While we are reminded of Bond by his fast Martins and shaken Martinis, a film featuring the world's most recognised secret agent is never complete without a villain with an equally villainous plan to end the world before Bond saves the day.
As the longest running film franchise celebrating its 50th anniversary over the course of 22 films, 007 has had more than his fair share of diabolic adversaries working for the most secret and corrupt organisations. From world domination to seeking revenge on 007, Bond has faced these villains that come from every corner of the globe in the name of Her Majesty's secret service.
As the world prepares to welcome the 23rd instalment of the franchise in "Skyfall", we revisit the rogue gallery of villains to find the most distinguished of these scoundrels that have proven themselves to stand atop the rest and have a significant place in the history of the franchise.
As the first villain to have appeared in the first Bond film, Dr. Julius No was the defining villain that would package intelligence, physical disfigurement and an insatiable urge for power as the class of villainy that would come to be expected throughout the Bond franchise. Played by Canadian actor Joseph Wiseman, his performance has been remarked to come right out from the pages of Ian Fleming's novel of the same name, complete with metal arms and a secret base in exotic Jamaica, where he plans to sabotage the launch of American rockets. In the final showdown between Dr. No and Bond, No is finally defeated when he is boiled alive by the reactor coolant used to power his nuclear reactor.
The first and only female Bond villain to date, Rosa Klebb was clearly not one of the seduced damsels that couldn't resist the suave advances of Bond, but a cold-blooded killer that wanted him dead. Tasked with the job to put an end to Bond once and for all by the SPECTRE organisation, Rosa uses her feminine wiles to bait the secret agent with the alluring Russian clerk Tatania Romanov to retrieve a decryption device, before sending in the Red Grant to finish the job. Played by an aged Lotte Lenya, Rosa became one of the more iconic villainess when she took matters into her own hands (or feet, more like) after her underling failed. Her showdown with Mr. Bond in a hotel room dressed as a cleaning maid with a poison-tipped blade hidden in her shoe remains one of the most iconic fight scenes from the franchise.
Who else that could go against James Bond, if not the world's best assassin when Bond has to go against The Man with the Golden Gun, Francisco Sacramanga. So named after his titular metallic gun that also fired golden bullets, Sacramanga was played by the venerable Christopher Lee, who coincidentally was the cousin of Bond's creator Ian Fleming. In the ninth instalment of the franchise, Sacramanga seeks a device that could harness the energies of the sun in order to expand his criminal organisation until Bond outsmarted him in the Hall of Mirrors with a shot through the heart during the climatic duel. Another notable thing about Sacramanga was his henchmen and butler; the midget Nick Nack. So next time you watch Austin Powers and wondered where 'Mini –me' came from, you found out here.
Le Chiffre, which is French for The Number or The Cipher, was technically the first Bond villain to have appeared on screen when Ian Fleming's first novel "Casino Royale" was adapted into a television movie in 1954 and played by Peter Lorre. When "Casino Royale" entered into the filmic canon of Bond in the 2006 'remake', Le Chiffre was played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen and was also given the added attribute of crying blood due to a wound on his tear duct, sticking truer to the source material. In both renditions of "Casino Royale", Le Chiffre's role isn't change much as a money launderer for a criminal organisation who becomes indebted to the group, except that in the 2006 "Casino Royale", Le Chiffre becomes the first line of villains from the Quantam organisation that would be the recurring organisation in later Bond films. The game is also changed from the luck-driven Baccarat to the battle of wits in poker and "Casino Royale" would have one of the most intense poker games seen on the big screen. In the same movie, Le Chiffre also becomes well known for being one of the villain that successfully captures Bond and the torture scene that would make any man squirm (although it also revealed 007 to be a masochist).
Easily the most enduring villain from the James Bond franchise who just cannot seem to be stopped. Ernst Stavro Blofeld is the leader of SPECTRE; the group that Bond has been working against since "Dr. No". Blofeld's name has been mentioned in passing since "From Russia With Love" but only made his first appearance in the fifth film "You Only Live Twice". Known for his trademark love of cats which has made them the pet of choice for all supervillains, the evil genius has attempted to instigate World War 3 from space ("You Only Live Twice"), unleash a virus to destroy the world's food supply (On Her Majesty's Secret Service"), and proving that diamonds are not men's best friend ("Diamonds Are Forever"). Dr. Evil did learn from the best. He also struck a personal blow on Bond when he assassinated Bond's new wife hours after their marriage in the end of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", although Bond gets his revenge when he uses him and his escape sub to destroy his base in "Diamonds Are Forever". However, Ernst made his final cameo appearance "For Your Eyes Only" before he is ever seen again. Ernst is also notable for being played by almost as many actors as Bond was in the franchise. He has been played by American-Greek actor Telly Savalas, British actors Charles Gray, Donald Pleasence, and uncredited by John Hollins.