An Oscar, three golden globes, two bafta awards… For sure, Sean Connery’s career looked great long after he sheathed the Walter PPK from his alter ego James Bond. Far from the limited playing capacities that Ian Fleming gave him, the Scottish actor knew not only to stop playing 007 in time, but also to carry on with panache unforgettable roles under the direction of great directors.
Even if, inevitably, his post-Diamonds are forever is also full of splendid turnips, they are largely eclipsed by several other great films which marked forever the memories of the moviegoers and the general public. A detailed review of some of Sir Sean Connery’s most unforgettable roles.
James Bond, from Dr No (1962) to Never never again (1983)
Sean Connery was the first James Bond. And for some, the unique. Ian Fleming, the author of the novels, doubted that this stranger, from the working class, could embody his hero with elegance, dreaming instead of Cary Grant or David Niven. But Sean has sex appeal and all the physical characteristics of the hero imagined by the writer. Having left school at 17 to join the navy, he’s a tough guy. The Scotsman is magnetic in 007. A mixture of brutality and boorishness, virility and nonchalance, he sowed death, impassive, in seven episodes of the franchise. Tired of being in the eyes of the public only a simple number, the actor will definitively leave the secret agent in 1983 with Never never again (an unofficial Bond). But will then experience a rich career in cinema.
Read also My name is Connery, Sean Connery
Mark Rutland in No spring for Marnie (1964)
Unliked in the filmography of Hitchcock, released between The birds and The Torn Curtain, No spring for Marnie (Marnie in V.O.) remains one of his most fascinating and disturbing, even shocking. A real Freudian plunge into the torments of a neurotic, kleptomaniac woman, soon the prey of an alpha male who is also in full imbalance. It is also a great role for Sean Connery, who took a real risk there with a character at the antipodes of James Bond: the editor Mark Rutland, desperately and blindly in love with Marnie Edgar (Tippi Hedren), a troubled young woman who he hired as assistant secretary and that will be the object of his obsession.
Jack Kehoe in Traitor on command (1970)
One of the greatest performances of the actor (with that of The Hill of Lost Men, By Sidney Lumet). In this little-known work by the great Martin Ritt, whose action takes place in 1870 in Pennsylvania, he plays an Irish miner who tries to improve the conditions of his men by committing attacks with a group of terrorists, soon infiltrated by a traitor (the remarkable Richard Harris) in the pay of the police. Reflection on denouncing, this Germinal American is as grandiose as it is lyrical. One of the peaks of Connery’s career. And a nugget to (re) discover urgently!
Daniel Dravot in The man who wanted to be king (1975)
Shot with a young man’s vitality by veteran John Huston, aged 69, this feature film based on a short short story by Rudyard Kipling is one of the most beautiful jewels of adventure cinema! Sean Connery and Michael Caine are extraordinary there in the roles of two former non-commissioned officers of the British army, in search of fame and fortune who, in 1880, leave in search of Kafiristan, a mythical kingdom, supposed to be paved with ‘gold. When they arrive there, Dravot (the character played by Connery) is taken for the son of Alexander the Great and becomes, in the eyes of the people of Kafiristan, a supernatural being! Full of humor and emotion (the finale on the suspension bridge where Sean Connery sings “The Son of God Goes Forth to War”), this film deals with the insane and ultimately ridiculous dream of a man who took himself for a god . A wonder ! For lovers of this masterpiece: it will be released next December in a DVD / Blu-ray box set from the publisher Wild Side.
Robin Hood in The Rose and the Arrow (1976)
The 45-year-old while filming this romantic replay of the Robin Hood mythos, Connery continues his post-James Bond counter-role strategy by playing an aging and worn-out hero, back in Sherwood Forest after 20 years. of military campaigns in France in the service of Richard the Lionheart. Far from his exploits of yesteryear, this Robin Hood has only one priority objective: to reconquer his beloved Marianne (Audrey Hepburn), entered into orders to forget the man she never thought to see again. Connery has probably never been so overwhelming on camera and unleashes himself as rarely in a tragic, literally heartbreaking, tear-calling finale.
