Ranking the Bond Villains and Allies
Today, we talk about the Bond Villains and the Bond Allies.
Pretty simple, actually. The villains are a pretty simple list. Some films have multiple villains. We’re dealing with the people who are primarily the ones in the films who are behind the plans that go into motion. Typically, when a film has multiple villains, either there’s a big villain like Blofeld behind the main villain, or two villains team up, so there’s the logistical villain who sets everything up or is the cerebral villain, and then the muscle villain, who is usually a general or something who is forcibly going to carry out the plan. Simple stuff, we’re just gonna rank them. It’s much easier than the Bond Girls.
Then — Allies. Bond doesn’t typically have a lot of allies. He has fewer allies who matter/make themselves memorable. I had to struggle just to get the list to 25. But I got it there.
So that’s today. Let’s get ranking:
Ranking the Bond Villains
27. Javier Bardem’s character (Skyfall) (temporarily)
He’ll go higher once we update these lists after we both see Skyfall.
26. Aristotle Kristatos (For Your Eyes Only)
Easily the worst Bond villain ever. What does he do?
Think about it — he’s a smuggler. He used to team up with Milos Columbo, but Columbo only wanted to smuggle the stuff they couldn’t get — nuts and fruits and things like that. Kristatos wanted to do dangerous shit, like smuggle weapons. So they broke off their partnership. Now, Kristatos has been paid by the Russians (and General Gogol) to find a sunken ship which has on it an ATAC that can communicate with the British submarines and would be a huge coup for the Russian to get.
So right there, he’s not really a villain. He’s simply being paid to get something that’s fair game. The ship was sunk accidentally (it hit a random naval mine that was still in the water), which means whoever finds it deserves to have it. It’s not like they’re stealing it.
Then he is introduced to Bond as an ally, and he paints Columbo as the villain. But then Bond meets Columbo and Columbo’s like, “Nah, he was talking about himself. I’m just a badass.” So Kristatos just sort of becomes the villain by default.
And he doesn’t really do anything. He’s looking for this ATAC, he’s mentoring Bibi, and his henchmen are really doing all the evil shit. So I guess he is a villain, because he is trying to kill Bond. It’s just — he doesn’t actually do anything. Bond actually has nothing to do with him, for the most part.
He’s one of those villains you forget, because he does so little in the actual film.
I give him a little credit cause he’s a longstanding double agent. He’s clearly good at what he does if he helped the Nazis and is still in business. That said, he doesn’t do all that much.
25. General Orlov (Octopussy)
I’m not sure what he does in the film, but I do know he does something, so that’s why I put him higher than Kristatos.
Orlov wants to break detente and invade some countries. So he teams up with Kamal Khan to put a bomb in a public place and kill some people, giving him the opportunity to start a war. Makes sense to me.
Problem is — Orlov doesn’t do anything in the film. We see him giving a crazy speech at the beginning (in that, when we hear it, we know he’s pretty crazy), then he randomly shows up in the middle to show us that he’s working with Khan, then we see him putting a bomb on Octopussy’s circus train, then Bond starts foiling the plan, and he chases Bond down. But then the Russians find out what he’s doing and he’s shot.
So he actually doesn’t do much of anything in the film, and the fact that the film is so flat doesn’t really help him either. The only thing he has going for him is that he looks kind of like Woody Harrelson.
“That’s a jingo!”
24. Brad Whitaker (The Living Daylights)
I just don’t like Whitaker. His plan as a villain is sound, I just don’t like him.
He’s an arms dealer who is playing both sides against the middle. He loves war, so much so that he has little toy battlegrounds that he uses to repeat the battles and plan strategies for how he would have fought them. So he wants to start a war between the U.S. and Russia and be the one to sell them both guns. It’s a fine plan.
The negatives — he’s actually like a man child when it comes to war. And he’s also barely in the film. We meet him briefly after the first act. General Pushkin goes to meet him. Then we find out Koskov is working for him. And he pops up now and again, being pretty sensible. Koskov wants to do something and he’s like, “That doesn’t make sense. Just go do this.” But then at the end, he’s the final villain Bond has to kill.
Meh. I prefer Joe Don Baker as Jack Wade. Boring villain.
God, I disliked this guy. Weird egomaniac with statues and a stupid gun. Nope.
23. Kamal Khan (Octopussy)
Three reasons Kamal Khan is above Brad Whitaker. He doesn’t do anything in the film, and barely merits being called a villain, but, he is, so we have to rank him.
1) He’s rich, acts rich, and gives off that villain demeanor, despite not actually doing anything. So I like that.
2) I just don’t like Brad Whitaker
3) Louis Jourdan was in Gigi
I didn’t say they were great reasons, but they’re reasons.
Seriously, though, Khan does next to nothing in the film. But at least he has those typical villain scenes with Bond and I get to see Louis Jourdan playing him. So that’s something. Bottom four easily, though.
Eh. He has an accent. I guess that makes him…a person. Ish.
22. Colonel Moon (Die Another Day)
I — where the fuck do you start with him?
He’s the son of a Korean general who has some anger issues. He’s doing all this illegal shit under his father’s nose. He sells weapons for diamonds, shit like that. Then Bond comes in and fucks up his plan and sends him down a waterfall. He’s presumed dead.
Then, a year later, we find out he killed a white guy and assumed his identity. He’s had a bunch of surgeries to make himself white. So now he’s created a giant satellite that can harness the sun’s energy and his plan is to use it to destroy the demilitarized zone and take over some places (because he’s North Korean, he’s crazy).
So basically he’s General Orlov with a whole bunch of “what the fuck is that other shit?” thrown in.
