Greatest Movie Series
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James Bond Films

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

James Bond Films
Dr. No (1962) | From Russia With Love (1963) | Goldfinger (1964) | Thunderball (1965)
You Only Live Twice (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) | Diamonds are Forever (1971)
Live and Let Die (1973) | The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) | The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Moonraker (1979) | For Your Eyes Only (1981) | Octopussy (1983) | A View to a Kill (1985)
The Living Daylights (1987) | Licence to Kill (1989) | GoldenEye (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
The World is Not Enough (1999) | Die Another Day (2002) | Casino Royale (2006) | Quantum of Solace, 007 (2008)
Skyfall (2012) | Spectre (2015)
| No Time to Die (2021)

The James Bond Films (official)
See Bond Girls in Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
d. Guy Hamilton, 115 minutes

Opening Credits, Title Sequence

Gun-barrel Sequence: Designed by Maurice Binder
Main Title Sequence: Designed by Maurice Binder
Title Song: "Diamonds Are Forever" (sung by Shirley Bassey)

Film Plot Summary

The pre-title credits sequence traced James Bond (Sean Connery) as he pursued SPECTRE megalomaniac villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray, the third actor in the role) to seek revenge for the death of his wife Tracy in the previous film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). He was first in Japan, where he beat up a henchman while asking: "Where is Blofeld?" He was told: "Cairo" - where he was next seen beating up another associate in a casino, who blurted out: "Ask Marie." He approached bikinied Marie (Denise Perrier), introduced himself ("My name is Bond, James Bond") and then suggested: "There's something I'd like you to get off your chest." He ripped off her bikini top, tightened it around her neck, and asked: "Where is Ernst Stavro Blofeld?"

In another scene set in Blofeld's secret Central American facility, the mastermind ordered his plastic surgeon to perform an operation that evening to create a duplicate look-alike. Bond infiltrated the facility as one of the doctors, where a test subject - Blofeld's future look-alike - was covered with greenish mud to create a body mold. When the man pulled a gun on him, Bond drowned him in the vat of mud (# 1 death, # 1 Bond kill). 'Blofeld' approached with armed bodyguards, and when one of the men reached for Bond's gun in his jacket, his fingers were almost severed in a booby-trap clamp. Bond threw three scalpels into the body of the second man (# 2 death, # 2 Bond kill), strapped 'Blofeld' to an operating table, and pushed him into a bubbling mud-pit where he watched him sink below the surface (Bond: "Welcome to Hell, Blofeld"). Blofeld's white Persian cat with a diamond collar screeched at him, as the credits began.

With Blofeld presumably dead, Bond met with "M" (Bernard Lee) and British Treasury Secretary Sir Donald Munger (Laurence Naismith) in London for his next mission - an investigation of diamond smuggling from British mines in South Africa. {Diamonds were being smuggled out of the mines in the mouths of workers, who would then visit the company's corrupt dentist Dr. Tynan (Henry Rowland) and have them extracted. Tynan would then rendezvous in the desert to pass the smuggled diamonds onto a contact named Joe.) Blofeld's homosexual hitmen Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith) collected Tynan's newest stash of diamonds and then killed him by placing a deadly scorpion down his shirt (# 3 death). Via helicopter, the dentist's regular contact arrived to pick up the diamonds - Wint and Kidd gave him a box, and watched as the copter flew away and exploded in mid-air (# 4 death). It was presumed by Munger that someone was hoarding the diamonds, since they weren't turning up on the international black market. Someone was planning to either dump the stones on the market to depress prices or perform blackmail. Bond was sent undercover to determine: (1) who the stockpilers were, and (2) why the diamonds weren't turning up on the market. (Meanwhile, Wint and Kidd delivered the diamonds to elderly Mrs. Whistler (Margaret Lacey), a South African schoolteacher, who was part of the smuggling pipeline. She was to deliver them (in a hollowed-out Holy Bible) to Amsterdam, Netherlands. However, upon her arrival, the treacherous cold-blooded killers drowned her in Amsterdam's canal (# 5 death). The duo was murdering everyone who came into contact with the diamonds, and each time made fiendishly witty quips.) Bond was sent undercover to Amsterdam, impersonating professional smuggler Peter Franks (Joe Robinson) who had been apprehended at the Dover border (by uniformed customs agents, including Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell)).

