A year ago I posted the first set of my very unsual selfie-collection. I am taking pictures of myself standing in identical locations where a James Bond actor has been in any of the movies. Its my intention to get actual identical-location selfies collected that get me into at least one identifyable location out of every one of the 23 James Bond movies. I posted 18 pictures out of 14 of the Bond films last year. Now its time to see if I’ve found any more of my Bond Selfies, and is my collection getting closer to ‘complete’ haha.. Again, I’ll do this in the chronological sequence of the Bond movies. And yes, readers, this is a posting about my hobby.. hobby.. there is nothing techie or mobile related in this blog today. But if you like James Bond movies, you may enjoy my 007 Selfie collection.
So Sean Connery starts our series in 1962. We already have the picture from Jamaica. No updates on Dr No.
From Russia with Love
Now we have a proper scene in the same location. From Russia is the 007 where the Soviet spy is sent to seduce James Bond and try to sell him the secret decoding machine, to lure James Bond to be killed. Shot in Istanbul and on the famous Oriental Express train etc. Last time I showed I was on the right river but the picture had me facing the wrong bank. I now have a picture of me on the Bosporus in Istanbul. Here is Sean Connery on the boat on the river. Look at the palace in the background.
Then see me, at the same location in Istanbul on a boat on the Bosporus. Same palace. Same location.
Yes that is the beautiful and iconic Dolmabahce Palace right in Istanbul on the Bosporus. So we now have From Russia with Love added to the collection.
Ah, then the plot to detonate a nuclear weapon at Fort Knox to make the world’s gold supply unusable, so the guy who had the largest private collection of gold, Mr Auric Goldfinger, could become the richest man on the planet. Lovely Bond-villainseque plot, eh? Goldfinger first met James Bond face-to-face at the golf course in England. And that scene ends with his henchman, Oddjob using his bowler hat like a frisbee to cut the head off a statue. Remember that? Here is Sean Connery at the 'Royal St Mark's Golf Course’
And here I am at the same location. The fake statue whose head was chopped off is missing now, but the other statue is still there as is clearly the same building. Alas also no Aston Martin here now..
In the real world this is the Stoke Poges golf course, rather near to Heathrow Airport outside of London. And I have stood at the exact scene of one of the most memorable Bond moments of the 23 movie history. How cool is that. Now, can my hat do the same to this statue....
We had this movie already.
You Only Live Twice
Ah, James Bond’s Japan adventure. He dies in the beginning, then meets Japan’s head of secret service in his underground train-office, has the gyrocopter ‘Little Nellie’ to fly against helicopters for some aerial duelling and the movie ends in the hollowed-out volcano, the most expensive set that James Bond series has ever created. So where have I been? Ah, early in the movie we meet a SPECTRE villain, their Japan boss, a Mr Osato, who is so rich he flies around with a personal helicopter, landing on the roof of his office tower. Yeah, back in the 1960s the helicopter thing was apparently the cool thing to do haha. But that iconic office tower? Here Sean Connery exits the tower to jump into the beautiful white Toyota 2000 sportscar.
And here is the real James Bond at that very same location. That was called the Osato Building in the movie for the Osato Chemical & Engineering Company.
In reality that is a famous luxury hotel in Tokyo, called the New Otani (there are more than one New Otani hotels, so make sure you go to the right one if you intend to visit it). Just to be very clear, if you doubt me, here is the picture of the hotel so you see that iconic big round piece on the top:
Yes, clearly it was the New Otani that pretended to be the Osato Chemicals headquarters in 007 You Only Live Twice. So which New Otani Hotel is this? It is 'The Main' New Otani Hotel in Tokyo in Chiyoda-ku. The Hotel complex has grown a lot since the 1967 movie, and now includes two taller towers. If you want to actually sleep in the building then make sure your hotel booking has the room in 'The Main' building, else its just another tall skyscraper hotel in Tokyo haha..
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Then the Bond actor was changed for George Lazenby. He only did one movie. This is the one with Telly Savalas as the bad guy and much of the action is in Switzerland, often on top of the mountain, or on the sides of the mountain. The mountain is the Piz Gloria and there is a restaurant on the top. I went to Switzerland and had a rental car to go get the picture at the top of Piz Gloria. And I thought very cleverly that the best time for such a glorious spot is at sunset, but when I arrived the nasty Swiss were closing the mountain? Yes there is no evening restaurant only daytime. Weird. So here I am at the ski lift of Piz Gloria
And to prove yes, this is the 007 mountain in Switerland, here is the poster at the mountain advertising the 007 experience..
