James Bond is back! In the 25th film in this franchise, “No Time To Die,” Daniel Craig takes his fifth and final turn as secret agent 007.
As fans flock to theaters (us included), we thought it’s fitting to take stock of the ingredients that make a great Bond film. Evil villain? Check. Brilliant and beautiful women? Check. Fantastical gadgets and fabulous fast cars? Check.
Yet let’s not forget one easily overlooked but shining star in these films: the breathtaking properties where all the action unfolds.
Without fail, Bond films always happen in gorgeous places, from sweeping Italian villas to brutalist bunkers. And while the location of many of these properties is a mystery, with some sleuthing we were able to find seven around the globe. Many, not surprisingly, have since been turned into luxury foreign hotels; but one residence is much closer to home (California no less!).
As Bond says in the film trailer: “The past is not dead.” So cue the theme music, check the Walther PPK, and let’s take a trip down memory lane to tour some show-stopping 007 properties.
‘Diamonds Are Forever’: Elrod House, Palm Springs, CA
Featured in 1971’s “Diamonds Are Forever,” the Elrod House is a spectacularly modern property in Palm Springs, CA, perched on a hillside that overlooks the Coachella Valley. The home—complete with a dome-shaped concrete roof—was designed by renowned modern architect John Lautner for interior designer Arthur Elrod.
The circular living room and half-moon swimming pool of the 1969 home played a memorable part as the backdrop to the notorious fight scene between Sean Connery‘s Bond and two bikini-clad baddies named Bambi and Thumper. (Repeat: This was 1971.) Naturally, the fight ended when Bond threw his female adversaries into the deep end.
No one will fess up to owning the home now, although rumor has it that fashion designer Jeremy Scott now lounges on the deck.
‘Thunderball’: Chateau d’Anet, France
Sure, a major part of 1965’s “Thunderball” takes place on a ship known as the Disco Volante. However, there is also a rather stunning scene set against this magnificent chateau.
Agent 007, once again played by Connery, pursues a bad guy—SPECTRE operative Col. Jacques Bouvar. When Bouvar tries to escape, Bond pursues him by donning a jetpack (of course!) that has him flying over and around this chateau’s extensive grounds.
Today, this estate, which King Henri II built in 1548 for his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, is a major tourist attraction.
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