James Bond (Roger Moore) about to face off with the evil Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Quantum of Solace (release date: November 2008)
The Palio, Siena, Italy
The scene: In the fast-paced opening scene, Bond (Daniel Craig) chases a spy through a warren of medieval aqueducts in Siena. In the summer, you can take a tour of the subterranean cisterns through La Diana Association (011-39/366-358-8181, $13). Bond eventually pops up through a manhole in Piazza del Campo, the shell-shaped main plaza. He's directly in the path of the Palio bareback horse race. He then pursues the spy across the rooftops.
The place: Ten horses representing Siena's wards thunder around Piazza del Campo. The afternoon event—which happens every year on July 2 and August 16—is called the palio, which means "banner," for the silk banner that's awarded to the winning horse. It's the most exciting 90 seconds in Italian sports, so be sure to stake out a spot in the plaza at least six hours in advance. ilpalio.org/palioenglish.htm, free.
Bonus Quantum of Solace travel tip
In one key scene, Bond's plane is shot down. He has to share his parachute with his latest paramour, Camille (played by Olga Kurylenko). The scene was actually filmed in Bedford, England, at Bodyflight, a skydiving center with a wind tunnel that simulates free-falling at 120 miles per hour. There aren't cables in the wind tunnel. You're literally floating! from $70
Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Fla.
The scene: Designed by architectural visionary Morris Lapidus and opened in 1954, the Fontainebleau takes center frame of the famous aerial shot that opens Goldfinger. Later, the dourly amused Bond (Sean Connery) catches the greedy Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) cheating at cards by the hotel's pool.
The place: Sadly for fans, the hotel scenes were a ruse. To save money, the actors performed on a replica of the hotel's pool deck at Pinewood Studios in England. Fictional CIA agent Felix Leiter (Cec Linder) did, however, drop by the actual hotel in northern Miami Beach for some exterior and establishing shots. The Fontainebleau has recently undergone a half-billion dollar facelift. The 22-acre property re-opens November 14 with a spectacular 40,000-square-foot spa. 800/548-8886, fontainebleau.com, from $245.
Dr. No (1962)
Dunn's River Falls & Park, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
The scene: When the incomparable Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) emerges from the waves—to the delight of Bond (Connery) and generations of men worldwide—she does so along the shores of Laughing Waters, a private Jamaican estate. Bond and Ryder then trek inland to pursue the mysterious Dr. No, breaking for a refreshing dip at Dunn's River Falls.
The place: Now receiving about 1 million visitors a year, Dunn's River Falls is a 640-foot tall waterfall on Jamaica's northern coast. It is three miles from the tourist haunts of Ocho Rios. Guides walk you up the rocks in a human chain, treading carefully for about an hour through the cascades. Splash around, and then take a rest on a nearby terrace—where you can dream of Ursula to your heart's content. 876/974-5944, dunnsriverfallsja.com, admission $15 for adults.
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Ko Tapu, near Phuket, Thailand
The scene: Bond (Roger Moore) pilots his seaplane to an island to confront Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), an assassin who has kidnapped his bombshell du jour, Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland). Bond is greeted on the beach by the diminutive, slightly sinister minion Nick Nack (Hervé Villechaize), who proffers a bottle of Dom Pérignon on a tray. From a hidden perch, Scaramanga removes the cork with a single well-placed shot, demonstrating his marksmanship—and his flair for the dramatic. Bond and the assassin adjourn for banter and gunplay.
The place: As Bond and Scaramanga duel, viewers see a pillar of rock spiking out of the water in the background. This is Ko Tapu, which lies in Phangnga, a bay off Thailand. On the beach where the fictional duel takes place, vendors today hawk trinkets and overpriced beer. Despite the commercialism, the beach still offers cinematic views of Ko Tapu, which has been nicknamed James Bond Island. Book a sightseeing trip there—along with a tour of the mangrove forests of Ao Phang-nga National Park—through a hotel concierge in Phuket. jamesbondisland.com, tours from $27.
From Russia with Love (1963)
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
The scene: Built around the year 532, Hagia Sofia has alternately served as a church and as a mosque. Bond (Connery) slips into the structure not to pray but to meet Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi), a beautiful Russian who can help him get his hands on a Soviet encryption device. Posing as a tourist, Bond is there when a Soviet agent, who is trailing Romanova, is suddenly offed by a lurking assassin. After a tour guide points out the "porphyry columns" and the "ablution fountain," Bond deftly snatches documents from the agent's corpse—a small twist in the movie's intricate plot.
The place: Hagia Sophia is the premier example of Byzantine architecture. The building's dome, reaching about 180 feet above a stone floor, is particularly remarkable. On a bright day, 40 windows along the dome's base create the illusion that the dome is floating on sunlight. If you visit, be prepared to pass through one of the metal detectors that have been installed since Bond's mission. 011-90/212-528-4500, english.istanbul.gov.tr, admission $8.
Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India
The scene: Investigating a crime ring, Bond (Moore) swims to the island hideout of a jewel smuggler—Octopussy (Maud Adams). Bond infiltrates her watery lair and outwits her cult of deadly octo-babes by donning a crocodile suit that doubles as a submarine. It doesn't take long for the suave überspy to seduce his enemy and uncover valuable clues, but not without facing his share of challenges, including a memorable run-in with an irritable saw-blade enthusiast.
The place: Octopussy's home is set at the Taj Lake Palace, a hotel in northwestern India. The white-marble structure was built 262 years ago as a summer home for a royal family. It fills a four-acre island on Lake Pichola in such a way as to create the illusion that it is floating on the lake's surface. Today, the 83-room hotel charges steep rates. And don't try to boat over and take a closer look—the hotel says it only permits overnight guests to visit. 011-91/294-242-8800, tajhotels.com, from about $740.
Le Casino de Monte-Carlo, Monaco
The scene: Bond (Pierce Brosnan) engages in an amorous, vehicular duel with Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), an agent for an evil crime syndicate. After the "auto erotic" race, Bond follows Onatopp into Le Casino de Monte-Carlo, the centerpiece of the Monte Carlo quarter in Monaco, a principality that borders Italy and France.
The place: The casino is a classic belle epoque structure and served as the inspiration for the setting of a climactic betting game in Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. Entrance fees to the casino start at about $16—formal attire is standard. The casino has no in-house hotel. Rooms may instead be rented a few steps away at the equally classic Hôtel de Paris (from about $630). 011-33/377-9806-2121, casinomontecarlo.com.
Casino Royale (2006)
One&Only Ocean Club, Paradise Island, Bahamas
The scene: Bond (Craig) flies to the Bahamas to thwart a stock swindle that might ultimately fund terrorism. Traveling to the swank One&Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island, Bond joins a card game versus a henchman with a gambling problem. Our hero manages to win the henchman's Aston Martin—and bed the man's wife, of course.
The place: In real life, the One&Only sponsors no public gaming. But it does have a dune beach and a Versailles-inspired garden. If you go, be prepared to take out a second mortgage to fund your stay—or look for lodging starting at about $200 per night at the nearby Atlantis, a fancy resort with a casino. 888/528-7157, oneandonlyresorts.com, rooms from $500.
This story has been updated with new information since it was first published on June 2, 2008.
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