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Any cost, any.... Bond must die.
~ Dr. Kananga's orders to kill Bond.

Buonapart Ignace Gallia, known commonly as Dr. Kananga and also known by his alias Mr. Big, is the main antagonist of the 1954 Ian Fleming novel and 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die. Dr. Kananga is the dictator of San Monique and thus has certain diplomatic immunities in the United States, easily allowing him to smuggle drugs into the country under the alias "Mr. Big", a gang leader from Harlem.

He was portrayed by the late Yaphet Kotto.

Film biography

Spied on by Bond

Kananga attracts the attention of MI6 when three British agents are killed while investigating his business. One agent is killed during a UN meeting, one in New Orleans and one on San Monique. When the British Secret Service sends Bond to investigate Kananga, Bond travels to New York, where Kananga is supposed to arrive later. However, Kananga is warned about Bond' arrival and intentions by the medium Solitaire. To get rid of Bond, Kananga sends his henchman Whisper, who shoots the driver of Bond's car while on the highway. However, Bond manages to grab the wheel and arrives safely.

Kananga, who has left the UN and returned to the embassy, knows that he is being watched and that his office is most likely bugged. To deceive the CIA, Kananga starts playing a previously recorded tape in which he dictates a long, nationalistic letter. He and his associates then change clothes and leave the embassy through a hidden exit in his office. Thinking that Kananga is still in his office, Felix Leiter calls Bond and tells him to go after Whisper instead, whose car they have located at a voodoo shop nearby. Following Whisper in a parking garage, Bond is disturbed by the arrival of Kananga and his men, who enter a car and leave, pursued by Bond.

Bond follows the car in a cab, unaware that Kananga's spies inform Kananga about Bond's every move. Arriving at Harlem, Bond sees Kananga's car before the Fillet of Soul restaurant and enters. The taxi driver, also a spy of Kananga, informs his boss that Bond is coming.

Meeting Bond as Mr. Big

Names is for tombstones, baby. You take this honky out and waste him. Now!
~ Dr. Kananga as Mr. Big.

In the restaurant, Bond is seated at a table at the wall. While waiting for his drink, Bond tries to bribe the waiter for information but the wall and the table spin, bringing Bond into a secret room. There, three armed henchman await him, telling him that Mr. Big will take care of him soon. Bond briefly talks to Solitaire, before Big's right hand Tee Hee arrives and asks Solitaire whether Bond is armed. Solitaire looks into the cards and confirms this, and Tee Hee disarms Bond with the metal claw he has as his right hand.

Dr. Kananga as gang leader Mr. Big.

Bond is then brought before Mr. Big, who asks Solitaire whether Bond is the one who tailed them from uptown. Bond tries to introduce himself but Big only looks at him briefly and then tells his men to bring Bond outside and kill him. He then leaves the room.

Two henchmen then bring Bond in an abandoned side alley, where Bond quickly takes them out. Another man then arrives, holding his gun at Bond but the man turns out to be a CIA agent. The both men, together with Felix Leiter, then wonder how Kananga and Mr. Big fit together. Telling the agents that Kananga is about to leave the USA and return to San Monique, Leiter sends Bond after him.

Setting Another Trap

These growing signs of impertinence begin to disturb me, Solitaire. Even as they did with your mother before you. She had the power and lost it, became useless to me. You will not make the same mistake, Solitaire. Where is Bond now?
~ Dr. Kananga

Knowing that Bond has arrived at San Monique, Kananga sends Whisper with a poisoned snake as well as CIA double agent Rosie Carver after Bond. However, due to a warning sent by Solitaire, Bond realizes that Rosie is false and he is also able to kill the Snake. The next day, Bond and Rosie set out to travel to the point where the CIA agent was killed. Again, Kananga is warned by Solitaire, who he has confined to a isolated palace, about Bond's arrival on the island. He then asks Solitaire about the future. When she draws the card "The Lovers", a card Bond drew on their earlier meeting, Solitaire pauses for a moment. Kananga realizes this and asks her whether the card meant death. Solitaire goes with the lie and confirms this. Kananga then calls his henchmen, telling them to prepare and that Rosie knows what to do.

Dr. Kananga demands to know why Solitaire failed to proceed the outcome of the trap set for Bond.

