Bond 50 Poll: Favorite James Bond Villains

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.

Which Are Your Favorite James Bond Villains?

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Don’t forget to get your preorder in for the ‘Bond 50’ collection on Amazon, if you haven’t already.


  1. EM

    Paralleling my movie choice, I went for Goldfinger. I mean, come on—can you imagine Shirley Bassey singing, “Blooooo-FE-ELLLLLLD!!!”?

    • William Henley

      I paralleled my movie choices as well – Goldfinger and Tomorrow Never Dies. I can’t wait for the henchmen poll!

    • EM

      To be fair, I suppose she could have sung something like

      He’s the man, the man with the golden gun
      Holding the Sun


  2. Alex

    I was never wild about how they changed up Blofelds with every movie. I understand why (Blofeld’s a master of disguise), but to me, it’s Donald Pleasance now and forever.

  3. Le Chiffre from Casino Royale is my pick. His villainous plot (to short airline stocks before blowing up a plane) is awesome and grounded at the same time. His deconstruction of “evil” traits is wickedly hilarious on several levels (“Weeping blood comes merely from a derangement of the tear duct, my dear General. Nothing sinister.”). He’s played by Mads Mikkelsen. His desperation in the second act breaks the mold of many other Bond villains. The best two action scenes of the film happen in the first act of the film, yet his and Bond’s card game is entirely riveting. Finally, his interrogation of Bond is the best of the series: simple, brutal, and terrifying.

    The only downside is that he is (almost) entirely absent from the third act of the film.