21 Jan 2018

Range Rover - the car of choice for the henchmen

A View to a Kill 
First generation Range Rover - 1983 years model in A view to a kill
Range Rover has played a rather significant part in the later half of the Bond series. Bond has not only himself been seen behind the wheel of Range Rovers (in OctopussyCasino Royale and Quantum of Solace) but Range Rover has been the car of choice for some of the villains in the series. Or more accurately, when the villains have cars, the often have Range Rovers.

The tradition started, I believe, with Max Zorin, played by Christopher Walken, in A View to a Kill 1985. Zorin and MayDay are being picked up by Zorin's men by the lake near Zorin's chateau outside Paris, after having disposed of Bond and his car in the lake. In the film, the Range Rover that was used is the first generation Range Rover of model 1983. This first generation model was produced between 1970 and 1996.

Tomorrow Never Dies

In Tomorrow, Carver sends his men after Bond and Wai Lin, after they both have jumped off his skyscraper in Saigon and escaped on a BMW motorcycle. The chase, with the spectacular motorcycle jump over Carver's helicopter in the finale, was actually filmed in Bangkok but were thus supposed to be set in Vietnam.

Carver's Range Rovers feature rather prominently in the film, and consequently this was the second time in the Bond series that the villain had purchased Range Rover cars for his henchmen. The assassin in The Living Daylights, driving a Land Rover down the rock of Gibraltar does not count as he is only stealing the Land Rover from the British Army.

Second generation Range Rover - 1995 years model in Tomorrow Never Dies
The Range Rovers chase Bond and Wai Lin through the streets of Saigon crashing into almost everything. The Second generation Range Rover was produced between 1994 and 2002.

Die Another Day

Third generation Range Rover - model year 2002 in Die Another Day

When Gustav Graves is being knighted in Die Another Day he is being picked up by his men outside of Buckingham Palace in two Range Rover cars of the third generation. The cars are only briefly seen in this scene and Graves are only driven through the gates of the palace, but the cars are also seen parked in Iceland later in the film.

Casino Royale
The third generation Range Rover was seen again In Casino Royale when Le Chiffre's men are driving it Range Rover Series III from 2005 alongside the Jaguar in Montenegro, seen parked in the picture below.

Earlier in Casino Royale three Land Rover Defender 110 from 2005 are also used by Le Chiffre while he is in Mbale in Africa.

The third generation Range Rover was introduced in 2002 and was produced for ten years.

Silva's henchmen in Skyfall have chosen a Range Rover Police car in London, before infiltrating the inquiry meeting M is attending. The car is a 2011 Land-Rover Discovery of the fourth generation. A Land Rover Defender Pick Up was also driven by field agent Eve in the pre-title sequence.


In Spectre, Hinx and his henchmen are kidnapping Dr Swan in the Austrian alps. The henchmen are driving off in two Land Rover Defenders Big Foot and Hinx is riding in a Range Rover of the fourth generation. The model is Range Rover Sport SVR of year 2015. Both models are ideal choices for an alpine drive although Blofeld himself keeps two Mercedes-Benz AMG models in the Moroccan desert.

The fourth generation Range Rover was introduced in 2012 and is still being produced.


A bit off topic, but even Goldfinger had a Land Rover, as a 1958 Land Rover is seen parked on the premises of Goldfinger's factory in Switzerland. 

6 Jan 2018

The Nambutu Embassy in Casino Royale - Nassau, the Bahamas

In the beginning of Casino Royale Bond is sent out to track down the bomb maker and terrorist Mollaka, who is hiding in Madagascar. After chasing Mollaka though a construction site, Mollaka escapes into the embassy of the fictive African country Nambutu.

The two large trees seen in the film still exist and make the location fix fairly obvious.

The action at the Nambutu embassy was filmed in the Bahamas, like all other action that was supposed to take place in Madagascar. The embassy building, being a former hotel, does no exist in its original form, since it was renovated after Casino Royale. Not much of the original building seen in the film can be recognised but the features of the building is still recongisable and the trees, entrance gate and the street outside the property are still the same.

Nambutu is supposedly some form of former French colony with an embassy in Madagascar and which coat of arms bears a strong resemblance to the coat of arms of Kenya. The road that leads from the house towards the main entrance gate has been moved so it is not possible to drive up to the house anymore and a roundabout has been put in.

Many scenes in the film were filmed in the Bahamas which was also the home of Dimitrios, the villain who works in collaboration with Le Chiffre to blow up the Skyfleet prototype at Miami airport.