Eventually confronting Rosie, Bond reveals that he knows she works for Kananga. Holding her at gunpoint, he tries to force her to give up information. However, when Rosie sees a voodoo totem, she is deeply afraid although Bond believes it to be an act. Rather risking Bond than Kananga, Rosie tries to run off. However, she is shot by a gun hidden inside on of the totems on Kananga's orders. After Rosie's death, Kananga travels to Solitaire's palace to find out what went wrong. Telling her that the trap was set and that she saw death, he asks her how Bond could survive. Solitaire tells him that the death she saw must have been Rosie's and that she cannot be held responsible for Kananga's misinterpretations if he fails to ask specific questions. Kananga tells her that her growing impertinence disturbs him. He reminds her what happened to her mother when she lost her power and became useless. He then asks where Bond is now, but Solitaire can't answer him. She tells him that she cannot see when he treats her like that, as thing become unclear. He confines her to her chambers, telling her that she made him angry and he does not want to be. After Solitaire is gone, he talks to Tee Hee.

At night, Bond infiltrates Solitaire's palace and seduces her. By sleeping with her, she loses her power and becomes useless for Kananga.

Capturing Bond

When Solitaire is about to bring Bond to Kananga's heroin field, which is protected by large camouflage nets, Kananga is warned. He tells his men to kill Bond if he finds the field, but Bond is able to escape all pursuers. Now aware that Kananga is smuggling heroin, Bond travels to New Orleans because another agent was killed there. However, while in a taxi, they are kidnapped by the driver, who is the same one as in New York. He brings them to an airfield, telling them that Mr. Big wants to see him because he stole something from a friend of Big's. However, Bond is able to defeat Kananga's men and returns to Felix Leiter. Solitaire however is left behind.

In New Orleans, Leiter and Bond enter the Fillet of Souls, unaware that the agent they were supposed to meet there had been killed. Remembering his last adventure in a restaurant of the Fillet of Soul chain, Bond decides against a table at the wall, instead choosing one in the middle of the room. Felix is then called away under the pretext of a phone call of the deceased agent and Bond alongside the table is lowered into the ground, having once again become a victim of Kananga's trap doors.

Revealing His Plan

Mr. Big questions Bond.

Quite revealing. Kananga, poppy growing thousands of acres of well camouflaged fields, protected by the voodoo threat of Baron Samedi. And as Mr. Big, distributor and whole-saler through a chain of Fillet of Soul restaurants.
~ Bond sums up Kananga's plan.

Bond lands in a room in which he is greeted by Tee Hee, Mr. Big and Solitaire. Big tells him that by taking Solitaire with him Bond stole something extremely valuable from his good friend Kananga. Big then tells Bond that while he has plans with Bond, there is at first a question he needs to answer for Kananga. Bond replies that in that case Big had to ship him back to San Monique, as Bond wouldn't answer to lackeys. Though Big angrily asks Bond whether he touched Solitaire, Bond states that he will answer this question only to Kananga, intending to buy time.

However, Big rips his own face off, revealing it to be a latex mask, underneath which lies Kananga's face. This causes Bond to seemingly finally realize Kananga's plan: Kananga grows heroin on San Monique and sells it as Mr. Big, thereby making the full profit. However, Kananga laughs, telling him that he wouldn't sell the heroin for money. Bond remarks sarcastically that Kananga surely would just give it away, but Kananga confirms that this is exactly what he is intending: By distributing 2 tons of heroin free of charge through his restaurant chain, he plans to drive every competitor out of business, establishing a monoply on the market and likely doubling the amount of addicts in the process; he will then be able to capatalize on said drug dependencies by charging high prices for his heroin, making himself a fortune.

Kananga, now revealed, continues questioning Bond.

After having revealed his plan, he comes back to his initial question, whether Bond slept with Solitaire. When Bond refuses to answer out of gentlemanliness, Kananga intends to find out another way. He has Tee Hee rip off Bond's watch, which Tee Hee then brings to Kananga. Kananga then tells Tee Hee to snip off Bond's finger on Solitaire's first wrong answer, proceeding to more vital organs with every wrong answer. He then reads a registration number off the back of Bond's watch and asks Solitaire whether he spoke the truth. Solitaire, only able to guess, tells Kananga that he spoke the truth, and Kananga tells Tee Hee to let Bond go, even giving him back his watch. However, Tee Hee then knocks out Bond with his metal arm. Whisper arrives in the room and is told by Kananga to bring Bond to the farm.

Confronting Solitaire

After they are gone, Samedi, wearing more modern-styled clothes, enters the room. Solitaire then asks Kananga when they will go back to San Monique. Kananga tells her that they will go back soon, but then asks Solitaire why she betrayed him, revealing that the number he read was wrong, and he even gave her a fifty-fifty chance. He wants to know why she betrayed him although he gave her everything and she lacked for nothing. She tells him that the cards foresaw it. He angrily smacks her to the ground, telling her that in proper time he would have given her love and that she knew that. He says that there is only one appropriate way to deal with this betrayal, to which Samedi draws the tarot card 'Death'. 

