— In any long-running series, a hero is only as memorable as the villains he goes up against, and James Bond is no exception. The superspy’s chief nemeses tend to be would-be world-conquering megalomaniacs, epitomized by Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the leader of terrorist organization SMERSH. But many, if not most, of the most memorable villains tend to be the ones closer to Bond’s own pay grade: The henchmen, hired killers and thugs who duke it out with 007 mano a mano in the field — people like Oddjob, the tough-as-a-brick chauffeur of Auric Goldfinger who sported a bowler hat that could cut off the head off a marble statue.
Jaws (Richard Kiel): The metal-mouthed bruiser in “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker,” was comically dumb and terrifyingly monstrous — you could literally drop a building on him without killing him. His unique steel dentistry could bite through cables and deflect bullets, but proved vulnerable to magnets. When he found love with a pigtailed girl in “Moonraker,” Jaws changed sides, saved the day, and won Bond’s respect.
Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe): The title villain of “Goldfinger” planned to boost his own wealth by turning the entire U.S. supply of gold at Fort Knox into a pile of radioactive molten slag. But his true evil ran even deeper: He cheated at golf!
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas, Charles Gray, Max von Sydow, Anthony Dawson, Eric Pohlmann, John Hollis, Robert Rietty): The head of terrorist organization SMERSH, the cat-keeping Blofeld was Bond’s repeated foe in seven movies, either as a direct antagonist or simply the shadowy figure ultimately pulling the strings behind the scenes. (Not to mention the inspiration for Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil.)
Oddjob (Harold Sakata): The short, stocky Korean chauffeur and caddy of Auric Goldfinger, played by pro wrestler and Olympic weightlifting silver medalist Sakata, was a deadly hand-to-hand fighter and incredibly strong. But watch out for that deadly razor-sharp bowler hat.
Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee): A high-priced assassin who charges one million dollars per kill, the mysterious lead villain in “The Man With The Golden Gun” has three nipples and a custom-built pistol that he assembles out of a pen, cufflink, cigarette lighter and cigarette case.
006 (Sean Bean): “GoldenEye,” the first of the post-Cold War Bond movies, had a singular problem: Who are the bad guys now? Their answer: Bean, as quite literally Bond’s opposite number, another of MI6’s deadly Double-Os gone rogue.
Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya): The ruthless SMERSH double agent from “From Russia With Love” had quite the kick — thanks to the spike concealed in her combat boots.
Baron Samedi (Geoffrey Holder): A voodoo practitioner with apparently supernatural powers, the “Live And Let Die” henchman unnerved even his boss, the drug smuggler Kananga (Yaphet Kotto).
Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd (Bruce Glover and Putter Smith): This pair of creepy ne’er-do-wells (and unfortunate gay stereotypes) from “Diamonds Are Forever” outdid even Bond in the department of making terrible puns after committing terrible deeds, quipping “Heartwarming” and “a glowing tribute” after shoving Bond into a crematorium.
Karl Stromberg (Curt Jürgens), Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale), Max Zorin (Christopher Walken): Taking their cue from the grandiosely insane plans of Auric Goldfinger, these bad guys from “The Spy Who Loved Me,” “Moonraker” and “A View To A Kill” plotted massive destruction for their own crazy schemes. Stromberg and Drax both want to kill off the entire population of the Earth and start over with new civilizations in their secret bases undersea or in space. Zorin, on the other hand, was a little more practical: All he wanted was to destroy Silicon Valley.
Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce): Sure, it was hard to find a suitable Bond-level villain after the end of the Cold War, but “Tomorrow Never Dies” offered up a bomb: A media mogul whose plan to start a war to increase the market share of his TV news empire. The plot was so risible that the filmmakers even had to take a moment during the movie itself to point out how absurd it was.