No, Mister Bond, I Expect You To Die
August 1, 2019 7:26 AM   Subscribe

Esquire ranks all 104 Bond villains. Every single henchman, rogue Russian general, SPECTRE assassin, murderous seductress, and, of course, mad supervillain intent on destroying the world unless they get their ONE MEEEELION DOLLARS. Bonus -- just one page, not a bunch of click-to-advance ad bait. And, obviously, you will disagree with their #1 pick and probably every other pick, but that's why we love listicles, isn't it?
posted by briank (37 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hm. I don't think we needed three essentially "Bond but evil" dudes at the top.

Xenia Onatopp and Jaws are absolutely top 10, but I know that they'd just swap them with Volpe and Oddjob, so I guess I'll allow them in the next 10.

Good list on first glance, though.
posted by Etrigan at 7:39 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


I feel like they're stretching the definition of "Bond villain" quite a bit just for the sake of having over a hundred entries in the list. But the only ones in the bottom third I even vaguely remember are the main bad guy from Die Another Day (who sucked) and the dude Bond kills at the very beginning of Casino Royale, so that part of the list seems pretty accurate.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:53 AM on August 1, 2019


Three cheers for all of them being on a single page rather than spread out over a 104-page-deep slideshow.
posted by jquinby at 7:54 AM on August 1, 2019 [14 favorites]


Actually, no, I take it back. The guy I thought I remembered from Die Another Day is actually a totally different entry on the list.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:55 AM on August 1, 2019


Christopher Lee so deserved to be the villain in a better Bond film than The Man with the Golden Gun.
posted by octothorpe at 7:56 AM on August 1, 2019 [9 favorites]


Just your regular reminder that there is not much wrong with Never Say Never Again.

Don't cut it out. You're only cheating yourself.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:02 AM on August 1, 2019 [8 favorites]


Aww, I thought Zao was cool.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 8:19 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Where is Fat Bastard?
posted by e1c at 8:28 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


The best/worst part of Man with the Golden Gun is that the bond car is an AMC Hornet.
posted by octothorpe at 8:29 AM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


Blofeld winds up ranking far lower than expected since the article lumps all performances together, despite their varying quality—Donald Pleasance's definitive sociopathic mastermind in You Only Live Twice, Telly Savalas's incongruously affable schemer in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and Charles Grey's camp corporate executive in Diamonds Are Forever (we don't talk about Spectre).
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:49 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Jaws and Drax deserve to be higher. I expect they've omitted her because of her face turn, but Pussy Galore should be somewhere in the upper half.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:52 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


We can futz about whether Xenia is in the correct slot at #12, but I hope we can also agree that her description as "one of the best henchpersons in all of Bond-dom" is the best Bond-related pun ever.
posted by solotoro at 8:54 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Seems to me ranking henchmen along with main antagonists is, like most listicles, pointless. Made even moreso by the fact that none has ever accomplished their main objective. I am sorry if that is a spoiler.
posted by MorgansAmoebas at 9:02 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


octothorpe: "Christopher Lee so deserved to be the villain in a better Bond film than The Man with the Golden Gun."

Lee was in many, many very bad films, so it feels appropriate.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:09 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


Yes I feel like Lee's career was "I will be the best thing about this extremely uneven or terrible film," and he did pretty well at that.
posted by emjaybee at 9:18 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


The captions and descriptions for each were pretty funny, but the writer likes "silly over the top" Bond and rated the silly villains way too high with many '90s villains in my opinion.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:21 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also, the list is missing Hank Scorpio.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:22 AM on August 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


Christopher Lee so deserved to be the villain in a better Bond film than The Man with the Golden Gun.

Lee, who served with Ian Fleming in the OSS/Naval Intelligence, is doing his Ian Fleming impression in that film! It's a horrible classic!
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:30 AM on August 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


These guys sure do remember Goldeneye more fondly than I do. Xenia was great, but Trevelyan above Max Zorin? Above Oddjob? Get out of here with that weak game, Esquire.

