Sean Connery, star of more than 90 feature films and television programs, has retired from acting. This is not news. It happened almost ten years ago. I miss his work…a lot. From his superstardom of the 60s to the strange sci-fi films of the 80s and his resurgence in the 90s and beyond, Connery, to me, was always awesome. His performance would often outshine the other actors in a movie and often outshine even the movie itself.
With that in mind, I bring to you my top 5 favorite Sean Connery roles.
5. Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez – Highlander (1986)
The original Highlander actually made sense. The sequels really muddied the waters, but the original is a pretty good flick. Connery is a Scotsman by birth playing an Egyptian pretending to be a Spaniard. He is immortal, a master swordsman who seeks out other immortals to teach and train them for the final battle known as The Gathering. Connery makes by far the best entrance in film history.
This appearance is by far the best entry in the wise old man/mentor category that marked the twilight of Connery’s career. He teaches a group of accountants to be cops and (spoiler) gets shot up like Sonny Corleone for his trouble. Pity he could not teach Kevin Costner to act, but hey, he is only one man.
If Indiana Jones had a father, he would be James Bond. However, Connery played the father of our favorite now-Disney-owned adventured much differently than we expected. Though Connery is only 12 years older than Ford, they played father and son flawlessly. My greatest enjoyment comes from watching Connery unsure of how to throw a punch and frightened by guns.
2. King Arthur – First Knight (1995)
So someone had the bright idea to make a King Arthur movie that removes the magic and mysticism from the story. The focus is placed on a forbidden romance between a vagrant swordsman and the wife of the King. Yeah, it sounds super boring. Wait…what if we cast Sean Connery as King Arthur? Okay, okay I can watch that. This film suffers for a lot of things; casting Connery is not one of them.
1. James Bond – From Russia With Love (1963)
If you ask someone who their favorite Bond is, and they answer with any name other than Sean Connery, they misunderstood the question. Anyone who reads my work with regularity knows I am a big James Bond fan. It could not have been much of a surprise what was waiting at number one on this list. So why this film over Connery’s other 5 cannon outings as 007? The later films become a tad too gadget driven, and Dr No, this films predecessor, lays down more back story than character focus. From Russia With Love is the story of a lone warrior trying to prevent WW3 and stay alive in the process. Connery plays the role of everyone’s favorite spy with pure bravado and swagger. A lack of gadget focus gives us the opportunity to see more of Connery’s wit, which is his true contribution to the character.