Seriously, the whole “becoming white” thing makes no sense at all, and makes me completely unable to take him seriously. And then he has electric gloves and shit — it’s chaos. I can’t put him anywhere but the bottom five.
An eccentric prodigy who loses his grip on reality, has major daddy issues and turns white. North Korean Michael Jackson.
21. Hugo Drax (Moonraker)
He escapes the bottom five by sheer fact of not sucking as much as the people below him. He’s basically a Stromberg rehash, but at least he has some good lines and is consistent in his plan, even if it is batshit insane.
Plus, I said it in the article, he looks like Peter Dinklage in Orson Welles’s body, with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s voice.
He’s not that interesting as a villain, but he’s interesting enough to be put above those other people. So I’ll give him that.
He looks like Orson Welles. I didn’t like him other than that because he’s Stromberg 2.0. The novel Drax was great, but this one is a major letdown. It’s very rare that I call something from the novels better than its film counterpart.
20. General Medrano (Quantum of Solace)
This was tough. On how much I enjoy the character, he goes higher, but in terms of his usefulness to the plot and his strength as a villain — he’s here.
Because I enjoy the shit out of General Medrano. Deposed dictator who wants to take over again so he makes a deal with Quantum to be put in charge of Bolivia. That’s cool. Plus he likes raping women. I didn’t think that would be enjoyable to me (and it’s not. Actually seeing him about to rape that woman in the hotel isn’t enjoyable at all), but the scene of him ordering the beer and then telling the woman to bring it to his room is like, “Ha ha, he’s gonna rape her.” And for some reason, that’s enjoyable to me, that the man takes such joy in rape. It fits his character. I can’t explain it. I think it’s a character thing. It makes his character stronger, even if it is deplorable.
But otherwise — he doesn’t have much power at all. He sits down to sign the papers that’ll make him dictator, and then is like, “You’re making me pay more money for utilities than we pay now,” and Greene’s like, “All right, don’t sign it. But if you don’t, you’ll wake up with your balls in your mouth and your willing replacement standing over you.” So he’s not really in any position to do anything, even if he does have his own army. So it’s a give and a take with him.
Objectively, he’s not really that high on the list. Though I will say, he gets major points for, as TokyoRemix said, being able to glance at a piece of paper and know exactly how much his country is paying for utilities. Motherfucker does his homework. Someone like that deserves to be in power. (Isn’t it pretty great that he’s trying to perform a coup and cares the country’s finances at the same time?
I like how he talks about Bolivia like they’re the bosses of the world. Yeah. Take that tone. I can see how he’s basically here, though, cause he’s hardly a villain. He’s part victim in this film, cause Greene is messing him up. What I want to know is what happened to the Bolivian government after all this. Actually, I changed my mind. Don’t care. Not a bit.
19. General Koskov (The Living Daylights)
Koskov gets this high up because of his opening. He’s a Russian general who allegedly wants to defect. He says, “I heard James Bond is the best. I want him to make sure I get out of there okay.” So they have Bond be a sniper to make sure he gets out. That’s all. (Bond does manage to take over the escape because he’s a badass and helps Koskov get out, but that’s beside the point.) Only thing is — he’s not actually defecting, but he needs to make it look like he’s defecting. So he sets his girlfriend up as a counter sniper to make it look legitimate (and also in the hopes that Bond’ll kill her and give him one less thing to worry about). So that happens and he gets out and then he stages a fake kidnapping in order to get free and go live the good life with Brad Whitaker.
On that alone, he’s a great villain. Problem is, after he escapes, he’s totally useless. He has no power whatsoever, even though it’s his false information that fucks up MI6 (but not Bond) for most of the film. I can’t help but think that if they did this in the 60s, Koskov would have been such a great villain. Think about it — think about if they did that opening sequence with Connery in the From Russia with Love days. When defecting meant something. And then he defects, is “kidnapped” and was joining SPECTRE all along. That shit could have been great.
As it is — he has a good opening, but then falls apart as a villain. If he and Whitaker ended up being the same person, that villain probably would have went higher than this. But otherwise — meh.
I have no use for this guy. No more to say.
18. Elliot Carver (Tomorrow Never Dies)
Pretty sure TokyoRemix and I have the same feelings about Elliot Carver. We like the idea of Elliot Carver — the news mogul who makes his own news by causing these disasters. He creates the news by killing people and almost causing global war.
Problem — they fuck up the end game. Carver ends up being put in physical situations he has no business being in. If you’re Rupert Murdoch (since, let’s face it, who is he supposed to be?), and you’re doing all this shit, why would you be right in the middle of it, where you can be killed or incriminated in any of it? If he’s in his office, he can deny the shit out of it. What he needed was a general type ally, like an Ourumov who could do the physical shit and he could be the guy running it until the end, when he needed to be put in harms way to be killed by Bond. And they have a character like that in the movie, only he’s only shown once and does nothing. So to me, Carver is one of those villains who could have done more, but was just fucked up entirely.
So that’s a Bond villain and a Bond Girl that film fucked up and misused. (There’s a reason I only ranked it 18th.)
Agreed. If the writing had been good, he would have been way better. This should have been him setting all this evil stuff up, Bond foils it, and then there’s the final showdown where Bond has to get him so he doesn’t get away with it. That’d have been better, and he wouldn’t have to be on the boat doing stuff he didn’t have to do.
17. Rosa Klebb (From Russia with Love)
Surprised she wasn’t on the Bond Girls by Hotness list?
I explained in depth in the From Russia with Love article why I love Klebb’s situation, so I won’t go into that. I do really love how Klebb operates within the film.
