Welcome to my hobby. This is my first blog about this bizarre hobby I thought of a couple of years ago. As I love the 007 movies and I get to travel the world through my business - James Bond has been seen in 47 real countries and 2 invented countries (49 identified countries in total in the movies) - in my travels now totaling 84 countries lifetime, there is a lot of overlap, obviously. I have managed to hit 40 of the actual 007 countries in my lifetime. Not always the same city as Bond was in, certainly not been to all the specific places where the movie was shot (yet) and often, when I have been to a landmark location, I hadn't thought of taking a picture of me at that place. (For those who don't understand the words 'my hobby' let me spell it out: this blog contains nothing related to tech, media, mobile, smartphones etc. This is just a blog to share my hobby with those of my readers who happen to also be either Bond fans or who love travel).
Well, a few years ago, I decided I want to place myself into the exact scene where Bond was seen in the movie, and do that for every 007 movie. So I intend to 'collect' at least one Bond location from every single one of the 23 official Bond movies (well,
22 at the time obviously, that was before Skyfall had been made). But here's
the rub, I decided, I have to have a picture of myself in the same shot! So for
me to stand essentially in the same place where the Bond actor was, with the
same iconic backdrop. You'll see in the pictures below, what I mean. Now, I am
not about to try to capture every scene of every movie. Not even every country
in every movie, but one clearly identified landmark shot out of every movie, so
I can kind of pretend to have been in exactly the same places as we've ever
seen James Bond in any of his adventures on the silver screen. Or no, not 'pretend'. To 'actually' stand in the same place as the Bond actor when that specific 007 movie was made. And one more
thing - while Bond is based out of London, I won't accept any actual London
landmarks to count in my final collection. Outside London, UK is fine, but inside London, no. That would be too
easy. (So I mean 'London landmarks'. If its a location shot in London, which pretended to be some other country, that is
While doing this, I will of course end up getting many extra locations out of the same movie. That is fine. But I will consider my collection 'completed' when I've placed myself into at least one exact scene out of every single James Bond movie (that was not showing London landmarks). And I have so far managed to do nine of the movies 'perfectly' and also a lot more landmarks partially (so the landmark is identifyable) or if we count London locations too, then I have so far 14 of the movies where I've been in the same shot as one of the six actors playing James Bond.
So lets get to the movies. First we start with the original 007:
SEAN CONNERY BONDS (first 5)
Dr No is the original first movie adaptation of Ian Fleming's original books about James Bond (but not the first screen adaptation, there was an even earlier USA television movie made of the 007 book Casino Royale back in 1955 in black-and-white featuring Barry Nelson as CIA agent 'Jimmy Bond'). Dr No was released in 1962, so the locations today would be over 50 years of age, and many are gone. I had been to Jamaica before, with our family for a vacation, and quite coincidentially, of the two family trip pictures I still have left from those years of global travel, one is of me at a beach in Jamaica. This is your HatRat, your T-Dawg, your DJ Tommy T, your Tomi T Ahonen 'guru' in mobile, back at age 15, sitting at a beach in Jamaica:
Now, I can't prove to you that its Jamaica, I can't even prove to you that it is me haha. But I know it is, and I know I've been to Jamaica as a child with our family, so I had been to a James Bond country back then. But recently when I was connecting through Miami, I burned a few frequent flier miles to spend a lovely weekend in Jamaica (and I utterly fell in love with the place, I can't wait to get back and spend a far longer vacation there). But yes. James Bond locations.
Dr No. Here is where it starts. The first kill that James Bond makes in the long series of assassinations by England's finest in 23 movies, started from this scene shot at Jamaica's airport in Kingston. If you remember the movie, there is a fake driver but actually sent to kill Bond. 007 proceeds to kill him on the journey in the convertible red car.
So here is the scene I want. This is a very young Sean
Connery stepping out of the main lobby of Kingston airport, hat in hand,
heading out the door. The airport had that iconic canopy you see, the roof over
the walkway. For the Bond Locations collector, the lobby of the airport doesn't
exist anymore with that peculiar wall. The airport has had several renovations
and extensions, a new arrivals wing and lobby was added, and then an even newer
departure lobby and wing. But, luckily for the collector, the iconic canopy
still remains. This is the real Bond standing by that very same canopy, and
you'll see the sign even says, 'Welcome to Jamaica'.
I found a location from the first Bond movie that still exists and can be identified, and placed myself into the same location as Sean Connery 51 years ago. How cool is that?
