When cinema audiences around the world tune into a James Bond film, they know a few things to expect already. They expect cool, suave and sophisticated antics from the spy; they expect beautiful women and heinous villains, and they expect the mission to take 007 around the world to any number of exotic locations with breath-taking scenery. But where are the most glamorous places that Bond has visited over the course of 24 films?
Macau, a special administrative region of China, gives itself the name of the gambling capital of the world. So, it’s no surprise that, when Bond visited in 2012’s Skyfall, he went straight to the casino. It makes sense, given that Macau has two of the richest casino owners in the world – although, neither owns the fictional Komodo dragon-filled casino Bond visits. We get a glimpse of Macau by night, with lights illuminating the dazzling waters as punters arrive by candlelit boat to the casino in the middle of the water. We’re not in Macau long, but the sheer cool it exudes is one of the pervading images of the films. The darkness and light theme carries over to Bond’s hotel too, demonstrating that being a superspy comes with its perks.
Nowhere on earth can be as beautiful as the Bahamas. Thunderball (1965) takes 007 to Nassau on the trail of Emilio Largo, where he ends up staying for the majority of the film. We witness a street carnival, deep sea diving, the beaches of the Bahamas, and the creatures that live in the shallows. Taking Bond to such beautiful climes shows that Ian Fleming, the Bond writer, and the producers following in his footsteps, understood that part of the James Bond escapism was to travel the world and see places you wouldn’t normally be able to see. The Bahamas, at the time, and even now, is considered one of the most picturesque locations in the world.
Just because you can’t lounge around a pool there, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t count as a glamorous location, as 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service showed us with Bond’s stay in Switzerland. The plot takes Bond, posing as a genealogy expert, to Piz Gloria, the fictional lair of longstanding villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld. During Bond’s stay at what has now been turned into a revolving restaurant in Schilthorn, we are privy to the sights and sounds of the middle of nowhere in the snow. Some of the skiing scenes help demonstrate how luxurious it is to be surrounded by the snow. Bond had previously travelled through Switzerland in 1964’s Goldfinger, where he trailed the title villain’s car through the Alps around Geneva’s infamous Furka Pass in his Aston Martin DB5. The scene is memorable for Bond’s use of the revolving number plates and tire slashers.
Bond has been to some pretty locations since he burst onto screens in 1962 and, as the producers realize that fans dream of the spy life for the travel opportunities, that’s certainly one feature that won’t be missed out in Bond films to come.