I wasn’t there on time, I just missed the last ride up the mountain by about 20 minutes. What a waste. But some day I guess I have to rent another car and try again. Why wouldn’t a restaurant on top of the world ‘not’ have their opening hours late enough to catch the sunset? Bizarre
Diamonds Are Forever
Sean Connery returned for one last official Bond movie (before his yet another return in the unofficial Neer Say Never Again). But this is the last time Sean Connery played 007 officially. And this Bond we already have in my 007 Selfie collection. And Sean Connery movies are now done. I have at least one 007 selfie from each of them.
Live And Let Die
Next we have Roger Moore coming in a 007. His first was Live and Let Die. And this movie we have in the Bond Selfie collection.
Man With Golden Gun
And we have this already in the collection.
The Spy Who Loved Me
This I don’t yet have the proper ‘Bond Scene’ but have pictures at some of the landmarks like the Pyramids. So I still have some work to do.
Here too I have pictures near the proper places but don’t have the perfect shot yet. So this I still have to hunt.
For Your Eyes Only
If you remember last time, FYEO was the movie where my ‘proof’ of having been to the country where the film was shot, was the furthest from the actual locations for the movie. Usually I have at least some landmark in the same city for example. Well, I burned some FF miles over New Year’s and went back to Greece to get ‘the’ picture for this movie. I went to Meteora and it is a fabulous, spectacular place, most definitely worth seeing all by itself, without the Bond stuff.
Which Bond is this? The lost spy boat on the Mediterranean, the daughter of the killed spies chases the bad guys and Bond gets tangled in the process, they end up in Greece climbing up the vertical cliff mountain to capture the villain’s lair on the top. That one. Good Moore Bond actually, very good plot and good action and Roger is not too old yet. So, here he is in Greece, in front of an iconic mountain from Meterora: Roger Moore is second man from the right, with the red, in nearly profile.
And has the real James Bond been to the same location? Check out the evidence!
That mountain on the left with the sheer drop on all sides, is where the Monstery of the Holy Trinity is in Meteora. This picture is taken in the wilderness almost exactly NorthWest from the Monastery. So it is on the opposite side of the town of Kalabaka where the railroad is. The way I am facing, about 200 meters ahead of me is a Y-shaped road crossing with three roads leading to: 1) Monastery of Great Meteoron; 2) Katafigio Agrias Zois Kanalaki, and 3) the road to Holy Trinity. The road goes around a depression, small meadow. That is where you need to be, that grassland where the Bond picture was shot, in that area down from the road.
This was the most difficult scene yet for me to get. I went literally three times up that mountain road to finally spot the exact picture location. I thought at one point that the picture was shot in the town, and walked up and down various paths and just couldn’t get it, until I compared very carefully not just the mountain with the monastery, but also the mountains next to it. Then it became obvious where the camera had to have been, and then finding the spot was easy. Took me three attempts up the mountain, took my picture in the morning just before I had to rush to catch my train away from the area..
You can also imagine my concern, as I had already made 2 attempts up the mountain, and I had travelled quite a lot to get to this place, I knew it was the right place but I had to get the right picture and my time was running out (and the return train would get me eventually to my flight, so there was no chance to stay an extra day)
Then we had one picture from Octopussy already last time, but as that was with 007 at a London landmark (Sotheby’s auction house entrance) that wasn’t enough for my ‘proper’ collection. Much of Octopussy happened in India (the fake crocodile as boat, Octopussy island with the women guards, the chase with elephants etc). I had on a previous work visit to India attempted to get the pictures but I was not in the right city (I had bad info). Now I was able to get to where the scenes were shot, in a pretty city called Udaipur (roughly between New Delhi and Mumbai aka Bombay). Here is Roger Moore taking a tuktuk taxi through some iconic gates in town of Udaipur:
And here is the real bond at those same gates:
Ha! I have a Bond Location in India and Octpussy is now properly covered. That gate is actually the entrance/exit to the Shiv Niwas Palace Hotel. But yes, while I was there, I also took some more pictures. So, here is Roger Moore looking out to Udaipur from his hotel window at the Shiv Niwas Palace:
And here I am below that same window of the same hotel (oh, and I even stayed at that hotel).
Cool, eh? Octopussy is now done and India formally added to my Bond Selfie collection.
A View to a Kill
I have pictures with the landmarks but not the right scene yet, those still need to be taken.
