James Bond Villains, Ranging from Worst to Best

James Bond Villains, Ranging from Worst to Best ...

No Time to Die spoilers are included in this article.

Bond and James Bond are the most well-known movies of all time, said canonically by six actors to date. Every 007 actor has certainly given a unique and distinctive interpretation of the character, enhancing the franchise's appeal decade after decade, generation after generation. Yet, nearly as important as these films heroes are their villains, the scheming megalomaniacs who transformed the 60-year-old Bond franchise into a cinematic legend.

Dr. No, the man in the tux, has been as vital as James, right down to the first Bond film released by Eon Productions in 1962. Twenty-five years later, that is still relevant, with the most popular entry of Daniel Craig's tenure, 2012s Skyfall, being remembered as much for Javier Bardems demonic Silva and his proposition to Bond as it is any single act of spycraft.

So, here at Den of Geek, we have decided to rank all of the Bond villains, from best to worst. Admittedly, there are a lot. For that reason, we are mainly keeping it to the main, masterminding antagonists rather than henchmen and women, although in certain instances, better note when it feels like a package deal and rank accordingly.

Georgi Koskov and Brad Whitaker (Jeroen Krabbe and Joe Don Baker)

The Living Daylights (1987)

Due to its back-to-basics approach, The Living Daylights has developed a huge following among Bond fans in recent years. Timothy Dalton was the first actor to return to Ian Fleming's literary roots of Bond being a gruesome, professional bastard.

Nevertheless, this installment of James Bond will never be one of the great James Bond movies, in large part because it has the most boring pair of villains on either side of the Iron Curtain. Although he is never any less bumbling or unassuming as it is revealed that he is the mastermind behind James' troubles for the rest of the film, Joe Don Baker is never the less brilliant. Baker is also never identified as a suitable comic relief character in Goldeneye.

24.Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan)

Octopussy (1983)

Kamal Khan is an exiled Afghan prince surrounded by henchmen who are equally forgettable as his intention, while continuing the excellently pro-detente Cold War themes from the earlier (and superior) For Your Eyes Only. Octopussy provides a compelling narrative that is both unique in that it saves the world while dressed as a sad clown.

Jourdans Khan intends to encourage disarmament by accidentally launching a nuclear weapon at a circus near the United States Air Force Bases. Octopussy is more interested in Bond swinging like Tarzan and making love to Maud Adams during the most sweeping of John Barry strings.

23.Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric)

Quantum of Solace (2008)

Mathieu Amalric, a well-known French actor, modeled him after Tony Blair when it came to his selection for the role of Dominic Greene, an international philanthropist who secretly works for Quantum (SPECTRE).

Greene is neither a nasty Blair nor the menacing head of Quantumhes middle management, although everyone knows he's never getting the promotion up.

Amalric is a cliche French fiend who appears to be overdoing on Bordeaux since the crib. All wide eyes and cackles, his greatest accomplishment is when he steals a page from Goldfinger and drowns a wasted Gemma Arterton in oil off-screen. Otherwise, Bond is so ruthless that he abandons him in a desert to be fired by his presumably more competent employers.

Gustav Graves and Zao (Toby Stephens and Rick Yune)

(2002) A Different Day

Although the early 2000s may not have been that long ago, it's hard to imagine that a culturally misjudged notion might be able to translate into today's TikTok, Twitter, and other PC Principals. This is the story in which a North Korean colonel was transformed by gene therapy to appear like the most desirable thing in the world: a tall, white, Oxford educated Brit.

Toby Stephens, an English stage performer, has the unenviable task of playing a Bond villain who is really Korean on the inside, who fights to outrun Seoul and most of Japan for the rest of his third act, in order to wield the power of his doomsday satellite. Rick Yune is only slightly less funny as Zao, the bad guy who slayes $80 million worth of conflict diamonds on his permanently sparkling face. He looks cooler than he acts.

