Erich Kriegler: KGB Operative and Biathlon Champion
Erich Kriegler is a formidable KGB operative and accomplished East German biathlon champion. As the ruthless right-hand man of Greek smuggler Aris Kristatos, Kriegler serves as one of the key henchmen in the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, and its Marvel Comics adaptation.
Brilliantly brought to life by British actor John Wyman, Kriegler’s lethal skills and unwavering loyalty make him a memorable adversary in the Bond cannon.
Erich Kriegler first appears in Cortina, competing in a biathlon race. James Bond, skiing alongside Aris Kristatos‘ niece, Bibi Dahl, pauses at Bibi’s insistence to observe Kriegler’s impressive athleticism and marksmanship. Despite Bibi’s attempts to catch Kriegler’s eye, he has no interest in her.
Bond leaves Bibi and sets off to ski down the mountain, only to be ambushed by Kriegler, who had hidden in the forest. Kriegler fires at Bond but fails to hit him, allowing Bond to find cover behind a tree.
Kriegler shoots Bond’s gun out of his hand, but other than that Bond isn’t hurt as he manages to ski away. After reaching the mountain’s base, Bond spots Kriegler chatting with Emile Locque.
Noticing Bond’s arrival, Locque and another henchman, Claus, trail him but with many people around they can’t do anything. Surrounded by a crowd, Bond boards a packed elevator headed for a ski jump.
At the top, Bond attempts to flee by skiing down, but Claus pursues him and is eventually knocked down. Kriegler, who had been waiting at the bottom, loses his rifle when Bond leaps over him and knocks it from his grasp.
Chased by two henchmen on motorcycles, Bond ultimately defeats them. Kriegler, also on a motorcycle, is eventually thrown from the saddle and is left frustrated as Bond gets away.
Bond encounters Kriegler again while retrieving the ATAC from the submerged vessel off the coast of Greece. Kriegler and Kristatos are there when Bond sets off an alarm, prompting Kristatos to dispatch a henchman, who is killed by Bond.
After surfacing, Bond and Melina Havelock discover that Kristatos and his henchmen have commandeered her family yacht. Kriegler informs Kristatos of his intent to deliver the ATAC to the KGB and return with payment, but Kristatos insists on handing it over at St. Cyril’s, a cliffside monastery, where Kriegler is to accompany him.
At St. Cyril’s, they await General Gogol‘s arrival, Bond crashes through a window into the room. Kriegler attempts to shoot Bond, but Bibi intervenes, knocking the weapon from his grasp. Kriegler retaliates with a backhand, knocking her down.
He then battles Bond while Kristatos departs to deliver the ATAC, eventually tearing a massive stone sink from the wall to crush Bond. Using a candelabra and the sink’s immense weight, Bond propels Kriegler through a window, leading to Kriegler’s fatal fall.
British actor John Wyman first gained fame in the 1970s as The Mighty Ajax in UK commercials for Ajax cleaning products. His portrayal and iconic arm slash made him a household name.
Wyman then pursued film and television roles, appearing in The Onedin Line, Star Maidens, Blake’s 7, The Fourth Arm, and Tales of the Unexpected.
Wyman then got into movies and debuted in Sidney Lumet’s Equus (1977), followed by Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978), Adventures of a Plumber’s Mate (1978), and Arabian Adventure (1979). His most significant role was as Erich Kriegler in the Bond film For Your Eyes Only. Despite acclaim, Wyman appeared in only three more films, including Tuxedo Warrior (1982), Firestar – First Contact (1991), and Jade (1995).