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
Hotels have played a major part in the James Bond series of films over the last 50+ years with the secret agent going around the world on his many missions whilst splurging on many a fine hotel. Now, everyone’s favourite secret agent hasn’t always stayed in the accommodation listed here but they have all featured in the movies at some point. The cost of spending a night in one of these hotels varies quite a bit and one needs to be seriously minted to afford some of these places! With a slight twist on the usual TF Top 5/10…… series’ we bring you the top (double oh) seven (see what we’ve done there!) places to stay for one to follow in the footsteps of James Bond.
1. Hotel New Otani (from $217 per night), 4-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 102-0094, Tokyo, JAPAN.
You Only Live Twice (1967) – This hotel in Chiyoda-ku plays the part of Osato Chemicals exterior for a few brief moments on 24, 28, 36 and 41 minutes respectively. The nearest station is Akasaka-Mitsuke. Its small, but peaceful gardens round the back are worth a visit for anyone wishing to take a break from the concrete jungle. More details here
2. Riviera Hotel & Casino (from $21 per night), 2901 Las Vegas Boulevard South, USA.
Diamonds Are Forever (1971) – Bond may have stayed at the Tropicana but its the Riviera which plays a more important part in the film. This is where he wins $50,000 and the opportunistic Plenty O’Toole (Lana Wood) who he takes back to his room where gang members ambush them and throw O’Toole off a high rise balcony into a pool below not that they knew there was a pool there! This has been parodied a couple of times; in ‘The A-Team‘ TV series and more recently in ‘The Wolverine‘ (2013). Martin Scorsese’s ‘Casino‘ (1995) used this place as the fictitious Tangier casino. More details here
3. The Peninsula (from $604 per night), Salisbury Road, HONG KONG.
The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) – Just a stones throw from the ferry terminal on Kowloon in Tsim Sha Tsui is this hotel (seen on 27 minutes) which is where Bond tracks down Scaramanga’s mistress Miss Andreas Anders’ who had been collecting gold bullets at a Macau casino room. It is room 602 where he puts pressure on her to inform him of Scramanga’s appearance and plans. More details here
4. Hotel Danieli (from $893 per night), Riva degli Schiavoni, 30122 Venezia, ITALY.
Moonraker (1979) – Situated round the corner from St Mark’s Square, the Hotel Danieli is where Dr Goodhead (Lois Chiles) stayed in Venice. It could also be seen in ‘The Tourist‘ (2010) which featured Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie as well as former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton. The interior was also the inspiration for the tiny studio-built sinking palazzo used at the end of ‘Casino Royale‘ (2006) which can be seen on the DVD extras. More details here
5. Langham Hilton (from $605 per night), 1C Portland Place, Westminster, London W1B, UK.
GoldenEye (1995) – As Tokyo Fox reported back in March many Bond locations have been faked with Russia being a prime example in the first outing for Pierce Brosnan as 007. This hotel in London doubled up as the “Grand Hotel Europe.” More details here
6. Mandarin Oriental Hotel (from $39 per night), 48 Oriental Ave Alley, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, THAILAND.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) – Bond (Roger Moore) is reunited with his British assistant Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland) at this place on 65 minutes whereby they share dinner. Inevitably their evening is interrupted! Anders (Maud Adams) tells Bond that she wants him to kill Scaramanga and will pay him at a boxing venue the next day. More details here
7. Instituto Nacional de Cultura (National Institute of Culture), Calle 1a Oeste, Caso Viejo, Panama City, PANAMA.
Quantum Of Solace (2008) – As you may gather from the name of this one, it isn’t actually a hotel but the “Andean Grand Hotel” in Bolivia where Bond (Daniel Craig) takes MI6 officer Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton) to having been unhappy with her original choice as part of their cover. More details here
Part of the appeal of the 007 franchise for many is that the 23 official films have given viewers a snapshot of world travel taking them to all corners of the globe. The list of countries the secret agent has been to is pretty exhausting but as ever in the film industry all is not what it seems. Of course the world famous Pinewood Studios have been used countless times to portray all kinds of exotic locations but there are also many other examples of when James Bond locations have been faked. Cleverly edited establishing shots of a city’s landscape mixed in with the fake locations are a long-used movie trade trick and some of those go un-noticed whereas others are more visible. Here, in alphabetical order, are the details of 15 such places.
