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RAILMARKET.com recommends railway-themed films for cosy evenings in the run-up to spring. Enjoy the excitement of train travel in the comfort of your own home.

James Bond films have captivated audiences around the world for decades with their mix of sophistication, action, and intrigue. Among the franchise's many trademarks, the exhilarating train scenes hold a special place, combining the elegance of rail travel with the adrenaline of espionage adventure. These sequences are not just set pieces; they are narrative lynchpins, often featuring character development, plot twists, and memorable confrontations with villains. Here we explore some of the most iconic train scenes in the Bond franchise.

"From Russia With Love" (1963): One of the earliest and most iconic train scenes in the James Bond series takes place in this film. The fight between James Bond (Sean Connery) and Red Grant (Robert Shaw) aboard the Orient Express is an example of hand-to-hand combat, tension, and suspense. This scene set a high bar for train sequences and remains a benchmark for hand-to-hand combat in the series.

"Live and Let Die" (1973): Although not as central as in other films, the train scene in this film features a fight between Bond (Roger Moore) and Tee Hee (Julius Harris), and showcases the blend of humor and danger that would become a hallmark of Roger Moore's tenure as Bond.

"The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977): The train fight scene between Bond and the towering villain Jaws showcases an intense clash of physicality against a backdrop of luxury rail travel. The confined space elevates the suspense, making every punch and maneuver feel more impactful.

"Octopussy" (1983): In this film, Bond (Roger Moore) infiltrates a circus train, leading to a series of suspenseful and action-packed moments. The train sequence is crucial to the climax of the plot, as Bond navigates the moving train to prevent a nuclear explosion.

"GoldenEye" (1995): The armored train in Russia provides the setting for a pivotal scene where Bond (Pierce Brosnan) confronts Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean). Trevelyan, in a desperate attempt to prevent Bond from stopping GoldenEye, activates the self-destruct sequence of the train. Bond and Trevelyan struggle as the train explodes within the tunnel, engulfing them in flames and debris.

"Skyfall" (2012): The film opens with James Bond (Daniel Craig) on a mission in Istanbul, tracking a mercenary who has stolen a hard drive containing the identities of NATO agents embedded in terrorist organizations around the world. The chase takes Bond through the narrow streets of Istanbul, culminating in a dramatic switch to the railways.

“Spectre" (2015): Set against the backdrop of a luxurious train journey through the Moroccan desert, the scene is both a visual feast and a narrative keystone. James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) are en route to confront the head of the sinister organization Spectre, led by the enigmatic Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz). The train serves as a brief respite from the dangers they've faced. However, this tranquility is shattered by the arrival of Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista), a formidable henchman sent to eliminate them.

Behind-the-scenes facts:

  • Octopussy's train, which transports her squad between Karl-Marx-Stadt in East Germany and Feldstadt in West Germany, was filmed on the Nene Valley Railway, which later featured in GoldenEye (1995). Carriages were sourced from all over Europe to add authenticity to the sequence, and a Danish State Railway locomotive, DSB S No. 740, was doubled for a German State Railway locomotive, DR 62.015.
  • In the 1995 film Goldeneye, villain Alec Trevelyan traveled aboard an incredible Soviet armored train. Although Bond films are known for dipping into fiction, these trains are real and as incredible in real life as they are in the movies.
  • The train battle in Skyfall wasn't shot on a constructed set against a blue screen or anything like that. Instead, it was shot in Adana, Turkey, on a real train traveling at 40mph. Craig and Rapace were attached to safety wires, of course, but they did most of their stunts.
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