know from bitter experience that neither of those looks are easy to pull off.
It would be another 23 years until audiences saw another convincing James Bond, albeit a totally different one to that seen in Goldfinger, when Timothy Dalton arrived to take the character back to his literary roots. For now, though, one man would own the role, and for many people will continue to do so forever. For once, the posters got it right: Sean Connery IS James Bond.
The pre-title sequence
The unsolicited laser surgery scene
Ken Adam's Fort Knox set
Having never seen the inside of Fort Knox, Ken Adam was asked by Cubby Broccoli to create "a cathedral of gold". If there was ever a perfect example of the overused phrase "every penny is on the screen", this is it.
The fight with Oddjob
While not as technically groundbreaking as From Russia With Love's train-bound fisticuffs, Bond's showdown with Oddjob is equally as satisfying. With Harold Sakata's mute henchman apparently made of concrete, Bond clearly isn't going to beat him with his fists and Q has yet to invent the convenient poison dart-firing wristwatch. Pleasingly, 007 resorts to his wits to defeat Oddjob in a scene which also brings out the best in the aforementioned jaw-dropping set.
John Barry's Score
"Oddjob's Pressing Engagement"
I'm going to attempt to not bring up John Barry's score for every Bond film he did, but when it's as phenomenal as this one it's impossible to ignore. Brassy, jazzy, bombastic and suspenseful, it's probably the best thing he ever did. Imagine how happy the Beatles-hating Bond would have been when the soundtrack album dumped the Fab Four off the top of the charts. Oh yeah, there's quite a good song too.
And finally: We get another of these beauties:
Bond, in bed with a semi-naked blonde, is on the phone to Felix Leiter.
BOND (to FELIX)
What's that? Dinner?
The semi-naked blonde twirls her hair into Bond's ear.
BOND (to FELIX)
No look I'm sorry, I can't. Something big's come up.