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Thursday July 18th 2024

No Time To Die | 2021

No Time To Die filming location: Kalsoy, Faroe Islands
No Time To Die location: Safin's island complex: Kalsoy, Faroe Islands | Photograph: Shutterstock / Nick Fox
No Time To Die poster

Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond opens with a flashback establishing the backstory of Madeleine Swann, the daughter of assassin Mr White from Spectre.

▶ Young Madeleine’s lakeside home, where her life is spared by a mysterious masked assassin, was built for the film on the northern tip of Langvann, a lake about two miles west of the village of Hakadal in Norway.

It was built just south of the road separating Langvann from neighbouring lake Elvannet, though the interior was reconstructed back in the UK at Pinewood Studios.

Hakadal itself is about 20 miles north of Oslo, on the border with Viken County, and accessible by rail or bus.

▶ In not-quite-the present day, grown-up Madeleine (Léa Seydoux) is swimming with Bond at Spiaggia Cent’Ammari, a secluded little beach near the town of Maratea, in Potenza, Southern Italy. It’s about six miles south of Sapri on the Tyrrhenian Coast.

Although they’re still together (following on from Spectre), with We Have All The Time in the World from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service playing on the soundtrack as they drive back to the hotel, we don’t have high hopes for the future of their relationship.

The winding coast road is SS-18, south of Sapri, running towards the village of Acquafredda. Though this road is actually a few miles north of the beach location, they’re driving south and their destination is far inland to the east.

No Time To Die filming location: Matera
No Time To Die location: the historic Italian city: Matera | Photograph: Shutterstock / Anton Ivanov

▶ It’s the city of Matera, in the remote southern region of Basilicata, down in the ‘heel’ of Italy’s ‘boot’.

Matera is a collection of ancient cave-houses (known as sassi), dug from the soft volcanic tufa rock. What look like normal houses are in fact windowless grottoes with earth floors, where families once slept alongside their animals. Although façades and roofs were added, the interiors remained virtually unchanged until, in 1952, unhealthy conditions prompted the Italian government to declare the sassi uninhabitable. Nearly 15,000 residents were moved to more modern accommodation.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that a few residents began to move back and renovate the old cave houses.

In 1993, the town was granted UNESCO World Heritage status as "the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region”. It’s now undergoing something of a renaissance with a slew of stylish hotels and restaurants.

No Time To Die filming location: Matera
No Time To Die location: arriving at the hotel in Matera, Bond leaves the DB5 with valet parking: Via Bruno Buozzi, Matera, Italy | Image: Google Maps

Matera was seen back in 1964 as the backdrop to Pier Paolo Pasolini's The Gospel According to Matthew, and in 2004’s very different take on the story – Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. In 1985 it was featured in another Biblical epic, Bruce Beresford's largely forgotten King David, with Richard Gere.

More recently the city became 'Jerusalem' for both the 2006 remake of The Omen, with Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles, and for Timur Bekmambetov’s  2016 version of Ben Hur, as well as 'Themyscira' in Patty Jenkins’s 2017 Wonder Woman.

The nearest airport is Aeroporto di Puglia, around 40 miles to the north, in Bari.

The locations for NTTD are grouped in a relatively small area around the historic Sassi.

Matera is not exactly as it’s seen on screen here. For a start, there is no tunnel for Bond’s trademark DB5 to appear emerge from. He's on Via D’Addozio, entering Matera alongside the gates of Convento di Sant’Agostino.

Matera is not built alongside a towering viaduct, either. That’s a real bridge, but it's in a completely different location (which we’ll come to later) and was added digitally to the aerial shot.

Arriving at their hotel, the DB5 is left with valet parking on Via Bruno Buozzi, in front of what is actually Sano 143 Restaurant.

Bond and Madeleine walk up to the ‘Palazzo Lucareschi’ along Via Muro. In fact, their hotel – the fictitious ‘Palazzo’ – is a mix of three different locations.

The entrance they approach in this scene is the side entrance to Holiday House Bella Vista, Via Muro 55.

But once inside, their expansive hotel room is a set. This was built, not in a studio but, amazingly, on a vast raised platform at the northeast end of Piazzetta Pascoli, overlooked by the Belvedere. This gives those properly gorgeous views of Matera from the windows.

No Time To Die filming location: Piazzetta Pascoli, Matera
No Time To Die location: the "hotel bedroom" set: Piazzetta Pascoli, Matera | Photograph: Shutterstock / wjarek

The third location is seen when Bond later returns to the hotel. This time it’s no longer on Via Muro. This is the entrance to Albergo Palazzo Viceconte, Via San Potito 7, a four-star luxury hotel a little further north.