Next up is From Russia With Love. Sean Connery is becoming ever more comfortable playing Bond and we have the adventure taking Bond from Istanbul on the Orient Express through parts of Southern Europe to then take a speedboat to Venice. I've been to all those places, but have not many pictures of myself there. Early in the movie Bond was on the Bosporus when he first interviews the Soviet spy who wants to defect. I don't have a picture of myself in the exact right shot, but this press picture of me speaking in Istanbul a few years ago, places me on the same river but on the wrong bank.
The shot in the movie was facing the other bank haha. So I was almost in the right place, but not quite. So I have to go back to Istanbul at some point to get the appropriate picture.
But yes, at least I have proof I've been to Turkey (and Istanbul) where Bond was in From Russia With Love. Now to the masterpiece in the series, Sean Connery's third Bond:
Goldfinger. What is rated most often as the best Bond movie of all time, the third 007 introduced 'the car' Aston Martin, and jumped up the pace of the movie to become the prototype modern action movie - fights, car-chases, sexy women, more fights, killings and explosions. The most famous dialogue of all Bond movies when Goldfinger has strapped 007 into a laser slicing machine, Bond asks: Do you expect me to talk? To which Goldfinger replies: No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die. Classic! Well, how about your James Bond Lifestyler? Can I get myself into the Bond movie? Actually yes, and there's a story to this..
The movie starts in Miami, at the iconic glamour hotel Fontainebleau - the hotel right on Miami Beach which is in the shape of half a cylinder, and is featured in many famous Hollywood movies. This hotel:
(The picture was shot by me when on a flight about to land, Miami airport landings often overfly this hotel). Yes, Goldfinger is at this hotel playing cards - and cheating. Bond discovers his cheating, forces him to lose, and then Bond steals the girl of course. Goldfinger's revenge is to kill the girl by painting her body all in gold (and there is this myth that it somehow suffocates the skin from breathing, totally made-up way to die, courtesy of Ian Fleming's imagination). So yeah, the movie starts with 007 seen at the Fontainebleau, messing up with Goldfinger. So here am I in a convertible rental Mustang driving past the front of the Fontainebleau:
Yeah, I've been to the place. But bizarrely, Sean Connery has not. We see him in the movie, but if you look closely, we never see the curving side of the hotel with Sean Connery in the picture. When he is seen, it is very close close-ups of Connery in front of a pool cabana or being massaged by a pretty lady or talking to the CIA guy. Then we see Sean Connery inside a hotel corridoor - could be anywhere. And then he's inside the hotel room, looking through the binculars where we see Goldfinger cheating. But the truth is, when the movie was shot, they didn't fly Sean Connery from England to Miami at all. The other actors were in Miami, but for some reason, Connery wasn't there. His scenes were all shot with a fake backdrop. So I can't place myself into the right shot, it doesn't exist. But in a way, I have been to a 'James Bond location' where Bond himself has not been, haha. We see him in the movie clearly in this hotel, yet we also know, he wasn't there. His scenes were shot back at Pinewood Studios in England. This is pretty cool for a James Bond Locations Collector, but it won't qualify me for an iconic Bond scene. I still have to continue seeking a Goldfinger location to complete my collection.
Thunderball. Next we have Thunderball, an excellent Bond adventure but spoiled by too much action underwater, in the end. Thunderball was the stolen nuclear bomber and most of the adventure is in the Bahamas, much of it shot underwater. The Bahamas has changed very much in the past 48 years and when I went in search of my Bond Locations, several were gone. I did place myself at Love Beach - thats where Bond and the pretty lady walk out from the boat to the shore, but Love Beach has changed very much in the time and no identifyable landmark remains. I know this is Love Beach now. I know the original Thunderball scene was right here. But a picture will not prove it to you, unless you've actually visited Love Beach recently. So this didn't pan out. But not to worry, I found another Bahamas location. Sean Connery meets up with his local spy supporters on in the center of Nassau, at this building. The scene is not very significant (no pending murder attempts or killings or explosions or love scenes to follow immediately from this scene) but this is Sean Connery in the center of Nassau at the City Square:
And I went to Nassau to find that building. Nassau has kept the old city center very much as it was 50 years ago, with low historical buildings, no skyscrapers or modern hotels. And with that, I was certain, that this building I was looking at from the screen shot, was so big and prominent, that except for maybe some fire or natural disaster, it should still remain today. But I didn't know which building it was, nor exactly where. The records only tell us the scene was shot in downtown Nassau. So I spent an evening walking the old city back and forth, and honestly, past this building three times without recognizing it.
