Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

GP | 119 mins | Adventure | December 1971

Full page view
HISTORY

The onscreen title reads "Ian Fleming's Diamonds Are Forever . The titles by Maurice Binder (1925—1991), who designed the first and most of the subsequent Bond series opening titles through 1989, featured the signature “James Bond” style of displaying silhouettes and body parts of scantily clad women. In addition, Binder created distinctive titles specific to each Bond film. In Diamonds Are Forever , diamonds were worn or held by models, and the villain’s trademark white cat appeared wearing a diamond collar. The opening and closing cast credits differ in order. The closing credits acknowledge the cooperation of several automobile companies, ship lines and numerous Las Vegas hotels, as well as David Morris Jewellers. The final title card states: "James Bond will return in Live and Let Die ."
       Diamonds Are Forever was the seventh of producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli’s James Bond series, which began with the 1962 United Artist release Dr. No (see below). The first five films in the series starred Sean Connery as the suave British secret agent "James Bond," Bernard Lee as the head of intelligence, "M" and Lois Maxwell as M's secretary, "Miss Moneypenny." The character of "Ernst Stavros Blofeld," Bond's archrival, appeared in several Bond films and was played in earlier films by Donald Pleasance and Telly Savalas. Charles Gray, who played Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever , portrayed a colleague of Bond’s in the 1967 UA production You Only Live Twice (see below).
       In the sixth of the Bond series, the 1969 UA release On Her Majesty's ... More Less

The onscreen title reads "Ian Fleming's Diamonds Are Forever . The titles by Maurice Binder (1925—1991), who designed the first and most of the subsequent Bond series opening titles through 1989, featured the signature “James Bond” style of displaying silhouettes and body parts of scantily clad women. In addition, Binder created distinctive titles specific to each Bond film. In Diamonds Are Forever , diamonds were worn or held by models, and the villain’s trademark white cat appeared wearing a diamond collar. The opening and closing cast credits differ in order. The closing credits acknowledge the cooperation of several automobile companies, ship lines and numerous Las Vegas hotels, as well as David Morris Jewellers. The final title card states: "James Bond will return in Live and Let Die ."
       Diamonds Are Forever was the seventh of producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli’s James Bond series, which began with the 1962 United Artist release Dr. No (see below). The first five films in the series starred Sean Connery as the suave British secret agent "James Bond," Bernard Lee as the head of intelligence, "M" and Lois Maxwell as M's secretary, "Miss Moneypenny." The character of "Ernst Stavros Blofeld," Bond's archrival, appeared in several Bond films and was played in earlier films by Donald Pleasance and Telly Savalas. Charles Gray, who played Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever , portrayed a colleague of Bond’s in the 1967 UA production You Only Live Twice (see below).
       In the sixth of the Bond series, the 1969 UA release On Her Majesty's Secret Service (see below), Bond was played by Australian model George Lazenby. According to a 27 Feb 1970 DV news item, the producers announced that Lazenby would not continue in the role for Diamonds Are Forever . A documentary on the making of Diamonds Are Forever , part of additional content for the film’s DVD release, reveals that disappointment in the box-office returns for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service prompted the producers to consider options to revitalize the series. One possibility was Americanizing the British agent.
       According to Broccoli’s wife Barbara, television star Adam West was considered for the part; however, well-known leading man John Gavin was signed as the new American Bond. Despite the signing, Broccoli and Saltzman sought out Connery to press him to return in the role. When the producers approved Connery’s 1.4 million dollar salary request, the actor agreed to resume the role for one picture only. Connery donated his entire salary from Diamonds Are Forever to the Scottish International Educational Trust, an organization he founded. Upon being informed of the decision to use Connery, Gavin purportedly withdrew amicably from the production and was paid his entire salary.
