We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10. World domination is a tough business. The hours are long, the sacrifices are heavy, and the workload is endless. Sometimes, your hard work doesn't even pay off. Even worse than all of this is when some horn dog super agent is killing your henchmen (and most likely) bedding your girlfriend/wife/mistress behind your back.
Amped up for the release of new James Bond film Quantum of Solace, I've compiled a list of Top 7 Bond Villains.
Carly Simon said it best: "Nobody does it better." But who does "it" worst?
7. Curd Jurgens as Karl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me -- Villainous Stromberg was a lover of the sea, with a scheme that would have forced us all to oblige: with captured submarines carrying nuclear weapons, he intended to start a nuclear war between USA and Russia after blowing up Moscow and New York. Civilization would then restart where Stromberg ended up being buried - at the bottom of the sea. This webbed hand man owes a lot of his memorability to the film in which he is placed. The Spy Who Loved Me is an explosion of Bond greatness, that like Goldfinger before it, makes all of the right moves. Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better" is the best James Bond theme song (that's right, I said it), Babe-ara Bach looks even better without her trademark Daisy Dukes, and the third act of the film is a massive orgy of violence with hundreds of extras and thousands of bullets.
6. Various actors as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in various movies – The mastermind of villain supergroup SPECTRE is first seen (though not his face) in From Russia With Love and is featured in many preceding Bond films. Before You Only Live Twice, we only see the nemesis' hands stroking his white cat. Afterwards, he took on many forms, portrayed by many different actors (from Donald Pleasance to Max Von Sydow). The death of this character is rather abrupt, happening in Roger Moore's For Your Eyes Only: Bond, flying a helicopter, picks up Blofeld's wheelchair and drops him down a chimney. Though his employers are ironically more important, Blofeld is still a key evil genius in the world of James Bond.
5. Jonathan Price as Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies – As a whole, Pierce Brosnan's second Bond film is an underrated gem too often lumped together with his preceding duds (The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day). Michelle Yeoh as sidekick Wai Lin is exciting to watch, the film is well rounded in awesome car chases, gun fights, and henchmen dispatches, (including the first death in a Bond movie by printing machine), and Sheryl Crow’s sexy theme song stands with the best. Lending to the film's greatness is villain Elliot Carver, whose originality is often overlooked. Most Bond villains want to destroy the world, but Carver, a shrimpy media mogul, wants the world to destroy itself - for the sake of a good story. His intent to start World War III by setting the two countries against each other is not unlike The Spy Who Loved Me and You Only Live Twice, but his means and intent are strikingly original.
4. Adolfo Celi as Emilio Largo in Thunderball – Of all the Bond villains, Emilio Largo was the first to go nuclear. Second in line to Blofeld in ruling villain supergroup SPECTRE, his creative plan of stealing nuclear weapons and holding them ransom was unheard of at the time. Largo is also responsible for the series’ first murder by sharks (one of his henchmen, nonetheless). But like fellow classic villains, like Dr. No before him, he is never forgetful of his sophistication, nor his manners. Even when he’s suspicious of Bond boinking Domino, his mistress, Largo invites the debonair spy over for lunch. And before Casino Royale's Le Chiffre or The World Is Not Enough's Renard had their distinguishing marks, Largo was the first villain to sport an eye patch (which must've felt awkward while wearing a scuba mask).
3. Michael Lonsdale as Sir Hugo Drax in Moonraker – Holy s***, is this Peter Dinklage look alike evil. Before I go on about how secretly great Moonraker is, let me remind you of Hugo Drax’s scheme. And though it is alike Stromberg’s plan, ol’ Web Hands could never think of something as sinister as this: Drax planned to wipe out nearly all of the human race with a secret toxin, not but before flying a select group of men and women to his private space station. Then, after the entire planet had been wiped out, the “survivors” would return to planet and live with Hugo Drax as their leader. Indeed, many Bond villains have world domination on their mind, but I doubt they planned to kill as many people and actually RULE the world like Sir Hugo Drax. On top of all of this delicious sinister greatness, Drax is also the reason why Moonraker has the franchise's only outer space laser fight, (sadly) and why we get to see super-big henchmen Jaws one last time (before he floats into space for an indeterminable amount of time, albeit with his girlfriend). However, I don’t think Drax is responsible for Bond’s “companion” being named Dr. Holly Goodhead, so I’ll just leave that one alone...
2. Robert Davi as Franz Sanchez in License to Kill – Timothy Dalton’s career as James Bond ended after the forgettable License to Kill, and he nearly took the franchise down with him. The always awkward-fitting Shakespearean actor tried his best to remake Bond his own name in his second and final film, but was outplayed by Robert Davi’s evil character Franz Sanchez, one of the most brutal villains yet. The movie was the first in the series to earn a PG-13 rating, and with great reason: after villain Fran Sanchez bribes an agent to break out of jail, he has Felix Leiter’s wife raped and killed, and then tortures Bond’s American ally by feeding him to a shark. To which the Colombian drug dealer later stated, “he disagreed with something that ate him.” Of course, reminiscent of classic Bond story-lines (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), all of this happens after the Leiter’s get married. Like earlier villains, (such as Mr. Big in Live and Let Die,) Sanchez’s business is strictly with drugs, but his vicious acts against the Leiter's make him a personal target of revenge for Bond. His scheme is simple, his character stereotypical, and even the movie he was in is barely memorable. But this macabre SOB is easily one of the most sinister of villains Bond has ever faced.
1. Gert Frobe as Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger: This is definitely a quintessential Bond film, thanks to memorable scenes – (all of them), villains, (the miraculously named Pussy Galore) and gadgets (the Aston Martin DB5). But most unforgettable of all is the film's title villain, played by authentic German Gert Frobe. Frobe's character is a gold fetish-izing ex-Nazi, who, as Shirley Bassey declares in the film's title song, "loves only gold." Goldfinger’s evil scheme is still one of the series’ best: steal gold from inside Fort Knox by using a powerful laser, and then set off a contaminating bomb to harm the remaining gold in the building, thus raising the value of his newly stolen amount of gold. Called “Operation Grand Slam”, it was an evil plan that out-awesomed its title. And without the unforgettable Auric Goldfinger, we would not have some of the best moments in the Bond franchise. After the villain is sucked out a window of his own airplane, Bond replies to an inquisitive Pussy Galore that he is “playing his golden harp”. In the beginning of the film, Goldfinger has a woman killed – by painting her gold! And later on, he tries to castrate Bond – with a laser! (“Do you expect me to talk?” Bond asks. “No, Mr. Bond,” replies Goldfinger. “I expect you to die!”) The pleasantly plump antagonist even has a deadly sidekick – who throws his hat to kill people! Promotional posters for the film boasted “Everything He Touches Turns to Excitement!” They may have been talking about James Bond, but this could no truer for the secret agent’s absolute best adversary.
That's the Top 7, now what should be in the Top 10?