In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli explained that every Bond movie starts with the villain: “We always sit down with our writers, and we start by thinking about ‘What is the world afraid of?’ We start by thinking about, ‘Who’s the Bond villain?’” So, the next Bond villain might end up being cast before Bond himself.
One of the most beloved tropes of the Bond franchise is the monologue delivered by the villain to outline their evil plan and establish the stakes of the action-packed finale. From Dr. No to Ernst Stavro Blofeld, every great Bond villain has a great monologue.
10/10 Dr. Julius No In Dr. No
The titular baddie in Dr. No, the first ever Bond movie, was burdened with setting up some of the franchise’s worldbuilding. By explaining the purpose of his sinister organization, SPECTRE, Dr. No set up the next few villains that would follow.
When Dr. No captured Bond, he filled him in on SPECTRE’s nefarious mission: “Missiles are only the first step to prove our power. East, west; just points of a compass, each as stupid as each other. I work for SPECTRE, ‘Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion,’ the four great cornerstones of power.”
9/10 Karl Stromberg In The Spy Who Loved Me
Roger Moore’s third Bond outing, The Spy Who Loved Me, is the quintessential 007 adventure. It has a classic opening stunt, a classic theme song, a classic espionage story with romantic undertones, and a classic villain with a god complex and delusions of grandeur.
Karl Stromberg establishes pretty high stakes ahead of the film’s action-packed finale: “Within minutes, New York and Moscow will cease to exist, global destruction will follow, and a new era will begin. I’m not interested in extortion; I want to change the face of history. Today, civilization as we know it is corrupt and decadent. Inevitably, it will destroy itself. I’m merely accelerating the process.”
8/10 Alec Trevelyan In GoldenEye
Bond spends the first half of GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan’s 007 debut, mourning the loss of fellow agent Alec Trevelyan, better known as 006. But as it turns out, 006 is alive – and he’s a turncoat. When Bond confronts him, Trevelyan describes his complicated cyberterrorist plot: “It’s not just erasing bank records – it’s everything on every computer in greater London. Tax records, stock market, credit ratings, land records, criminal records…”
Trevelyan ends his speech with a badass one-liner that sums up his whole plan and establishes a ticking clock over the climactic action: “In 16 minutes, the United Kingdom will re-enter the Stone Age.”
7/10 Red Grant In From Russia With Love
In the opening scene of From Russia with Love, SPECTRE is training assassins to kill Bond in retaliation for the death of Dr. No in the previous movie. The job is contracted to the menacing Red Grant and he sets out to find Bond and take him down.
When he confronts 007 on the Orient Express, Grant bluntly tells him, “My orders are to kill you and deliver the Lektor. How I do it is my business. It’ll be slow and painful.”
6/10 Raoul Silva In Skyfall
After Raoul Silva’s goons have captured Bond in Skyfall, Silva introduces himself by describing a rat infestation on his grandmother’s island, and the gruesome solution they came up with: trap the rats in a drum and force them to eat each other.
Silva explains, “They start eating each other, until there are only two left. The two survivors. And then what? Do you kill them? No. You take them and release them into the trees, but now they don’t eat coconut anymore. Now, they only eat rat. You have changed their nature. The two survivors. This is what she made us.” The rat story turns out to be a grand metaphor for Silva’s grudge against M.
5/10 Elliot Carver In Tomorrow Never Dies
Although contemporary critics weren’t too fond of it, Tomorrow Never Dies has since been reappraised as a prescient satire of fake news. After attempting to kick off World War III for the exclusive news coverage, media mogul Elliot Carver speaks to his department heads: “It seems a small crisis is brewing in the South China Sea. I want full newspaper coverage, I want magazine stories, I want books, I want films, I want TV, I want radio, I want us on the air 24 hours a day. This is our moment! And a billion people around this planet will watch it, hear it, and read about it from the Carver Media Group.”
The final line of Carver’s monologue doesn’t just sum up the motivation behind his evil plan; it sums up the current media landscape: “There’s no news like bad news.”
4/10 Auric Goldfinger In Goldfinger
One of the most iconic moments in Bond history is when the titular villain in Goldfinger straps 007 to a table and slowly sends a laser beam up between his legs. It’s become one of the defining images of the spy genre.
As the laser beam is inching its way toward his crotch, ready to cut him in half, Goldfinger compares it to Bond’s gadget car: “Oh, that interesting car of yours. I, too, have a new toy, but considerably more practical. You are looking at an industrial laser, which emits an extraordinary light, not to be found in nature. It can project a spot on the Moon or, at closer range, cut through solid metal. I will show you.”
3/10 Le Chiffre In Casino Royale
As he brutally tortures Bond by whipping his testicles while he’s tied naked to a seatless chair, Le Chiffre tells him, “You know, I never understood all these elaborate tortures. It’s the simplest thing… to cause more pain than a man can possibly endure. And, of course, it’s not only the immediate agony, but the knowledge that if you do not yield soon enough… there will be little left to identify you as a man.”
Not only is the content of this monologue truly disturbing; Mads Mikkelsen knocks it out of the park with his chillingly calm, callous delivery.
2/10 Hugo Drax In Moonraker
Aboard his eponymous space station in Moonraker, Hugo Drax announces his plan to wipe out all life on Earth and repopulate the planet with a master race spawned from the inhabitants of said space station.
There’s an ominous sense of grandiosity as Drax compares himself and his progenies to gods: “First, there was the dream; now, there is reality. Here in the untainted cradle of the heavens will be created a new super race; a race of perfect physical specimens. You have been selected as its progenitors. Like gods, your offspring will return to Earth and shape it in their image.”
1/10 Ernst Stavro Blofeld In You Only Live Twice
With his hollowed-out volcano lair and his sinister stroking of his white cat, Ernst Stavro Blofeld has become the ultimate symbol of megalomania. After being teased as the head honcho of SPECTRE for four movies, Blofeld finally came after Bond in You Only Live Twice.
Donald Pleasence, the greatest portrayal of Blofeld by far, nails the evil monologue: “As you see, I am about to inaugurate a little war. In a matter of hours, when America and Russia have annihilated each other, we shall see a new power rule the world.”