       A Feb 1971 Var news item indicated that Raquel Welch was under consideration for a role, depending on who was cast as Bond. A biography on Connery indicates that Jill St. John was initially to play the role of “Plenty O’Toole.” An undated HR article on the film, contained in the film’s file at the AMPAS Library, mentions that Sammy Davis, Jr. was to make a cameo appearance in the film. The documentary on the making of Diamonds Are Forever indicated that Davis’ brief appearance was shot, but cut from the final release of the film. The documentary also mentioned that songwriter Paul Williams was sought for the role of “Mr. Kidd.” Although well-known stunt woman Donna Garrett (whose name is misspelled in contemporary sources as Garratt) began the role of “Bambi,” for unknown reasons, she was later replaced by Lola Larson. In many reviews, Garrett is credited in the role. Joe Robinson, who played “Peter Franks,” was a popular stuntman who had, according to modern sources, previously taught Connery karate. Modern sources indicate that Lana Wood’s voice was dubbed, although it was not obvious in the viewed print. Diamonds Are Forever was shot on location in London, Amsterdam, Germany, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The film marked the final screen appearance of former leading man and longtime character actor Bruce Cabot (1904—1972). The character of “Willard Whyte” was very loosely based on reclusive millionaire Howard Hughes.
       Diamonds Are Forever was based on the Ian Fleming novel, but only several characters and the jewel smuggling plot were used. Co-screenwriter Richard Maibaum added Blofeld to the plot, as the most successful of the series featured a strong villain opposite Bond. Initially Maibaum conceived of creating a twin of the notorious “Auric Goldfinger,” from the 1964 UA release Goldfinger (see below), but decided on doubles of Blofeld instead. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service ended with the murder of Bond’s wife (the only time Bond ever married), “Teresa ‘Tracy’ Di Vicenzo,” by Blofeld. Although not mentioned in Diamonds Are Forever , the murder explains the opening sequence in which a wrathful Bond violently interrogates several individuals to learn of Blofeld’s whereabouts. Blofeld would reappear in future Bond films, the 1981 production, For Your Eyes Only and Never Say Never Again , released in 1984. In 1997, comedian Mike Myers wrote and starred in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery , the first of three feature film spoofs on the Bond character to feature 1960s “hipster” British secret agent “Austin Powers.” “Dr. Evil,” Powers’ arch-rival, who was also played by Myers, was based on Blofeld.
       The Bond series typically featured fantastic gadgetry and stunts. In Diamonds Are Forever the most popular stunt was Bond and “Tiffany Case” escaping from the Las Vegas sheriff by turning their car sideways on two wheels to pass between the narrow space of two buildings. The original American stunt drivers were able to complete the stunt, tilting the car over on its passenger side. Upon the car’s exiting from between the buildings, however, the filmed footage revealed crowds of watching fans and several police cars that could not be removed. The stunt drivers were not able to reproduce the stunt and French drivers were hired. When they succeeded in completing the stunt, however, they exited onto the street with the car titled over on the driver’s side, forcing the producers to shoot an insert that had the Mustang exiting momentarily in an alley and tilting over on the driver’s side before continuing between the next buildings.
       Diamonds Are Forever received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound. The film marked the last appearance by Connery as Bond for Saltzman and Broccoli’s Eon Productions. The next Bond film, Live and Let Die , UA, 1973, and several others in the series starred Roger Moore. In 1987, Connery returned as James Bond in the Kevin McClory production of a Warner Brothers release, Never Say Never Again , which was a remake of the UA’s 1965 release, Thunderball . Later actors to play Bond included Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. In late 2005, British actor Daniel Craig was announced as the latest James Bond. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 Feb 1970.
---
Esquire
Jun 1972
pp. 61-62.
Filmfacts
1971
pp. 664-67.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 1971
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1971.
---
New York Times
18 Dec 1971
p. 34.
New York Times
26 Dec 1971
Section II, p. 15.
New Yorker
15 Jan 1972.
---
Newsweek
27 Dec 1971
p. 61.
Saturday Review
1 Jan 1972
p. 22.
Time
10 Jan 1972
p. 50.
Variety
10 Feb 1971.
---
Variety
9 Jun 1971.
---
Variety
15 Dec 1971
p. 14.
Village Voice
16 Dec 1971
p. 79.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
2d unit cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Elec
Elec
Generator op
Generator op
Key grip
2d grip
Crab dolly op
Grip
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Prop master
Lead man
Carpenter
Carpenter
Painter
Painter
Draftsman
Draftsman
Draftsman
Sketch artist
COSTUMES
Miss St. John's cost
Ward supv
Ward supv
Cost
MUSIC
Mus comp, cond and arr
SOUND
Dubbing ed
Dubbing ed
Dubbing mixer
Boom man
Cableman
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Visual eff
Visual eff
Main title des
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Cont
Prod buyer
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Crafts service
Unit pub
First aid
Prod auditor
Loc auditor
Casting
Prod secy
Company secy
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
STAND INS
Stunt arr
Stunt arr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming (London, 1956).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
The James Bond theme written by Monty Norman.
SONGS
"Diamonds Are Forever," music by John Barry, lyrics by Don Black, sung by Shirley Bassey.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
Ian Fleming's Diamonds Are Forever
Release Date:
December 1971
Premiere Information:
New York and Los Angeles openings: 17 December 1971
Production Date:
5 April--13 August 1971 in Las Vegas, Amsterdam, Paris, Germany and Pinewood Studios, London
Copyright Claimant:
Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 December 1971
Copyright Number:
LP40567
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
119
MPAA Rating:
GP
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
23067
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Searching the globe for his notorious archenemy Ernst Stavros Blofeld, British espionage agent James Bond discovers him at a secret laboratory where Blofeld is developing “plastic transformation” to make doubles of himself. Bond attacks and kills Blofeld and several henchmen, then returns to London. There, intelligence chief “M” assigns Bond to discover who is behind the theft and stockpiling of a vast supply of South African diamonds. With intelligence that thief Peter Franks will be serving as a courier for the latest shipment of stolen diamonds, M5 arrests Franks and Bond assumes his identity to travel to Amsterdam to meet Franks’s contact, American Tiffany Case. Unknown to Bond, hit men Wint and Kidd, who have transported the latest diamond supply from South Africa to Holland, have lost the shipment to informant Mrs. Whistler who, after delivering the diamonds to Tiffany, is murdered by the henchmen. Later, Bond learns that Franks has escaped and intercepts him in Tiffany’s apartment building. After a furious fight in the tiny building’s lift, Bond kills Franks and tells Tiffany the dead man is James Bond. Tiffany informs Bond that he is to smuggle the diamonds to Los Angeles hidden in Franks’s casket. Upon landing in Los Angeles, Bond is welcomed by longtime friend and CIA operative Feliz Leiter, disguised as a customs agent. Still in the guise of Franks, Bond and the casket are picked up by the Slumber, Inc. funeral home hearse and driven to Nevada. At the desert chapel run by Morton Slumber, the real Franks is cremated and the diamonds passed to Bond, who is knocked out by Wint and Kidd, ... +


Searching the globe for his notorious archenemy Ernst Stavros Blofeld, British espionage agent James Bond discovers him at a secret laboratory where Blofeld is developing “plastic transformation” to make doubles of himself. Bond attacks and kills Blofeld and several henchmen, then returns to London. There, intelligence chief “M” assigns Bond to discover who is behind the theft and stockpiling of a vast supply of South African diamonds. With intelligence that thief Peter Franks will be serving as a courier for the latest shipment of stolen diamonds, M5 arrests Franks and Bond assumes his identity to travel to Amsterdam to meet Franks’s contact, American Tiffany Case. Unknown to Bond, hit men Wint and Kidd, who have transported the latest diamond supply from South Africa to Holland, have lost the shipment to informant Mrs. Whistler who, after delivering the diamonds to Tiffany, is murdered by the henchmen. Later, Bond learns that Franks has escaped and intercepts him in Tiffany’s apartment building. After a furious fight in the tiny building’s lift, Bond kills Franks and tells Tiffany the dead man is James Bond. Tiffany informs Bond that he is to smuggle the diamonds to Los Angeles hidden in Franks’s casket. Upon landing in Los Angeles, Bond is welcomed by longtime friend and CIA operative Feliz Leiter, disguised as a customs agent. Still in the guise of Franks, Bond and the casket are picked up by the Slumber, Inc. funeral home hearse and driven to Nevada. At the desert chapel run by Morton Slumber, the real Franks is cremated and the diamonds passed to Bond, who is knocked out by Wint and Kidd, then placed in a casket that is sent through the crematory. Bond is rescued from incineration by lounge entertainer and smuggler Shady Tree, who states that the urn was full of paste stones and demands to know the location of the real diamonds. Bond vows to provide the gems and agrees to meet Shady that night at the Whyte House Hotel, where the comedian performs. That evening, Burt Saxby, Whyte House casino floor manager and associate of reclusive millionaire and hotel owner Willard Whyte, fails to intercept Wint and Kidd before