Best 007 Bad Guys

By Jeff Salter

Four the final week of our September tribute to James Bond 007, we’re focused on our favorite Bond (male or female) villains.

If you’ve perused my previous three blogs – click on the archives if you haven’t – then you won’t likely be surprised that my favorite villains share movie titles with my other favorites.  Just to recap:  my overall favorite Bond Girl was Shirley Eaton in Goldfinger; likely my top lines of dialog were also from Goldfinger; my overall favorite Bond movie was From Russia With Love.  So today’s topic brings us right back to those same two films, both early in the canon and each with a young Sean Connery as 007.

Let me clarify, however, that when I use the word “favorite” in connection with Bond villains, it does NOT mean I’d like to hang out with these folks!  In fact, they’re only my favorites in the sense of being the most memorable and convincing.

From the film From Russia With Love:

The cold, capable, professional, SPECTRE killer Red Grant, played perfectly by Robert Shaw.

The equally chilling, never-give-up, SPECTRE mission leader Rosa Klebb, played wonderfully by Lotte Lenya.

From the film Goldfinger:
The ambitious, perverted, sore loser, Auric Goldfinger, played by Gert Frobe.

As I’ve previously mentioned, I read all of the Ian Fleming novels back in the mid-1960s and read most of them before I saw their film adaptations.  Suffice it to say that there were NUMEROUS differences between the books and movies.  After nearly five decades I cannot say this with certainty, but it’s my general recollection that the villains in the novels were considerably more human and did not rely as much on the gadgetry of the villains in the later film versions.

I believe the reason these villains stand out for me is that they are people you might pass on the street and not even realize they had killer hearts of cold stone.  Much more sinister and effective, I think, for these villains to be, physically, rather “normal” looking — as opposed to Jaws, a giant with teeth which can cut steel cables.  I mean, if I saw a smiling Richard Kiel lumbering toward me, I would probably run like crazy… but Robert Shaw could sneak up on me before I knew it and choke me with that wire from his watch.

One of the most chilling villains in the Bond movies, also from FRWL, is Col. Klebb’s SPECTRE boss, whose face we don’t see (as I recall) but he sits there stroking his pet cat as he coolly kills one of his own subordinates and orders the assassination of 007 (and whoever else gets in his way).  That kind of villain seems more sinister to me than Odd Job, a karate expert with a hat that flies like a Frisbee, or some of those other bad guys with bizarre physical characteristics and/or whiz-bang weaponry.

            Who were YOUR “favorite” 007 villains?


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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9 Responses to Best 007 Bad Guys

  1. I will not mention Goldfinger in my post tomorrow, Jeff, as he is kind of a ‘given’; he is everyone’s most memorable Bond Baddie. I had completely forgotten Robert Shaw; that man could play anything well.
    And no one touched on any badgirls except Grace Jones….hmmm…


  2. Kathleen says:

    Oh, come on. You can’t forget Jaws. He killed people with his gold teeth.


  3. Iris B says:

    Great choices, Jeff!
    And the explanation that “you wouldn’t like to hang out with them” made me giggle 😉


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