back to article James Bond doesn't do CGI: Inside 007's amazing real-world action

The Aston Martin; a martini, shaken not stirred; the Walther PPK; cool one-liners. These are the four elements of the James Bond films that have become established in our collective psyche as trademarks of Ian Fleming’s secret agent. But there’s something else that’s also become a Bond trademark, and transformed what could …


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  1. Wolfclaw
    Thumb Up

    The Names Bond, Basil Bond, Licenced To Sell Pile Cream

    Not a big fan of Daniel "Mr.Cheez" Craig, but this movie is getting back to classic Bond movie, looking forward to it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Names Bond, Basil Bond, Licenced To Sell Pile Cream

      I've seen it (saw it on the 23rd) - it's less Bourne and more Bond. A great opening sequence, good stunts, lots of great humour; it's even a bit emotional. You will love it and Craig is great. If you are a Bond fan (ie. seen most of the films) there's even a bit of nostalgia and Bond background in it.

  2. Aqua Marina


    So good they made it twice!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Everything we shoot is phony everything he shoots is live, ...

    Probably the most complimentary line about Jacques Cousteau I've read in a long time.

  4. Wize

    Invisible car nonsense

    Making something invisible from an arbitrary direction isn't easy, since every LED has to give off different amount of light depending on which direction you observe it at.

    Though if you want to make your PC screen look transparent, you can find software to do it at

    Just need an LCD TV as big as your car...

    1. VinceH

      Re: Invisible car nonsense

      "Making something invisible from an arbitrary direction isn't easy, since every LED has to give off different amount of light depending on which direction you observe it at."


      I came up with a similar concept (on a space craft) in a science fiction story when I was at school in the early eighties, though I think I referred to "micro-projectors" rather than LEDS... and after I'd written it, I read it through and concluded that it was a crap idea precisely because the "invisibility" would only really work when viewed from one specific point, so I tore the whole thing up and rewrote something else entirely.

      Then all those years later I saw Die Another Day and realised they'd used what was basically the same idea.

      Grown up people being paid lots of money used an idea that a thirteen or fourteen year old had discarded in about 1982 ish on the basis that it was so flawed it was utter crap.

      I still love the Bond movies, though. :)

      1. Alistair MacRae

        Re: Invisible car nonsense

        Isn't there a plan to use metamaterials that sends light round the object?

        1. DaddyHoggy

          Re: Invisible car nonsense

          The object that needs to be invisible needs to be inside the metamaterial and the metamaterial itself is fully visible in the visible part of the EM spectrum. Metamaterial tech currently makes objects inside them invisible to radar, but only perpendicular to the cylindrical surface of the metamaterial. To be invisible to radar in all directions the object would need to be fully enclosed in a sphere of metamaterial - which makes moving it and/or seeing out very tricky!

          I hated the invisible car in Die Another Day - I've only watched it once and can't watch it again - if it's not the horrible invisible Aston, it's ruddy Madge and her utterly terrible acting.

          1. micheal

            Re: Invisible car nonsense

            To my mind, that and the ice hotel scene's killed Pierce Brosnan's character of Bond and possibly led to hims dismissal.

            Only from my point of view, other points of view are available :)

  5. Michael Souris

    "as a test pilot you lean to stay with it until the situation is over" should read "as a test pilot you learn to stay with it until the situation is over"

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Moorgate wasn't a train "out of control" for certain. We discussed this During Driver Training when I worked on the Northern Line some years back. To this day NO ONE can say why it happened.

    No defect was found with the train the signaling or anything else that would explain what happened. The train was apparently (motoring) under control when it hit the stops inside the over-run tunnel, and a number of safety features such as simply releasing the Dead Mans Handle (Dropping the handle in trainman parlance) would have both applied the brakes and disabled the traction motors via a pneumatic switch that prevents a train motoring with insufficient air pressure in the system would have at least mitigated the impact if the driver had reacted.

    I hate it when people make generalizations.

  7. MJI Silver badge

    Octopussy jet sequence

    I remember this well, it was on the UK Beta HiFi demo tape.

    Lots of people looking surprised at the picture and sound, cannot find any online, I might have to dig it out and transfer to the PC.

    Can't remember if it was with my VTCM40 or my SLHF950

    My first taste of home cinema sound.

