Diamonds Are Forever
The death of Bond's wife Tracy was originally planned for the
opening sequence of this film, but was later added to the end
of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) to "tidy up loose
ends" and because of a decision to stay faithful to the
Ian Fleming novel.
The original plot had Gert Fröbe returning as Auric Goldfinger's
twin from Goldfinger (1964) seeking revenge for the death of
his brother. The plot for the film was originally to be about
a villain abducting submarines using a supertanker. This idea
was later recycled
for The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
Richard Maibaum's original idea for the ending was a giant boat
chase across Lake Mead with Blofeld being pursued by Bond and
all the Las Vegas casino owners who would be sailing in their
private yachts, which, apparently, would include mock-ups of
a Roman galley, a Chinese junk, etc. Bond would rouse the allies
into action with a spoof of Lord Nelson's famous cry, "Las
Vegas expects every man to do his duty." Alas, Maibaum was
misinformed; there were no Roman galleys or Chinese junks in
Las Vegas, and the idea was too expensive to replicate, so it
was dropped. Maibaum may have thought the eventual oil rig finale
a poor substitute, but it was originally intended to be much
more spectacular. Armed frogmen would jump from the helicopters
into the sea and attach limpet mines to the rig's legs (this
explains why frogmen appear on the movie's poster). Blofeld would
have escaped in his BathoSub and Bond would have pursued him
hanging from a weather balloon. The chase would have then continued
across a salt mine with the two mortal enemies scrambling over
the pure white hills of salt before Blofeld would fall to his
death in a salt granulator. Permission was not granted by the
owners of the salt mine, and it also made the sequence too long.
Further problems followed when the explosives set up for the
finale were set off too early; fortunately, a handful of cameras
were ready and able to capture the footage.
The main villains from the source Ian Fleming novel were called
Jack and Seraffimo Spang. In a rare occurrence in an EON Productions
official series adaptation of an original Fleming novel, their
names were not used for the film. But pretty much all the supporting
villains (Shady Tree, Mr Wint and Mr Kidd) were.
The title "Diamonds are Forever" was apparently inspired
by an American magazine advertisement which James Bond creator
Ian Fleming saw. The tagline for the ad read "A Diamond
is Forever", a common catchphrase in both the diamond selling
business and saying in the English language. Fleming also based
his "Diamonds are Forever" novel on the diamonds because
of this ad.
"Diamonds Are Forever" was the fourth Ian Fleming
James Bond novel. It was first published on 26 March 1956 and
the film is only loosely based on Fleming's novel. Fleming also
wrote a 1957 non-Bond book titled "The Diamond Smugglers" which
dealt with the same subject of diamond smuggling. The first line
of the Ian Fleming James Bond novel read: "With its
two fighting claws held forward like a wrestler's arms the big
pandinus scorpion emerged with a dry rustle from the finger-sized
hole under the rook." The last lines read: "For Bond, it was just the
end of another adventure. Another adventure for which a wry phrase
of Tiffany Case might be the epitaph. He could see the passionate,
ironical mouth saying the words: 'It reads better than it lives.'"
This was the last Bond movie by EON to use SPECTRE or Blofeld.
After this, writer Kevin McClory's legal claim against the Ian
Fleming estate that he, and not Fleming, had created the organization
for the novel "Thunderball" was upheld by the courts.
Blofeld is seen but not identified later in For Your Eyes Only
(1981), as Eon's arrangements with the Fleming estate do not
permit them to use McClory's works.
The plastic surgery story element where Blofeld changes his
personality and appearance in this movie is actually in keeping
with traits given to him by James Bond creator Ian Fleming. However,
Blofeld does not actually appear in the original Fleming "Diamonds
are Forever" novel. Ernst Stavro Blofeld was named after
Tom Blofeld with whom Ian Fleming went to school at Eton. His
son is cricket commentator Henry Blofeld. Blofeld's birthdate
as given in the literature is the same date as Ian Fleming's
birthday which is 28 May 1908.
