Fair warning, spoilers ahead.
Throughout the extensive history of James Bond films, the franchise has introduced well over 100 villains. Of equal importance to Agent 007 himself, the antagonists and henchmen alike are integral to the narration, vision and atmosphere of each movie’s cinematic experience. With the recent theatrical release of Spectre, we count down our Top 5 Bond Villains of All Time. Also, fair warning, spoilers ahead.
5. Ernst Stavro Blofeld played by Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas, Charles Gray, and others (From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, and For Your Eyes Only)
Blofeld is the perfect character to kick off our list since he is S.P.E.C.T.R.E.’s agent Number 1 and is James Bond’s arch-nemesis. Although the villain’s character is inconsistent throughout an extended string of Sean Connery and George Lazenby-era 007 instalments, he remains to be a crucial cornerstone of the Bond narrative as he is the mastermind behind the enigmatic organization at the crux of the MI6’s tribulations. You might also find Blofeld’s appearance to be eerily familiar. With his facial scars and manic obsession with his fluffy white cat, the villain serves as the inspiration for Mike Myers’ Dr. Evil from his Austin Powers franchise.
4. Renard played by Robert Carlyle (The World is Not Enough)
The number four spot should really be going to both “most wanted” terrorist Renard and oil heiress Elektra King (played by Sophie Marceau). Ignoring the fact that Denise Richards’ ludicrous presence even existed in this movie, Renard and King as a villainous pair was truly disturbing. In the film, King seduces Bond and gains his trust, a mistake with dire repercussions for the agent in the future. As 007 soon discovers, King has a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome; Renard had, in fact, once kidnapped King although now the two have become lovers and collaborators in the terrorist’s mission to overthrow MI6 and the King family. With the combination of Renard’s inability to feel pain (due to a bullet lodged in his brain) and King’s history of self-mutilation, the Sid and Nancy of the James Bond franchise clocks in at our number four spot.
3. Alec Trevelyan played by Sean Bean (Goldeneye)
Alec Trevelyan was once known as Agent 006 and was a part of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. That’s right, he used to be an MI6 agent. Without revealing too much of the movie’s plot, we will say that Trevelyan is a formidable villain because he serves as a troubled and hellbent reflection of James Bond. A deadly efficient killer himself, Trevelyan is stunningly effective in helping to expose the cracks of Bond’s glossy veneer through the exploitation of the very weaknesses that caused the antagonist’s “fatal accident.”
2. Jaws played by Richard Kiel (The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker)
One of the reasons why I love the older James Bond films is because they are unintentionally campy because well, the ‘70s. Perhaps the prime example of this over-the-top category is Jaws. Standing at a staggering 7 feet 2 inches (2.18 meters), the henchman was a towering menace to Roger Moore as James Bond. Aside from his height, Jaws is one of the most memorable villains of the franchise because of his steel-capped teeth, despite never uttering a single word throughout the films. Relying on brute strength and quick body disposal tactics, he was one of the few villains to have appeared in more than one Bond film. That and the fact that Jaws could “fatally bite you.” So if he didn’t beat his opponents to death, he would bite them to death. Seriously.
1. Dominic Greene played by Mathieu Amalric (Quantum of Solace)
This might not have been the villain that you expected to top the list, but let us explain why: for his portrayal of Dominic Greene, Amalric relied on zero gimmicks. As opposed to many of the most iconic baddies in the 007 franchise, Greene’s character is perhaps the most terrifying for the simplicity of fact that he is quite plainly just evil. Without relying on the crutch of a prop, prosthetic, or even tragic backstory, he successfully created a persona that was at once unsettling and mesmerizing to watch. He is an intelligent sadistic sociopath who is both manipulative and cunning. Also, I’m not saying that he has crazy eyes, but he has crazy eyes. If you’ve actually seen Quantum of Solace (which is arguably terrible), you’ll probably agree with me when I say that every time he looks into the camera, I can almost feel a small part of my soul dying. For these reasons, Dominic Greene is our greatest Bond villain of all time.
Honorable Mention: Xenia Onatopp played by Famke Janssen (Goldeneye)
Although not the most developed of characters, Xenia Onatopp makes it on our list for the sole reason that she is an assassin who kills victims with her thighs. That combined with the screenwriters who decided to give her the name Xenia Onatopp, we couldn’t resist. From the sexually charged combat scene at the bathhouse to the fact that she literally seems to get pleasure out of gunning down innocent bystanders, Xenia is perhaps one of the most malicious of henchman.
Author: Zarah Cheng