With the memory of Vesper Lynde still haunting his relationship with Madeleine, Bond decides to visit her nearby grave to try and get closure. This is where things get even more confusing.

The cemetery, in which Vesper is laid to rest, looks as though it’s alongside Matera and reached by that spectacular viaduct we glimpsed earlier.

▶ It’s striking, but it’s another bit of trickery. There is no cemetery. This was a set, or rather, two sets – one built alongside Matera and one alongside the viaduct.

The Matera set was built near the Chiesa Rupestre della Madonna delle Vergini at Murgecchia, to the east of the Sassi, to give a view back toward the city.

The other part was constructed several miles north at Gravina in Puglia.

The bridge is Ponte Acquedotto sul torrente Gravina, Via Fontana la Stella, on the western edge of a town called Gravina di Puglia.

A SPECTRE calling card left at Vesper’s memorial alerts Bond that something is amiss, and he narrowly escapes being blown to bits as the tomb explodes.

It’s on the bridge that there’s a spectacular fight with Primo (Dali Benssalah), which ends when Bond seems to escape through the bowels of the structure.

He emerges, back in Matera, onto Via Civita just north of its divide with Via Madonna delle Virtù, with a side view of Convento di Sant’Agostino, the place he passed on the drive into town, behind him.

Primo catches up with Bond further north at Palazzo del Casale, just off Via Madonna delle Virtù. He comes out of it worse when Bond dislodges his hi-tech eyeball which rolls down the steps toward Via Casale.

But not before he's told Bond that “Madeleine is a daughter of SPECTRE”.

Commandeering Primo's Triumph Scrambler, Bond races back to the hotel.

The steep, narrow flight of steps up which he rides is Via Spartivento, running from Via Lombardi up to Via Tre Corone.

It's quite a leap onto Via Tre Corone but as Bond heads east, there's a much bigger stunt coming up.

Bond’s suddenly faced with a religious procession, only managing to evade it with one of the film’s most spectacular moments – riding up the side of a classical arch and making a breathtaking jump into Piazza Duomo, in front of the Cathedral of Matera.

The stunt was performed for real but not quite as seen on screen. A curved wooden ramp was built to launch the stunt rider but was digitally replaced by that ancient-looking arch. Still looks thrilling, though.

Bond exits up the steps on Salita Castelvecchio to the south, arriving back at Via San Potito and Palazzo Viceconte, that alternative entrance to the hotel I mentioned earlier.

Here he confronts Madeleine about Blofeld’s accusation, but the urgent priority is to get the hell out.

Bond and Madeleine collect the DB5 from the valet back on Via Bruno Buozzi and head east to Piazza San Caveoso, where they’re obliged to perform a swift set of manoevres to avoid the SPECTRE vehicles which have suddenly appeared.

They’re forced to roar off north along Via Madonna delle Virtù, the road that defines the eastern edge of the city, with SPECTRE in full pursuit.

The stakes are upped for Bond when a phonecall from the imprisoned Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) congratulates Madeleine on her achievement.

Via Madonna delle Virtù does a sharp 180-degree turn left, to become Via Sant’Antonio Abate, now running south toward Piazza San Pietro Barisano.

Here at the junction with Via D’Addozio, the DB5 blissfully bursts into old skool Bond mode, by scattering a flurry of, not spikes, but little explosive charges on the road behind it.

Swerving into into Via D’Addozio, Bond is faced with a flock of sheep, but a quick U-turn in front of bar Le Botteghe sends him off along Via Fiorentini.

No Time To Die filming location: Piazza San Giovanni, Matera
No Time To Die location: Bond's DB5 is rammed but fights back: Piazza San Giovanni, Matera | Photograph: Shutterstock / Valeria Cantone

A little way to the west, his car is suddenly rammed by a Range Rover on Piazza San Giovanni, in front of Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista. It looks cool onscreen but, no, this piazza isn’t overlooked by on open belltower – that’s just another digital addition.

This is where Bond tests the car’s bulletproof windows to the max, before performing donuts with guns blazing and escaping in a cloud of smoke.

▶ There’s a huge but barely signalled change in location, back to the Tyrrhenian coast where the bathing scene was filmed, and the town of Sapri.

Here, on Piazza Vittorio Veneto, is the railway station in front of which Bond screeches to a halt, seeing off Madeleine with a cold “You’ll never see me again."

Skipping forward five years, we are finally in the present day, and in London with SPECTRE agents abseiling down the side of a glossy highrise.

This is a bioweapons development lab (near the top of a high-rise block in the heart of Central London?) from which, with the help of treacherous inside-man Obruchev (David Dencik), they steal the mysterious, though beautifully lit, MacGuffins of the “Heracles Project”.