Miranda Frost is a icy double agent who betrays 007 with all the unexpected surprise of a sunset, and Pierce Brosnan and Toby Stephens' sword fight is one of the most enjoyable hero-villain tete-a-tetes in the series.

21.Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray)

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Blofeld presents an interesting problem for this list. Technically speaking, he is a single character. However, since he has rarely been visibly played by the same actor twice (Eric Pohlmann's vocal cameos in From Russia With Love and Thunderball don't count), he is essentially a different character each time. Indeed, Bonds' entire relationship with his arch-nemesis changes from film-to-film without much in the way of context or logic.

Charles Gray is easily the worst incarnation of the character to date, playing Blofeld as a snob who seems more interested in his cats and Jill St. Johns backside than starting World War III. Grays Blofeld is a disappointment in many ways and is similar to Sean Connery's final Eon adventure: a failure.

20.Aristotle Kristatos (Julian Glover)

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Cubby Broccolis' instinct to pull back on the sillyness of the Roger Moore era in the aftermath of Moonraker (or: 007 in Space!) paid out in dividends as well as one of the finest Bond films, period, in the canon; the themes of detente and mutual admiration between MI6 and the KGB after The Spy Who Loved Me are also enhanced for a seriously thrilling underwater sequence.

However, the actual villains in Bond films are one of the few instances when a great Bond film does not have a great villain. The bad guys here here have to be rather low-key due to their very nature of spy game manipulations.

Glover would only have the opportunity to be more playful in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Here, he is creepy only in the pathetic sense as he goes into paranoia hiding from Bond after his plan is revealed and he longs after his teenage companion.

19.Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek)

(2021) No Time to Die

Here is the other arguably great Bond film without a great villain. Although its not due to a lack of effort, Lyustifer Safin is basically named Lucifer Satan, after godsakes. He also gets to do what no other Bond villain has ever done: kill James Bond! (Spoilers, I guess.)

Why is Safin ranked so low? Because No Time to Die is so busy delivering in other areas like action set pieces, characterization, and creating a satisfying Bond death scene, that Safin becomes somewhat of an afterthought. He makes a wonderful, Phantom of the Opera appearance as he hunts Lea Seydoux as a young girl, but by the time he returns in her life (and in the movies), he appears more like a nuisance rather than a nightmare.

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18.Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman)

No. (1962)

Dr. No, the official first Bond villain, is on the verge of being the heavy guy in the film for understandable reasons. He also has some rather clever metallic hands to replace his real ones following a lab accident. They allow him to crush anything with a simple squeezeand to fall to his death later in the picture.

As Bond's first villain, Wiseman is amiably arrogant; he invites 007 to his secret island; he lavishes him with first-class accommodations and a five-star tete-a-tete meal. He even allows James to kiss Ursula Andress on his own time before placing the superspy in an easily escapable cell. However, Eon Productions may refine the technique a little later.

17.Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi)

License to Kill (1989)

Franz Sanchez may be the one villain who does more personal damage to James than any other character who isn't named Blofeld or Silva. After all, Sanchez is the one who crippled Felix Leiter in a legitimately horrifying scene after feeding only the lower half of Felix's legs to a Great White Shark. He murdered Felix's wife on their wedding night (another personal friend of Bonds).

Timothy Daltons 007 was going gritty and going Miami in the wake of Lethal Weapon and Miami Vice. Sanchez is just a drug dealer who wants to move more cocaine out of his fictional Caribbean hideout. Bond gets close to him, and maybe too close, before attempting a terrible revenge. But Davi underplays Sanchez as appropriately slimy and matter-of-fact.

Emilio Largo and Fiona Volpe (Adolfo Celi and Luciana Paluzzi)

Thunderball (1965)

Emilio Largo is one of James Bond's most famous villains. However, like Dominic Greene in the Daniel Craig era, he isn't necessarily one of the best middle managers for the SPECTRE-seta cycloptic pencil pusher who wants to stay out of the volcano lair office and continue ogling Claudine Auger and sweating bullets in his own casino.

