Sometimes the difference between an average James Bond movie and a great one is the villain.
007 has basically been a static character over the course of more than two dozen films, but his adversaries have changed. We remember Auric Goldfinger not just because a movie bears his name but also thanks to Gert Frobe’s portrayal of the villain. On the other hand, someone like Frank Sanchez, the drug lord in License to Kill, seems like he was ripped from an episode of Miami Vice instead of the imagination of Ian Fleming.
The motives of Bond villains usually reflect the times. The early installments played off Cold War fears and often centered on the international, apolitical crime syndicate SPECTRE antagonizing global superpowers into starting World War III. In more recent years, the bad guys are more likely to be billionaires becoming unhinged by their own lust for greed and power, with cyberterrorism as their threat of choice. In each instance, Bond thwarted their evil plans, often resulting in some spectacular onscreen deaths.
The exception is Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the SPECTRE chief who is apparently as indestructible as Bond. First seen only from behind and stroking his cat in From Russia With Love and Thunderball, Blofeld was finally revealed in full in 1967’s You Only Live Twice. While the franchise, starting with the Roger Moore movies, moved away from Blofeld, the character was rebooted in 2015’s Spectre, where he was given a new twist that provided insight into his history and motives.
We chart the 46 actors who have fought Bond, either as a primary villain or as a henchman/henchwoman, in the below list of James Bond Villains: Where Are They Now? They range from veteran European actors largely unknown in Hollywood to some of the most legendary stars to grace the stage and screen.