James Bond villains need a good henchman to do their deadly bidding for them. These contract killers and their insatiable appetite for destruction have played a key role in the series.
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Every good villain in a James Bond film needs a competent right hand man (or woman!). In a series that now spans fifty years rarely have we seen the real bad guys get their hands dirty until absolutely necessary.
For the head villain it is far more convenient to send an assigned minion to do their bidding. It is also a deadlier option as these contract killers have the skills and the armoury to do some serious damage to Britain’s number one secret agent. And, while James Bond has introduced us to some memorable baddies throughout his reign as England’s greatest hero, it is often the loyal, murderous henchmen that stick in the memory.
Here are my favourites…
10. Tee Hee (Live and Let Die)
One-handed Tee Hee has replaced his amputated hand with a steel pincer. The fact he lost his hand to a hungry crocodile has not stopped him playing with the man-eating animals. At one stage in Live and Let Die he leaves Bond helplessly stranded on a small island surrounded by crocs. However, as Bond’s escape shows, he should have carried out his murderous bidding himself.
9. May Day (View To A Kill)
May Day might be the girlfriend of chief villain Max Zorin but that doesn’t stop him sending her on dangerous assassination missions. Having incredible strength and being a master of martial arts makes May Day a formidable foe. However, being a woman in close proximity with Mr Ladies Man himself can be tricky, even for the most hardened criminal. If Bond can’t beat her in a fight, can he use his infinite charm and sexual prowess in the bedroom to change her allegiance?
8. Fiona Volpe (Thunderball)
Volpe’s beauty and deadly aspirations make for a volatile cocktail in Thunderball. She’s far more unassuming than GoldenEye villainess Xenia Onatopp, allowing her to coax her victims into a false sense of security before she makes her murderous move.
7. Baron Samedi (Live and Let Die)
Live and Let Die had a number of great bad guys, including chief villain Kananga. Baron Samedi adds to the mystery evident in Bond Girl Solitaire’s fortune-telling ability by playing a sort of undead warrior. Despite failing to kill Bond, he avoids capture and is found at the end of the film laughing, with an unsettling roar, on 007’s train as the secret agent heads back home.
6. Rosa Klebb (From Russia With Love)
The Soviet villainess uses disguises and fakery to get close to her victims. Her choice of weapon is a poison-tipped blade attached to the bottom of her shoe.
5. Nick Nack (The Man With The Golden Gun)
Henchman Nick Nack disguises his deadly aspirations behind a jovial personality and small stature. Never one to give up the cause, Nick Nack is determined to murder Bond despite his boss Scaramanga meeting his maker.
4. Xenia Onatopp (GoldenEye)
Xenia Onatopp loves a good squeeze. The brunette beauty captivates with her femme fatale persona but behind her alluring looks is a deadly weapon, namely, her chest-crushing thighs. Xenia uses her attractiveness to lure men into bed where she kills them during sex. It makes for a particularly intriguing battle between her and Bond.
3. Red Grant (From Russia With Love)
Red Grant remains wordless for a large part of the film. It is in this lack of speech and emotion that makes him so threatening. The fact he is more than Bond’s equal in terms of his ability to kill makes the showdown between hero and villain so much more exciting.
2. OddJob (Goldfinger)
Part of Oddjob’s ability to scare in his total lack of emotion. No matter whether he’s carrying Goldfinger’s golf clubs or doing battle with Bond, Oddjob never breaks sweat, never speaks, and never stops. His secret weapon, the razor sharp bowler hat he uses to decapitate his victims when slung from afar, is equally menacing.
1. Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me/Moonraker)
Undeniably iconic, Jaws might move like a flattened sumo wrestler but those metallic teeth and ability to bite his way through anything make for a formidable foe not once but twice.
Written and compiled by Daniel Stephens.
Your turn – who are your favourite Bond villains?
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