The 15 best James Bond villains, ranked

Sean Connery strapped to a table with a lazer pointed at him
‘Goldfinger.’ Eon Productions.
  • James Bond has faced off with a lot of bad guys over his career.
  • Here we rank the 15 best villains in the 007 franchise in ascending order.
  • See where favorites like Goldfinger, May Day, and Jaws rank.

15. Le Chiffre (“Casino Royale”)
Casino Royale Sony
Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre. Sony
Le Chiffre originates from James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s novel, “Casino Royale.” The crafty card player has been portrayed by Peter Lorre in a 1954 TV series adaptation and spoofed by Orson Welles in a 1967 comedy adaptation, but we will focus here on Mads Mikkelsen’s performance in the 2006 movie.

With his intimidating looks and unique torture technique to a naked James Bond (played by Daniel Craig), Mikkelsen gave Le Chiffre an impressive edge.

14. Hugo Drax (“Moonraker”)
Michael Lonsdale with his hands up to his chin
Michael Lonsdale as Hugo Drax. Eon Productions
Drax was altered greatly from his appearance in the Fleming novel “Moonraker.” Instead of the book’s version of a World War II veteran who becomes a millionaire after the war, he’s a billionaire who owns a company that builds shuttles for NASA.

The movie was made around the time the first “Star Wars” was released and leaned in heavily on space battles and Drax (played by Michael Lonsdale) was there causing all the chaos.

Also, he’s got an all-time great villain name: Hugo Drax!

13. Xenia Onatopp (“GoldenEye”)
Famke Janssen in a black dress
Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp. Eon Productions
We can’t leave out Famke Janssen as the deadly former Soviet fighter pilot in “GoldenEye.”

Along with being a beautiful Bond girl, she was one of its most deadly as Xenia is known best for killing her victims while they are in bed and crushing them with her thighs.

12. Dr. Julius No (“Dr. No”)
Joseph Wiseman in a grey suit with black gloves
Joseph Wiseman as Dr No. Eon Productions
The first-ever Bond villain to hit the big screen was the title character from Fleming’s 1958 novel.

Joseph Wiseman gave traits to the Dr. No villain that would be imitated not just within the franchise but far beyond, including his habit of telling Bond his fiendish plan before trying to kill him and having a defect that leads to freakish strength. In the case of No, it’s his powerful hands that he got due to an accident with radiation.

11. Mr. Big (“Live and Let Die”)
Live and Let Die United Artists
(L-R) Yaphet Kotto and Roger Moore in ‘Live and Let Die.’ United Artists
Awaiting Roger Moore for his first movie as Bond was the Harlem drug lord Mr. Big, played masterfully by Yaphet Kotto.

With his perfectly tailored suits and wicked stare, Mr. Big is one of the more intimidating villains in the franchise.

10. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (“You Only Live Twice”)
Donald Pleasence in a grey suit with a white cat on his lap
Donald Pleasence as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Eon Productions
As the main archenemy of Bond, Blofeld can be found in several novels and movies.

Squaring off face-to-face for the first time in “You Only Live Twice” (1967) (previously we either hear him and see his hand stroking his cat), he’s played by Donald Pleasence. Though SPECTRE’s number one is played by others in future films — including Telly Savalas, Max von Sydow, and most recently Christoph Waltz — Pleasence has the part down perfectly in his portrayal.

The menacing look, the petting of the white cat, he’s the best of all the Blofelds.

9. Raoul Silva (“Skyfall”)
Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem sitting next to each other
(L-R) Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem in ‘Skyfall.’ Eon Productions
Out of the villains in the Daniel Craig era, Javier Bardem’s performance as the twisted former MI6 agent is the best.

Bardem has always enjoyed playing the heavy through his career, and he is his scenery-chewing best playing Silva.

8. Baron Samedi (“Live and Let Die”)
Geoffrey Holder in a top hat and face paint
Geoffrey Holder as Baron Samedi. Eon Productions
This henchman to Mr. Big in “To Live and Let Die” played by Geoffrey Holder was one of the more impressive in the franchise. Playing on Baron Samedi’s Voodoo powers, we are given a villain with spiritual abilities not often seen in the franchise as well as dazzling costumes.
7. Max Zorin (“A View to a Kill”)
Christpher Walken in a tuxedo
Christopher Walken as Max Zorin. Eon Productions
Bardem isn’t the only actor to do some scenery-chewing during his time as a Bond villain. Only Christopher Walken can take a performance as over the top as blimp-riding madman Max Zorin and make him into a memorable Bond foe.
6. Donald “Red” Grant (“From Russia with Love”)
Robert Shaw holding a gun to someone's head
Robert Shaw as Donald ‘Red’ Grant. Eon Productions
In the sequel to “Dr. No,” Bond finds himself up against SPECTRE’s most dangerous assassin. As we see at the beginning of the movie he can take on all comers, even a brass knuckles blow to the stomach.

Robert Shaw’s stone-faced portrayal of this henchmen is an impressive one.

However, we have to add that when it comes to character names in the Bond franchise, this is definitely one of the least creative.

5. Oddjob (“Goldfinger”)
Harold Sakata pointing a gun
Harold Sakata as Oddjob. Eon Productions
One of the all-time best Bond henchmen, Harold Sakata’s work set the standard for all that followed with his mean look and great weapon of choice: his razor sharp top hat, which decapitated those who got in the way of his boss, Goldfinger.
4. Francisco Scaramanga (“The Man with the Golden Gun”)
Christopher Lee and Roger Moore holding guns with their backs to each other
(L-R) Christopher Lee and Roger Moore in ‘The Man with the Golden Gun.’ Eon Productions
Christopher Lee is fantastic as Scaramanga, also known as the man with the golden gun.

One of the best villains to match wits with Bond, Lee brought a fantastic mix of sinister evil and sophistication to the role.

3. May Day (“A View to a Kill”)
Christopher Walken and Grace Jones standing next to each other
Christopher Walken and Grace Jones in ‘A View to a Kill.’ Eon Productions
There have been several henchwomen in the Bond franchise, but Grace Jones’ May Day is by far the best. With her mix of sexuality and intimidation, she is a fan favorite. Especially when she sticks it to her boss Max Zorin at the end of the movie by ruining his plans for world domination.
2. Auric Goldfinger (“Goldfinger”)
Gert Fröbe sitting at a table
Gert Fröbe as Goldfinger. Eon Productions
What makes a James Bond movie great is a special villain, and Gert Fröbe as Auric Goldfinger, a man obsessed with gold, is the tops.

He doesn’t just have the look of a mad genius, but his one-liners are unmatched. Especially the classic response when Bond asks him “Do you expect me to talk?” while a laser is about to burn through him. Fröbe’s Goldfinger gives the fantastic response: “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.”

1. Jaws (“The Spy Who Loved Me, “Moonraker”)
Richard Kiel holding onto Roger Moore
(L-R) Roger Moore and Richard Kiel in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me.’ Eon Productions
When it comes to movie villains, the hulking Jaws with teeth made of metal is one of the most iconic out there.

Appearing in the Roger Moore-era of Bond movies (“The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker”) Richard Kiel’s portrayal was an instant fan favorite as he played the character menacingly but also with a little comedy.

How can you not love to see Bond try to narrowly escape the clutches of the indestructible Jaws? That kind of fantastical good versus evil is what Bond is all about.