London Filming Locations: James Bond

The Bond franchise is famed for its glamorous locations from around the world but the true home of 007 is in London mainly due to the MI6 headquarters being located there. As well as the various places used for that role the capital has also appeared in many other guises and I made it my mission to find as many of the shooting locations as possible.

First up is one of the most iconic moments in the whole 007 series as its where Sean Connery delivers the line “The name’s Bond….James Bond” in the 1962 debut ‘Dr No’. That place is supposedly the chemin-de-fer table in Le Cercle Club at Les Ambassadeurs (below) in Hamilton Place but don’t get too excited as the interior was actually filmed at Pinewood Studio’s.

   

Next is Brent Cross Shopping Centre and its car park (above left); the 4th floor of which played the part of ‘Hamburg’ in 1997’s ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ starring Pierce Brosnan. In the same movie the courtyard of Somerset House (above right) at The Strand was used as MI6 HQ whereas in the previous Brosnan outing ‘GoldenEye’ it doubled up as ‘St Petersburg’. Other ‘Russian’ locations in London to feature in ‘GoldenEye’ include the Langham Hilton at Portland Place (below left) and St Sofia’s Cathedral (below right & lower left) on Moscow Road near Bayswater Station. The interior of the latter is the ‘St Petersburg’ church where Natalya meets Boris by chance. The exterior was Brompton Cemetry (lower right) on Old Brompton Road.

   

One final ‘Russian’ location is Drapers’ Hall (below) on Throgmorton Street near Bank station. It is the ‘St Petersburg’ council chamber in ‘GoldenEye’ where a General discovers that Natalya has survived the detonation. There was lots of scaffolding work while I was here so I had to zoom in close to cut it out.

We may as well stay with Brosnan-era Bond locations so lets move on to Vauxhall Cross where 85 Albert Embankment (below left), next to Vauxhall Bridge, is the MI6 HQ building in ‘The World Is Not Enough’. A 20 minute walk along the river takes you to Westminster Bridge beneath which Bond finds the entrance to the fictitious Vauxhall Cross underground (below right). This was used in ‘Die Another Day’ and is actually nothing more than a caretakers hut.

 

The ‘Thames’ boat chase during the pre-oping credits of ‘The World Is Not Enough’ starts off near Tower Bridge (below left) continuing on to (and indeed under as only Bond can do) Glengall Bridge in the East End’s docks before moving along Ornamental Canal at Wapping Lane where he soaks a couple of traffic wardens at the right-angle bend pictured below right. He then crashes through a boatshed at the end of the canal alongside the Tobacco Dock pirate ships (lower left) and proceeds through a few streets before hitting the water again where he ends up at the Millennium Dome (lower right), now the O2 Arena, which is a rather poorly scanned photo I took six years ago.

   

At 104 Pall Mall (below left) is the Reform Club where Bond duels with Gustav Graves in ‘Blades’ in the rather poor ‘Die Another Day’ and it was also used in 2008’s ‘Quantum Of Solace’ as government office where M is summoned to explain Bonds behaviour. The interior of 92 Stoke Newington Road in the Hackney area (below right) is the ‘Cuban’ cigar factory where Bond searches for Zao in the 20th 007 film ‘Die Another Day’.

 

For Roger Moore’s over-due finale in 1985’s ‘A View To A Kill’ the Old War Office Building on Whitehall (below left) is the MI6 HQ but two years later it’s Malaysia House (below right) at 57 Trafalgar Square which plays the same place for Timothy Dalton’s first outing as the secret agent in ‘The Living Daylights’.

 

In ‘Octopussy’ the world-famous Sotherby’s auction house (below left) on 53 Bond Street is where Bond cleverly switches the Faberge egg that was put up for sale.

 

George Lazenby only performed the 007 role for one film; ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ and the College of Arms (above right) on Queen Victoria Street is where he learns all about heraldry.

Bruges Filming Locations: In Bruges (2008)

Due to a bout of heavy snowfall and subsequent Eurostar problems I had to cancel my planned trip to Bruges back in December 2009. I wasn’t gonna let the money I’d spent on a guidebook go to waste though so I took a day trip there back in January when I was over in mainland Europe.

It really was a lovely, picturesque place with its many bridges, canals and medieval buildings. As much as I appreciated that I was there to hunt down the filming locations for the 2008 dark, comedy thriller ‘In Bruges’ featuring Colin Farrell (Ray), Brendan Gleeson (Ken) and Ralph Fiennes (Harry). The former two are Irish hit-men lying low in the Belgian city and they stay at Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel (Wollestraat 41-47) which took me a while to find and in the end I could only snap it from the other side of the water.

