Ranking the Bond Henchmen
Today we talk about the Bond Henchmen.
Henchmen are perhaps the most integral part of the Bond franchise, since often times they’re more a part of the action than the villain, and they’re often the reason for the action.
Plus, given how many of the villains aren’t particularly interesting, or don’t do much outside of create a plan, there are often some very interesting and unique henchmen out there.
So let’s appreciate them:
Ranking the Bond Henchmen
50. Adolph Gettler (Casino Royale)
He’s a creepy fucker with one eye. Sure he doesn’t do much, but all we need to do is see him standing on the dock, and we automatically know that all the happiness Bond feels is about to come crashing down like a house in Venice.
Plus he gets stabbed through the eye with a nail gun.
There may be henchmen who do more, but I bet you remember this guy more than most of them.
49. Sandor (The Spy Who Loved Me)
Honestly, I only have him here because he allowed me to make a Sandow the Strong Man joke. I’m a man of simple allegiances.
48. Bullion (The World Is Not Enough)
He’s got gold teeth and is shifty. That’s enough for me.
47. Henry Gupta (Tomorrow Never Dies)
Because he’s played by Ricky Jay. The character is totally wasted, but it’s Tomorrow Never Dies, everything is wasted. At least I get to see Ricky Jay in a useless role and not some random.
46. Solo (Goldfinger)
He’s not really a henchman, but gets crushed in a trash compactor. That’s one of the more memorable deaths in the franchise, so I’ll take it.
He never saw Venice.
45. Mr. Jones (Dr. No)
The first henchman Bond ever encounters. He takes him for a ride from the airport, he and Bond tussle, and he takes a cyanide capsule rather than give anything up. On a pure henchman level, he’s one of the best ever. He followed the henchman manual perfectly.
That said, let’s not pretend like he’s particularly memorable. Though there is that great exchange where Bond, having driven around with his corpse in the back seat, tells the guard outside the station house to keep an eye on him.
44. Mr. Osato (You Only Live Twice)
He’s the head of a company, has a baller ass office, and a decent-looking white bitch secretary. Man’s got it made.
43. Freelance (Dr. No)
She’s a shifty photographer. That’s such a brilliant concept.
I don’t know if she’s actually a henchman — her name is even Freelance — but I’ll count her as one because she’s shifty. That’s also why I don’t count her as the first henchman Bond encounters. But, either way — her scenes are pretty memorable (so much so, that if you’ve ever seen OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, Michel Hazanavicius recreates this scene almost shot for shot, with Berenice Bejo as Freelance and Jean Dujardin as Bond. I think that merits inclusion). Plus she stabs Quarrel in the face. She’s got some fight in her.
42. Chang (Moonraker)
Shifty Asian henchman who also is pretty good at being a ninja. He has some ridiculous moments, but his shiftiness and his look are pretty memorable. Plus he actually gets to fight Bond, so that’s something.
I know TokyoRemix doesn’t like him so much for lots of various reasons (he’s Japanese, he’s dressed Japanese, his name is Chinese, the centrifuge scene, “Play it again, Sam,” the fact that it’s Moonraker…), but I think he’s enough of a henchman to warrant inclusion. I think of all the negatives as not being his fault. The writer named him, he got put in a place with a centrifuge (he’s just trying to kill a motherfucker), and it ain’t like he wanted to land on that piano or even heard the ridiculous quip. So he’s all right by me. Not great, but all right.
41. Cab Driver (Live and Let Die)
I liked him when he said, “Shit, for fifty bucks I’ll take you to a Ku Klux Klan rally.”
Plus I like how he’s randomly everywhere. Bond gets a taxi in New York, it’s him. He gets one in New Orleans, it’s him. Plus he’s just entertaining. He speaks jive. Look at that facial hair.
Mostly I just like wondering — “So, is he a taxi driver or a henchman? Where does he get all these cabs? Does he have a cabbie license in all these states?” That kind of shit makes him more interesting to me than the other people on the list so far.
