He’s in his 80s but can still make women swoon. He’s touted as the “best “James Bond ever and his classy manner and sexy accent have always made moviegoers flock to the movies! Sean Connery has been a motion picture staple for decades playing dramatic roles and even comedic ones, all with his own distinctive flair and no-nonsense attitude. Despite how harsh Hollywood can be, Connery has always given 110% no matter the role. Some might complain that none of his Bond movies are on this list, that’s because I wanted to focus on his work aside from playing the iconic super sly secret agent. To quote Goldie Hawn’s character in the 1996 comedy First Wives Club, when referencing Connery, “He’s 300 years old but he’s still a stud!” In honor his 83rd birthday today, here are the Top 10 Sean Connery movies.
10. First Knight: This 1995 romantic drama had Connery playing the famed King Arthur, who fell for Julia Ormond’s Guinevere, who fell for Richard Gere’s Lancelot. The story of the Knights of the Round Table was a perfect one for Connery, who exuded stature and bravery throughout the film. Though critics were mixed with their reviews, die hard Connery fans couldn’t deny he was perfect for the role.
9. The Untouchables: In this 1987 historical crime drama, Connery joined Kevin Costner, Robert DeNiro, Andy Garcia. The film is Ness’ (Costner) autobiographical account of the efforts of him and his gang, called “The Untouchables” to bring Capone (DeNiro) down during Prohibition. Connery played Irish-American officer Jim Malone, who aided Ness in his pursuit. Though Connery’s character dies in an ambush, his performance was praised by Roger Ebert upon the film’s release and he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
8. The Hunt for Red October: This 1990 thriller based Tom Clancey’s novel of the same name, set in 1984, had Connery playing Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius, commanding a new vessel called “Red October,” which featured a caterpillar drive, making it undetectable to radar. The cast also included Alec Baldwin, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones and a very young Stellan Skarsgård, who would later star in the Academy Award winning 1997 drama Good Will Hunting. Connery played a vicious Russian captain to a tee and the film won rave reviews, which was undoubtedly because of Connery’s stellar portrayal.
7. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Directed by Steven Spielberg, this 1989 action adventure romp had Connery playing the father of Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford. Set in 1938, Indiana went in search of his father, who had been kidnapped by Nazis while searching for the Holy Grail. Ford and Connery played masterfully opposite each other and brought out a real father/son bond throughout the movie.
6. Just Cause: In this 1995 thriller based on the John Katzenbach novel of the same name, Connery played a Harvard professor opposed to capital punishment, who’s persuaded to go to Florida to investigate the conviction of a black man, played by Blair Underwood, for raping and murdering a white girl. The film also starred Laurence Fishburne, Ed Harris and a very young Scarlett Johansson. Connery superbly played a cat-and-mouse game filled with twists and deceptions with both Harris and Underwood and his powerful depiction of a man determined to learn the truth made this a riveting thriller right up until the last scene.
5. Rising Sun: Connery played a cop and expert on Japanese affairs in this 1993 crime thriller. After a professional escort is murdered at a party at the US office of a major Japanese corporation, Connery’s Capt. John Conner is partnered with Wesley Snipes’ Lt. Webster Smith to investigate. Also starring Harvey Keitel, Connery’s refined stature against Snipes’ more streetwise approach made them an ideal duo as they sifted through deceit and cover-ups to unearth the killer’s true identity.
4. The Rock: This 1996 actioner was directed by Michael Bay of Bad Boys fame and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who would later produce the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. Here, Connery played a federal prisoner forced to help Nicolas Cage’s character, Dr. Stanley Goodspeed, a top FBI top chemical weapons specialist, with capturing Ed Harris’ character, an embittered Marine General Frank Hummel, who stole a stockpile of deadly gas weapons and was holed up on Alcatraz island with hostages. Connery infused his unique brand of wry humor mixed with brawn against Cage’s unfaltering action abilities giving this blow ‘em up bonanza something special.
3. Entrapment: This 1999 witty romantic thriller had Connery as an art thief who Catherine Zeta-Jones’ insurance agent character, Virginia Baker, was charged with taking down…or was she? Moviegoers were delighted at the saucy pairing of Connery and Zeta-Jones as they played thieves who outsmarted the good guys and got into a number of scrapes themselves. Their chemistry was undeniable as Zeta-Jones’ Baker and Connery’s MacDougal prepared to pull of the biggest heist ever of $8 billion. Moviegoers were on the edge of their seats as the twosome played both sides and wondered if Baker and MacDougal would get away and romantically pair up in the end. Blended with comedy and action, it was a true cinematic treat!
2. Medicine Man: Connery played, Dr. Robert Campbell, an eccentric scientist conducting research in the Amazon rainforest in this 1992 romantic drama. Lorraine Bracco, of future Sopranos fame, played Dr. Rae Crane, who learned that Connery’s Campbell had found the cure for cancer in the jungle but lost it. Their quest to re-discover the cure was then a race against time before a powerful pharmaceutical company threatened to wipe out the jungle and the cure in the process. Bracco and Connery’s interaction was filled with intelligence and offbeat hilarity as they fell in love while looking for the cure for the “plague of the 20th century.” Though panned by critics, moviegoers were taken in by the beauty of the rainforest and the riveting action in the film.
1. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: This 2003 adventure fantasy, which was loosely based on characters from the comic book limited series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore, had Connery playing world renowned hunter/adventurer Allan Quartermain. Set in 1899, he and other fabled characters like Captain Nemo, chemist Mina Harker, who battled Dracula and became a vampire herself, invisible thief Rodney Skinner, the immortal Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and Tom Sawyer, now a US Secret Service agent, were charged with preventing a madman start WWIII. Connery brought his sense of decorum and style to the role as he battled and made the ensemble cast a team. Though critically panned, the movie brought a number of legendary characters together for an edge-of-your seat adventure that delighted moviegoers!