Problem is — I don’t really consider her a villain. Blofeld’s behind it all, and Kronsteen is the one whose plan it is. Klebb is just implementing the plan and doing what she’s told. In that way, she’s kind of a henchmen, even though she’s clearly a villain. There’s just too much diffusion of power for me to consider her a really strong villain.
Not to mention — she’s barely in the film. She meets Blofeld, and is told what she has to do. We see her recruit Grant. Then she meets Tatiana, and has that scene. Then we only see her briefly in a car, and don’t see her again until the end of the film, when Blofeld kills Kronsteen and tells her to kill Bond. And then she goes in with the poison shoe and gets killed.
I’m not saying she’s not a solid or even memorable villain. It’s just — she doesn’t do enough in the film for me to consider ranking her higher on this list.
I still like her. I realize that I said somewhere that Elektra is the only female villain, and I’ll stand by that because Rosa Klebb is hardly a woman. At the same time, she does set up Tanya’s involvement — that’s her end of the plan — and has a lot of personality being a lesbian and shooting nasty looks at men.
16.Kananga (Live and Let Die)
I’m so torn about Kananga. He could have been great. There are two things that keep him as a middling villain. First, his ending. His death scene is so fucking ridiculous. The most ridiculous villain death in the franchise. And that’s saying something, since Colonel Moon went from being Korean to white and is electrocuted by an electric glove and flies out of the side of a plane into its engine while the plane is avoiding a satellite that’s shooting the sun’s rays. Kananga inflates like a balloon and explodes. (Despite having a SHARK TANK in which he could have been eaten and remained respectability.)
But that’s not entirely his fault. That’s a writer’s/producer’s decision.
What I don’t like about Kananga is the fact that he, while posing as Mr. Big, where’s a prosthetic face and has this whole other persona. I don’t get it. He’s the prime minister of a small island country who is also a big Harlem crime boss/heroin dealer. Okay. Why does he need to put on a fake face and pretend like he’s some pimp? He could still not be seen by anyone and have them only hear his voice and still be the same guy. Tiger Tanaka is unknown to everyone in his fucking country. It’s possible to be a crime boss and not be seen. And the reveal that it’s him would only make his status as a villain better.
So the fact that they had to have him wear the prosthetics keeps him from being a top-flight villain. If they did it the other way, he’d have ended up outside the top ten, maybe even at the bottom of the top ten, with his death scene being the only thing that kept him from going higher. But with both — I can’t put him anywhere past this. I just can’t. It’s too bad, because he could have been great.
I really disliked Kananga. He’s vaguely Bondish, but the mask — no. And his death is the worst in Bond history, hands down.
15. Emilio Largo (Thunderball)
Largo’s a solid villain, but he’s not flashy enough for me to truly love him. I’d be lying if I ranked him higher and said it was because I liked him. It would just be because I love the Connery films and was only doing it because of that.
I like that he’s the #2 in SPECTRE and commands enough respect to create these plans and implement them. He’s given freedom, like a top level movie executive. And if his shit flops, he’s out. So I like that aspect of him. He finds something he thinks is foolproof, and he goes and makes sure shit works at critical moments. He has a reason to be in harm’s way.
Plus he has a nice villa and a shark tank that he dumps people in. He has a lot of really solid elements of a Bond villain, but, like I said — he’s just not interesting enough for me outside of the on-paper stuff. He’s just sort of there.
I liked him a lot. I really enjoyed the moment when he’s threatening Domino with ice cubes and a cigar, and the doctor walks in, and he’s like, “Mind your business, ass hat!”
14. Karl Stromberg (The Spy Who Loved Me)
Another villain who is solid, but doesn’t really do enough for me to give a shit about him.
He’s a rich recluse who lives on an underwater base (that’s terrific) and wants to kill everyone on earth and restart civilization underwater. So he goes about trying to make the U.S. and submarines shoot nuclear weapons at their capitals, setting off nuclear war. (At least his plan is believable. As opposed to, “Oh hey, I discovered a toxin that was thought to have died out. It kills everyone. I’m gonna release it into the atmosphere and kill everyone and live in space!”)
He’s your typical Bond villain, and hits all the right notes. He’s just not that interesting to me. That’s what’s keeping him here.
I wouldn’t call him a “typical” Bond villain, but I think he’s the sort of villain that people think of when they think of Bond, if that makes sense. I feel like most villains are out for ransom or extortion — or maybe they’re trying to advance business interests. This guy is trying to destroy the world for no good reason. That’s easy to parody and think about as a Bond thing, but I think he’s a bit extreme, even within the franchise itself.
13. Renard (The World Is Not Enough)
On a pure villain level, Stromberg is better than Renard. But Renard has more about him that I find interesting, specifically the fact that he was shot in the head and the bullet is still there, slowly killing off his senses and making him unable to feel any pain. So he’ll get stronger and stronger until the bullet eventually kills him. Right there, it makes him a classic villain.
And he acquits himself admirably in the film, too. Ultimately, he’s sort of a pawn to Elektra and her villainy, but he’s the brawn to her brains, so it’s a perfect fit.
I keep thinking about Angela’s Ashes. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Absentee Father.
(Mike Note: I like how these things have just become references or random jokes one of us has made. I thought about putting that back as my Twitter bio a few days ago.)
12. General Ourumov (GoldenEye)
Oh, I love this guy. Possibly the most underrated Bond villain in the franchise.
What I like about Ourumov is that he has a sense of humor. His facial expressions and reactions are so amazing. What sold me on him was that moment when one of his men accidentally shoots at Brosnan standing behind the barrels of chemicals, and he turns around and shoots the guy because he almost got them all killed. And then he and Brosnan have that exchange of looks. It’s great. And then later on, he has that look while Onatopp is killing everyone and getting off on it, like, “Godamn girl, what the fuck is wrong with you?”
