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Topic: IMO, Roger Moore had better villains

Let me first preface this by saying that this is purely my subjective opinion, and I am not claiming my opinion is superior to anyone else's, nor am I belittling or any such thing anyone else's feelings. I am interested in a debate.

My favorite Bond is Sean Connery. The man is the definitive article for me. However, literally all but one his movies has him dealing with SPECTRE in some sort of world domination or destruction plot. Only Goldfinger doesn't.

Moore first deals with a Black Gangster, who also dabbled in Voodoo, who plans to flood the heroin market and basically turn all cities into masses of heroin addicts whilst going to war with the Mafia. Oh, and he has an island wherein Bond jumps alligators, and a henchmen with a metallic hook hand.

He then deals with an assassin who is essentially his evil counterpart who offers $1mil per kill, whose henchmen is tiny but deadly. The whole solar energy storyline felt tacked on, but the idea of a villain who is out only for Bond's scalp is interesting.

The Spy Who Loved Me is basically a remake of YOLT in all but name, so whatever, but even then the idea of the guy using a sunken city and reclaiming the world in some sort of reverse Atlantis mixed with cultism is cool. Oh, and there's JAWS. And Disco music

Moonraker is the most fantastic Bond movie in the series and is literally set in Space. Enough said. Oh, and there's Jaws.

I haven't seen Octopussy yet or FYEO but A View to a Kill, while in some ways a remake of Goldfinger, has the whole Silicon valley subplot. Zorin doesn't want to take over the world, he just wants to eliminate all competition.

I feel like while Connery may have been the better Bond, Moore got to work with some fantastic stuff. I wish we had had more non-SPECTRE Connery films.

I'm curious as to your views.

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Re: IMO, Roger Moore had better villains

I think that the involvement of post Blofeld reveal SPECTRE usually deteriorates how the film would end up being, because that just makes it too easy to write, like the soviets were in the 80s.
YOLT and Diamonds suffered because of it.
That said, them not being able to be used for legal reasons thanks to McLory tying them up on that end, I found that it was quite an ingenious way to make them get creative with it.
Moore got the most variety in villains because of that, even if their behaviour most of the time was the same garden variety falling to the eventual look of menace most shared.

I think the title of your thread is flawed. Better than whom? Or do you consider them the best?
Goldfinger in its own way would only contribute to world domination eventually being achieved, so I think that assessment is flawed too, IMO.

"...I have the oddest feeling we will be meeting again sometime..."
-Roger Moore's James Bond. RIP.
I have a YouTube channel on all things Bond (amongst other things, coming soon™).
The name's Bond and Beyond. It's currently on hold, though.

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Re: IMO, Roger Moore had better villains

Doctor Who wrote:

I feel like while Connery may have been the better Bond, Moore got to work with some fantastic stuff. I wish we had had more non-SPECTRE Connery films.

I agree with the second sentence here.
In Fleming's novel Dr No is not a SPECTRE agent but a lone wolf operating on behalf of the Soviets and toppling US missiles. I have never read an entirely clear reason as to why Eon decided against using the Russians as a sleeping villain. I can only assume they didn't want to antagonise, well, someone or something. It's rather difficult to antagonise an ideology.
Anyway, they repeated the trick in FRWL, and had to create a slightly convoluted explanation for Tatiana to be tempted into working unintentionally for SPECTRE.
Goldfinger is working with Red China.
SPECTRE takes over fully from there, even in Connery's 1983 comeback.
The Blofeld arc does rather detract from the good villains of those first four movies: Dr No, Rosa Klebb, Kronsteen, Largo and the henchmen Grant and Fiona Volpe are IMO much more dimensional than the throwaways of Moore's latter days. They share a drive and ambition mixed with astute minds and an innate slipperiness - notice how Goldfinger and Largo both manage to plot escapes when things go awry. The best Blofeld in my view is Telly Savalas. Unfortunately, while the first three villains could have stood alone, the latter three [four] cannot.

Moore's villains were initially okay too, although Curt Jurgens is pretty much Blofeld in disguise and he's far too static. There's a welcome physicality to Kanaga and a precise methodical bent to Scaramanga. Drax evokes the slitheriness of Dr No. After that it rather goes downhill as the baddies become urbane and sleek without ever seeming to threaten our man Bond.

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Re: IMO, Roger Moore had better villains

Zorin was pretty darn good, awesome Walken performance and the character was psychotically amoral like Heath Ledger's Joker. I love that final chuckle as he looses his grip at the end.

I agree Kristatos was too lowkey, but that's part of the genius of that film, the bait and switch of who the villain is, then finally it turns out the real big baddie is Bond's old pal Gogol (who awards Bond the Order of Lenin two films later, they're still pals). Clever trick, but for that to work, Kristatos has to be much blander than the classic villains.


I would also say MooreBond met more interesting women than ConneryBond. Other than Pussy Galore, those Connery-era characters were all much much better defined in the books, then usually reduced to beauty queens in bikinis for the film adaptations (with their dialog overdubbed). Starting with Holly Goodhead, the filmmakers made a point of creating actual characters for the requisite Bondgirl role, and the ladies in Moore's first three films were mostly pretty memorable too.

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Re: IMO, Roger Moore had better villains

caractacus potts wrote:

Zorin was pretty darn good, awesome Walken performance and the character was psychotically amoral like Heath Ledger's Joker. I love that final chuckle as he looses his grip at the end.

I agree Kristatos was too lowkey, but that's part of the genius of that film, the bait and switch of who the villain is, then finally it turns out the real big baddie is Bond's old pal Gogol (who awards Bond the Order of Lenin two films later, they're still pals). Clever trick, but for that to work, Kristatos has to be much blander than the classic villains.

Caractacus, Kristatos, seriously? The guy wore a cardigan with a zipper for goodness sake and he can't even control his teenage ward... hopeless ajb007/smile
I'm rather fond of FYEO as it happens, but while I think Glover is a good, he can only take the role so far. Because it is so low key, when he's finally called upon to be nasty, it simply doesn't work and the audience doesn't believe it [see  cardigans and wards above].

I don't understand why people consider Walken's performance to be good. He's overacting in the most pernicious fashion. That laugh grated from the earliest scenes at the chateau and doesn't improve. I'd suggest that Red Grant is just as psychologically amoral, but Robert Shaw's performance, all understated menace, is far, far superior.

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Re: IMO, Roger Moore had better villains

Dr. No, Klebb, Grant, Kronsteen, Goldfinger, Oddjob, Largo, Blofeld.....no contest.

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.