James Bond’s Top Latin American Moments19 February, 2020
With only weeks to wait before the theatrical release of Die Another Day, the world is, once again, going James Bond-crazy. The movie franchise has been going for almost 60 years, and as well as making megastars of Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Daniel Craig and the rest, it has also featured some of the most amazing locations on the planet.
Bond’s missions have brought him to Latin America numerous times over the years. So straighten your bow tie, load your Walther PPK and let’s follow in his footsteps.
Sugar Loaf Mountain – Moonraker
This 1979 film is slammed by some for both Roger Moore’s pantomime-style acting and for the film’s creators trying too hard to cash in on the Star Wars craze with the whole space theme. But the best action took place right here on earth.
Bond had a memorable showdown with Jaws, surely the best Bond villain ever, on the roof of a cable car. The location was Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, and while the cars have been modernized since, there’s a replica of the Bond original at the first stop.
Mexico City – Quantum of Solace
Sometimes life can imitate art. That’s particularly true with Bond, and he’s become something of an inspiration in everything from online slots games that echo his casino scenes to the immense popularity of 1960s Aston Martins in the classic car world. But surely the most bizarre instance concerns the Day of the Dead parade that Bond interrupts in the opening scenes of Quantum of Solace.
The whole parade looks incredibly authentic and served as a great advertisement for the city. The only problem was that it was completely fictitious. Amazingly, the Mexican Government decided to arrange a parade, in subsequent years, based on the one in the movie, to avoid disappointing visiting tourists.
Acapulco – License to Kill
This largely forgotten Bond movies from the late 1980s features Timothy Dalton, who played Bond in just two outings between Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. It’s actually well worth watching, and shows Bond at his darkest, as he goes rogue to avenge his old friend Felix Leiter.
The action takes in a few Latin American locations, but perhaps the most impressive is Acapulco’s incredibly over-the-top Villa Arabesque. This served as the home of the film’s main villain Franz Sanchez, and you see Bond departing by helicopter from the roof of the villa. In real life, it’s been a popular party spot for some of the world’s biggest stars over the years, including Sylvester Stallone, Henry Kissinger and, coincidentally enough, Roger Moore.
Atacama Desert – Quantum of Solace
The ESO Paranal Observatory, with its immense telescope, has an otherworldly appearance, standing miles from civilization in Chile’s Atacama desert. This was the scene for Bond’s showdown with Dominic Greene in Quantum of Solace.
It’s possible to visit the observatory yourself, and there are tours every weekend. Just be aware that you have to book in advance, and make your own arrangements for transportation, accommodation and food, as there are no facilities at the site.
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