James Bond Film Location Guides
Volume 1: London
Britain’s Secret Service wasn’t always based in the imposing building at Vauxhall Cross. The department known to Bond devotees as Universal Exports has had many homes – and with J. P. Sperati as your guide you can visit them all!
Which villain lived in the same street as Ian Fleming?
Which villain was disposed of at an East End gasworks?
How did Skyfall change the map of the London Underground?
How can you visit St. Petersburg in several different areas of London?
How did The World Is Not Enough defy the geography of the River Thames?
Where in London can you find Shanghai and Hamburg? Where did we first hear those immortal words, “Bond – James Bond”?
All these questions – and many more – are answered in this full colour illustrated up-to-the-minute handbook of 007’s London! Complete with historical information, indexes and maps you can explore the world of James Bond on Location.
A must for all James Bond and London Enthusiasts
Volume 2: UK
The James Bond films are famous for their exotic locations, matching and even surpassing the settings of Ian Fleming’s original novels. But all is not what it seems! (It rarely is in the cinema.) The gold-obsessed villain’s factory in Goldfinger – Switzerland or Buckinghamshire?
The hovercraft chase in Die Another Day – North Korea or Oxfordshire?
The U.S. air base in Tomorrow Never Dies – the South China Sea or Suffolk?
The chase around the airport in Casino Royale – Miami or Surrey?
Max Zorin’s mine in A View to a Kill – California or Sussex? The explosive climax of From Russia with Love – the Adriatic coast or Argyll?
The oil pipeline in The World Is not Enough – Azerbaijan or Snowdonia? Those snowy scenes in Quantum of Solace – Tatarstan or Hampshire?
J. P. Sperati’s intensively researched and lavishly illustrated book is the perfect guide to the British locations of all the official James Bond movies, from Doctor No to SkyFall – including the sound stage built for The Spy Who Loved Me at Pinewood, and the entire studio built for GoldenEye. Complete with historical information, many rare photographs, indexes and maps. A must for all James Bond Enthusiasts.
A few of the things we think you’ll love
Find your way
Includes maps of the most popular locations.
Perfect bound full colour on glossy art paper.
Gives history behind each of the locations and stories surrounding the filming itself.
‘The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.’
There is no conceivable way that Ian Fleming could have known that this first line, written on the 17th February 1952, in his first James Bond book, Casino Royale, would lead to his fictional spy being known the world over, and that it would culminate in the longest, and most successful, film franchise in history.
In this book Bond is cold and ruthless. He drives a 1933 4.5 litre Bentley, drinks champagne and dry Martinis (shaken, not stirred), smokes Morland cigarettes and carries a .25 Beretta automatic. Not exactly the iconic image portrayed on film although the basics are all present. To date the books (twelve novels and two collections of short stories) have sold in total around one hundred million copies – not bad for an author with a literary span of just over a decade, Casino Royale being published on the 13th April 1953 and his last book, Octopussy and The Living Daylights, just ninetyfour pages in length, being released on the 23rd June 1966, nearly two years after Fleming’s death on the 12th August 1964. For any normal author this would have been the extent of the canon, but not for Bond, since new stories have been written by the likes of Kingsley Amis (under the pseudonym of Robert Markham), Christopher Wood, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks and Jeffery Deaver.
The books, though, may be considered small fry compared to the film success. To date there have been twenty-three ‘official’ films plus the satirical spoof version of Casino Royale and the 1983 remake of Thunderball, in which Sean Connery played Bond for the final time in the appropriately named Never Say Never Again. To complete the picture there was also a 1954 American television adaptation of Casino Royale called Climax!.
Total box office sales are estimated to be in the order of nearly S5 billion (or $12 billion if inflation is taken into account) on a total budget of around $1 billion (giving a healthy return on investment). It is thought that around one in five people on Earth have seen a James Bond film. Critically, however, the films have been less successful, having won just three Academy Awards in fifty-one years – for sound effects in Goldfinger, for visual effects in Thunderball, and most recently for best original song in Skyfall. ‘Live and Let Die’, ‘Nobody Does It Better’ (from The Spy Who Loved Me) and ‘For Your Eyes Only’ were all nominated in that category, but Adele’s was the first Bond movie song to win.
