Trivia - From Russia With Love
The budget was $2,000,000 (double that of Dr. No (1962)).
In 1950, a US naval attaché was assassinated and thrown
from the Orient Express train by a Communist agent. This story
inspired Ian Fleming's novel "From Russia With Love".
Fleming's own experience at an Interpol Conference in Istanbul,
Turkey provided the setting. The film To Paris with Love (1955)
provided the tile.
This was chosen as the second 007 film after President John
F. Kennedy listed the book among his top ten favourite novels
of all time.
According to the book "Death of a President" (1964) by William Raymond Manchester, this was the last motion picture John F. Kennedy ever saw, on 20 November 1963, in the White House.
The film's USA release was delayed due to the political climate after the JFK assassination.
With the advent of the Cold War, producers Albert R. Broccoli
and Harry Saltzman didn't want James Bond's main enemy to be
Russian, so for the film version his nemesis is the criminal
organization SPECTRE, seeking revenge for the death of their
operative, Doctor No in Dr. No (1962).
"Q"/ Major Boothroyd played by Desmond Llewelyn appears for the first time. This character was played by Peter Burton in Dr. No (1962). When Burton was unable to return for this film, the role was recast with Llewelyn in the part. Llewelyn would reprise the role of "Q" in
16 subsequent Bond films (17 performances in all, he didn't appear
in Live and Let Die (1973)), the most times a single actor has
played the same role in major motion picture history.
playing the role of Kerim Bey, was terminally ill during filming
with the cancer he had likely contracted while
filming the notorious film The Conqueror (1956) near the site
of the US nuclear test site in the Utah desert. Armendariz had
accepted the role in 'From Russia With Love' partially as a means
of providing financial security for his widow, and the film's
schedule was altered in order to film the scenes in which he
appeared while he was still physically able. Towards the end
of the filming of those scenes, such as the Gypsy camp battle
sequence however, director Terence Young had to double for the
actor in some of his long shots. One month after all his scenes
were completed, Armendariz, in emulation of his friend Ernest
Hemingway, committed suicide in a hospital in Los Angeles as
his cancer progressed into the advanced stages.
This is the Second and final appearance of Sylvia Trench. The plan was for Sylvia to be a recurring character a la Moneypenny, but the idea was dropped after this film.
Walter Gotell, who plays Morzeny, would later become a regular in the Bond films as General Gogol.
Anthony Dawson, playing the unseen Blofeld, had previously played
Professor Dent in Dr No . His part is uncredited, and just
attributed to a question mark. He
would return as Blofeld in Thunderball (1965). He is the only
actor to have ever played Blofeld more than once. The voice of
Blofeld in this film was dubbed by an uncredited Eric Pohlmann.
Colonel Rosa Klebb is based on an actual Russian colonel that
Ian Fleming once wrote about in the Sunday Times. Katina Paxinou
was the producers' first choice for the role.
Actresses considered for the role of Tatiana Romanova included
Pia Lindström, Sally Douglas, Magda Konopka, Margaret
Lee, Lucia Modugno, Sylva Koscina, Virna Lisi and Tania Mallet,
the latter ended up getting the role of Tilly Masterston in Goldfinger
(1964). Reportedly, the producers first choice had originally
been Elga Andersen but she was allegedly deemed too difficult
by the studio United Artists. As such, 1960 Italy's Miss Universe
Daniela Bianchi got the part. Her voice was dubbed in the film
by an uncredited Barbara Jefford in order to hide her thick Italian
Vladek Sheybal (Kronsteen the chess master) was a well-studied
Polish actor hesitant to accept a role in a Bond film because
he thought it might not be a good career move, but his friend
Connery persuaded him to sign on and it has helped his career
Location manager Bill Hill was forced to play the role of the real Captain Nash when the actor hired for the role couldn't make it at the last minute.
The garden setting in the opening sequence was inspired by L'année
dernière à Marienbad (1961) which had a lush garden
setting with statues. It was actually the garden at Pinewood
Studios and director Terence Young had the garden recreated in
principal from the art house classic.
