The Top Ten Bond Villian Henchmen

Hey everyone, welcome to the first Bond Month Top Ten!

One of the things that makes the Bond franchise so great is the colorful villains and their insane plots to take over the world. But just as entertaining are the henchmen. The muscle. These characters may not be the head honchos, but often they’re the ones Bond fights directly. And they’re certainly every bit as colorful as the main villains!

Without a doubt, the crazy assortment of low-level Bond baddies has given the series a distinctive flavor for decades. They’re an integral part of what makes this franchise so great!

So click through to check out my list of the top ten henchmen of the Bond franchise!


10) Baron Samedi: Geoffrey Holder, “Live and Let Die”

Great Look and concept, very intimidating. Did he do anything except look scary and laugh? Not really, unless you count getting killed and resurrecting, only to get killed again right away. Still, he’s memorable enough to just make the cut!

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9) Zao: Rick Yune, “Die Another Day”

Great look and origin – his face was scarred and embedded with diamonds in incident with Bond. He’s the adversary in one of the series’ best car chases. The movie was bad, certainly, but as far as I’m concerned, it wasn’t Zao’s fault.

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8) Nick Nack: Hervé Villechaize, “The Man With the Golden Gun”

Creepy and cool. Villechaize isn’t just diminutive, he also has that raspy, accented voice. I’ve always wished that “Man with” had been able to make better use of him. Still, a very colorful character, and definitely one of the most ignominious ends in the franchise!

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7) Necros: Andreas Wisniewski, “The Living Daylights”

Not a memorable character in terms of cartoonish looks or gimmicks, but very much involved in all the action. He threatens Bond numerous times, and has a great final battle with him. A great example of how to use a Henchman in a story.

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6) May Day: Grace Jones, “A View to a Kill”

May Day probably isn’t as “Over the top” as you remember her. In fact, she might be the best thing this movie has going for it (not saying a lot). Jones gives her a unique look, and she’s a menace for most of the movie. One of Bond’s creepiest hook-ups though.

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5) Pussy Galore: Honor Blackman, “Goldfinger”

Pussy would definitely rank higher if this were a list of “Bond Girls”. As a henchman though, her “color” is entirely in her name. She definitely poses a challenge to Bond, and the two enjoy a sexually charged battle for supremacy! Some points lost for turning good!

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4) Xenia Onatopp: Famke Jansen, “Goldeneye”

Gorgeous, dangerous and gleefully evil. Jansen helped generate that Goldeneye “Bond is Back!” sensation almost as much as Brosnan himself. Her crazed enthusiasm somehow works without going over the top. One of my fave Femme Fatales of the franchise!

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3) Red Grant: Robert Shaw, “From Russia With Love”

Deadly AND devious, Grant is shown killing Bond in the opening of the film… only to have it revealed that it was actually a stand-in. Still, the tone was set. This was Bond’s equal. His fight scene with Bond is undeniably one of the series’ best.

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2) Oddjob: Harold Sakata, “Goldfinger”

Hat wearing (and throwing) assassin. Of Japanese descent, but born in Hawaii, Sakata was an Olympic silver medalist in weight lifting, and a pro wrestler. He brought a great, stocky look to the character and launched the series’ penchant for outlandish henchmen.

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1) Jaws: Richard Kiel, “The Spy Who Loved Me”, “Moonraker”

Appeared in two movies, had a great look, and was literally unkillable. He survived bullets, sharks, and numerous falls from great heights. Richard Kiel’s metal mouthed strongman became an icon of the franchise. Now, if only they had never turned him “Good”!

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Some quick notes: I consider Rosa Klebb too high ranking in SPECTRE to be a henchman. She’s pretty much the main villain of that film, even though she still reports to Blofeld. Fiona Volpe is gorgeous and deadly, but couldn’t overcome the wild personas ahead of her. Vargas, also from Thunderball, is too bland… Speaking of Vargas, “Mr Vargas”, Vincent Schiavelli, is great as Dr. Kaufman… but his appearance in “Tomorrow Never Does” is far too brief, unfortunately!

So there you have it folks! The top ten Bond Villain Henchman. What do you think? Any that I ranked too high? Too low? Did I leave any off that gnaw at you? Let me hear it!!

And don’t forget, if you’ve got Bond related reviews or posts that you’d like to share with everyone, send them may way (fogsmoviereviews@gmail.com) for inclusion in the Bond Month Blog-A-Thon! I’ll be posting Bond related links from other bloggers every Friday until the release of “Skyfall”!

