For movie fans Pinewood is a truly exciting place to visit, with an incredible history, as it has been home to the James Bond films since Sean Connery introduced the world to 007 in Dr. No, way back in 1962. Let’s explore some of the history of making Bond at Pinewood …
Dr. No had a relatively small budget so the filmmakers could not afford any expensive sets, but by 1967 Bond had become a box office phenomenon so the entire budget of Dr. No was spent on just one set.
SPECTRE’s volcano base in You Only Live Twice was constructed on the Pinewood backlot at a cost of $1 million and included an operational heliport and monorail. The interesting thing about this picture is how little the studios have changed in over 50 years, if you were to visit Pinewood today I would not be able to show you a volcano, but the majority of the buildings and stages in this picture are still standing.
By the time they came to make The Spy Who Loved Me in 1976 they realised that spending $1 million on a set that would be thrown away once filming completed was probably not wise. Instead producer Cubby Broccoli instructed production designer Ken Adam, who had also designed the volcano set, to build the now iconic 007 stage to house the interior of the supertanker and three submarines – this then gave the filmmakers a huge stage that they could use to build sets for future 007 adventures.
The 007 Stage, which was built very close to the location of the volcano set, is now at the heart of blockbuster film making at Pinewood, but the stage that exists today is not the one that was built for The Spy Who Loved Me, in fact it is the third version. The original stage burnt down in 1984 and was rapidly re-built for Roger Moore‘s final outing as 007 and amazingly that stage also burnt down shortly after Daniel Craig completed filming on Casino Royale back in 2006.
In 2019 Daniel Craig returned to Pinewood to film No Time To Die, the 25th movie in the series, which saw the construction of a huge exterior Cuban street set behind the 007 Stage. Pinewood was also “overrun” with Aston Martins as there will not be just one, but four different cars in the new film.
Whilst filming an explosion back in June 2019 extensive damage was caused to the external wall of the 007 Stage which resulted in disruption to filming and the removal of the famous 007 sign for several months.
The sign was finally restored back to its rightful place in October, just prior to the completion of principle photography on No Time to Die. The picture below was taken from behind my desk, as office views go I think it’s pretty hard to beat.
Bond’s impact on the studios is very evident as you walk around, with a dozen or more roads and buildings named after the films or the filmmakers – including Goldfinger Avenue (where Goldfinger was actually filmed), The Roger Moore Stage, Ken Adam Building and John Barry Theatre.
If you have IT projects you would like to discuss we would love to invite you to Pinewood for a coffee and a chat. It will also be a great opportunity to learn more about making Bond at Pinewood and to follow in the footsteps of Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Daniel Craig – you can book an appointment online here.
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