Emilio Largo – A Marine Life Villain
Emilio Largo, a name that resonates with intrigue and danger, is a central figure in the world of 007. As the second-in-command of the notorious criminal organization SPECTRE, Largo’s cunning intellect and ruthless ambition propel him to the forefront of some of the most nefarious schemes in modern history.
With a passion for marine life and a penchant for torturous cruelty and a powerful presence, this enigmatic mastermind never ceases to captivate audiences as he crosses paths with James Bond.
Join us as we delve into the life of Emilio Largo, exploring the man behind the eye patch and uncovering the secrets that make him one of the most iconic Bond villains in the Bond universe.
Emilio Largo, a wealthy Italian-born adventurer and globetrotter. He’s based in The Bahamas and is an avid collector of rare shark species for marine research and conservation.
Portrayed by Adolfo Celi, he serves as the second-in-command of the criminal organization SPECTRE and is directly under its founder and leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Known as “No. 2,” Emilio Largo is the mastermind behind Plan Omega, a scheme involving the theft of NATO warheads to blackmail the organization into paying a £100 million ransom.
As a sophisticated and cultured man with a keen interest in marine life, Largo maintains two main headquarters: a villa at Palmyra and his private yacht, the Disco Volante.
He’s a skilled strategist, planner, swimmer, diver, fighter, and marksman. Despite his polished exterior, Largo is ruthless and sadistic, willing to kill anyone who gets in his way or shows even the slightest sign of disloyalty.
Largo oversees Plan Omega, and to initiate the plot, he dispatches SPECTRE operative Angelo Palazzi, who underwent plastic surgery to resemble French military officer François Derval, to assassinate Derval, assume his identity, and hijack the plane carrying the bombs.
After demanding a higher payment and completing his task, Largo gets Fiona Volpe to kill him as punishment for his greed. The jet, along with its deceased crew, is then hidden underwater using a camouflage net to evade NATO’s detection.
Largo first encounters James Bond at an exclusive casino in Nassau, Bahamas, where they engage in a friendly game of baccarat. Bond shows a lot of interest in Largo’s mistress, Domino, who happens to be Derval’s sister.
Largo then enlists Fiona Volpe to kill Bond but they end up in bed before Bond kills her at the Junkanoo Carnival parade.
As Bond tries find the whereabouts of the missiles, he’s captured and narrowly escapes death in Largo’s shark pool. In response, Largo and his henchmen relocate the bombs to a different hiding spot.
Later that night, the Disco Volante sets sail to retrieve the nuclear warheads concealed in an underwater cave off the Bahamian coast. As Largo personally oversees the underwater mission, he spots Bond attempting to blend in with his crew and instructs his men to kill him.
Upon realizing Domino’s betrayal, Largo forcefully confines her in her cabin and prepares to torture her. Dr. Ladislav Kutze hears Domino’s screams and interrupts the scene, giving Largo an excuse to leave.
Meanwhile, Bond calls for reinforcements and, with a team of coastguards, storms Largo’s operation, leading to a fierce battle. Kutze frees Domino, asking for her help in obtaining immunity, telling her that he has secretly disabled the bombs and disposed of the detonators.
Largo barely escapes the ensuing battle by boarding the Disco Volante with one of the bombs. He detaches the yacht’s bow section, converting it into a large speedboat for a hasty getaway. Bond follows and confronts Largo, leading to a fierce fight on the yacht’s bridge.
A sudden collision knocks them all to the floor, allowing Largo to grab a pistol and aim at Bond. Just as Largo is about to shoot, Domino shoots Largo in the back with a harpoon, avenging her brother’s death.
Adolfo Celi played Emilio Largo – a renowned Italian actor and director whose career spanned several decades. Born in Curcuraci, Messina, Sicily, he appeared in nearly a hundred films, often portraying international villains.
Celi is best known for his work in Italian and South American cinema, but his role as Bond villain Emilio Largo in the 1965 film Thunderball earned him international fame.
His first role was in the Italian movie A Yank in Rome (1946). Later, he emigrated to Brazil and co-founded the Teatro Brasileiro de Comédia with esteemed Brazilian stage actors. Celi gained success as a stage actor in Argentina and Brazil and directed several South American films, including the popular Brazilian movie Tico-Tico no Fubá (1952).
After playing a villain in Philippe de Broca’s That Man from Rio (1964), Celi’s popularity grew, leading to roles in Von Ryan’s Express (1965) and then his role in Thunderball.
Celi’s other notable roles include Ralph Valmont in Danger: Diabolik and Don Vito Tressoldi in Hired to Kill (La mala ordina, 1972). He also appeared in Italian comedies and TV roles, such as Petrosino (1972) and La Baronessa di Carini (1975).
Fluent in multiple languages, Adolfo Celi was often dubbed in English-language films. He was married three times and passed away from a heart attack in 1986. His daughter, Alessandra Celi, is also an actress.
Emilio Largo stands as one of the most iconic and memorable Bond villains in the history of the Bond franchise. His terrifying schemes and cunning tactics have left a lasting impression on fans and continue to captivate audiences worldwide.
As the mastermind behind SPECTRE’s ambitious plans in Thunderball, Largo’s character remains a favorite and is regularly mimicked in later Bond movies and in popular culture.