A-List: Best Bond Movie Villains
By J. Don Birnam
November 5, 2015
The 24th film in the Bond movie franchise (50-something years old and running) will be released in the United States this weekend after shattering records in the United Kingdom despite its somewhat tepid critical reviews. I will leave the box office prognosticating to those who know what they’re talking about, but it seems to me that the smashing success of Skyfall three years ago (complete with five Oscar nominations, and two wins - the first ever in the franchise) means that audiences are excited for this one. I sure am.
So, in the spirit of Bond, let’s look today at some of the best movie villains. What defines a good villain? Well, a number of things. Memorability, a good (aka, really evil but smart) plan to conquer the world or destroy Bond, a solid performance, bone-chilling actions, and hopefully many murders to his or her name. The list is long and wide, but I have narrowed it down to these memorable five.
Note that, as usual, this list will necessarily spoil some key plot points in the movies I discuss.
5. Skyfall’s Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem
What could be more evil than a dastardly plan to murder M herself? Bardem has proven himself quite adept at portraying evil (Anton Chigurh is iconic, of course), and here he provided the right blend of the sardonic with the flamboyant, of the comical with the bone-chilling, to earn a spot on this list.
Sure, Bardem’s character succumbs before he can see M perish, but the fatal blow was cast. In the meantime, Silva wreaked havoc on MI6 with a terrorist attack, turned to cyberterrorism after being an MI6 agent himself, and killed one of his own beautiful hench-women. While he lacked a maniacal laugh, his pale-color hair was sufficient to remind us of the No Country killer, and enough to make this one of the most memorable Bond villains.
4. The World is Not Enough’s Elektra King, played by Sophie Marceau
A plot to kill the head of MI6 is one thing, but a plan to off one’s own father to take over his oil business is a whole new level of evil. Elektra’s evil plot to do so is successful, although she ultimately fails in her ultimate scheme of developing a larger oil pipeline when Bond thwarts her efforts.
Elektra is memorable not only because of the cruelness of her ambitions, she is also one of the sexiest and toughest fighters in a long list of female Bond villains. Nothing against Pussy Galore, of course, but many if not most of these evil temptresses either succumb to Bond or turn to the good side, but not Elektra. Elektra remains evil through and through until she is shot square in the chest by Bond himself. Ouch.