The Living Daylights
I have Timothy Dalton’s first Bond movie
Licence to Kill
I also had this movie already but the main movie action happens in an imaginary country called Isthmus. So this we have to get, as the country does not exist. I had actually visited earlier in my life one of the real world buildings that pretended to be Isthmus - the scenes representing Isthmus were shot in Mexico. So the Main Post Office of Mexico City (Palacio de Correos de Mexico) is the beautiful building we see the interior, when James Bond deposits his millions that he stole from the drug kingpin, to the Central Bank of Isthmnus. The time I visited the Main Post Office was years before this hobby and I didn’t think of taking the Bond scene selfie. So on a recent trip in Latin America I stopped by in Mexico City to take the Isthnus related Selfie. Unfortunately I arrived too late for the Post Office but there were other scenes, so I took the shot inside the Isthmus Grand Hotel. This too is in Mexico City as it in real life is the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico. Here is Timothy Dalton at the elevator inside the hotel:
Here is the same hotel, same floor, today. The elevator was not in use when I was at the hotel, I think its now mainly a decoration. But note the intricate detail on the ironworks and the overall layout of the hotel. Yes, its the exact same elevator yes.
Now, unfortunately not very sharp as my selfie shot in the dark, but clearly the real Bond James Bond has been captured also at that same elevator in the same hotel (and yes, I also stayed at this hotel, so I’ve stayed in two proper James Bond hotels so far)
So the two Timothy Dalton movies are also now 'done'.
We have the first Pierce Brosnan Bond
Tomorrow Never Dies
We also have this.
The World is Not Enough
And we have this.
Die Another Day
I had the harbor scene from Die Another Day when Bond with big beard escapes the British prison/hospital on a warship, and swims ashore and climbs up before checking into the hotel. (it is strange that they made that hotel imaginary, as Bond had previosly been seen at the Peninsula Hotel and Hong Kong is full of iconic beautiful tall skyscrapers many of which no doubt would have wanted that movie reference haha) But yeah. I had the picture of me by the shore in Hong Kong at the iconic backdrop, except my picture was in daylight and Bond escaped at night. So now I have that picture also in night time. Here is Pierce at the Hong Kong Victoria Harbor
And here is the real Bond in the same place, now also at night but about a decade later
So now also the four Pierce Brosnan 007 movies are 'done'.
We had the first Daniel Craig movie already.
Quantum of Solace
Ah, and Bond saving Latin America from a man-made water shortage catastrophy. A bit more environmentally relevant plot perhaps. Much of this movie happens supposedly in Bolivia but that was actually shot in Chile and in Panama. So I burned a few miles to visit Panama for the first time in my life, just a brief one-night holiday stop-over to take one picture. My Bond Selfie. Here is Daniel Craig walkinginto the lobby of the Andean Grand Hotel, in La Paz Bolivia.
And here I am at the exact same location just inside those doors..
So. La Paz the capital of Bolivia in South America? No, this is Panama City and the old town. The building that pretended to be the Andean Grand Hotel is no hotel at all. It is the Instituto Nacional de Cultura. It was not open for public when I visited, but the security guard was nice enough to let me just step inside the door to take this selfie (I also would have had the picture from outside anyway).
James Bond pretended to visit Bolivia but in reality he visited Chile and Panama. I have never visited Bolivia yet (its one of the last 5 of the 50 Bond countries that I have not yet visited but of course intend to). I have visited both Chile and Panama. And according to Bond movie evidence I apparently have also been inside the Andean Grand Hotel of La Paz Bolivia haha..
Skyfall is the latest Bond movie and is like two disjointed Bond plots were force-married into one movie. The first half is an unfit Bond returning to duty after vanishing in Istanbul, to go fighting in Shanghai, gambling in Macau, chasing a villain in Asia. Bond can’t even shoot straight but with the help of the British Secret Service and its gadgets, directs the Royal Marines to invade Chinese air space with helicopters to capture the villain. The second half is a supremely-fit Bond as lone-wolf taking his boss hostage, setting up at a farmhouse in Scotland, away from any support, and with essentially his bare hands, takes on literally an army of villains who attack by helicopter - and no British Marines will fly in to rescue Bond and the boss of MI6. Yeah. Very plausible and utterly silly plot. Like a rejected plot of Die Hard, meets a rejected plot of Jason Bourne. And neither of these two heroes we see are even remotely like James Bond in his past 22 movies. Even both women he tries to defend in these two rejected plots, are killed. What is wrong with Bond?