40. Angelo Palazzi (Thunderball)
He’s dedicated. Dude spent two years learning all the behavior of another guy so he could kill him and take his place. Presumably forever. Of course, he doesn’t get that chance, but to do that shit for only like $50,000 (right? Wasn’t that the amount before he decided, “Fuck that, I want $200,000”?), that’s dedication (or stupidity).
Also, he earns points for me for that creepy ass shot up there. That’s almost as creepy as Jaws in the clown suit.
39. Zao (Die Another Day)
He’s got an interesting look. It’s kind of ridiculous, but at least you remember it. And he’s got his own tricked out spy car. How many other henchmen have tricked out spy cars?
He’s not great, but I’m willing to concede him this high a spot.
38. Ninja Assassin (You Only Live Twice)
I’m not thrilled that Aki had to die, but if someone’s gonna do it, a ninja assassin is the one that should do it. Dude does work too. Sneaks in quietly, shimmies some poison down a string — honestly, if not for the fact that Bond can’t die, dude had Bond dead to rights. So good on him. He came up against impossibility. He’s one of the only henchmen who did everything right and whose plan succeeded entirely. He just only gets one brief scene, so I can’t put him any higher than this. But major respect. Dude did shit correctly.
37. Yusef Kabira (Quantum of Solace)
Simply being Vesper’s boyfriend makes him a pretty great henchman. He’s the reason she’s dead. He gets in with women who work for the government, makes them fall in love with him, then gets “kidnapped” and forces them to steal a bunch of money in order to get him back (and then presumably breaks up with them or has them killed). He just happened to pull this shit with the wrong woman.
I like the idea that he’s been doing this over and over again. And I like his reaction to Bond. Bond shows up, he assumes he’s dead. So he’s like, “Well fuck, just make it quick.” He doesn’t try to get out of there, bargain, nothing. I respect that.
36. Vargas (Thunderball)
He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t fuck women. He kills people. Fine. Able-bodied henchman, but he’s BORING. What can you do with a guy like that?
Plus he kills Fiona. And I like Fiona. So I refuse to put him higher than this, even though he’s totally capable.
35. Morton Slumber (Diamonds Are Forever)
(He’s the guy in the glasses.)
Man owns a mob-connected funeral parlor (oxymoron), smuggles diamonds in cremation urns, and eliminates people by cremating them.
I rest my case.
34. Whisper (Live and Let Die)
Dude looks like a fat Quest Love. I’m sorry, am I the only one who finds that awesome?
33. Helga Brandt (You Only Live Twice)
Personal secretary and pilot to Mr. Osato (who is already a baller on his own). She gets to fuck Bond and try to kill him. Solid henchman. Not tops, hence why she’s #34, but she’s very capable and does everything a henchman should do. I should put her a little higher, but everyone ahead of her has personality traits or certain scenes that make them more enjoyable to me. But she’s completely solid as a henchman. Or henchwoman.
32. Colonel Jacques Bouvar (Thunderball)
Dude killed some of Bond’s friends (six?), and tries to fake his own funeral to avoid him. He even dresses up as his widow to make things seem legitimate (which — what do you think he did to her?). But Bond is a badass and realizes it’s him, so then he gets a nice fight scene with Bond (good scene, poorly edited), ending with Bond snapping his neck and throwing some flowers on him.
He’s very memorable. Everything ridiculous about his scenes happens after he’s dead. It has nothing to do with him. (I’m even okay with him being in drag.)
31. Naomi (The Spy Who Loved Me)
She has nice tits. Sorry, Helga. Tits win.
30. Slate (Quantum of Solace)
That fight scene.
That was one of Dominic’s best geologists.
29. Three Blind Mice (Dr. No)
First henchmen in the Bond films. They even show up during the credits. Plus they’re three guys pretending to be blind who fucking shoot people. That’s awesome.
