We all know pipelines are a unique and efficient mode of transportation. However, they are rarely top of mind for most of the world’s population. As pipeline engineering professionals, we’ve always gotten a kick out of watching the ever-creative James Bond use pipelines as an unexpected avenue to escape his adversaries.
From smuggling allies across the Iron Curtain to disabling nuclear weapons, pipelines have been used as a plot device in Bond films spanning three decades. Below we breakdown three of these scenes, including Diamonds are Forever, the Pipeline to the West scene in The Living Daylights, and the Plutonium bomb scene in The World is Not Enough.
1971’s Diamonds are Forever
Bond hides in a pipe piece in this iconic scene. When the piece is moved below ground and connected to a pipeline, Bond comes face to face with a rat… and then a “pig.” As the rat scurries in the other direction, Bond attempts the same, only to realize that even he can’t outrun a pig. Bond tackles the pig, rides it down the pipeline, and eventually disables it from moving. When the technicians open the hatch, they find Bond who claims—in the most charming, Bond-like demeanor— that he was out for a walk and “seemed to have lost his way.” This scene is a cool example of how far in-line pipeline technology has come!
1987’s The Living Daylights
When Bond must get Koskov through the Iron Curtain unnoticed, he turns to a pipeline for help. Bond loads Koskov in a pig designed for human transport, assuring him that engineers have been perfecting it for months. As an accomplice distracts the supervisor from the switchboard, Bond sends Koskov across the border.
Koskov’s stealth escape inside a pig is what dreams are made of. The Soviets frantically search for Koskov at the border, with no luck. Their eyes dart to the pipeline as they hear loud activity within. Could it be? No. It’s not possible! But thanks to Bond’s clever tactics, it works like a charm. The pig opens, and additional accomplices welcome Koskov to Austria.
1999’s The World is Not Enough
When “M” needs to stop a Plutonium bomb from exploding, she sends Bond and Dr. Christmas Jones to handle the job. Dr. Jones and Bond speed through the pipeline, attempting to reach the bomb before it’s too late. When Bond realizes that the brakes are jammed, Dr. Jones swoops in to deactivate the bomb at rapid speed (both literally and figuratively!) After discovering the bomb has been tampered with, Bond and Dr. Jones hop off the pig seconds before it explodes, blowing up 50 yards of the pipeline.
These three scenes have stayed with us throughout our career and, dare we say, make us feel a bit Bond-like ourselves! Which scene is your favorite?