In compiling a list of the best Bond baddies, one has to establish a few parameters. For starters, you must take into account the bad guy's ultimate objective, weighting plans for global conquest/destruction more heavily than mere monetary gain. Then there are more esoteric factors, like background, motivation, and even hair (or lack thereof). The end results shake out thusly:
5. Frank Sanchez (Robert Davi) - License to Kill (1989) Diabolical Plot: Make a shitload of money selling cocaine. Along the way, he flagellates his mistress with a whip made of stingray tails and shoots his financial adviser...with an Uzi. Granted, these aren't really plot points, but Sanchez was one bad motherscratcher, and was the franchise's first attempt at a more realistic villain. Character Motivation: Colombian. Villainous Deed: Feeds Bond's best friend, CIA agent Felix Leiter, to sharks after instructing his henchmen to rape Leiter's new bride. Just Desserts: Bond sets him on fire with the lighter Felix gave him for being best man at the wedding. Ssssmmmokin'!
4. Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) - A View to a Kill (1985) Diabolical Plot: Explode bombs along the San Andreas and Hayward Faults, flooding Silicon Valley and giving him a monopoly in microchips. Character Motivation: Nazi eugenics program in which unborn children were injected with steroids to create supermen. Or superbabies, at least. Zorin was raised in the USSR and is a former KGB agent, making him a genuine Commie Nazi. Villainous Deed: Bypasses annoying labor negotiations and murders all the employees of his mining operation. Just Desserts: Knocked off the a Golden Gate Bridge support cable by a 57-year old Bond.
3. Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens) - The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) Character Motivation: The first Bond villain created specifically for the movies, Stromberg runs a shipping firm and...has webbed fingers. FREAKY. Diabolical Plot: Launch nukes at New York and Moscow, bringing about a nuclear war (see alsoYou Only Live Twice) and leading to the formation of a new underwater civilization which he will rule from his undersea palace. Villainous Deed: Potential ruination of Jimmy Carter's legacy. Just Desserts: Shot -- repeatedly -- in the groin by Bond.
2. Ernst Stavro Blofeld Diabolical Plot: Oh, let's see...steal a cryptographic device from the Soviets, kill 007, ransom stolen nuclear bombs, kill 007, steal American and Soviet spacecraft, kill 007...you get the idea. Character Motivation: As Carl Spackler might have said, "The baldness, the cat, the Nehru jacket...striking." He's the head of SPECTRE, which sounds a lot cooler than Al-Qaeda," even if they never accomplished as much. Villainous Deed: If you can't kill 007, might as well kill his wife. Just Desserts: The most tenacious of Bond villains, Ernie is nonetheless dunked in boiling mud in Diamonds Are Forever and unceremoniously dropped down a smokestack in For Your Eyes Only.
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1. Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) - Goldfinger (1964) Diabolical Plot: Increase the value of his own gold stash by detonating a dirty nuclear bomb in Fort Knox. Character Motivation: Uses his various industries as cover for a his smuggling enterprise. Whether he changed his name to match his obsession or took inspiration from it, there's no denying the dude digs gold. Villainous Deed: Elaborate scheme involving a laser and 007's junk. Which, as it turns out, was much less efficient than using a scaling knife. Just Desserts: Sucked out an airplane window. No mean feat, considering Goldfinger's own hefty atomic number, if you know what I'm saying.
Coming tomorrow, the top five Bond movies of all time. And on Monday we'll take a look at how the latest, Quantum of Solace, stacks up against the rest in the categories we've done this week.
-- Pete Vonder Haar