Morocco filming locations from SPECTRE

Filmmakers used a number of Moroccan locations for SPECTRE. Here we investigate where they were.

When Bond and Madeleine arrive in Morocco (1:13:52) they walk up the steps of a passageway in the medina. Below them the hustle and bustle of medina life goes on while in the background is the bay.

High on the wall to the left is a faded ad for a restaurant with a phone number beneath it. The restaurant turns out to be Saveur de Poisson, which is located on the steps of Escalier Waller, south of the medina. In reality the view from here is rather different though. That view across the bay can’t actually be seen from here.

The Moorish archway they apparently approach at the top of the steps (1:14:17 ) is known Bab el-Assa, the “gate of beatings”, through which prisoners passed to and from a nearby prison. In reality it is in the north of the medina near the Kasbah museum.

They then walk along the old city wall (1:14:21) before arriving at Hotel l’Americain. Scenes of the entrance and reception were filmed at Palais Akaaboune (32 Rue Ben Abbou). Situated near the Kasbah museum and Bab el-Assa, the palace is available for private hire.

While Bond guards Madeleine as she tries to sleep we see a nighttime shot over the bay (1:18:20), just before Bond interrogates the mouse.

While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact spot from which the shot is taken it appears to be from the Medina area close to Bab el-Assa. A distinctive old building comes into frame on the right with arched windows, which may be Palais Akaaboune. On the other hand it could be a post-production addition.

Oriental Desert Express

Bond and Madeleine head for Blofeld’s desert lair by train after discovering its location in Mr White’s safe room at l’Americain.

Scenes of the Oriental Desert Express, which runs an occasional service between Oujda and Bouarfa, were filmed in the desert. Scenes of the train (1:23:56) were filmed northeast of Oujda with the city and mountains behind.

It’s much more difficult to pinpoint where shots of the train travelling through the desert were filmed though. Perhaps the night time shot (1:27:07) is on the curve some 4-5 kilometres outside El Aioun, although it isn’t on the same line on which the Oriental Desert Express actually runs. An external shot of the train at sunrise (1:32:25) is could be anywhere, as could the abandoned railway station (1:32:39) at which they alight.

Blofeld’s desert lair

From the station they are collected in a 1948 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith and taken to Blofeld’s lair at Gara Medouar. The dusty track along which the car follows (1:34:04) runs north from the N12, between Rissani and Raghoute.

Although in the film the crater was supposedly formed by a meteorite, the rock formation at Gara Medouar was in fact cause by erosion to leave a distinctive horseshoe shape. CGI was used to make it appear that there are buildings within the “crater”.

The external shots of the house in which Bond and Madeleine stay is Villa Dar Bianca. It is actually on the outskirts of Marrakesh close to the American School and as recently as 2016 was on the market with an asking price of €3.2 million.

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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