The attack is serious enough for MI6 to turn to the retired Bond, at his idyllic Jamaican retreat.

But the CIA’s Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) beats them to it, accompanied by a heartily enthusiastic young assistant, Ash Logan (Billy Magnussen).

▶ Bond's waterfront home was built (and subsequently dismantled) on a secluded private beach called Cocoa Walk Bay, a couple of miles east of Port Antonio, on the northeastern coast of Jamaica about 60 miles from Kingston.

This is a screen-friendly area. East of Port Antonio are Frenchman’s Cove and Dragon Bay, locations featured in two Tom Cruise movies, Cocktail and Knight And Day. Frenchman’s Cove was also used for the island on which the kids are stranded in Peter Brooks’ 1963 film of Lord of the Flies.

▶ Bond drives into Port Antonio itself, arriving on West Street, crossing William Street by La Best Sports Bar and the Cenotaph, which is where he catches up with Leiter and Ash.

For a bit of privacy, they duck into the nearby (and fictitious) ‘Good ova Evil’ disco where Leiter reveals there’s to be a high-level SPECTRE gathering in Cuba.

Bond declines to get involved, but when his car refuses to start and a woman conveniently passing on a scooter stops to offer him a lift, it’s clear he’s on everyone’s radar.

This is a couple of blocks east, in front of Piggy's Jerk Center, Harbour Street at Foreshore Road on the waterfront. The legendary Piggy's subsequently burned down but, having become a fave of cast and crew, they rallied around and contributed to its rebuilding.

The woman on the scooter is no coincidence, of course. She’s Nomi (Lashana Lynch), not only an MI6 Double-0 agent but the one who’s inherited the vacant 007 designation.

▶ With both MI6 and the CIA on his case, Bond plumps for Leiter’s mission and heads to 'Cuba'.

Unsurprisingly, there’s no filming in the real Cuba, apart from that establishing aerial shot of Santiago Harbour, which looks like it might have been captured by a Second-Unit, guerrilla-style.

Since we’re already in the Caribbean, why not stick with Jamaica? Economically, the harbour of ‘Santiago’ at which Bond arrives is Boundbrook Wharf, just a little west of the Port Antonio location.

Here he meets a grizzled, portly middle-aged man who… no, just kidding. He meets the drop-dead gorgeous Paloma (Ana de Armas).

With little more than a tux, a cocktail frock and a couple of vodka martinis in hand, they manage to infiltrate the SPECTRE shindig, held in the ‘El Nido’ hotel. The whole of this ‘Cuban’ sequence was filmed on a huge set built at Pinewood Studios in the UK.

When Bond is spotted, things are looking bleak until a surprise plot twist sees the entire SPECTRE contingent dropping like flies, courtesy of the rogue scientist Obruchev who seems to have flipped allegiances.

It’s back to Boundbrook Wharf, complete with revolutionary murals, as Obruchev is bundled aboard a seaplane and flown to a trawler where Leiter is waiting.

With people swapping sides, it’s no longer clear who’s behind all of this, but Ash turns out to be with the bad guys, making off with Obruchev and leaving the ship to sink.

No Time To Die film location: Centaur Street, Lambeth, London SE1
No Time To Die location: Bond retrieves the old V8 Vantage from storage: Centaur Street, Lambeth, London SE1

▶ Bond survives, making it back to London where he retrieves his old V8 Vantage (identical to the one seen in The Living Daylights, down to the registration plates, back in the days when Bond looked like Timothy Dalton). out of storage in the railway arches on Centaur Street, SE1 near Lambeth North, south of Waterloo.

The tunnel out of which he drives is actually an underground parking space. For some reason, the image is flipped, left to right (though the number plate is correct).

No Time To Die film location: Centaur Street, Lambeth, London SE1
No Time To Die location: Bond drives the V8 Vantage from the storage unit: Centaur Street, Lambeth, London SE1

▶ He heads directly to the Ministry of Defence, parking on Whitehall Court, in front of what was the hotel entrance in Stephen Frears’ 2002 Dirty Pretty Things.

No Time To Die film location: Ministry of Defence, Horseguards Avenue, London
No Time To Die location: Bond goes to see M: Ministry of Defence, Horseguards Avenue, London

That’s the real, solidly imposing entrance to the Ministry of Defence, on Horseguards Avenue. It’s not often seen on screen, but it was visited by Tom Cruise in 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow.

▶ 'Ministry Security', where Bond needs to remind the security guy that he’s “James” is a familiar location – Senate House, part of the University of London on Malet Street, Bloomsbury, WC1.