I also like his set up as a villain — he’s currently the head of the space division, and partners up with Trevelyan to hijack the GoldenEye satellite and destroy its base. Then they’re gonna use a second satellite to use the GoldenEye to destroy London to settle Trevelyan’s vendetta. But, they’re also gonna rob the Bank of England and make a shitload of money in the process. And then, once the shit gets stolen, Ourumov goes in like, “I’m sorry this got fucked up, I should have been more on top of my shit, I’ll resign.” And they’re all like, “Nah, we love you, stay on.” And he’s like, “All right, all right, I’ll stay. And I’ll look for the one missing survivor (who happens to be working for me).” But then shit goes wrong and he finds out Natalya survived, and he has that moment of, “Well that wasn’t supposed to happen,” and we see his plan start to fall apart.
He’s a great villain. He makes perfect sense as a counterpart to Trevelyan, and is entertaining as hell. Big fan of Ourumov. I also like how he died. He didn’t go out like a bitch, or like a total villain.
I’ll come back — for the tenth time — to him drinking like a pro during the tank chase. I can’t not love him for that.
11. Franz Sanchez (Licence to Kill)
Sanchez goes a bit too Telenovela at times, but on the whole, he’s a great villain. What I like most about him is that he’s smart. He’s nothing more than a drug dealer, but because he’s a smart drug dealer, he’s basically taken over an entire country, set up a dummy president and runs shit on his own. And he knows he’ll never be arrested, because when he does, he puts up major rewards for people to spring him, and they always do. And his plan is really just to run drugs. He controls the prices, and finds ingenius ways to transport them. And again, he’s smart. He’s not focused on the money matters, and doesn’t make rash decisions. He’s one of those guys who you figure could have kept going past this movie if he didn’t have to die. Even when Bond is getting over on him, he doesn’t fully trust him until Bond goes out of his way to make it look convincing (not to mention getting very lucky in the process).
Sometimes he goes a bit too Scarface, going on about loyalty and stuff, but it’s nothing too much to complain about. On the whole, Sanchez is one of the best Bond villains because he’s one of the most believable Bond villains, and he fits perfectly within the plot and everything he does not only makes perfect sense, but he also doesn’t fall into the traps that the other Bond villains do.
He should be top ten, but…
He’s a little lower for me, if only because of the Scarface and Miami Vice vibes I was getting. He wasn’t much of a Bond villain to me. He could have been transplanted into pretty much any other film and it’s plausible. He’s a drug dealer. He could be in any other franchise or single spy/action film and it would make sense. You couldn’t put Karl Stromberg in a random movie and not expect people to say, “This guy is way too much of a Bond villain,” but Sanchez isn’t very Bond.
10. Max Zorin (A View to a Kill)
I’m sorry, it’s Christopher Walken.
I’m not even gonna try to argue this one. Christopher Walken played a Bond villain. And he says, “Right on shedule.”
Look, this is my list, this was inevitable. So let’s just leave it and move on.
Watch this video, specifically the 31 second mark:
I rest my case.
“He’s just…STONED…you know?”
9. Mr. White (Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace)
Honestly, I’d have put Zorin here, but I felt the “Walken” justification only gave me so much leeway.
I love Mr. White because we actually know nothing about him.
Think about it — he shows up at the beginning of Casino Royale and is like, “You only wanted to meet this guy. My organization guarantees nothing.” Then you forget about him. Then Le Chiffre fucks up and he shows up and kills him. But then they need to get the money Le Chiffre lost back, so he orchestrates the blackmailing of Vesper. And then even though Bond kills everyone else, he ends up with the money. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for
those damned kids, and that dog Vesper telling Bond about him. And then there’s that great final scene in Casino Royale with him.
What’s great is that Quantum of Solace opens and you don’t even think about White. You assume that after the end of the movie, Bond got all the information he needed out of him and that’s that. Then there’s that great opening chase and the capper is that White’s been in the trunk the whole time. And then he’s being interrogated and gets away, and you assume that’s the end of him. Then you see him in the opera at Tosca and he has that great final moment where he knows enough not to stand up and give himself away, and it’s a great little ending for the character. Originally they had a scene with Bond killing him at the end of the film, but they left it out in order to let Skyfall be its own thing and not have to continue the storyline.
I just really like White. I like his character, I like how he functions within the films. He doesn’t necessarily feel like a top ten villain to me, but I went through the list based on how much I liked the characters, and he just sort of ended up here. And I don’t care enough to change it. (Though, seriously, I should have Walken here.)
The Tosca moment spoke for itself. And the idea of him being in the trunk, shot, and still acting like a boss under interrogation.
8. Dominic Greene (Quantum of Solace)
Look at that photo. That photo right there is the power of Dominic Greene. He seems like a regular dude, but there’s something not right about him.
What I like about him is how he’s a business villain. He works for an organization, and the shadow of that organization gives him tremendous power, to the point where he doesn’t ever have to threaten anyone. Like with Medrano — Medrano doesn’t want to sign, all right. Your funeral. I don’t care. That’s why I love Greene. Plus he has those great exchanges with Camille, those great moments like, “Is he one of us? … then he shouldn’t be looking at me.”
Great villain, even though you might not think it at first glance.
Creepy motherfucker, and also a lot of fun for how douchey he is. I love Dominic.
