The James Bond franchise has entertained (most of) the whole family for generations, with one-liners like “shocking” and “I think he got the point” delivered while some poor soul is electrocuted or shot with a harpoon gun. But they were bad guys, so it was all okay.
However, regardless of how downplayed they might have been, we were shown some pretty disturbing ways to dispense with an evil henchman, the kind of thing that gave us nightmares when we were kids.
With work now underway on the latest latest Bond movie, Spectre, here’s our look at the top 10 macabre ways 007 has dispatched evildoers in masterful fashion.
This feature contains spoilers for lots of James Bond films.
Victim: Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe)
Scene: having defeated Goldfinger’s dastardly plan, Bond believes he’s on a private jet to Washington when the bullion-obsessed blimp shows up with a gold-plated .45 pistol, no less. The revolver discharges during the ensuing struggle, shooting out a window and causing explosive decompression. Goldfinger is blown out of the aircraft and falls to earth without a parachute.
Cause of death: hitting the ground at about 120mph.
Coroner’s report: hypoxia will set in to begin with and the victim will pass out for a short period. Upon regaining consciousness you’ll already be at terminal velocity as you hit the ground.
Time taken to die: several minutes of freefall before an instantaneous death.
Agony rating: 1
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Victim: Number 11/Helga Brand (Karin Dor).
Scene: inside the secret Spectre volcano lair, boss Ernst Stavro Blofeld punishes Number 11 for failing to kill Bond by pressing a pedal that causes a section of bridge to suddenly drop open – just as she is crossing it – plunging poor Helga into the piranha-infested pool below.
Cause of death: being eaten alive by piranha fish.
Coroner’s report: it’s not that piranha take big bites, like sharks, it’s more that there are so many of them and they bite so rapidly, so you’re being ripped up by small mouthfuls of razor-sharp teeth.
Time taken to die: 10 seconds or so.
Agony rating: 9.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Victim: nameless Spectre henchman
Scene: Bond and Teresa di Vicenzo are attempting to escape Blofeld and his henchmen after they’ve tracked them down in the Swiss Alps. During a high-speed chase on skis, everyone must jump over a caterpillar-tread snow blower that’s trying to clear a narrow road through the deep snow. Everyone makes the jump – except for one of Blofeld’s henchmen, who doesn’t quite clear it.
Cause of death: falling into a giant, razor-sharp ice shredding machine.
Coroner’s report: having just enough time to scream, the henchman is utterly shredded and then sprayed all over the virgin snow of the Swiss Alps.
Time taken to die: three seconds.
Agony rating: 4.
Live And Let Die (1973)
Victim: Kananga (Yaphet Kotto)
Scene: Bond and Solitaire are tied up and lowered into a shark-infested pool. Using his multi-purpose Rolex, Bond grabs a pellet for his compressed air shark gun and escapes. Kananga charges at him with a knife and the two fall into the pool. During the struggle, Bond rams the pellet into his mouth and makes him swallow it. Kananga expands, shoots into the air and explodes.
Cause of death: ingesting a compressed air pellet and having it release all the gas in your body.
Coroner’s report: this would be a relatively painless but messy way to go. The average adult has 10 pints of blood in their body and it would spray everywhere.
Time taken to die: four seconds.
Agony rating: 2.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Victim: Stromberg’s Assistant (Marilyn Galsworthy)
Scene: aquatic quack Karl Stromberg meets with the two inventors of the secret submarine tracking system to tell them they’ve been paid. However, someone has been trying to sell the plans to another bidder. Stromberg suspects his assistant and asks her to leave the room. Once in the lift, the floor opens up and she slides into a pool to be greeted by a great white shark.
Cause of death: being eaten by a great white shark.
Coroner’s report: since sharks usually only take a few bites out of people, death was more than likely caused by a combination of drowning and bleeding.
Time taken to die: up to a minute.
Agony rating: 5½.
Victim: Corinne Dufour (Corinne Clery)
Scene: Ms Dufour has succumbed to the charms of Bond and allowed him to open the safe in Hugo Drax’s study. As punishment, the vicious Drax sets two snarling dogs on her during a pheasant hunt in the grounds of his estate.
Cause of death: being ripped apart by a pair of hungry Dobermans.
Coroner’s report: the dogs would tear off flesh from arms and legs first and the victim would probably eventually bleed to death.
Time taken to die: a few minutes.
Agony rating: 10
A View To A Kill (1985)
Victim: KGB agent KlotKoff (Bogdan Kominowski)
Scene: while Bond is snooping around one of Max Zorin’s offshore oil pumping stations, two KGB agents are also there, attempting to gather evidence and plant explosives. However, one KGB agent gets caught and Zorin has him thrown into a pipe that has a very large propeller spinning at the bottom.
Cause of death: being diced by a giant, spinning propeller
Coroner’s report: the RPM gauge in the control room slows a little as all the big pieces are chopped up, but he’s thrown down head first, so it’s possible death is fairly quick.
Time taken to die: approximately five seconds.
Agony rating: 3.
Licence To Kill (1989)
Victim: Milton Krest (Anthony Zerbe)
Scene: Bond has carefully framed Krest so drug baron Franz Sanchez believes someone is trying to kill him. Bond plants stolen money inside a decompression chamber on Krest’s boat and a furious Sanchez kicks Krest inside the chamber and turns the pressure valve to an extreme level, before hacking the vent with a fire axe.
Cause of death: gradual build up of air pressure inside the chamber, then almost instantaneous decompression.
Coroner’s report: Krest’s head and body expand and then burst, splattering the porthole window with blood.
Time taken to die: from the moment decompression begins, about five seconds.
Agony rating: 4.
Licence To Kill (1989)
Victim: Dario (Benicio Del Toro)
Scene: Bond is trying to infiltrate the HQ of drug baron Franz Sanchez. Upon being discovered he’s then tied and put on a conveyor belt that leads to a set of rotating sharp, metal teeth that are used to break up packets of cocaine. Bond is hanging by just the ropes used to ties his hands. Dario is shot by CIA agent Pam Bouvier, and ends up falling in himself.
Cause of death: being gradually pulled into a giant spinning, industrial-sized cocaine grinder.
Coroner’s report: clinging onto Bond, Dario’s feet are minced first as he’s gradually pulled in. Screaming, he slips further in as he legs are minced and then the rest of his body
Time taken to die: about 10 seconds
Agony rating: 8
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Victim: Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce)
Scene: Bond is attempting to destroy the stealth boat belonging to maniacal media mogul Elliot Carver. Having reached the command centre, Carver seemingly has 007 at his mercy and launches into a villainous monologue. Hunched over a control panel, Bond discreetly activates the ‘sea drill’ and pushes Carver into its enormous razor-sharp, rotating drill teeth.
Cause of death: being minced by three large sets of spinning cutting blades on a giant drill head sharp enough to cut through steel like it was butter.
Coroner’s report: the victim was pinned against a large control console, that the drill also shredded, so there would be nothing left above the waist.
Time taken to die: four seconds
Agony rating: 4½