The Smuggler, The Spy, The Rival: Aris Kristatos’ Triple Threat
Aristotle “Aris” Kristatos is a complex character whose name alone evokes the rich history and intellectual prowess of ancient Greece. Aris, as he is known for short, embodies a duality that defines him as both an accomplished intelligence operative and a ruthless heroin smuggler. He’s a formidable rival of Milos Columbo and serves as a pawn of the KGB in their pursuit to acquire the coveted ATAC device.
Aris Kristatos is a creation inspired by Ian Fleming’s short story “Risico” and was brought to life in the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only. British actor Julian Glover delivers a captivating performance, portraying Aris as the hidden main antagonist and keeping audiences guessing.
This intriguing character’s story doesn’t end on the silver screen, as he also graces the pages of a Marvel Comics adaptation. Dive into the thrilling tale of Aris Kristatos and witness the cunning, ambition, and danger that make him one of James Bond’s most memorable adversaries.
Aristotle “Aris” Kristatos
Aris Kristatos hails from the island of Kefalonia and is widely considered a hero due to his valor in World War II and the Greek Civil War. The British government even honoured him with the King’s Medal.
However, Kristatos was secretly a double agent throughout both conflicts. Although he appeared to be a reputable businessman in subsequent years, he is actually involved in heroin smuggling and operates as a Soviet agent.
At one point, Kristatos collaborated with another smuggler, Milos Columbo, who thought of them both as being like brothers. Over time, however, disagreements arose between the two and while Columbo engaged in smuggling high-demand goods like oil and almonds, he was mortified to learn that Kristatos had gotten into heroin and human trafficking.
Kristatos also has ties to renegade Nazi supporters who assist him in smuggling gold, drugs, and other resources out of Britain.
General Gogol hires Kristatos to obtain the British ATAC device (Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator), an essential instrument for managing and synchronizing Britain’s nuclear submarine fleet.
Shortly after, the British spy ship St. Georges sinks in the Ionian Sea after inadvertently hauling up an old mine in its fishing nets. The ship is equipped with ATAC, and the shallow waters prevent an official salvage operation by the British government. Consequently, the British Secret Service hires marine archaeologist Sir Timothy Havelock to locate the St. Georges wreckage.
In an attempt to steal the ATAC and hand it over to the Soviets, Kristatos arranges for Cuban hitman Hector Gonzales to assassinate Havelock. This act draws the attention of both James Bond and Havelock’s vengeance-seeking daughter, Melina.
While searching for his henchman Emile Locque in Cortina, Bond meets Italian MI6 agent Luigi Ferrara, who arranges a meeting with Kristatos, a potential ally.
Bond meets Aris at the Olympic ice rink, where he also meets his niece Bibi Dahl, a promising young figure skater poised to become an Olympic gold medalist.
Kristatos introduces Bond to Bibi and her coach, Jacoba Brink. Bibi requests that Bond accompany her skiing later, and Kristatos convinces Bond to do so, suggesting that he would feel more secure knowing someone is with her.
After Bibi leaves, Bond shows Kristatos a picture of Locque, asking if he recognizes him. Kristatos identifies Locque as Milos Columbo’s right-hand man and shares his history with Columbo, revealing they were once like brothers. He also discloses Columbo’s alias, The Dove.
As Bond and Ferrara leave, Kristatos snubs Ferrara, and later arranges for Locque to murder him, and frame Columbo for the crime.
Rivalry with Columbo
Bond meets Kristatos again at a casino in Greece, where Kristatos deduces that Bond is after information about Locque. Aware that Locque works for Columbo, a heroin smuggler, Kristatos suggests that Bond must be from the British Narcotics Board, and Bond lets him believe so.
Seizing the chance to kill his rival, Kristatos advises Bond that he might need to kill Columbo to stop him. He then points out Columbo at a nearby table with his mistress, Lisl von Schlaf, without realizing that Columbo is eavesdropping on their conversation.
As Columbo appears to insult his mistress, prompting her to cause a scene and exit the club, Bond tells Kristatos that this might be an opportunity to gather intel.
Kristatos, secretly concerned that Columbo might have staged the incident to establish contact with Bond, warns him it could be a trap. Nonetheless, when Bond insists on following Lisl. Kristatos then calls Locque and orders him to kill both Bond and Lisl.
Bond is then attacked by Locque and Claus, but is rescued by Columbo’s men, who kill everyone except the fleeing Locque. Columbo’s henchmen then bring Bond to Columbo, who reveals Kristatos’ deception.
Everything Kristatos claimed about Columbo is the opposite. Locque works for Kristatos, who’s collaborating with the Soviets and smuggling heroin. As evidence, Columbo suggests they infiltrate Kristatos’ Albanian warehouse that night, where he stores his heroin.
They raid the warehouse and Columbo is proven to be right. A fight breaks out at the warehouse, and Columbo and his men blow it up before Bond kills Locque.
The fight for the ATAC
Bond and Melina locate the wreckage of the ship that has the ATAC, so they dive down to retrieve it. This triggers a silent alarm, alerting Aristotle of intruders at the ship. Kristatos then dispatches a henchman in a specialized diving suit, designed for high-pressure environments, to attack Bond.
Bond manages to defeat the henchman and detonates the explosive previously rigged to the ATAC. After resurfacing, Bond and Melina discover that Kristatos and his henchmen have commandeered her family yacht.
Aristotle Kristatos thanks them for disarming the device, and when Bond offers to double the payment from the Soviets, Kristatos refuses, citing his reputation for honoring deals. Henchman, Erich Kriegler proposes to deliver the ATAC to the KGB and return with the payment, but Kristatos insists on handing it over at St. Cyril’s, a clifftop monastery.
To kill Bond and Melina, Kristatos ties them together and attaches them to the back of the yacht, intending for sharks to devour them or for coral to impale them. However, Bond and Melina dive deep and fasten the rope around a rock, eventually breaking free.
At St. Cyril’s, Kristatos is awaiting General Gogol’s arrival to hand over the ATAC. He grows angry with Bibi and Jacoba Brink. And after threatening them, Brink and storms out and as she tries to leave, she sees Bond, Columbo, and his men, who have arrived at the monastery to get the ATAC.
Brink then helps the intruders to the guard chambers, where they overpower Kristatos’ henchmen and reveal Kristatos’ whereabouts. In the meantime Aris is arguing with Bibi, but the sound of General Gogol’s approaching helicopter halts them.
Before the helicopter lands, Bond, who has been fighting one of Kristatos’ henchmen, crashes through a window into the main room. As Bond battles Kriegler, Kristatos seizes the ATAC and flees outside to hand it over to Gogol.
Kristatos hurries towards the helicopter but is intercepted by Columbo. While on the ground, Kristatos drops the ATAC and tries to grab it, but Bond reaches it first. Melina then appears, aiming her crossbow at Kristatos, but Bond persuades her not to kill the defenseless man.
While Bond speaks to Melina, Kristatos draws a knife, intending to attack Bond, but Columbo throws his own knife into Kristatos’ back, killing him.
Julian Wyatt Glover CBE, born in 1935, is a renowned English classical actor with a diverse repertoire spanning stage, television, and film roles since the 1950s. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he rose to prominence in British television during the 1960s and 1970s.
He earned a reputation for playing high-profile villains in some of the biggest motion picture franchises, including General Maximilian Veers in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Bond villain Aristotle Kristatos in For Your Eyes Only (1981), Brian Harcourt-Smith in The Fourth Protocol (1987), and Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).
Throughout his extensive career, Glover has received numerous awards and accolades for his contributions to drama, and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2013.