The villains in the James Bond franchise have spawned many imitations in some way, shape, or form in different places. For good reason too, because the realm of 007 has had some dastardly fiends show up to counter Mr. Bond. Larger than life and twice as diabolical, these villains are beyond belief.
The term “Bond Villain” has made its way into the public lexicon to describe someone who is over the top in their cunning and, quite frankly, cartoonish in their methods. Such is the charm of a Bond villain. The more outlandish the character, the more evil the villain usually turns out to be.
Bond may have his gadgets, but the adversaries he has encountered are craftier than any hidden weapon he ever tucked away for tight situations. The picture of clever coolness mixed with psychopathic rage, these ten villains are memorable for being so beyond belief that they could only exist in Sir Ian Fleming’s realm of far flung espionage and dashing, debonair spies.
10. Nick Nack
A prop for comic relief and a pivotal character, Nick Nack was Mini-Me long before Verne Troyer lampooned Nick Nack in the Austin Powers trilogy. Herve Villechaize played Francisco Scaramanga’s sidekick in The Man With The Golden Gun and later starred as Tattoo in Fantasy Island. The character of Nick Nack put the French actor on the map as the butler to the psychotic Scaramanga. Villechaize brokered duels for his boss in order to keep the man with the golden gun on his toes and in peak gun fighting condition. Sending hired assassins to their eventual death in Scaramanga’s maze, Nick Nack also proved crucial to Scaramanga’s operation when he stole the solex agitator for Scaramanga’s solar cannon.
9. Le Chiffre
Mads Mikkelsen, as Le Chiffre, looks the part of a cold, calculating, poker-faced villain in Casino Royale. If looks could kill, the dagger from Le Chiffre’s stare would be fatal. The consummate gambling adversary often found in the Bond universe, Mikkelsen looks unflappable. There is no bluffing from this unblinking, unwavering baddie.
Le Chiffre funds terrorism through his gambling gains. The math genius is not shy about showing off his poker prowess, cleaning up at the casino. In turn, Le Chiffre plays the stock market the same way, as it is suggested in the film that he profited from selling airline stocks prior to 9/11.
However, Bond bests Le Chiffre at his own game, enraging Le Chiffre to the point of kidnapping Vesper and forcing 007’s hand. What results is a calamitous car crash and Bond tortured at the hands of Le Chiffre. However, the bloody-eyed gambler met his end after one too many deceptions ruined any trust his boss, Mr. White, had in him. Executed on the spot in front of Bond, Le Chiffre will be remembered as one of the classic Bond villains for his mastery of mental warfare.
8. Mr. Big
Live And Let Die introduced viewers to the double threat played by actor Yaphet Kotto’s Mr. Big. Kotto’s Dr. Kananga moonlighted as Harlem gangster Mr. Big. By day, Kananga was the prime minister of the island of San Monique, where drugs were harvested en route to being smuggled into the United States. By night, Kananga transformed into Mr.Big with the aid of a rubber mask. The split personality drug lord was cut down by a bullet fired by CO2 in one bizarre death scene. Kotto’s portrayal of both characters is two times the viciousness in one vessel.
7. Francisco Scaramanga
The mysterious hired gun from The Man With The Golden Gun lived on his own private island, which Scaramanga bought with the millions from his contract kills. If you’re a villain worth your salt, the dividing line between villain and super villain is real estate. Nothing screams that you have made it in the world of nefarious figures more than your own island. Nick Nack, Scaramanga’s middle man, keeps his boss challenged with duels with assassins in Scaramanga’s maze, killing professional killers one by one.
Scaramanga, besides his golden gun and bullets, had his own research and development department churning out car-plane hybrids and laser cannons. However, it’s the stolen solar energy tech of the solex agitator that leads to Scaramanga and Bond’s showdown. Gunned down in his funhouse, Scaramanga’s fatal error of needing only one bullet to Bond’s six and a strategically placed dummy led to this villain’s downfall.
