Trivia - The Man With The Golden Gun

During production on the fifth James Bond film "You Only Live Twice" (1967), producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had originally intended for this film to be the sixth entry in the Bond series. It was to be shot in Cambodia and Roger Moore was considered to fill Sean Connery's shoes as the second James Bond. However, the Vietnam War caused the producers to change plans and pick "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969) as the sixth Bond film instead.

The original plan was to shoot in Iran. This was partly inspired by Albert Lamorisse's film "Le Ballon Rouge" (1956). Iran declaring war on Israel was an instrumental reason in calling off the idea of filming there. Southeast Asia was the new location chosen.

Two scenes written by Richard Maibaum were either eliminated or shortened before filming began:

  • The first had Q at Hong Kong airport trying to persuade Bond to use a gadget-laden camera on his trip to Thailand and being forced to admit that the one thing it couldn't do was take photographs.
  • The second set of changes were made to the climactic battle between Bond and Scaramanga which was originally planned to be much longer.

The energy crisis storyline was inspired by media stories of such current events of the time. Britain had not yet overcome the oil crisis of 1973, as it had not yet had North Sea oil and gas flowing through its pipelines.

In earlier versions of the script, the character of Nick Nack played by Hervé Villechaize was originally called Demi Tasse and Hai Fat had a business partner called Lo Fat, a character which was scrapped.

Harry Saltzman wanted an elephant stampede in the movie so Bond and Scaramanga could chase each other on elephant back. The rest of the creative team balked at the idea, but Saltzman went to see an elephant trainer. It turns out that elephants need a special shoe on their feet to protect them from rough surfaces when they work. A few months later, while filming in Thailand, Albert R. Broccoli got a call saying his elephant shoes were ready. Saltzman had ordered about 2,600 pairs of them. The sequence was not in the movie, but the man who made the shoe had not been paid. As of 1990, EON production still owed him.

Long-time DP Ted Moore quit halfway through the production, either through illness or disagreements with the producers depending on who you ask. Ernest Day acted as DP for about a week before Oswald Morris came on board (though none of the footage shot by Day made it into the final film).

Scaramanga's distinctive island hideaway was shot on the island of Khow-Ping-Khan, one of a cluster of islands near Phuket off the Malay peninsula. It would be used again in Tomorrow Never Dies [1997], by which time locals had taken to referring to it as James Bond Island.


Whilst shooting in Thailand, the cast and crew were unwittingly housed in a bordello.

The secret headquarters for MI6 in Hong Kong Harbour was the wreck of the real life ship RMS Queen Elizabeth. The vessel had actually however been renamed before the time of filming and was known as the Seawise University.

The title role was originally offered to Jack Palance, before it eventually went to Christopher Lee, the cousin of Ian Fleming who was known as the Man with the Golden Pen. (Fleming had previously offered Lee the title role in Dr. No (1962), the first James Bond movie.) Francisco Scaramanga is also known as "Pistols" Scaramanga and "Paco" (from the Spanish diminutive for Francisco) in the Ian Fleming novel, "The Man With Golden Gun". The Scaramanga character also appears in the video game GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (2004) in which Lee reprises his role and provides his voice. Scaramanga is also a playable character in the multi-player section of 007: Nightfire (2002).

The source of the name "Scaramanga" originates in the name of a man that James Bond creator Ian Fleming knew called Pandia Scaramanga. He had met him and stayed at his house on the island of Hydra in the Greek isles. Reportedly, Fleming sought permission from him to use his surname, indicating that he would be James Bond's adversary in "The Man With The Golden Gun". The real Scaramanga apparently responded: "I certainly do not mind you using my name but please do not to kill me."


In both the source novel and this film, the Scaramanga character has an additional nipple which in reality can be a real biological occurrence. It is known as a supernumerary nipple but can also be called an accessory nipple or third nipple. The medical name for such can be either polythelia or polymastia. In this movie though, it is referred to as a superfluous papilla.

During June 1974, while on location in Thailand, Roger Moore found a cave full of bats. He couldn't resist seeking out Dracula star Christopher Lee, telling him what he had found and joking "Master, they are yours to command!"