Celi gives a fairly standard performance in megalomania, implying that Largo's lack of interest in the plot comes as much from the actor himself (he was later dubbed in post by Robert Rietty). Mostly, Largo is best remembered as Robert Wagner's far more enjoyable Number 2 character in the Austin Powers films.

Fiona Volpe, the evil Luciana Paluzzi, is as fiery as her red hair, and is one of the finest Bond villains of any era. She and Connery make the screen sparkle as she prepares her death trap in the bedroom. If she hadn't been then so wastefully dispatched immediately afterwards, she'd have been ranked in the top five.

Hugo Drax and Jaws (Michael Lonsdale and Richard Kiel)

James Bond's epic absurdity is at its finest. Moonraker is a hate-it-or-hate-it-ridiculousness or hate-it-or-hate-it-ridiculousness style film. He goes to space. He even joins up with Jaws to have a cheap Star Wars knock-off laser fight with Hugo Draxs' school bus-colored stormtroopers. in space!

Why would I even consider putting this high on my list? Well, an old principle to many of the Bond films is that even the bad ones, like this one, have good villains (youll see what I mean further down the list). Hugo Drax as the preening God-wannabe in Moonraker is quite funny.

Drax is a carbon copy of Curd Jurgens in The Spy Who Loved Me, except with a desire to live underwater. He mocks, threatens, and orders numerous forms of murder without ever lowering his voice from a dull, tense drone of upper-class superiority. He wants to be a God, because it's his birthright!

Drax bemoans, Mr. Bond, that you continue to defy me in my attempts to make an amusing death for you. Each attempt is so completely absurd that they become a joy to beholdknife wielding assassins hidden beneath waterfalls, and trapped beneath a pristine control room that was purposely barbecued upon rocket launch.

14.Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz)

Spectre (2015), No Time to Die (2021)

Blofeld, who has been rebooted, is the author of the 21st century James Bonds agony. We believe him. It is likely that Christoph Waltz is the perfect choice for Bonds' arch-nemesis. However, he might have made it into the top 10 had he not been better utilized and in a better film than Spectre.

This fourth installment into Craig's unique Bond oeuvre is one of the fewest of the series, wasting Blofeld's long-awaited return to the franchise in an unintentional plot line out of Austin Powers: Goldmember. Bond and Blofeld are long-lost foster brothers in Spectre.

Still, Waltz brought an outright horror charm to the table. And, unlike any other Bond villain on this list, he got to go back. And, unlike Blofeld, he got to die in the latter scene. What a meal Waltz makes of that latter scene wherein Blofeld becomes Hannibal Lecter.

13.Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce)

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Beyond Pierce Brosnans' solid on-point performance as Bondis Elliot Carver, this villain is also taken straight from the printing press as one of the worst attempts at satire in the James Bond cycle. Elliot is a walking, talking parody of Rupert Murdoch and the News Corp. organization, right?

Elliot Carver is introduced on the eve of launching an international 24/7 news network around the world, one year after real life Rupert Murdoch launched Fox News in 1996. But that's not enough for Carver, who is also quietly initiating a war between the United Kingdom and China so that his media empire may be able to cover it for better headlines as well as secure exclusive broadcasting rights in China for the entire 21st century.

Jonathan Pryce, an experienced character actor who appeared ready to savor every minute of exotic scenery and location shooting, is a delight to watch. He should have taken a break from Network to trade notes at some point.

12.Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen)

Casino Royale (2006) is a casino game that has been dubbed as a "Casin Royale."

Mads Mikkelsen is so adept as this shady snake in tuxedo clothes that it is somewhat unsettling that Le Chiffre is just a very dirty banker.

Le Chiffre is a traitorous Frenchman who is mulling money for the Russian secret service, but here he is a banker for terrorists in the Middle East, genocidal despots in Africa, and all kinds of unsavory people. He also works as a contractor for a tangential organization (later revealed to be SPECTRE) which ultimately kills him for losing all of his clients' money. Twice.