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56 thoughts on “The Top Ten Bond Villian Henchmen

  1. Yes on Xenia Onatopp, Necros and Jaws but Nick Nack and Zao are probably on my worst list, ahah. I’d put Gobinda from Octopussy on my list, he’s quite memorable to me. No Benicio Del Toro? ha..ha.. Jaws tops ‘em all though, glad to see him as #1.

    • No… I was ready for the Benecio comment, though. He really… Doesn’t do much except look skeevy, you know? If it weren’t for the fact that he went on to be a big star, that character would probably never even be brought up.

      Glad you respect the Necros pick, I thought you might. Have a feeling that one will draw some “Huh?”s. :D

    • It’s a really tough call. Jaws edges him for having two movies, but that’s offset a bit by the fact that one of them is Moonraker! Lol. No, seriously, Oddjob is awesome, it’s a close call. ;)

  2. Good list. I dont have many quibbles, except for the no. 1 spot (as stated elsewhere, I’d have Shaw at no. 1 and Jaws at no.2)

    Also I might try to find some room for the 3 blind assassins from Dr. No. and maybe the Dragon/tank.

    And I’m not sure where they belong, since they’re not exactly henchmen, but there should be a spot in there somewhere for Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd.

    • I saw that, but I’m sticking by my guns. I prefer the colorful charicature villains to the straight up spy on the other side types.

      And I know where Wint and Kidd belong. On the worst list. LOL. How were they supposed to scare people? Homophobia? No, seriously, I think that was supposed to be their gimmick. Can’t stand them. There’s very very little thats redeeming about D.A.F. for me.

      • Yeah, ok. I still wish they hadnt cut her role so much though. Apparently a bunch of her stuff wound up on the editing room floor. :(

        I suppose Jill St John is easy on the eyes as well. And one of the most scantily clad of the early Bond girls, but…

      • You know, I’m not going to deny that the homosexual portrayal was not part of the characters. However, I don’t know if it was primarily the homophobia that made Mr. Kint and Mr. Winn creepy. Like, I try to imagine if they did the movie differently, and they were, instead, Mr. Kint and Mrs. Winn. Or, alternately, take out any part, like the hand holding, that would make any implication that they were gay. They’d still be creepy.

        It was mainly the robotic way in which they replied at everything, like they were lobotomized or if they were really robots. And that the only time they seemed to show any emotion was when there was a promise that someone would get murdered.

        I wouldn’t put them on my Top Ten Henchmen list either — just not iconic enough — but I do think they have more going on with their characters beyond “they’re bad guys because they’re gay.”

  3. Great idea and listing, Fogs. I like that you define and highlight the henchmen (or henchwoman in many cases) in the OO7 series. And there is, rightly, a natural crossover to some of the Bond Girls. Here would be mine:

    1. Red Grant (Robert Shaw, “From Russia With Love”) – without question, the most plausible, most realized henchman in the whole series, in my book. He’s also the only one to ever kill Bond (at least in the pre-title sequence ;-)).
    2. Oddjob (Harold Sakata, “Goldfinger”) – a sheer and formidable presence, if there ever was one. And never uttered a word of dialogue. He didn’t need to.
    3. Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi, “Thunderball”) – I don’t know why this one is regularly omitted. The first female character, as a true henchman*, that could stand her ground in every scene she had with Sean Connery.
    4. Xenia Onatopp (Famke Jansen, “Goldeneye”) – you covered it well why, Fogs.
    5. Jaws (Richard Kiel, “The Spy Who Loved Me”, “Moonraker”) – same here, but this one was always a bit too gimmicky for my tastes (probably because it was during Roger Moore’s stint).
    6. Fatima Blush (Barbara Carrera, “Never Say Never Again”) – I don’t care this wasn’t part of the official series, Barbara and Connery make the movie. She’s a absolute hoot, in a good way ;-).
    7. Baron Samedi (Geoffrey Holder, “Live and Let Die”) – what you said.
    8. Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd (Bruce Glover, Putter Smith, “Diamonds Are Forever”) – yeah, this is an undeniably offensive portrait today. However, as others have pointed out, the implied homosexuality of this pair was also rather progressive for the early 1970s.
    9. May Day: Grace Jones, “A View to a Kill” – besides the fine music score, she’s the only thing I appreciate in this, my lowest rated Bond film.
    10. Zao (Rick Yune, ”Die Another Day”) – again, one of the few things I admire in my second lowest-rated Bond film.

    I, too, consider Rosa Klebb to be the villain in the “From Russia With Love” and shouldn’t be lumped in this. However, I don’t consider Pussy Galore* (Honor Blackman, “Goldfinger”) in this category. She really is the first Bond Girl that broke the early mold of the series with a character who appeared to be a henchman, but really was the love/sex interest for Bond.