I was looking for the very obvious window shutters, and I thought from my screen-shot that we had two buildings here. The building on the left with the corners in the white stones, and then a darker building attached to it on the right. But after I didn't find this pairing, I started to look for the balcony. And then I found it.
The tallest building in downtown Nassau haha, yes, what is now the Scotia Bank building. This is that same shot. Note that the windows dont' have the iconic window-shutters anymore (modern times, building is air-conditioned of course). The flagpole in front of the building doesn't exist anymore. But now look at the achway, the corner-stones in white, the exact railings on the balcony, etc. Ok, you are still not convinced. Let me do some photoshop, just to change the colors a bit, and tell me isn't this the exact same building now:
This is most definitely the same place - and yes, it is one building, not two. I found my location, and I have been to another Bond shot.
You Only Live Twice. Then came the Japan adventure for Bond. This is the one with the hollowed-out volcano. Sean Connery is killed in the beginning of the movie by some hoodlums in Hong Kong, then buried at sea in the Hong Kong harbor, but he's not dead, he's wearing breating gear and is rescued to a British submarine, then sent to a secret mission in Japan. Cool. But yeah, I've been to Japan a dozen times, but hadn't thought of attempting to find the 007 locations. So this draws a blank. But just to prove that I have been to Tokyo, this is me at the hotels at Tokyo's Disneyland when we had a 3G telecoms conference there back in 2007.
So yeah, been to Japan, but the exact scene is still missing. Gotta go back to Japan again..
LAZENBY'S ATTEMPT AND CONNERY'S RETURN
So then we get to George Lazenby and his sole 007 movie, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Telly Savalas (ie Kojak) played the villain and this is the Bond set in Switzerland with the villain's lair on top of the Alps. Bond gets married, his wife is killed blah-blah-blah. A middle-of-the-road Bond movie. I have been to Switzerland and to Portugal, the two countries where Bond visits in the movie but I don't have any pictures to prove that. But I did find a Bond scene from London. This is George Lazenby holding his hat as he walks into the College of Arms to set up his fake identity as an expert on heraldry. (Everyone remembers the white Rolls Royce in that shot.)
And here is the real James Bond at that same building, but
with the shot taken from the ground level, 46 years later.
Yes, this is a genuine 007 scene, but as I said, I won't be satisfied collecting locations that include London, so this won't count in the final collection, but for now, at least I've also been also where Lazenby had been, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Disasters Are Forever. And we move swiftly to one of the most forgettable Bond movies, Diamonds Are Forever. This is actually the first Bond movie I ever saw, when my father took me to see it (I was too young actually, but since I was with my dad, they didn't mind). At the time I was so incredibly impressed - remember up to now I had only seen children's movies like Disney movies and Charlie Chaplin etc. This was glamorous cars, sexy women, a super-cool hero, gadgets, guns, fights, explosions (Diamonds is the Bond where he drives the Moon Buggy and the villain lives as a recluse on top of a hotel in Las Vegas). Early in the movie Bond goes to Amsterdam and is seen driving near the iconic Amsteredam landmark, the Magere Bridge or the Two Sisters Bridge. I am here at the Magere Bridge:
But this is not the right scene, alas. When I was in Amsterdam at a conference and took this picture, I didn't have the screen shot so I didn't take the correct angle. Darn.. So I have to go back to Hamsterdam to get my picture. But not to worry, I do already have a 007 location from Diamonds. James Bond smuggles the diamonds to America hidden in the casket of a guy he killed. He flies Lufthansa, lands in LAX, Los Angeles International Airport, and at that time in the 1960s it was still common for passengers to walk on the tarmac from the plane to the terminal. Here is Sean Connery in front of the LAX control tower:
And here is the real James Bond in front of the same iconic LAX landmark
Again, to be fair, my picture is shot from the other side, it is not technically the correct scene, but for now, its close enough. I'll go visit Hamsterdam to get the bridge picture for my collection.
Live and Let Die. Then came Roger Moore. The Saint took over as 007 in 1972. And the first of the Moore Bonds was Live and Let Die, the 007 with the best title song. Moore's Bond was made to be quite different from Connery's, so we don't see the flirting with Moneypenny or 007 teasing Q. There is no scene in M's office, etc. Which Bond was this? Its the voodoo Bond, Tarot cards, the crocodile farm and the boat that jumps over the road. For the Bond Tourist, this is the first 007 that discovers an imaginary country, San Monique, placed somewhere in the Caribbean. Where was San Monique in reality? On the North shore of Jamaica, from Ocho Rios to Montego Bay.
