The James Bond series is one of the most popular and successful movie franchises of all time, with more than two dozen films since 1962 grossing more than $19 billion worldwide. And over the course of that half-century-plus, Bond has made good use of his double-0 license, getting his hands dirty from time to time (350+ times and counting, to be more precise). But while Bond's massive body count can at least be partly explained away by his desire to do whatever it takes to save the world, there are some instances where 007 does something just straight-up, cold-bloodedly, next-level ruthless.
Here are 14 of the grisliest things James Bond has ever done, often punctuated with a jokey quip.
In the second and final Timothy Dalton Bond film, 1989's License to Kill, Bond is sent to stop the ruthless and refined Mexican drug lord, Franz Sanchez - but first, he has to get through Sanchez's sadistic henchman, Dario (played by a young Benicio del Toro.) Bond infiltrates Sanchez's inner circle and discovers a plot to sell cocaine dissolved into gasoline to a Chinese organized crime operation. But before Bond can sabotage the plan, Dario recognizes and captures him. In true Bond villain fashion, rather than finish off Bond quickly, Sanchez decides that Bond deserves something more theatrical, and tosses him onto a conveyor belt that leads to a massive cocaine grinder. Sure enough, Bond manages to break free and flip Dario into the grinder, where he's pulped feet-first.
Released just 10 years after America's real-life Moon landing, 1979's Moonraker was James Bond's first journey into outer space. The film's villain, Hugo Drax, is a billionaire who hopes to use his private aerospace company to unleash a nerve gas onto Earth and wipe out humanity, leaving just himself and a pack of hand-picked supermodels to repopulate the human race on his personal space station.
Bond and the US Army infiltrate Drax's space station and defeat his henchmen. Drax tries to flee but Bond confronts him, and right before Drax can turn the tables on 007, Bond nails Drax with a cyanide-tipped dart hidden in his cuff, then shoves him through an airlock into the cold vacuum of space and quips "he had to fly."
Exposure to vacuum without protection can cause a fatal lung rupture. It can also cause a condition called ebullism, in which the liquid water in a person's system boils. Mercifully, the film depicts none of this.
Ernst Stavro Blofeld is the most persistent villain in the entire Bond series, and his exit from the (pre-reboot) franchise was suitably epic, even if it happened in the prologue of 1981's For Your Eyes Only, and Blofeld is never technically named. Bond and Blofeld had already squared off several times in previous films, and Bond even thought he finished Blofeld for good in 1971's Diamonds Are Forever, but 10 years later, Blofeld is apparently back.
During the film's opening scene, Bond is visiting the grave of his wife, Tracy, when a helicopter arrives to fly him back to MI6. But it's a trap. During the flight, Blofeld remotely electrocutes the pilot so the chopper will crash. As Blofeld taunts Bond over the intercom, Bond manages to take control of the helicopter and get revenge. He locates Blofeld, who's now in a wheelchair, on a nearby rooftop, hooks the wheelchair with the landing strut, and tosses him down an industrial chimney. He does spare the cat, though.
This one is unusual in that Bond doesn't finish off his enemy directly, but it's still plenty gruesome. The main villain of Quantum of Solace, Dominic Greene, is an environmentalist (hence the name "Greene") and a billionaire whose evil plan is to take control of Bolivia's water supply. He's doing this on behalf of a criminal organization called Quantum, which hopes to control the world by controlling financial markets and politics.
Bond tracks Greene to an eco hotel in Bolivia, but Greene escapes before Bond can grab him. Bond then captures Greene in the Atacama desert, where Greene tells him Quantum's plans. Instead of dealing with Greene outright, Bond abandons him in the desert with only a can of motor oil to drink. Later, M tells Bond that Greene's body was found in the desert with motor oil in his stomach, as well as two bullet holes in his head - his punishment for sharing Quantum's plans with Bond.