    Great post, my friend.

    • I agree with you about Fiona. I think most of us miss out on her because she’s dispatched half-way through the movie and not the final act. Also, I think most think of her as a “femme fatale,” since “henchman/henchwoman” suggest that the character is more the muscle than the finesse. (Like, no one would dispute that May Day was more a hanchwoman than a femme fatale.)

      Still, Fiona had an awesome bike.

      • Agreed. You really miss her once she’s dispatched, too. IMO, it was a failing in ‘Thunderball’ to have Fiona gone too soon. She was an absolutely marvelous foil for Bond. The ‘Never Say Never ‘ redux of the same story made sure to keep Barbara’s re-imagining of the character around longer (another of its few good points).

    • Ok. Oooohf. I hate Carrera’s character so much that I had to jump at that first. She’d be on my worst henchman list, and worst Bond girl list too. WAY over the top.

      Wint and Kidd, too. I mentioned above, I think those characters were offensive… Not that I’m the politically correct sort, but basically all they had going for them was that they were supposed to be gay. Not a fan.

      I do feel guilty about leaving Fiona Volpe off though. There’s bound to be a regret everytime I post one of these, and I think she’s this one’s. She WAS great, AND gorgeous to boot. Thunderball had the most beautiful women of the entire series between her and Claudine Auger…

      Oh well, none of these are gonna be perfect…

      Glad you see what I’m saying about Zao though. He should make the cut in the low numbers. He was a decent element in that movie.

      • Perfectly understandable. I don’t begrudge your (or anyone else’s) thoughts on this. The three mentioned are definitely not to everyone’s tastes. I still think of them as memorable, as do you. They’re just on opposite ends of the scale ;-). Thanks.

    • Welllllll as much as I love Quint and Doyle Lonnegan, this isn’t a referrendum on Robert Shaw. :D

      He did well to reach number three amongst this crowd!

      There was no way he could beat out Oddjob or Jaws though, they’re just much too iconic… and for good reason. He’s the best of the rest though, you can look at it that way!

  4. You know what, Fogs? I really like your list! I have a hard time adding to it toher than I’m pretty much in agreement with most of it!

    My big difference is perhaps I like Baron Samedi a little bit more than you and I would’ve probably put him up a few spots. Sure, he had to share the spotlight with Tee Hee, but his almost supernatural nature and his fantastic paint job make him one of my personal faves. (I mean, I’d never rank him higher than May Day or anything, but there you go.)

    Also glad to see Zao on the list, too. One of the best parts of Die Another Day. After two straight movies of bland henchmen — can’t remember their names, but didn’t they both have the ultra-generic “impervious to pain” thing going on? — I was happy to see a henchman that was decidedly old school Bond. A henchman with diamonds embedded in his face? Dude, that guy should totally have been in a movie with Sean Connery or Roger Moore!

    • Cool. Thanks for the support. Was beginning to question the inclusion of Samedi for awhile there. LOL.

      Zao is underrated because that movie was a Crime Against Humanity. But yeah, as a character and a villain, he was excellent. I love the look. I love how we see how he got made what he is… and I really love that car chase. It’s a great scene.

      He’s one of the few elements of the movie that I actually like.

  5. I’ll be brutally honest and play my hand straight up say here Fogs… I’m not a big Bond fan. I enjoy the films but normally get bored about half way in. As a result, I can’t contribute to many of your Bond posts this month as I wouldn’t be being genuine. Sorry bro! That being said, Jaws is top villain and no mistake ;-)

  6. Sorry bro, November it has to be. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ll pop in and have a gander but to quote my Vietnam buddy Walter… I have “No frame of reference. I’m like a child wandering into the… What…. The chinaman is not the issue here Dude. I’m talkin about a line in the sand…” LOL.
    Sorry man, you get the picture! ;-)

  7. Red Grant doesn’t need a flying guillotine, or orthodontia to take out his targets. They are usually dead before anyone knows he is there. OK, that may be a little disrespectful to Odd Job, after all, he is the template for all later henchmen. The problem he has is his lines are not as good as Grants, “Old Man”. Grunting cannot compete with the smug and self righteous rantings of a lunatic who really is influenced by the moon (Book Reference). And when Jaws speaks, all credibility in him as a villain is lost and he is reduced to a humorous character. Necros does get props for the fantastic fight scene at the safe house in “The Living Daylights”. Baron Samedi is cool but Tee Hee is the real muscle (OK, wire and steel) behind Mr. Big. And he lost an arm to an Alligator, and still almost gets Bond, that is someone who is a real threat. Everyone else is just background color.

