Jaws – The Henchman from James Bond
From the moment he first bared his metal teeth on screen, the James Bond villain, Jaws captured the attention and imagination of audiences worldwide. This iconic henchman, who made his debut in the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, and reprised the role in Moonraker (1979), quickly became a fan favorite and an iconic figure in the Bond universe.
With his immense stature, extraordinary strength, and menacing presence, Jaws left a lasting impression as one of the most unforgettable villains in the franchise. In this post, we will delve into the fascinating world of Jaws, exploring his origins, development, and legacy in the James Bond films.
Portrayed by actor Richard Kiel, Jaws is a towering figure at over seven feet tall, sporting a set of metal teeth capable of biting through various objects. He possesses immense physical strength, and can effortlessly bent steel bars and withstand significant physical abuse.
Emerging unscathed from extreme situations, he initially serves as a henchman for Karl Stromberg, aiding in the creation of an underwater utopia. He reappears as a henchman, working for Hugo Drax and again becomes a huge obstacle for James Bond.
The Spy Who Loved Me
After finding out his assistant has stolen the Microfilm plans for his Submarine Tracking System, Karl Stromberg sends Jaws to retrieve the device and kill anyone associated with it. Sandor accompanies him to Egypt, targeting Aziz Fekkesh.
Sandor waits at Fekkesh’s home, but he’s killed by James Bond. Jaws follows Fekkesh to the pyramids, and in a panic, Fekkesh flees from both Jaws and Bond, who’s also in pursuit.
Fekkesh enters a cavern and locks the iron gates, but Jaws’ steel teeth easily break the lock. Jaws corners and kills Fekkesh by slamming him against a wall and biting his neck.
As Jaws leaves the cave, Bond confronts him with a gun, but a sudden change in lighting allows Jaws to escape. Bond finds a book near Fekkesh’s body, leading him and Russian agent Major Anya Amasova to Max Kalba’s club, where a coveted Microfilm is hidden.
As Kalba is talking with Bond and Amasova about the Microfilm with Kalba, he’s told he has a phone call. Jaws then kills Kalba in a phone booth and steals the film. Bond and Amasova secretly follow Jaws, hiding in his van.
Jaws overhears their conversation through hidden microphones and drives them to the desert. At a ruined site, he ambushes them, battling Bond while Amasova holds him at gunpoint for the microfilm. After giving up the film, Jaws disarms Amasova, who flees with the microfilm, leaving Bond to fight the giant.
The fight ends when Jaws inadvertently causes a scaffolding collapse, seemingly burying him. Believing he’s dead, Bond returns to the van, but as he and Amasova get to the van, Jaws attacks them, ripping the roof off.
Despite his efforts, Amasova drives the van in reverse, hitting Jaws and propelling him into a wall. Bond and Amasova are then free to escape, leaving Jaws behind, who then accidentally drops a boulder on his own foot.
James Bond and Anya Amasova then head to Karl Stromberg’s lair by train. They have separate compartments, and when Amasova opens hers, she’s shocked to discover Jaws inside. He then attacks Amasova, easily overpowering her and is just about to bite her when Bond strikes him with a bottle.
Unimpressed, Jaws attacks Bond, who can barely defend himself. Jaws eventually grabs Bond by the neck and tries to bite him, just as Bond grabs a nearby lamp, smashes the glass, and aims the wires at Jaws’ steel teeth, electrocuting him. Bond then kicks Jaws out of the window, but he simply dists himself down and heads off on foot.
After James Bond meets with Karl Stromberg, he calls Jaws into his office, who confirms it was Bond and Anya Amasova on the train. Stromberg orders Jaws to kill both agents once they reach the shore.
Jaws and other henchmen follow Bond in a car, shooting at him. To defeat them, Bond uses his Lotus Esprit’s special equipment to spray dirt over Jaws’ car, covering the windshield and causing the driver to veer off the road.
The car drives off a cliff and crashies into a hut. While the hut’s owner, sitting outside, watches the damage in shock, the hut’s door opens, and a dusty Jaws emerges from the wreckage, angrily glaring at the owner before walking off.
After killing Stromberg in Atlantis, Bond heads to the prison section to find and free Amasova. To his surprise, he encounters Jaws there as well. Bond shoots at Jaws but only strikes his teeth, causing no harm.
Realizing that Bond has used his last bullet, Jaws charges towards him, quickly diving for cover when Bond reloads his gun. Jaws then grabs Bond and shoves him into an elevator, transporting him to the room with Stromberg’s shark tank.
Jaws follows James Bond, but 007 activates a huge, magnetic crane and sends it into the giant’s path as he tries to reach him. The magnet latches onto Jaws’ teeth, lifting him up. Bond steers the magnet over the shark tank and switches it off, which releases him into the shark infested water.
Bond then heads off to look for Amasova, not noticing Jaws biting the shark to death. When Atlantis is torpedoed, Jaws dives out of the facility and escapes. He’s last seen swimming away from Atlantis in the sea.
As James Bond is returning from a mission in Africa on a flight, Jaws conspires with a pilot and an air hostess to crash the plane and kill Bond. Holding 007 at gunpoint, the pilot shoots the plane’s controls and attempts to escape using a parachute, but Bond disarms him and kicks him out of the plane.
Then, Jaws seizes Bond from behind and throws him out of the plane without a parachute. To survive, Bond skydives towards the pilot, and battles mid-air with him before taking his parachute. Jaws leaps after Bond and grabs his leg, preparing to bite it, but Bond pulls his parachute, separating himself from Jaws.
Desperate, Jaws tries to activate his own parachute but accidentally rips the trigger out, leaving him helpless and plummeting to earth. As he falls, he smashes into a huge, circus tent, which softens his fall and saves his life.