Afghanistan ‘The Living Daylights‘ (1987) – For Timothy Dalton’s debut outing as 007 this Central Asian location was actually filmed in the desert of Ouarzazate in Morocco which has played host to many films. ‘Lawrence Of Arabia‘ (1962), ‘The Mummy‘ (1999), ‘Gladiator‘ (2000), ‘Hanna‘ (2011), ‘Salmon Fishing In The Yemen‘ (2011) as well as parts of the TV series ‘Game Of Thrones’ were all filmed at this door of the desert city.
The standout sequence in “Afghanistan” sees Bond escape from a Russian air base by aircraft. Whilst trying to diffuse a bomb he is attacked by henchman, Necros and as they scrap away the loading ramp opens and a net containing opium bags tumbles out of the back of the plane taking Bond and Necros with it. The net remains attached to the aircraft as the two men fight to the death clinging on to it as it hangs in the wind.
Azerbaijan ‘The World Is Not Enough‘ (1999) – Hankley Common in Surrey, also used to replicate Bond’s family home in ‘Skyfall‘ (2012), is used for close-up shots of the Azerbaijan’s oilfields. Cuenca in central Spain is the site of the oil pipeline. A skiing sequence of events in the “Caucasus Mountains” was filmed on Mont Blanc near Chamonix on the Italian-French border.
Capital city Baku is all fake; the exterior shots of Electra’s palace is Küçüksu Palace in Istanbul, while the interior is the Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf and Spa (also used in ‘Eyes Wide Shut‘ and ‘Four Wedding’s And A Funeral‘) in the glamorous town of Luton, Bedforshire (UK). The casino bar is Halton House in Buckinghamshire and the airport where Bond exits the country is Northolt Airport, South Ruislip.
Bolivia ‘Quantum Of Solace‘ (2008) – Unhappy with MI6 officer Strawberry Fields’ (Gemma Arterton) choice of hotel as part of their cover, Bond takes her by taxi to a far more upmarket hotel. The Andean Grand Hotel in ‘Bolivia’ isn’t really a hotel but is actually the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (National Institute of Culture) in the World Heritage area of Casco Viejo in Panama City.
The main villain Dominic Greene, holds a party which Bond attends with Agent Fields shortly after he seduces her. The location of this is of course not La Paz in Bolivia but the Old Union Club in Casco Viejo where all the rich people used to go and party. The ruins were scouted out for the film in October 2007 and is (as it was back then) now like an old shell but believe it or not it was completely revamped for shooting which can be seen in the ‘On Location’ dvd extra.
China ‘Skyfall‘ (2012) – Though the aerial shots are real the rooftop pool scene was actually filmed in London in Canary Wharf at the Virgin Active Classic Health Club. Still in “Shanghai” Bond follows hitman Patrice into a high-rise building but yet again its London and the Broadgate Tower at 201 Bishopsgate although its the entrance on Primrose Street which is seen.
Croatia ‘From Russia With Love‘ (1963) – Istanbul’s Sirkeci station plays itself as the Turkish station where the Orient Express departs from and it also stands in for Zagreb.
Cuba ‘Die Another Day‘ (2002) – Cadiz in Spain fills in for Cuba’s capital Havana but the cigar factory where Bond goes searching for Zao was actually shot inside Simpson House in Hackney in north London
Haiti ‘Quantum Of Solace‘ (2008) – Due to its diversity Panama doubled up for a couple of countries; the aforementioned Bolivia and Haiti. Colon fills in for Port Au Prince and sees 007 gets into a bit of a tussle in a hotel and rides along a crumbling street to the waterfront docks in another dangerous part of the city.
Kazakhstan ‘The World Is Not Enough‘ (1999) – Sites in Spain, England and Wales were all used to replicate this Central Asia country. Tudela in Spain is where 007 meets Christmas Jones. The pipeline terminal is the Motorola building in Swindon, Wiltshire (UK) but the actual pipeline is Snowdonia in Wales. The explosion was filmed at Black Park colliery in Chirk, North Wales.
Madagascar ‘Casino Royale‘ (2006) – Bond chases bomb-maker Mollaka from a snake-mongoose fight to the ‘Nambutu Embassy’ which was actually Nassau in the Bahamas; a place synonymous with previous Bond films. The “Madagascan” construction site is part of a military base at Coral Harbour on New Providence Island.
Montenegro ‘Casino Royale‘ (2006) – Bond and Vesper check into the Hotel Splendide which is actually the Grand Hotel Pupp in the town of Karlovy Vary, Bohemia on the west side of the Czech Republic.
North Korea ‘Die Another Day‘ (2002) – Would you believe it that Aldershot (UK) was used to replicate the world’s most repressive country?! Although it was mostly shot on the backlot at Pinewood, parts of this Hampshire town’s military training area was also used for the opening sequence.