In Amsterdam, Bond met with the next link in the diamond pipeline, Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) in her third floor apartment, and learned the origin of her name - she was born on the first floor of Tiffany's New York store while her mother was shopping for a wedding ring. Bond quipped: "Well, I'm glad for your sake it wasn't Van Cleef & Arpels." She appeared at her bedroom door, now a redhead in matching gold bra and panties. Bond responded with his preference for either blondes or brunettes "providing the collars and cuffs match..." Suspicious of his identity, she verified his fingerprints on a drink glass (he had employed fake fingerprints) through a projection/viewer in her bedroom. The next destination for the smuggled 50,000 carats was Los Angeles, for which the smuggler would be paid 50 grand. That evening, Bond learned that the real Peter Franks had escaped from British custody, killing one of the guards as he was being transported to London. Bond rushed back to Tiffany's apartment, where he intercepted Franks at the front door and they furiously fought together in the ascending elevator. On the fourth floor level, Bond sprayed a fire extinguisher into Franks' face, then knocked him one flight down the stairwell to his death (# 6 death, # 3 Bond kill). Cleverly, he switched wallets with Franks, so that Tiffany (viewing Bond's UK Playboy Club Card) thought he had killed Bond (Tiffany: "My God! You've just killed James Bond." Bond: "Is that who it was? Well, it just proves no one is indestructible"). Tiffany was anxious to move the smuggled diamonds along that were hidden in a chandelier - they had been dropped off the previous day by a "little old lady." They decided to conceal the diamonds in Franks' body inside a coffin. Bond posed as Franks' brother as he transported the coffin in a Lufthansa flight to Los Angeles. On the same plane, Wint and Kidd were shadowing both Bond and Tiffany.

At the airport, CIA agent Felix Leiter (Norman Burton) assisted Bond in getting the diamonds through customs. A hearse and three gangster-like agents from Slumber, Inc. picked up Bond, with the coffin and his luggage, for transport to Las Vegas, Nevada. At the funeral home in Vegas owned by Morton Slumber (David Bauer), another member of the diamond-smuggling pipeline, the diamonds were taken from Franks' alimentary canal before cremation, and brought to Bond in an urn. Slumber participated in a double-cross, when Bond was knocked unconscious from behind by Wint and Kidd, and then placed in a coffin sent into the crematorium oven. However, agent 007 was saved by Slumber and Shady Tree (Leonard Barr) (a stand-up comedian at the Lincoln Lounge in the nightclub of the Whyte House) - the next link in the chain of couriers - when it was discovered that the diamonds in the urn were phonies (and the $50,000 received from Slumber for passing along the diamonds was counterfeit). Bond was needed alive to direct them to the real diamonds (Bond: "You get me the real money, and I'll bring you the real diamonds"). Bond emerged from the still-smoking coffin and went to the Hotel Tropicana, where he phoned Leiter and was told that "Q" (Desmond Llewelyn) had the actual diamonds and would be delivering them the next morning.

Bond entered the Whyte House casino, one of many hotels and casinos owned and operated by billionaire entrepreneur Willard Whyte (Jimmy Dean) (with a likeness to reclusive Howard Hughes) - who also managed an empire of "explosives, oil, electronics, houses, aviation." At the door of the Lincoln Lounge in the casino, Bond listened as corny jokes were delivered by Shady Tree in his comic act ("Trying to find Willard Whyte is like trying to find a virgin in a maternity ward"). Backstage in the comedian's dressing room, Wint and Kidd murdered him (off-screen death, # 7 death) (not knowing that the diamonds were fake), where Bond soon after found his body. To be allowed to wager at the craps table, Bond (still impersonating Franks) deliberately showed casino employee/pit boss Bert Saxby (Bruce Cabot), one of Whyte's henchmen, the Slumber envelope containing the counterfeit $50,000. As he was betting, buxom gold-digger and casino floozy Plenty O'Toole (Lana Wood) presented her deep cleavage to him and introduced herself with her suggestive name: "Hi, I'm Plenty!" He looked downward as he replied: "But of course you are." She added: "Plenty O'Toole," to which Bond quipped: "Named after your father, perhaps?" Meanwhile, Saxby alerted his boss by phone to Franks' gambling presence and was curtly told: "Just get me the diamonds." On a bet of $10,000, Bond won $50,000 (thereby laundering the counterfeit money) and gave Plenty $5,000 for her assistance, as she followed him to his hotel room after they had a drink. After he kissed her, and her dress was unzipped and dropped to the floor, they were interrupted by Slumber's three gunmen (the hearse drivers) who proceeded to throw the topless Plenty out of the 10-story bedroom window. When she landed in the hotel's pool below and survived certain death, Bond noted: "Exceptionally fine shot." One gunman dumbly replied: "I didn't know there was a pool down there." Bond was astonished when the three thugs dragged one of their unconscious colleagues (that Bond had slugged) out the door, and vanished.

He found Tiffany Case awaiting him in his bedroom. Seductively, Tiffany wanted to know the location of the real diamonds, and whether he was working alone or not. Bond called himself "the condemned man" and Tiffany was "the hearty breakfast" - and they had sex together (# 1 tryst). Tiffany then proposed a "fifty-fifty" split of the diamonds - she would help get them out safely, and they would both escape to Hong Kong together (Tiffany: "I have the feeling this is the beginning of a wonderful relationship") - and Bond pretended to acquiese to her plan. But Tiffany reneged and gave the slip to Felix Leiter, Bond, and other CIA agents (during "Operation Passover"). She disappeared from the Circus Circus casino after 'winning' a green/white stuffed dog (concealing the real gems) at the water-balloon shooting booth. The next morning, Bond showed up at Tiffany's operational residence where he had found Plenty floating and dead in the pool. She had been mistaken for Tiffany and drowned by Kidd and Wint, weighted down and wearing only a sheer nightgown (# 8 death, off-screen). Bond told Tiffany that each link in the smuggling pipeline ended up murdered and she was next. He asked the identity of her connection -- and forced her to reveal where the "stuff" (the diamonds in the stuffed animal) were located. Bond watched as the gems (inside the animal) were taken from a Las Vegas airport locker, placed in a case, and taken to an awaiting Ford van driven by Saxby ("Whyte's right-hand man"). They followed in Tiffany's red 1971 Ford Mustang, and watched at a gas station when Saxby switched cars with Professor/Dr. Metz (Joseph Furst) and drove off in a green vehicle. Tiffany created a distraction as Bond slipped into the back of Metz' van, and she followed at a distance as the van drove out of town into the desert. The van arrived at the remote Tectronics factory, a US government restricted area owned by Whyte.

Bond infiltrated inside, posing as an inspector, and observed how Metz and his technicians were working on a secret laser refraction project and constructing an unusual satellite, using diamonds. When Metz discovered Bond was an imposter/intruder purportedly checking radiation shields, an alarm was sounded. Bond hid in an artificial moon-scape, and was forced to steal a Moon-buggy used for testing. He crashed through the security gate and evaded pursuing cars through the rough desert terrain. He then stole one of the three-wheeled Dirt-bikes from Whyte's security guards following him, to return to the facility's entrance where Tiffany was awaiting him. They drove back to Las Vegas, where they were pursued by the alerted local police. After weaving through the neon-decorated fronts of the casinos on the Strip and causing multiple crashes/pileups, they eventually escaped when Bond steered Tiffany's car onto two-wheels down a narrow alleyway. That night, they stayed in the bridal suite of the Whyte House where they reclined on a circular clear waterbed filled with fish, where Bond rationalized the choice of accommodations: "In order to form a more perfect union, sweetheart." He assured her that he would help to minimize her possible sentence of 20 years to life: "Relax, darling, I'm on top of the situation" (# 2 tryst).

Later in the evening, although specifically instructed by Leiter to stay away from Whyte, Bond climbed out his suite's window, rode up on the top of the outside of the ascending elevator, jumped off, and then employed a grappling hook piton gun on the exterior of the building to gain entry (by "mountaineering") into Whyte's top-floor penthouse suite via a skylight. Once inside, his visit was anticipated and he was greeted by one Blofeld ("Good evening, Mr. Bond") and then another ("Good evening, 007") - look-alike doubles ("Double jeopardy, Mr. Bond"). Blofeld was posing with the Southern-accented voice of Willard Whyte when he received a phone call, using a voice changer or synthesizer machine ("a voice box") to fool others and take charge of Whyte's empire. One of the Blofelds admitted to holding Whyte "in cold storage" - he was an ideal kidnap victim as he had been missing for five years. Bond faced a dilemma - which of the Blofelds should he kill with his weapon? Blofeld's white Persian cat was sitting in the room - he stepped on it and watched it jump into the arms of one of the Blofelds. He fired his piton gun weapon into Blofeld's head (# 9 death, # 4 Bond kill), but then another cat (with a diamond necklace) entered. The surviving Blofeld said: "Bright idea, Mr. Bond" with Bond's follow-up reply: "But wrong pussy." The real Blofeld ushered Bond at gunpoint into an elevator that took him down to the lower basement. During the trip, Bond fell unconscious when greenish gas was emitted from a ceiling grille. Blofeld's henchmen Wint and Kidd loaded Bond's body into the trunk of a car, drove down an extensive tunnel, and emerged in the middle of the desert, where Bond was left for dead in a massive round concrete pipe, that was newly-buried the next morning by construction crews. To escape, Bond shorted out the automatic welder inside the pipe - and escaped through an opened hatch when technicians arrived to fix it.

