James Bond Locations: Iconic Places Where 007 Movies Were Filmed
James Bond has probably flown to more places than any other U.K. icon, with the possible exception of British Airways.
From the fictional spy's first onscreen appearance in 1962's Dr. No and through all 25-and-counting installments in the hugely successful movie series inspired by novelist Ian Fleming's suave creation, Agent 007's cinematic adventures have stood out not only for their thrilling action sequences, seductive hanky-panky, and high-tech skulduggery. The films have also been glamorous travelogues, showing off dramatic, far-flung scenery every bit as breathtaking as the car chases, last-second escapes, and visions of Daniel Craig in tiny swim trunks.
James Bond Destinations, a new release from luxury publisher Assouline, gathers an atlas's worth of filming locations used in the series over the last 60 years or so, featuring movie stills, promotional images, and behind-the-scenes snaps that let readers track the jet-setting agent from mountaintop monasteries in Greece to marble palaces in India, ancient temples in Egypt, waterfalls in Jamaica, and many other exciting destinations across the globe.
The text by journalist, detective novelist, and die-hard Bond fan Daniel Pembrey reveals insider info and insights on memorable scenes such as proto-Bond girl Ursula Andress's unforgettable emergence from the Caribbean, Roger Moore's hand-to-hand combat on top of a Sugarloaf cable car in Rio de Janeiro, and Craig's yacht ride through Venice's Grand Canal, which was partially closed for the first time in 300 years to capture the sequence.
Much like Frommer's, whose first book came out 5 years before Bond hit the big screen, the early 007 movies reflected the newfound availability of international travel, encouraging audiences to dream big (though we've always tried to stick to more modest budgets).
In a statement from Assouline, Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, whose father, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, was the first producer of the franchise, says the aspirational aspect of the movies' sense of place was always part of the equation. She says the producers “wanted to take people out of their lives and transport them on an adventure to something magical.”
Scroll on to see a selection of photos from the book, along with intel on where each image was captured.
Pictured above: Sean Connery behind the scenes of Dr. No (1962) in Jamaica
Though Bond's missions may originate in London, "Jamaica should be considered his spiritual home," Pembrey writes. That's largely a result of the fondness the spy's creator, Ian Fleming, had for the island. His airy, elegant home, Goldeneye, is now part of a luxury resort.
Not long after surviving that fight on top of a Sugarloaf Cable Car in Rio, Roger Moore's Bond ventures into Brazil's Amazon region (pictured above) in Moonraker (1979). He's in search of a rare orchid containing toxins that villain Drax is using to imperil the world's population. Along the way, audiences are treated to some spectacular views of the Amazon and mighty Igauzu Falls along the Argentine border.
London is where Bond reports for duty, has his suits made on Savile Row, and maintains his rarely inhabited apartment just off the King's Road in Chelsea. London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the MI6 Building at Vauxhall Cross, and the tunnels of the London Underground have all made prominent appearances as well.
In the photo above, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny and Craig as 007 shoot the final sequence of Skyfall (2012) on the roof of the Department of Energy & Climate Change in Whitehall.
Thailand's Khao Phing Kan, located in Phang Nga Bay northeast of Phuket, has been popularly known as "James Bond Island" ever since its starring role as Scaramanga's lair in 1974's The Man with the Golden Gun. More than 20 years later, Bond returned to the spot in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997; pictured above), starring Pierce Brosnan in the leading role and Michelle Yeoh as agent Wai Lin.
James Bond Destinations argues that 1983's Octopussy is what put Udaipur "on the global travel industry's radar." Once a summer retreat for the royal Mewar family, the city's "floating" white marble lake palace served as the hideaway for the titular villain (played by Maud Adams) and her cult members. According to the book, the film's production gave a much-needed boost to Udaipur tourism (many of the city's hotels still screen the movie for guests) and helped fund the upkeep of the property's pleasure gardens and elephant stables.
Though Italian locations have been frequently used in Bond movies, Rome didn't show up as a backdrop until 2015's Spectre, according to the book. As if to make up for lost time, filmmakers orchestrated a spectacular nighttime car chase that zooms past the Vatican, down stone stairsteps, and along the Tiber river. Meanwhile, tourists can get fined for merely sitting on the Spanish Steps.
The Egypt scenes in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) are "remarkable," Pembrey writes, "for the sheer number of heritage sites ticked off in short succession." Among other wonders, we see Bedouin tents in Saqqara, the Pyramids of Giza, the enormous columns of the Karnak Temple (pictured above) in Luxor, a cruise along the Nile, and the Abu Simbel Temples near the Sudanese border. No wonder Roger Moore named this his favorite Bond movie.
Death-defying Alpine stunts are a recurring motif throughout the series, owing in no small part to Fleming's skill on the slopes and the expertise of Olympic skier turned cameraman Willy Bogner. He managed to keep performers in frame while speeding downhill in several Bond movies, starting with On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). Bogner was instrumental as well, per James Bond Destinations, in capturing the "acrobatic scenes" at the northern Italian winter resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo in 1981's For Your Eyes Only (pictured above).
Morocco plays a memorable role in Spectre. Craig's Bond and Léa Sedoux's Dr. Madeleine Swann travel by train ("on a railway line used in real life by privately chartered rolling stock," Pembrey points out) to reach sand-swept Bouarfa (pictured above) in the country's northeast. The pair are then picked up in a 1948 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith and driven to the unique geological formation of Gara Medouar for the movie's (literally) explosive climax.
With its yacht-dotted waterfront, ritzy casinos, and cosmopolitan crowds sporting formal attire and unplaceable European accents, the French Riviera is a natural fit for Bond. In GoldenEye (1995), Brosnan's 007 plays baccarat with villain Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) at the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco. Later, he sneaks onto a yacht (pictured above) just before Onatopp—who ranks with Octopussy and Holly Goodhead in the pantheon of Bond women with stupid names—steals an attack helicopter nearby.
Perhaps owing to its location straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul has likewise proven irresistible for the series' filmmakers, popping up in From Russia with Love (1963), The World Is Not Enough (1999), and Skyfall. Pembrey writes that in the first of those, the city was "masterfully captured by the rendezvous scene inside the vast Hagia Sophia mosque involving Connery's Bond, lead actress Daniela Bianchi [pictured above in front of the Blue Mosque], and multiple villains."
Among other James Bond filming locations featured in the book: the Bahamas, Greece, Lake Como, Mexico, Hong Kong, Sardinia, Scotland, and Venice. He really does get around.
James Bond Destinations (Assouline; $120), featuring 233 images and text by Daniel Pembrey, is available now in bookstores and at Assouline.com.