Two actresses with bit parts would reappear in later films: Nadja Regin, who plays Kerim's girl, would play the dancer at the start of Goldfinger (1964), and Martine Beswick, one of the Gypsy girls, returned as Paula in Thunderball (1965).
Three Beauty Pageant Queens are actresses in this film: Daniela
Bianchi, Martine Beswick, Aliza Gur. Bianchi (Italy) and Gur
(Israel) were roommates at Miss Universe 1960, which Bianchi
Dorothea Bennett, the wife of director Terence Young, has a
cameo as 'Woman on Bridge' in Venice who films James Bond and
Jaqi Saltzman, wife of producer Harry Saltzman, makes a cameo.
She is leaning out the window of the Orient Express, next to
Robert Shaw, as it leaves the station.
Speaking to Robert Osborne of the Hollywood Reporter [12 April
1982], Broccoli named From Russia With Love one of his favourite
Bond films, alongside Goldfinger  and The Spy Who Loved
Me . Sean Connery said that this movie was his personal
favorite out of all the Bond films he made.
In this film, James Bond does not say "Bond, James Bond"
despite the fact that he does say it in the book this film was
This is the first Bond movie of two where Q is referred to by his real name: "Major Boothroyd".
The other is The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
First Bond film to feature
a story sequence before the credits.
The opening scene where James Bond is stalked and killed by
Red Grant was originally written to appear later in the film.
However, editor Peter R. Hunt figured it would work better as
a teaser at the start of the movie, thus instigating the now-traditional
pre-credits sequence. The man who originally played James Bond's
double looked so much like Sean Connery that director Terence
Young had to re-shoot the scene with a man with a mustache.
Regular James Bond production designer Ken Adam could not work
on the film as he was unavailable due to going to work on Stanley
Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying
and Love the Bomb (1964).
James Bond doesn't appear until 17 minutes and 15 seconds into
the movie. Red Grant's voice is first heard 1h 20m in.
First Bond film to end with the declaration "James Bond will return in ...", in this case it was Goldfinger (1964). A tradition that would continue until it was used for the last time at the end of A View to a Kill (1985).
One of the only Bond films to make direct reference to a previous film. Dr. No (1962) is mentioned by name, and Sylvia establishes that the film takes place six months after Dr. No (1962).
The helicopter (carrying director Terence Young during filming) crashed over water, trapping the director below the surface for a considerable time in an air bubble inside the copter's canopy. He was rescued and then immediately went back behind the camera with his arm in a sling.
The periscope in the scene in which Bond and Kerim Bey spy on
the Russian Embassy from the Basilica Cistern was actually a
dummy wooden periscope double made by UK manufacturing company
Barr and Stroud.
The Lektor device (Spektor in the novel) was inspired by Ian Fleming's wartime work for the top secret Ultra Network, the group that cracked the German Enigma code during World War II.
Editor Peter Hunt assembled a preliminary version of the film for screening to executives at United Artists and decided that the film needed spicing up a bit - when Bond opens the briefcase supplied to him by Q, Hunt spliced in a dramatic shot of Dr No's base exploding from the previous film! Young was so amused by the trickery that he took a copy of Hunt's version and kept it. Happily, the sequence survived and was included in the Inside From Russia With Love  documentary.
The actor appearing in the gun barrel sequence at the beginning of the film is actually stunt man Bob Simmons. The same gun barrel with Simmons was used for the first three Bond movies.
The unveiling of the SPECTRE agent playing James Bond in the teaser had to be reshot when Young felt that the extra playing the part looked a bit too much like Connery for comfort. Afraid that audiences might be confused by the unveiling, he reshot the scene with the extra now sporting a moustache.
SPECTRE's headquarters is 'played' by the main admin building at Pinewood Studios.
Vehicles featured included The Orient Express Train; SPECTRE's
two-seater Hiller UH-12C helicopter; a yellow C30 1961 Chevrolet
flatbed delivery truck; a 1960 Ford Fordor Ranch Wagon; a Venetian
water taxi gondola; a Fairey Huntress 23 speed boat being pursued
by two Huntsman 28 and two Huntress speedboats. In Istanbul,
Bond is pursued by a black Citroën Traction Avant and chauffeured
by a black Rolls Royce Silver Wraith Phantom V. Bond owns a Bentley
automobile as was the case in the original Ian Fleming novels.
