The quality of a Bond movie, to a large extent, is determined by the strength of its villain. Over the course of the franchise, each movie has set up a head honcho, a chief villain, a nemesis for Bond to conquer. And these adversaries and their plans often determine the quality of that particular movie. When they’re poor, it can be near impossible to overcome (“Tomorrow Never Dies”), when they’re done exceptionally well, it can launch the movie into classic status (“Goldfinger”)!
These are the chiefs, the bosses. For the Top Ten Henchmen in the series, click here! Here’s my list of the ten best top dogs. Those villains who gave us chills or made our skin crawl or simply that we love to hate! These are the characters that add to the legacy of the franchise from the evil side of things! The Top Ten Bond Villains of all time!
10) Franz Sanchez: Robert Davi, “Licence to Kill”
Sanchez, though more easily conned than other Bond villains appear to be, basically controlled the entire South American country of Isthmus. He runs a casino, has a huge drug manufacturing facility, and has created an enormous religious temple as cover for use in his drug operation. He has trouble trusting his girlfriend and his henchmen, which Bond exploits, but there’s no denying he has the coolest pet of all Bond villains!
9) Hugo Drax: Michael Lonsdale, “Moonraker”
Probably the most ambitious (and evil) plan ever encountered in a bond villain. Plus he had the french palace lair, the underground tropical lair, and the outer space lair. Oh! And the swedish reproduction team, the rockets, the dobermans… and one of the coolest henchmen ever in Jaws! On top of that, every line he delivers is in that Super Droll monotone. You’ve gotta love him!
8) Rosa Klebb: Lotte Lenya “From Russia With Love”
Sour, curt, and mean, Rosa Klebb is all business. The business of evil. She embodied the cold war, with her Soviet background and icy demeanor. She’s put in charge of orchestrating the trap SPECTRE sets for Bond in “From Russia with Love”, conning Tatiana Romanova into defecting with the Lektor and setting Red Grant after Bond. But in the end, she’s forced to resort to trying to finish the job herself, with her boot!
7) Francisco Scaramanga: Christopher Lee, “The Man with the Golden Gun”
Lee turns in the best villain of the Roger Moore era. Though his interest in solar energy feels tacked on in order to give the film “saving the world stakes”, his desire to square off against Bond in order to see who is the world’s deadliest makes him a compelling adversary. His lair is a little too “fun house”, and his third nipple is a little TMI, but his weapon of choice is the coolest gun ever!
6) Alec Travelyan: Sean Bean, “Goldeneye”
Bean is a tremendous actor and does a great job here, but mainly it’s the character’s personal connection to Bond that makes him so memorable. Both were Double Os, we even get to see them serving together on a mission where Bond scars him and disrupts his plan. That history gives more weight to their confrontations than Bond typically has with his villains. It was a great element to add to the launch of a new era of Bond.
5) Le Chiffre: Mads Mikkelsen “Casino Royale”
Stoic. Menacing, the bleeding eye gimmick lends just a bit of cartoonishness to him. I only wish he had a henchman. I know he worked with others, but he needs some lumbering comic book goon with one name at his side. Then he’d have been awesome! As is though, he was still a great adversary to begin the Craig era with. Ill-tempered, intelligent, and ruthless, he made an excellent Bond foe.
4) Emilio Largo: Adolfo Celi “Thunderball”
Eyepatch? Check. Thick accent? Check. Henchmen? Check. Shark Tanks for disposing of enemies and underlings that fail him? Abso-frickin-lutely. Emilio Largo is awesome. No wonder he was SPECTRE’s number 2. Add in the gorgeous women that he surrounds himself with, and the fact that he has a yacht that can detach a state of the art speedboat, and you have yourself a world-class Bond villain!
3) Dr. Julius No: Joseph Wiseman “Dr. No”
In our introduction to Dr. No, he’s instructing a henchman – over an intercom, in an empty, circular, all white room with these really weirdly angled shadows - to kill Bond with a tarantula. SUPER cool. Just creepy, unsettling, stylistic. Love it. And when we finally meet him, he’s got a lair with huge fish tanks with magnifying glass windows… it’s just so awesome. Cant forget the mechanical hands, and his super cold manner of speaking, and his nuclear reactor room! Dr No rules.
2) Auric Goldfinger: Gert Fröbe, “Goldfinger”
Auric Goldfinger is the quintessential Bond villain. Rich and powerful already, he has plans to enrich himself even further, regardless of the lives it will cost. He’s arrogant, overconfident, and surrounded by underlings to do his bidding. The mint julep scene where he reveals his plans to Bond is my favorite villain plan reveal in the entire series. Now if only Pussy Galore had been as loyal as Odd Job, he would have gotten away with it!
1) Ernst Stavro Blofeld: Donald Pleasance, “You Only Live Twice”
Pleasance’s Blofeld had the benefit of build up in two previous movies. In spite of never having his face shown, Blofeld and his kitty made appearances in “From Russia with Love” and “Thunderball”. When he finally appears here, he’s bald and scarred. We get to see him kill his own henchmen instead of Bond, so he obviously makes poor choices, but nevertheless, he’s chillingly evil. Subsequent Blofelds do NOT measure up!
So there you have it folks, the Top Ten Bond Villains of all time!
What do you think? Any that I missed? Someone too high or too low? Does anyone want to argue that I should have included Elliot Carver? Let me hear it!!