JAMES BOND IN SWITZERLAND
Home to some of the world’s most dramatic (and dangerous) scenery, it’s no wonder so many Bond films have taken advantage of Switzerland’s glorious mountain peaks and sweeping passes for their visual thrills. Here’s how to follow in the Swiss footsteps of 007.
1. THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977)
Bond (Roger Moore) is tasked with discovering what happened to a Royal Navy Polaris submarine, which vanished whilst on patrol.
The villain is the web-handed evil genius Karl Stromberg, supported by his sidekick, Jaws, who sports alarming metal teeth. Bond’s job is to find the submarine before everyone’s blown up.
Memorably, the opening sequence was fully relayed by Alan Partridge and his own sidekick, Michael, prior to their Bond Night in Alan’s caravan. “Stop getting Bond wrong!” Shouts Alan. “I’ll tell you about The Spy Who Loved Me. I’m Roger Moore- bang! Blood dribbles down…we’re on a submarine… cut to Roger Moore, necking. He puts on his underpants... he’s being chased by these Russian ****s, in black ski suits with lemon piping…you think James Bond’s going to die...”
Then Michael ruins it by explaining about the union jack parachute (watch here)
The opening chase-on-skis sequence was filmed in Graubünden, Switzerland, across the snow-covered Alps around St Moritz.
It’s a little known fact, however, that the final leap and the opening of the famous union jack parachute, was actually filmed on Mount Asgard, in Auyuittuq National Park, on Canada’s Baffin Island.
"Avalanches, stylish chalets, gun battles and dramatic snow-bound scenery make this Bond outing particularly memorable..."
2. ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE (1969)
Bond (George Lazenby) manages to save a beautiful young woman from suicide. Her father offers Bond classified information in exchange, which leads him to the lair of his arch-nemesis Blofeld.
In the only film to allow Bond feelings, he gradually falls in love with Tracy; but his need to stop Blofeld before he infects the world with a deadly virus gets in the way of his passion.
Avalanches, stylish chalets, gun battles and dramatic snow-bound scenery make this Bond outing particularly memorable.
The opening sequence shows Bond skiing down the Alps, and was shot on the Schilthorn mountain, near Interlaken.
The Piz Gloria- the revolving restaurant on the mountaintop- was used as Blofeld’s research institute, and its completion was partially financed by the Bond team.
Other locations include St Moritz, Murren- where the stock car race takes place- the cable car station on the Schilthorn, the skating rink at Grindelwald, Bern (the famous clock is seen from the solicitor’s office), The Jungfrau Hotel and the mountainside railway stations at Lauterbrunnen and Winteregg.
3. GOLDFINGER (1964)
Bond (Sean Connery) Is sent to Fort Knox to prevent the evil Auric Goldfinger from destroying the world’s fragile economy in a daring raid.
Continuing the theme of sidekicks with killer accessories, his henchman, Oddjob, sports a steel-brimmed bowler hat, which he uses as a vicious weapon.
Amongst his seduction of Golfinger’s female pilot, Pussy Galore, and several near-death experiences, Bond manages to track Goldfinger down to the Swiss Alps.
The key chase scene takes place in the Alps near Andermatt, close to Bern. Bond’s Aston Martin pursues Golfinger’s lumbering rolls Royce round a series of alarming hairpin bends, through the Simplon Tunnel and across the Furka Pass.
He also meets Tilly Masterson in Andermatt, while the exterior shots of “auric Enterprises’ were filmed in Lucerne.
The Hotel Belvédère seen on the Furka pass, is now highly popular with Bond fans.
"The opening sequence reveals a breathtaking bungee jump..."
4. GOLDENEYE (1995)
Bond (Pierce Brosnan) must retrieve a terrifying stolen space weapon, “Goldeneye”, and travels to Russia to seek the stolen access codes that will prevent the world being blown to smithereens by its dreaded ‘electromagnetic pulse.’
Assassin Xenia Onatopp has her sights on Bond, and he’s also forced to contend with Janus crime syndicate head honcho Alec Trevelyan who is burning with ancient revenge.
He’s also required to deal with tranquiliser darts, exploding trains, assassin-filled helicopters and the Bank of England, whilst seducing ‘skilled computer programmer’ Natalya Simonova is his quest for the satellite weapon.
The opening sequence reveals a breathtaking bungee jump from a concrete wall, allegedly at the Arkangel Chemical Weapons Facility, but actually filmed at the Verzasca Dam, Cugnasco and Gerdola, near beautiful Lugano in Southern Switzerland.
5. A VIEW TO A KILL (1985)
Bond (Roger Moore again) is yet again set against a crazed genius. This time it’s Max Zorin, of Zorin Industries, who plans to ignite an earthquake that will destroy Silicon Valley and create a worldwide monopoly for his own microchip- one that is able to withstand a nuclear electromagnetic pulse.
It all seems rather quaint, post-internet, but let’s face it, without Bond saving the day, perhaps the internet would never have been invented.
Also along for the ride are evil henchwoman May Day (what were her parents thinking?) and the glamorous Stacy Sutton, mainly there to soothe Bond’s increasingly creased brow.
Another opening sequence set in the Alps, with zooming skiers, this time filmed at the Vadretta di Scerscen Inferiore Glacier, in Lombardy on the Swiss/Italian border.
By now, Bond ought to know that if someone in a black suit is skiing towards him down a snowy Swiss mountain, it’s probably not the Milk Tray man.
DON'T BE LIKE BOND - DRIVE SAFELY. READ OUR GUIDE TO DRIVING IN SWITZERLAND.