How many times did 007 kill the lead villain?

We were trading e-mails with a fellow Bond fan the other day and the question came up: How many times did 007 actually kill the main villain, anyway? By that, we mean, when Bond was actually was trying to kill him or her, not merely responsible for the death.

"HMSS Weblog? I want a recount!"

The film Bond is great at killing thugs or the occasional femme fatale such as Fiona Volpe or Xenia Onatopp. But the main villains? The ones pulling the strings? The answer may be not as often as you might think. Here’s a quick a look at the 22 films in the series produced by Eon Productions:

Dr. No: No. Bond and Dr. No were fighting on the good doctor’s nuclear reactor after the villain came after the agent. Dr. No perished in the reactor, but Bond was already scrambling to get out of there. Dr. No would have made if he had normal hands instead of two metal ones. You can easily say Bond was responsible, but 007 didn’t really kill him.

From Russia With Love: Bond killed Red Grant on the Orient Express, but Grant’s not really the main villain. Rosa Klebb was killed by Tatiana. Kronsteen, who dreamed up the plot, was killed by SPECTRE after the plan failed. No.

Goldfinger: No. Goldfinger and Bond were scuffling, each trying to get Goldfinger’s gold-plated semi-automatic. A shot goes off by accident (fired by Bond or Goldfinger?) goes through a window on a jet, with Goldfinger get sucked out of the aircraft. Responsible? Sure. Actually killing him? No.

Thunderball: No. Largo was killed by Domino with a speargun.

You Only Live Twice: No. Blofeld got away.

"Bond never killed me."

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: No. Blofeld got away.

Diamonds Are Forever: Not clear, we’re not certainly shown that he did. (Tom Mankiewicz wrote a scene where Bond definitively killed Blofeld but it wasn’t filmed.) Based on the pre-credits sequence of For Your Eyes Only, you’d have to say no, but there were legal issues clouding whether that film’s character was really Blofeld or a guy who looks a lot like him.

Live And Let Die: Yes. Bond shoves a gas capsule down Kananga’s mouth, causing him to explode like a balloon.

The Man With The Golden Gun: Yes. Bond shoots Scaramanga.

The Spy Who Loved Me: Yes. Bond shoots Stromberg.

Moonraker: Yes. Bond sends Drax through an air lock into outer space. Even if he hadn’t done that, Drax would have been died from a poison dart Bond fired into the villain.

For You Eyes Only: No. Columbo killed Kristatos.

Octopussy: No. Soviet soldiers Border guards killed Gen. Orlov. Kamal Khan dies in an airplane crash.

A View To a Kill: Unclear. Bond and Zorin are fighting on the Golden Gate Bridge. But did Zorin just slip or did Bond knock him off intentionally?

The Living Daylights: Half-yes. Bond kills co-main villain Brad Whitaker, but Koskov was still alive when being taken into custody by the KGB. (Life expectancy after that? Hmmm…)

Dalton/Bond killed two of his main villains, albeit not with that UNCLE gun knockoff.

Licence to Kill: Yes. Bond lights a gasoline-soaked Sanchez on fire.

GoldenEye: No. Bond dropped the former 006 from an impressive height, hoping to kill him, definitely trying to kill him. But the villain survived and isn’t killed until he’s hit by wreckage from his villain’s lair.

Tomorrow Never Dies: Yes. Bond made sure Carver was carved up.

The World Is Not Enough: Yes. Bond shoots Elektra.

Die Another Day: Yes. Bond sends Graves/Col. Moon into an engine of the villain’s aircraft.

Casino Royale: No. Le Chiffre is killed by Quantum as Bond lays helpless.

Quantum of Solace: No. Bond leaves Greene alive (albeit out in a desert) and he’s killed by Quantum. M tells Bond that Greene was found with oil in his stomach (Bond had left a can of oil with Greene) and two shots in the back of the skull. Bond intended for Greene to die in the desert, but Quantum (at least Quantum had a motive) had its own ideas.

