The first mission to Mars (in the Zero-X) has just taken off, but The Hood gets his foot jammed in the trim while trying to plant a bomb. The Zero X falls out of the sky and crashes into the ocean. All on board survived.
Two years pass, and the mission is going to be tried again, but with International Rescue acting as security to make the mission a success. The return flight goes well, until a failure in the escape unit circuit forces International Rescue into action, tasked with saving the Zero-X crew.
In 2065, the Zero-X spacecraft launches from Glenn Field Spaceport as the first attempt at a manned mission to Mars. Unknown to Captain Paul Travers and his crew of two astronauts and two scientists, criminal mastermind The Hood has infiltrated the ship to photograph Zero-X's wing mechanism. When his foot becomes trapped in the hydraulics, The Hood causes a systems failure and Zero-X loses control. While the villain manages to extract his bloodied foot and parachute from the undercarriage, Travers and his crew eject in an escape pod and Zero-X crashes and explodes in flames into the ocean before leaving Earth's atmosphere.
In 2067, at the conclusion of an investigation into the loss of Zero-X, the Inquiry Board of the Space Exploration Center reaches a verdict of sabotage. In the meantime, a second Mars mission has been planned. Days before the launch of the new Zero-X, International Rescue agrees to a request to organize security in view of the possibility of another sabotage threat. Jeff Tracy dispatches Scott to Glenn Field in Thunderbird 1, while Virgil in Thunderbird 2 and Alan in Thunderbird 3 are assigned to escort Zero-X as it leaves the atmosphere. Posing as a reporter at the pre-launch press conference, Lady Penelope ensures that Travers and the other four crewmembers are delivered St. Christopher brooches. Ostensibly for luck, these are in fact homing devices that will allow Lady Penelope to keep track of them wherever they go. The next day, a search for Dr. Tony Grant's brooch checks negative. Scott unmasks the man waiting for lift-off on board Zero-X as The Hood in another of his disguises. The saboteur flees Glenn Field in a car, which Penelope and Parker pursue him in FAB 1. Transferring to a speedboat, and then a helicopter piloted by an accomplice, The Hood is apparently killed when Parker shoots the aircraft down with the Rolls-Royce's built-in machine gun. Meanwhile, the real Grant is returned to Zero-X and the spacecraft launches without further incident.Mission accomplished, Penelope invites Scott and Virgil to join her at "The Swinging Star", a fashionable nightclub. Landing back on Tracy Island after escorting Zero-X, Alan feels unappreciated when Jeff insists that he remain on standby at base while his brothers spend the night partying, and even more frustrated when Tin-Tin can't go out to the mainland with him. In bed, Alan experiences a surreal dream in which Parker "flies" him and Penelope in FAB1 to a version of The Swinging Star located in space. Present at the interstellar nightclub are "Cliff Richard Jr." and The Shadows, who perform a song titled "Shooting Star" and an instrumental, "Lady Penelope". The dream sequence ends abruptly when Alan plummets from The Swinging Star back to Earth and awakes to discover he has fallen out of bed.
After a six-week flight, the Zero-X Martian Exploration Vehicle lands on Mars on 22 July. While investigating the barren surface, the crew are puzzled to encounter strange rock formations arranged into coils. Space Captain Greg Martin blasts one of the structures with the MEV cannon and Dr. Ray Pierce prepares to leave the vehicle to collect samples. However, the other formations stir into motion and reveal themselves to be one-eyed "Rock Snakes". Under attack from the extraterrestrials, which are able to shoot fireballs from their "mouths", the Zero-X explorers are forced to effect a premature departure from the Martian surface. Docking with the orbiting command module piloted by Space Navigator Brad Newman, the astronauts start the flight back to Earth.
As Zero-X re-enters Earth's atmosphere on 2 September, a lifting body launched to assist the controlled descent fails to interface, damaging the escape unit circuit (EUC). With Zero-X locked in descent and set to impact Craigsville, population 4,800, Florida, Jeff sends out Scott and Brains in Thunderbird 1 and Virgil, Alan and Gordon in Thunderbird 2. Winched into Zero-X's undercarriage, Alan must risk being trapped on board the spacecraft as Brains advises him on re-routing the damaged escape circuit. With Craigsville evacuated, Alan is left seconds to detach his cable, and Travers and the others eject just in time, before Zero-X crashes spectacularly into Craigsville. Collected by Penelope and Parker in FAB1, Alan is driven to the real Swinging Star and Penelope, joined by the Tracy family, Brains and Tin-Tin, all disguised to conceal their identities, propose a toast to Alan as the "hero of the day".
