Top 10 Bond Villains

Top 10 Bond Villains

With the impending release of Skyfall and the complete James Bond 22 film blu-ray collection hitting stores, I figured I’d do my bit to celebrate 50 years of 007. Abandoning my plan of donning a charity shop suit, driving to the nearest office block in my Aston Martin (which is actually a ’96 beat up Astra) and declaring all the workers to be minions of SPECTRE (whilst swigging from a Martini bottle and brandishing a potato gun), I figured a top ten list would be a far saner option and a lot less effort.

So without further gibberish, here’s my run down of the top ten Bond Villains (henchmen included):

10. General Orlov

Played by:  Steven Berkoff

This fanatical commie blowhard dreams of Europe’s domination by the Soviet war machine. Planning to detonate a nuclear bomb in a US military base in Germany and subsequently start World War 3, Orlov’s ruthlessness is only matched by his zeal, brought to life by Steven Berkoff’s wonderful intensity. In essence, Orlov represents the maniacal, power-crazed Russian stereotype so feared during the Cold War.

Death scene:  Shot by his own men as he attempts to flee the bomb site with a cache of loot.

Quote  “The West is decadent and divided! It has no stomach to risk our atomic reprisals!”

9. Renard

Played by:  Robert Carlyle

Trained by the KGB (and subsequently booted for having a touch of the crazy) and now turned terrorist, Renard is the partner in crime of oil-greedy Electra King. Crippled by a bullet lodged in his brain from a previous bungled assassination attempt, Renard feels nothing: no compassion, pain or regret. Yet despite his unhinged nature and history of wanton violence, Renard’s torment over a gradually diminishing life that ceases to hold any pleasure makes him one of the few Bond villains to possess a depth beyond the generic megalomaniac loon template. Defines the term ‘headshot’.

Death scene:  Impaled by a rod of plutonium that’s fired from a submarine core

Quote  “You can’t kill me. I’m already dead.”

8. Mr Wint / Mr Kidd

Played by:  Bruce Glover / Putter Smith

These guys are just damn weird. From their mild, disarming manners to Mr Wint’s unsavoury pedo look (long balding hair and moustache, large glasses and trench coat) this pair are unsettling to say the least. Effeminate natures not withstanding (they are seen standing together arms linked several times while Mr Wint has a preference for women’s perfume), they are crucially still sadistic killers, with varied methods: poisoned scorpions, radio controlled bombs and good old fashioned live burials all feature in their repertoire.

Death scene:  Mr Wint gets set on fire and thrown off a cruise liner while Mr Kidd is blown up after having a bomb strapped to him (his facial expression is priceless).

Quote  “Curious… how everyone who touches those diamonds seems to die.”

7. Odd Job

Played by:  Harold Sakata

Auric Goldfinger’s Korean manservant, Oddjob also doubles up as a very tough bodyguard. Able to shrug-off the most savage beating, his bizarre signature attack is to throw a razor edged bowler hat at his enemies with the intent of decapitation. But for me, Oddjob’s charm is down to two things: 1) he can crush a golf ball in his fist; and 2) he was undoubtedly the best multiplayer character in GoldenEye for the N64.

Death scene:  Electrocuted to death by Bond when retrieving his hat from some metal bars in Fort Knox.

6. May Day

Played by:  Grace Jones

Henchman and girlfriend of Max Zorin, she is also the commander of his personal, all-female guard squad. Using a variety of odd assassination techniques, from a poisoned butterfly on the end of a fishing rod to a car wash assisted kill, May Day is generally pretty badass, though she does have a conscience: after witnessing the aftermath of Zorin’s butchery, she joins the few Bond villains to defect to our protagonist’s cause. It’s for this reason and the fact the Grace Jones always looks mental, that she makes this list.

Death scene:  Blown up by a bomb on a mine handcar to foil Zorin’s plans.

Quote  “Get Zorin for me!”