The early part of the movie is shot in New York City (hey,
its my old home town!). I've got tonsa pics of me in my fave city, even one
with a 007 landmark in the background. But I don't need that. Since I started
my collection, on my next trip to the Big Apple I took this picture of the
Manhattan Bridge from the scene just before Bond's driver is shot and he has to
play backseat driver. This is the scene just before the poison dart is shot:
So thats Roger Moore on Manhattan, alongside the Manhattan Bridge, in the backseat of an automobile. And here is your Bond World Traveller:
But we ain't done with Live and Let Die. Then there is that imaginary country of San Monique. What about that? Well, as I was in Jamaica, I took a rental car from Kingston to the North Shore and in Ocho Rios I found this scene from Roger Moore, where he walked into his hotel in San Monique.
Yep. In reality it is the Couples Sans Souci resort in Ocho Rios. Thats a honeymooner hotel, and it
really sells rooms only for couples. They were very nice, however, and I was
allowed to take a picture in the lobby. Check out my second scene from Live and
I've been to San Monique, thats a rare place most haven't visited haha and one you won't find on passport stamps even...
Man With The Golden Gun. Then we have one of the worst Bond flicks, Moore's second 007. The guy with the Golden Gun was a top assassin with a Bond fiction, who invited 007 to a duel on his island. Yeah, pretty lousy movie but it had the ultimate car stunt - the jump over the broken bridge, where the car actually does a 360 degree corkscrew turn in the air (to some very cheezy sound-effect). The car jump was real, not done with any hollywood tricks except that the car had accelerated for a long while to hit the right speed to make the jump. And it was shot in one take. It was the first movie stunt calculated by computer, to get the weights, rotation and speed exactly right. So early in the movie Bond checks into the Peninsula Hotel (and why not, one of the world's most ritzy, luxurious and expensive hotels, of course a 'secret' agent of the UK would use this hotel haha) and yes there's a scene of Bond driving to the hotel and here is me at the same hotel from the same angle:
But Hong Kong is not central to the movie, Thailand is. And
that world-famous car jump is about the only thing worth seeing in this movie.
The bridge doesn't exist anymore, pretty obviously, but the start of the car
chase was at a Bangkok landmark, the Democracy Monument. Here is Roger Moore
driving his little red AMC Pacer madly in traffic right in front of that big
And here is James Bond at the same monument four decades later:
It is very cool to notice that you've found the exact same place, this is fun hobby, plus it makes you watch those DVD's far more deeply when prepping for the shot you are hunting haha... Like in Bangkok, in the movie, kind of 'conveniently' right after Bond sees the villain escape in a car, Bond happens to be alongside a car dealership, and he rushes in, and confiscates a car, with its test-driver still inside (that clumsy Southern sheriff from the previous 007 movie). When I saw the original movie, I did think, that was a bit too convenient, to find a car dealearship there. Except that its true. That street has several car dealerships right there, on that avenue, right near the monument... Nice. They weren't faking it in the plot after all..
Spy Who Loved Me. Roger Moore's best Bond movie is Spy Who Loved Me, this is the one with stolen nuclear submarines eaten up by the giant oil tanker, and the female Soviet spy paired with Bond, and we first meet Jaws. And it had the white Lotus Esprit that becomes a submarine-car. For the Bond Traveller, Spy Who gives us the chance to travel to Egypt, to the Pyramids. I don't have the exact angle from where Moore was sitting in the night shot where the Pyramids are in the background, but here I am at the Pyramids:
So yeah, same location but not the exact shot.
Moonraker. Dear-dear-me. The worst in the series. The beginning of Moonraker isn't actually all that bad, but once the plot gets confused with Star Wars, space shuttles doing space-battle, etc, it really goes bad (and Jaws becomes Mr Nice Guy, really?). Moonraker takes us to South America, we get Rio and the battle on the cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain. I've been to Rio many many times, but hadn't taken many pictures there.
This is my picture taken of Copacabana Beach from the rooftop pool of the Marriott.
And here is a close-up of me, you can see the same background, the same mountains. Yes, I was there (and I won't be showing the rest of that picture, for personal reasons haha). Don't worry, I tend to get to visit Brazil about once per year, I should get an exact 007 scene rather easily and relatively soon.
