17. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (You Only Live Twice, 1967)
“Allow me to introduce myself,” he said to Bond back in 1967, “I am Ernst Stavro Blofeld.” The man needs no introduction in this ranking, but first time viewers of You Only Live Twice would certainly need the clarification. After all, is this really the same sinister, unnerving presence we’d heard but not seen in From Russia With Love and Thunderball?
What was a terrifying, shadowy figure of criminal royalty is now a small, remarkably unthreatening fellow with a droning voice and a disfiguring scar.
This description and low ranking of Donald Pleasance’s portrayal might rankle some, but the sight of the SPECTRE mastermind clutching his fluffy cat and gazing up at a Sean Connery that towers over him will never go away. Not to mention that Dr. Evil has irrevocably ruined the image of the character in the eyes of history.
Best Moment: “This is extortion!” a Japanese suit complains. “Extortion is my business,” Blofeld retorts. That really is a classic line and a fitting slogan for any criminal enterprise.
Worst Moment: “This is the price,” Blofeld announces, “of failure, Mr Bond!” He then shoots his blank-faced henchman Osato, a man whose death teaches Bond nothing at all.
“Now come hither! Rather than shoot you right here, I shall lead you into the packed open-spaced chamber filled with your armed ninja allies! Oops!” Moments like this are the reason Bond villains are famous for never finishing James Bond when they have the chance.