 

The centre-piece of the place is the Belfry and its 366 steps to the top. Like Ken I chose to pay to go up the tower but wish I hadn’t bothered as the view at the top was very restricted with half under repair and the sun shining very brightly through another part. Ray doesn’t go up in the film because he says he can see “the view of down here” from down here. The negative side of me kind of thinks he may have had a point!

   

‘t Zwart Huis (the Black House) is the bar where Ray hands a pint of beer to Ken with the not-so politically correct words “One gay beer for my gay friend, one normal beer for me”.

  

Gruthuse was a really beautiful area and appears in the film a couple of times. Its where Ray discovers a movie with ‘midgets’ (his words not mine!) is being made and its also used at the end of ‘In Bruges’ itself.

 

Above right is Jerusalem Church on Jerusalemstraat that doubled up as the ‘Basilica of the Holy Blood’ where Ken and the intellectually-challenged Ray go sightseeing with Ray using it as an excuse to get out of the hotel which they’re supposed to be hiding away in.

Beneath the Jan Van Eyck statue is where Ken and Ray have a heart-to-heart chat about people they’ve killed with particular regard to the young boy accidentally killed by Ray.    

Cafedraal at Zilverstraat 38 is a bar with an awful pun and is where Ray takes Chloe on a date and proceeds to punch a Canadian couple whilst she’s in the toilet. Its not all bad for the pair though as they have a reconcilliation outside on the Meetstraat Bridge between Vismarkt and Groenerel.

    

Ken is sent by Harry to get a gun from Yuri who lives at 17 Raamstraat which is in reality Koningstraat. Armed with the gun he then goes to kill Ray (who is feeling suicidal) in Koningin Astridpark where the childrens playground and ornamental pavillion both feature.

       

The photo above right is the real bell at the top of the Belfry but as space is very, very limited at the top of the tower Ken’s confrontation with Harry was filmed in the studio. Apart from that, the rest is real with the Marketplace being where Ken plummets and manages to utter a few last gasp words of importance to Ray.

 

London Filming Locations: Harry Potter & The Philosophers Stone

Only a few days ago did I see ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone’ for the first time. I’d never had an interest in this franchise whatsoever but having been to a couple of the London filming locations at the tail end of last year I was intrigued to see those places in the film itself. Of course I do usually only go to places seen in movies which I’ve seen but this was one exception due to its fame and the fact that they were basically right under my nose.

I was with my sister Lorna at Leadenhall Market one evening when we went to see the doorway of ‘The Leaky Cauldron’ which contains the entrance to ‘Diagon Alley’ where Hagrid takes Harry to buy his wizard school supplies. In reality its an optician’s shop (below left) at 42 Bulls Head Passage.

 

A few days after that I was waiting for Richard Richard at St Pancras when I popped over the road to King’s Cross Station. I found Platform 9 3/4 (above right) which was actually filmed under the arched wall between platforms 4 and 5. I didn’t know at that time that there is actually a photo opportunity close to the real platform 9 itself of the ‘platform 9 3/4’ sign with a trolley lodged halfway into the wall to create the effect of it going through the wall en-route to Hogwarts. I have to say that after I’d seen these two places in the films opening half hour I did lose a bit of interest and failed to follow what was really going on. For the record, the other London locations used were the Reptile House at London Zoo and Australia House’s Exhibition Hall with its marble columns and chandaliers was ‘Gringott’s Bank’.

London Filming Locations: The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

If twenty plus Bourne Supremacy locations in Berlin wasn’t enough I now present you with a few of the places in London that featured in The Bourne Ultimatum which is my favourite Bourne movie. Just over a year ago I went to Tangiers in the north of Morocco which played a major part in the third and final (?) part of the Bourne trilogy. Undoubtedly the most famous London one is Waterloo Station which I went to with Richard Richard just before the end of 2010. Our hero tries to guide Guardian journalist Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) through the overly-crowded station away from a few hitmen. The crew were allowed to film at Waterloo during off-peak hours (i.e. mid-afternoon) so many of the people in the background are just normal people going about their normal lives.

Crescent House on the Golden Lane Estate, Fann Road (below left) supposedly features but I’m buggered if I could find it when playing the dvd back.  

