Florida

The Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys can be seen in Licence To Kill (1989)

Florida

Apart from a very brief intermediate stop in 1964 in Goldfinger, it took James Bond 'till 1988/89 until he found the occasion to have a closer look at one of the USA’s most attractive holiday destinations. Florida, or rather the Florida Keys and Key West were the marvellous settings for Timothy Dalton’s second outing as 007 in Licence To Kill (LTK). Since in LTK, unlike in Goldfinger, everything was really shot on the spot in southern Florida, for us Bond fans America’s Sunshine State is a superb location hunting ground.

On Easter Sunday 1513 the Spanish conqueror Juan Ponce de León first set foot upon the peninsula at the south-eastern most tip of the newly discovered continent. He named it Pascua Florida, which means in Spanish “Blooming Easter”. Hernando de Soto, another conquistador claimed the land for the Spanish Crown in 1539/40. The first European settlement in North America was St. Augustine (1565) in northern Florida. Spain handed over Florida to the United States of America in 1819 and in 1845 it became the 27th state of the USA. During the American Civil War (1861 - 65) Florida was on the side of the Confederates, but only minor skirmishes took place here. The building of the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral in the 1950’s contributed enormously to the state’s economic growth. Natural wonders like the Everglades and the opening of mega amusement parks like Disney World, Universal Studios or Sea World in the Seventies and Eighties in the environs of Orlando turned Florida into one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, attracting more than 30 million visitors every year.
Although not the capital, Miami is Florida’s hub and its most vibrant city. Divided from the mainland only by Biscayne Bay lies the humming spa Miami Beach. The Fontainebleau Hilton is its most renowned landmark hotel. Situated about two miles north of the famed Art Deco District of South Beach, every American President since Dwight D. Eisenhower has called it home and legendary stars including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. or Elvis Presley performed there. So it was the appropriate place to stay for James Bond. The impressive crescent building is first seen in Goldfinger from an aerial view as a plane tows a promotional banner proclaiming “WELCOME TO MIAMI BEACH”. Then the camera focuses on the pool area, where Bond’s American associate Felix Leiter makes his introductory walk-by. The following scenes with Sean Connery and Gert Frobe were shot on a studio set in Pinewood and in front of a back projection. So the Fontainebleau Hotel is only a minor Bond location, but it is worth a visit. The public-baths-like pool area of the Sixties has been transformed into a lush tropical garden where palm trees give shade to a lagoon style rock grotto pool with cascading waterfalls.
The Fontainebleau was used in long shots and background for the Miami studio filmed scenes in Goldfinger (1964)
Licence to Kill's Barrelhead Bar can be found on Key West
Sneaking into Leiter’s sealed-off house James Bond finds out that his colleague had made an appointment with an informant called Pam Bouvier in the Barrelhead Bar in the Bahaman island Bimini. The Harbor Lights Raw Bar at Palm Avenue/ Eisenhower Drive in the north of Key West Old Town doubled for the exterior of this Caribbean location. The place, earlier described by us as an abandoned, ramshackle hut, has recently been re-painted and re-instated. Entering the building you will experience an unexpected surprise. Believe it or not, fixed to the wall is the old neon sign “Bimini BARRELHEAD BAR” from LTK. Only a stone’s throw away is Charterboat Row, where Bond meets his chum Sharkey on his boat. The picture in our memory is a bit spoilt by the wooden roof construction that runs along the quay now.

From Charterboat Row 007 must have travelled at warp speed, because after leaving Sharkey he is at Mallory Square in the twinkling of an eye, although there is at least a distance of about 1,8 miles (3 km) between the two locations. The square at the north-western tip is Key West’s touristy hub. The “Conch Sightseeing Tour” starts here, the Chamber of Commerce is here and there are lots of snack bars and souvenir shops. In front of one of them, the Shell Warehouse, Bond encounters DEA-agent Hawkins, who tells him to forget escaped drug runner Sanchez.

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This and much more can be found in the chapter 'The Sunshine State' in ON THE TRACKS OF 007

Connected hotels:

Fontainebleau

Miami Beach, Florida, USA
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