Hong Kong Filming Locations: James Bond

The Man With the Golden Gun‘ (1974) doesn’t follow the original novel too closely as that was set in Jamaica whereas the film is located in the Far East. It is a fairly entertaining story for a number of reasons; a great villain in the form of  Scaramanga; a classic henchman in the shape of psycho dwarf Nick Nack; a beautiful Bond girl and of course the exotic locations of Thailand, Macau and Hong Kong.

The Peninsula Hotel (below) on Salisbury Road in Tsim Sha Tsui is just a stones throw from the ferry terminal on Kowloon and it can be seen after 27 minutes.

     

I even went inside the hotel and took the elevator up to the top floor to see the very room which Roger Moore’s 007 entered with a bit of help from a staff member. In the film it 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 (below) where he puts pressure on her to inform him of Scramanga’s appearance and plans.

 

Bottoms Up bar, which can be seen on 33 mins, is long gone from its location at 14 Hankow Road and whats in its place really wasn’t even worth a photo as the area is pretty much unrecognisable to that seen in the 1974 movie. Not surprising I guess as it has been nearly 40 years!

Another Hong Kong location from ‘The Man With The Golden Gun‘ is Dragon Garden on Castle Peak Road in the New Territories area. This played the part of Thai entrepreneur Hai Fat’s house where Bond pretends that he is Scaramanga. It is seen quite extensively from the 44 minute mark when Bonds plan backfires as Scramanga himself is already at the same house. Scarmanga’s lair on Ko Khao Phing Kan near Phuket can be seen here.

In ‘Die Another Day‘ (2002) Hong Kong island appears as Pierce Brosnan’s Bond escapes captivity, jumps into the Harbour and emerges at the Hong Kong Yacht Club (27 mins) which is located on the north side of the island. However, this was not all it seemed as it wasn’t Kowloon that could be seen in the background but Hong Kong island itself. Obviously this was all faked on a movie set and furthermore the shaggily unshaven 007 turns up at the Royal Rubyeon Hotel which doesn’t exist at all.

 

Tomorrow Never Dies‘ in 1997 brought about a different kind of Bond girl and I’m not talking about it being the first time the lady was Asian but that she was a girl with attitude and an ability to fight unlike the typical dolly-birds who had preceded Michelle Yeoh. There is a waxwork model of the Malaysian actress outside the entrance to Madame Tussauds Waxwork Museum at The Peak. Yeoh, who also starred in ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon‘ (2000) and ‘Memoirs of a Geisha‘ (2005) among others, has a star with her name and handprint on the Avenue of Stars along Hong Kong’s famous harbour front.

 

See other James Bond filming locations by clicking on the cities below:

Tokyo  London  Prague  Venice  Como  Istanbul  Las Vegas  Phuket  Vienna

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.

Prague Filming Locations: Casino Royale (2006)

The 2006 re-boot of the 007 franchise begins in black and white with James Bond (Daniel Craig) earning his licence to kill. This was shot near to my hostel in the Karlin district on the banks of the Vlatva River in Prague. I had almost given up on trying to locate Danube House (Karolinska 650/1), the fairly new office block where it was filmed, when I found it almost by accident and mightily relieved to find it I was as it had been a slow start to my morning.

  

However, that wasn’y my first Bond location of the day as before that I had ascended Vitkov Hill which wasn’t too easy due to the very icey paths and steps and also because it was actually roped off but as no-one was around I ignored that and climbed up to find the Vitkov monument under reconstruction. Scaffolding and work being done on buildings seems to be the bain of my life which can be annoying when one has gone to a certain place to see that landmark. Luckily I didn’t go to Prague just to see this monument which was home to the ‘Miami Body Worlds’ exhibition for a short scene involvolving ‘M’ and Bond before the film moved onto ‘Montenegro’ which was yet another case of the Czech Republic filling in for another place but that one was outside of Prague.

Next up was Strahov Monastery (found at Strahovske Nadvori 1/132) at the top of the hill in Petrinske Sady. The picture below is the exterior of the place but it was the library interior that was used but I wasn’t interested enough in the place, which was the committee room in ‘London’s’ House of Commons, due to the cost of entry and a pressing need to move on to the next locations in order to maximise daylight hours.

  

You can see my other ‘Casino Royale’ Como & Venice filming locations here and here.

Venice Filming Locations: James Bond

It’s been said that some 500 movies have been made in Venice but most of us can probably only name a few at best. In Euro Trip 2010 Pt X I referred to locations used in The English PatientIndiana Jones & The Last Crusade and Death In Venice and on top of that two James Bond films have been set there; Moonraker and Casino Royale. The latter may be a way better film but it’s the former which is actually more memorable as it included Roger Moore’s 007 famously transforming his gondola into a land vehicle which rode through to St Marks Square to the astonishment of many including a pigeon which in the film does a double-take which was rather cheesy and typical of the Moore-as-Bond era.
   
This is the very same pigeon (above) which was shown in slow-motion looking one way and then looking the other in disbelief at Bonds antics. *
Coming from the water you carry on straight down through the piazza (as Moore did in unorthodox fashion) and directly in front of you on the north side is the Torre dell’Orologio; the clock tower where Bond has a bit of a tussle with one of the henchman working for the films antagonist Hugo Drax. Not surprisingly the interior wasn’t behind the real clock but in the studio.
Just a few metres east of here is the Venini glass store where the entrance was used as Drax‘s Glassworks shop.
 
Ca’ Rezzonico (Museo del Settecento Veneziano) is located quite near to the church used in ‘Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade’ in the Dorsoduro district. This doubled up as Drax‘s laboratory in Moonraker where Bond followed Dr Holly Goodhead (although he didn’t know it was her at the time) as she mysteriously crept away from a group having a tour of the museum and went up some stairs. The actual real glassworks museum is on Murano island just north of central Venice and I had planned to go there but in the end I just didn’t have the energy to venture out that way.
 
Just round the corner from St Mark’s Square is the Hotel Danieli which was where Dr Goodhead stayed in Moonraker. The interior was also the inspiration for the tiny studio-built sinking palazzo used at the end of Casino Royale which can be seen on the DVD extras.
 
St Nicolo riviera on Lido was also used in some way in Moonraker but when I got there I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it was!! I have since discovered it was a monastery faking it as a “Brazilian” training camp so nothing too important.
 
Ponte dei Sospiri more commonly known in English as ‘Bridge of Sighs’ (above) was a little disappointing in reality as it was surrounded by blue advertising boards while its presumably under renovation. It featured in all its splendour at the end of ‘From Russia With Love’ but was clearly just rear projection and Sean Connery’s 007 and Tatiana Romanova were in the studio. For your information the bridge connects the Palace and the prison and was named for the condemned prisoners who sighed when they crossed it to meet their executioners.
My Venice guide through the eyes of 007 ends with some Casino Royale scenes. Bond and Vesper ride their yacht into Venice going between the bridges of Accademia and Rialto on the Grand Canal although the sinking palazzo near the latter was a one-third reconstruction on the Pinewood 007 stage in the UK.
 
Before all of that we see Bond supposedly looking out from his hotel balcony over St Mark’s Square but that view would not be even be possible. He runs across the square on hearing the news that there is a problem with the transfer of the money. I think its the Santa Maria della Salute which appears in the background (though I can’t seem to find a photo of this in my collection) of Daniel Craig’s 007 as he talks to ‘M’ about Vesper’s betrayal from his yacht and then its off to the Villa La Gaeta in Como for the films climax and those filming locations can be seen here in Euro Trip Pt V.
* May not be true!