5. Auric Goldfinger

Played by:  Gert Frobe

Inspired by Ian Fleming’s neighbour Erno Goldfinger (who vexed the Bond writer with his distasteful architecture), the rotund villain is one of the most memorable in the franchise. Famous for his smuggling operations, love of gold and unique penchant for painting women to death, Goldfinger seeks to destroy the US gold reserves by way of a nuclear detonation, thereby raising the value of his own gold holdings. What a guy.

Death scene:  Blasted out of a plane during a botched attempt to assassinate 007.

Quote  “Man has climbed Mount Everest, gone to the bottom of the ocean. He’s fired rockets at the Moon, split the atom, achieved miracles in every field of human endeavour… except crime!”

4. Max Zorin

Played by:  Christopher Walken

Already the proud owner of some steroid-fuelled racehorses, rich autocrat Max Zorin has his eyes on silicon chips, with a plan to corner the market by flooding Silicon Valley. Once a KGB agent now turned rogue, Zorin’s sinister roots extend to being the product of Nazi experimentation into the Ubermensch. Christopher Walken perfectly captures this callous, greedy, ambitious villain, with his crazy accent and unhinged persona.

Death scene:  Falls from the Golden Gate bridge after failing to axe Bond to death.

Quote  “Intuitive improvisation is the secret of genius”

3. Francisco Scaramanga

Played by:  Christopher Lee

A world class assassin that uses a gun made of gold (with golden bullets), has a midget for a henchman, lives in an island lair akin to a demented funhouse and totes a third nipple… what’s not to like about this guy. And he’s a sportsman too, respecting Bond’s combat prowess to the point where he sets up an elaborate deathmatch to prove who is the best killer. To top it off, he’s played by Christopher Lee. Winner.

Death scene:  Shot in the chest in his hall of mirrors, after Bond tricks him into believing he’s a statue.

Quote  “You see, Mr. Bond, I always thought I loved animals. Then I discovered that I enjoyed killing people even more.”

2. Jaws

Played by:  Richard Kiel

Everyone’s favourite lumbering giant, what Jaws lacks in intelligence and dialogue, he makes up in sheer brute strength, a kind of Jason Voorhees of the Bond franchise. Biting your opponent to death may not seem like the optimum way to dispatch a foe, but Jaw’s metal gnashers seem to chew through anything, from a human neck to the tough flesh of a shark. Add to this an uncanny ability to survive pretty much anything and you have a Bond villain to be proud of.

Death scene:  Survives surprisingly and even picks up a girlfriend (albeit stuck in a partially destroyed space station floating around earth).

Quote  “Well, here’s to us.” (his single piece of dialogue in the series)

1. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

Played by:  Anthony Dawson, Donald Pleasance, Telly Savalas, Charles Gray, John Hollis, Max Von Sydow

Numero Uno of dastardly crime syndicate SPECTRE, Blofeld is a recurring nemesis for Bond to battle against. Constantly inventing new ways to bring chaos to the world, Blofeld is the archetypal crime villain: obsessed with power, devoid of conscience and methodical in the execution of his plans. Clearly addicted to plastic surgery (judging by his constantly changing features) with a penchant for white cats, Blofeld ranks up an impressive seven Bond film appearances (if you count Never Say Never Again) making him the most frequently recurring and subsequently iconic Bond villain to date.

Death scene:  Dropped from a helicopter into an industrial chimney

Quote  “I’ve taught you to love chickens, to love their flesh, their voice.”

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About filmfellahenry
Film reviewer, script writer and occasional painter. Fan of Lumet, Aronofsky and Kubrick, with a good measure of early John Carpenter thrown in. Particularly like post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror and fantasy film genres.

2 Responses to Top 10 Bond Villains

  1. Maurice says:

    Nice countdow but how could you leave out the great Baron Samedi ?

    I like Boris the best from Goldeneye.’I am Invincible!’

    • filmfellahenry says:

      I agree, Baron Samedi is great and narrowly missed being included (along with Alec Trevelyan, Franz Sanchez and a host of others).

      Thanks for reading!

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