The 23rd official James Bond film, Skyfall, marks the 50th anniversary of the first, Dr. No. I will follow up this post with a best and worst list of Bond actors and films. For the purposes of this article, Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva misses the cut. Before I saw the film, his character was what I was looking forward to the most. I left disappointed. He’s one the most accomplished actors to play a Bond Villain and I thought he did a good job acting. At the beginning of the film, I enjoyed his character a lot even though I thought his background was a little boring. Since Bardem played the role so well up to that point, it was a small concession. However, once he broke out of his prison cell, his character turned into the average villain from any typical action film; his development screeched to a halt.
Side Note: Why do villains in new movies have to be imprisoned in plastic/glass cells? Can Silva control electromagnetic fields like Magneto?
1. Auric Goldfinger, Gert Fröbe, Goldfinger
Bond: “Do you expect me to talk?”
Goldfinger: “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!”
Responsible for perhaps the most iconic line and death in a Bond film, Goldfinger is obsessed with gold, but more with money. He’s ready to detonate a nuke in Ft. Knox to destabilize the U.S. gold market, driving his own stash’s net worth skyward. Better acting, one of the best films, and one of the best henchman help make Goldfinger the best Bond Villain of all time. He doesn’t hurt his cause when he casually tries to slice Bond in half with a laser…wiener and balls first.
2. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
“Twelve seconds. One of these days we must invent a faster-working venom.” From Russia with Love
Blofeld is the head of SPECTRE, the super organization that wants world domination, a lot of money, and James Bond dead. He is the quintessential Bond villain. He is portrayed by six different actors in six films, including Max Von Sydow in Never Say Never Again, the unofficial remake of Thunderball. Mediocre acting and a lack of continuity between films keep him from being the best Bond Villain.
Bonus: Allegedly the father of Dr. Evil and Mini Me.
3. Franscisco Scaramanga, Christopher Lee, The Man with the Golden Gun
Bond: “Six bullets to your one?”
Scaramanga: “I only need one.”
This freelance assassin is the villain most similar to Bond and one of the few to admire him. He trains meticulously and is suave, charming, and deadly. Unfortunately, his third nipple prohibits himself from being a ladies’ man like Bond. Lee portrays Scaramanga well, but his evil plan is of minor importance and underwhelming: capture sun radiation and use it as a weapon. His duel with Bond at the end of the movie overshadows any thought of an evil plan.
Bonus: His weapon of choice is the Golden Gun, which he never needs to shoot more than once. [Watch the first 0:45; Imagine that I am the bottom screen and Brian is the top. That’s us as kids, sitting in my basement, and Brian getting owned in the Stacks. Don’t mind that the library doesn’t have any books in it.]
4. Alec Trevelyan/Janus, Sean Bean, GoldenEye
“Closing time James! Last Call!”
Trevelyan is Bond’s close friend and partner. 006 stages his death and creates the crime syndicate, Janus. He uses his organization to try to send England back to the economic Stone Age using the Golden Eye EMP satellite. He despises England for what happened to his parents, and hates Bond even more for his undying loyalty to Queen and Country. Sean Bean is one of the few good parts of the Pierce Brosnan era.
1. Gustav Graves, Tony Stephens, Die Another Day
Me: “There are no good quotes from this shitty movie.”
Strangely enough, this terrible movie probably features Brosnan’s best acting. Graves ends up looking like a partial-transformer wearing his stupid electric-shock suit. He has some stupid plot involving a laser and North and South Korea, he kills his dad, and at the end is chopped up by a plane engine.
2. Dominic Greene, Mathieu Amalric, Quantum of Solace
Me: “There are no good quotes from this crappy movie.”
Greene is the main villain in the highly disappointing Quantum Solace. His evil plan involves monopolizing a water supply in Bolivia. He’s a weasel and his plan is weaselly.
3. General Orlov, Steven Berkoff, Octopussy
“Yes, but tomorrow I will be a hero of the Soviet Union.”
His Goal: Invade Europe with the Soviet Military. His Absurd and Unnecessarily Difficult Plan: Steal some fancy Faberge eggs, make sure to replace them with fakes, sell them, set off a nuclear bomb in a European military base, and hope for minimal NATO resistance. Rides in a circus train, dies in a circus train.
1. Oddjob, Harold Sakata, Goldfinger
In addition to being one of the most iconic characters in Bond films, the mute Oddjob is the archetype for all the future Bond Henchman. He kills people with his sharp bowler hat and through suffocation with gold paint. Bond electrocutes him in the Ft. Knox vault after Goldfinger locks them both in with a nuclear bomb.
Bonus: Random Task’s Father.
2. Jaws, Richard Kiel, The Spy who Loved Me & Moonraker
“Well, here’s to us!”
Standing at over 7 feet tall, Jaws is one of the dumbest and strongest Bond Henchman. He was featured in two films, joins Bond at the end of Moonraker, and falls in love with a nerdy girl. He enjoys killing people with his stainless steel teeth. Honestly, he’s only a decent Bond Henchman. Until you realize…
Bonus: …that after marrying the short, nerdy girl, he goes into the construction business, gets a nail stuck in his head, and then bends Shooter McGavin’s 9 iron. (Sorry for the shitty quality).
3. Xenia Onatopp, Famke Janssen, GoldenEye
Xenia: “You don’t need the gun… Commander.”
Bond: “That depends on your definition of safe sex.”
Part Bond Girl, part Bond Henchman. She loves to murder, but loves to crush men with her thighs for pleasure even more. She meets an ironic death after she’s crushed herself. Somewhat importantly, she marks the end of an era of stereotypical “dumb blonde” Bond Girls and the beginning of capable ones.
1. Stamper, Billy Idol, Tomorrow Never Dies
“We die together, Mr. Bond.”
Stamper is the main Bond Henchman in one of Brosnan’s mediocre films. Basically, he tries to torture and beat the hell out of Bond. Bond kills him by trapping him under a missile, letting the fire roast him.
Just kidding, he’s played by Gotz Otto
2. Nick Nack, Hervé Villechaize , The Man with the Golden Gun
“Half. You’ll get the rest after!”
Nick Nack is a popular character, but I dislike him for the same reasons I dislike Roger Moore and many of his films. Too comedic and jokey. Short in stature, but that doesn’t stop him knocking Bond out once. The other times… he throws bottles at him. After, he gets stuffed into some luggage on Scaramanga’s yacht
3. Professor Dent, Anthony Dawson, Dr. No
After failing to kill Bond with a poisonous tarantula, he decides to be a bit more proactive the second time. He walks in on Bond who is holding a gun, waiting for him already.