Spectre, the 24th installment to the James Bond franchise starring Daniel Craig in his fourth Bond film, was released on November 6, 2015. The film re-introduces the criminal syndicate for which the title is based-SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). The henchmen and operatives of SPECTRE have a deep history in Bond lore, dating back to 1962’s Dr. No starring Sean Connery. Below are a few of the key films in the legendary series to watch and re-acquaint yourself with 007’s classic adversary.
From Russia With Love (1963)
After President John F. Kennedy listed the Ian Fleming novel as one of his top ten favorite books of 1963, producers selected this as the second Bond film. The film version starring Connery perfects the blueprint laid out in Dr. No. Bond is sent to Turkey to help a Soviet defector, Tatiana Romanova, as SPECTRE seeks out revenge against 007 for killing operative Dr. Julius No. Bond butts heads with a hardened assassin named “Red” Grant and Rosa Klebb.
SPECTRE steals two NATO atomic bombs and holds the world ransom for £100 million in diamonds–in exchange for not blowing up a major city in either England or the United States. Bond heads to the Bahamas on the trail of SPECTRE operative, Emilio Largo. With help from CIA agent Felix Leiter and the beautiful Domino Derval–Largo’s mistress.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Australian model, George Lazenby, replaced Connery in this highly underrated entry co-starring Diana Rigg. This movie is one of the only entries to the series that introduces a new concept: Bond falling in love. Bond is on the trail of SPECTRE leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas), who has holed up in the mountain base Piz Gloria in the Swiss Alps. Blofeld is again ransoming the world by threatening to destroy agriculture.
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Sir Roger Moore gets into serious mode for his fifth outing as the British spy. Bond gets involved in a family affair by helping a Greek businesswoman avenge the murder of her parents. The film begins with a chance encounter with an old Bond foe, Blofeld. Bond finally puts SPECTRE to rest–or does he? This is Moore at his best in the role–debonair charm matched with brutish killing.
In his third Bond film, Craig gives us an emotional portrayal of a man who’s burned out and on the verge of quitting his job until a rogue agent blows up Mi6. SPECTRE operative, Silva (Javier Bardem) is an ex-00 agent with a vendetta against the head of the British Secret Service boss, M (Judi Dench). Only Bond can hinder Silva’s maniacal mission to dismantle England.