7. Elektra King (The World Is Not Enough)
Oh, Elektra. I always said that on paper, I love her as a villain, but in practice, I don’t think she’s as great as what she is on paper. But even so, what’s on the screen is better than almost all the other Bond villains.
What I like most about her is the whole — she was kidnapped, her father didn’t pay the ransom, under suggestion from M. So that makes her snap and turn evil. And she goes full on sociopath, pretends to have Stockholm Syndrome, gets Renard to fall in love with her, then sets about this entire plot, starting with killing her father. That’s some cold-blooded shit right there.
I really like her as a villain, but like I said, there’s just something about the execution that makes me not feel like all the stuff that’s on paper is in the film. I don’t know why. So I can’t quite put her top five, even though on paper, she totally is.
Big fan of Elektra, if only because she’s a female villain and gets to sleep with Bond. It’s pretty rare that we get a villain that Bond is conflicted about killing. That made her a lot of fun. Also the best looking villain by far. It’s Sophie. She fine.
6. Le Chiffre (Casino Royale)
Incredible villain, from top to bottom. Criminal banker, who uses all his clients’ funds to bankroll his high stakes trading. Of course, it’s not really high stakes, since, as we find out, he tips things in his favors, like with Skyfleet, where he sells the stock short and then plans to blow up the airplane so he makes billions of dollars. But then Bond fucks his shit up, so he needs to get the money back, otherwise his clients will kill him. So he organizes the poker game, poker being a fancy of his.
What I like about him is that he has a really solid plan that happens to get fucked up because of Bond, and is actually in a pretty desperate situation throughout the film. He plays it pretty cool, but we see when Mr. White shows up that Le Chiffre starts shitting his pants. I like that aspect of him, how he’s so cool and collected but also one fuck up away from a bullet in the head.
Plus he weeps blood. I mean, that’s just great.
I can’t consider him a top five villain, but to me he’s just outside that range.
This is a cool villain because he knows that if Bond doesn’t get him, someone else will. You never know what this guy’s gonna do, because he’s desperate. He’s got some fear about him, and I like that.
5. Dr. No (Dr. No)
He’s the first one. That’s pretty big.
Plus, I love how they introduce him. The film is a procedural, and as such, Bond is learning a little more as we go along. And at first we hear that this location of Crab Key is dangerous, then we find out someone’s there running it and is dangerous, then we hear the name Dr. No, then we get there and finally meet Dr. No, and this is all with under 30 minutes left in the film. I love that. By the time we meet him, he’s been built up, both through the narrative and visually (with those creepy shots of him standing over Bond when he’s unconscious).
He doesn’t do all that much as a Bond villain, but he’s one of the only Bond villains to have the film named after him, and has metal hands. That’s pretty great.
But really, he’s the first one, and he has a great introduction. I think that’s more than enough to put him in this top five range.
I actually put him at #3, which you might find overly generous — especially considering that he beat out Francisco on my list. But I have to say that he’s the only Bond villain who’s ever scared me. The man is frightening for the first three quarters of the film. Then, there’s the aspect we get about how his own people are afraid of them. Dent is terrified of Dr. No. You never get that with later villains — they’re constantly killing or sacrificing henchmen in front of other henchmen, but nobody seems scared.
4. Alec Trevelyan (GoldenEye)
His story is just unbelievably good. Child of Lienz Cossacks, parents survived execution, but his father killed himself and his mother anyway. He joins MI6, working for the government that betrayed his parents. He fakes his own death with help from his buddy Ourumov, only Bond, thinking he’s actually dead, ends up shortening the time before the building explodes and leaves Alec badly burned.
Cut to nine years later and Alec is now operating as a criminal named Janus, and is planning to take over the GoldenEye satellite and destroy London, but not before stealing a shitload of money that’ll allow him to live somewhere for the rest of his life, satisfied with vengeance and filthy rich.
Great story, great plan. Gotta love a former double-o who is now a villain. It automatically makes them a formidable foe for Bond because they have the same training, and aren’t really bound by the same rules Bond is. Trevelyan has to be considered one of the best villains ever. How could he not?
Definitely a top villain. He’s so close to Bond in so many ways that the film is perfect. And he tasted Natalya. She tasted of strawberries. Oh yes. Strawberries.
3. Francisco Scaramanga (The Man with the Golden Gun)
He’s a hitman who is so good he charges a million dollars to kill someone, and people pay it. He uses golden bullets and a special golden gun made specifically for him. He also has his manservant hire people to kill him just to keep him on his toes. Oh, and no one has ever known what he looked like, and he’s so good at his job that MI6, the CIA and all these other organizations haven’t even pursued him because it’s impossible to find out anything about him. And the only way Bond ever really crosses his path is because his mistress decides she wants out and knows the only way for her to get out is if he was dead. And he’s so happy with his job and so confident in his abilities that he takes joy in the fact that Bond is after him.
He’s also played by Christopher Lee.
Honestly, if he’s not top three on someone’s list, I think we have a problem.
Oh, maybe we have a problem, then. He’s my #4, if only because I don’t really understand what the significance of his plot is. He’s edging out some amazing villains by getting that high, and it’s all on his character. I should also say that he wouldn’t be this high for me if it weren’t for Nick Nack and what they did with that.
(Mike Note: I can accept number four as long as we agree that he’s awesome. I should have said top five instead of top three. Top three was being too strict.)
2. Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger)
He’s the man. The man with the Midas touch.
A spider’s touch.
Such a cold finger.
Beckons you, to enter his web of sin.
BUT DON’T GO IN!
Dude has a laser, a jet, many awesome cars and a shit ton of gold. Look at the article for the in depth description, but he’s cool.
1. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (From Russia with Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever. And unofficially, For Your Eyes Only)
Honestly, I was gonna write a bunch of stuff here, but honestly, what more do I need to say except, “He’s Blofeld”? Dude runs the biggest crime syndicate in the world, it’s so secretive it’s almost impossible to track/take down and his identity remains a secret for four films. Motherfucker kills Bond’s wife! And not to mention he’s completely iconic no matter which iteration we’re talking about.
Of course he’s number one.
– – – – –
Ranking the Bond Villains (Tokyo)Remix Edition
26. Brad Whitaker
25. General Orlov
24. Kamal Khan
23. Colonel Moon
22. Aristotle Kristatos
21. Hugo Drax
20. General Koskov
18. Karl Stromberg
17. General Medrano
16. Elliot Carver
15. Franz Sanchez
13. Arkady Ourumov
12. Mr. White
11. Emilio Largo
10. Rosa Klebb
9. Max Zorin
8. Dominic Greene
7. Elektra King
6. Le Chiffre
5. Alec Trevelyan
4. Francisco Scaramanga
3. Dr. No
2. Auric Goldfinger
1. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
– – – – –
Ranking the Bond Allies
25. Quarrel Jr. (Live and Let Die)
He gets to survive. That counts. Finally a black ally doesn’t get killed.
Sure, it’s ridiculous that he’s Quarrel Jr. and not someone else, but Quarrel isn’t in the Dr. No novel but is in this one, so it seems like they painted a corner and felt the best way to adhere to the novels was to just have it still sort of be Quarrel.
Either way — he’s black, he helps Bond, and he lives. There weren’t many choices, and that was good enough for me.
I wish they’d just come up with another sort of character. Give him dreads or something. They clearly just added a “Jr.”
24. Damian Falco (Die Another Day)
It’s Michael Madsen.
23. Manuela (Moonraker)
She lives, presumably. Bond fucks her and she lives. How often does that happen? Plus she has that great scene with Jaws at the Mardi Gras parade.
She almost got EATEN.
(Mike Note: She did get eaten. Remember when Bond was in the hotel with the sash, and… oh, you meant Jaws.)
22. Harold Strutter (Live and Let Die)
See? Black ally, dies. But he’s a black guy in the CIA. Man did it 30 years before the new Felix. Respect.
He didn’t really do anything. Took that knife with some grace.
21. Willard Whyte (Diamonds Are Forever)
He’s a ridiculous Howard Hughes stereotype, but — hey, it’s a good friend for Bond to have. That’s why he’s here. Big friend in a high place. That’s always useful.
Awful accent. Ugh.
20. Sir Hilary Bray (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
I like how simple an ally he is. Blofeld’s trying to inherit a title, and he’s the guy who’ll be able to validate or deny him that title. So Bond’s like, “Look, he’s evil, I need to pose as you.” And Bray is like, “Well, I wanted to check out some historical sites around Europe anyway, so you go be me and I’ll go on vacation for a few weeks.” That’s pretty badass.
That’s pretty great. He just goes on vacation and lets Bond steal his identity. So for 2 weeks, he’s Chet Manly.
19. Tilly Masterson (Goldfinger)
She has a Mustang and a sniper rifle. Her sister was hot. Okay.
18. Mr. Chang (Die Another Day)
Chinese intelligence guy who is one of Bond’s contacts in Hong Kong. Bond knows he’s Chinese intelligence, but Chang doesn’t know that Bond knows. Chang isn’t sure what Bond is up to, so he sends in a hooker and tries to film Bond so he can figure out what his goals are. Then Bond explains the situation and Chang uses his contacts to find out where Zao is and sets Bond up real nice, giving him a bunch of money and some passports.
That’s a friend.
It was a great little exchange. I particularly enjoyed how he had to “check with Beijing” because they obviously decide everything. He also knows what’s good on the menu at the hotel. Good guy to know. Did I mention that the prostitute he sent Bond was totally a squirter? Hong Kong, man.
17. Sharkey (Licence to Kill)
Another black guy who has to die. Real shame. But I like Sharkey. He’s just a great ally. Doesn’t really have all that much to do, but we like him. He’s the Stacks Edwards of the Bond franchise.
16. Puss Feller (Dr. No)
His name is Puss Feller, for Christ’s sake.
He owns a club, and he help out Bond and the CIA. What’s cooler than that?
And his name is fucking Puss Feller.
He wrassles alligators. And his name is Puss Feller. How was he not like, #5?
(Mike Note: Because Bond’s the only puss feller in this franchise.)
15. Paula Caplan (Thunderball)
What I like most about her is what’s not on the page. We first see her like this. Bond has “bumped into” Domino underwater and helped her free her foot when she gets caught on a reef. Then he goes back to his boat, where he’s with Paula.
And she dies tragically. Just like the gypsy woman (herself) said.
14. Sir Godfrey Tibbett (A View to a Kill)
I like that he’s just a rich dude who helps Bond out. Plus he’s just enjoyable to be around. I like that Bond has fun making him be his chauffeur, despite his breeding. Too bad he had to die, though.
This feels like they were just trying to put Macnee in Bond, since Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman were both on already. They wanted everyone from The Avengers. And he’s randomly an MI6 guy who’s also big on horses? Didn’t get the horse thing.
(Mike Note: When you’re filthy rich and have nothing to do all day, you go to the track and breed horses. That’s the first fucking thing I’d be doing.)
13. Jack Wade (GoldenEye & Tomorrow Never Dies)
He’s so much better than Brad Whitaker. He’s the new Felix, at least kind of. Until the reboot, anyway. He’s fun and all, but the scene that really earned my respect was at the end of GoldenEye, where you think he could be useless, but then he’s shown up with an entire platoon of marines under everyone’s nose (not to mention, probably under his government’s nose. But probably not). He may seem eccentric, but motherfucker will help you out.