If one takes notice of the critics then the earlier films in the series are the best, with the three least satisfying being You Only Live Twice, The Man With The Golden Gun and A View to a Kill. A recent poll of over three thousand fans in 2012, prior to the release of Skyfall, concluded that the best film was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, closely followed by Goldfinger and From Russia With Love in that order. Looking at the highest ranking films portrayed by other actors, The Living Daylights came seventh, The Spy Who Loved Me eighth, GoldenEye ninth and Casino Royale fourth (not to be confused with the spoof version of the same title which came last). The worst ‘official’ Bond film was Die Another Day, which was not saved even by its $142 million budget.
The most successful, financially, at least, was Dr. No costing just $1.2 million and grossing nearly $60 million at the box office. George Lazenby was perhaps hard done by, since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service had a reduced budget of $7.5 million, compared with $9.5 million for the previous film, You Only Live Twice, but still brought in a return of over ten fold. Likewise Diamonds Are Forever also had a small budget of just $7.2 million but recouped a sixteen-fold return, mainly due to the re-appearance of Sean Connery. The least successful film belongs to Roger Moore – The Man with the Golden Gun, which with its exotic locations cost $13 million to produce but grossed just under £100 million. The sales figures speak for themselves in that, although the critics may not be won over by James Bond, the rest of the world has always been in love with this film franchise. Indeed Skyfall has broken all previous United Kingdom box office records, being the first film of any kind to take more than £100 million at the box office, while in America it was the fourth highest grossing film of 2012.
But what is it about a Bond film that makes it such a success?
To some it is the story and script, while for many it is the actual portrayal of Bond, whether your favourite be Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan or Craig. This is closely followed in popularity by the villains – who can forget the famous dialogue exchange with Goldfinger when Bond asks, “Do you expect me to talk?” to which the former replies, “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”. Then there are the cameo appearances by M and Q, with his assortment of gadgets, that are almost expected in each outing, and of course a Bond film would simply not be a Bond film without those Bond girls, not forgetting their appearance in silhouette form in the stylish titles that were first inspired by Maurice Binder. Just as much a part of each film is the pre-title sequence, which sets the pace of each film, along with the gun barrel sequence. Let us not forget the stunts and action sequences, which most films cannot begin to match. Also central to each film is the music, which seems to fit seamlessly into each new adventure.
Finally there are those exotic locations, and magnificent larger than life sets initially created by Ken Adam, as Bond goes around the world, and even into outer space if the end titles to Moonraker can be believed.
Hence the answer is not as simple as one might expect. To be successful, a Bond film may need only one or two of these elements, but most rely on a careful balance of them all. In just two words Bond can be considered as ‘sheer escapism’ for a couple of hours from the real dreary world that most of us inhabit.
It is to the last of the cited reasons, the locations, that this book is dedicated, and in this volume it is just the United Kingdom locations (excluding London which is covered in Volume 1 of this series) that are considered. At first this may not seem a good starting place, for Bond works for MI6, and therefore spends all of his time out of the country, except when he is being briefed by M in London at the start of an adventure.
Nothing could be further from the truth, for as Bond is a quintessentially British film production for the international market it follows that quite a lot of filming takes place in the United Kingdom. Just because in Tomorrow Never Dies the caption on the screen reads South China Sea, it does not necessarily mean that filming took place there, and indeed in this example it was RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk (page 171) that doubled for the more exotic location. In a similar manner, parts of Switzerland, India and Uganda can be found at Black Park in Buckinghamshire (page 31), Montenegro in Bedfordshire (page 17), France in Berkshire (page 26), East Germany in Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire (pages 75 and 155 respectively), Iceland in Cornwall (page 89), Gibraltar in East Sussex (page 93), North Korea in Hampshire, Norfolk and Wales (pages 108, 137 and 223 respectively), Russia in Surrey (page 181), Morocco in Suffolk (page 169), with perhaps the most unlikely of all being when Swindon stood in for Turkey (page 191). It is amazing what a little set dressing can do to fool the viewer.
Even those places that are supposed to be in the United Kingdom can be deceptive, for Kent has stood in for central London (page 129), and Buckinghamshire for Scotland (page 69), while most recently in Skyfall Surrey has also stood in for Scotland (page 178).
Finding out just what was filmed where is all part of the fun of being a location detective, and if this aspect of filming interests you then read on, but beware, as certain myths about filming will be dispelled, and in future you will not be able to look at another Bond film without wondering whether what you see on the screen is actually where the filming took place, because much of the time it isn’t.
I hope that you enjoy reading this book, and using it to visit some of the places listed, as much as I did researching and compiling it for you.
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