they kill Shady in search of the diamonds. After a successful game of craps, assisted by pretty Plenty O’Toole, Bond takes the girl to his hotel room, where they are confronted by Slumber’s hoodlums who throw Plenty out of the window into the pool several stories below. Bond is puzzled by the hoodlum’s abrupt retreat, then finds Tiffany waiting for him in the bedroom. Tiffany suggests they sell the diamonds in Hong Kong and split the profits. Suspecting that Tiffany is connected to the diamond hoarder, Bond arranges with Leiter to pass the gems to her at the Circus Circus casino. Although the casino is covered by several American agents, Tiffany escapes with the stuffed animal containing the diamonds. Bond catches up with Tiffany at her house in the desert, but when they find Plenty, who was mistaken for Tiffany, dead in the pool, Tiffany agrees to help retrieve the stones. The couple follows a courier with the stuffed animal from an airport locker to Saxby who hands the toy off to a man in a van. Hiding onboard the van, Bond is taken to Whyte Techtronics lab, where the driver, light retraction expert Dr. Metz, takes the diamonds to a laboratory where a satellite dish is under construction. Discovered in the lab, Bond escapes company security using a test moon rover and, later, Tiffany’s sporty Mach 1 Mustang coupe. Taking a lavish room in the Whyte House with Tiffany, Bond disregards Leiter’s instructions to leave Whyte alone and breaks into his penthouse only to find Blofeld and his identical double. Both Blofelds reveal that Whyte has long served as a cover for the diamond smuggling because of the millionaire’s widespread interests in technology and oil. Bond distinguishes the Blofeld double and kills him, but the real Blofeld has the agent gassed and taken by Wint and Kidd to the desert where he is buried in a large pipe. Reviving, Bond short-circuits the robotic pipe security, which summons a repair team who inadvertently rescue the agent. Back at the hotel, using a gimmick rigged up by British intelligence inventor “Q,” Bond phones Blofeld and, impersonating Saxby, tricks him into revealing Whyte’s location at his summer home outside of town. Bond, Leiter and several agents go to the house and after Bond cools off the gymnastic guards, Bambi and Thumper, by wrestling them in the pool, the agents locate Whyte locked in one portion of the house. Saxby attempts to intervene as Bond and Leiter free Whyte, but is killed by the agents. Back at the hotel, Tiffany spots Blofeld disguised as a woman and follows him to his car where he forces her to accompany him. At Whyte’s penthouse, the millionaire discovers that Blofeld has used his identity and businesses to construct a satellite that has just launched. Despite attempts by the American government to prevent it, the satellite deploys a dish constructed of solid diamonds that concentrates the rays of the sun into a powerful laser beam that subsequently destroys an American missile, a Russian submarine and a Chinese missile launch pad. Whyte learns from Washington contacts that, using the threat of the satellite laser, Blofeld is holding America hostage. When Bond asks how the satellite is controlled, Whyte explains it is programmed by a simple coded cassette tape. Discovering that Blofeld has developed an oil rig off the coast of Baja, Bond concludes the tower serves as the satellite control and skydives there. Bond finds Tiffany, but is quickly subdued by Blofeld’s guards. Taken to Blofeld, who is about to destroy Washington, D.C., Bond spots a cassette and signals Tiffany, who surreptitiously slips it to him. In the control room, Bond manages to exchange the music tape for the coded tape and places it in Tiffany’s bikini bottom. Confusing the tapes, Tiffany replaces the coded tape in the control room and the ten-minute countdown to destroy Washington begins. Outside, Bond signals Leiter and the agents waiting in helicopters and they make a furious attack on the oil rig. Bond evades his guards and spotting Blofeld attempting to escape in a mini submarine being lowered by a crane, overpowers the crane driver and swings the sub into the control room, smashing it. With the mission completed, Bond and Tiffany relax on a cruise on one of Whyte’s ships, but are attacked by Wint and Kidd disguised as waiters. After Bond kills the duo, Tiffany wonders how they can retrieve the diamonds in the satellite dish. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.