119 Farringdon Road plays the part of The Guardian HQ from which journalist Simon Ross appears. The rain was falling quite heavily when I was there so I didn’t p*ss about with setting up my tripod to get myself in the photo as is the norm. In fact I was getting so wet that I actually gave up on the location scouting (I’d planned to track down a couple more Bourne places nearby at Hatton Garden and Holborn) as my flight back to Japan was that same evening and I didn’t want to be sitting on a 12 hour flight with soaking wet jeans. As it was I ended up with wet jeans on the plane anyway as the guy in front of me leaned his seat back so far that he spilled my drink over my leg. As it was I did get 2000 yen in cash from the airline for the inconvenience but I digress.

You can see my ‘Bourne Supremacy’ Berlin filming locations here.

Berlin Filming Locations: The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

The second film in the Bourne trilogy begins in Goa (India) where Bourne (Matt Damon) and Marie (Franka Potente) are lying low. After that its mostly Berlin all the way albeit in a variety of guises as the German capital fills in for Naples, Munich, Amsterdam and Moscow.

Berlin makes its first appearance in ‘The Bourne Supremacy’ by way of the Kantstrasse/Hardenbergstrasse junction next to Zoologischer Garten Station which is where a deal is struck to expose the mole within the CIA but Russian agent Kirill sabotages it as he tries to frame Jason Bourne.

 

Kirill reports to Yuri (his control) at Motel Avus at 51 Halenseestrasse which is over the road from the ICC at Messedamm and the parking area beneath that doubles up as ‘Moscow’ Airport where they meet each other.

 

Nearby, at the northern entrance to the Berlin Exhibition Grounds at Messedamm 22 is the ‘Naples’ custom office where Bourne is held on his return to Europe

 

Next up is ‘Amsterdam’ but of course its Berlin and Walter-Benjamin-Platz in particular where Nicky (Julia Stiles) is found by Ward Abbott.

 

Bourne arrives in the German capital at Berlin Oestbahnhof and walks past a souvenir shop inside the station and then puts his bag in the exact same locker pictured below. He also takes out another bag he’d been keeping in there.

   

Its in this station that he phones a few hotels in the name of tracking down US agent Pamela Landy (Joan Allen). Before he tails her he crosses the Oberbaumbruecke which featured prominantly in ‘Run Lola Run’ featuring his co-star Franka Potente as can be seen in ‘Berlin Pt II’.

  

The Westin Grand is the luxury hotel where Landy is staying. Bourne finds out in a clever way at reception that she is staying in room 235. He then watches her leave from his position on the 4th floor and then takes the stairs down and goes through the hotels revolving doors where he gets in a taxi and follows her to the CIA hub where he makes a phonecall to her whilst watching from a nearby rooftop.

      

Alexanderplatz plays host to the next round of events in the movie. Bourne arranges to meet Nicky under the Weltzeituhr (world clock) on Alexanderstrasse amid a student demonstration.

     

The next location is over in West Berlin at Hotel Brecker (at Kurfurstendamm 288) where Bourne has flashbacks of his disastrous first mission to kill Russian politician Neski in room 645. I knew the hotel didn’t exist but wanted to find the building but, after a long walk, all I found was a pile of rubble as the place had been demolished.

Friedrichstrasse station provides some of the films most exciting scenes (in a movie jam-packed with action) when the police chase Bourne up some steps, over the bridge and on to the platform. Unlike most other films the train doors don’t magically close as soon as he gets on but he does use efficient German timing to his advantage in order to make his escape. He jumps across the track seen below narrowly avoiding an oncoming train and then he hops on over the bridge onto a slow riverboat, hooks himself back on to the brdige and hauls himself up and gets back on the train he’d originally intended to take. Classic!

     

After this, Bourne takes the train to Moscow. The ‘Moscow’ disco, where Yuri finds Kirill and informs his that Bourne is still alive, is of course in Berlin. It’s the aptly named Cafe Moskau on Karl Marx Allee 34 although we don’t see the front of it in the movie. Instead, the Kino International complex across the road is seen from under the cafe.

 

The ‘Moscow’ street where Bourne arrives by taxi in search of Neski’s daughter is actually Scharrenstrasse near Spittelmarkt U-Bahn station. On foot he turns into Friedrichsgracht, walks under a bridge and is shot by Kirill next to this river which was frozen over when I was there. Kirill is temporarily arrested before a car chase ensues.

   

As well as actual Moscow this car chase was also filmed in Berlin with perhaps the most notable part being the final crash at the Potsdamer Platz exit of Tiergarten Tunnel.

You can see my Bourne Identity Bourne Ultimatum location photos here & here.