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Friday December 8th 2023

Die Another Day | 2002

Die Another Day film location: The Reform Club, Pall Mall, London SW1
Die Another Day film location: The duel in ‘Blades’: The Reform Club, Pall Mall, London SW1

Lee Tamahori brings a touch of grittiness and – almost – realism to the early scenes (could you imagine Roger Moore’s Bond going shaggily unshaven?) , but is let down by some cheesy effects and downright silly gimmicks (invisible cars!).

The opening surfing scene features what are claimed to be the biggest waves in the world at a Peahi Beach, called ‘Jaws’, on the north coast of Maui, Hawaii.

Bond comes ashore, however, at Holywell Bay, near Newquay in Cornwall.

‘North Korea’ is largely the backlot at Pinewood Studios in England, though airborne scenes filed at the army base in Aldershot in Hampshire.

Die Another Day film location: Simpson House, Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, London
Die Another Day film location: the interior of the Cuban cigar factory: Simpson House, Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, London

‘Hong Kong’ was also faked on sets, and the US blockade of Cuba meant that the real ‘Havana’ was out of the question.

Cadiz, on the Atlantic coast of Spain (where it rained constantly), stood in for the Cuban capital, but the interior of the cigar factory, where Bond drops the magic name 'Universal Exports' in his search for Zao, is Simpson House, 92 Stoke Newington Road, north London.

Die Another Day film location: Westminster Bridge, London SW1
Die Another Day film location: The entrance to ‘Vauxhall Cross’: Westminster Bridge, London SW1

And how times change. Remember Sean Connery’s Bond dissing that shocking threat to civilised society, the Fab Four, in Goldfinger (“like listening to the Beatles without earplugs”)? The arrival of Brosnan’s Bond in the capital is heralded by a burst of The Clash.

The entrance to the (fictitious) ‘Vauxhall Cross’ tube station is a security booth at the southern end of Westminster Bridge, by the old County Hall. The guys who work there are supposedly getting a bit pissed off with Bondites banging on their door, wanting to see the mysterious lost station. But you’re not that dumb, are you? It's a movie, for God’s sake, the interior is a set. Duh!

On the Thames-side walkway alongside – but seemingly a world away – is the spot where Alfred Hitchcock put in his cameo appearance in his 1972 thriller Frenzy.

The station set is based on the old, unused Aldwych Station, on the Strand, which itself has been used in loads of films, including An American Werewolf in London, Atonement, Sliding Doors, Prick Up Your Ears, The Krays and the supremely creepy Death Line (where it stood in for Russell Square Station).

Die Another Day film location: Vauxhall Cross
Die Another filming location: MI6 HQ: SIS Building, Vauxhall Cross, London SE11

Further west, on the South Bank of the Thames, alongside Vauxhall Bridge, stands the genuine SIS Building, 85 Albert Embankment at Vauxhall Cross (though without a station), Lambeth SE11, the fancy new HQ of the real MI6, and seen at the start of the boat chase in The World Is Not Enough, and having a real bad time in the Daniel Craig Bond films, Skyfall and Spectre.

Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) makes a spectacular entrance, parachuting down in front of Buckingham Palace at the top of the Mall.

Die Another Day film location: The Reform Club, Pall Mall, London SW1
Die Another Day film location: the lobby of the fictitious club 'Blades': The Reform Club, Pall Mall, London SW1 | Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo / Timeline Images

Gentleman’s club ‘Blades’ is mainly a set, as you can tell from the way the surroundings are treated, but the central section of the fencing duel and the lobby, where Bond receives the mysterious key, are the Reform Club, 104 Pall Mall, seen in Guy Ritchie’s revamp of Sherlock Holmes, as the lobby of the 'Dolphin Hotel, New York' in the 2007 film of Stephen King's 1408, the 2001 remake of The Four Feathers with Heath Ledger, the 1998 big screen version of The Avengers, Lindsay Anderson’s anarchic O Lucky Man! and Roger Donaldson’s The Bounty.

Although the Reform was the starting point for Phileas Fogg's journey in Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, a different London club was used for the 1956 epic film. In the 22nd Bond film, Quantum of Solace, the Reform becomes the government office to which M is summoned to answer for 007’s behaviour. The Reform is a private gentleman's club and not open to the public.

Graves’s ice palace is in Iceland, where the ice chase filmed on the frozen Lake Jökulsárlón, near Hofn, an area also used in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

The biodome interior is based on the Eden Project, Bodelva, a complex of three geodesic domes, four miles east of St Austell in Cornwall. It’s an ambitious biosphere project designed to promote the relationship between plants, people and resources.

The real Eden Project, is briefly glimpsed as Jinx (a stunt double, not Halle Berry) rappels down.

The exotic beach-house, where Bond and Jinx finally get it together among the diamonds, is Penbryn, between Aberystwyth and Cardigan, Wales. The ‘love nest’ took a team of eight several days to construct, though it appears on screen for seconds, and neither Pierce Brosnan nor Halle Berry appeared at the location.