The world lost one of history’s most towering screen presences. The loss of Sean Connery, who passed away at the age of 90, stings. There was nobody, not even remotely like Connery captured on film. He was a big man on the big screen, he was the definitive James Bond, and he had one of the all-time great speaking voices for an actor. The iconic voice held such power, humor, and sometimes, warmth. Connery will forever remain one of the all-time great movie stars. There are plenty of Sean Connery movies to choose from to celebrate his remarkable career and life, some of which we’re recommending today in honor of the man.
No Connery list is complete without at least one Bond film. There’s plenty of quality Bond movies to choose from, including Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Thunderball. We have to give it up to Goldfinger, though. It’s about as entertaining as movies can get and gave us Connery’s most iconic work as the character. Connery will live on forever through his work in Goldfinger and the rest of his Bond films. Nobody looks as cool in a suit as Connery.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The third entry in the Indiana Jones series introduced countless movie fans to Connery for the first time. What a beautiful introduction, too. The actor couldn’t have been more right for the role of Indiana Jones’ father. The role needed someone major, and Spielberg found his man in Connery. There’s something inherently fatherly about Connery, especially in his later and wiser roles. In The Last Crusade, Connery plays another disappointing father in a Spielberg film. Indy’s father is not a good dad, but his journey towards becoming a proud and protective father, Connery makes it all so fun and emotional.
Connery was terrifying in Alfred Hitchock’s relationship horror movie. The actor couldn’t have been better cast as the villain. The icon brings touches of his suaveness to a reprehensible man. It’s chilling. Hitchcock’s movie took full advantage of Connery’s mammoth frame, once displayed in bodybuilding competitions. The actor looks like a terrifying giant in this classic. With his creepy swagger and large build, Connery played his most frightening villain in Marnie.
Murder on the Orient Express
Connery found a perfect collaborator in Lumet, who let him stretch his acting muscles like no other filmmaker. In the defining telling of Murder on the Orient Express, Connery wasn’t playing the movie star; he was playing the character actor. Character actor parts suited Connery, too. In supporting roles, the legend could light scenes up. He’s a joy to watch in this murder mystery.
Playing by Heart
Here’s a sweet and tender movie that doesn’t get talked about enough. Willard Carroll’s ensemble romance has a charismatic cast ranging from Angelina Jolie to Jon Stewart. Among the large cast is Connery, playing a married man who’s dying. It’s one of Connery’ more laidback performances with a low-key charisma. He’s wonderful in this movie. Flawed it is, yes, but it has some touching stuff from Connery and fellow cast members.
The Hill is one of Sidney Lumet’s many masterpieces. Connery is at his most authentic in this powerhouse film, which has an ending so haunting it’ll never leave you. Connery stars as a British soldier in a detention camp led by power hungry ghouls. The role required both power and vulnerability, and Connery nailed both. Connery’s grand presence made the small-scale black-and-white film a tremendous epic.
The Hunt for Red October
Another role that required that signature Connery prowess. John McTiernan’s Jack Ryan movie, which is the best Jack Ryan movie, is a thrilling submarine thriller. While Connery was a little typecast as authority figures, he was often at his best in those roles. Even as a Russian commander sporting a Scottish accent, Connery was always believable in the moment.
The Man Who Would Be King
Admittedly, I have not seen The Man Who Would Be King yet, but according to cinephiles and filmmakers, it’s a must-see Connery film. It’s directed by the legendary John Huston (The Maltese Falcon). The Man Who Would Be King paired Connery with Michael Caine, both playing English officers stationed in India. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s short story, the adventure film was nominated for four academy awards.
The Rock is total trash. It’s utter B-movie trash. Sometimes, however, junk food hits the spot, and that’s exactly what Michael Bay’s action movie does. Most of the movie’s fun comes from the pairing of Nicolas Cage and Connery. It’s such an odd couple. They are two distinct and eccentric actors throwing everything into the kitchen sink and having a ball. The action is fun in The Rock, but Cage and Connery’s performances is where the real fun lies.
Like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, discovering Connery’s performance in this gangster classic is an unforgettable moment. Connery expressed a commanding power on-screen rarely touched by actors today. He also expressed warmth and glee in the role of beat cop Jim Malone, an almost fatherly figure to Elliot Ness (Costner). The actor could go broad, as he does in The Untouchables, and still remain authentic. Connery, again, gave a giant performance in The Untouchables only a screen legend could give. He will be missed.