Monte Carlo is instantly associated with gambling, Grand Prix racing and a Hollywood icon who became a princess. It’s the jewel in the crown of Monaco, a tiny Principality on the French Riviera and the ancient seat of the Grimaldi clan.
Central to the city’s magical allure is the Casino de Monte Carlo, an elaborate edifice built in the Belle Époque style. It’s an elegant beautifully designed gambling palace and the perfect foil to the crass consumerism and kitsch symbolism of Las Vegas casinos.
As with the world famous gambling jurisdictions of Las Vegas and Macau, Monte Carlo is a popular film location. Scenes featuring MI5 spies, Bond villains, superheroes and daring imposters are shot in the streets, hotels and restaurants of the city.
There are also reels of celluloid featuring the opulence and activity of the gaming rooms at one of the oldest casinos in the world. Here are 4 Monte Carlo movies that made it big at the box office:
Never Say Never Again – 1983
Never Say Never Again stars Sean Connery as MI5 agent James Bond. It’s an action-packed thriller with all the ingredients of a blockbuster hit, from a beautiful woman with a sadomasochistic bent to the arch-villain himself, the inimitable Ernst Blofeld played by Max Von Sydow.
In his final appearance as James Bond, Connery has to track down two stolen nuclear warheads before it’s too late. One of the more memorable scenes is set in the casino and features Bond and nemesis Maximillian Largo playing a video game that delivers an electrical shock or casino chips.
A glittering array of supporting actors includes Kim Basinger, Rowan Atkinson and Edward Fox and the movie grossed $160 million at the box office.
GoldenEye – 1995
GoldenEye is yet another Bond movie featuring scenes shot in the Monte Carlo casino. This time Dame Judi Dench is M and Pierce Brosnan plays the role of the legendary spy. His mission is to save London from being attacked by electromagnetic weapons hijacked by a rouge agent.
Bond encounters all sorts of obstacles including a member of the Janus Crime Syndicate who seduces her adversaries and then promptly crushes them to death with her thighs!
Self-destructing helicopters, tranquiliser darts, laser wristwatches and KGB agents guarantee an action thriller that’ll keep you glued to your seat. The movie was a resounding success, generating more than $355 million worldwide.
Lights, camera, action!
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Iron Man 2 – 2010
Iron Man 2 stars Robert Downey Junior as Tony Stark aka Iron Man. It is the third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and features some of the biggest names in Hollywood. The movie centres on an ailing Stark who is slowly being poisoned by the Iron Man suit’s palladium core.
Although Stark is committed to using the suit’s superpower for peaceful means, there’s someone else who wants to get his hands on the technology. In a key scene shot in Monte Carlo, Stark competes in the Monaco Historic Grand Prix and is attacked by arch-rival Ivan Vanko played by Mickey Rourke. Iron Man 2 fetched $624 million at the box office.
Monte Carlo – 2011
Monte Carlo is a romantic comedy starring Selena Gomez as an American student who ends up impersonating a wealthy British aristocrat.
She and her friends hobnob with princes on luxury yachts, dress up in finery to go to the ball and generally enjoy all the trapping of wealth until their sins catch up with them and they are exposed… or are they? It’s a fun, light-hearted movie that earned $39 million in ticket sales.