Ninth James Bond movie and the seventh movie in the EON Productions
official film series. It was the ninth film to both feature Bernard
Lee as M and Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny and the eighth to
feature Desmond Llewelyn as Q. It was the sixth James Bond film
to star Sean Connery as James Bond and the last for him in the
EON Productions official film series.
George Lazenby was asked to come back as Bond for this movie
Burt Reynolds was the original choice to play Bond in the movie
but was unavailable. Then American actor John Gavin was signed
to play James Bond in this movie. At the time, he had recently
played the French Spy OSS 117 in the Eurospy flick Niente rose
per OSS 117 (1968). At the last minute Sean Connery agreed to
return as Bond for the sixth time in a two-picture deal and at
an astronomical salary for the time. Producer Albert R. Broccoli
insisted that Gavin be paid-out the full salary called for in
Michael Gambon had been mentioned by Albert R. Broccoli as a
possible candidate for Bond before Sean Connery returned. Although
United Artists were reluctant to cast another relatively unknown
actor, Gambon himself told Broccoli that he was "in terrible
shape" and "had tits like a woman".
The lead role was reportedly turned down by Adam West. He believed
that James Bond should only be played by a British actor.
Because of Sean Connery's high fee, the film's special effects
budget was significantly scaled back. Connery was reportedly
paid $1.25 million (US) to return as James Bond, a figure unheard
of in those days.
Actresses considered for the role of Tiffany Case included:
Raquel Welch, Jane Fonda and Faye Dunaway. Jill St. John had
originally been offered the part of Plenty O'Toole but landed
the female lead after impressing director Guy Hamilton during
screen tests. St. John became the first American Bond girl.
Producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli cast Lana Wood
as Plenty O'Toole after seeing her in Playboy Magazine. Lana
Wood's voice was dubbed. Lana Wood had to stand on a box for
some of her scenes with Sean Connery because, even in high heels,
she was too small to
fit into the frame with him.
When Guy Hamilton couldn't remember a name he would call it
Hergerscheimer. Hence, the appearance of a doctor named Hergerscheimer
in this film is an in-joke from writer Tom Mankiewicz.
Willard Whyte is obviously based on Howard Hughes. Hughes, however,
played a more substantial role behind the scenes allowing EON
to film inside his casinos and at his other properties. His fee
was reputed to be one 16mm print of the film.
Stuntwoman Donna Garrett was originally signed to play the character
The two fighting girls in charge of watching Willard Whyte are
named Bambi and Thumper. The characters of Bambi and Thumper
did not appear in the original novel - they were created exclusively
for the film. However, the last one (Trina Parks)
had the name of her character changed in the Spanish-dubbed version,
for uncertain reasons (apparently the joke would not be so understandable),
and was re-named Pluto, due to the yellow bikini she wore.
The film boasts not one but two sets of henchmen / henchwomen
who act in pairs, the only Bond movie to do so. These are Mr.
Wint & Mr. Kidd and Bambi & Thumper. Octopussy (1983)
featured a pair of knife-throwing twins Mischka and Grishka which
were originally intended for Moonraker (1979) whilst Dr. No (1962)
had the triplet assassins the Three Blind Mice.
Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny) wears a hat in her only scene
to hide the fact that she had dyed her hair.
The character of Shady Tree (played by comedian Leonard Barr)
is a reference to legendary old Las Vegas entertainer Shecky
Musician Paul Williams was originally cast as Mr.Wint. But when
he couldn't agree with the producers on money concerns, Bruce
Glover replaced him.
George A. Cooper is often wrongly credited with being in this
project; undeniably this is due to confusion with a performer
with a similar name.
Though Ernst Blofeld is the villain, the name of his organization,
SPECTRE, is never mentioned.
Charles Gray, who plays the master villain Ernst Stavros Blofeld
in this film, played a Bond ally called Henderson in You Only
Live Twice (1967). David Bauer, who plays Morton Slumber, previously
appeared uncredited as an American diplomat in "You Only
Live Twice" also.
Joe Robinson, who plays Peter Franks in the film, taught Sean
Connery judo in real life.
Bulky blond henchman Peter Franks has been considered one of
the many series re-incarnations of the Donald Red Grant character
from From Russia with Love (1963) which became a template [See
also: Hans in You Only Live Twice (1967); Erich Kriegler in For
Your Eyes Only (1981); Venz in A View to a Kill (1985); Necros
in The Living Daylights (1987); and Stamper in Tomorrow Never
Film debut of Valerie Perrine, who appears uncredited in a bit
part as one of the "Acorns" at Shady Acres. Final film
of Bruce Cabot.
This movie boasts the most number of aliases used by James Bond
in a Bond movie. These were as Peter Franks, as Mr. Jones (and
Tiffany Case as Mrs. Jones), as Klaus Hergescheimer at White
Techtronics and as Burt Saxby on the telephone.
Shane Rimmer as Tom, one the Whyte Techntronic technicians would
later play the Commander Carter, Captain of the submarine the
USS Wayne in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
The site used for the Willard Whyte Space Labs (where Bond gets
away in the Moon Buggy) was actually, at that time, a Johns-Manville
gypsum plant located just outside of Las Vegas.
Given all the business with caskets, cremation, etc., it's interesting
to note that producer Albert R. Broccoli once worked as a salesman
and manager for the Long Island Casket Co., and Sean Connery
once worked for an undertaker.
Bond's escape through a moon landing "movie set" refers
to the popular conspiracy theory of the time that the real moon
landings were faked.
The outdoor elevator scenes were shot at the (now demolished)
This is one of few Bond movies that has one predominant setting
which is Nevada, USA, particularly Las Vegas. It is only briefly
set in other locations such as Amsterdam during the early part
of the film. Dr. No (1962) was mainly set in Jamaica whilst On
Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) is the only Bond movie to
be completely set in Europe. Although the bulk of the movie takes
place in Las Vegas, no character ever says the words "Las
Vegas" or even "Vegas".
Instead of building their own oil rig, the production team hired
a semi-portable one for $40,000 a day, customized it and then
towed it to a location off the Southern California coast.
The home of Kirk Douglas was used for filming in the movie.
His house was used for the scene when James Bond and Tiffany
Case chat whilst Plenty O'Toole is dead in the swimming pool.
This house had previously been used by Leslie Bricusse to compose
the Bond title song for the movie You Only Live Twice (1967).
Bond briefly visits Cairo early in this movie but he would
go there more extensively in the later Bond pic The Spy Who Loved
Me (1977) six years later.
The film's finale takes place on a rather routine sized oil
rig. An absolutely massive oil rig called the Aquapolis was considered
as location for Atlantis in the Bond movie The Spy Who Loved
Me (1977). It had a gigantic three-tiered deck with a helicopter
pad and was supported by a dozen major pillars. It was rejected
for that movie. However, though much bigger than the oil rig
in this film, the Aquapolis could not have been used as it was
not built until 1975.
The car chase where the red side-rolled car comes outside of
the narrow street on the opposite side in which it was rolled,
was filmed over three nights on Fremont Street in Las Vegas.
The moon buggy that Bond drives around during the chase in the
desert had a problem in that the wheels kept falling off. In
one scene where a car turns over you can see one of the wheels
that had broken off the buggy rolling in the foreground.
The Willard Whyte kidnap plot was based on a dream of Albert
R. Broccoli. He had known Howard Hughes in Hollywood and dreamed
he was going to meet his old friend in Las Vegas, but when he
entered Hughes's room it was occupied by an impostor.
Albert R. Broccoli hated the line "Alimentary, Dr. Leiter," which
Bond says when asked the location of the diamonds in Peter Franks's
body. He thought no one would understand it referred to digestion.
At the film's premiere, two people in the front row burst out
laughing at the line, and Broccoli quipped, "Big deal, they're
The number of Blofelds that James Bond encountered in the movie
totaled four, including the real one. There were three duplicates
including incomplete ones. The first was prepared in the clinic,
the second pretended to be Blofeld in the clinic, and the third
was seen with the real Blofeld on the top floor of the Whyte
During the filming of the scene where Plenty O'Toole is shown
drowned in the pool, Lana Wood actually had her feet tied (albeit
loosely) to a cement block on the bottom. Film crew members held
a rope across the pool for her, with which she could lift her
face out of the water to breathe between takes. Unfortunately,
like most pools, this one had a sloping bottom, and the block
was slipping into deeper water with each take. Eventually it
reached a depth from which she could no longer get her face out
of the water. Alert film crew members noticed this, and quickly
jumped into the water to untie her feet, thus saving her from
drowning for real. Wood, being a certified diver, remained calm
during the ordeal, although she later admitted to a few "very
uncomfortable moments" while she was unable to breathe.
The alleyway car roll sequence is actually filmed in two locations.
The entrance was at the car park at Universal Studios and the
exit was at Fremont Street, Las Vegas.
At the time that she was filming the scene in Bond's hotel room,
Lana Wood was unaware that her derrière would be visible
through her pink panties.
During the shooting period in Las Vegas, producer Albert R.
Broccoli and Dana Broccoli were asleep in their hotel room suite
one night when it was broken into and Dana's jewelry stolen.
During one take of the fight in the elevator, actor Joe Robinson
pulled off Sean Connery's hairpiece.
Reportedly, the final scene Sean Connery filmed as Bond (at
least in the official movie series) was the one in which an unconscious
Bond is loaded into a coffin at the funeral home. So, Connery's
last ever day of playing James Bond for EON Productions was Friday
the 13th August, 1971.
Mashed potatoes were used to replicate the consistency of the
brown substance mud bath featured in the opening teaser. What
the producers failed to take into account was that after 24 hours
and under all the hot lights, mashed potatoes emit an almost
The laser satellite's reflector is actually the reflector from
an old fashioned, non-electronic camera flash attachment.
Shooting in the Las Vegas casinos was only permitted between
the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Mr. Wint originally killed the dentist by shoving the scorpion
into his mouth.
This is one of few Bond movies where the character only has
one consummated affair in the movie. The others are Casino Royale
(2006), Quantum of Solace (2008) and The Living Daylights (1987)
This is the only instance to date that a leading James Bond
villain has been seen cross-dressing in drag [Note: in Thunderball
(1965)'s opening sequence, Bob Simmons played a minor male villain
henchman impersonating Madame Boitier].
Vehicles included Tiffany Case's red 1971 Ford Mustang Mach
1 "Fastback"; a silver and white MoonBuggy; a 1968
Cadillac hearse; a Hughes 500/OH-6A Cayuse; various Ford makes
including a 1971 Thunderbird driven by Mr. Witt and Mr. Kidd,
a 1971 Econoline van, 1969 and 1971 sedans and various 1970 and
1971 Custom 500s as police vehicles; Honda US 90 ATC three-wheeler
ATV motorbike; one Bell 206B JetRanger, two UH-1H Huey and three
OH-6A Cayuse helicopters for the oil rig attack; Blofeld's one-seater
Bathosub mini-submarine; an airplane and cameo appearances of
a new yellow Triumph Stag in Amsterdam and Aston Martin DBS in
Director Guy Hamilton didn't like big American cars and took
particular delight in trashing them in the film's numerous car
Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins
for this movie include Lufthansa Airlines; Rolex Watches, James
Bond wears a Rolex Submariner; Martini & Rossi Vermouth;
Playboy Clubs; Hertz Rent-a-car; Las Vegas strip casinos and
nightclubs such as the Riviera Hotel & Casino, Tropicana
Hotel & Casino and Circus Circus Casino; Mouton Rothschild
Wine; Seaspeed Hovercrafts; Courvoisier Cognac; Honda Motorbikes;
Shell Oil; Bell Helicopters; and Ford cars including Mustang,
Thunderbird and other makes.
