One of the most important elements of any Bond movie has to be the villain. You can coast on lacklustre, uninteresting Bond girls if you really have to (though obviously we’d rather you didn’t) and still get a pass mark. It’s acceptable for Bond’s allies to be cannon fodder, and his gadgets are fun but not vital to the formula (look at Dr. No). But if your villain falls flat, the entire enterprise is scuppered.

The ultimate spy has had his share of dud villains over the years; some lacked the necessary menace, or were simply unimaginative retreads of the stereotypical Moore-era formula. Still, there have been plenty of creepy, lethally deranged, and masterfully ambitious antagonists to keep 007 occupied.

I’ve tried to personalize the following list, to avoid a predictable retread of the most familiar and iconic names. So don’t start complaining about the fact that so-and-so from a high-grossing Bond movie isn’t higher in the rankings, OK?

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This article was first posted on October 28, 2012