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Goldeneye: Verzasca Dam

Listed under Film Locations in Switzerland.

Photo of Goldeneye: Verzasca Dam
Photo by flickr user rs-foto
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GoldenEye (Dir: Martin Campbell, 1995)

In the opening scene of Goldeneye James Bond (Pierce Brosnan in this case) breaks into a Russian secret base within a dam. Against the immensity of the sweeping arch of the concrete dam, Bond is a tiny black figure. From his POV we see the dam and it’s bowl spread out what looks like hundreds of metres below, steep cliffs on all sides and the steeper wall below his feet - he dives spectacularly off the lip, plunging 220 metres straight down the sheer concrete wall on a bungy cable. With milliseconds to spare he pulls out his grappling gun and shooting it into a pylon manages to reel himself in to safety.

If you fancy yourself as 007 this is one of the most impressive scenes to re-enact - it was also voted ‘Best Movie Stunt of all time” in 2002. It is still the highest jump shown on film, the stuntman jumped from a platform suspended out from the wall to stop him from getting too close to the wall and there is a similar gantry built on the spot today.

It’s not in Russia but Switzerland, but everything else about this spot is just how you see it in the film, you’re as close to the wall as Bond, travelling at the same speeds and dealing with the same wind pockets pushing off the bowl of the dam, making it (I‘m reliably told by someone who has done it) one of the world‘s top legal thrills. I’m also told that being strapped to the gantry at the top is like being told to walk the plank or off a gallows you’ve been strung up to. At seven seconds this is also one of the world’s highest bungy jumps.

It’s run between October and April when the wind conditions are at their LEAST terminal...

Written by  Film Fan.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

WOW

This is one of those cliche things that it seems like everyone knows about and wants to do - but that doesn't make it any less awesome. Standing on the lip of the dam it's really easy to think this could be one of your last moment on earth. Without being too gratuitous I did imagine my head splattering like a watermelon against the side of the dam on my way down (which some how made it easier for me to jump when Timmy counted down?). But the desire to be as Bond was strong enough to urge me on...and the fact that I had dared my friend to do it with me and he had gone first even though if I had gone first and died I told him he wouldn't have to go through with it. But Bond has some big shoes to fill in my book and this isn't the only Bond stunt I am trying to replicate.

Obviously I didn't die. Instead I got one of the biggest rushes of my life. Some people were all like: it's not that great a location what are you going to see etc. but being able to see the dam wall wooshing past in your peripheral vision made your velocity all the more real. Seven seconds of falling - that is actually a pretty long time - count it out in Mississippis and you'll see what I mean, then imagine plummeting headfirst off a structure that large. This is actually heaps more thrilling than skydiving because of the perspective.

Wow. All I can say is get hold of the movie and think about what it would be like to do it and pack an extra pair of daks.

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