Russia ‘GoldenEye‘ (1995) – The Russia bungy jump at the start was Tusker Dam in Hittnau, Switzerland. Epsom Racecourse doubled up as the St Petersburg Airport, the tank chase was filmed in Leavesden (UK), Hertfordshire, St Petersburg Square was Somerset House (which was used as MI6 HQ two years later in the next Bond movie ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘) in London, the interior of the Russian church is St Sofia’s Cathedral in Bayswater on the aptly named Moscow Road. It’s exterior is Brompton Cemetery near Earls Court and the “Grand Hotel Europe” is the Langham Hilton at Portland Place in London.
Serbia ‘From Russia With Love‘ (1963) – The previously mentioned Sirkeci station in Istanbul was used to portray three stations in three countries including Serbia capital Belgrade.
Siberia ‘A View To A Kill‘ (1985) – The pre-title credits may be set in Siberia but were actually filmed at a couple of places; Glacier Lake in south-east Iceland and the Vadretta di Scerscen Interiore on the border of Switzerland and Italy.
Slovakia ‘The Living Daylights‘ (1987) – Bratislava (now Slovakia but back then it was Czechoslovakia) is where the 15th entry in the James Bond series begins. 007 is assigned to aid the defection of a KGB officer from a concert hall in Bratislava. This was all shot inVienna which is less than an hour away.
Vietnam ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘ (1997) – The caption on screen may say Halong Bay (Vietnam) but it is actually the limestone rock karsts of Phuket Bay in Thailand. It’s capital city Bangkok also stood in for the Saigon high-rise which Bond and Wai Lin abseil down. Many websites state that the building used was the Westin Banyan Tree Hotel BUT it is actually the Sinn Sathorn Tower on Krung Thonbrui Road, a kilometre down the road, where they make their escape on motorbike.
Of course there have been many more ‘faked’ locations in the Bond films, usually with places around the UK filling in for other British and European towns and cities.Many, many thanks to Tony Reeves
Thailand’s capital city has featured in a couple of James Bond films; ‘The Man With The Golden Gun‘ (1974) and ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘ (1997), although Bangkok was used to portray Saigon in Vietnam in the latter.
I think I’ve mentioned on here before that ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘ was the first 007 flick I actually saw in its entirety and I haven’t looked back since. This film not only opened up my eyes to Bond but to Asia too which, at that time in my life, was a continent I was still very ignorant of.
Many websites state that the skyscraper which Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) descend (above) on 77 minutes on a banner is the Westin Banyan Tree Hotel (21/100 South Sathorn Road, Sathorn) BUT it is actually the Sinn Sathorn Tower on Krung Thonbrui Road, a kilometre down the road, where they make their escape on motorbike (below) leading to what provided the films most memorable action scenes. The building is used as an office and as I looked up at the 44 floor tower to compare it with the screenshots on my phone I could see that it was the same albeit with a little CGI treatment towards its peak. Although, I’m still not 100% sure that it is the building which they jumped off, I have no doubt that it was used for the ground level shots.
Over two decades prior to that, the Bond production team were in town in 1973 working on ‘The Man With The Golden Gun‘ (1974) in and around Bangkok and perhaps more famously Khao Ping Gan a.k.a. James Bond Island, which first appears on 95 mins, and is where I visited on my last trip to Thailand in 2008.
This ninth 007 movie sees Bond on location in Macau, Hong Kong (see those locationshere) and Thailand where he’s on the trail of Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) and after his plan to pose as the villain backfires, he is captured and placed in Thai entrepreneur Hai Fat’s dojo where the fighters are instructed to kill him. This was filmed at Muang Boran a.k.a. Ancient Siam (formerly known as Ancient City) in Samut Prakan province. This place, which is the worlds largest outdoor museum, is first seen on 52 minutes and sticks around for some action scenes lasting about six minutes. It was quite amazing how similar this place still looks given the number of decades that have passed since it was filmed. I guess the flagstones in the screenshots (below) were laid by the production team and a huge plant feature now stands in the way of creating a better match-up.
To be even more precise these scenes were shot at The Dvaravati House which is #18 on the map given when you purchase your ticket. There was absolutely no information on the net about which part of Muang Boran was used in the Bond film so I was well happy when I noticed the building just as we were on our way towards the exit. There is no wooden bridge going over the moat so maybe that was just added by the props department. Who knows? 40 years is a long time so it may have been there back in the 1970s for all we know!
Bond escapes from the Karate School at Muang Boran with the aid of Lt. Hip and his martial art expert nieces and the ensuing boat chase continues on to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (over 100km away!) and down Klong Dan (60 mins) with just about everyone apart from Bond ending up in the water.