This is the one of few James Bond movied which does not feature
the wine beverage champagne. The type of sherry served to James
Bond, M and Sir Donald Munger at dinner was a Solera. James Bond
mentions solera in relation to sherry. Solera is a method of
aging and blending wine beverages in barrels. The year that James
Bond says was the original vintage on which the sherry was based,
was '51, not 1951 but 1851. The brand of wine served at the end
of the movie was a Mouton Rothschild '55, a claret.
The name of the mortuary was Slumber Inc.
The CIA's mission to catch the diamond smuggling operation was
called Operation Passover.
Blofeld's min-submarine was known as
Blofeld's quote, "Humility is the worst form of conceit",
was from French writer François de La Rochefoucauld.
name-plate on Saxby's ('Bruce Cabot (I)''s) desk says "Albert
R. Saxby" -- a reference to producer Albert R. Broccoli.
After the box-office underperformance of On Her Majesty's Secret
Service (1969) in the US--although it was a hit in other parts
of the world--the producers of this film went all-out to win
back American audiences. This partly explains why the bulk of
this film is set in the United States.
Paul McCartney was the first choice to write the title song
for this Bond movie but this did not eventuate until Live and
Let Die (1973).
This is the second of three James Bond title songs sung by Shirley
Bassey. The first was Goldfinger (1964) and the last was Moonraker
(1979). She also sang a version of the "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang
Bang" song for Thunderball (1965) which was not used. To
date, Bassey is the only singer to have performed a Bond title
song more than once.
According to the film's CD Soundtrack sleeve notes, the title
song debuted in the UK Charts on 15 January 1972 and it peaked
at the No. #38 spot. It debuted in the US Charts on 29 January
1972 and it peaked at the No. #57 spot. The soundtrack album
debuted on the US Charts on 8 January 1972 and went to No. #74.
Upon release, this film broke Hollywood's three-day gross record.
The film's title song "Diamonds are Forever" has been
extensively covered or sampled. It has been covered by David
McAlmont and can be heard on David Arnold's Bond song compilation
album, "Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond
Project". It was also covered by the Arctic Monkeys at the
2007 Glastonbury Festival. It has been sampled in the song "Sexy
Lady" by Yung Berg and in the song "Diamonds from Sierra
Leone" by Kanye West. The song has also been used on the
song "Psychology" by Dead Prez.
A number of titles of movies and TV shows went on to spoof or
reference this film's title after it was released. These include
Bond Girls Are Forever (2002) (TV); "Whodunnit!: Diamonds
Are Almost Forever (#6.3)" (1978); Shirley Bassey: Divas
Are Forever (2000) (V); Dirty Diamonds Are Forever (2006); Bonds
Are Forever (1983) (V); "New Scotland Yard: Diamonds Are
Never Forever (#3.2)" (1973); and a number of series named
episodes "Diamonds Aren't Forever" such as "Alfred
Hitchcock Presents: Diamonds Aren't Forever (#4.15)" (1989).
Two episodes of "James Bond Jr." (1991) were called "James
Bond Jr.: Quantum Diamonds (#1.56)" (1991) and "James
Bond Jr.: Rubies Aren't Forever (#1.57)" (1991).
A 1986 James Bond novel written by John Gardner has the similarly
worded title "Nobody Lives Forever" whilst a 1992 James
Bond novel by the same author was called "Death is Forever".
When this film was televised on ABC, Lana Wood had some bra
straps digitally printed onto her bare back in her seduction
scene with Sean Connery.
Approximately thirty years later, as a series 40th Anniversary
homage, diamonds would be used again as a MacGuffin in the James
Bond movie Die Another Day (2002).