In this article, we will discover the best James Bond Villains. With twenty-four James Bond movies released through five decades, Bond has met his fair share of villains. Who are the most memorable and iconic villains of the series, here are my favourite, who are yours let us know in the comments below.
TOP 10 MOST ICONIC JAMES BOND VILLAINS
#10 Le Chiffre (Casino Royale, 2006)
Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre
With the release of Casino Royale in 2006, came a much-needed freshness to the series and he is regarded as one of the best villains from the post-1980s era. The intense battle between him and James Bond on and off the poker table was reminiscent of some of the climactic gambling scenes from the Ian Fleming novels.
With his creepy eye, sly demeanour, and – as if anyone could forget – his comical torture scene, Le Chiffre is the perfect place to start this article, and well deserving of the 10th place. Le Chiffre was played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, who reprised the role in the 2008 release of the computer game first-person shooter Quantum of Solace, providing his voice and likeness for the character.
#9 Francisco Scaramanga (The Man With The Golden Gun, 1974)
Christopher Lee as Francisco Scaramanga
Originally Christopher Lee was put forward for the role of Dr.No by his step-cousin, Ian Fleming. Unfortunately, the producers had already chosen Joseph Wiseman for the role. However, he got his chance twelve years later, when he accepted the role of Fransisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun.
He was perfect for the role due to being the exact likeness of Ian Fleming’s original character. He was very well received by fans and critics alike. His effortless charm, million dollar contracts, golden gun and having a third nipple are memorable parts of the film. Scaramanga also proved to be a popular character in the James Bond series of video games.
#8 Nick Nack (The Man With The Golden Gun, 1974)
Herve Villechaize as Nick Nack
You can’t have Scaramanga without immediately thinking of his small butler and sidekick. He may only have two nipples, but his cheeky attitude added a considerable amount of humour to the film, and he worked very well alongside Christopher Lee.
From a mini-gun and peanuts to suitcases and bottles of wine, there is no shortage of entertainment with Nick Nack around. French actor Herve Villechaize played Nick Nack, who would go on to play the role of Tattoo in the American series Fantasy Island. He is also credited with the inspiration for Mini-Me in the Austin Powers films.
#7 Mr. Big/Kananga (Live and Let Die, 1973)
Yaphet Kotto as Mr. Big/Kananga
American actor Yaphet Kotto joined the James Bond series in 1973 and played politician Dr Kananga and big time gangster Mr Big in Live and Let Die. Dr Kananga was a calm Prime Minister of San Monique, an island used to grow drugs that were to be smuggled into America. He would don a rubber face mask to become his alter ego Mr Big, the ruthless gangster who controls most of Harlem.
He played the two characters well and brought a unique contribution to the series. Kananga, alongside his taro reading mistress Solitaire, who was portrayed by a 22-year-old Jane Seymour, remains a popular and well-known villain amongst fans.
#6 Jaws (The Spy who Loved Me, 1977)
Richard Kiel as Jaws
Jaws is the ultimate larger than life bad guy and without a doubt the most well known of the James Bond villains. He was first introduced in The Spy who Loved Me, 7 foot tall Richard Kiel brought to life the steel giant, lending the film a unique charm. He proved so popular that the producers brought him back for the next film, Moonraker.
His second appearance came with a rather cheesy love affair, but Jaws remains a firm favourite among fans and has gone down in history as one of the best villains in cinema history. He has appeared in many of the James Bond video games, as both playable characters and as part of the story.
#5 Red Grant (From Russia with Love, 1963)
Robert Shaw as Red Grant
Red Grant was a psychopathic killer working for SPECTRE, with the objective of stealing the Lektor decoding machine and killing James Bond. Appearing in From Russia with Love, Grant was played by English actor Robert Shaw, who would later star in the film Jaws.
Shaw played the role perfectly, really making the pages of the novel come to life on the screen. From the knuckleduster punch on SPECTRE Island to the impersonation aboard the Orient Express, it was a great performance all throughout. Red Grant was is one of the classic villains of the 60s Bond films.
#4 Rosa Klebb (From Russia with Love, 1963)
Lotte Lenya as Rosa Klebb
With a poison tipped steel shoe knife and a whip, what’s not to love about this torture famed SMERSH defector. Appearing in From Russia with Love, and played by Lotte Lenya was a perfect match for the role of Rosa Klebb. It’s almost as if Ian Fleming had written the novel with her in mind.
Klebb defected to SPECTRE and led a mission to steal a Lektor decoding machine and humiliate the British secret service. Lenya was fierce and demanding to her subordinates, who she had hand picked for the mission. However, when James Bond turned out to be too much for them, Klebb was left trembling at the hands of Blofeld.
#3 Oddjob (Goldfinger, 1964)
Harold Sakata as Oddjob
Oddjob, the personal bodyguard to Auric Goldfinger in 1964’s Goldfinger. He is widely remembered for the scene where he throws a steel rim bowler hat at a statue, slicing off its head in front of James Bond at Goldfinger’s mansion. He would later repeat the same routine, killing Bond girl Tilly Masterson./span>
Played by Harold Sakata, he was perfect for the role of this silent but deadly man, bringing an aura of strength and danger to the character. Oddjob was based on the character from the novel, where he was trained in Karate and ate cats! Like Jaws, Oddjob also features prominently in most James Bond video games.