Senate House has an impressive list of screen credits – having been seen in both Batman Begins (as ‘Gotham Courthouse) and The Dark Knight, in Richard Loncraine's Richard III, with Ian McKellen, as ‘New York’ in Tony Scott's vampire flick The Hunger, as the CIA HQ in the same director’s Spy Game and, more recently, as ‘the best restaurant in Moscow’ in Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

This section is the less familiar Macmillan Hall, apparently it’s one of London’s largest floor spaces. It’s available to rent if you’re planning a banquet or a conference, but otherwise only the lobby area is generally open to the public (though that’s the part seen in Christopher Nolan's Batman movies).

With the revelation that M had a hand in developing the 'Heracles Project' which has now fallen into the wrong hands, Bond goes off on his own personal mission, roping in Moneypenny (Naomie Harris).

▶ Needing to extract info from a memory stick, they head to the home of Q (Ben Whishaw), which is 42 Roupell Street, SE1, near Waterloo.

Please remember, this is a private home and do not disturb residents. Q does not really live there, you know.

No Time To Die film location: Roupell Street, Waterloo, London SE1
No Time To Die location: Bond and Moneypenny call on Q: Roupell Street, Waterloo, London SE1

The Georgian terrace of Roupell Street is another screen fave, seen as ‘Sixties Bethnal Green’ in Legend, the Krays biopic with Tom Hardy, and as early 20th century London in Sarah Gavron's' Suffragette, with Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep.

The stick contains a database of agents worldwide and it’s obviously urgent to contact the only surviving member of SPECTRE – Blofeld.

The only person to whom Blofeld is willing to speak is – Madeleine Swann, who’s now a psychotherapist working in London.

We see her crossing The Mall, the grand ceremonial road leading to Buckingham Palace, to the Duke of York’s Steps, the deserted staircase where Cillian Murphy sees useless money drifting about in Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later…

No Time To Die film location: Carlton House Terrace, London SW1
No Time To Die location: Madeleine Swann's psychotherapy practice: Carlton House Terrace, London SW1

▶ These steps lead up to Carlton House Terrace, which is where Madeleine runs her practice at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace. Housing the British Academy, this was more recently seen as ‘The House of Baroness’ in Disney’s Cruella, and was previously featured in two Henry James adaptations The Wings of the Dove (1997) and The Golden Bowl (2000).

Her new patient turns out to be Safin (Rami Malek), the mysterious man who spared her life when she was a child, and who’s now calling in that favour.

▶ Meanwhile, Bond is meeting with M in front of the Furnivall Sculling Club on the Lower Mall riverfront by Hammersmith Bridge. This is only a few doors along from the Rutland Arms pub, where the band Queen meet their prospective manager in 2018's Bohemian Rhapsody, which also starred Rami Malek.

The facility in which Blofeld is held is Belmarsh Prison, a high-security Category-A men’s prison in Thamesmead, east of London. Housing some of the most notorious prisoners this side of Arkham Asylum, it’s obviously seen only in an aerial shot.

When they visit Blofeld, it becomes clear what Safin’s “favour” was.

▶ Madeleine returns to her Norway home, followed by Bond, who’s surprised to discover she has a young child with piercingly blue eyes.

Now in danger and Bond drives them away along that spectacular causeway, which is Atlanterhavsveien (Atlantic Ocean Road), a five-mile-long section of County Road 64 that runs through an archipelago in Hustadvika and Averøy municipalities in Møre og Romsdal county.

▶ Of course, Safin’s goons are not far behind. The car and bike chase was filmed on the Ardverikie Estate, on the southern shore of Loch Laggan, on the western edge of the Cairngorms in Scotland.

The Estate was also seen in 1997's Mrs Brown, with Judi Dench as Queen Victoria, 1982 comedy The Missionary, with Michael Palin, and 2011's Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, with Ewan McGregor. It's probably most famous, though, as the setting for 'Glen Bogle' in the popular BBC TV series Monarch of the Glen.

▶ Once they flee the wide open countryside for the cover of  dense woodland, this is Swinley Forest, Buttersteep South in Berkshire.

▶ Madeleine is abducted but Bond escapes, to be picked up by the 'other' 007. She takes him to “a NATO airbase in Norway” where a C-17 Globemaster aircraft is ready and waiting to take him to Safin’s private island, with its ‘Poison Garden’.

The base is RAF Brize Norton, about 75 miles north-west of London in Oxfordshire. Opened in 1937, it’s the largest Royal Air Force station in the UK, and also became ‘Ramstein Air Base’ for Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

▶ Finally, Safin’s island, where the rest of the movie plays out (OK, Safin’s lair is a studio set) is the extraordinary Kalsoy in the Faroe Islands. They’re north of, and I think many people assume are part of, Scotland. They are actually part of Denmark.

Safin's facility was added digitally to the bay south of the village of Trøllanes on the northeast coast of the island.