  8. Wupspups

    Where's the gyrocopter?

    I cant believe an article on engineering on Bond movies failed to even mention Little Nellie! To the piranhas with them Mr Osata!

  9. Rick Brasche

    need a directors cut!

    I obsessed about the BD5 as a child, then upon getting older learning that Bond's jet was in fact a real aircraft made the movie all the better. I for one would pay for a version with the original "nausea inducing" flight scenes intact. Blu-ray too please.

    finding out now that the gas station scene had a basis in reality..priceless!

    1. Steve Renouf

      Re: need a directors cut!

      Oh horror! You mean DB5! (David Brown - he of tractor fame).

    2. Matthew 3

      Re: need a directors cut!

      I still have very fond memories of standing in the fields behind Northolt Airport watching some of this scene being filmed. They had a Land Rover driving around with a model of the jet on its roof.

      And I don't care that it's a silly idea: I also still want a convertible Range Rover.

  10. Colin Brett

    Then there are the mammoth sets

    As mentioned in the article, there's the 007 sound stage at Pinewood (or is it Elstree?). This has been used for many Bond movies, not just Spy Who Loved Me. I'm almost certain it was used as the Nazi submarine base in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not to mention crashing a tube train through one (as described in Skyfall).

    I always wondered how the builders, carpenters, electricians felt when they saw all their hard work being blown to hell-and-gone at the end of the movie. Any comments from these craftsmen?


  11. Manolo

    No comprende

    "as central to the Bond legend as the writing through a stick of sticky pink-and-white seaside rock.¨

    I am not British, can someone explain what this means?

    1. lurker

      Re: No comprende

      Google 'seaside rock' and you should get the idea. Basically a traditional treat sold at seaside resorts such as Blackpool here in the UK made from pure sugar (granulated and syrup form) in the shape of a cylinder, brightly coloured and usually with writing (typically the name of the resort/attraction) embedded all the way through it, like the rings in a tree trunk.

      1. Martin Budden Bronze badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: No comprende

        There is a seaside resort in Cornwall called Rock. You can buy Rock rock there.

      2. Manolo
        Thumb Up

        Re: No comprende


  12. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Has anyone seeing a Cubby Brocoli interview thought...

    The man who taught Tony Soprano everything he knows?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best Bond stunt

    Man With The Golden Gun - Jumping the river using the broken bridge - Pure non-CGI

    1. SonofRojBlake

      Re: Best Bond stunt

      Funny - the corkscrew jump was, in one sense, one of the first CGI stunts ever. The image you see is of a real car really doing a real jump over a real bridge, sure - but IIRC it was the first stunt ever *planned and simulated* on a computer to make sure they could do it.

      1. Matthew 3

        Re: Best Bond stunt

        I just wish they hadn't put that stupid childish sound effect over the stunt.

  14. montyburns56

    The scenes with the chopper lassoing the Cessna and landing one on the tanker were in Licence to Kill not The Living Daylights. The mistake is understandable though as the film is pretty forgettable, as the Gladys Knight theme tune is just about the only decent thing about it.

  15. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    No CGI?

    So you're saying the Bond girls are real?

  16. Herby

    What I'm waiting for is...

    ...Some mention of El Reg in a Bond film. Look, British is everywhere.

    Sorry to say I'm a Felix Leiter fan being from the USA. (Say "book'em Dano" if you need to).

  17. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    I miss an article rating system..

    .. because this one would have gotten full marks. Interesting, informative and entertaining.

    Thanks for that.

  18. VulcanV5

    Errata . . . just sayin'

    Interesting article with just a few errors as pointed out by other Reginistas plus a few in the comments:

    1) Moorgate wasn't 1973. It was 1975. I remember it because I was in Companies House (at its then location) on that day, intending to take the Northern Line tube back to Bank at lunchtime. Luckily, I was delayed by a few minutes and saw the doors of the train closing and the train going off without me, en route to Moorgate. The Bond movie 'Die Another Day' was, I thought, pretty much crap. But its title still has a certain resonance.