Upon his return to Vegas, Bond impersonated the voice of a panicking Bert Saxby in a phone call to Blofeld (with the same kind of voice synthesizer machine). He mentioned Bond's reappearance (and backing by the CIA) and recommended the movement of imprisoned captive Whyte (from his desert summer home ten miles from town). Blofeld ordered Whyte's assassination, prompting Bond and Leiter (with agents and police) to proceed to Whyte's home to save him, as Blofeld called Metz and ordered all plans pushed forward by 24 hours. At Whyte's home, Bond was confronted by two unlikely and attractive security officers, scantily-clad gymnasts Bambi (Lola Larson) and black Thumper (Trina Parks), and they beat and kicked him soundly with their athletic skills as a tag-team. He made them succumb and surrender when they fell into a swimming pool and Bond held them underwater - until they revealed Whyte's location. The kidnapped entrepreneur was found in a locked room under the villa. As they left, Saxby made an ill-fated attempt to assassinate Whyte, and he was shot and killed ("fired") by CIA agents (# 10 death). Meanwhile, back at Whyte House casino (where "Q" was testing an electromagnetic RPM controller on slot machines), Blofeld had dressed in drag and kidnapped Tiffany in his Mercedes, and taken her hostage.

After Whyte's rescue, the billionaire was driven to his Tectronics facility, where he couldn't understand how laser refraction expert and pacifist Metz had been duped by SPECTRE chief Blofeld, and how Blofeld had taken over his company. It was learned that Vandenburg AFB had just launched a US rocket carrying the laser-armed, diamond-encrusted satellite built at the lab by Metz, and flight control was unable to abort it (it had "a will of its own"). The diamonds Blofeld had amassed were fitted to a reflector dish on the orbiting spacecraft. It was a deadly orbital energy weapon powerful enough to destroy nuclear weapons, rocket silos, submarines, and missiles anywhere on Earth. When Strategic Air Command (SAC) was alerted in North Dakota, Blofeld demonstrated the laser's destructive power - he blew up an American missile on the launch pad there, and then destroyed a Russian submarine and a Red Chinese missile site. Blofeld's world domination plan was to destroy the nuclear arsenals of other countries, hold the US ransom, and have nuclear supremacy go "to the highest bidder" at an international auction. Through a process of deduction, Bond and Whyte determined that Blofeld was hiding out at his petroleum oil-rig base off the coast of Baja California (Mexico), where he controlled the laser-satellite with a simple coded cassette tape mechanism. Blofeld threatened to destroy a major city, an intimidating show of force, if the nuclear powers didn't give in to his demands. Pacifist Metz had been duped, believing the assurances of Blofeld that their real goal was universal nuclear disarmament.

A large floating, silver-colored air balloon was parachuted from a plane near the oil-rig - Bond's method of arrival on water - although he was immediately apprehended and taken onboard. He saw Tiffany lounging and sunbathing on deck in a purple bikini - Blofeld's new mistress? During a tour of the control room, Bond had the opportunity to cleverly switch the master coded control tape (cassette). He stuffed the real tape into the back of Tiffany's swimsuit bikini as he called her a "Bitch." Unfortunately Tiffany didn't realize he had already made a switch, and she switched the tape back (Bond: "You stupid twit, you put the real one back in"). A 10-minute countdown commenced, threatening Washington DC with a demonstration of the satellite's power if a ransom wasn't paid. As Bond was taken to the brig, he was able to release a red weather balloon on-deck - to alert Felix and Whyte to begin a massive helicopter attack. Tiffany attempted to reswitch the tape but was caught and also sent to the brig during the chaos of an aerial attack by a squadron of helicopters (causing an unknown number of deaths on both sides). As the oil-rig was being destroyed, Blofeld escaped in a mini-submarine (Bathosub). Bond also escaped from the brig through a hatch, and then took control of the crane cable holding Blofeld's mini-sub - to use it as a battering ram to destroy the control room (rendering the satellite harmless and disabled), as the megalomaniac shouted wildly: "Disengage." An escaping Tiffany aided Bond, but was propelled overboard from the powerful discharge of her machine-gun. Bond also dove off into the water just before the entire platform exploded - Blofeld's death and fate remained unclear.

