45 years ago, bad guys chased James Bond along the St. Lucie River


This news is likely to leave some of Port St. Lucie’s critics both shaken and stirred: James Bond was here.

Not only was he here, the debonair superspy did battle with one of his greatest cinematic foes, a metal-toothed giant named Jaws, in a waterway better known for fish camps than firebombs.

The scene played out on the St. Lucie River’s North Fork. In screen time, it lasted only about four minutes.

During that brief period, the movie’s producers were able to cram in most of the elements essential to a Bond movie. There was a boat chase, with Bond pursued by several baddies, including the aforementioned Jaws. There were explosions. Spectacular jumps and crashes. Gunfire. An abundance of gadgets that Bond, then played by Roger Moore, used to even the odds.

About the only Bond movie trademark that’s missing from the scene is a scantily-clad woman, plotting to betray the hero or profess her undying love to him.

James Bond was in Port St. Lucie, believe it or not

That’s right ― all of this happened in Port St. Lucie, the supposedly sedate center of the Treasure Coast. You know, that place where nothing interesting ever happens?

Well, it did happen. Port St. Lucie is inextricably linked to one of the American film industry’s best-known and longest-enduring franchises.

‘Moonraker’ filming made a big splash in PSL

The movie in question was “Moonraker,” the 12th adaptation of author Ian Fleming’s unflappable and indestructible British secret agent. The movie, released in theaters June 29, 1979, turns 45 this year.

The plot centers around Bond’s investigation of the mid-air theft of a space shuttle, which eventually leads him to the Amazon River.

Only it’s not really the Amazon. It’s the St. Lucie. The Treasure Coast river’s mangrove-lined banks provide a rough approximation of the Brazilian jungle, with an assist from some movie-making magic.

No spoilers here, for those who might want to watch or re-watch the movie. However, the scene’s ending definitely required Hollywood help. Local viewers will be saying: “Well, that part definitely wasn’t filmed on the St. Lucie River.”

According to accounts from the St. Lucie News Tribune, about 65 to 75 people worked on the production crew for the scenes…

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