Sean Connery — the original James Bond and prolific actor whose on-screen work spanned more than 50 years — has died at age 90.
Mostly retired over the last 15 years or so, his most recent film character was Alan Quartermain in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But it was his original take on 007 that made him a household name, starting with Dr. No in 1962. That followed with From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds are Forever, and the offshoot Never Say Never Again.
Connery played other iconic roles over the years, including Marko Ramius in The Hunt For Red October, Professor Henry Jones in the third Indiana Jones installment, and
His death was reported on Oct. 31, 2020.
Connery's body of work is extensive, but here are some of our favorites:
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
In a pre-Avengers world (not to be confused with 1998's The Avengers, also staring co-Connery), we saw some of history's favorite fictional characters come together to stop the Big Bad. It was a fun watch, though not a great one.
There's nothing overtly stellar about this movie, save for Catherine Zeta Jones, perhaps. The backdrop of Kuala Lumpur stands out more than the plot itself, and the twists aren't unexpected. Still, this heist caper this is one you watch whenever it's on.
The Rock (1996)
Before Michael Bay became a meme and Nick Cage became, well, whatever he is today, we had this epic action flick. A disillusioned military hero (Ed Harris) is trying to threaten the U.S. government into paying a ransom for Alcatraz and the city of San Francisco, and only Connery's John Patrick Mason — a former inmate on The Rock who managed to escape — can lead a team to stop it. It's good, dumb fun.
Just Cause (1995)
Sean Connery and Lawrence Fishburn, Ed Harris, and Kate Capshaw and Blair Underwood in a film version of the must-read book. It shines a light on the racial injustices of the U.S. justice system and remains as poignant today as it was then.
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Never mind how bad his actual Russian was, or how much worse the Scottish-Russian accent came through. Connery was a great Marko Ramius in the Tom Clancy book of the same name that launched the military techno-thriller. Alec Baldwin is nearly unrecognizable as Jack Ryan, too, and remains the best of the iterations of that character. Plus, Courtney B. Vance, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones, Tim Curry, Stellan Skarsgård, Fred Dalton Thompson — "This business will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it!" — round out the best of the Clancy stories played out on screen.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Each of the original Indiana Jones movies was brilliant in its own right, and the series deserves even more credit today for that feat. And it only got better when it brought in Connery as Professor Henry Jones — Indiana's father and namesake — in the search for the Cup of Christ. Watch it again and see Harrison Ford straight up when he's addressed by his father for the first time in the Austrian castle. It's a testament to how good those two were together.
The Untouchables (1987)
If this movie isn't on any list of gangster films you might run across, just put that list away. Connery as James Malone alongside Kevin Costner, Andy Garcia and Robert De Niro remains one of those movies you just have to watch. Connery won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role.
Look, there's a lot of cheese in this movie. It was the height of the 1980s. But you can't beat the fun idea of an immortal Scotsman with a sword and a killer soundtrack from Queen. It's just fun. And in the end, there can be only one. Connery played Juan Sanchez-Villalobos Ramirez, an immortal who serves as mentor to Christopher Lambert's Connor MacLeod.
Dr. No (1962)
I'd put every Connery James Bond film on this list, but for the sake of brevity I'll stick the one that start it all. Connery is the original Bond. There have been other greats, but there wouldn't have been the opportunity for any others had Connery not led the way.
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