Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • U
  • Action, Sci-Fi
  • 1966
  • 93 mins

Thunderbirds Are Go

Thunderbirds Are Go

Synopsis

F.A.B. spin-off movie from Gerry Anderson's cult TV series which sends the marionettes to Mars to rescue an international mission from the villainous Hood

About

'Thunderbirds' ran on UK TV for 32 episodes between 1964-1966. This was the first of two films made to cash in on its extraordinary success. Written by Gerry Anderson and his wife Sylvia, it is essentially an extended episode, only bigger, weirder and with more Cliff Richard.

All the regular characters are here with Brains, Lady Penelope and Parker, Asian babe agent Tin-Tin and the Tracy clan clocking in to help International Rescue save the day. This time, their task is to provide security for 'the most expensive project in human history', a manned mission to Mars. NASA's previous attempt had been nobbled by rotten egg-head The Hood, and chances are he'll try again. That's more than enough reason for billionaire do-gooder Jeff Tracy and his sons to roll out the heavy machinery.

But while Scott, Virgil, Gordon and John are outmanoeuvring The Hood in Thunderbirds 1, 2, 3 and 5, and battling fire-spitting one-eyed rock snakes on Mars, brother Alan (operator of submarine Thunderbird 4) is left at home to man the fort. It could be worse. Tracy Island, International Rescue's secret HQ, is one of the coolest hideaways in film history with its PanAm era airport chic. But poor Alan craves the glamour and glory enjoyed by his brothers. He was born to save lives and his lack of involvement in the operation leads to dark thoughts of inadequacy, represented here by a truly bizarre musical dream sequence set in a galactic nightclub, complete with a performance from marionette versions of Cliff Richard and The Shadows.

Alan's subplot lends the film psychedelic colour and a welcome dose of human drama, but mostly, Thunderbirds Are Go is about the hardware. Made at the height of the space race, the TV series' initial popularity stemmed as much from its love affair with futuristic technology as the clunky charm of its puppet characters. Anderson and sfx designer Derek Meddings make the most of this cinema version's extra scope, filling the screen with bigger, shinier craft, while director Lane has more time to linger on the intricate detailing of the phallic models before they're blown to smithereens in the film's explosive action sequences. For the techno-fetishist, it's positively hardcore.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Ray Barrat, Sylvia Anderson, Peter Dyneley, Alexander Darion, David Graham
  • Director: David Lane
  • Screen Writer: Sylvia Anderson, Gerry Anderson
  • Producer: Sylvia Anderson
  • Composer: Barry Gray

In a nutshell

The attraction of Thunderbirds may have changed over the years but this jumbo version is still a pleasure to watch. Even if it's only to remind us just how bizarre our taste used to be.

by Billy Mowbray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 The Sitter

    The Sitter

    Jonah Hill stars as a slacker who's forced to fill in as a babysitter for a night, but the kids he's looking after prove more than he can handle when he takes them on a crime-filled trip through NYC

  • Film4 Amy

    Amy

    Senna director Asif Kapadia tells the story of Amy Winehouse in her own words with the use of unseen archive footage and previously unheard tracks

  • Film4 Evil Dead

    Saturday Night Shocks on Film4

    Horror, mystery and suspense stake its claim on the weekend. A new season of Saturday Night Shocks comes to Film4.

  • Film4 Bridesmaids

    Comedy Season 2015 on Film4

    Eight nights of contemporary comedy hits, including first plays of Cuban Fury, American Reunion, The Sitter, and the network premiere of 21 & Over, on Film4

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Top pop moments from Cannes 2015

    Cannes is always a great place to see and hear brilliant pop music, often divorced from its usual context, and 2015 has been no different. Here's my personal playlist of top pop moments from the Compe

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Crowdfunding at Cannes

    Independent crowdfunding is an increasingly large part of even major festivals like Cannes, with Jeremy Saulnier's Directors' Fortnight smash Blue Ruin last year partially funded on Kickstarter and ar

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share