Katy Towse
1st February 2022

Bond. Indy. Bourne. Croft.

Action heroes don’t come more action-y or hero-y than these legendary characters who have entertained cinema audiences across the globe for decades.

World-renowned, these literary-turned-film characters are so popular, their adventures have been captured on screen with high-grossing film franchises that set the box office alight again and again!

Aside from their daredevil antics (and kicking some serious on-screen butt!), do you know what else they have in common? Well, we certainly do! They have all spent time filming their high-octane adventures in Hertfordshire over the years, making use of its state-of-the-art, large scale production facilities and popular filming properties and locations..

When it comes to epic adventures and action-hero heritage, Hertfordshire is second-to-none so let’s dive right in and get a look a closer look at Hertfordshire’s slice of the action!


Having already filmed the original Star Wars movie at Elstree Studios, Hollywood superstar Harrison Ford returned to the county for the first Indiana Jones epic, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Steven Spielberg based his production at Elstree, building huge sets at the Hertfordshire studios for now world-famous (and much quoted!) scenes such as the Well of the Souls sequence featuring thousands of snakes, or the Ark scene where René Belloq and the Nazis perform the ritual to open the Ark. Additionally, the classroom and Great Hall of Rickmansworth Masonic School, also in Hertfordshire, were used as filming locations during the production to shoot the interior college scenes at Marshall College.

Like Raiders Of The Lost Ark, follow up film The Temple of Doom was also based in the UK with a lot of it filmed on studio sets at Elstree in Hertfordshire (including the interior of ‘Obi Wan Club’ which opens the movie). Fun fact, eight out of the nine studios at Elstree in 1983 were used for this production with the film cast and crew taking over the facility and neighbouring towns!

The third instalment in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster franchise, The Last Crusade, contains a bit of a mishmash of international filming locations with scenes were shot everywhere from Utah to Germany, Italy to Jordan - but the team still returned to their much-loved Elstree Studios as the main UK production base.

If you’re a super fan of the smart-talking, whip-cracking action hero, then look no further than Hertfordshire to follow in his footsteps!


GoldenEye - Pierce Brosnan's first James Bond outing in 1995 - was made in Hertfordshire instead of the franchise's regular home at Pinewood Studios (which was booked for another production at the time.) EON Productions took over the empty former Rolls-Royce factory site at Leavesden Aerodrome and created their very own dedicated film studio system in Herts. This was actually the very first film to be shot at what is now Leavesden Studios (which of course went onto become and remains one of the most popular studios in the world for large scale productions!)

Scenes from Brosnan's second Bond blockbuster, Tomorrow Never Dies, were also shot in Hertfordshire, this time at Frogmore, a village between St Albans and Radlett. With both Pinewood and Leavesden this time unavailable, filmmakers created EON Studios in a former warehouse on the adjoining Radlett Aerodrome site.

Many of the film’s key action sequences were filmed on the sound stages, including the scene with Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh on a motorbike jumping over the top of a helicopter- you know, as you do!

Slick, suave and sophisticated, if charismatic Bond is your action hero of choice, then head to the county to for an adventure to die for!


If you're more of a fan of adrenaline-fuelled Lara Croft, then you may be interested to know that the exterior of Hertfordshire’s Hatfield House was used as the setting for Lara Croft's lavish home in 2001 blockbuster Tomb Raider. The film was based on the popular video game and raked in more than $270m at the Box Office with worldwide audiences flocking to cinemas to watch mega star Angela Jolie as one of the first female action heroes!

Although the stunning interior, where she practices her bungee ballet is actually a studio set filmed elsewhere, the manor's library scenes were indeed filmed in Hatfield House's library. The long gallery in Hatfield House was used as one of the Croft Manor hallways in the second film too, along with the foyer where we see Lara and Hillary practice martial arts.

Arse-kicking and action-packed, Lara Croft paved the way for female-led blockbusters such as The Hunger Games and Wonder Woman, championing strong women on screen and breaking the mould of male action heroes that dominated the movie theatres previously.

For any action heroes aficionados firmly in the Croft club, a trip to Hatfield House might well be in order where you can enjoy spotting the exteriors, grounds and details frequently seen as Lara’s very own ‘Croft Manor!’


Did brooding Bourne and his action-packed exploits have you bounding to the box office and pounding the popcorn back in the 2000s? Hertfordshire's Bourne action was at the UK production base in Leavesden, with some extra location filming nearby.

With five films in this hugely successful action-adventure series, the Jason Bourne franchise dominated Hollywood screens and studios for the best part of a decade. The title character (originally from a series of novels) quite literally leaps off the page and onto the screen in five thrilling films as Bourne tries to decipher his deep-forgotten past and discover his true identity (whilst fighting off a series of murderous black ops agents out to get him from the word go, of course!)

With the production using the huge facility for a UK base throughout the franchise, director Paul Greengrass along with lead actor Matt Damon and the rest of star-studded cast spent a huge amount of time in the county between 2006 and 2016 filming the daring stunts and exhilarating set pieces the films are famous for.


And finally, the anti-hero of the action bunch, and another great British favourite - Johnny English!

Rowan Atkinson’s much beloved comedy turn as bungling agent English was a huge box office hit and had audiences rolling in the aisles with its spy spoof storylines and hilarious one-liners.

Johnny English is yet another action-hero franchise with links to the county, having been filmed at local locations including Brocket Hall, St Albans Cathedral and Leavesden Park in Watford- all of which are open for public visits. St Albans cathedral was once again used as a substitute for Westminster Abbey with its breath-taking architecture and imposing grandeur perfectly displayed on the silver screen.

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