Cinematic Tag

Felix Leiter is a fictional American CIA intelligence operative. Based on the literary character created by Ian Fleming, Leiter appears for the fourth time in EON Productions' 1971 James Bond film Diamonds are Forever and was portrayed by actor Norman Burton. He was the fourth of seven men to play the iconic role of Leiter officially on screen.

Film biography

James Bond encounters Leiter whilst infiltrating the a diamond smuggling pipeline. After killing diamond smuggler Peter Franks, Bond swaps identities with the man and uses his corpse to smuggle African diamonds into the United States. At Los Angeles International Airport, James Bond meets Felix (posing as a customs official) and is taken by mafia hoods to a funeral parlour (the next link in the pipeline) where the body is cremated and the diamonds extracted. After passing the diamonds on, 007 is the victim of an assassination attempt, and only survives due to Leiter's prior swapping of the real diamonds with fakes. Bond telephones Leiter and informs him to bring the real merchandise quickly.

On Ernst Stavro Blofeld's California oil rig, Leiter and the CIA begin a helicopter attack to assist Bond. After foiling Blofeld's plot they rescue both Bond and Tiffany Case.

Behind the scenes

For the 1971 installment, Diamonds are Forever, EON Productions chose Norman Burton. Burton's Leiter was more amusing and more exasperated than the previous incarnations of the role.[1] Author Raymond Benson again considers that the Leiter role was miscast and considered Burton to be "overweight and too old for the role".[2] Smith and Lavington describe him as "an elderly, portly man in a government-issue suit ... anonymous, orthodox".[3] Pfeiffer and Worrall agree, thinking that Burton was "the least likely incarnation" of Leiter.[4]


  1. Rubin, Steven Jay (2003). The complete James Bond movie encyclopedia. New York: McGraw-Hill, p.61. ISBN 0-07-141246-8. 
  2. Benson, Raymond (1988). The James Bond Bedside Companion. London: Boxtree Ltd, p.205. ISBN 978-1-85283-233-9. 
  3. (2002) Bond films. London: Virgin Books, p.106. ISBN 978-0-7535-0709-4. 
  4. (1998) The essential Bond. London: Boxtree Ltd, p.81. ISBN 978-0-7522-2477-0. 

See Also

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.