Bond's magic touch

By Jennifer Ennion

James Bond Island, off the west coast of Thailand. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Jo@net
James Bond Island, off the west coast of Thailand. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Jo@net

He's put fast cars, shaken martinis and leggy ladies on the hit list for many men over the past 50 years, but his influence doesn't end there.

He's also placed many once-hidden havens firmly on the tourist map.

With the premiere of the latest 007 film, Skyfall, approaching, we take a look at some of the hottest destinations made famous by James Bond.

JAMAICA

This gem in the Caribbean has been a staple of James Bond, both the man behind the franchise and the filming locations.

It is where Ian Fleming, who wrote the spy novels on which the films were based, holidayed in his villa near the harbour village of Oracabessa, on the island nation's north coast.

Aptly named Goldeneye, Fleming's Jamaican estate was where he is said to have created the character James Bond and where he wrote a number of the novels.

The first Bond movie, Dr No (1962), featuring a young Sean Connery and that infamous Ursula Andress beach scene, was filmed near the estate.

Live and Let Die (1973), starring Roger Moore, was also filmed in the country. The Green Grotto Caves were the setting for villain Dr Kananga's underground lair.

Goldeneye, which was built on the edge of a cliff, later gave its name to the 17th Bond film and the first for Pierce Brosnan.

NEW ORLEANS - USA

Live and Let Die, the eighth movie in the British spy series, was also partially filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Infamous Bourbon Street in the French Quarter plays a part and Bond lovers will remember the dixieland funeral march during which Hamilton, a British agent, is stabbed.

The famous speedboat chase was filmed in the Louisiana bayou, while the crocodile farm scenes were filmed in Jamaica, despite being portrayed in the film as being in Louisiana.

Bond heads to New Orleans to investigate the death of three UK spies and is led to a Harlem drug lord known as Mr Big, who turns out to be Dr Kananga, the corrupt Caribbean dictator.

Today in New Orleans, as in many other film locations, James Bond tours are offered to die-hard fans.

JAMES BOND ISLAND - THAILAND

One of the most famous destinations used in a 007 film is James Bond Island, off the west coast of Thailand..

A popular port of call among backpackers, James Bond Island is known by locals as Ko Tapu and is located in Phang Nga Bay.

It featured in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), in which Moore again played played Bond.

In the film, James Bond Island is fictionally set in Chinese waters, according to a website of the same name (jamesbondisland.com).

Sunset cruises and longtail boat day trips are currently offered to tourists.

CORFU - GREECE

The gorgeous Greek island of Corfu was host to the 12th Bond film, For Your Eyes Only (1981).

Although part of the film is set in Spain, filming took place in Corfu. The local slopes and olive trees were the setting for a car chase near the village of Pagi.

Casino scenes were filmed at what was at the time the real Corfu casino, reads jamesbondlocations.blogspot, which was housed in the Achilleion Palace in Gastouri.

Many of the local Corfu houses were also said to be painted white for filming.

VENICE - ITALY

Venice has played a part in a number of Bond films, most recently Casino Royale (2006), the first in the series to star Daniel Craig.

Although the story was set primarily in Montenegro the filming actually occurred in Italy, the Czech Republic, Bahamas and the UK.

It's in Venice that Casino Royale has its grand finale, after Bond and his lover, Vesper Lynd, head to the sinking city following Bond's resignation.

A twist in the plot leads Bond into a building that is ultimately consumed by the lagoon during a gunfight.

Other Italian locations in the film included properties on the shores of Lake Como.

The end scenes in From Russia with Love (1963) were also shot in Venice, as were parts of Moonraker (1979).

*Skyfall premieres in London on 26 October and in New Zealand on 22 November.

- AAP

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