    2) The Connery movies were filmed at Pinewood. Again, my luck re time and place was in during the mid-60s because I was a regular visitor to the studios and often met the legendary art director Ken Adam. Ken's vision was responsible for the 'epic' look of the sets and set-pieces. Cubby was more in evidence than Harry; I think Cubby lived nearby at Stoke Poges or Farnham Royal. And the production crew -- carpenters and painters especially -- were amongst the best bunch of people I've ever known, not least because you could go for a drink with them, something you can't with a desktop PC.

    CGI and bloody computers had never been heard of in the early Bonds -- thank God -- and so the potential for disaster during production was always recognised and, as far as possible, avoided. But something went wrong with the armory in that sequence where a huge explosion occurs in Ken's giant volcano set (can't remember which movie, Golden Gun? Moonraker?) and around a dozen extras were carted off to hospital. No serious injuries, thankfully, and mainly short-term deafness. Nowadays they'd be able to hire a grubby TV money chaser and claim for that along with being missold insurance.

    Thanks, El Reg, for a reminder of Swinging 60s film and TV -- let's not forget that a mere six or so miles from Pinewood, Gerry Adams was pratting around in Slough with a giant table-top sandbox in which Thunderbirds were go and lots of luvvly bangs left the room swirling with smoke, a fulfilment, it seemed back then, of Betjeman's exhortation.

    I still hanker after that crazy world when there was no M4 motorway and it instead took 14 minutes to drive from Pinewood into central London. Progress, ahhhhh. . . .

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Errata . . . just sayin'

      Erm point 2.

      As a local I can tell you that Bond films are still filmed in Pinewood, (That's Pinewood studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire) Not Elstree or Shepperton as the author and some comments have said.

      The 007 sound stage is still there, although it's been burnt down twice. It's used for a lot of major modern films (Mamma Mia, Pirates of the Carribean, Tomb raider, Quantum of Solace etc).

      The backlots are used for a constantly and so is the local country park "Black Park". Infact most of "Snow white and the Huntsman" was filmed in Black Park, quite interesting to come across snowy scene in the middle of august.

      Pinewood is still Britains Premier studio and the latest plans are for it to double in size so Bond will still be there for years to come.

    2. Dave Harris

      Re: Errata . . . just sayin'

      Erm, Gerry Adams? I think he was busy doing something a bit less entertaing than Gerry Anderson in the sixties

      <--- What Adams was doing

  19. sillmacka

    Not just an action movie

    Another interesting and well written bond article , really like this series.

    Though I have to disagree with the premise that it's just the action that makes a great Bond flick.

    For me it has always been the very english sense of humour and the dry wit in the dialouge.

    The Union Jack parachute and the tuxedo under the wetsuit sort of thing.

    Whitout this it would just be another blockbuster action movie.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Not just an action movie

      "very english sense of humour"

      Such as Pierce quickly adjusting his tie the second after his underwater boat surfaces during a chase along the Thames. Class.


      1. Terry Cloth

        Re: Not just an action movie

        ...and shooting his cuffs immediately after dodging a train-eating digger (Skyfall trailer)

      2. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

        Re: Not just an action movie

        He adjusts his tie whilst he is underwater, not on the surface. That's the whole point, it's during a lull in the action and he does something uber-cool rather than have a swig of water or go to the toilet like us lesser mortals would do.

  20. Charlie 5

    how many years is it since Dr No?

    I need to find out

  21. John 62

    Invisible car in Die Another Day wasn't as bad as ...

    ... Bond surfing on the melting glacier. That was one of the worst pieces of special effects ever.

    1. Ben Norris

      Re: Invisible car in Die Another Day wasn't as bad as ...

      Die another day is great as long as you turn it off when he goes to the island and pretend the rest never existed. A shame really because it started so well, that hovercraft bit could have been a classic.

  22. TRT Silver badge

    Tube trains

    Just a pity they didn't do a bit more homework on tube stocks. Wrong type for that line and the lights would have gone over to EM as soon as the pickup shoes left the traction rail, plunging the carriages into near darkness. And a disused station on the Met line? Hmmm...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fill'er up?


    If the petrol station also sells kerosene/paraffin it's quite possible to refuel the jet--Jet-A fuel is virtually identical to kerosene. Many service stations in the US sell kerosene as a fuel for portable heaters, stoves, or lamp fuel. While it might not give full performance, it'd probably be good enough for an escape from the minions of evil.

    Incidentally, the BD is a contraction of the designers' name--Bede. See:


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