For Your Eyes Only is another excellent Moore vehicle, this is the one where a submarine tracking device is stolen and Bond tries to recover it, mostly on an adventure in Greece and Italy. It has the climax at the mountain-top with sheer cliff sides, and the young ice-skating girl who falls in love with Bond and Bond won't sleep with her haha (a first..) Its the movie I have been furthest from any of its locations. Not even close. Yes, I've been many times to Italy, love Italy, but not in or near the town of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Yes, I've been several times to Greece too, but not to Corfu or the Northern parts of Greece where the Meteora monastery is (the ending battle in the mountains). So the country? Yes. Here is me in Greece, picture from my hotel balcony in Athens:
So For Your Eyes Only am not really even close. Yes, been to the countries, but nowhere near the actual locations. Gotta go burn some frequent flier miles, and rent a car haha...
Octopussy. Then James Bond went to India. Octopussy had the rogue Soviet general trying to detonate a nuclear warhead at a US airbase in Germany. It had the intrigue with the fake Faberge Eggs and lots of India, elephants etc. I actually thought part of the movie was set in New Delhi, but just before a business trip there, I dug a bit deeper and found the nearest places were an airplane-ride away, at Udaipur. So I couldn't get my pictures then. But I have been in India, here I am giving away some awards at the mBillionth Awards gala in Delhi last year:
Now, for the Bond scene. Hey, there is a London scene I can
show you for now. Early in the movie 007 bids for the Faberge Egg at Sotheby's.
Here is the scene with Roger Moore stepping out of the doorway of Sotheby's:
And here is James Bond in front of Sotheby's 30 years later:
Ha! I do have a scene also from Octopussy, but its only a London scene, so it won't count in my final collection.
A View To A Kill. Then we have old Bond, really really old Bond. Roger Moore's last is A View to a Kill and he really should have quit before this disaster. It has the peculiar, very cinematic and masculine female lead. And what could have been, indeed should have been the ultimate villain of the 007 franchise, the perfect evil actor, Christoper Walken, in probably his worst role, ruined totally by a mindless plot and boring dialogue. The movie was the devious plan to cause an earthquake to cause California to slide into the ocean. Walken as Max Zorin has the zeppelin and they do the horse-racing in the early movie. This movie features two of the world's most famous landmarks, very prominently in the plot, not just backdrops. The Eiffel Tower is where Bond has a major battle scene with the villain escaping by parachuting - of course. And then the in the end, the movie is in San Fransisco, where 007 fights the villain atop the Golden Gate Bridge. I don't have the exact scene for either case, but I did love to take my Audi for visiting major global sites. When I owned it in the USA, I drove it across America and yes, took this picture of me and my Audi in front of the Golden Gate Bridge (back in 1994):
And then the Eiffel Tower? Yes, the same car. I loved it so much, I shipped it with me to Europe when I moved back from the USA to Finland, and took the long way around from England to Finland, showing my car a lot of Europe. One of the landmarks we saw together was:
The Eiffel Tower, very early in the morning, at a 'no parking allowed' spot, of course, took quickly the picture and ran away. (I trust the statute of limitations has passed for the French traffic police chasing me for that one haha)
Then we get to Timothy Dalton. He was serious as the Bond, wasn't he? And not really James Bond, in either of his movies. But we did get very good action in both of his flicks.
The Living Daylights was Dalton's first 007. It starts with
the scene on Gibraltar. Story is about a possible defector and probably best
remembered for the blonde cellist and that Bond uses the cello case as a sled
when they slide down the mountain. Have I been to a location for this movie? You
Here's Timothy Dalton on the roof of the Jeep running down the narrow road on
Gibraltar, going through that opening in the wall. And look at me?
Here I am at that very same opening on Gibraltar. Another scene, another Bond movie!
(OK, gotta run again, they called my flight. I'll add the last pictures tonight from my hotel in Toronto)
Licence to Kill. If the Living Daylights was mediocre for a Bond movie, Licence to Ill was again bad. The plot was mindless. Like yeah, James Bond is going to resign? And leading into that. like M would not give his favorite spy the chance to go do his vendetta? Which 007 was this? This is the drug lord, the televangelist preacher, the car chase with the 18-wheeler truck-trailor. The movie only visits two countries, the USA and the imaginary country of Isthmus, located somewhere in Central America.