Also Elliott Carver is 80 spots too high and that whole movie is hot garbage and I will fight you
posted by Mayor West at 9:43 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


That's not Peter Franks at #84. That's Mr. Wint. This is Peter Franks.
posted by Naberius at 9:57 AM on August 1, 2019 [5 favorites]


49. Naomi
The Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
The Actor: Caroline Munro
The Basics: Scantily clad helicopter pilot, tour guide, and assassin


I would be remiss if I did not mention that real life Caroline Munro is a lovely, happy person, and is a good sport to her fan base, working the comicon circuits and such. She's at peace with her role in the franchise, and is happy that the roles for women are getting stronger.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:24 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


Above Oddjob?

Oddjob is penalised for having a character model so short that auto-aim doesn't target him, and thus being totally OP.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:31 AM on August 1, 2019 [14 favorites]


Top ten most memorable Bond villains:

10. Goldy, the Man with the Golden Brain. This sinister Soviet super-scientist harbors a scintillating secret: He is super-intelligent not by virtue of hard work and sticktoitiveness, but because he is gifted — gifted by Nikita Khrushchev with a computer-engineered golden brain. In Think Another Day, James Bond kills Goldy by choking him with a pair of golden bootstraps.

9 and 8 (tie): Moon Night Shyamalan and Leif Raker. Alone, this struggling mid-career auteur and his Norse landscaper were doomed to obscurity. Together, they became the unforgettable titular villains of the 1979 Bond space opera Moon-Raker. To obtain financing for Moon Night's greatest horror film ever, he and Leif make a deal with Soviet premier Ivan Knuckles. If Moon-Raker Landscape Concepts LLC can use a giant space lawnmower to draw a huge hammer and sickle on the moon, Premier Knuckles will pay a million dollars toward Untitled Horror Project with Twist Ending. James Bond must fly to space in order to disable the moon-mower and save the night sky from Moon-Raker's treasonous propaganda.

7. Soviet Boughtazhou. In Zoofall, Bond travels to Afghanistan, where he meets an ex-Russian soldier who stayed behind after the Soviet army withdrew from Afghanistan. In the post-9/11 turmoil of occupied Afghanistan, Russian mercenary Soviet Boughtazoo buys the Kabul Zoo, but soon finds himself in over his head. Unable to keep the lights on, he funds his zoo by selling alligators to terrorists. Bond leads Boughtazhou into the jaws of Truckasaurus, who kills and eats him.

6. Goldenguy. The titular villain in Pierce Brosnan's first Bond movie was also CeeLo Green's unforgettable breakout role to superstardom.

5. Mr. Kazaam. The magical wizard from Genies Never Die is the only villain sufficiently crafty (and supernatural) to escape James Bond and live to see a spinoff film. Best remembered for his portrayal by Shaquille O'Neal in the spinoff, he was originally portrayed in the Bond series by Robin Williams.

4. Lefty Wrenches, The Bad Mechanic Who Couldn't Fix James Bond's Aston Martin. This recurring character from the Roger Moore era was originally envisioned as comic relief, but was retconned into a double agent for the final Moore film in the franchise, I Would Kill for a View. In Kill for a View, 007 just wants to buy a nice house with a nice view, but is vexed by high interest rates on home loans, limited inventory on the London real estate market, and an unreliable car that won't get him to open houses on time. Lefty Wrench's signature catchphrase — "I hate British cars!" — was delivered with a twist by Roger Moore's Bond when he finally killed the character: "I hate British car mechanics," he said, repeatedly backing over the bad Soviet mechanic in a customized '85 Pontiac Bonneville sedan with ejection seats. The film spoke to aggrieved middle-age white males and remains the highest-grossing Bond film ever in inflation-adjusted dollars.

3. Ms. Martini Walletstealer, the Lady who Stole James Bond's Wallet. She stole James Bond's wallet with the codes in it, but then he stole her heart and made her a good guy. His mission complete, he leaves her for the supermodel queen of Monaco, making her sad. Second highest-grossing film in Bond franchise, same reason as Kill for a View.

2. Floor Guy. Hoping to repeat the success of I Would Kill for a View, the Bond franchise followed up on James Bond's home ownership adventures the next summer with This House Will Be the Death of Me. James Bond just wants to do a little remodel, knock down a wall, open up some space, put in some classy neon accent lights and glass bricks. But the damn subcontractors are pushing the project overdue and over budget. His arch-nemesis, Floor Guy, is responsible for the bathroom tiles and just can't deliver. James Bond kills Floor Guy early in the film, drowning him in a bucket of uncured spackle, then realizes that he has committed murder, an illegal crime in England. The remainder of the story deals with James Bond's attempted coverup. Eventually, he is pardoned (in secret) by the Queen of England (played by Judi Dench, whose character M was the queen all along, but it was a secret). The film belly-flopped on execution: Its target audience didn't want to see James Bond deal with consequences, and most viewers saw a royal pardon as unattainable to them. "Now maybe if the cops had just let him off with a warning," wrote Roger Ebert, "this movie could have been a hit."

