1. ERNST STAVRO BLOFELD
(played by Donald Pleasence in You Only Live Twice)
The most iconic and most parodied of Bond villains, the facial scar and bald head (along with the volcano base and deadly fish) is instantly recognisable the world over- and Pleasance's truly brilliant performance has cemented the legend. The original and best Blofeld.
2. FRANCISCO SCARAMANGA
(played by Christopher Lee in The Man With The Golden Gun)
Suave, debonair and deadly, Scaramanga is the dark side of Bond, the flip-side to 007's coin. The fact that this most gentlemanly of assassins is played by the legend that is Christopher Lee is probably one of the best casting choices ever made in the entire Bond franchise.
3. FRANZ SANCHEZ
(played by Robert Davi in License To Kill)
A thoroughly nasty piece of work, Sanchez is a ruthless and vicious drug lord responsible for the attack on Felix Leiter. Gone are the exotically-named megalomaniacs with convoluted plans of world domination, here we have an all-too-real villain played with a steely edge by Davi.
4. MAX ZORIN
(played by Christopher Walken in A View To A Kill)
Walken brings his trademark intensity to the role of Zorin, an ex-KGB psychopath who plans to destroy Silicon Valley through a tremendous earthquake and thus monopolise the microchip market (a timely suggestion by the writers, as computers were starting to break big in the mid-80s)
5. ELEKTRA KING
(played by Sophie Marceau in The World Is Not Enough)
It's a masterly stroke of misdirection; Renard looks like the master villain, Elektra the poor abused kidnap victim. The moment when it's revealed that it's actually Elektra pulling the strings is a total gut-punch, helped in no small part by a strong performance by Marceau.
6. AURIC GOLDFINGER
(played by Gert Frobe in Goldfinger)
The archetypal Bond villain, his grandiose plan to devalue the gold reserves of Fort Knox by detonating a nuclear bomb there sets the bar for those that follow. Even though his lines are all dubbed, he still gets one of the most famous movie lines of all time. What more can you ask for?
7. HUGO DRAX
(played by Michael Lonsdale in Moonraker)
Drax's plan to create the 'super-race' in space (by gassing the inhabitants of Earth with nerve gas) is quite insane, but Lonsdale's performance is strong and he resists the cliche of the ranting megalomaniac- his quiet aside of 'Look after Mr. Bond. See that some harm comes to him' is particularly chilling.
8. ALEC TREVELYAN (006)
(played by Sean Bean in GoldenEye)
A battle-scarred former 00 gone rogue proves a brilliant foil for Pierce Brosnan's first Bond film (much like Scaramanga against Moore's Bond) with the ever-dependable Bean turning in a performance full of simmering rage.
9. DR. KANANGA (A.K.A. MR. BIG)
(played by Yaphet Kotto in Live And Let Die)
Kananga is the two-faced Caribbean criminal who plans to flood the American heroin market. The use of voodoo as a cover for these business enterprises is an interesting twist and Kotto makes for a convincing and occasionally unnerving villain.
10. ELLIOT CARVER
(played by Jonathan Pryce in Tomorrow Never Dies)
There's a prescience to the character of Carver- an amoral, manipulative and deceitful media baron willing to start a war for ratings- and Pryce's performance is just top-notch, none more so than the scene where he gleefully dispatches his 'golden retrievers' to destroy a politician's reputation and release bug-filled software.
These are our picks for the best of the Bond villains - what about you? Do you agree with our choices or are we missing someone vital? Let us know in the comments below. Of course, the villains can't take Bond down on their own- they often need help in the form of henchmen (and henchwomen). Next week, we reveal our countdown of our Top 10 Henchmen.