The World Is Not Enough: The Sinister World of Bond Villains

The following is a guest post.

James Bond’s foes are as famous as the spy himself. With some of the best dialogue and outrageous plots to conquer the world, these super villains repeatedly bring the world to its knees with only James Bond to save us.

When Ian Fleming wrote the Bond novels it was during the Cold War but Fleming thought it would soon be over, leaving his novels dated and without an enemy, so SPECTRE was created – Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. SPECTRE had one mission – turn the superpowers – USA and Russia against one another, and then snatch the power from the weakened victor.

Their plans to conquer the world range from the ridiculous – driving the price of gold through the roof by detonating a nuclear bomb in Fort Knox and making the gold radioactive, to the sinisterly familiar media magnate who wants to monopolize the entire worlds news/broadcast networks!

British actors normally play villains in films so it seems adept that in film with a British hero, foreign actors play the villains. Over the years many famous actors have played Bond baddies from Sean Bean in Goldeneye, Christopher Lee in The Man With The Golden Gun, Christopher Walken in A View To A Kill, Michael Lonsdale in Moonraker, and Steven Berkoff and Louis Jourdan together in Octopussy to name a few.

Just as everyone has his or her favourite Bond actor, everyone has their favorite villain. Perhaps the reasons villains have such a strong place in the audiences hearts is they get all the best dialogue, they have the best lairs (thanks to Ken Adam) and the craziest plots.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld

The most iconic villain has to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the notorious leader of SPECTRE. Played by four different actors over the years, and parodied in the film Austin Powers. Blofeld has come to be the most recognizable with his trademark scar across his eye, Persian cat in one hand, and beige jacket buttoned up to the neck.

When Blofeld isn’t giving Bond a hard time, Auric Goldfinger is. Played by Gert Forbe a German actor, who didn’t speak any English. Ironically he says the most famous line ever uttered in a Bond film in Goldfinger:

 

Nick Nack

No villain can succeed without their evil henchmen to do their dirty work. Some of the best include the small but deadly Nick Nack played by Herve Villechaize who helped the man with the golden gun – Scaramanga played by Christopher Lee (who was Ian Fleming’s cousin). More comic relief than henchman, Nick Nack spent more time trying to kill his master than Bond.

Jaws

The considerably taller at 7ft tall, Jaws played by Richard Kiel, was the most popular henchman and he was supposed to be killed off at the end of The Spy Who Loved Me. But the producer, Cubby Broccoli, decided to let the character live much to the delight of audiences at the time and Jaws lived on to battle with Bond again in Moonraker. Kiel found the metal teeth he had to wear so painful he could only wear them for less than minute during filming.

Oddjob

Oddjob, Blofled’s bodyguard in the 1964 Goldfinger, was played by Harold Sakatu. Silent but deadly, Oddjob’s bowler hat had a steel blade in the rim that beheads a Bond girl in the film.

May Day

May Day, played by Grace Jones, is one of the few female henchwomen in Bond films but arguably the best. Who knew Grace Jones could play crazy so well?! Double-crossed by her lover/boss Max Zorin in A View To A Kill, she gets revenge on him and redeems herself somewhat in the end.

As iconic as these previous henchmen and villains are, the more recent villains have been up to par with Mads Mikkelsen creeping us out as the Blofeld reminiscent Le Chiffre with his frightening eye in Quantum of Solace and Javier Bardem shining as the latest villain in Skyfall, the campy yet sinister Raoul Silva with enough mother issues to keep Freud happy for years.

What about the future of Bond villains? Rumor has it that Benedict Cumberbatch or Daniel Craig’s real life wife, Rachel Weisz are penciled in for the next villain in Bond 24, and excitingly a return of Blofeld!

Because Bond without Blofeld is like Dr. Who without the Daleks.

BOND TRIVIA: The chain that Jaws bites through at the Pyramids in The Spy Who Loved Me was apparently made of licorice.

Clare A. is a British expat living in California who has been licensed to thrill as Smitten by Britain’s resident James Bond blogger. Besides blogging and making martinis (shaken, not stirred), Clare spends her free time writing travel guides for the L.A. area. Read more of Clare’s posts here.

Comments

  1. donna says

    Love James Bond!! Part of the fun is the villains. If anyone is in the Washington DC area, check out the International Spy Museum. They are doing an exhibition of Bond villains. We went this August with family and everyone loved it. They also have a Bond Aston-Martin on permanent display. Very cool stuff!

  2. Jarvio says

    It’s funny how I stumbled across this as I’m the guy who compiled that group picture of the villains – thanks for crediting me btw :D

    Great article. The villains are one of my favourite aspects of the bond films for sure.

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