28. Cigar Girl (The World Is Not Enough)
She’s fine, she shoots guns, and she has one of the best opening chases in a Bond film. There are some logic problems with the end of her scenes, but on the whole, she’s pretty great. Think about it — in the opening scene, she’s just some hot bitch who offers Bond a cigar. Then she shoots the
bus driver banker and we realize she’s a henchman. Then Bond goes back to MI6 and King is killed. And boom, there she is again, on a boat with a machine gun. Boat chase. Good boat chase, too. And she gets to die in a hot air balloon explosion. That’s gonna be on her death certificate. “Hot Air Balloon Explosion.” That’s almost as good as “The Elements.”
27. Professor Joe Butcher (Licence to Kill)
It’s Wayne Newton playing a skeezy fake self-help guru who secretly relays drug messages to Sanchez’s dealers. That’s awesome. (Also, Wayne Newton helps a lot. I like when movies do shit like this. Imagine if one of these movies randomly had Johnny Cash playing one of these parts. It would be awesome. Maybe not if it were Tee Hee, but you know what I mean.)
I also like how he’s mostly a decent guy. I mean, he’s a henchman, and is clearly aware of what’s going on, but he sort of believes in his whole stuff. I think he’s just realistic in terms of how much his shit works and really just wants to use it to get pussy. But even when Pam holds a gun to him and steals money, he just goes, “Bless your heart.” It doesn’t feel disingenuous. So I like that. I like that he doesn’t randomly pick up a gun or something. It’s a consistent character.
And it’s Wayne Newton. That’s great to me.
Be glad I didn’t get to count that iguana as a henchman. That fucking alchie.
26. Gobinda (Octopussy)
Really solid henchman. Creepy Indian guy, crushes dice, and does all of Khan’s dirty work. And he looks like he does dirty work. Doesn’t ever speak, but you know he’s the kind of guy who’ll show up with blood on his hands looking for a bucket. Plus the looks he gives — you know he’ll fuck you up. So I like that.
I wouldn’t put him top 25, though, just because he’s in a weak film and doesn’t have much to do. But he does make an impression. So I’ll show him respect for that.
Though he does also die from taking an antenna to the face. That’s — well, it’s Octopussy.
25. Craig Mitchell (Quantum of Solace)
Dude goes into MI6 despite working for Quantum, passes a lie detector test and background check every year, and works as M’s bodyguard for six years. And no one knows. And then he has that great chase/fight scene with Bond. Dude’s the total package, henchman-wise.
24. Irma Bunt (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
I only put her here because she’s not that interesting to me. (Also, RIP my boner.) But she’s one of the only henchmen who gets away with it. And she’s the one who actually kills Tracy. That’s like, henchmen hall of fame right there.
23. Alex Dimitrios (Casino Royale)
TokyoRemix knows what’s up. Motherfucker introduces the DB5 to Daniel Craig.
I don’t need to say anything else to justify him being here.
22. Tee Hee (Live and Let Die)
How can you not love Tee Hee? Seriously.
He’s a big black guy with a metal hook for an arm. He smiles a lot and is pretty cool about everything. I just like him. That’s what it comes down to. Personality counts for a lot.
21. Professor Dent (Dr. No)
Oh, he’s good. I should put him higher, but — extenuating circumstances. Plus at this point it’s more about how much I like them than how much shit they do.
Dent is a great henchman because he’s a professor. So he’s not really used to doing the dirty work. And then Dr. No is like, “You fucked up. You couldn’t get him killed with the hitmen. Now you have to do it.” And then he has to put a spider in Bond’s room. And then he goes in to shoot Bond and fucks up by not knowing how many bullets he had/making sure Bond was actually in the bed.
That line, “That’s a Smith and Wessen, and you’re had your six” — great shit.
Plus, as TokyoRemix said — he’s really one of the only people Bond kills in cold blood. Dude’s unarmed, can easily be taken in, and Bond just fucking shoots him. (As retaliation for Strangways.)
20. Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd (Diamonds Are Forever)
They’re a gay couple who are also henchmen. And they drown a nice little old lady. That’s just enjoyable to me that they exist. They really veer off in to camp, but what is Diamonds Are Forever if not half-camp?