    1. Red Grant
    2. Odd Job
    3. Jaws
    4. Necros
    5. Tee Hee

    • I’ll agree with the fact that once Jaws spoke, it devalued him. :( Still sad about all of that.

      I did debate Tee Hee over Baron, but the added color (war painted zombie trumps mech arm) in the battle of marginal characters. I really should have put Fiona Volpe in instead… Lol

      Glad to see people respect Necros, he’s definitely underrated.

      But I’m sticking by Grant @ #3. [shrugs] Sorry bub!! :D

    • Cool, I didn’t think Jaws would need back up, but apparently he does!!

      Bah to Gobinda though (although I remember him, of course). I don’t know… He’s alright, but Zao owns that bitch. Lol!!! ;D

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  9. I like the list. Big on Kiel as Jaws an iconic henchman.

    James Bond: [after detaining Jaws with a huge magnet] How does that grab you? ;-)

  10. Hi, Fogs and company:

    Excellent topic and superlative comments so far!

    Gotta give some props to Lotte Lenya and her incredibly devious Rosa Klebb of the knife bladed sensible shoes in ‘From Russia with Love’.

    Robert Shaw’s Grant. Harold Sakata’s Oddjob and Sean Bean’s Trevalian still top my list for believably ruthless henchmen.

    • I have Klebb and Travelyan both as the bosses of their films though. Even though they may not head their organizations, they’re the ultimate villain of the film.

      That’s an interesting discussion in and of itself I suppose.

      I side with bosses though in both counts. They’ll be heard from before the month is out ;)

  11. I’m right with you on the top three. No issues there. I’m not a big Nick Nack fan, though he is one of the odder henchmen in the Bond series. I also have no memory of Zao from Die Another Day, so it’s hard to say on that one. It’s hard to say where they’d go on this list, but here are several others that I like:

    Fiona Volpe – I know you mention her in the notes, but I’d put her above all the women on your list, especially Galore (who’s pretty bland).
    Dario – Benicio Del Toro is so crazy in this part and fits the style of that movie
    Irma Bunt – such a different and nasty henchman in one of the more underrated Bond films (OHMSS)

    What’s interesting is that there aren’t that many amazing other choices when you really think about the movies. You have some quiet killers in films like Dr. No and For Your Eyes Only, but they have little charisma. The rest that I keep thinking about are terrible characters like Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd from Diamonds are Forever who aren’t better not to discuss too much.

    Nice job!

    • Wowwwwww. Fiona Volpe over Pussy Galore?! That’s Bond Blashpemy! :D

      I regret leaving her off the list. Every top ten features a $&#%! What was I thinking? And omitting her is this one’s.

      I just thought Del Toro looked creepy. And… Really, he’s just a goon. Most of these others are goons with gimmicks, at least.

      You’re right about there being a slew of bland, forgettable ones. That’s why I didn’t include Vargas, for example…

  12. Great List! As soon as I opened it I thought as long as both Xenia and Red Grant make it on there then it will great, and it was :)
    I wouldn’t have ranked Jaws or Oddjob as high but they are certainly iconic.

    • LOL. At least I went 2 for 2 on your “must includes” though, huh? Thats cool.

      Jaws and Odd Job, I dont think they can be topped. There’s a reason why they went on to become “Iconic”, you know? :D

      • Ha ha I guess, I can see that for Jaws but I think Oddjob’s just little more than his hat and therefore would be behind Xenia Onattop, Red Grant and Pussy Galore for me.
        Still though, all good choices :)

  13. Good list. Though I really dislike Nick Nack, and while Zao isn’t bad, I don’t think he’s really good either. Also, I love seeing Grant rank highly, but you have him in the wrong list :P

    • Nahhhhh… if you’re inferring he’s the main villain, I have to disagree. I understand the theory, that’s why I dont consider Klebb a henchman. But Grant is definitely taking orders. Klebb is the big bad of FRWL, I believe. :D

      • You know else is taking orders?

        James Bond. If Grant’s another henchman, so is Bond.

        Also, look at Star Wars. Darth Vader is just following The Emperor’s orders, but I doubt you’ll hear anyone describe Vader as a henchman.

      • Which is a clever point… except for the fact that I already said I understand the theory. I mean, I know what you’re saying. A person who is technically a henchman CAN be considered the primary antagonist, a la Darth Vader.

        Except Grant is outranked in the film by another character under that same provision. Klebb (technically a henchman to Blofeld herself) is calling the shots in this movie, and thus the film’s Big Bad.

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