Movies on the River Thames

Taking the “centre-stage” of London, several locations along the River Thames are regularly used for huge amounts of filming work.

It’s no surprise that the Thames is so often chosen as an ideal location for many projects for TV and the big screen, as it boasts some of the city’s most iconic backdrops along with widely diverse marine environments.

You may recognise some of the most famous films to have featured the River Thames, many of which the Livett’s Group have been lucky enough to be involved:

James Bond’s “The World Is Not Enough”

One of the biggest and most complex sequences to have ever been filmed on the Thames involves Pierce Brosnan’s Bond taking control of a small military vessel to chase down a villain in a luxurious Sunseeker. Beginning at the iconic MI6 headquarters in Vauxhall, the adrenaline-fuelled pursuit passes Westminster, Tower Bridge, and the Royal Docks, concluding with a hot air balloon stunt in Greenwich involving the O2 arena.

Livett’s provided a vast range of marine coordination services to help achieve the spectacular results seen in the film. Lasting for nearly six minutes and covering so many high-profile riverside sites, this scene will take some beating as a showcase for the capabilities of filming on the river Thames.

Click here to view the chase >> 

The Long Good Friday

In this hugely popular 80s thriller, the late Bob Hoskins plays deadly London mob boss Harry Shand. The river and its surrounding waterways create the setting for much the film, with many scenes shot in Limehouse marina and at the (barely recognisable) Royal Docks. In fact, in one particular scene we see Harry hosting a party on a luxury motorboat cruising past none other than Butler’s Wharf Pier (this was before the pier was home to the Livett’s fleet we should add)!

The film portrays an interesting reflection of the ever-changing backdrop of London, and alludes to many accurate predictions of the way the city would come to develop over time – at one point, Shand even muses about the Olympics being held there!

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

In this scene, Harry and his friends fly their broomsticks above the River Thames, soaring past the HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge, narrowly avoiding a party boat in the process.

Although this scene may seem fleeting, much filming and stunt choreography took place on the River for this project, resulting in one of many amazing sequences in the hugely successful movie franchise..

View the scene here >>

Sherlock Holmes

In the first instalment of Robert Downey Jr’s popular adaptations of the eccentric detective, Tower Bridge and other riverside wharves and buildings make up the setting for many of the scenes in the movie. One scene in particular involves Holmes and Watson being taxied to a riverside building by a bearded waterman – who is in fact played by none other than Chris Livett, Managing Director of Livett’s Group!

The film was set in the late 19th century, showcased by the construction of Tower Bridge in the film, and acts as a prime example of how although the buildings and scenery around it may change, the Thames is a constant!

View the trailer >>

The Theory of Everything 

In this touching biopic that tells the story of the life of Professor Steven Hawking, the beginning of the film shows scenes of the young physicist studying and socialising with friends at Cambridge University.

In one scene, Hawking is shown acting as a coxswain in a friendly boat race. This was actually filmed on the River Thames at Windsor with Eddie Redmayne on set to recreate the event. Livett’s had crew and a project coordinator at the set providing safety and camera boats as well as various other marine coordination services.

Redmayne went on to win an Academy Award for his incredible portrayal of Hawking in the film.
View the trailer >>

24: Live Another Day

The most recent instalment of popular serial drama 24 was set in London and took advantage of the city’s famous sites to create a backdrop to the season.

The Thames is featured a number of times throughout the series. Most notably one scene that shows the protagonist, Jack Bauer, jump down to the beach at low tide, as assailants close in on a RIB and trap him at gunpoint. Filming for this scene took place at Morden’s Wharf, near Greenwich, and the gun wielding assailant driving the RIB was in fact the skipper of the Elizabethan (one of Livett’s Group’s popular event boats)!

Coming Soon

Yet again, Bond appears to be taking to the Thames in the highly anticipated 24th instalment of the James Bond franchise. Set for release in late 2015, filming for Spectre has been seen to take place in numerous locations along the River Thames, including Westminster, Vauxhall and Lambeth.

Alongside Daniel Craig himself, the action-packed scenes have also involved gunfire, speedboats and helicopters. This is looking to be another example of a memorable sequence to attract the world’s attention to the River Thames through the widely adored 007 franchise.

See more on the Spectre filming that has taken place >>  

To find out more about filming capabilities on the Thames or to learn about other projects that Livett’s Group has been involved in, please contact or call 020 7378 1211.