I just enjoy these two. They should clearly be lower, but they’re memorable, and they have such great awkward exchanges. “She’s very attractive… for a lady…. he he he he.”
That’s great to me.
And they hold hands. They’re too enjoyable for me not to put them here.
19. Kronsteen (From Russia with Love)
Dude earns major respect for being in a chess championship, being called away, and then checkmating the other guy in the next move. Plus it’s his plan that brings about the entire plot of From Russia with Love. So that’s something I’m grateful for. He’s not memorable in terms of what he does, but he’s still a solid henchman nonetheless.
18. Mollaka (Casino Royale)
That chase. The end.
17. Impostor 00 (The Living Daylights)
In concept, this motherfucker is a great henchman. Think about it — it’s a double-o exercise (which is weak, and they could have found a better way to do it, but still, we’ll go with it), and this dude is a phony double-o who starts killing all the other ones. That’s great. He’s a perfect person for a cold open. Too bad they didn’t work it into the plot. That would have made it even better.
16. Peter Franks (Diamonds Are Forever)
Dude’s a diamond smuggler who has a badass fight with Bond. I don’t know why, but for some reason I always really liked him. He always felt dangerous to me. This is more of a personal choice than anything, but I’ve always remembered him more than most of the other henchmen.
15. Krilencu (From Russia with Love)
Dude’s so dangerous they actually have to stop the plot to have him killed. Think about it — they’re spying on the Russian embassy, Kerim Bey sees Krilencu and is like, “Oh, shit, that’s not good.” Then he attacks the gypsy camp and almost kills them both, and Kerim Bey’s like, “All right, we need to take care of this guy, because if we don’t do it, he’ll fucking get us. He’s that good.” So they go and kill him. There’s actually a five minute interlude to kill this guy. That, to me, makes him a great henchman, even though we don’t necessarily see him do all that much.
14. Nick Nack (The Man with the Golden Gun)
It’s fucking Nick Nack. Hes’ a midget chef who also tries to kill his boss for sport, because it keeps his boss limber and because if his boss dies, he inherits everything.
Of course he goes here.
13. Carlos (Casino Royale)
Because he’s so goddamn memorable without ever uttering a word. This motherfucker is a machine. Just watch his sequence in the movie. This is a henchman. The only reason he doesn’t succeed is because Bond outsmarts him. Otherwise, this motherfucker did everything right. Big fan of him. (I’m glad he’s dead, though, because this motherfucker was probably really creepy and dangerous. He’s the kind of guy who sits in an empty apartment, doing nothing for eight hours, and then goes to have a glass of milk at the diner before picking up a hooker and toying with whether or not he’s going to kill her.)
12. Casual Assassin (Live and Let Die)
I love this guy. It’s because they show him twice that makes him go so high for me.
Think about it — FBI/CIA/double-o agent is watching Kananga’s restaurant. A random funeral procession starts passing by. This dude comes up next to the agent, and the agent asks, “Who’s funeral is it?” and this guy says, “Yours,” and fucking shanks the guy. And then the funeral procession comes over, uses a trick casket to pick up the body, and then they turn into a parade and dance away. That’s awesome.
And then later, when Strutter’s out there, and the same shit happens, this guy just sidles up next to him, and he’s smiling. He knows what’s gonna happen. That’s great to me. That smile.
I love this guy. And he gets away, too.
11. Dario (Licence to Kill)
I like that he’s smart more than anything. He doesn’t fuck around. He recognizes Bond from their earlier encounter, and doesn’t care that his boss trusts him, because he knows Bond can’t be trusted, and then he basically comes within an inch of killing Bond. Only Bond can’t die, so he has to die instead.
So I’m a fan of Dario. The fact that Benicio plays him does make me rank him a few spots higher, but whatever. I like that he’s a smart henchman. Very few of them are actually smart. Usually they’re just the muscle.
10. Bonesaw (Octopussy)
Bonesaw is ready.
By the way, I’d like to point out — the name Bonesaw was given to him by these articles. That’s not his name. And the Magic Dick Theory is also something that came up through these articles. Amazing how commonplace they’ve become, right?