I generally don't like any movie that invents countries. Come on, be real. If you want to set the movie in a drug lord country, call it Colombia, don't invent Isthmus. Or if you want to do voodoo, then call it Jamaica, don't call it San Monique. But for the Bond Traveller, the imaginary countries are a pretty nice challenge. And you know what? I've been to Isthmus! All of Isthmus was shot in Mexico. The central bank of Isthmus is in reality the central post office building of Mexico City, right at the town center. And I've been inside that post office! Except, that I don't have any proof. So yes, I gotta go do some Mexico-travel some day again, to go get that Bond location.
But I do have a genuine scene from Licence to Kill. Here is the scene which leads to Bond resigning and running away. He is going to go meet M at the Hemingway House in Key West in Florida. Here Timothy Dalton is just inside the gate, looking to the right, as he walks to the house.
And here is James Bond at the Hemingway House in Key West.
It was night time so the historic building and museum was closed (and I had only a few hours between flights, took a rental car from Miami and drove down, so I couldn't stay to wait until morning).
Then we get to Pierce. Brosnan's first Bond was Goldeneye, not his best Bond acting, but no Bond is perfect from the start. But the rest of the movie was just about picture-perfect, from a villain intent on using a satellite weapon to the hidden giant satellite dish inside a lake in Cuba, to the car chase with the tank, to the girl who kills people by sqeezing them to death between her thighs.. Goldeneye had parts shot in real St Petersburg (ie what once was called Leningrad), but parts of St Petersburg were actually shot in the UK. So here is Pierce Brosnan talking to the American agent, who is using the hit-it-with-a-hammer method of starting up an old Russian car, at a major square in St Petersburg:
And here is James Bond at that same square, obviously also in St Petersburg:
Except thats not Russia. Thats London. Thats Somerset House, on the Strand. But if they say its St Petersburg, and I have a picture of myself there, then yes, I've also been to St Petersburg. In reality, I have been to St Petersburg too, I spoke there at a conference (but don't have evidence). But to prove I have been to Russia, thats the point for the collection, to have been in a Bond country, here is me at Red Square in Moscow a few years back:
Now, what about Goldeneye then? The climax of the movie happens at that giant satellite dish supposedly in Cuba. The real dish where it was shot was never submerged inside a lake, that was done with movie trick photography, but the dish is real. Its not in Cuba, its the world's largest radio antenna, near by, in Puerto Rico. Its the Arecibo radio telescope which was also in the Jodie Foster movie. And guess what. Yes, your Bond Lifestyle world traveller has been to that Goldeneye dish as well. I wasn't allowed to climb to where the fight scene happened, but I got this close:
Tomorrow Never Lies, was actually the draft title for Tomorrow Never Dies. This is the story of the newspaper tycoon whose newspaper, Tomorrow, decides to cause a war between China and the UK, to boost media ratings. The movie with the Chinese spy, the motorcyle vs helicopter chase, the stealth boat. And set partly in Vietnam. First of all, early in the movie, Bond goes to check out the villain at his Hamburg headquarters, for a grand celebration at the launch of a media satellite. Here is the scene when Bond goes to the evening gala, he has just left his rental BMW to be parked by valet parking (don't touch any of the buttons):
And has James Bond been to Hamburg? Yep, check out the evidence:
And yeah. When Brosnan is shown at Hamburg airport picking up the rental car (BMW 7-series with remote control via smartphone), thats the real Hamburg airport in Germany. But this building in the two above pictures? It ain't Germany, baby. Its Feltham, near Heathrow Airport in England. In real life thats an IBM building. Now, have I been to the real Germany? For sure, spoken there many times. Have I been to Hamburg? Yes, a couple of times but have no evidence of that. But here I am in Berlin, at the Brandenburg Gate long long ago, at the dawn of the cameraphone haha, about a decade ago:
Now what about Vietnam then? So here is the scene where Pierce Brosnan and the Chinese spy have escaped down the side of the giant skyscraper in Ho Chi Minh City (ie Saigon) in Vietnam, they steal the BMW motorbike, and then ride it while handcuffed together. Check out the entrance to the building
And here is James Bond at the same entrance to that same building.
