They’re the strivers, the overachievers, the dreamers. They’re the people not content with the status quo, not afraid of big ambitions or seemingly insurmountable challenges. They’re the people who dared to “Think Different,” as Apple would have said.
They are the villains of the James Bond universe. And if it weren’t for a womanizing British spy with a weakness for customized personal technology, their names would be written in the stars. Literally written in the stars. With the aid of some kind of powerful laser housed in an underwater base and guarded by half-naked female assassins with semiautomatic weapons.
They may have failed in their efforts, but with “Skyfall” opening in theaters Friday, it seems a good time to remember the best of the Bond villains and honor their dastardly deeds. And with 23 Eon Productions 007 films, there are plenty of evil honchos and henchmen to choose from. We’ve narrowed them down to 10, though there were several that fell just short of the list.
Among the honorable mentions are Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), a former MI6 agent and friend of Bond’s, who in 1995’s “GoldenEye” commits treason and taunts Bond for his loyalty to queen and country. There’s also assassin-for-hire Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), from 1974’s “The Man with the Golden Gun.” Karl Stromberg (Curd Jürgens), the mastermind behind a plot to begin civilization anew underwater in the 1977 film “The Spy Who Loved Me,” fell short of our list, but is also worth noting.
Perhaps our closest call is Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat), an underling to archvillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the George Lazenby-starring 1969 film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Bunt kills Bond’s wife, and the movie ends; we never see Bond get revenge, and we never hear what happened to her. She may very well have gotten away with it — more than can be said of Bond’s other villains.
Flip through the gallery above for our top 10, and let us know which villains you think deserve the honor in the poll.
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— Noelene Clark, Patrick Kevin Day, Blake Hennon and Jevon Phillips