But yeah, he’s a dude with a giant retractable saw. That’s just awesome to me.
Plus I got to give him the name Bonesaw. That’s a lot of why he goes so high for me.
But who cares? Because he’s BONESAW.
9. Boris Grishenko (GoldenEye)
He is invincible.
8. May Day (A View to a Kill)
Well fucking really?
7. Baron Samedi (Live and Let Die)
We love Baron Samedi. You have to love Baron Samedi, even if you don’t like the whole, “Is he immortal, is he not?” thing. Honestly, I didn’t even think about that when I ranked him. I just like how charismatic he is. He’s easily one of the most recognizable and memorable henchmen out there. And there are so few that are so automatically as visually recognizable as he is. So that counts for a lot.
6. Xenia Onatopp (GoldenEye)
She always did like a good squeeze.
5. Fiona Volpe (Thunderball)
Oh, god I love her. A female assassin that looks like that. Plus — she’s good. She’s no Bond Girl. She’s actually an assassin. Plus she likes to get fucked.
The moment that sealed it for me is when she comes into Paula’s room like, “Oh, he made a date with me too,” and then Vargas and Janni show up and start chloroforming Paula, and Volpe’s like, “Motherfuckers, keep her quiet, we have a job to do,” and makes sure shit runs smoothly, and is looking around the room. That look around the room was what I loved. Like she’s clocking to see if there’s anything they knocked over to put back to make it seem like she checked out, seeing what they have to get rid of, looking to see if Bond is recording any of this or whatever — it’s one of those things that makes be believe that she’s actually as good as the film suggests.
Plus you have to love a woman who doesn’t flinch when a dude walks in on her naked. Especially her, since you get the idea it’s like, “All right, go ahead, I’ll fucking shoot you in the head in like ten minutes and you won’t be able to tell nobody anyway.”
Love me some Fiona.
4. Dr. Kaufman (Tomorrow Never Dies)
What a perfect henchman. I’m sure the fact that Vincent Schiavelli plays this has a good deal to do with why I put him this high, but I don’t care. I love this character.
Here’s a doctor of forensic medicine that also, in his spare time, kills people. He’s very good at it. And he likes torturing people for fun when he has to. That’s a brilliant character and is perfectly worked into the plot.
Plus he has that German accent…. I just love this guy. He’s the kind of henchman I wish was around longer, even though I know if he were, it would dilute the perfection that he is.
Still — this guy made more of an impression on me than actually almost all the other Bond villains. One of my absolute favorites.
3. Oddjob (Goldfinger)
If I have to say anything to justify this ranking, stop reading this article right now.
2. Red Grant (From Russia with Love)
Obviously he’s the best henchman in the franchise, and obviously he’s gonna only be my #2. (Come on, you must have know by now what I was gonna do.)
The dude is honestly the primary villain for most of the film, despite being a henchman. He is the threat. He’s terrific. The fact that he doesn’t talk for about 80 minutes of the film and still is a dangerous screen presence lets you know how great he is as a character. Seriously, he’s the best henchman in the franchise. He’s a complete boss. I shouldn’t have to say anything. You should just know.
1. Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker)
Red Grant wins the Electoral College, but Jaws destroys the popular vote. I’m not gonna pretend like he’s not my favorite henchman. He’s just so great. Watch The Spy Who Loved Me again. Everything gets more exciting when he shows up. He was so good they brought him back for a second movie. And even the ridiculousness of him not being able to die is still not that ridiculous. He’s fucking Jaws. Without him, Moonraker would be a disaster to watch. He makes the entire middle of that film entertaining as hell and even makes Drax bearable as a villain.
Plus — the motherfucker bites sharks to death. I’ll give you Grant and Oddjob, if you want to be all serious-minded, but if Jaws isn’t honestly your #3 henchman, we don’t have anything further to talk about. The man is legitimately the reason why two Roger Moore movies don’t end up like two other Roger Moore movies.