Even if Le Chiffre suffers an unfortunate end due to his employers, it is still during a sequence that made every male viewer in the world squirm with terror as he combined three seemingly harmless items: a chair with the seat removed; a swinging rope; and Bonds' bare crown jewels marrying the two on contact.

11.Elektra King (Sophie Marceau)

The World Is Not Enough (1999)

Robert Carlyles Renard was clearly identified as the villain in the marketing materials for The World Is Not Enough. Rather he is a strangely sympathetic monster: a terrorist who has fallen head over heels in love with Elektra King's kidnapped daughter. Rather he is a strangely sympathetic monster: a terrorist who willingly commits suicide for her by attempting to destroy Elektras Russian oil pipeline competitors.

TWINE is still benefiting from Elektra, who makes for a wonderful villainess and is the only woman to portray Bond's true villain early on as she appears to be just another attempt to bring Bond to bed. She's beautiful, well-spoke, and is naturally irritated by Bond's death, but in reality she's still playing mind games with James, Judi Denchs M, and the terrorists.

Marceau and Brosnan had real sparks, which made the scene where Bond was forced to shoot her while she was unarmed one of Brosnan's most chilling moments, as well as a series highlight. Even in death, she looks set to savor Bond's dreams.

10.Max Zorin and May Day (Christopher Walken and Grace Jones)

A View to a Kill (1985)

A View to a Kill is Roger Moore's final James Bond film. It's also his worst film (I still prefer it to Octopussy and The Man with the Golden Gun, personally). But there's no denying that a) Duran Durans' song is a murderer, and b) the villains in this one are camp classics.

Moore was more dependent on stuntmen than ever before, but he could also lean for Christopher Walken, who appeared stoned out of his mind while playing the antagonist. In the film, Max Zorin is ostensibly some test tube baby ubermensch from the KGB, but really, he's Christopher Walken laughing at the hilarious conversations he has to have with Roger Moore.

As if that wasn't enough, Roger Moore is also partnered with Grace Jones as his henchwoman and lover. Before Lady Gaga became mainstream, they made for the strangest romantic pairing in Bond movie history; or maybe just in movies, period.

These bad seeds are equally adept at elevating a schlock film, whether it's by having Jones bench press her real-life boyfriend Dolph Lundgren above her head, or by having Walken laugh to himself as he falls to his death on the Golden Gate Bridge's top. It's gonzo and it's beautiful.

9.Mr. Big and Baron Samedi (Yaphet Kotto and Geoffrey Holder)

Live and Let Die (1973)

This is one of the few times when the supporting villain is so powerful that he can elevate the whole antagonism of the film. From such films as Alien and The Running Man, it's no surprise that Yaphet Kotto plays Mr. Big, a corrupt Caribbean dictator who's hands are deep in the heroin trade.

The true strength of the picture, which is powerful enough to partially overcome the uncomfortable consequences wherein every Black man 007 meets is a criminal, comes from Baron Samedi and the supernatural world he beckons us towards.

Samedi is shot twice in the course of the film and with a post-Dirty Harry magnum to boot; yet he keeps coming back. Bond and Jane Seymours ethereal Solitaire are escaping New Orleans for a romantic getaway. Little do they know that on the roof above them, the impossible-to-kill Baron howls with delighted triumph. He is one of the most popular henchmen in the series, who earns a top 10 spot for the ten

8.Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee)

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

The Man with the Golden Gun may be our least favorite Bond film. This distinction is in no small part due to how it sabotages one of the greatest character actors in cinema history, Sir Christopher Lee. However, it is also a tribute to Lees talent that despite being given one of the franchise's weakest scripts, he remains one of 007's greatest foes.

Lee plays the thrice-nippled Scaramanga, a hitman who only ever needs one golden bullet for his golden rifle. The ultimate assassin for hire, he has financed his own tropical island in the process.

The latter's affable cad and Lee's overbearing honesty as a consummate gentleman reduces the weight of a tenured professor in academia (with a PhD in assassination) while producing Broccoli and Saltzman's poor execution

The final duel between Bond and Scaramanga has all the intensity of a major Western confrontation, and Lee never takes a risk.

