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[[Sir Hugo Drax by Michael Lonsdale|250px]]

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Sir Hugo Drax is a fictional character created by author Ian Fleming for the James Bond novel Moonraker. Fleming named him after his friend, Sir Reginald Drax.[1] For the later film and its novelization, Drax was largely transformed by screenwriter Christopher Wood. In the film, Drax is portrayed by French actor Michael Lonsdale. In both versions of Moonraker, Drax is the main antagonist.

Novel biography

In the novel, Sir Hugo Drax is a famous English Second World War hero, believed to have been working in Liverpool harbour before the war, who became a post-war millionaire. He has red hair, and half of his face is badly scarred from a German attack during the War. The same incident left him with amnesia. After the war, Drax made a fortune from trading metals in Tangier and was able to start up his company, "Drax Metals Ltd", which specializes and has a monopoly in the production of a metal called columbite. Drax is also the backer of the 'Moonraker' missile project being built to defend the United Kingdom against its Cold War enemies. The metal columbite gives a missile's engine an extra layer of protection so that it can burn hotter fuels, thus greatly expanding its range of fire.


As it turns out, Sir Hugo Drax is not who he seems; he was born in Germany as Graf Hugo von der Drache. Because his mother was English, Drache was educated in England until the age of twelve. Afterwards he moved to Berlin and later Leipzig, where he continued and finished his education. After graduating, he joined the Nazi Party and entered the Wehrmacht as a soldier in the Panzer Brigade 150. At the outset of the Second World War he took part in the Blitzkrieg campaigns in Belgium and France, before becoming a Skorzeny Werwolf commando. After the Ardennes offensive he stayed behind Allied lines when their forces crossed the Rhine and started operating in the Low Countries with his commando group. During a mission, he dressed as a British soldier so that he could sabotage and destroy a farmhouse holding a mixed liaison group of American and British servicemen, but he ended up at the same farm after being attacked by his own German fighter because he was wearing the British uniform which he used to get close to the British Despatch rider. While he was still conscious, he managed to destroy his motorbike and documents. Later he was found and brought to the farm, so he was caught in the explosion and nearly killed. He was then rescued by the British and nursed back to health, claiming to be a "missing soldier" by the name of Hugo Drax. After being discharged from nursing care, he killed a Jewish businessman in London and escaped to Tangier with £15,000 he stole from him.

Because Drax was a Nazi and had an insurmountable hatred for Britain, he started the 'Moonraker' missile project under the pretence that he would test fire the missile into the North Sea (missiles were the cutting-edge of technology in the 1950s). Instead of doing so, however, he targetted his missile on London and armed it with an atomic bomb he received through support by the Soviets and later learned SMERSH. Drax uses his knowledge of the impending disaster to play the stock market, planning to make a huge profit from his own terrorist act.


James Bond, with the help of female Special Branch agent Gala Brand, sabotaged Drax's 'Moonraker' missile launch and changed the coordinates of the target back to the North Sea, where after the missile was launched Drax and his men had escaped so that they could watch as London was destroyed. In the event, the Soviet submarine carrying Drax was destroyed by the blast of the nuclear warhead.


  • Willy Krebs - Drax's friend and later loyal servant, Krebs was the youngest Werwolf in Drax's unit and a specialist in torture.
  • Dr Walter - A German rocket scientist employed by the Soviets, Walter was sent to deliver the Soviet atomic bomb to Drax and to assist him with his missile project.

Film biography

In the film adaptation, Hugo Drax is a billionaire living in California in a château that was imported from France. He owns Drax Industries, which constructs space shuttles. In addition, Drax supposedly owns the Eiffel Tower, but apparently couldn't export it from France because they wouldn't issue him an export permit. Drax is an accomplished pianist, as evidenced by his recital of Chopin's "Raindrop" Prelude in D flat major (op. 28) on his grand piano (which he plays in the key of D).

An example of the Drax character's ruthlessness as portrayed in the film is given by the manner in which he disposes of enemies. In one case, after discovering that his personal pilot Corinne Dufour had assisted Bond in discovering his plans, Drax fires her, but then proceeds to set his trained Doberman dogs on her; they chase her into a forest and finally kill her.

Bond follows a trail around the world to investigate the theft of a space shuttle on loan to the UK by Hugo Drax (its engines were fired while it was riding on a 747), starting in California at Drax Industries, and following it to Italy, then to Brazil, then into space.

In a scheme similar to that of Karl Stromberg's plan, Drax sought to destroy the entire human race except for a small group of carefully selected humans, both male and female, that would leave Earth on six shuttles (the one just stolen from NASA to replace one that had faults) and have sanctuary on a space station in orbit over Earth. Using chemical weapons created by Drax's scientists, derived from the toxin of a rare South American plant, the Black Orchid, at an installation in Italy, he would wipe out the remainder of humanity. The biological agents were to be dispersed around the earth from a series of 50 strategically placed globes, each containing enough toxin to kill 100 million people while the toxin itself would have no effect on animals. Only three globes had been launched when the station was destroyed, taking with it the threat from the other 47 globes.

After a period of time, when the chemical agents had become harmless, Drax and his master race would return to Earth to reinhabit the planet. These humans would supposedly live in harmony with one another under his command.

Bond obtained a sample of the chemical agent at the location in Italy, and analysis of it led him to a remote part of Brazil where he found Drax's shuttle-launch facility in an ancient civilization's shrine.

Bond and his companion, CIA agent Dr. Holly Goodhead, commandeer one of Drax's space shuttles and blast off to his orbiting space station. There with the help of Goodhead, Jaws- who defected to help Bond when Bond subtly tricked Drax into admitting that Jaws and his new girlfriend didn't fit Drax's 'standards'-, and a group of American space soldiers launched on a military-owned shuttle, Drax runs for the airlock and when he sees Bond run after him, he tries to barricade himself in but ends up running away. When Bond gets in, Drax faces Bond, drawing a laser gun as he walked backwards to the airlock door, grimly noting that he would at least "have the pleasure of putting [Bond] out of [his (Drax's)] misery".

Bond slowly puts his hand up with the poison dart wrist watch, fatally wounding Drax before 'escorting' him into an airlock so that he can be ejected to die in space, Bond commenting that Drax should 'take a giant step for mankind'.[2]

Quote: "First there was the dream, now there is reality. Here in the untainted cradle of the heavens will be created a new super race, a race of perfect physical specimens. You have been selected as its progenitors, like gods your offspring will return to Earth and shape it in their image. You have all served in public capacities in my terrestrial empire. Your seed like yourselves will pay deference to the ultimate dynasty which I alone have created. From their first day on Earth they will be able top look up and know that there is law and order in the heavens."


  • Jaws
  • Chang
  • Tree Sniper
  • Innumerable footsoldiers in lemon yellow spacesuits with black stripes
  • Italian gangsters in Venice


In his novelization of the movie, screenwriter Christopher Wood describes Drax as red-haired and with a face scarred and botched by poor plastic surgery (from a time "before he could afford the best in the world"), much as originally envisioned by Fleming. Although Drax's nationality is not specified, Bond idly wonders to himself which side he fought on during World War II.

See also


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