1. James Bond himself. In the 2016 franchise reboot Stranger Fiends, James Bond is taken to an upside-down parallel universe. "But wait, the James Bond in the upside-down monster universe is really friendly and a very good model for constructive problem-solving and meaningful sexual consent," he says. "That must mean — oh my god — no!" Bond realizes that he's the real monster in the right-side-up universe and must seek professional help.
posted by compartment at 10:38 AM on August 1, 2019 [19 favorites]


Ok I laughed at the pick of Kra for #104. Can't argue with the list so far.
posted by mazola at 10:41 AM on August 1, 2019


octothorpe: "The best/worst part of Man with the Golden Gun is that the bond car is an AMC Hornet."

Which does a twisting flip across a river.

A-also, the secondbest/worst part is that the villain has three nipples.
posted by chavenet at 10:59 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


GCU Sweet and Full of Grace: "Pussy Galore should be somewhere in the upper half."

I see what you didn't do there.
posted by chavenet at 11:02 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


What's up with Zao's (#95) upper right arm?
posted by Captain Fetid at 11:10 AM on August 1, 2019


Hauntingly certain that I'm somehow going to remember Lefty Wrenches as a real character in 50 years.
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:56 AM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


5. Mr. Kazaam. The magical wizard from Genies Never Die is the only villain sufficiently crafty (and supernatural) to escape James Bond and live to see a spinoff film. Best remembered for his portrayal by Shaquille O'Neal in the spinoff, he was originally portrayed in the Bond series by Robin Williams.

Wait, wasn't that Sinbad?
posted by Etrigan at 12:43 PM on August 1, 2019


It's one of the only times we ever fear for the safety of the seemingly invincible 007.

Lost a little coffee through the nose reading that.

Seriously though, has anyone ever watched any of these films the first time through with actual ("movie-audience") fear for the safety of 007?
posted by MorgansAmoebas at 12:52 PM on August 1, 2019


That's not Peter Franks at #84. That's Mr. Wint. This is Peter Franks.
posted by Naberius

Nice call! Also, Mr. Wint is played by Bruce Glover, Crispin's dad.
posted by snsranch at 1:44 PM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


has anyone ever watched any of these films the first time through with actual ("movie-audience") fear for the safety of 007?

On rare occasions, the actors sell it.

Connery Bond in Goldfinger, strapped to a table, laser moving upwards, trying and failing to talk his way out. Every argument refuted, he asks "Can you afford to take that chance?" I know Bond's name is on the cover, and I know the film is only half over, but you can hear in his voice the desperation tearing through his composure.

Bond's mortality is a cornerstone of the character's psychology. He lives a life of mostly empty hedonism because he knows he has the lifespan of a mayfly. We never get to see the Bond film that ends halfway through, but we see the actors change.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:58 PM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


Just your regular reminder that there is not much wrong with Never Say Never Again.

Never Say Never Again is in the top three Bond movies, seriously

I'd like to visit the alternative universe where Max Von Sydow reprises his turn as Blofeld
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:29 PM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Never Say Never Again is in the top three Bond movies, seriously

The only scene i can remember is the awful one where Barbara Carrera makes bond write down that she was his greatest lover simply do he can use his ludicrously large pen / rocket launcher to kill her. Am I remembering that right?
posted by biffa at 5:49 PM on August 1, 2019


Interesting list, but it's a shame Esquire doesn't believe in editing.
posted by bryon at 11:13 PM on August 1, 2019


What's up with Zao's (#95) upper right arm?

Not only does he never miss tricep day, he has tricep day.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:00 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


The only scene i can remember is the awful one where Barbara Carrera makes bond write down that she was his greatest lover simply do he can use his ludicrously large pen / rocket launcher to kill her. Am I remembering that right?

Don't forget when he blinds a guy with a specimen of his own pee!
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:54 AM on August 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


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