Study Guide

Goldfinger Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe)

Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe)

Gold Is Cold

Goldfinger is a man dressed up all in gold who cheated his way to wealth and wants to nuke the United States economy to benefit his own personal bank account. Sound like a villain? Yep, that's a villain.

An "auric" is the term for an ion of gold, so it appears that Goldfinger was destined to be obsessed with the precious metal from birth. He has amassed a great deal of it, mostly by smuggling it from other countries. Not only has this illegal operation made him wealthy, but it even inspires him to wax poetic on the subject:

GOLDFINGER: This is gold, Mr. Bond. All my life, I've been in love with its color, its brilliance, its divine heaviness. I welcome any enterprise that will increase my stock, which is considerable.

Goldfinger is a simple man motivated by greed. In the real world, he'd just be your average Goldman Sachs employee. But this is Bond-world, so what we get is a supervillain willing to cheat, backstab, and murder to increase his own wealth.

His big plan is Operation Grand Slam, in which he'll break into Fort Knox not to steal the gold, but to nuke it. With the U.S. gold reserves gone, Goldfinger's own wealth will increase. It's the type of diabolical plan Bond villains are known for—over the top, complicated, and much more trouble than they're actually worth.

Another trait that makes Goldfinger an iconic Bond villain is his penchant for torture. It's during an iconic torture scene that Goldfinger utters a classic line from Bond world:

GOLDFINGER: No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!

Goldfinger set a high bar for the Bond torture scene with his classic laser aimed at Bond's sensitive parts. But like Operation Grand Slam, Goldfinger's torture technique is flamboyant and ineffective. Why go through all the pageantry? Just kill the guy.

But that wouldn't be any fun. As menacing as Goldfinger would like to think he is, he is little more than a clown providing a series of dangerous diversions for James Bond for one purpose: to entertain us all in the audience.

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