And here's the secret. Its not in Vietnam at all. That building is in Bangkok. Its the Sinn Sathorn Tower and you know what, that is not the main entrance either. Its the side entrance to the building, but its certainly the exact same location. And the location information for the movie confirms it, that the Saigon scenes were shot in Bangkok. Now, while James Bond never actually visited the real Vietnam, I have. Here I am at Hanoi
at night. Haha! I've been to a country where Bond
pretended to be, but has not been! And I can prove it too. Ok, lets move onto
the worst plot of the Brosnan Bonds
The World Is Not Enough. The most moronic plot overall in the series (in Moonraker, the ending half of the plot went idiotic) that somehow M would rush to comfort some billionaire Azerbaijan oil baroness after her dad has been killed. Come on. And that she'd somehow be in a position where she can be kidnapped there? Really stupid plot. Yeah, this is the one where Bond chases some stolen nuclear matter to find that the bad guys intend to detonate an old Soviet submarine to pollute the other oil pipeline routes for this girl to have a monopoly on oil delivery. M is captured. Bond is tortured in the train. The BMW is cut in half by the twirling blades from the helicopter. That one.
The World is Not Enough opening scene is the boat chase on the Thames with the woman in the powerboat, and Bond riding the tiny black jet-powered superboat. The boat leaps out of the building that is MI-6's real HQ, shown in more recent Bond movies (early Bond movies had two other London buildings pretending to be the HQ). Here is that boat leaps from the building towards Thames River scene:
And here is James Bond at that same building from the same side
Yep, been there, done that. Ok, not 'done that' as in leaping with a speedboat out of the side of the building, but yeah, been there at the foot of the MI-6 HQ building in London. I went by that building quite a lot actually when I used to live in London. I liked to walk in London and this was not that far from my home back then. although this picture is from just a couple of months ago.
And yes, like I said, London landmarks don't count. So I have to go hunt for more foreign pictures from The World is Not Enuf, but now lets move onto the ultimate Brosnan, DAD
Die Another Day. I personally think this is the best
Brosnan, and as a movie is actually better than Goldfinger (Goldfinger is my
number 2, Spy Who Loved Me is my number 3). Die Another Day is the one with
Halle Berry, the chase with hovercraft, ice ballet with the duelling supercars,
Iceland, Cuba, North Korea, and the swordfight watched by fencing instructor
Madonna in the cameo role. It also had one of the most divisive gadget
technologies ever in a Bond movie, the Aston Martin 'Vanish' the stealth car.
Did you know, Top Gear actually recreated the illusion but not using an Aston Martin, they did it
with a van, and it worked - not perfectly but certainly for proof-of-concept,
and using today's household tech. It is not as ridiculous as it may have seemed
at the time, in reality, military scientists are working on that very
technology for future weapons. But yeah, I love Die Another Day. Brosnan was
robbed, he should have earned at least one more Bond after that exciting
action-packed movie. But what of the scenes then? Well, Bond was captured in
North Korea, he didn't escape, he was traded for another spy and then taken to
a British secure hospital room in a warship, in Hong Kong harbor. And Pierce
Brosnan escaped, of course, and jumped into Victoria Harbor, and climbed out,
beard and all, in this night time scene, in front of the iconic Hong Kong
Here is James Bond standing at that very same spot in modern times, during daylight hours.
If you want to see my PC welcoming screen backdrop, I love the Hong Kong skyline view so much, this is what's on my PC (yes, my picture). Bears a striking similarity to the older Bond picture doesn't it?
Ok. That was Hong Kong. I've got my scene from DAD. Do I have more? Would you like to see Cuba? Here is 007 at that bar where Jinx, ie Halle Berry has just walked out of the sea?
And where am I? This is that scene. Note that the bar itself is fake, a hollywood set, but the castle in the background and the harbor is real. This is what it looks like normally, without the fake bar on the beach:
And while you might not be sure, let me show the close-up of the castle: Compare this to the scene with Halle Berry above, look at the boats, the castle, it is certainly the exact same beach:
Except, it wasn't in Cuba. Bond didn't visit Cuba (and so far, I have not visited Cuba either, its one of the 9 Bond countries I have yet to do). But yes, the Cuba scenes were shot across the Atlantic in Southwestern Spain, in Cadiz. Thats just West of Gibraltar.
And I want to show one more scene, even though I don't need to, I already have Die Another Day. This is one of my fave stories invented for Bond, that there is that secret underground train station that MI-6 uses as its base and that the entrance is this particular door right at the very heart of London, across Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, alongside the London Eye ferris wheel. Yeah, sure. But here is Pierce Brosnan about to step in the door to the secret entrance to MI-6's Tube station:
And see who is at that same door? James Bond that's who:
Yep, I found the exact door and spot. Thats the Southeastern corner of Westminister Bridge, those steps lead right to the London Eye
Then we get to today's Bond. Daniel Craig took over with Bond movie number 21 and has given us three so far. His first, was the only Ian Fleming book that had not yet been turned into a proper Bond movie, and also, the very first 007 book authored by Ian Fleming, Casino Royale. Where it all began. And this is the Bond where the movie starts in Black-and-white, where he wins the Aston Martin in a poker game, and pretty much the whole movie is inside a casino or another. Bond doesn't know how to dress, doesn't know how to talk to women and doesn't even know how to order his drink. From Madagascar to the Bahamas to Miami to Montenegro to Italy, again Bond does some serious frequent flier miles again. Have we been in the same place? Here Daniel Craig has just landed on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, walking off the plane.
