Casino Royale (1967)

casino royale poster 1967 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good looking and good cast

Story is intentionally nonsense but doesn't work

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Casino Royale

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Genre(s):  Comedy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  April 13, 1967

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


The other James Bond does what?

MI-6 is under attack from SMERSH.  With agents being targeted left and right, the original James Bond (David Niven) has been lured out of retirement.  Now Bond must come up with a plan to stop SMERSH and discover who is pulling the strings.

Directed by Ken Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish, Val Guest, and an uncredited Richard Talmadge, Casino Royale was a comedy spy film which used Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel for inspiration but primarily was a stand-alone story independent of the 1953 novel.  The movie was met with criticism and was considered  flop, but due to the big stars and oddity of the film has gained a cult following.  It did receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song for “The Look of Love”.


Oh. behave!!!

The rights for Casino Royale became a problem as the James Bond films starring Sean Connery were gaining popularity.  The rights battle ended up resulting in a decision to make the movie a spy parody  The movie was met with legendary production problems including Peter Sellers and Orson Wells refusing to work with each other…add to that a plot that barely can be followed, Casino Royale isn’t an easy movie to watch, but it still is some fun.

While the “official” James Bond film line is serious with some goofy spy-tech mixed in, Casino Royale is essentially a comedy.  Much of the film is a parody of the style of Sean Connery Bond films that were going at the time (David Niven’s character is mad that the sex crazed current 007 is ruining his chaste name).  If this had been the plot, that would have been fine, but the plot instead goes for a crazy “wacky” adventure that keeps adding characters (also playing James Bond).  It is convoluted and pointless…and ends up more like a Mel Brooks film than a Bond film.


Do you like my sombrero?

The movie is loaded with stars and the notorious film feud.  Orson Welles and Peter Sellers refused to work together (some consider it starting by a visit by Princess Margaret to the set while others say that Sellers had other ideas about the film) and Sellers left before his role was finished.  I actually liked David Niven as Bond and Niven was considered as an early candidate for the official Bond films by Ian Fleming’s choice.  Ursula Andress played Vesper Lynd (Andress played Honey Rider in Dr. No).  Deborah Kerr, John Huston, William Holden, and more actors cameo throughout the film.  Woody Allen played the villainous Jimmy Bond in a rare and early acting role outside of his own films.

casino-royale-1967-dancing native-americans-indians-ending-review

…and now we have dancing Native Americans

The movie does have a great “swinging ’60s” visual look.  It does fit with the goofy plot and gives it helps to lighten the film.  The movie looks a bit like the BBC’s The Avengers and now it looks like Austin Powers:  International Man of Mystery.  The bizarre ending sequence with the death of all the James Bonds and dancing Native Americans is quite…odd.

Casino Royale is an interesting movie, but not a great movie.  It is one of those movies that is fun to watch, but only if you don’t expect much from it.  Enjoy the fun aspects of Casino Royale and take it as an odd entry into the James Bond saga.  Aspects of the movie (and book) show up in the 2006 Casino Royale remake and a second non-canon Bond film was made in 1983 in Never Say Never Again with Sean Connery returning as Bond.

Related Links:

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Casino Royale (2006)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Comments are closed.