Location Guide - Moonraker


North African Skies
James Bond is returning from a successful operation on a small private jet when the air crew, lead by the infamous Jaws, turn against 007 and he is thrown from the craft without a chute. 007 dives after the pilot who is also in free fall and wrestles the parachute from him. Jaws pursues the MI6 Agent but when Bond pulls the rip cord, the goon's chute malfunctions and Jaws plummets into a circus big top.



London, UK
Back on home turf, it is revealed that a space shuttle on loan from NASA and the Drax Corporation has gone missing whilst in British care. Bond meets with M, Q and the Minister of Defense at MI6 headquarters. It is revealed that despite carnage of the craft carrying the shuttle there is no evidence of the spacecraft itself. 007 is deployed to the US to negotiate with the prominent aviation entrepreneur Sir Hugo Drax and investigate the missing craft.



Los Angeles, California, USA
At the home of the hi-tech Moonraker shuttles, Bond meets with Drax at his lavish Franco-mansion, imported from Europe piece by piece. He is shown around by the savvy NASA-based Dr. Goodhead, who surprises Bond in more ways than one. He makes the acquaintance of the willing helicopter pilot Corinne Dufour who meets a brutal death when she shows Bond more than she should. Bond uncovers documentation from a Venetian glassmaker and follows the lead to Italy.



Venice, Italy
Bond visits the Vinini glass factory in Murano. He joins a guided tour and spots a familiar face. He returns to the factory at nightfall to snoop around. Here he faces a masked assassin and the brawl ends with much of the priceless glass artifacts destroyed. The following day, Bond is again the target of an assassination attempt on the canals. A chase ensues that climaxes with 007 driving his hover-gondola across St. Mark's square. Bond discovers a scientific lab where masked scientists carefully arm space probes with poison.



Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
After finding the probes postmarked for the Drax Corporation in Rio, Bond journeys to South America. He touches down at Galeão's Airport and quickly rendezvous with Goodhead. The agents agree to cooperate in their mission to thwart Drax's plan. On a precarious cable car ride at Grumari beach, Bond and Goodhead do battle with Jaws, who is now on the payroll of Drax. At the Brazilian branch of MI6, Q explains to M and Bond that the poison used by Drax's probes is rare indeed and 007 sets out to find the area where this orchid grows, deep in the Amazon jungle.



Iguaçu, Brazil
Bond is on the river when a band of goons, lead by Jaws, attack. With the help of Q's gadget laden hydrofoil, Bond defeats the pack and the incredible chase ends with Bond jettisoning the boat (by hang-glider) as it falls over Iguaçu. Stranded in the Amazonian jungle, Bond follows a lovely young temptress into a ruined temple in the wilderness. Here he is challenged by a gigantic python and runs into the damsel in distress: Dr. Goodhead. The pair escape confinement and board a shuttle.



Outer Space
Blasting into outer space, Bond and Goodhead arrive at Drax's super satellite, masked from radar and undetectable. Bond fights his way to the radar jamming control room and puts the system out of action, prompting NASA to launch a shuttle of their own. A battle ensues on the space station and Bond and Holly go after the poisonous probes in Drax's armed Moonraker 5.


Shooting Moonraker
Lewis Gilbert rolled cameras on the high-flying "Moonraker", his third Bond adventure, in August 1978. The home of this, the 11th Bond picture, would not be the Brit-based Pinewood Studios. Instead, due to high UK taxation of the film industry, EON Productions opted to host most the film in France. The 007 team occupied three of France's film studios and only the miniature work was filmed at Pinewood.

The crew spread themselves out across Boulogne-sur-Mer, Billancourt and Epinay film studios - the latter being the location of the stunning sci-fi set of Drax's space station. 007 and his support team journeyed to London (for minimal exteriors), Paris, Venice, Palmdale, California, Rio de Janeiro and even some skeleton work in Guatemala.

Above: On a diplomatic mission from England, James Bond visits the home of the Moonraker and fronts up against its eccentric creator...

On set, director Gilbert had to contend with a series of challenges including Roger Moore's ill health, who'd been stricken with kidney stones whilst on location in Brazil, and the comparatively short working hours and the temperament of their new French crew.

John Glen took a crew to California, prior to the principal photography on "Moonraker" began, in order to capture the highly technical and ultimately stunning pre-title sequence. Accompanied by B. J. Worth and Jake Lombard, like the Ski-parachute jump of "The Spy Who Loved Me", nobody was 100% sure they could pull it off. The pre-titles was tested, shot and edited in plenty of time so as to make sure it did not put pressure on the rest of the production. The sequence proved a huge hit with fans of the film and wows viewers even today. This would be John Glen's final film as second unit director, before he took up mantle of director on for "For Your Eyes Only".

Above: From the West Coast of the USA to the East Coast of Italy - Bond traces the shady dealings of the Drax Corporation...

The famed Italian Vinini Glass museum was paid a visit by the James Bond production when they shot extensively in Italy. Founded in 1921, Vinini is one of the premium crafters of fine glass art. Hotel Danieli is where 007 spends the night with Dr. Holly Goodhead. The Canals and famed St. Marks square are host to a fantastic gondola chase. The Lido estate in Venice was used by the 007 team to double for MI6's Brazilian outpost where 007 meets Q and M.

Vaux-le-Vicomte in France was the real location of Drax's estate (depicted as being located in California in the film) and the interiors were filmed at Château de Guermantes, in Seine-et-Marne. The Georges Pompidou Centre provided interiors for the Drax Corporation plans - including Holly Goodhead's office. The Kennedy Space Centre in Florida was utilized for its gigantic hangers when 007 is given the official tour and the sweeping exteriors of the Moonraker plant were captured in Palmdale, California. The second unit also shot an important action sequence in St. Lucie, Florida when 007 jets down the St. Lucie River, pursued by Jaws and his goons. The sequence is cleverly cut to seem as if Bond is approaching the impressive Iguaçu Falls.

Above: Bond has a hankering to go to Rio, following the suspicious probes and tracing the source of this rare poison to the Iguaçu...

After their work in California and France, the Bond team headed to Rio in January 1979. Here Richard Graydon, doubling for 007, took the precarious position atop the Sugarloaf Mountain cable car. Without any kind of safety setup he swung from the edge of the cable car to capture a memorable sequence. The Mardi Gras had been shot by a special crew earlier in the year, so all that was left to do was an in-studio sequence involving 007, Jaws and Goodhead set in a Rio back-alley. The Myan pyramid and Drax's shuttle deploying hideout that Bond stumbles across in the rainforest is Tikal Mayan, some 3,700 miles from Rio, in Guatemala.

The Iguaçu Falls were to a key location for the action team. The second unit, who had a life-size replica of 007's jet boat to bail over the massive waterfall, fell short when the model collided with the rocks and would not be easily unstuck. The plan was shelved and Derek Meddings and the model unit were tasked with replicating the boat's plummet in miniature. Meddings and his crew were also responsible for the thousands of frames of outer-space, all filmed at Pinewood and in miniature. The stunning photography on "Moonraker" earned an Academy Award nod at the 1980 Oscars ceremony.