And here is James Bond at that very same spot where the plane landed, in front of the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island
Yep, Casino Royale scene? Done
As to Quantum of Solace (the South American scheme to hoard water) which takes Bond from Italy to Haiti, Austria and Bolivia; and Skyfall (the weird dual plot mixture, early Skyfall is like a rejected plot of Die Hard, the disgruntled and distrusted cop chases computer geeky criminal with full help of British marines on helicopters who somehow fly into sovereign Chinese territory, mashed with the incompatible and also rejected plot for Jason Bourne, where the lone wulf spy captures his boss, then without any weapons of any kind, destroys an army of highly trained military killers, mostly with his bare hands, and yeah, the British marines stay away even though they train there in Scotland). But yeah, Skyfall? Travels from Turkey to China to Macau and onto Scotland. I don't have pictures of me in scenese from these last two movies, yet. But stay tuned. I may have pics from one (or both) quite soon, in fact.
Have I been to any of the countries in Quantum of Solace? How about Austria, here I am at the Hofsburg Gate in Vienna:
And what about Skyfall? Do I have any evidence of being in any of those countries? How about Shanghai? Here I am at the Shanghai Grand Prix last year:
Yep. Living the James Bond lifestyle. I do fly to James Bond
destinations in my work and travels. I do get to experience the same lifestyle
as James Bond, with perhaps a little less of the explosions and the killing
haha (alas, also significantly less of the hot babes jumping into my arms). But
yeah, a fun hobby. If any other Bond fans there have similar stories, please
share. If you want to start your own Bond Locations collection, do remember you
have your cameraphone always with you, if you are at a Bond city, you might be
very near a real Bond location, go visit it, and take the picture...
I'll be posting more of my discoveries here, including the precise locations of where the shot was taken.
For the legal issues about copyright. I have already contacted the owners of the Bond movies and asked for permission to use these screen shots of the movies. I did that over a month ago, and I have not heard them saying I could not use the screen shots. I have of course purchased each of the DVDs. I am using this blog article only for research use - a reason which exists for exception in copyright law, allowing 'fair use'. I am researching and documenting the exact camera locations for these sites, and sharing, totally free and with no commercial or other gains to me, those locations for other Bond fans to also be able to find and enjoy. No such complete record exists as far as I know. I have no subscriptions, no registrations and no fees to this blog. I have no interest in selling anything Bond-related. My blog is about technology and as I am already rated by Forbes as the most influential expert of my field, I cannot possibly have any reason whatsoever to try to create more traffic to this blog (this blog is not for sale, will never be). This blog article cannot in any way be seen as damaging to the Bond franchise but can only be seen as a love-letter to the movies and one that encourages Bond fans to experience their passion even more deeply. But if Bond licence holders contact me and instruct me to take any of the screen shots off this blog, of course I will do so immediately. My contact information is tomi at tomiahonen dot com.
On a silly note. I love this hobby, I really do. I've been discussing this with many people since I started, and if the other person is a Bond fan, we've had lots of good discussions and I've often learned much more about the movies and locations and stories. If anyone out there among my readers happens to be a billionaire or multi-multi-millionaire, who is a huge Bond fan, and wants to visit real 007 locations and has the jet fuelled and ready to go, I'll be happy to be your guide. If there's a wife of such a rich dude, who knows her husband has already bought anything he might ever want, but the wife wants to give a once-in-a-lifetime experience to her Bond-fan husband, I've got the perfect week around the world, or two weeks, or how much time you can get your hubby to spare. And wouldn't you know it, while I might help your husband find the exact scene for Bond, you might prefer to spend your time in that town at the shopping malls in such shopping mecchas as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, London, New York and San Francisco. Or if you prefer the beaches, then Bond's been to just about all the paradises from Phuket to Bahamas, from Rio to the Keys, from Cote d'Sur to Jamaica... Drop me a note.