The house today is belongs to the Bahamian rum maker named John Watling's and houses their rum distillery, showroom and shop. Shortly after the scenes were filmed in 2006, the estate was sold to the National Insurance Board and in 2013, after sitting derelict for many years and undergoing a major restoration, the Buena Vista Estate opened as the home to John Watling’s Distillery.

The scene where Bond jumps over the fence into the garden was also filmed on location.

A small sign in the garden makes visitors aware of the estate's significance in the Bond history.

In reality, the wall Bond jumps over is not very high, only about 1.5 m.
Besides being part of the Bond history, the distillery is located on an historic estate which history goes back to 1789. The estate is called the Buena Vista Estate and has served as both the residence of the British colonial secretary in the 19th century and numerous other dignitaries as well as a famous hotel from the 1920's, called the Buena Vista Hotel.

The history of the estate is most interesting and can be found on the homepage for John Watling's.

26 Dec 2017

Bond and Tracy in Lisbon - Palácio Fronteira

As it is Christmas, I'd thought it appropriate to share one of the locations from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the only Bond film where Christmas is celebrated and features rather prominently, even with Blofeld wishing 007 a merry Christmas. The film also features a Christmas song, especially written for the film by the composer John Barry.

In the film, Bond falls in love with Teresa di Vicenzo, the daughter of an Italian gangster. They share a few romantic moments together in Lisbon early in the film. A few scenes were filmed in what appears to be a park, first with Bond wearing a black tie, and later, with him in a double breasted blazer. Both these scenes were filmed in the same location, namely in the 5.5 hectare large garden of Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira, just outside central Lisbon.

During these scenes Tracy falls in love with Bond and ultimately marries him, which would prove to be fatal. The scene with Bond and Tracy petting the cat by the fountain was filmed in the smaller garden which is located on the back of the palace (south of the building) and the next scene with Bond and Tracy walking by another fountain, this time in different clothes, was filmed in the lower main garden. These scenes will be covered next year.

Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira and the main garden

The palace is still the private residence of the Marquesses of Fronteira but is sometimes open to the public. Check dates and time before going there.

The main garden - located east of the palace building
The Palace of the Marquesses of Fronteira was built between 1671 and 1672 as a hunting pavilion to Dom João de Mascarenhas, 1st Marquis of Fronteira, who had received his title from King Afonso VI of Portugal.

This is the smaller garden where the first scenes were filmed. Bond and Tracy are coming towards the fountain (from the house) and are heading east (to the right) before Tracy sits down by the fountain.

Some steps lead down to the large lower main garden from this smaller garden where the scene with Bond and Tracy were filmed.

The palace garden is magnificent and a location that must be visited. It has not changed notably since 1969 and the spots are very recognizable. In addition to the the two scenes with Bond and Tracy, a few publicity stills were also shot at this location, primarily the picture below, featuring George Lazenby standing on a stone staircase surrounding a pond. 

As the year is coming to an end, we note that it has indeed been a sad year for the Bond series as we lost Sir Roger Moore on 23 May and we also note the passing of Karin Dor, who played the Spectre villain Helga Brandt in You only live twice on 6 November.

One can only wish that Draco's words from On Her Majesty's Secret Service will be true for 2018.
"The best years are still to come, let's hope"  

I wish you all a very 
Merry Christmas, 
and a happy new 2018!

Ta ta,

17 Dec 2017

Entrance to the Grand Bazaar - Gate 1

In From Russia With Love, when Bond arrives in Istanbul he is driven to the office of Ali Kerim, the head of the British Secret Service's "Station T" Turkey. Kerim's office is located inside the famous Grand Bazaar, a location that Bond would visit again in Skyfall. Bond's Rolls Royce arriving at at the Grand Bazaar in front of the Nuruosmanyie Mosque has been covered here earlier. Bond and the chauffeur is seen entering the Grand Bazaar through the main entrance gate.

In a very brief sequence, one of the streets just outside of Gate 1 is seen. This street is called Ç. Nuruosmaniye Cadessi. In the background you can also spot the crowd watching the filming. Crowd control was a huge problem during the filming of From Russia With Love, which is apparent in several scenes.

Bond and the chauffeur enter the Bazaar through the main entrance, Gate 1.

Later, after the meeting with Kerim Bey, Bond leaves in the Rolls Royce again and the stalking Bulgar watches as Donald Grant drives off in the Citroën. The main entrance gate, Gate 1 where Bond and the chauffeur have entered earlier, is seen again through the wall behind the Bulgar, in the picture above.