Jaws is hired by American billionaire, Hugo Drax following after his henchman Chang is killed. As he enters the United States, he sets off a metal detector. When a security officer goes to pull Jaws aside, he smiles, revealing his metal teeth, so the officer allows him to go on his way.
Bond heads to Rio de Janeiro and is investigating a warehouse at night, while the Rio carnival is going on. He’s with Manuela, who waits outside while Bond searches the warehouse. Manuela is approached by a towering figure disguised as a clown, and as he removes his mask, he reveals himself to be Jaws.
He advances towards Manuela, intent on killing her, but is interrupted when a door opens, and a group of Carnival goers pour into the alley. Grabbing Manuela, Jaws pretends they’re together and waits for the crowd to disperse.
He tries to bite Manuela again, only for Bond to jump on him causing Jaws to drop the girl. Then the alley fills up with revellers again, who all sweep Jaws away to go and party.
The following day, Bond ventures to Sugar Loaf Mountain, observing Drax’s planes take off. While there, he bumps into Dr. Holly Goodhead, a CIA agent in disguise. They decide to collaborate and leave the mountain via cable car.
In the station below, Jaws seizes one of the giant wheels, stopping the cable car and trapping Bond’s car midway. Jaws then bites one of the cables and climbs the line onto another cable car adjacent to Bond’s.
Samuel, one of Drax’s henchmen, drives Jaws’ cable car until it is directly next to Bond’s. Jaws leaps over onto Bond’s car and attacks him and Goodhead. Eventually, they manage to throw Jaws down into the cable car and close it, before escaping the car by zip-lining down the cable.
Samuel starts Jaws’ cable car up again to chase the agents while they are zip-lining. He speeds up Jaws’ cable car, but the two manage to get away. Jaws is unable to slow down his cable car and it crashes into the station, causing the entire building to collapse.
Regaining consciousness under one of the giant wheels, Jaws lifts the wheel to escape and is helped by a young woman called Dolly. The two fall in love on the spot.
Bond heads to the Brazilian jungle, where the plant used to produce Drax’s nerve gas. While cruising the river, Bond encounters Drax’s henchmen in speedboats, led by Jaws.
Though he defeats most of them using his boat’s special equipment, James Bond is eventually forced to drive his boat over the edge of a waterfall, escaping via paraglider. Unfortunately for, Jaws he has no paraglider and his boat to goes over the edge of the waterfall.
Later, Bond finds his way Drax’s hidden base and is taken hostage by Jaws. he then takes 007 to Drax, who allows him to watch as four Moonraker shuttles head to Drax’s space station. Drax then instructs Jaws kill Bons.
He takes Bond to the chamber beneath the another shuttle, where Dr. Goodhead is waiting, so the two will be incinerated. Jaws then boards Moonraker 5 and travels to Drax’s space station with Dolly, arriving safely.
At the space station, Drax delivers a speech, outlining his plan to wipe out the entire human race, except for a small group of physically perfected humans. After the chemical agent becomes harmless, this master race will return to Earth and repopulate the planet.
Bond and Goodhead made it to the space station and disable the base’s radar jammer. Jaws captures them, but Bond tries to escape by hitting Jaws in the face but only hurts himself. Jaws brings Goodhead and Bond to Drax, who orders Jaws to expel them into space.
Aware that Jaws is listening, James Bond questions Drax if anyone not matching his ideals of perfection will be killed. Drax confirms this, prompting Jaws to realize that he and Dolly won’t meet Drax’s standards.
Jaws rebels against Drax, and attacks his henchmen. Bond then presses the an emergency stop button, causing the base to violently shake, lose gravity, and allow Bond, Goodhead, and Jaws to escape the main room.
As US soldiers battle Drax’s henchmen, the station suffers severe damage and begins falling apart. The soldiers evacuate, leaving Bond and Goodhead to find Moonraker 5. However, the docking release system jams, preventing their escape.
Meanwhile, he finds Dolly, and thinking they’re going to be obliterated, they find and share a bottle of champagne. Jaws speaks his only words, “Well, here’s to us!” he says.
Afterwards, they wander around the station, and Bond, spotting them, asks for help via PA. Jaws frees the shuttle, allowing Bond and Goodhead to lift off, while he and Dolly remain on the station. As the station explodes, a section containing Jaws and Dolly breaks off and falls towards Earth.
Bond, confident in Jaws’ resilience, says they’ll be alright. Back at the US base, the commander learns that two survivors—a tall man and a small blonde woman—were picked up, implying Jaws and Dolly survived.
Richard Dawson Kiel, an American actor born on September 13, 1939, was most famous for his iconic portrayal of Bond henchman Jaws in two James Bond films. His 7 ft 2 in height resulted from an excess of human growth hormone.
Kiel started his acting career in the early 1960s, appearing in numerous TV shows, often in villainous roles. His breakout role came in the 1962 film Eegah, followed by his iconic Jaws portrayal in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979). Kiel also starred in The Humanoid, Happy Gilmore, and lent his voice to Disney’s Tangled (2010) among other films.
In addition to acting, Richard Kiel was a published author, co-writing a biography of abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay and publishing his autobiography, Making It Big in the Movies, in 2002.
Kiel was married twice and had four children and nine grandchildren. He passed away on September 10, 2014, at the age of 74, due to a heart attack.
Jaws – James Bond’s Biggest Obstacle
Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the James Bond franchise and popular culture. His towering height, menacing physical presence, and distinctive metal teeth have made him an unforgettable and iconic Bond villain.
His unique blend of menace and charm, along with his unexpected transformation from a ruthless henchman to a redeemed character with a love interest, has endeared him to audiences worldwide.
Whenever the discussion of Bond villains and henchmen comes up, Jaws is central to that discussion, and will forever have his place at the top table. he might just take up two places.