The Most Iconic James Bond Locations
Recently, James Bond took off to Jamaica to announce some new information about the as-yet-untitled ‘James Bond 25’ movie. That included the casting of ‘Mr Robot’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Rami Malek as a new villain, and ‘Killing Eve’ creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge joining the writing team.
The reason for choosing Jamaica for the launch is due to its iconic connection to the Bond franchise. Not only was it used in the first Bond film, ‘Dr. No’, Roger Moore’s film ‘Live and Let Die’, and will feature in ‘Bond 25’, it was also where Bond creator Ian Fleming used to escape and write the novels. We thought this might be a good opportunity to take a look at some other iconic Bond locations.
Grandhotel Pupp: Casino Royale
When current Bond, Daniel Craig, took over the role in 2006, the Bond team decided to launch this new version of the character by going back to its roots – the original novel ‘Casino Royale’. The film revolves around Bond chasing Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a banker who is financing terrorists. The most iconic scene in the movie is set at the “Hotel Splendide” in Montenegro, where Le Chiffre and Bond do battle over cards in a high-stakes game of Texas hold ’em.
The actual location used for the scene, however, wasn’t in Montenegro, but the Grandhotel Pupp Hotel in Carlsbad, Czech Republic. Thanks to the wonders of movie magic, the 228-room luxury hotel made a very convincing stand-in. Interestingly, there is actually a Hotel Splendid in Montenegro, and in 2010 it opened a the Casino Royale casino, to cash in on the brand, where you can play slot machines, American roulette, and, of course, Texas Hold’em. Although, you don’t need to go all the way to Montenegro to play cards. Just check out the best online casino reviews in the UK to do it from the comfort of your own home!
Arecibo Telescope: GoldenEye
For Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as Bond in 1994’s ‘GoldenEye’, they used the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico for the iconic climax of the film. Bond had been chasing computer programmer Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming) and traitor Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) to stop them taking control of the GoldenEye satellites (two Soviet electromagnetic pulse weapons). The Arecibo Observatory stood in for Grishenko’s massive satellite dish, based in Cuba in the movie.
The 1,000 ft Arecibo Observatory dish is one of the largest single-aperture radio telescopes in the world. Although some of the scenes were shot there, many of the sequences used a mix of CGI and scale models based on the real site. When Bond eventually catches up with Trevelyan, a fight ensues, resulting in Sean Bean plunging to his death into the main dish… Because when doesn’t Sean Bean die in a tv show or film.
Contra Dam: GoldenEye
The observatory was not the only iconic location used in ‘GoldenEye’. The opening scene of the film sees a spectacular stunt as Bond jumps from the top of the fictional Arkhangelsk Chemical Weapons Facility after planting explosives to escape the bad guys. In reality, that location is the Contra Dam on the Verzasca River in Switzerland.
Constructed in the ’60s, the Contra Dam supports the 105 MW Verzasca hydroelectric power station and is the fourth tallest dam in Switzerland. The phenomenal stunt was genuinely performed at the dam by British stuntman Wayne Michaels and is often hailed as one of the greatest stunts of all time. For those of you out there with a thrill-seeking nature, the dam’s owners actually leased the site to a professional bungee jump operator, allowing people with enough nerve to have a go at recreating this iconic Bond moment.
Jökulsárlón, Iceland: Die Another Day
Jökulsárlón is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland and has actually featured in not one, but two Bond movies. It first appeared at the beginning of Roger Moore’s ‘A View To A Kill’, where it stood-in for Siberia. However, it was the spectacular car chase in Brosnan’s 2002 movie ‘Die Another Day’ where it really took on iconic status.
In the film, Bond has accepted an invitation to villain Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) ice palace. This being Bond, things never quite go to plan, and he ends up in an incredible car chase across the frozen lake as he takes off in his Aston Martin Vanquish (or “Vanish”) pursued by Graves’ henchman Tang Ling Zao (Rick Yune) in a Jaguar XKR. The sequence was shot on location at Jökulsárlón using four Aston Martins and four Jags converted to 4-wheel drive… Not that it helped, as all eight cars were wrecked by the end of it…
There are, of course, many more iconic locations in Bond’s 25 movie history. The new film will see Bond return to Jamaica, where he has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life. However, his peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
‘Bond 25’ is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, and sees Daniel Craig back in his 5th outing as 007. He is joined by returning cast Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q, Jeffrey Wright as Felix, Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann, Rory Kinnear as Bill Tanner. New casting includes Ana de Armas, Dali Benssalah, David Dencik, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen and Rami Malek. The film is written by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade, Scott Z. Burns with Cary Joji Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
‘James Bond 25’ will arrive in UK cinemas from 3rd April, 2020 and in the US on the 8th April 2020.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.