San Francisco Shoot

16th May 2015

Tony Piazza recalls the extensive location shoot in San Fransisco for 'A View To A Kill'

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In October of 1984 the James Bond film, "A View to a Kill", was filmed on location in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was the fourteenth in the Bond series and the last to feature Roger Moore as James Bond.

For weeks prior, the local media broadcasted stories about 007's arrival in the city, and expectations grew high among Bond fans. On the announced date the trucks rolled in, and soon after a Fuji blimp could be seen making an unusual number of "fly-bys" over the Golden Gate Bridge.

A View To A Kill San Francisco Fire Truck
Above: San Francisco's iconic firetrucks stand at the waiting.

On a Friday night, during the first week of their arrival, the second unit filmed a chase scene at the intersection of Market and California. It was a sequence where a hook-and-ladder driven by Bond (now a fugitive) was being pursued by the police. To accomplish it, the crews rigged up two police cars with attach bars (in the film they'd locked bumpers) and were fastening the whole assembly to a tow car equipped with camera, lights, and sound equipment.

The famous stunt driver, Remy Julienne was in charge of the action - along with the 2nd Unit director, Arthur Wooster. Julienne entire team was present, which included some of his family members.

As the rigging was completed, the unit, escorted by two SF police officers on motorcycles, moved onto Market Street where the running shots took place. Two actors dressed as police officers were placed at the wheel and were exchanging dialogue between the two cars. This was repeated a number of times before they were satisfied with the results, and announced a "print".

A View To A Kill Camera Crew
Above: Alec Mills oversees the photography of the police-car chase in San Francisco.

On the following Friday evening the 1st unit of the Bond Company was at San Francisco's City Hall. Butane gas tanks were placed on the roof at each side of the dome and burners were lit by the pyrotechnical crew to simulate a major fire engulfing the building. On cue from director, John Glen, a hook-and-ladder, siren wailing, raced down Polk Street pulling to a stop in front of city hall. Several firemen poured out, hooking up hoses, and raising an extension ladder toward the roof where the fire was supposedly blazing. As a couple of firemen started the climb, the director yelled "cut" bringing this particular sequence to a close. It took several "takes," but eventually director Glen seemed satisfied with the results, and they moved on to another setup.

Fire at San Francisco City Hall A View To A Kill
Above: A controlled burn at San Francisco's City Hall.

This one had stunt doubles for Roger Moore - Dick Ziker and Tanya Roberts- Karen Price, climbing down a ladder as a crowd of "extras" waiting below applauded their rescue. This also took a number of "takes" which had the production company wrapping well into midnight.

The next day, the production company returned to city hall to film the interior sequences leading up to last night's events. Access to the public was prohibited, but at lunch the caterer had set up tables in a nearby park. Here Roger Moore wearing a navy blue jogging suit, with a cigar in hand could be seen sitting across from Producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli- both taking a much needed break. This outdoor setting provided a chance for fans to see their star up close, take pictures, and get autographs which Moore graciously agreed to- and even seemed to enjoy.

However this was not the last encounter that fans would have with Roger Moore (or the entire cast for that matter). After the film had wrapped its location shoot the mayor and city officials set up an event proclaiming "James Bond Day in San Francisco". Here the public was invited to watch their hero receive a nod of thanks from the local politicians and given a send off worthy of a James Bond adventure.

B.J. Worth parachutes into San Francisco
Above: B.J. Worth parachutes into San Francisco.

At precisely noon all the members of the cast (Christopher Walken, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones, Duran Duran, Walter Gotell, Patrick MacNee, Albert R. Broccoli, Michael Wilson, and John Glenn) followed Mayor Diane Feinstein and Roger Moore out on to the steps of city hall. A roar instantly went up from the awaiting crowd.

Walter Gotell, Cubby Broccoli and Michael Wilson at the A View To A Kill Premiere.
Above: Walter Gotell, Cubby Broccoli and Michael Wilson at the "A View To A Kill" Premiere.

The mayor presented Roger Moore with a proclamation mounted on a plaque, and Moore followed with a few words of thanks. He next directed everyone's attention to the sky where a helicopter hovered above. On cue, a stunt man dressed in a tuxedo leapt from the aircraft and came parachuting down into an area cordoned off by the police. B.J. Worth was the stunt man, and he was wearing the same parachute he utilised for the Eiffel Tower jump in the film. Upon landing, he shed his chute, and made his way through the crowd to deliver a check (from the company) made out to the Mayor's Youth Fund. If one thing could be said about this Production Company- they really knew how to put on a show - and what a spectacular end to visit that San Francisco residents will not likely forget.

Roger Moore takes a break between filming.
Above: Roger Moore takes a break between filming.

About The Author
Tony Piazza is a mystery writer, film historian, and veteran storyteller renowned for his passion for writing and movies. He is the author of three mystery novels and a non-fiction work. Actor and stand-in for movies and television, Piazza has appeared in such notable films as Magnum Force and The Streets of San Francisco. From Clint Eastwood to Steve McQueen, Piazza's stories read like a who's who of Hollywood. He is also a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and SLO Nightwriters.

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