He later intends for Solitaire to be executed by Baron Samedi in voodoo fashion on San Monique. However, Bond, who has infiltrated the island, seemingly kills Samedi and saves Solitaire.  

Capturing Bond Again

Kananga and Bond fight in the water.

Drown, Mr. Bond? I doubt you got the chance to drown...
~ Kananga reveals his intention to feed Solitaire and Bond to sharks.

By a hidden elevator used by Samedi they enter Kananga's underground base, where the two are quickly captured and brought before Kananga, who despite Bond's intervention is celebrating his success. Kananga reveals to Bond that they found his wetsuit on the beach and were thereby expecting him. He acknowledges that Bond blew up some of his heroin but reveals that there is more then enough left, as Bond has done only minor harm. He then takes Bond's gun, admitting that he is very intrigued by it. He asks Bond what it does and Bond tells him that it is a shark gun that shoots compressed gas pallets.

Kananga laughs and aims the gun at the sofa Whisper is sitting on, causing it to inflate and eventually explodes. Kananga is highly amused, calling the weapon ingenious. He then takes one of the gas pallets, but Bond warns him to meddle with it, as the air inside is already "foul enough". Kananga replies that he never thought Bond would be a a bad loser, stating that he expected that Bond would drink with him on the success on his operation.

Kananga's final moments before exploding. (Bond: He always did have an inflated opinion of himself.)

Planning to get rid of Bond, Kananga ties Solitaire and the agent to a winch normally used to carry the heroin. Bond, expecting that the winch will be lowered into the water beneath, states that surely there must be a more efficient way of drowning someone. Kananga says that they will hardly have the chance to drown. He then cuts Bond on the arm, just enough to draw blood. Whisper then starts lowering the winch into the water and opens a underwater gate, through which sharks enter. With the magnetic device hidden in his clock, Bond obtains the gas pellet Kananga played with before. Bond also uses his clock to free himself from the ropes. Jumping down onto the ground, he runs towards Kananga. Whisper tries to warn his master, but due to his whispering voice Kananga cannot hear him. Bond drops Whisper into one of the air tight metal capsules used to keep the heroin dry and engages Kananga. During their fight, both men fall into the water. 

Under water, Bond forces Kananga to swallow the gas pallet, causing Kananga to inflate enormously before exploding. 


  • Baron Samedi
  • Tee Hee (Deceased)
  • Whisper (Presumed Deceased)
  • Solitaire (formerly)
  • Rosie Carver (Deceased)
  • Dambala (Deceased)
  • Various men in red shirts and blue pants
  • Blabbermouth Foley (novel) (Deceased)
  • Adam (Deceased)
  • Leroy 
  • Evans 
  • Hector 
  • Cabby 
  • Voodoo shopkeeper
  • Jazz funeral procession
  • Funeral assassin





  • The late Yaphet Kotto, who played Dr. Kananga, hated his character of Dr. Kananga because he felt that the filmmakers modeled his character on racist over-the-top stereotypes, claiming that Tom Makiewicz's original script had nothing to do with the Black experience and culture and expressing dismay at Kananga's goofy and cartoony death.
  • Although not used in the film adaptation of Live and Let Die, Mr. Big's scheme from the books is reused in the 1989 film Licence to Kill. Instead of smuggling gold coins, however, Franz Sanchez smuggles drugs. Other parts of the novel Live and Let Die are also used in Licence to Kill including the warehouse scene and Bond killing The Robber for feeding Felix Leiter to a shark.
  • Kananga is actually the only main antagonist of the James Bond franchise to be African-American.
  • Kananga's first name is possibly Ross, as he was named after Ross Kananga, an stunt man for this film.



