The new James Bond movie No Time To Die has inspired us to take a look at iconic bridges that 007 has toured On His Majesty's Secret Service.
It’s a well-known fact that once you start working in the civil engineering industry, it’s hard to not notice the infrastructure all around you.
When in the BC (Before Civil engineering) times, you would have barely noticed that tunnel you drove through or that huge skyscraper in the centre of town, it’s funny how you will now no longer be able to watch TV without noticing a beautiful seaside pier stretching out into the horizon, or an impressive dam rising out of a reservoir.
Which got us thinking – what other great bridges feature in the films of the Fleming canon?
1. Ponte Viadotto in Gravina, Puglia, Italy
The above-mentioned Roman aqueduct bridge in Gravina, Puglia, plays host to Bond leaping off the bridge and swinging off it from a rope in No Time To Die (2021).
The 25-arch stone Ponte Viadotto - Acquedotto Madonna della Stella in southern Italy is 37m high, 90m long and 5.5m wide. It dates back to around 1686 and was built to allow people to cross the Gravina river to reach the Madonna della Stella church.
It’s believed that the bridge became unstable after an earthquake in 1686, collapsing in an earthquake in 1722. The Orsini family from Rome then moved it to Gravina in the mid-18th century, rebuilding it and turning the bridge into an aqueduct.
2. Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge), Amsterdam
The Magere Brug sits over the Amstel River in Amsterdam, and appears in the Sean Connery Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
In the film, a canal tour boat passes the bridge, carrying tourists who see a dead body being dragged out of the river, while assassins Mr Wint and Mr Kidd stand on the bridge.
The bridge is a double-swipe balanced wooden bridge, which is an Old Dutch design, sitting between Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht.
According to Dutch legend, two sisters called Mager lived on opposite sides of the river, and they had the bridge built to enable them to visit each other.
However, it’s believed to be more likely that the name comes from the narrowness of the original bridge (mager means ‘skinny’ in Dutch), which was replaced by a wider bridge in 1871.
3. Varda Viaduct, Adana, Turkey
Another bridge that Daniel Craig falls off, this time from a train in the opening scenes of Skyfall (2012), is the Varda Viaduct in Adana.
This 172m-long, 98m-high, steel case, stone arch bridge over a ravine in the Turkish province has become a popular tourist destination after appearing in the 25th Bond film.
Built in 1888, the bridge is known locally as Koca Köprü, or German Bridge, because it was constructed by the Germans as part of a contract between the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamit II and German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm.
4. Westminster Bridge, London, UK
This central London bridge features in not one, but two Bond films: Die Another Day (2002) and Spectre (2015).
In the first, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond opens a secret door to MI6 that’s located at one end of Westminster Bridge.
In Spectre, Craig’s Bond shoots down the helicopter of Blofeld (Christopher Waltz), who crashes onto the bridge.
The 250m-long, listed structure was completely refurbished in 2005 to 2007, which involved repainting the whole bridge and replacing its iron fascias.
It’s painted in the same green colour as the leather seats of the nearby House of Commons (which is on the side of the Palace of Westminster nearest to the bridge).
The current structure is the second version of the bridge. The original, constructed in 1739-1750, was replaced in 1862 by today’s Thomas Page-designed bridge.
5. Hammersmith Bridge, London, UK
Another bridge in the UK capital, this time from a scene of this year’s No Time To Die.
One of the world’s oldest mechanical suspension bridges, Hammersmith Bridge is made out of wood, wrought iron and cast iron. It was the first suspension bridge built over the Thames in 1887 and was designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette.
The listed structure was reopened earlier this year after being closed to all forms of traffic for restabilisation works in August 2020.
6. Seven Mile Bridge, Florida, USA
In Licence to Kill (1989), Timothy Dalton’s Bond is travelling on the Seven Mile Bridge to his friend’s wedding when the coast guard helicopter flies alongside and asks them to stop the car.
The bridge is situated in the Florida Keys in the United States, crossing the Moser Channel.
One of the longest bridges ever built when it was constructed, the bridge is a box-girder structure built from precast concrete sections. It has 440 spans, and the centre of it rises in an arc to allow boats to pass under.
The road bridge that exists today is the second version of an original bridge built in 1912.
The old Seven Mile Bridge can still be seen from the new Seven Mile Bridge, and the new one has kept the name despite being shorter (at 6.79 miles) than the original
7. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA
In A View To A Kill (1985), Roger Moore’s Bond fights Zorin on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
p>The burnt-red painted suspension bridge opened in 1937, connecting San Francisco to Marin County in California. Designed by engineer Joseph Strauss, it spans the Golden Gate strait, which connects San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean.
8. Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge), Venice, Italy
In Casino Royale, Craig’s Bond (he does love a bridge, it seems), sails the canals of Venice with his ladylove, Vesper, passing landmarks including the Rialto Bridge.
First built in 1173 as a pontoon bridge, this famous tourist attraction connects the districts of San Marco and San Polo. It has since been rebuilt many times, going through life as a wooden bridge (1255), then a stone bridge (1591).
The single-structure features two, shop-covered ramps that lead up to a central portico.
9. Crocodile Bridge, Jamaica
Live and Let Die (1973) introduced Roger Moore to the franchise, and in one of the most memorable Bond scenes ever, after the villain retracts a wooden bridge and leaves him stranded on an island, the agile spy hops across a stretch of water to safety, running on the backs of a line of crocodiles.
OK, so the famous scene, filmed at Swamp Safari in Jamaica, doesn’t show a bridge in the traditional sense of the word, but we’ve snuck this one in to show how Bond can problem solve just as well as any civil engineer.
Fortunately, most civil engineers don’t have to work in such life-threatening situations! Though it would make for some great movies if they did.