Made in 1966, and set one hundred years in the future, Thunderbirds Are Go! was the first feature length Thunderbirds movie. However, series creator, Gerry Anderson, realised that what had worked so well on the small screen, wouldn’t necessarily work in cinemas. So the puppets from the TV series were revamped, with new paint, wigs and costumes. The show’s iconic models were also re-built—from designs created by Derek Meddings, who would later become known for his work on the James Bond franchise.
The plot—involving a sabotaged Mars mission—has a distinctly Bond feel too, and is directed with great gusto by David Lane, who at 24-years-old, was the youngest British film director working at the time. Lane would later work on Superman: The Movie.
All the usual voice artists make an appearance, and there are cameos from Cliff Richard, who contributed to the score, and TV legend Bob Monkhouse who appears as Space Navigator Brad Newman. Monkhouse had apparently first approached Anderson for permission to film a comedy sketch based on Stingray, but ended up agreeing to replace Alfred Marks, who had withdrawn from the film due to a fee dispute. Monkhouse recalled the conversation: “Gerry said “how much would you charge for the job?’ I said, ‘Gerry, I’d do it for nothing.’ And that was the first time I ever heard the phrase, ‘The price is right‘.”
Thunderbirds Are Go! is a Supermarionation classic that still has the power to entertain kids and kidults alike. And, while it’s true that Thunderbirds may have very little in common with today’s fast and furious animations, but this is the real deal: big-hearted family entertainment that doesn’t disappoint.
Gerry Anderson’s Countdown to Thunderbirds.
“Entertainment is Go”, the making of Thunderbirds.
Audio Commentary with Producer Sylvia Anderson and Director David Lane.
Isolated Score track.
Cliff Richard and The Shadows unseen test footage.
History and Appeal.
Factory of Dolls and Rockets.
Epics in Miniature.
What does F.A.B mean?
Original UK Theatrical Trailer.
International Rescue Danger Zone Report Booklet.