The Golden Gun wielded by Scaramanga was made up from a Waterman fountain pen, a Colibri cigarette lighter, a cigarette case and a cufflink. It was manufactured by special effects wizard John Stears. In 1997, EON allowed the prop to be used in an exhibition and had it insured for £6,500.

Britt Ekland auditioned for the role of Scaramanga's mistress, but landed the Goodnight role after posing in a bikini. Mary Goodnight drives a car of the model known as MG, the same initials as herself.


Marc Lawrence plays Rodney, the gangster who is shot by Scaramanga at the beginning of the movie. He also played a Las Vegas hood who works for Slumber Inc. in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). It is not clear whether or not they are intended to be the same character.

Filming began on November 6, 1973 with a double filling in for Roger Moore who wasn't scheduled to begin shooting until April, 1974.

The jaw dropping 360 degree spiral roll - technically known as a Javelin Jump - was inspired by a similar stunt being performed by the American Motors stunt team at the time the film was being prepared. The stunt had originally been devised and refined by a group of university students using computers to plot the speed and angle of take off. The car, a 1974 Hornet X, had to be specially modified, equipped with a lightweight six cylinder engine, a centered steering wheel and a custom built fuel injection system to prevent the engine cutting out when the car was upside down. Though American Motors experienced a few difficulties during their tour, the Bond stunt was done in one take by uncredited British stuntman 'Bumps' Williard as 8 cameras simultaneously captured the spectacle. So potentially hazardous was nature of the stunt, divers, ambulances and cranes were on standby alert in case of any catastrophic consequences. The stunt was so rapid that the film is shown in slow motion. Williard was given a large bonus for completing the jump on the first take. The jump is also credited with being the first stunt ever to be calculated by computer modeling. The producers took out patents and copyrights to ensure that the stunt did not appear on screen elsewhere before their movie was released.


In the fight in the dancer's dressing-room, Roger Moore sprays one of the villains in the face with an aerosol can of what is clearly Brut-33, a nod to the Fabergé company with which Moore was associated.

According to British production designer, Peter Murton, the sequence where Scaramanga's car transforms into a light airplane was accomplished in the editing room. Wings were attached to the actual car and a stuntman drove the carplane to the runway. At this point the film editor simply cut to a radio-controlled model built by John Stears.

Britt Ekland stated she was terrified when they shot the scenes of Roger Moore and her escaping from Scaramanga's island. There is one particular shot where the pair of them are running, she slides to the floor, and Roger grabs her by the arm to hoist her back up; according to her that wasn't acting.

Vehicles featured included various American Motors cars including two American Motors Cassini (AMC) Coupés, a red 1974 AMC Hornet X Hatchback Special Coupé which performs the spiral loop jump and a brown and gold 1974 AMC Matador X Coupé which became a car-plane which was based on the Aerocar International's Aerocar or Taylor Aerocar; a fleet of green Peninsula Hotel Rolls Royce Silver Shadows; a Cairo Taxi; an MGB; Mercedes-Benz 240D; Longtail Boats riding the Bangkok floating market's canals and waterways known as the Klongs; Scaramanga's diesel-engine Chinese Junk; a Republic RC-3 SeaBee seaplane; and a Hong Kong Harbour Patrol Boat.


Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins for this movie include American Motors Company (AMC); Dom Perignon Champagne; The Bottoms Up Club, Hong Kong; Sony; The Peninsula Hong Kong Hotel; Nikon; Moët; The Floating Macau Palace; Tabasco Sauce; Rolex Watches, James Bond wears a Rolex Submariner 5513; Dunlop; Pepsi and Guinness Beer.

According the CD liner notes for Alice Cooper's Muscle of Love album, his track Man With the Golden Gun was set to be the theme song before the producers lost their bottle and got Lulu to do it instead.

This was the first of the Bond films to be shown at the Kremlin. According to Roger Moore in his DVD audio commentary, apparently when the movie had finished, one Russian official turned around and said we didn't train him [Scaramanga] very well. The Scaramanga character in the James Bond universe was recruited by and acted as a hit-man for the KGB.

This is the last Bond film to be shot/shown in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

Speaking to Robert Osborne of The Hollywood Reporter [12 April 1982], Broccoli noted that "I can't say there is a single [Bond film] I'd like to completely redo if I had the chance, although there are parts of The Man With the Golden Gun I'd change."