Picking the best James Bond villains may be a tad premature considering we’ve yet to see what Christoph Waltz does with his Franz Oberhauser in this year’s Spectre, but after 23 films and a lot more bad guys than that, I’m going to take a chance anyway. Below I’ll tell you the name of the villain, the star responsible, and what makes him (or her) stand out. See if you agree.
5. Le Chiffre
Mads Mikkelsen was just what a 007 reboot needed when it came to intimidating James Bond villains. Mikkelsen burst onto the American scene with his performance as a poker pro, who streams bloody tears due to a condition of his tear ducts. Other than that, the infamous torture scene in which he almost single-handedly emasculates Bond stands out.
4. Raoul Silva
Javier Bardem as one of the James Bond villains? It seemed like it could go either way when he was announced for Skyfall, but he was just the right amount of crazy and physically grotesque to pull it off. (Yeah, that’s right: I’m talking about the removable jaw — shudder!) Silva was a great foil for Bond, and it’s a shame that we won’t be seeing more of him in Spectre.
3. Rosa Klebb
Red Grant is the muscle and Blofeld makes an appearance, but it’s Lotte Lenya who steals the show as Rosa Klebb. If you read the book — before all the sequels were written — then you know the literary Klebb succeeds in killing James Bond, and she almost pulls it off in the film, though Connery’s 007 is too foxy for that. Most memorable thing about Ms. Klebb: those deadly shoes and spooky face. (Compliment of course!)
2. Auric Goldfinger
Gert Frobe breathed life into the the man, who turns everything to gold with disastrous results (figuratively speaking, of course). Goldfinger was the third major big screen villain in the movie that bore his name. He waged war with Connery and — spoiler alert — did not appear in further films because he gets sucked out of an airplane at the film’s conclusion. Most memorable moment of all the James Bond villains: “You expect me to talk?” Bond asks. “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”
1. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
The Blofeld character appeared in numerous films and was played by everyone from Charles Gray to Telly Savalas. But for my money as a Bond fan, the iconic portrayal is that of Dr. Loomis himself, Donald Pleasance. Pleasance only took on the role one time, and it was in the Sean Connery vehicle You Only Live Twice. But when you think of “the look” of Blofeld, this is the face that usually comes to mind. Even so, there were better films that featured the character, specifically On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but this is one of the better Blofeld outings nonetheless.
The character also appeared in From Russia with Love, Thunderball, and Diamonds Are Forever for a grand total of five times in the main films. Max von Sydow also played him once in the unaffiliated Never Say Never Again (also starring Connery).
Those are my picks for favorite James Bond villains. What are yours? Sound off in the comments section!
[Image via Empire Online]