London Filming Locations: GoldenEye (1995)

After a six year hiatus the James Bond franchise returned in 1995 with Irish actor Pierce Brosnan at the helm as the series was modernised a bit in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War and this ended up providing background for the plot.

Following opening scenes in Switzerland (filling in for the USSR) and Monaco, the capital of England appears as we see the debut of the MI6 building, Vauxhall Cross (below) at 85 Albert Embankment. It would go on to appear in ‘The World Is Not Enough‘ (1999), ‘Die Another Day‘ (2002) and ‘Skyfall‘ (2012) and just so you know that it really is London, a red double decker passes by in the foreground on 36 minutes.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 15.57.30 Dec2010-Jan2011 187 

Over the decades, many world locations have been faked in Bond films and ‘GoldenEye‘ is no exception. Sure, there are a few shots of the real St Petersburg but much of it was shot in the UK in the nations capital. Somerset House (below) at The Strand on 55 minutes doubled up as Russia’s second largest city whereas in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘ (1997) the courtyard was seen as 007 is driven to the MI6 HQ. This place is a short distance from Temple tube station and also appears as scenery footage at the start of ‘Love Actually‘ (2003).

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 00.12.15 Dec2010-Jan2011 205

Other “Russian” locations in London to feature include Brompton Cemetry (below) on 58 minutes which is the exterior of the St Petersburg church where Natalya meets Boris by chance. This cemetery can also be seen in the Rowan Atkinson Bond spoof ‘Johnny English‘ (2003) and in ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation‘ (2015).

screen-shot-2014-03-14-at-00-21-21 Dec2010-Jan2011 184

The interior is St Sofia’s Cathedral (below) which funnily enough is on Moscow Road near Bayswater Station.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 16.16.46 Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 16.51.32 Dec2010-Jan2011 074 Dec2010-Jan2011 079

The Langham Hilton (below) at Portland Place is portrayed as ‘Grand Hotel Europe’ and is seen briefly on 63 minutes.

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 00.14.22 Dec2010-Jan2011 027

One final “Russian” location is Drapers’ Hall (below) on Throgmorton Street near Bank station. It is the St Petersburg council chamber where a General discovers that Natalya has survived the detonation. I visited here on two occasions with the first one being hindered slightly by a lot of visible scaffolding which meant I had to zoom in close to cut it out.

Dec2010-Jan2011 147 IMG_6520

A couple of years after ‘GoldenEye‘ and this place, which isn’t open to the public, became Russia again in ‘The Saint‘ (1997) starring Val Kilmer.

For other London filming locations click on the links below:

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace    Trainspotting    Mission: Impossible    Lara Croft Tomb Raider    The Bourne Ultimatum   Harry Potter & The Philosophers Stone   James Bond    About A Boy    Quadrophenia    Bridget Jones’s Diary    Goodnight Sweetheart    Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels    Basic Instinct 2    Batman Begins/The Dark Knight    The Italian Job    Snatch    Rom-Com Special    Skyfall    Notting Hill    The World Is Not Enough     Paddington    Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Re-Visited)    Entrapment    Sliding Doors    Eyes Wide Shut     Four Weddings & A Funeral   Die Another Day

London Filming Locations: Die Another Day (2002)

This much derided 007 movie marked the 40th anniversary of the franchise and includes references to each of the 19 Bond films which preceded it. Having watched it again for this feature I don’t actually mind it as much as I previously thought. Sure there are some ridiculous gimmicks and too much computer imagery but the first half is pretty good. Continue reading

London Filming Locations: Four Weddings & A Funeral (1994)

When this Richard Curtis-written film came out in 1994 I had no interest in seeing it whatsoever as I was really sick of hearing the Wet Wet Wet cover of ‘Love Is All Around‘ which was the soundtrack song that dominated the UK Top 40 chart spending a ridiculous 15 weeks at number one. Continue reading

London Filming Locations: Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Movie locations being faked has been a bit of a fascination for me these last few years. Many different places have been used to replicate the likes of AfghanistanMyanmar andVietnam but who would’ve thought that this Stanley Kubrick film did the same trick. Whilst its no surprise that some of those aforementioned far-flung places have been faked it’s quite rare to see New York city filmed elsewhere but that is what happened in ‘Eyes Wide Shut‘ as Kubrick’s fear of flying meant it was predominantly shot in London. Continue reading

London Filming Locations: Sliding Doors (1999)

Whilst back in England recently I watched this rom-com with Gwyneth Paltrow. Well, obviously not with her but I did view this 92 minute film and recognised many of the locations from the nations capital so when I travelled down to London a few days later I set about finding some of the locations. Continue reading

London Filming Locations: Entrapment (1999)

This Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones heist movie was most memorably set in Malaysia but the majority of the locations were shot in Britain with Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull in Scotland very prominent. As for London, a few places feature in the opening 20 minutes. Continue reading

Star Wars Traveller – Naboo Revisited (a.k.a. Watford, UK)

Four years ago I visited Whippendell Wood in Watford which was used in ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace‘ to portray the forest of Naboo. Back then I was fairly satisfied with my visit but heavy snow in the area meant that it looked more like the remote ice planet of Hoth! As a result, I was keen to return one day and see it in its more normal setting. However, there was still a light frost on the ground but with a bit of Winter sunshine there was actually some greenery to be seen. Continue reading