Never looking crumpled after a long flight, James Bond has taken us with him on international adventures for decades. Some locations were real, some were fictitious — all were magnificent. Our fascination with this charmer was renewed when we heard that Roger Moore, the most prolific actor who starred in Bond movies from 1973 to 1985, passed away in May 2017.
Roger Moore has already been fittingly immortalized. He has been a goodwill ambassador and is perfectly frozen in time at Madame Tussauds. In addition, a number of elements in pop culture now carry his moniker, and he has memorably immortalized vodka martinis by the succinct phrase “…shaken, not stirred”.
In Live and Let Die (1973), Bond travelled to the exotic Caribbean island of ‘San Monique’. Most of the lush tropical scenes set in San Monique were actually filmed at Ochos Rios in Jamaica.
Ian Fleming clearly had a penchant for Jamaica, having written all the Bond novels from his villa “Goldeneye” in Oracabessa Bay, which was the filming location for many of his other films.
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) was originally going to be filmed in Iran. Eventually Scaramanga’s island hideout was shot on Khow-Ping-Kan, one of the tiny lush limestone pillars in Phang Nga Bay located in Phuket, Thailand. Tourists now take the 54-mile bus journey and boat trip to see the now famous “James Bond Island”.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) was a lavish mega-production, with the villain planning to rule an undersea kingdom after destroying the world above. The original intention was to film in an underwater “city” being developed in Tokyo, but later Egypt and Sardinia became the key locations. Bond “drove” his Lotus Esprit S1 sports car/submarine in this movie. “Wet Nellie” was lost and was rediscovered in 1989, later bought by Tesla founder, Elon Musk, for £616,000.
The opening sequence featured an awesome ski jump, supposedly in Berngarten, Austria. It was, in fact, filmed on the amazing 3,000-feet Asgard Peak, on the east coast of Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada.
Moonraker (1979), the budget for which was more than the first six James Bond movies combined, showcases iconic Venice in this humorous gondola chase.
A Bond movie presents some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. For Your Eyes Only (1981) was filmed at an awe-inspiring mountaintop monastery in Meteor, Greece. Agia Triada (a/k/a the Holy Trinity Monastery) rests atop a vertiginous mountaintop, encircled by a 139-step stairway.
These monasteries were located in difficult terrain accessible only by removable wooden ladders during the Serbian-Byzantine wars. The inhabitants of the other monasteries, not particularly happy about the filming, allegedly hung out their laundry in order to disturb taping.
Octopussy (1983) also had diverse film locations, mainly consisting of India, England, Germany and Utah. In one memorable scene, Bond swims up to a floating palace, Lake Picchola, located in Udaipur, India, disguised as a crocodile. The enviable den of villain Octopussy (whom he suspects of having smuggled a Fabergé egg) is the beautiful home to, fittingly, only beautiful women
Roger Moore’ final Bond film, and least admired outing, was A View to A Kill (1985), which was filmed in England, California, France, Switzerland and Iceland. At 57, this gave Moore the dubious distinction of being the oldest Bond ever. For those who like heritage tourism, you can visit the Chantilly Castle in France, which was where Max Zorin, the villain in the movie, called home.
Roger Moore’s James Bond inspired many fans to visit these remarkable sites. These iconic locations will keep the memory alive of a great actor: that’s Moore. Roger Moore.