Main Villains
Sean Connery & George Lazenby
Julius No | Ernst Stavro Blofeld | Rosa Klebb | Auric Goldfinger | Emilio Largo

Roger Moore
Dr. Kananga | Francisco Scaramanga | Karl Stromberg | Hugo Drax | Aris Kristatos | Kamal Khan | General Orlov | Max Zorin

Timothy Dalton
Georgi Koskov | Brad Whitaker | Franz Sanchez

Pierce Brosnan
Alec Trevelyan | Elliot Carver | Elektra King | Renard | Gustav Graves

Daniel Craig
Le Chiffre | Dominic Greene | Raoul Silva | Ernst Stavro Blofeld | Lyutsifer Safin

Dr. Noah | Maximillian Largo

Supporting Villains
Sean Connery (Part 1)
R.J. Dent | Three Blind Mice | Miss Taro | Annabel Chung | Tov Kronsteen | Red Grant | Morzeny | Krilencu | Rhoda | Oddjob | Pussy Galore | Kisch | Mr. Ling | Denise | Sydney | Mr. Solo | Jed Midnight | Jack Strap | Capungo | Fiona Volpe | Count Lippe | Angelo Palazzi | Jacques Bouvar | Vargas | Ricardo | Osato | Helga Brandt | Hans

George Lazenby
Irma Bunt | Grunther | Braun | Felsen | Josef

Sean Connery (Part 2)
Wint and Kidd | Bambi and Thumper

Roger Moore
Tee Hee | Baron Samedi | Adam | Whisper | Dambala | Solitaire | Rosie Carver | Leroy | Nick Nack | Hai Fat | Kra | Jaws | Liparus Captain | Naomi | Sandor | Professor Markovitz | Dr. Bechmann | Chang | Emile Locque | Erich Kriegler | Hector Gonzales | Claus | Apostis | Octopussy | Gobinda | Mischka and Grischka | Magda | Scarpine | May Day | Hans Glaub | Bob Conley | Jenny Flex | Pan Ho

Timothy Dalton
Necros | Colonel Feyador | Imposter 00 | Dario | Milton Krest | Ed Killifer | Heller | Joe Butcher | Perez | Braun | Clive

Pierce Brosnan
Xenia Onatopp | Arkady Ourumov | Boris Grishenko | Richard Stamper | General Chang | Henry Gupta | Dr. Kaufman | Captain Scott | Timblin | Satoshi Isagura | Tom Wallace | Philip Jones | Jeff Hobbs | Mary Golson | Beth Davidson | Tamara Steel | Gabor | Sasha Davidov | Mr. Bullion | Giulietta da Vinci | Mikhail Arkov | Trukhin | Lachaise | Miranda Frost | Tang Lin Zao | Vladmir Popov | Mr. Kil | Dr. Alvarez | General Han | General Li | General Dong | Van Bierk

Daniel Craig
Mr. White | Steven Obanno | Vesper Lynd | Alex Dimitrios | Adolph Gettler | Dryden | Valenka | Kratt | Mollaka Danso | Carlos Nikolic | Leo | Fisher | Luiz Medrano | Colonel Carlos | Gregg Beam | Elvis | Lieutenant Orso | Craig Mitchell | Yusef Kabira | Guy Haines | Edmund Slate | Marchetti Pilot | Gregor Karakov | Moishe Soref | Patrice | Severine | Boat Captain | Max Denbigh | Mr. Hinx | Marco Sciarra | Moreau | Dr. Vogel | Guerra | Abrika | Marshall | Valerian | Lorenzo | Gallo | Francesco and Marco | Primo | Valdo Obruchev | Logan Ash

Fatima Blush | Mr. Lippe

Book Villains
John Gardner
Anton Murik | Caber | Franco Quesocriado | Nena Bismaquer | Markus Bismaquer | Walter Luxor | Konrad von Glöda | Rivke Ingber | Koyla Mosolov | Tamil Rahani | Jay Autem Holy | Steve Quinn | Doktor Kirchtum | Nannie Norrich | Konstantin Chernov | Heather Dare | Norman Murray | Vladimir Scorpius | David Dragonpol | Maxwell Tarn

Jeffrey Deaver
Felicity Willing | Severan Hydt | Niall Dunne | Mahdi al-Fulan | Nicholas Rathko

Young Bond
Dr. Perseus Friend | Count Ugo Carnifex | El Huracán | John Charnage | Colonel Irina Sedova | Ludwig Smith | Wolfgang Smith | Anton Kostler | Konstantin Grünner | Andrei Karachan | Adam Elmhirst | Zoltan the Magyar

Video Game Villains
Adrian Malprave | Nigel Bloch | Rafael Drake | Makiko "Kiko" Hayashi | Armitage Rook | Ninja | Nikolai Diavolo | Katya Nadanova

The Union | SMERSH | SPECTRE (Quantum & Greene Planet) | Auric Enterprises (Flying Circus) | Stromberg Shipping Line (Liparus Crew) | Zorin Industries | Wavekrest Marine Research | Janus Syndicate | Carver Media Group Network (Stealth Ship Crew)