Bond ended up with Tiffany on the deck of the Canberra on a voyage home to England. During a romantic evening on-deck, the couple were brought a gourmet meal of food and drink (to be topped off with dessert cake, La Bombe Surprise!) reportedly compliments of Willard Whyte. Their disguised waiters were Kidd and Wint - Bond was tipped off to the pretension ("smelled a rat") by Wint's familiar aftershave smell and his own clever knowledge of wines. As Bond was being choked and held from behind by Wint, Kidd lunged menacingly at him with two flaming shish kabobs. Bond turned him into a human fireball by dousing him with the contents of a broken bottle of brandy. Kidd was forced to race to the yacht's railing and jump overboard (and presumably drown) to extinguish the flames (# 11 death, # 5 Bond kill). Wint's demise came next. Bond tightly pulled Wint's tuxedo jacket up between his legs, attached the ticking time bomb surprise (hidden in the cake) to the tails of it, and somersault-flipped him off the deck where the bomb exploded in mid-air (# 12 death, # 6 Bond kill). Bond joked: "Well, he certainly left with his tail between his legs." As Tiffany and Bond looked up at the stars from the railing, she asked about how they could retrieve the diamonds from the defunct satellite in space: "James, how the hell do we get those diamonds down again?"

Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)

The seventh film in the series.

The sixth and final official Bond film with Sean Connery as James Bond (after he skipped one film). Connery also appeared one more time in the unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again (1983).

At first, actor John Gavin had signed to star as James Bond in this film, but Connery was enticed to make a comeback and reprise his role, for $1.25 million and a percentage (12.5%) of the gross profits.

This was the second of four films directed by Guy Hamilton.

This was the first Bond film with an American Bond Girl - American actress Jill St. John as Tiffany Case.

The trend in Bond films toward overt (often campy) humor and sight gags began with this film. It also had some very unusual elements: a pair of gay assassins, acrobatic bikinied bodyguards (Thumper and Bambi), the villain dressed in drag, a fake moonscape and Moon buggy, an anti-climactic climax, etc. It was one of the more forgettable Bond films, a simple diamond-smuggling melodrama.

With one Academy Award nomination for Best Sound.

With a production budget of $7 million, and gross revenue of $44 million (domestic) and $116 million (worldwide).

Set-pieces: the Moon-buggy and Dirt-bike chases, the Las Vegas car chase by police, and the climactic battle on Blofeld's Baja oil rig.

Bond Villains: Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray), Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover), Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith), Peter Franks (Joe Robinson), Morton Slumber (David Bauer), Shady Tree (Leonard Barr), Bert Saxby (Bruce Cabot), Professor Dr. Metz (Joseph Furst), Bambi (Lola Larson), Thumper (Trina Parks)

Bond Girls: Tiffany Case (Jill St. John), Plenty O'Toole (Lana Wood)

Number of Love-Making Encounters: 2

Film Locales: Japan, Cairo, Egypt, South (or Central) America, London, England, South Africa, Dover, England, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Nevada (US), North Dakota, Baja, California, Mexico

Gadgets: finger or hand booby (or pocket) snap trap or clamp, peel-off imitation (fake) fingerprints, grappling-hook piton gun, voice changer or synthesizer machine, an electro-magnetic slot-machine RPM controller (designed to win at slots in Vegas casinos), a diamond-encrusted laser satellite, La Bombe Surprise (ticking bomb hidden in cake)

Vehicles: Helicopter, Seaspeed Hovercraft, Hearse, Tiffany's 1971 red Ford Mustang Mach 1, Mertz' Ford Van, Moon buggy, Honda 3-wheeled Dirt Bikes (with oversized inflatable tires), Blofeld's Mercedes, floating silver-colored air balloon, Whyte's squadron of helicopters, Bathosub (mini-submarine), the Canberra cruise ship

Number of Deaths (Bond Kills): 12 (6)

James Bond:
(Sean Connery)

Bond Villain: Ernst Stavro Blofeld, SPECTRE
(Charles Gray)

Bond Regular: Miss Moneypenny
(Lois Maxwell)

Bond Girl: Tiffany Case
(Jill St. John)

Bond Girl: Plenty O'Toole
(Lana Wood)

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