Plus he’s more entertaining than most allies, despite occasionally veering a bit too close to comic relief. But he works.
He got a lotta wives. Whattup, Muffy?
12. Ling (You Only Live Twice)
She helps him fake an assassination, after fucking him.
Is there anything that better exemplifies this list?
(Mike Note: Is that what that position was called?)
11. Milos Columbo (For Your Eyes Only)
He’s awesome. A smuggler who only smuggles the good shit, who is clearly comfortable enough with himself and his position to give Bond a gun and know he won’t be shot. Plus I love that he’s like, “All right, we’re cool. I explained shit. Now, let’s drink,” and Bond’s like, “I don’t want to drink,” and he immediately pulls out a gun, like, “Motherfucker, what did you say? No drink?” Which is great, because it’s like, “Who will not wear the ribbon?!” and also, “This isn’t what James Bond would do.” Right there, that automatically made him better than most allies.
Plus he helps out with his crew and gets to kill the villain. Great guy.
Oh, and he’s the same guy who was in Fiddler on the Roof.
Biddy biddy bum.
He’s a super cool guy. Thought he might have actually gone higher, cause he was easily the high point of this film. Swapping guns with Bond and then convincing Bond to drink. Still, you should never have to convince Bond to drink something.
10. Quarrel (Dr. No)
Love me som Quarrel. He’s just a great guy to have around. Dude will walk up to a woman in a crowded party, grab her by the arm and take her to a table and not even once think about the ramifications of that in polite society. (Yeah, I know, it’s Jamaica.) Then she stabs him and he just sort of wipes the blood off his face like, “Ain’t that a bitch?”
Damn shame he had to die. (All the black guys die. What the fuck is that about?)
I like him a lot because he’s set up as a bad guy and turns out to be a good guy. How often does that happen? It’s ALWAYS the other way around. And he’s friends with Puss Feller. Cause his name is Puss Feller.
9. Aki (You Only Live Twice)
I don’t have to say anything here. TokyoRemix knows what’s up.
She’s a female ninja. I rest my case.
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. She’s fine, she’s competent, great car, and she sleeps with Bond. She’s also one of Tiger Tanaka’s top agents. There’s no way I don’t put her in the top ten. She only loses points because she dies too soon.
8. General Pushkin (The Living Daylights)
Oh this motherfucker has some major respect from me.
The fact that he’s played by John Rhys-Davies aside (I didn’t realize it until after I finished the movie. No joke. I just didn’t realize it was him as I was watching it. No idea how that happened), he’s a really great character. He’s the head of the KGB
Wow, you didn’t realize that was John Rhys-Davies? That’s all I could think of the whole time. I was just making Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings jokes from the second he showed up. Bond had to toss him.
7. Jaws (Moonraker)
Oh that’s right, Jaws counts as an ally. Because he switches sides at the end of Moonraker. He finds out that Drax only wants the best genes to repopulate earth, so he’ll actually have little use for Jaws and Dolly once they do what he wants. So Jaws realizes that he has to stop Drax. So he helps Bond take over the space station and escape.
Jaws is easily one of the top three henchmen of all time, so him being an ally to Bond automatically makes him one of the best allies of all time as well. Only — it’s like the Terminator — on AFI’s list of greatest heroes and villains, the good Terminator is the #48 hero, and the bad Terminator is the #22 villain.
Some people just make better villains. We love Jaws, but we love him more as a Bond adversary. He’s great as an ally, it’s just — we prefer him on the other side. So I can’t put him top five even though I love Jaws. His consolation is that he’s gonna dominate the henchmen list.
6. Marc-Ange Draco (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
The fact that he runs the biggest crime syndicate in the world next to SPECTRE and is still an ally to Bond is pretty spectacular. Add to that the fact that he’s Bond’s father in law, and that makes him a pretty great character.
I like that he’s shown more as a father than as a crime boss. We only get flashes of what he can do with his power, but it’s always for the good. I like that. He feels like a crime boss we’re okay with, like Don Corleone. He doesn’t mind alcohol and gambling and women, those are harmless vices. But narcotics is a dangerous business. I love the moment where he uses his construction front to sneak Bond a safecracking device. And then the moment where Bond calls him like, “Blofeld has your daughter. MI6 won’t help me,” he’s like, “Done,” and gets fucking helicopters to take down the fucking place.
That’s an ally.
But really, they had me at “Second largest crime boss in the world who is also Bond’s father in law.”
Oh hell yeah. He’s higher for me. Love me some Draco. He’s cooler than Tracy.
5. Tiger Tanaka (You Only Live Twice)
He’s the head of the Japanese Secret Service whose identity is the most closely guarded secret in the country. No one knows what he looks like. He gets around the city on his own person underground train, has his own ninja training school and has a harem of hot Japanese chicks who cater to his every whim.
Oh, and his fucking name is TIGER.
Yes. Yes. Ninja school, bitches.
4. Felix Leiter (Dr. No, Goldfinger, Thunderball, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill, Casino Royale & Quantum of Solace)
I’m only posting a photo of the current Felix, because if it weren’t for Jeffrey Wright, the ranking Felix got would have been four spots lower and would have mostly been honorary because he showed up so many times. The character of Felix was pretty meaningless until Casino Royale. Think about it — Dr. No he’s just a CIA contact who shows up and helps Bond out a bit. Mostly he comes to provide Bond with information and pick him up once it’s all over. In Goldfinger, he has some stuff to do, but mostly he’s on the American end, which we don’t see. And then in Thunderball, he flies a helicopter and that’s about it. Diamonds Are Forever, he helps Bond smuggle in some diamonds. Live and Let Die, he keeps tabs on Kananga. In The Living Daylights — he doesn’t really do anything, actually. Licence to Kill is the only major appearance for the character before Casino Royale.
