Beam-foil spectroscopy after 45 years: what has been realized of the promises? What is the state of the art? What is the status of the field? What present atomic physics problems should the technique be applied to, where can it be done? Will it be done?Dedicated to the memory of Professor S Bashkin (20 June 1923-1 May 2007) and written in the honour of Professor L J Curtis (4 November 1935).