7.Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasence)

You Only Live Twice (1967)

The most iconic portrayal of the super-villain with a kitty cat is due to Pleasences's shocking appearance as a scarred, cycloptic baldy in a space age jumpsuit with a Persian on his lap. The only thing that separates him from the Dr. Evil he inspired in Mike Myers Austin Powers' films is that Dr. Evil at least has some self-awareness about his visible humor.

Pleasence is undeniably great in the role. Sure, he has a few henchmen working for him, but this is the Blofeld show and it is a hoot. There is some discussion about Blofeld kidnapping American and Soviet shuttles in orbit while simultaneously framing both countries as he leads his own space race (Q-branch cigarettes, anyone?)

The only drawback of this version of Blofeld is that he is so cartoonishly evil while he schemes in his hallowed out volcano lair that he transcends the realm of intimidating and goes straight to nigh satire. Nonetheless, I suspect there might be more to this character than volcanoes and hidden motes filled with carnivorous piranhas.

6.Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem)

Skyfall (2012) is a sequel to Skyfall.

Javier Bardems Silva, the only villain from the Daniel Craig era to have a lasting indelible impact, is the James Bond version of the Joker, and they were all the better for it: he took down James' childhood home in ways far too great to count; he destroyed the classic Aston Martin DB5; and he even attempted to instill in Bond a sense of gay panic!

In a remarkable piece of writing, Bardem and director Sam Mendes created one of the most enticing monologues. Silvas starts his introduction in one-take, slowly and methodically marching toward a captured Bond while reciting his tortured analogy about them both being rats. James is neither shaken nor agitated, since this may not be his first encounter.

Silvas greatest impact is that he brings modern chaos to London like a competent 21st century terrorist. With a few keystrokes and barrels of gasoline, he destroys the illusion of security and ultimately wins the battle against Mr. Bond by succeeding to murder their mutual mentor, Judi Denchs M.

Silvas best moment for me is when he humiliates Bond by failing to drop a glass of scotch off Berenice Marlohes head. Even for a Bond film that was twisted. It's kind of like Silvas dental work.

5.Jaws and Karl Stromberg (Richard Kiel and Curd Jurgens)

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Once again, we have an instance where the henchman is so perfect that he lifts the main antagonist up several dozen pegs. But in this particular case, Jaws more than elevates Strombergs threat levelhe outclasses that relatively dull and generic slice of megalomania, and represents the one time where the henchman is the evil star.

The Spy Who Loved Me is another tribute to Kiels villainy that he may not stand out from the rest of the series. Barbara Bach as the KGB's Bond girl from the original pre-Craig/Green series, who does it better? The greatest song in the franchise, bar none.

Cubby Broccoli's 10th 007 adventureand first project without Harry Satlzman proved to be successful. With Jaws, a silent, seven-foot killer with the shiniest pair of chompers ever welded together by a blow torch, the film goes the extra mile, killing people's necks, padlocked chains, and even an electrical lamp.

Kiel deserves credit for instilling a great deal of physical comedy into what might have been a simple hulking menace. Consider how many silent behemoths Bond has fought in a blur over the last 50 years (like David Bautista in Spectre). Now, recall how enjoyable Kiels reactions were to falling Egyptian debris, a close call in the hen house, and even simply trading grimaces with Roger Moore. For better or worse, there is a reason he is the only villain

4.Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas)

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

Donald Pleasence is obviously the most famous Blofeld character, but Telly Savalas is undisputedly the finest. Of all actors who have tackled Bonds' nemesis, Savalas is the only one to fully embody this level of animosity (and to earn enough screen time).

Savalas Blofeld is completely independent from his predecessor Sean Connery to George Lazenby, and they have no connection to one other until the actors remove the masks and demonstrate Ernsts aristocratic heritage.

