One of the keys to a good James Bond movie is a juicy villain whose diabolical plan the secret agent must foil. In today’s poll, let’s pick our favorites.
I would have to say that the definitive Bond villain still remains Auric Goldfinger, the greedy capitalist who attempted to break into Fort Knox in ‘Goldfinger‘. This guy set the template for what a Bond villain is supposed to be – from his elaborate, convoluted plan (he didn’t want to steal the gold; he wanted to irradiate it so that nobody else could use it and his own gold would be more valuable) to the “Talking Killer” routine where he explains the details of that plan to Bond when he should have just killed the guy. He’s an iconic character, and Gert Frobe’s performance (even if his voice had to be dubbed over by an American actor) is a classic.
Equally iconic during the Sean Connery years was Bond’s recurring nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld, head of the terrorist organization known as SPECTRE. Initially, the character lurked behind-the-scenes as a mastermind who pulled the strings but could only be seen from chest down, stroking his fluffy white cat. In the later Connery films, Blofeld stepped forward into prominence, where he was played by several different actors in different movies, including Donald Pleasance and Telly Savalas. (Blofeld also reappeared briefly during Roger Moore’s tenure at the beginning of ‘For Your Eyes Only‘.)
Yet I think that perhaps my favorite Bond villain is Yaphet Kotto as Dr. Kananga (a.k.a. Mr. Big) in ‘Live and Let Die‘. The film itself is otherwise mediocre, and might even be perceived as racist if Kotto hadn’t made the character such a charismatic baddie. Like any good Bond villain, Kananga of course has a secret underground lair with a monorail and shark tank, but he also drives a pimpmobile, which makes him immeasurably cooler than any of 007’s other adversaries.
Some of the James Bond movies feature more than one villain. For the following poll, I tried to limit each title to just the primary antagonist. Vote for as many as you’d like.
Don’t forget to get your preorder in for the ‘Bond 50’ collection on Amazon, if you haven’t already.