With all that bickering done, what about the Bond Selfies? Well, one of my coolest pictures in the collection is from inside a building. Remember the fight in Shanghai? The tall skyscraper, the elevator, the sniper, etc.. Well, part of the scenes were shot in Shanghai and when Daniel Craig swims at the hotel rooftop pool, the background seen in the movie was really Shanghai. But the skyscraper that Bond has his fight in? That was not Shanghai. That was not China. That was not Asia. That was Blighty. That was England, yes London. The skyscraper is in reality the Broadgate Tower in Bishopgate in London. And we see it quite well in the shots that set up the fight, with Bond parked outside in his car, seeing the assassin enter the building entrance. If you know the building, it is unmistakable. And I did take a selfie on the outside, but by chance, it being a private building, I was able to have a business meeting with one of the companies that operate in that building.. ah! I was able to get a rare inside-building shot into my collection. If you remember Daniel Craig comes up escallators that have very ‘Shanghai-esque’ neon lighting on the sides of the escallators, blue and green. Well, here is Daniel Craig up that escallator ‘in Shanghai’
and here is the real James Bond at the same escallator! Note the blue neon lights and the pillars at an angle etc..
Haha, its a busy building and I had to take several pictures until I got one that didn’t have other people’s faces showing up to spoil my 007 Selfie.
Now on the latest Bond Daniel Craig is taken to the villain’s lair that is quite different from all previous villain’s lairs. This one is not glitzy or glamorous or luxurious, quite the contrary. The abandoned and crumbling town on the deserted island in Macau. It was not a studio set-up and it was not even Hollywood set-design magic on a real city. That place is real and not staged. So first, what am I talking about: This island, you remember, where Bond was taken after he was captured in Macau. Daniel Craig in white shirt stands here on the yacht as it nears the deserted city island:
And here is my selfie leading up to the same island:
What is that place? It is a real place obviously but it is not in Macau. It is actually in Japan. The island is called Gunkanjima ie ‘battleship island’ because its profile looks like a WW2 era battleship, look at this picture for example, and imagine seeing that in your periscope on a dark rainy night.. Battleship ahoy!
Gunkanjima Island is in Nagasaki Japan. It was once the most densely populated space on the planet, a tiny island totally built up, so that gardens and children’s playgrounds were then built on top of the buildings as there was no ground left to utilize. The whole island was employed by staff who worked in a coal mine by Mitsubishi, which extended far underneath the sea and miles and miles of mineshafts, and that island was the entrance and exit to the coal mine. The above picture is my photoshop adaptation for a simulated night shot. This is the same picture in daylight and you see now the buildings:
So all who lived on the island were miners or some people supporting them like the hospital, school etc. And when the mine was shut down in 1974 the whole island became uninhabited, there was no work and they all left. But up to that point many who lived on the tiny island had never even visited mainland Japan, ie spent their whole life on that tiny island the size of a couple of city blocks of concrete. The place is eerie and looks like a post-apocalyptic place, If you ever wanted to see what happens to our massive cities of concrete jungles, after only a couple of decades of neglect. What will humankind leave behind if our species becomes wiped out in some accident or war? Go visit Gunkanjima to see that scenario. It is eerie. if you are near Nagasaki, go visit Gunkanjima it is one of the weirdest places on the planet. And yes, this is one of the few places that also understands its role in cinema history, look at the signage at the boat tour that goes to the island:
And now all three first Daniel Craig 007 movies are also 'done'. I am missing only four movies from which I have not yet got the proper selfie but from each of those four, I do have myself at a landmark recognized form the movie. But yes, those still need to be done, and a few other 007 selfies I will still go collect while I hunt those last four. Probably this time next year this collection will be essentially done.
So thats what we have now... Another ten 007 Selfies into my collection. So thats how the Bond Locations Collection is doing now. I've now also added more 007 countries and have visited 43 real countries and both of the two imaginary countries. In pursuing the wish to visit every one of the James Bond countries as seen on screen, I am down to the last 5 out of 50 to go. So what I now still need are Afghanistan, Bolivia, Cuba, Kazakhstan and North Korea. (if you happen to know of a telecoms conference held in one of those, do let me know haha, or if your company has some business there and would like a seminar or workshop, I am all yours haha). The other Bond countries are all 'done' even as I don't have pictures from all of them. And perhaps this is the most astonishing stat. I have had the privilege to speak at conferences held in 30 of those 48 real existing James Bond countries (ie 63%). If you want to see the previous collection last year, those Bond Selfie pictures are here.
Finally, to be clear. As I wrote last year, 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 more than a year 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.