2012 is the 50th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s James Bond appearing on the big screen. Yes, it’s been 50 years of nonstop action and thrills — the gadgets, the cars, the exotic locations, the evil plots, the dastardly villains and, of course, the Bond girls. While all of these have contributed to the success of the 007 franchise, it is Bond’s encounters with the bad guys’ henchmen that provide some of the most memorable scenes in the films. On The List this week, James Bond aficionado John Sopko looks at the top 10 Bond henchmen.
- 10. Hans, “You Only Live Twice” (1967) — On his way to the control room of Blofeld’s volcanic lair to detonate a rocket, 007 must first fight Hans, Blofeld’s hulk of a bodyguard. Hans (Ronald Rich) seems to be getting the better of the fight before Bond ducks under a punch, upending Hans and throwing him into Blofeld’s private pool, stocked with piranhas.
- 9. May Day, “A View to a Kill” (1985) — The lover of evil industrialist Max Zorin, May Day (Grace Jones) assassinates three of Bond’s colleagues, escapes from him by parachuting off the Eiffel Tower, locks him in a submerged car and tries to incinerate him. After Zorin double-crosses her by attempting to drown both her and Bond, she gets her revenge by detonating the bomb with which Zorin plans to flood the entire Silicon Valley, albeit killing herself in the process.
- 8. Xenia Onatopp, “GoldenEye” (1995) — An operative in the crime syndicate Janus, headed by Alec Trevelyan, Onatopp (Famke Janssen) has a specialty: crushing people to death between her thighs. It takes all of Bond’s efforts to escape from her deadly romantic entanglements in a hotel spa before having a final encounter with her in the jungles of Cuba. After she rappels down on top of him from a helicopter, Bond is able to shoot down the aircraft, causing Onatopp to snap back up into a tree, crushing her to death.
- 7. Nick Nack, “The Man With the Golden Gun” (1974) — The personal manservant of “The Man With the Golden Gun,” the dwarf Nick Nack (Herve Villechaize) faithfully assists his master, Scaramanga, throughout the film, whether it be stealing a component for a laser or controlling the hall of mirrors where Scaramanga has his final showdown with 007. After his master’s death, Nick Nack leaps with a knife from a storage closet above 007’s bed but is subdued quickly by Bond.
- 6. Chang, “Moonraker” (1979) — The bodyguard and manservant of Hugo Drax, Chang (Toshiro Suga) takes Drax ‘s order to “look after Mr. Bond [to] see that some harm comes to him” to heart. Chang first attempts to kill Bond by turning up the pressure in a centrifuge chamber. He then has a long-drawn-out fight with Bond in a glass factory in Venice, where Bond kills him by hurling him out a window into an orchestra pit.
- 5. Tee Hee, “Live and Let Die” (1974) — An associate of Kananga’s, Tee Hee (Julius Harris) possesses mechanical pincers for a hand. He threatens to cut off Bond’s finger, bends the barrel of his Walther PPK, and leaves Bond to die at a crocodile farm in the Louisiana bayou. His final encounter with Bond is a fight aboard a train, where he gets thrown out of a window by 007.
- 4. Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd, “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971) — Two assassins who work for Blofeld, Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith) attempt to incinerate Bond in a crematorium and to bury him in a pipeline in the Nevada desert. In the final scene of the movie, they are disguised as waiters aboard a luxury yacht, attempting to assassinate 007 with a bomb hidden in a cake. Bond uncovers their scheme when he asks them about a type of wine being served with the meal. As Mr. Kidd approaches him with flaming shish kebabs, 007 breaks a bottle, throwing its contents on Kidd, incinerating him. After escaping strangulation by Mr. Wint, Bond ties the bomb between Mr. Wint’s legs and throws him overboard just as it detonates.
- 3. Jaws, “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977) and “Moonraker” (1979) — The assistant to Stromberg in “The Spy Who Loved Me” and Hugo Drax in “Moonraker,” Jaws (Richard Kiel) is a 7‘2” assassin who specializes in killing people by biting them with his metal teeth. Although 007 tangles with Jaws on land, sea and air, Bond can never hurt him; indeed, Jaws appears indestructible. Toward the end of “Moonraker,” Bond eventually convinces Jaws that he doesn’t measure up to Drax’s standards for a master race. Jaws then switches side, helping Bond stop Drax’s plans to destroy Earth with nerve gas.
- 2. Oddjob, “Goldfinger” (1964) — Goldfinger’s mute Korean manservant Oddjob (Harold Sakata) is known primarily for having a hat with a steel brim. When thrown correctly, it can break a neck or even decapitate. In an attempt to prevent Bond from stopping the detonation of an atomic bomb inside Fort Knox, Oddjob throws his hat at 007 but strikes an electrical cord instead. Bond throws the hat back at Oddjob, but he also misses, and the hat gets stuck in iron bars guarding the gold. When Oddjob goes to retrieve it, Bond grabs the severed cord, touches it to the bars and electrocutes Oddjob.
- 1. Donald “Red” Grant, “From Russia With Love” (1963) — A S.P.E.C.T.R.E. assassin, Grant (Robert Shaw) strangles people with a cord in his wristwatch. The fight scene between him and 007, in the close quarters of a darkened compartment aboard the Orient Express, arguably is the best in movie history. In this great mano-a-mano sequence, Bond is nearly killed before garroting Grant with his own watch.
Compiled and written by John Sopko
Sources: IMDb.com; the Bond movies
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