25 best James Bond villains ever
Dr Julius No (Dr No, 1962)
The first cinematic Bond villain set the template for those to come, with his Nehru jacket, sadistic predilections and physical deformity (he sports metal hands, a consequence of fiddling around with radioactive material). He also has a taste for the finer things in life – following the theft of Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington, production designer Ken Adam cheekily slipped it into the background in Dr No's lair.
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (You Only Live Twice, 1967)
Bond's arch-enemy had appeared on-screen before, in From Russia With Love and Thunderball – but it was only with You Only Live Twice that we got to put a face to the name – and what a face. Austin Powers' parodic Dr Evil may have robbed his scarred visage of some of its impact, but as soon as he starts talking in that clipped whisper, you realise Blofeld is no joke. And he gets some killer lines courtesy of screenwriter Roald Dahl (yes, that Roald Dahl). "Give him his cigarettes. It won't be the nicotine that kills you, Mister Bond."
Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger, 1964)
"No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die!" Gert Forbe's alarmingly jolly master thief threatens Bond's crown jewels with a laser in one of the iconic scenes from the series, before embarking on an audacious plan to irradiate Fort Knox. Forbe didn't speak English, so had to deliver his lines phonetically – he was subsequently dubbed over by another actor. Despite this, the producers considered bringing him back for Diamonds Are Forever – an early treatment featured Goldfinger's identical twin brother as the villain.
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971)
Blofeld changed radically between films, from Donald Pleasance's soft-spoken megalomaniac to Telly Savalas' cultured bruiser. Charles Gray – who appeared in You Only Live Twice as a British agent – took Blofeld into high camp. The arch-villain seems to be having an absolute whale of a time being evil – whether he's posing as a Howard Hughes-type recluse or dragging up to kidnap Bond girl Tiffany Case.
Francisco Scaramanga (The Man With The Golden Gun, 1974)
Christopher Lee was Ian Fleming's first choice to play Dr No – they were step-cousins and worked together during the Second World War, making Lee uniquely qualified for a role in the series – but Lee didn't get a look in until Roger Moore donned 007's tuxedo.
In truth, The Man With The Golden Gun is one of the weaker entries in the series, though Lee is his usual chilling self as triple-nippled assassin Scaramanga. It's a pity we didn't get to see him make use of his talents in a better film, though.