It’s at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on 65 minutes (below) where Bond is reunited with his British assistant Mary Goodnight. They share dinner but inevitably their evening is interrupted. Anders (Maud Adams) tells Bond that she wants him to kill Scaramanga and will pay him at a boxing venue the next day.
Many internet sights say that the Boxing Stadium featured on 74 minutes, where Bond discovers Anders dead and meets Scaramanga, was Lumpini Stadium but as 007 exits the place you can see a sign saying that its Ratchadamnoen Stadium. Other sources say that the fighting scenes were shot at Lumpini but the filming was done at Ratchadamnoen but I’m not sure which one. I only had time to visit the former and of course it wasn’t open when I was there so its just more exterior shots I’m afraid!
The car chase which follows from outside the stadium was shot in the car park at Royal Turf Club and sees them briefly driving with Giant Swing (below) and Wat Suthat in the background.
The dual with Scaramanga on James Bond Island takes place on 105 mins and is perhaps the films most iconic image. Near to Siam Center are a few signboards giving basic details of how Thailand has featured in movies over the years. Of course there was one for ‘The Beach‘ (2000) and there was also one for James Bond giving brief details of what you’ve read in this entry!
See other James Bond filming locations by clicking on the links below:
‘Casino Royale‘ (2006) set the benchmark so high that it was always going to be a tough act for ‘Quantum of Solace‘ (2008) to follow. It may have received some quite negative and scathing reviews but I actually don’t mind it and part of the reason why was that it was visually very exciting for me to see Bond (Daniel Craig) in Latin America.
Due to its diversity Panama doubled up for a couple of countries; Bolivia and Haiti, with the latter first appearing on 17 minutes as Colon fills in for Port Au Prince. I was hoping to make it up to Colon at the Caribbean end of the Canal whilst in Panama but sadly time caught up with me and the warnings of big crime in this slum meant I didn’t want to risk it. On 18 minutes 007 gets into a bit of a tussle in a hotel and a few minutes after that is the crumbling street which Bond rides along to the waterfront docks in another dangerous part of the city.
Thankfully, there were a couple of far easier Panama City locations from this film to be seen just a short walk away from my hostel in the historic district of Casco Viejo. Unhappy with MI6 officer Strawberry Fields’ (Gemma Arterton) choice of hotel as part of their cover, Bond takes her by taxi to a far more upmarket hotel on 52 minutes. The Andean Grand Hotel (below) in ‘Bolivia’ isn’t really a hotel but is actually the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (National Institute of Culture) in the World Heritage area of Casco Viejo. It can be seen briefly again on 74 and 77 minutes.
The main villain Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), holds a party 54 minutes into the film which Bond attends with Agent Fields shortly after he seduces her. The location of this is of course not La Paz in Bolivia but the Old Union Club in Casco Viejo where all the rich people used to go and party. The ruins were scouted out for the film in October 2007 and is (as it was back then) now like an old shell but believe it or not it was completely revamped for shooting which can be seen in the ‘On Location’ dvd extra. At this party, Bond again rescues the beautiful Camille (Olga Kurylenko) from Greene. As I explored this place it was quite hard to imagine how it was transformed for filming as it really is in a bad state these days.
It seems that the bar scene with Bond and one of his closest allies Felix Leiter on 77 minutes was also filmed in Colon. Leiter tells James to move his ass as the SWAT team descends on the building. This can be seen in one of the dvd extras titled ‘Bond On Location’.
See other James Bond filming locations by clicking on the places below:
Roger Moore’s first outing as 007 in 1973′s ‘Live And Let Die‘ sees him go to New York arriving 13 minutes in at JFK International Airport in Queens on his mission to investigate the mysterious deaths of several other British agents. Typically, of the three airports in and around New York this was the one I didn’t have to go to but no great loss as its appearance is inevitably very different these days.
The same thankfully can’t be said for the ‘Oh Cult Voodoo Shop’ on 33 East 65th Street at 5th Avenue which is first seen after 18 minutes. As I was saying it was pretty surprising to see this place looking so similar nearly 40 years later. A couple of minutes later Bond is
seen hailing a yellow cab outside the store and tails a lead in typical follow-that-car movie fashion to ‘Fillet of Soul’ and though the sign post on screen clearly shows Lenox Avenue, it is in fact 2nd Avenue at 94th Street. 117th and 118th Streets were used for the fight scenes which followed and that was the end of the New York scenes. A bit surprising perhaps that no other Bond films have been set in this major world city since.
See other James Bond filming locations by clicking on the places below: