Diamonds Are Forever [1971]

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Sean Connery retired from the 007 franchise after You Only Live Twice (replaced by George Lazenby in the underrated and underperforming On Her Majesty's Secret Service) but was lured back for one last official appearance as James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever. He's in fine form--cool but ruthless--in a sharp precredits sequence hunting the unkillable Blofeld (a suavely menacing Charles Gray in this incarnation), but the MacGuffin of a story (involving diamond smuggling, a superlaser on a satellite, and Blofeld's latest plot to rule the world ) is full of the groaning tongue-in-cheek gags that Roger Moore would make his signature. Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton keeps the film zipping along gamely from one entertaining set piece to another, including a terrific car chase in a parking lot, a battle with a pair of bikini-clad killer gymnasts named Bambi and Thumper, and a deadly game with a bizarre pair of fey, sardonic killers who dispatch their victims with elaborate invention. Jill St. John is the brassy but not too bright American smuggler Tiffany Case, and country singer and pork sausage king Jimmy Dean costars as a reclusive billionaire with not-so-subtle parallels to Howard Hughes. Shirley Bassey belts out the memorable theme song, one of the series' best. Connery retired again after this one but he returned once more, for Never Say Never Again 15 years later for a rival production company. --Sean Axmaker

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