Released in 1981 as the twelfth film in the James Bond franchise, and seeing Roger Moore continuing his role as the audacious fictional MI6 agent James Bond, For Your Eyes Only is known for taking a slightly more grounded and grittier approach to Bond’s escapades.
It also features some of the most intense and visually striking stunts in the franchise’s history, including an opening scene with Bond, a cat and a helicopter that everyone who has seen the film will remember clearly.
The plot of For Your Eyes Only follows Bond infiltrating the Greek underworld to prevent a system from activating that is capable of controlling a small group of submarines to fire nuclear missiles.
Bond’s mission is to prevent this system from falling into Russian hands meaning he is constantly on the move, and this is seen by the striking blend of environments in the film from flowery European graveyards, to an icy bobsleigh route, to mountainous villages, cathedrals and much of the film even being shot underwater.
Throughout the film Bond is joined by Melina who is on her own mission of revenge for the murderers of her parents, being a standout character and a fan favourite for many as the first Bond woman shown to be a central character with her own motivations and backstory.
The directors used a mixture of locations to really give the feel of a world spanning danger being hunted down by everyone’s favorite British spy with filming never staying in one place, and to get a deeper insight into this we have compiled information on each location the film was shot at, and what exciting scenes took place there.
With the main premise of the film being Bond’s entanglements with the Greek underworld, this was all authentic with filming starting in Corfu when it began in September of 1980.
You might remember the scene of Melina’s parents being horrifyingly gunned down on their yacht in the Corfu Harbour, but another scene filmed in Corfu is actually the wedding party Bond and Melina end up in near the middle of the film which was a fake tourist attraction staged at Bouas-Danilia village just five miles north of Corfu.
Filming did extend to other parts of Greece including the great and luscious mountains of Meteora just north of Kalambaka in central Greece.
The several monasteries dotted around the mountaintop actually had to be paid to film in to the Greek Bishop, however this paid off as we get to see some iconic scenes of main villain Kristatos hatching a plan with his men, and Bond finally confessing his sins to a disguised Q.
The main Greek monastery used in the film was Aghia Triatha, a huge structure with a circular staircase of 139 steps that I imagine was less fun sounding to the filming crew.
Of course, it would not be a Bond film without the agent stylishly killing some time in a casino, and this time it was shot in the luxurious Achillion Palace located in Achilleio.
The famous skiing scene is one of the most exciting and well shot action pieces in the series, and was actually filmed in Italian winter sports resort Cortina d’Ampezzo.
The intense scene see’s Bond taking to the snowy hills to escape being chased by assassins on skis and motorbikes with snipers being aimed around every corner, making for an action packed set piece.
Other notable scenes filmed in Italy are the initial meeting between Bond and villain Kristatos which actually took place in the Olympic ice stadium used in the 1956 Winter Olympics.
The scenes where Bond and Melina are in Cortina were also actually filmed in the busy shopping center of Belluno in Veneto, with Bond throughout the film staying at the Miramonti Majestic Grand Hotel.
Many scenes from the beginning of the film were shot in multiple locations across England.
This includes the very dramatic and over-the-top helicopter sequence where Bond drops one of his enemies down an extensively long chimney.
This was actually filmed around Beckton and Westminster in London, with keen-eyed viewers even being able to make out the doors of the House of Parliament when looking close enough in the background of the unforgettable scene.
A more solemn and quiet scene that follows with Bond visiting Tracy’s grave was filmed in St Giles Church in Buckinghamshire providing a great somber yet colorful atmosphere for Bond to reminisce in.
While Tracy’s grave is unfortunately not there, there is instead the grave of poet Thomas Gray who despite being incredibly famous, only produced 13 poems.
With a very nuclear and cold war edge to the film, submarines can be spotted all over the place, as well as Bond taking to the sea himself to uncover an underwater temple, and have some quite intimate moments with Melina, despite the fact they can’t breathe.
Many of the underwater scenes were filmed around the New Providence Islands in and around the Bahamas, especially the south of the Islands. This is also where all the boat scenes were filmed.
However when it came to scenes including both Melina and Bond with a close up of them interacting, actress Carole Bouquet actually had a pre-existing naval condition that made her terrified of being surrounded by water, so some scenes were actually filmed on a dry soundstage with no water involved, just lighting effects, wind and fake bubbles.
This may be why if you look closely in some scenes, Melina’s hair looks like it is lying flat, because it actually is!
Some of the best and most visually striking scenes in Bond history are in For Your Eyes Only and the luxurious locations only add to this and the globe trotting scale of the film.
Whether Bond is searching for answers in an underwater temple, escaping ruthless killers on a bobsledding track, or just stylishly killing time in the casino, the locations used in the film really bring the authenticity of these scenes to life and creates an intensely memorable experience for any Bond fan.
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