(Click here for photos from the filming of Octopussy)

RAF UPPER HEYFORD, England — Movie film rolled, video recorders whirred, cameras clicked — and that was just the spectators — when the latest James Bond epic began five days of filming here recently.

Octopussy is the 13th motion picture based on Ian Fleming's secret agent 007 and the sixth to feature Roger Moore in the leading role.

Filming began last month in the studios of Eon Productions in London and on location in Berlin.

Scenes of the circus in Octopussy — a cover for more sinister activities of Swedish actress Maud Adams — were staged for Americans at the air base here in the second location shooting for the movie.

A circus also seemed a fitting description for the activity on the base when the 200-member cast and crew hit town. The mission of USAFE's 20th Tac Fighter Wing was not disrupted, but some streets on the west end of the base were closed, and traffic to the flight line was routed away from the usual primary entrance.

Moore was involved in the usual car chase, this time through the base, as he crashed through a security barrier to stop the renegade general Orlov (Steven Berkoff) from detonating a nuclear bomb in the circus tent.

The 20th Tac Fighter Wing became the 120th Tac Fighter Wing for the movie, and the location was changed to the fictitious Feldstadt AB, Germany.

Four hand-picked airmen from each of the base's 15 squadrons were hired at 15 pounds (about $26) a day as extras for the film. A mob of American youngsters earned 10 pounds (about $17.50) a head to cheer and wave U.S. flags and balloons during the circus procession. While Americans were trying to become actors, some of the real actors were attempting to look like U.S. servicemen — but not without a few hitches.

Military officials scrambled alongside wardrobe masters to make the actors look as authentic as possible. However, wrong-sized stripes were sewn on actors' uniforms, brand-new security policemen's berets stood up like sailors' dixie-cup hats and long-haired actors had to be pushed to the rear of crowds.

Mismatches appeared inevitable, as gray-haired men ended up with single stripes on their sleeves or youthful lieutenants with bars on their shoulders.

To the music of "The Stars and Stripes Forever," the circus paraded past throngs of Americans as F-111 fighter jets flew low passes over the airfield for added sound effects.

Made up to look at least 10 years younger than his 54 years, Moore plays a knife thrower in Octopussy's Circus to get near adversary Prince Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan).

"Making these films is as much fun as they seem to be. Look, I'm surrounded by beautiful women," Moore said, adding that Octopussy will be his last James Bond film.

"I'm retiring, but they'll find another Bond," he said.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now