#2 Goldfinger (Goldfinger, 1964)
Gert Frobe as Goldfinger
Goldfinger was not only one of the best James Bond films, but also one the best-casted films in the series. German actor Gert Frobe played the role of Auric Goldfinger, and he was the perfect match. He didn’t speak English, which caused a bit of confusion on the set, but he did fit in well with the rest of the cast.
His appearance, gestures, and mannerisms were well suited for the character, and he is arguably one of the closest matches in the series to the character in the novel. Goldfinger also spoke the most memorable and often quoted line of any James Bond films; “No, Mr Bond! I expect you to die!”
#1 Ernst Stavro Blofeld (From Russia with Love, 1963)
Donald Pleasence OBE as Ernst Stavro Blofeld
No matter how iconic Goldfinger is, there is no doubting the ultimate villain in the James Bond series is Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the notorious leader of SPECTRE.
Not only did he have the most appearances of all the villains in the James Bond film series with 8 (including the 1983 non-Eon production, Never Say Never Again) but he also had a notable presence in Ian Fleming’s novels. He was an integral part of the Blofeld trilogy in the novels for Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and You Only Live Twice. In the Thunderball novel, he is described as a large man, weighing around 20 stone with black crew-cut hair, black eyes (similar to those of Benito Mussolini), heavy eyelashes, a thin mouth with long pointed hands and feet. He has a violet-scented breath from chewing flavoured cachous (breath mints), a habit he adopts whenever he must deliver bad news. A meticulous planner of formidable intellect, he seems to be without conscience but not necessarily insane, and is motivated solely by financial gain. In one chapter of Thunderball, Ernst Blofeld’s lifestyle is described as “he didn’t smoke or drink and he had never been known to sleep with a member of either sex. He didn’t even eat very much.”
From Russia With Love (1963)
Anthony Dawson portrayed Ernst Blofeld although only his hands and the back of his head are seen. Eric Pohlmann was the voice actor; the end credits list a question mark instead of an actor’s name. Anthony Dawson also played Professor Dent in the 1962 release of Dr No.
Anthony Dawson portrayed Ernst Blofeld again in Thunderball, however with same results of only his hands and the back of his head is visible. Eric Pohlmann was the voice actor, both were uncredited; end credits do not list the character Blofeld.
You Only Live Twice (1967)
The first film where we see Ernst Blofeld, played by Donald Pleasence. Actor Jan Werich was originally cast for the role, and some clips show his hands petting the cat, and his tuft of hair can be seen just above the back of the chair. However, after five days of filming, both Gilbert and Broccoli determined that Jan Werich was not menacing enough and replaced him with Donald Pleasence.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Blofeld returns but with a different actor, Telly Savalas. He appears with earlobes removed to back up claim to a noble title. Which is similar to the Ian Fleming novel where Blofeld has altered his appearance radically. He is now described as being tall and thin; has reduced his weight to 12 stone; sports long silver hair, a syphilitic infection on his nose, and no earlobes; he wears dark green tinted contact lenses to hide his distinctive eyes.
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
This time Blofeld is played by Charles Gray. In the opening sequence, he reveals to James Bond that some of his men have undergone plastic surgery to become his decoy duplicates.
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
In the same style as From Russia With Love and Thunderball, Blofeld’s face is not seen in a close-up and his name isn’t used during the film due to a legal battle with Kevin McClory. John Hollis plays Blofeld with Robert Rietty as the voice actor.
Never Say Never Again (1983)
Portrayed by actor Max von Sydow and only appearing in a small number of scenes.
Played by actor, Christoph Waltz and initially known by his birth name of Franz Oberhauser. He reveals that he rejected his father’s name, and takes his mother’s maiden name, Blofeld. During the film, he receives a facial scar (a reference to You Only Live Twice) due to Q’s exploding watch.
The image below shows the actors who have played egomaniac Ernst Stavro Blofeld. From left to right, Telly Savalas in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Donald Pleasence OBE in You Only Live Twice – my personal favourite, Charles Gray in Diamonds Are Forever and Christoph Waltz in Spectre – a close run second choice for my personal favourite.
Dr Julius No (Dr No, 1962)
The first cinematic Bond villain set the template for those to come, with his Nehru jacket, sadistic predilections and physical deformity (he sports metal hands, a consequence of fiddling around with radioactive material). He also has a taste for the finer things in life – following the theft of Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington, production designer Ken Adam cheekily slipped it into the background in Dr No’s lair.
Max Zorin (A View To A Kill, 1985)
David Bowie and Sting reportedly turned down the role of microchip tycoon Max Zorin in A View To A Kill but Christopher Walken stepped in to play the platinum-blond psycho – a product of Nazi eugenics experiments. A yuppie villain for the Thatcher years, Zorin’s scheme involved triggering an earthquake to flood Silicon Valley, giving him a stranglehold on the world microchip market.