Before Jeffrey Wright took the role, Felix was just a CIA contact who helped out Bond once in a while. Now, he’s pretty much the same thing, but now we care about him, and now he feels more important. Because Jeffrey Wright is a badass.
I’m excited about what they’re gonna do with this character, even if he is just gonna be the same Felix we expect — show up and help out a little bit. That’s fine. Really what I’m saying is — I’m glad Jeffrey Wright finally brought stability to this character, because now I can put him this high and feel okay about it. Because Felix is one of the most important allies Bond has, if not the most important, outside of MI6, so he should be this high, and it’s because of Jeffrey Wright that I can put him this high.
Felix is the most important ally throughout the series, but I agree that Jeffrey Wright made the character really great for the first time ever. He’s got history, but he’s a slow burn, compared with most allies’ flashes in the pan.
3. Kerim Bey (From Russia with Love)
He’s an MI6 contact who employs his sons so he can work with people he trusts, he can get in and out of pretty much anywhere in Turkey, he’s worked out a real detente system with the opposition, and he also is friends with the gypsies, who no one else will go near. Oh, and —
He fucks bitches. I love Kerim more than almost anyone.
Back to the salt mines.
2. Valentin Zukovsky (GoldenEye & The World Is Not Enough)
If you don’t love Valentin Zukovsky, you can get the fuck out right now.
What’s not to love about him? He’s former KGB turned businessman, and he passes himself off as a big shot, meanwhile his operation is barely being held together. “I’ve got six helicopters.” “Three. Only one that flies.” It’s great. And then he’s got this great backstory with Bond, where Bond took his girl and shot him in the leg, giving him a limp and necessitating that he walk with a cane. So he and Bond have a tentative relationship that works great for all their exchanges.
Plus, Robbie Coltrane really nails the part. He’s so good in it they brought him back. Seriously, if you’ve seen both of the films he’s in, this isn’t even something I need to explain. He’s clearly a top five all-time ally.
You know, I struggled with Kerim and Zukovsky. I think I have to go with Kerim, if only because he’s consistent. Zukovsky gets used for comic relief too. He has mostly amazing moments, but “drowning” in his own caviar was too much.
1. Rene Mathis (Casino Royale & Quantum of Solace)
It takes someone special to beat out Felix Leiter, Kerim Bey and Valentin Zukovsky.
What I love most about Mathis is how easily he falls into the Bond universe. He’s a contact stationed in France. He meets Bond and tells him that it’s probable that Le Chiffre has friends on the police force, specifically the chief of police. Then, without a word, the chief of police, who is sitting at a table behind them, is arrested. Right there, Mathis is a badass.
And then there’s a great moment later where we (and Bond) think Mathis might have sold Bond out. So Bond has Mathis taken away (which is an awesome moment). But then we find out Mathis was good all along, which is great, but also, before Quantum, we don’t really give it much thought.
But then he comes back in Quantum, and Bond calls him back for help, since Mathis is the only one he can trust. And Mathis comes along and acts as a sort of mentor for Bond. That’s the key to this character. He’s the old hand at this. He’s been everywhere, done everything, and knows how to get shit done quickly and quietly. He makes those two dead African guys disappear like it’s nothing. He’s got friends everywhere. You get the sense that he’s lived a few of these movies himself. And then he gets to have those nice moments with Bond where he tells him to forgive himself over what happened to Vesper.
Everything about Mathis is perfect. He gets to be a badass, he gets to have some suspenseful moments where we think he might be a bad guy (remember the moment where he’s like, “They told me I’m to get you to drink this”? We think he’s gonna poison Bond. Even though it’s totally innocent. It’s great), then he gets added pathos by Quantum since we know they tortured him in the previous film. And by that point, he forgives Bond and they’re all buddy buddy. And he gets to have some playful exchanges with Bond, and then the serious ones that no one else would have with him. Then he gets a tender death scene, which is sad, but kind of had to happen. You can’t have an ally be around for that long unless he’s Felix. So it sucks that he died, but man, Mathis makes a real impression in his films. To me, he’s the basis for what a Bond ally should be.
There were two key things during Casino Royale that really sold me on Mathis. The first was when we first meet him, and Vesper isn’t repelled by his charms. She’s prickly towards Bond, but he clearly hits on her and she smiles. The second is when Bond tells Vesper to tell Mathis to hide the bodies that he’s left in the stairwell. The next day we see him and Bond looking out the window as Mathis calls one of the dead guys’ phone in the trunk of a henchman’s car as cops are right next to it. Mathis doesn’t just hide bodies. He uses them to get bad guys arrested. That was so perfect to me. This guy knows what he’s doing.
– – – – –
Ranking the Bond Allies (Tokyo)Remix Edition
25. Quarrel Jr.
24. Damian Falco
23. Willard Whyte
22. Harold Strutter
20. Sir Hilary Bray
18. Sir Godfrey Tibbett
17. Tilly Masterson
15. Mr. Chang
14. General Pushkin
13. Paula Caplan
12. Puss Feller
10. Jack Wade
9. Milos Columbo
6. Marc-Ange Draco
5. Tiger Tanaka
4. Felix Leiter
3. Valentin Zukovsky
2. Ali Kerim Bey
1. Rene Mathis