6 Responses

  1. Great article! One point:

    Bond definitely intended to kill Trevelyan at the end. Remember:

    Alec: “For England, James?”
    Bond: “No. For me.”

    Bond lets him go, deliberately. A case can be made that he would have died from the injuries even without the destruction from the wreckage.

  2. I disagree that the character in the pre-credit sequence of For Your Eyes Only is not Blofeld. Who else can it be? One of his doubles? I think not. No, that was the last of Blofeld in the Eon series, but I find it interesting that Sean Connery never once killed the main villain by his own hands; including Never Say Never Again.

  3. Another point on GoldenEye. Bond caused the wreakage of the satellite dish which finished off Trevelyan. In a sense, Bond killed him by his own hands. Which brings us back to Dr. No. Bond caused the reactor to reach critical level and Bond is seen kicking Dr. No’s chest just before he submerges into the boiling water. Bond probably knew that the good doctor was not going to make it out of the reactor in time so he allowed nature and gravity to do the rest.

  4. Some of your “No” conclusions go pretty far to absolve Bond of being the killer. But you stop short in several instances and do not fully follow through with that trend. Allow me to help.

    The Spy Who Loved Me. You say yes. I say no. Bond only fired a bullet into that tube under the table. It was Stromberg who chose to sit in front of the other end of it. Had he sat elsewhere, he’d be alive today.

    Moonraker. You say yes. I say no. Bond pushed Drax out the air lock, but had there been atmosphere there, Drax would have been OK. No, it was not Bond who killed Drax, but the intense, cold vacuum of space.

    A View to a Kill. You say “unclear.” I say no. It was the sudden, abrupt stop at the end of that long, long fall that killed Zorin. Had they been on a shorter bridge, Zorin would merely have gone for a swim.

    Die Another Day. You say yes. I say no. Bond merely shoved Graves. Bond didn’t break the aircraft window. Bond didn’t put that aircraft engine there. Hell, Bond didn’t even make the plane take off in the first place. Bond’s just a victim of circumstances, and it’s not fair to convict him on the basis of mere circumstances!

    Quantum of Solace. You say yes. I say no. OK, seriously, now. Greene was not killed by Quantum, but by exposure under the sun in the desert, as Bond fully and consciously intended.

    Bond used the desert as a deadly weapon to kill Greene, just as surely as if he’d used a gun to kill him. Bond’s intent was to kill Greene, and he did; slowly and horribly.

    To say the desert wasn’t Bond’s “deadly weapon” would be as wrong as to say that when Bond shot Scaramanga it wasn’t Bond that killed him, but rather that fast moving bit of metal.

    Sure I joke above, but Bond did kill Greene. That’s a “Yes.”

    Unless, of course, I’ve forgotten something from the end of QOS. And I freely admit, I’ve done my very best to block that movie out of my memory. Hey! Maybe I’m succeeding!


  5. Greene was found with motor oil in his stomach (yeah, Bond gave him a quart) and two bullets in the *back* of his skull. That’s execution style. Bond didn’t shoot Greene.

  6. I’ve been gently reminded of the final scene between M and Bond in which she tells him that Greene was found dead in the desert with two bullets in the back of his head, and motor oil in his stomach (in a macabre move, Bond had provided Greene with some from extra stored in the vehicle).

    All I had recalled from memory was that Greene was found dead and had been so desperately thirsty that he actually did drink the motor oil. How gruesome.

    I missed M’s telling Bond the bit about the two bullets in Greene’s head. Maybe I was momentarily distracted by M’s beauty.

    So, Quantum interceded on Bond’s intent for Greene to die from exposure in the desert. Bond thought he was killing Greene. It’s just that Quantum got there before Bond’s intent could be fully and finally realized.

    Still, intent doesn’t count. If Bond shoots at someone to kill them, and misses, he has not killed them, no matter that intent.

    So I was wrong. Bond did not kill Greene. I stand corrected. Thanks for setting me straight.


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