Never Say Never Again was a sort of remake/re-adaptation of Thunderball by producer Kevin McClory, created through a mix of rights issues, lawsuits, and various other messes. The film debuted in 1983-the same year as Roger Moore’s Octopussy, prompting a “Battle of the Bonds” of sorts (Octopussy won that battle). It’s main selling point was that it would feature the return of Sean Connery to the role, in a remake of the film he starred in less than twenty years before!
“Never” follows the same basic plot of Thunderball’s book and film-After some rest and recuperation at Shrublands clinic (In the novel and NSNA, it’s because he’s getting kind of rusty; in the original movie it’s because he was injured)-where he witnesses at least part of SPECTRE’s plot-Bond is sent to the Bahamas to investigate the theft of two nuclear missiles by SPECTRE’s right hand man, Emilo Largo (Although he’s called Maximillion Largo in NSNA).
Helping him out-in addition to Felix Leiter-is Largo’s girlfriend Domino (Called Domino Patacci in this film) whose brother was part of the plot and killed by Largo. Domino was played by new star Kim Basinger, who of course went on to many other things.
Here’s one of the key differences between novel, original film, and remake. In the book, Domino’s brother was bribed by SPECTRE, but in the original film, he was replaced by a body double. NSNA returns to the original brother being the culprit of the theft, but in this version, Jack Petacci has been manipulated by SPECTRE not only by threats to Domino, but also due to drug addiction. Instead of simply stealing the nukes using his jet, he instead goes through a complicated retinal replacement and scan, causing a group of dummy warheads to be replaced with real ones, and delivered straight to Largo.
The film also switches locations. While the majority of the novel and the first film adaptation are set in the Bahamas, NSNA quickly switches locations to France-where Bond faces off with Largo in a video game…
and then eventually to Africa, where Bond is able to secure the nukes. Despite the location change, this part is a bit closer to the novel, as a submarine is involved…
and Domino’s killing blow to Largo-although still via harpoon-is also underwater as in the original novel.