Which Bond Villain is the most evil?

Is there a more evil Bond villain than Max Zorin? The way he shot down his entire group of underlings while gleefully laughing.

He has to be the worst.

My top 3 would be:

Three. Sanchez
Two. Stromberg
One. Zorin

Drax is up there too, especially the book version with his Nazi background.

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Margaret Thatcher, FYEO

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I’d totally agree…

…if Goldfinger wasn’t currently the president of the United States.

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Thatcher’s in the top ten for sure.
Hmmn top 3
Grant- partially because of memories of the book and partially for how chilling Shaw is
Klebb - as above, plus there’s something truly evil about the knuckle duster carrying
Drax- eugenics in space, master race, pure evil

Charles Gray’s Blofeld seems the most pleasant as a flip side.

In terms of severity of their ambitions, Stromberg and Drax get my vote. Wiping out human life to start again on their own terms is megalomania on steroids. In terms of cruelty meted out on others, I’m going for Sanchez. Feeding people to sharks, blowing up their heads and so on.

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No, Orangefinger is POTUS. And believe me, he’s too stupid to be Goldfinger. :wink:

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I think there are four villains that are separated in their evil from the rest and they are those that have been mentioned above and for the reasons that have been stated:

4 – Karl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me
3 – Hugo Drax in Moonraker
2 – Franz Sanchez in Licence To Kill
1 – Max Zorin in A View To A Kill

Anyone who laughs maniacally while gunning down dozens of people–his own men no less–while about to pull off a scheme to kill millions of people just to enhance his fortune is a very bad dude. Besides, many, if not nearly all Bond villains are sociopaths. Zorin is the only one who is a psychopath. And while some sociopaths are not necessarily bad people (for example a number of CEOs are sociopaths), you can predict how they will react in situations to some extent. But all psychopaths are very bad people, plus you can’t predict crazy.

This is actually a difficult question. How do we measure ‘evil’ itself? There does not seem to exist a benchmark against which we could judge the villains objectively, only the superlative of their own deeds - and of course the gruesome reality of our own history, of past and present realities.

Maybe mere number of victims doesn’t actually lead in the right direction. There’s always the ‘bigger picture’ and the ‘needs must’ that are even a common feature of our reality. The motif ought to weigh in just as much. Blaise Pascal remarked that men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.

So with these two categories in mind, let’s look at the villains and see how they do.

Le Chiffre: small scale; a ruthless and cruel man pursuing various schemes of criminality and espionage; had the most impact on Bond until Blofeld turned up; motives: greed

Mr BIG: leader of a tightly woven crime gang, smuggler, SMERSH-operative, though it’s not clear what actual use he is to them, apart from providing funds and pushing the occasional defector in front of the subway. Motive: personal ambition to become a crime ‘genius’ - without much to back up his claim.

Hugo Drax (Hugo von der Drache, actually): sets out to singlehandedly achieve what his damn Fuhrer couldn’t, wiping out London. With a weapon the Britons payed for themselves - after he stole his initial funds in Raskolnikov fashion from a victim he murdered. Motive: not pure evil but pure hatred. This definitely is a contender for the title.

Which also illustrates the difficulty: the film version supposedly acted from a kind of Nietzsche/Nazi scheme to create a new race of humans, a superhuman race. An aspiration that camouflages itself as noble to justify the near-extinction of humanity. Nowhere does film-Drax betray hatred or show a lust for doing evil just for the sheer joy of doing so. And yet, he arguably does more evil than most other villains combined. Is he more or less evil than his counterpart from Fleming’s pages?

You can dig along the vein of the books further, you can dissect the films in a similar manner, it’s still remarkably difficult to find many examples who display a sheer joy for doing evil for evil’s sake. Zorin is actually a rare display and his gunning down his own people laughing feels strangely odd for a main villain (Onatop has similar leanings, but she’s not the main villain - nor is Stamper).

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Good question. I think Red Grant is one of the best villains due to being absolutely clinical in his profession but possessing enough charm to blend in to polite society. That’s something very scary to think about - we don’t know the people who walk among us.

Red Grant is no more evil than James Bond, just working for the other side, Sanchez is an effective villain but basically a gangster - not on the scale of the others - its all lead or silver/quid pro quo for him, I still have no idea what Koskov and Whitaker were planning… Goldfinger’s scheme is basically extreme insider trading

For me, apart from the ones mentioned like Drax, Stromberg and Zorin, I think it’s maybe a couple who have been maligned as weak villains sometimes who might be the most evil… Dominic Greene is ransoming the water supply of a poor, drought stricken country for money and Elliot Carver was willing to let people die and start wars (which would rage for years killing countless people) to get good ratings

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“not till you crawl over here and you kiss my foot” there is a level of sadism there that suggests a real evil. It’s a nod to the more explicit sexual psychopathy in the novel. Grant is irredeemably evil, a predator who would be a serial killer if not on payroll. Would Bond? I don’t think so as written, or as portrayed by any of the actors.

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I believe in the novel he is a serial killer and was before he joined the Soviet Union.

If we were to include the novels in this list, then this gets interesting there too. My most evil novel villains would be (3-1):

Colonel Sun
Donovan (Red Grant)
Drax

Honorable or rather dishonorable mentions: Sanguinetti’s hitmen in TSWLM, Sigmund Stromberg in JBTSWLM, Blofeld in YOLT (not the OHMSS or TB where he is oddly moral to himself at least)

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WI guess there’s psychopaths and then there’s megalomaniacs, psychopaths with a grand plan.

As scary as Grant’s psycho is, he’s a puppet. Whereas Blofeld, Stromberg and Drax etc are the Hitler/pol pot variety; eager to commit genocide to further there own world view.

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The sang-froid of Drax is what I find scary–the brutalities of gangsters, thugs, and hoodlums are mild compared to the calm iciness of Drax. Zorin’s maniacal laughter lets me off the hook as a viewer–he is a cartoon psychopath. Drax’s utter reasonableness is the reasonableness of mass murderers.

Gray’s Blofeld is on the same ladder a rung or two below Drax for me: I love the way he calmly orders his bathosub and is about to cut his losses and leave all others to their fates before Bond intervenes/interferes. Also, Blofeld engineers a supply of doubles whose only function is to die in his place.

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For sheer scale, I’d say Drax then Stromberg. But you could be in a room with them and not know how evil they were as they both had a pretense of class and civility in their comportment.

Sanchez and Zorin on the other hand are two you definitely do not want to meet in person. Sanchez torturing Lupe, Felix and Krest come to mind as rather horrifying. But he doesn’t stick around to see what the shark does to Felix. And he has motives in his sick mind for how he treats Lupe and what he does to Krest for thinking he robbed him.

But the thing that is most chilling about Zorin is when he shoots the guy in the SF city office in front of Bond and Stacy and says without emotion, “that’s pretty neat, don’t you think.” That shows he has no regard for life and enjoys taking it from others for its own sake. And it’s Christopher Walken.

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I definitely get a much more hateful vibe from Stromberg, despite them being essentially the same person with almost the exact same plan and motivations. Though the novel versions of Drax and Stromberg are quite different. Drax, obviously, is a Nazi and wants to destroy London as revenge for defeating Germany in the war. Sigmund Stromberg is a psychotic who doesn’t even want to start an underwater utopia, he just wants to destroy the world.

Curious, where is the name Sigmund coming from? I remember in the movie it was Karl.

In the novel, James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me, his name was Sigmund Stromberg.

There’s also a very low-key backstory of Stromberg killing his parents by manipulating their Saab, reminding a bit of Blofeld’s introduction in Thunderball.