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Top 5 Best & Worst James Bond Villains - Page 2

Auric Goldfinger
3. Auric Goldfinger

The titular Goldfinger is a ludicrous villain whose big plan is to nuke the U.S. Federal Reserve in order to increase the value of his gold, a substance he is maniacally obsessed with. This could easily have been a terrible villain, but actor Gurt Frobe has so much fun with the character that it works. While Dr. No is the prototype, Goldfinger is the stereotype: a villain who devises a ridiculous death trap for Bond, monologues about his scheme, and then leaves him with ample time to escape. Goldfinger deserves some credit, though, because he actually manages to go through nearly the entire movie without losing control of Bond, something few villains are able to boast.

2. Karl Stromberg
The Spy Who Loved Me
Karl Stromberg

A low-rent version of Blofeld, Karl Stromberg is the primary villain in The Spy Who Loved Me. Because he loves all things aquatic and hates the human race, his plan is to start World War III to kill off humanity so that he can start over with a new, utopian underwater civilization. He's utterly ridiculous, and his plan and motivations are like a bad remix of Bond villains of the past. The actor who plays him (Curd Jurgens) isn't terrible, but he doesn't exactly make him memorable either.

Alec Trevelyan
2. Alec Trevelyan

Though his motivation is shaky at best--his parents were Lienz Cossacks during World War II, and so he wants to destroy Great Britain--Alec Trevelyan is a good villain because his personal connection to Bond is far more believable than most others. As 006, we see him interact with James Bond in a friendly, bantering manner at the film's opening, and they seem to be genuine friends. His betrayal is thus a deep wound for Bond, and when Trevelyan persistently questions his loyalty to Queen and Country, Bond isn't able to form an answer until the very end, when he realizes he's not killing Trevelyan for England, but for himself.

1. Hugo Drax
Hugo Drax

Like Stromberg before him, Hugo Drax has a plan to destroy mankind and start over with a new, perfect society of his own. Drax, though, is even more ridiculous in his efforts, and the role is given to an actor (Michael Lonsdale) who appears to attempting to play a largely comatose sloth with bushy eyebrows. He's derivative and silly, yes, but he's also bland as unflavored oatmeal, which makes him the single worst villain with which Bond has ever had to grapple.

Ernst Blofeld
1. Ernst Blofeld
Diamonds are Forever

Of course Ernst Stavro Blofeld is the best villain in Bond history (I don't even feel I have to justify it), but the real question is which version of Blofeld to put here. Whenever I think of the guy, I inevitably picture Donald Pleasance from You Only Live Twice. However, even though I love Donald Pleasance as an actor and have to give him credit for giving Blofeld his most well-known traits, his portrayal is actually kind of mediocre. The next Blofeld--Teddy Savalas--is only worth mentioning as the worst Blofeld, and the most recent iteration, Christoph Waltz' Franz Oberhauser, has much too silly a backstory to be worthy of the title. That leaves Charles Gray, who played Blofeld in Diamonds are Forever. This version of Blofeld is both charming and psychopathic, but Gray plays him coolly and with the malice largely hidden underneath a veneer of mock sophistication. So there you have it: Charles Gray is the best actor to play the best villain in James Bond history.

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-e. magill 1/29/2016


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