Here it is a green-black Derby Bentley Mark IV ½ Liter
Sports Tourer drophead coupé convertible with MTS radio
car-telephone, a uncommon toy for 1963 and only new to Britain
at the time of the film.
As an in-joke, title designer Robert Brownjohn and his cinematographer Frank Tidy plastered main unit director of photography Ted Moore's name all over the gyrating backside of Julie Mendez in the title sequence.
The moves in the chess game played by Kronsteen (Vladek Sheybal)
are from the game played by Boris Spassky and David Bronstein
at the USSR Championship in Leningrad in 1960.
The chess tournament set appearing at the beginning of the film
cost $150,000. The ceiling top of the chess set was actually
a matte painting.
At the beginning of the film, the floor beneath the chess tournament
is laid out in a 10 by 8 pattern with 80 squares instead of the
standard 64 making for a wider visual shot.
Sean Connery was outfitted for the film with eight specially
tailored Saville Row suits, each one costing in the region
In the books, Bond
often drives his beloved Bentley. The car appears in this film
for the only time in the regular series.
Bond's trick attaché case is the first true Bond film
gadget. It is also one of the only gadgets to actually appear
in Fleming's novels. Other "state of the art" gadgets
of the time are the mobile car phone in Bond's Bentley, the miniature
tape recorder in the camera, the AR7 survival rifle, the retractable
garrote in Gante's watch, and the SPECTRE spring loaded shoe
The collapsing rifle given to Bond isn't a gimmick, but was an Armalite AR-7 survival rifle which was a production item which actually does disassemble and fit into its stock. However it fires the .22 long rifle cartridge, not .25 caliber as was stated in the film. As of 2005, it is still in production, although not by Armalite. It is one of very few firearms that will float when dropped into water.
There was alleged to be some real friction between Beswick and on-screen adversary Aliza Gur. Young was apparently quite enamoured of Beswick which didn't sit too well with Gur - some of that gypsy fighting may not be as pretend as one might imagine!
The rats in the film were originally coated with chocolate as
they were lab rats and needed to look like sewer rats. However,
they wouldn't run and sat around licking themselves. Then, real
rats were used but they wouldn't run in the right direction until
Sean Connery opened the door of the studio. Finally, the production
went to Madrid, Spain to shoot the rat sequence.
Over 3,500 onlookers flocked to the Sirkeci Railway Station
in Istanbul to watch the filming. Overcrowding caused delays
in shooting due to such an unexpected turnout. As such, director
Terence Young had stuntman Peter Perkins go and create a distraction
by hanging upside from a balcony nearby so filming could proceed.
On the Istanbul ferry journey, the Maiden's tower can be seen
in the distance behind Bond. This was Renard and Elektra's lair
in The World Is Not Enough (1999).
Krilencu is supposed to be Bulgarian, but uses the Romanian
or Moldovan spelling--the Bulgarian would be Krylenko. Krilencu
tries to escape through a secret window in a billboard advertising
Call Me Bwana (1963), also produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry
A scene was cut just before Bond meets Romanova on the ferry. Bond tries to lose his mysterious pursuer and hops into a taxi. Bond takes control of the taxi's brakes, causing the following Bulgarian to run into the back of the taxi as a third car joins the pile-up. The driver of the third car turns out to be Kerim Bey. When the angry Bulgarian protests to Bey, he is told "My friend, this is life" while Bond makes good his escape in the British Embassy's Rolls Royce. Young shot the scene ten times to get the long ash on Bey's cigar that actor Pedro Armendariz insisted on. It wasn't until a private screening week before the film's release that Young's twelve year old son spotted that the Bulgarian had in fact already been killed by Grant in the mosque! Exit one carefully crafted sequence...
The mosque where James Bond meets Tatiana is called the Hagia Sophia. It was originally a church that was converted to a Mosque in 1453. It is frequently featured in art history texts as an example of domed Basilica.