6. Dr. No
A maniacal scientist who was scorned by the Americans and Russians, Dr. No took his talents to SPECTRE and set up shop in Jamaica. However, Dr. No is the definition of what a mad scientist should be, especially considering the losses he endured. Both of his hands gone from radiation exposure, Dr. No created replacement bionic, metal claws for hands. For ingenuity points, these beat any simple eye patch by far. These clamping clutches give No super strength at his disposal.
No’s introduction to 007 is a failed assassination attempt with a venomous spider delivered by Professor Dent. No recruits Bond to join SPECTRE while hosting the agent at his island. Again, if he has his own island, he is bound to try and kill you. In a final tangle between No and Bond, with a nuclear reactor melting down, No’s hands are a detriment when attempting to hang on to the platform. As a result, Dr. No falls to his death in a vat of boiling liquid in the reactor.
5. Rosa Klebb
One of Blofeld’s many minions; Klebb was more than the average foot soldier in From Russia With Love. In SPECTRE’s quest to acquire the Lektor, a decoding machine, from the possession of MI-6, Klebb initially called the shots by sending Red Grant to steal the Lektor from Bond. After this attempt failed, Blofled spared Klebb from execution and the cold-hearted assassin took matters into her own hands. Or make that her own feet. Famous for a weapon born out of Cold War paranoia if there ever was one, Klebb’s poison-laced blade hidden inside her right shoe is classic movie espionage warfare. Posing as a maid to get close to Bond and the Lektor, Klebb is as deadly a femme fatale as there has been in the history of Bond.
You cannot get more Bond than a 7-foot-tall giant with choppers of pure steel. It is difficult to beat what is essentially Frankenstein’s monster with a metallurgy supplement to the hulking henchman. In The Spy Who Loved Me, Richard Kiel lumbered onto the scene as Jaws, the strongest villain by composite standards in 007 lore. In awe of his sheer strength, the decision was made to bring Jaws back for an encore in Moonraker to satisfy the audience’s need for more iron twisting action.
Ranking alongside Jaws as one of those quirky characters that would only stick out in the world of Bond, Oddjob stands out as a deadly henchman for Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger. Harold Sakata portrayed the silent, but lethal man equipped with his signature bowler hat that would make marble statues everywhere shake in their bases, if they were capable of such trepidation. Tilly Masterson found out the hard way that Oddjob is the ultimate strong, silent type. Goldfinger found himself a true blue loyalist in Oddjob, who was willing to die in a nuclear blast rather than let Bond escape without one last showdown.
Gert Frobe, the German actor who assumed the title role of Goldfinger, did not speak a word of English. However, his delivery of the most quotable line in the history of Bond films is chilling to the core. In a snappy reply to 007’s query of “Do you expect me to talk?” Goldfinger wryly answers “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.” The intention is clear as is the suspense of that particular sequence. Goldfinger is of the utmost maniacal stock and belongs in the pantheon of Bond villains for it. Not to mention, he intended to irradiate Fort Knox’s supply of gold, making his own reserves worth exponentially more. With that, throw greedy on top of the pile of adjectives to describe this super villain.
Many have portrayed the leader of SPECTRE, but the common thread between all the different versions of Blofeld is the evil genius that has become the standard for all villainy to come. From the drab, sand-colored attire, chrome domed top, and blizzard white cat, Blofeld is the total package of a smart, sophisticated puppeteer of many pawns that do his bidding. He’s the man behind the scenes orchestrating minions to carry out smaller tasks to achieve his larger goal. There’s a reason that many have tried to imitate Blofeld’s mad genius personality. From Austin Powers’ foil, Dr. Evil, to Inspector Gadget’s nefarious Dr. Claw, Blofeld has left a sizable imprint on how to construct the ultimate mastermind. For this character’s reach beyond its own realm, Blofeld is the supreme Bond villain.