- Jeff Tracy - Peter Dyneley
- Scott Tracy - Shane Rimmer
- Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward - Sylvia Anderson
- Virgil Tracy - Jeremy Wilkin
- Alan Tracy - Matt Zimmerman
- Brains - David Graham
- Aloysius Parker - David Graham
- Tin-Tin Kyrano - Christine Finn
- Gordon Tracy - David Graham
- John Tracy - Ray Barrett
- Kyrano - David Graham (Scene deleted)
- The Hood - Ray Barrett
- Captain Paul Travers - Paul Maxwell
- Space Captain Greg Martin - Alexander Davion
- Space Navigator Brad Newman - Bob Monkhouse
- Dr. Ray Pierce - Neil McCallum
- Dr. Tony Grant - Charles Tingwell
- Commander Casey - Ray Barrett
- Space Colonel Harris - Jeremy Wilkin
- Public Relations Officer - Charles Tingwell
- Penelope's Messenger - Matt Zimmerman
- Angry Young Man - Charles Tingwell
- Swinging Star Compere - Bob Monkhouse (voice only, not seen on screen)
- Cliff Richard Jr. - Cliff Richard
- The Shadows - Themselves
- Airport Police - David Graham (voice only, not seen on screen)
- Goldstone Tracking Station - Sylvia Anderson (voice only, not seen on screen)
- Woomera Tracking Station - Charles Tingwell (voice only, not seen on screen)
- Washington Control - Jeremy Wilkin (voice only, not seen on screen)
International Rescue Equipment UsedEdit
Non-International Rescue Equipment UsedEdit
- Zero X
- Martian Exploration Vehicle (MEV)
- Air-Sea Rescue Jets
- W.N.S Atlantic
- Fireflash (Scene deleted)
- Air-Sea Rescue Helicopters
- The Hood's Helicopter
- Last Appearance: Though not confirmed, it's safe to assume The Hood was killed after being shot down by Lady Penelope and Parker. Or was he?
- Out of the three Thunderbirds movies (including the 2004 film), this is the only one not focused on Alan.
- That being said, he does appear in numerous major scenes, a dream sequence, and is vital to the final rescue.
- FAB 1 utilises its built-in hydrofoils, as previously introduced in Lord Parker's 'Oliday.
- Production took six months.
- The Glenn Field Space Centre was reused as the Maxwell Airbase in Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons.
- In production terms, it is the last production of the original series run, even though Give or Take a Million was broadcast later.
- The film was first shown in cinemas 10 days before Christmas, 1966.
- The opening credits for the film during the final completion of Zero-X were missing for the DVD and old VHS releases, though some VHS and Blu-Ray releases have them reinstated.
- Promotional material such as movie posters almost invariably depict the Zero-X crash-landing onto Craigsville with its heat shield still attached, even though it was discarded immediately after take-off. These same posters also incorrectly showed the Zero-X nose landing gear as being part of the rear part of the Martian Excursion Vehicle (MEV) instead of the forward part of the main body.
- Most of the puppets in the film were previously seen in the TV series. For example, the Public Relations Officer was previously seen as the Matthews Field Commander in The Cham-Cham and as Doctor Pringle in Give or Take a Million. He later also appeared in Thunderbird 6.
- The Zero-X Martian excursion vehicle has a small but important role in Captain Scarlet.
There were 3 scenes deleted from the movie.
- One deleted scene showed the Space Exploration Center's attempts to enlist International Rescue to escort the second Zero-X. Meanwhile, the Hood telepathically contacts his half-brother Kyrano from his temple, coercing him to relay the Tracy family's actions.
- Another deleted scene featured Penelope and Parker flying to the United States aboard the Fireflash.
- The third showed Alan and Brains behind a TV Camera recording Jeff doing a speech being broadcast live by the Trans America TV Network. A few seconds of this deleted scene were later used in the "Joe 90 episode" International Concerto.
In a fascinating paradox, despite the series' popularity at the time, the film did poorly at the box office.
- When The Hood's foot becomes trapped and Zero X goes out of control, Commander Casey's map gives the spaceport's name as "Glenn Field". But when Penelope and Parker drive into the car park before the launch of the second Zero X, the sign at the entrance says "Glenfield".
- Alan is not given permission to go to the mainland with Tin-Tin, in order to make sure that at least someone in the team can keep International Rescue running. However most of the inhabitants of Tracy Island went to see the The Ned Cook show in Terror In New York City, leaving only Kyrano to look after the island.
- Alan tells Jeff the take-off of the second Zero-X is scheduled for the morning of the next day, but he must be mistaken, because shortly after, Jeff tells Penelope that the press conference is to be held the next day. The press conference was held on the evening of the day before the take-off.
- When the auto date fixer in the billiards room on Tracy Island is first seen, it displays the date Friday, August 3 (which would mean the movie is set in the year 2068). In the close-up seconds later however, the date says Friday, July 22 (which means the movie is set in the year 2067).
- Even though the movie is set in 2067, Jeff's newspaper is dated June 2066.
- The numbering of the reporters at the Press Conference changes between shots: at first, the lady in red is Number 9, but later it is the man to the right of her that has the 9 on his desk.
- Main article: Thunderbirds Are Go (film)/Transcript
- French: L'odyssée du cosmos
- German: Feuervögel Startbereit
- Spanish: Guardianes del Espacio
- Spanish (Latin America): Thunderbirds, Amos del Espacio
- Italian: Thunderbirds: i cavalieri dello spazio
- Dutch/Belgian: De Odyssea van de Kosmos
- Japanese: サンダーバード 劇場版
- Danish: Tordenfugle med Go
- Greek: Τα πουλιά της καταιγίδας