Marshal William T. O’Neil, in Outland (nineteen eighty one)
Sean Connery’s unique foray into the world of space opera, then very fashionable since Star wars released four years earlier, Outland has often been described as a space western and a disguised remake of the Train will whistle three times. And the actor has nothing to envy Gary Cooper, in the role of Marshal O’Neil, badass cop responsible for maintaining order in a mining operation installed on Io, one of the satellite moons of Jupiter. . In front of him, the director of the mine, Mark B. Sheppard (Peter Boyle), warden of a drug trafficking organized to better stimulate the productivity of the workers. In the last act of the film, O’Neil has to resist alone in the face of killers sent on his heels by the conglomerate that owns the place, who begins to find his zeal a little too embarrassing. Robust, virile, incorruptible, Connery sports a magnificent fifty in this realistic science-fiction classic, particularly appreciated by fans of the genre.
Guillaume de Baskerville, in The Name of the Rose by Jean-Jacques Annaud (1986)
In 1327, a Franciscan monk investigates a series of murders committed in a Benedictine abbey, isolated in the north of Italy, which contains a secret … In the skin of a Sherlock Holmes in bure, Sean Connery has fun playing the troubles-masses in this medieval thriller, taken from Umberto Eco’s bestseller, which has benefited from a meticulous reconstruction. It gives an idea of the currents which agitated the Church at that time, troubled by obscurantism and the Inquisition. The plot is gripping. The atmosphere, dismal. And the particularly disturbing cast. A “sacred” film by Jean-Jacques Annaud! And a miraculous role for Connery.
Jim Malone, in The Incorruptibles by Brian De Palma (1987)
Cinema adaptation of the cult TV series from the early 1960s, The Incorruptibles marks a crucial turn for Sean Connery. The actor, who has already excelled in mentoring roles for Highlander and The Name of the Rose, almost steals the show from stars Kevin Costner and Robert De Niro, as the intractable cop Malone. Between two rounds of golf, which he sometimes arrives directly on the set still in player attire, Connery camps with impressive ferocity this little Irish pandora beating the pavement of Chicago before being recruited into the shock team set up by Elliot Ness facing Al Capone. The scene of his monologue, in a church next to a determined Ness, on the ruthless methods to be adopted in the fight to the death against Capone, continues to mark memories with its resentment and its disturbing resonance beyond the film.
Anglo-Saxon language experts will have noticed that the actor, despite his character’s roots, still retained his proud Scottish accent on screen. Regardless: the role will earn Sean Connery his only Oscar nomination – and in the process his only victory, well deserved. The scene of the execution of Malone by the odious killer Frank Nitti is probably one of the most heartbreaking scenes in American cinema of the 1980s. The international triumph of Incorruptible and his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor will spectacularly revive Connery’s career in Hollywood, which will later give him many other charismatic leader characters until the end of the 90s.
Prof. Henry Jones, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
In this third installment, the adventurer played by Harrison Ford goes in search of the Holy Grail and his father, the irascible professor Henry Jones, kidnapped by the Nazis … Who else could be Indy’s dad, if not ex-James Bond, Sean Connery? Spielberg and Lucas had indeed imagined their hero with the Fedora hat thinking very hard about 007. The presence of Connery is therefore logical in this episode where he establishes a bond with his offspring. With his rimmed glasses and white beard, he is perfect at 59 in this role of mentor, at once grumpy, tender and mischievous.
Marko Ramius in Hunting for Red October (1990)
Adapted from a bestseller by Tom Clancy published in 1984, this film, superiorly directed by John McTiernan, features Sean Connery as the commander of a Russian nuclear submarine who decides to go West with his machine and everything. crew on board. Problem: he could well be shot down by American ships, who have no idea of his intentions. Released in the midst of the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the film, despite an ostensibly set tale in 1984, seemed slightly anachronistic when it was released, but whatever: breathless geopolitical thriller, Hunting for Red October is a lesson in staging trapping the spectator in the passageways of submarines where a potential third world war is brewing. Himself a former soldier engaged in the Royal Navy before engaging in comedy, Sean Connery once again imposes an overwhelming charisma as a Russian officer in love with classical culture and freedom. The film will be a new international triumph for the actor, who will find John McTiernan in 1992 for the adventure film. Medicine Man – where the tensions between the two men will explode to the point of no return.