Savalas more violent interpretation of Blofeld is still as egotistical as the others, but he does not cross over into camp as easily as the other two iterations Connery faced. Blofeld also suffers a severe wound when he drives by the parked car of James and Teresa di Vicenzo Bond. They meet on their wedding day, and Tracy is shot in the head. Bond is left in total agony.

Its a heartbreaker that due to Lazenbys unpopularity, no action was taken. Our loss.

Alec Trevelyan and Xenia Onatopp (Sean Bean and Famke Janssen)

Goldeneye (1995)

The James Bond film that reawakened 007 to prominence after the Cold War and a dismal 1980s career is the last traditional Bond film to fire on all cylinders. Daniel Craig has had some outstanding films, but Pierce Brosnans' debut is the last five-star Bond film where James was actually having funand everything around him.

Sean Bean will play Alec Trevelyan (aka 006) as the series' greatest femme fatale, Famke Janssens Xenia Onatopp (aka a Venus Flytrap) as the series' main antagonist. We all lucked out that the series preferred to see them as brothers rather than as 006.

Bean had previously been cast as 007 but excels as a foil to Brosnan in a grudge match that is far worse than any plastic scar molded onto a face in the opening scene; the reunion of Bond with a doppelganger who is more than his physical and intellectual equivalent is a highlight of the film; Bond expresses genuine anger and misery.

But Famke Janssen is the one who steals the show as Xenia, a hitwoman who prefers to get her hands dirty on the job Her preferred method of murder is strangulation by thighs. A patently absurd concept, it is just perverse enough to avoid cartoonish fantasy, and Janssen commits to the role with so much conviction that she broke a rib during her and Brosnans love/fight moment that involved running into the wall as hard as possible with Janssens legs coiled

Rosa Klebb and Red Grant (Lotte Lenya and Robert Shaw)

From Russia With Love (1963)

This is the one doubleheader where I am not sure if either is the henchman. Both are pawns in SPECTREs machinations, but they are so flexible that they are far closer to snuffing out Mr. Bonds' legacy than anyone else in that bleak organization.

Rosa Klebb is the film's evil architect, who chooses Daniela Bianchis naive Tatiana as the honey pot that was created for 007. There is an undercurrent of homophobia as well, but Lenya plays it with such disdain that it is as welcome as any attempts at traditional world dominance monologues.

Red Grant, the first James Bond doppelganger, is proven to be more deadly and cunning than Sean Connery's uber-Bond. Grant impersonates James as a dead MI6 agent and legitimately tricks him to lower his guard while poisoning his girlfriend in a flashback. Fifty years later, and the blows and final choking gasp are still cringe inducing.

Grant gave the obvious sign that he was a no-good Russian commie: he ordered red wine with fish!

Auric Goldfinger and Oddjob (Gert Frobe and Harold Sakata)

Goldfinger (1964)

Do you want me to sit and listen? / No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!

First, Goldfinger has the most powerful plot of any Bond villain: he will smash into Fort Knox so the Chinese can irradiate the US gold supply with a nuke, thereby increasing his own gold value.

Next, Blofeld is in fact a greater foe for 007 than he can ever be since he is older, unfit, and socially disgraceful. He is also smarter than James as he easily captures Bond and logs him in a Kentucky ranch in order to sway the spying CIA. And he does not operate for political gain, world dominance, or any kind of ideology.

He is just a greedy bastard who came within centimeters of casting off Mr. Bonds' preferred weapon via laser. In fact, James would have no problem if he had done just that before turning it off.

Oddjob, the first true evil sidekick in the series as director Guy Hamilton coached Broccoli and Saltzman to perfect their formula. Whether it's painting naked women in solid gold or using the first great gadget of the canon: a metal-rimmed hat that can shatter necks, Oddjob delivers anything.

Yet for all their machinations, Bonds' best scene is also Bonds' finest tete-a-tete when Connery defeats Frobe on the golf course. There are no explosions, no gunshots, nor even a flying hat. It's all about Bond playing a cheater. Everyone onscreen is enjoying himself, and you'd be a fool not to do the same.