Since the first time he suavely announced “Bond. James Bond,” cigarette dangling from his lips, in 1962’s Dr. No, we’ve been naturally compelled to root for 007 in his never-ending mission to defend queen, country, and the fate of the free world, especially because he looks so damn cool while doing it. But it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if Bond wasn’t pitted against some of the most colorful, nefarious, quirky, and deadly archenemies in the history of spy cinema.
Admit it: as thrilling as it is to fantasize that you’re the guy in the Aston-Martin DB5 toting the Walther PPK, imagining yourself as one of those worthy adversaries—whether out to conquer the world or to just throw a major beatdown on an MI6 agent—is almost as satisfying. Through 60 years and 25 films (plus one major unofficial entry for good measure), Bond has contended with villains of all shapes, sizes, genders, and nationalities—some as cultured, refined and deep-pocketed as 007 himself, others as cunning and physically skilled, and still others equipped with bizarre weaponry equal to his arsenal of gadgets. What they all have in common is the instinct to kill, licensed or otherwise.
In honor of The A.V. Club’s Villains Month, what follows is our ranking—minus various once-nasty Bond Girls turned nice, and the singular Vesper Lynd, who was forced into treachery—of the 25 greatest Bond villains to date. Do we expect you to read? No—we expect you to DIE!