A View To A Kill | 1985
The fourteenth in the mainstream Bond series, and Roger Moore’s last appearance as 007, uses much the same plot as the 1978 film of Superman, with electronics wiz Zorin (Christopher Walken) attempting to trigger the San Andreas Fault into action and flood California’s Silicon Valley... or something.
The pre-credits ‘Siberia’ teaser is actually Glacier Lake, on the southeast tip of the huge Vatnajökull Glacier and the tiny hamlet of Höfn on the southeast coast of Iceland. You can visit the glacier on a trip from the Hotel Höfn, 781 Hornefjöur, though be warned, the Vatnajökull volcano erupted under the ice-sheet in 1996. The chase continues at a larger glacier, the Vadretta di Scerscen Inferiore on the Swiss/Italian border.
In the UK, M’s London HQ is now the Old War Office Building in Whitehall, Westminster (as it is in both Octopussy and Licence To Kill), and Bond first checks out Zorin at Royal Ascot Racecourse, on the A330 five miles south of Windsor, Berkshire. Incidentally, both of these locations turn up again (in different guises) in the 23rd Bond movie, Skyfall.
After Zorin’s henchwoman, May Day (Grace Jones), makes a spectacular leap from the Tower, there’s a car chase culminating in Bond’s leap into the Seine pleasure boat from the Pont Alexandre III (a wonderfully over-the-top confection also used in the 1956 Anastasia, with Ingrid Bergman, John Huston’s 1952 Toulouse Lautrec biopic Moulin Rouge and John Frankenheimer’s Ronin).
Zorin’s estate is the 18th century (he says it’s 16th century, but that’s a Bond villain for you) Chateau Chantilly, twenty miles north of Paris on the N16 in the Picardy region. The dazzling chateau, open to the public, is set among gardens and lakes to the west of the town of Chantilly. It’s a 30-minute walk from Chantilly-Gouvieux station, reached from the Gare du Nord. The chateau also appears in Valmont, Milos Forman’s version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
The racecourse here is the spectacular Piste d’Avilly, Chantilly Racecourse. Bond pits himself against Zorin in a steeplechase in the Forest of Chantilly, while Sir Godfrey (Patrick Macnee, the original John Steed from sixties TV classic The Avengers) gets garotted in a carwash in the city of Chantilly itself.
The State Office Building, where Zorin’s corrupt official, Howe, has his Divisions of Oil and Mines office is San Francisco City Hall, Van Ness Avenue at McAllister Street. This 1915 domed building, modelled on St Peter’s in Rome, is no stranger to movies – Dirty Harry seems to spend an inordinate amount of time being insubordinate to city officials here, and you may recognise its grand staircase from the ending of Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
The moviemakers were allowed extraordinary licence, including fitting out the balconies with gas jets to simulate Zorin’s burning down of the building.
The fire-truck chase hares off down Market Street to the Lefty O’Doul Drawbridge on Third Street at China Basin (just past the Burger Island where Clint Eastwood utters the immortal line “Go ahead – make my day.” in Sudden Impact. If you were wondering, Lefty O’Doul was an old-time ball-player.
Dunsmuir also featured in a couple of 70s horror pics: it was the Gothic mansion in the 1976 Burnt Offerings (with Bette Davis and Oliver Reed) and the mausoleum in 1979's Phantasm. It also featured in the San Francisco-set Mike Myers comedy So I Married An Axe Murderer.
Zorin’s ‘Main Strike’, the abandoned silver mine in ‘Silicon Valley’ isn’t in California at all, or even in the US.
You can see the entrance to the mine at the 36-acre, open-air Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre – a 36 acre open-air museum dedicated to the industrial heritage of the south-east of England. It presents a wide range of exhibits, ranging from transport-based collections, such as the Southdown bus collection and the village garage, to industry-based collections, such as the Print Workshop & Wheelwrights. The museum is also home to a number of resident craftspeople, who work to traditional methods. Find it opposite Amberley Station in west West Sussex.