Muhammat Kohen, who appears briefly as the tour guide at Saint Sophis is a genuine tour guide at the mosque. Shooting was frequently interrupted when genuine tour groups invaded the location!
The picture on the wall of the lobby of the Russian embassy is that of Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
The wife of producer Harry Saltzman is leaning out the window of the Orient Express, next the window containing Robert Shaw, as it leaves the station.
Robert Shaw and Sean Connery did most of the fight on the train
themselves, rather than doubles.
The brutal fight in the train compartment between James Bond
and Red Grant lasts only a few minutes on screen and took three
weeks to film.
During the helicopter sequence towards the end of the film, the inexperienced pilot flew too close to Sean Connery, almost killing him.
The footage of the exploding SPECTRE helicopter has since been recycled for a number of British TV shows as stock footage. It can be seen in the "Doctor Who" (1963) episode "The Daemons".
Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins
for this movie include Rolex Watches, James Bond wears a Rolex
Submariner; Taittinger Blanc de Blanc Champagne; a billboard
advertising another movie made by the Bond producers Harry Saltzman
and Albert R. Broccoli called Call Me Bwana (1963) starring Anita
Ekberg and Bob Hope; and Bentley motor vehicles, James Bond drives
a Derby Bentley Mark 4 ½ Liter Sports Tourer convertible,
the only time he drives a Bentley in the EON Productions series.
The manner of Bond's escape from the pursuing boats is similar to that which featured in an earlier Maibaum script, The Red Beret - in that film, a platoon of soldiers escape from a minefield by firing a rocket across the ground to clear a path through the mines. Here, Bond does something similar with a flare gun and barrels of gasoline.
The boat chase at the end of the movie, although supposed to
be taking place in the Greek archipelago, was actually filmed
in the West of Scotland. The pier James Bond takes off from is
at Lunga House and the scene where the flaming barrels are thrown
off the boat in Loch Craignish Ardfern, Argyll.
The helmsman of the lead "baddies" powerboat pursuing
Bond is Peter Twiss OBE DSC who, in 1956, was the test pilot
who flew the Fairey Delta 2 aircraft to a new world air speed
record of 1,132 mph. At the time of the shooting of the film
he was working for Fairey Marine at Hamble, Hampshire, the manufacturer
of the powerboats used. Mr. Twiss details his role in the film
in his autobiography "Faster then the Sun". He describes
a misunderstanding between Connery and the director regarding
timing during the fuel explosion sequence which resulted in a
re-shoot after 2 days delay.
During the climactic
gondola ride through Venice, a woman in a red dress can be
seen standing on a bridge. This was the wife of director Terence
The scene in which James Bond and Tatiana Romonava first meet
in the hotel suite has since been used as an audition scene for
potential Bond actors and Bond girls. This can be seen in the "making
of" documentaries for other Bond films.
The love scene between Sean Connery and Daniela Bianchi caused
censorship problems in Britain. In the scene, a sweating SPECTRE
cameraman films James Bond and Tatiana Romanova in bed from a
cabinet de voyeur. The British Board of Film Censors mandated
to producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman that the voyeurism
in the scene was too explicit and to keep the footage of the
cameraman as minimal as possible or face risking having the whole
The production was beset with production problems which posed
serious problems for the assemblage of the film. Many filmed
scenes didn't match with a re-written script and the film was
over-schedule and had gone over-budget. Editor Peter R. Hunt
used innovative editing techniques and tricks which saved the
The film's title song "From Russia With Love" sung
by Matt Monro can be heard on the radio when James Bond and Sylvia
Trench are sitting in a boat having a picnic. This song was the
first ever James Bond title song to receive a Best Song Golden
The Royal World Premiere of From Russia with Love (1963) was
held on 10 October 1963 and attended by John Russell and The
Duchess of Bedford. It was held at multiple venues in London
which included the London Pavilion with the Odeon Theatre, Leicester
Square being the main venue for the occasion. This was the final
James Bond premiere attended by James Bond creator Ian Fleming
before his death.
By the time the film opened in the US in April 1964, production
was already underway on Goldfinger (1964).