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Remembering Sean Connery: A Look Back at His Most Iconic Film Roles

Sean Connery James Bond

Sean Connery as James Bond. Photo: Getty

As one of Britain’s greatest film stars, Sean Connery has been immortalized by playing some of the most iconic roles created in cinema. The acclaimed Scottish actor, who had an incredible career spanning more than seven decades, has garnered worldwide adoration and fame due to his most prolific role as the first-ever James Bond.

The seasoned actor sadly passed away on October 31, aged 90, but has left behind an everlasting legacy as one of Hollywood’s greats. Known for his smooth, distinctive Scottish-accent and considerable good looks, the Academy Award-winning actor paved the way for one of the most recognizable film characters of all time, starring in seven James Bond films as the eponymous Agent 007.

Connery’s death was confirmed over the weekend by his son, Jason, who explained his father passed away peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family. “We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time,” said Jason Connery. “A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”

Although Connery is most notable for his role as Bond, James Bond, he will be remembered for so much more. Current James Bond actor Daniel Craig said Connery will forever be recognized as “one of the true greats of cinema,” adding, “Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in megawatts; he helped create the modern blockbuster. He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”

In memory of one of Hollywood’s greatest ever talents, Vogue Man Arabia takes a look back on Sean Connery’s most iconic film roles.

James Bond, (1962-1983)

Connery’s career-defining role saw him take on the part of Ian Fleming’s fictional MI6 agent for seven films. Connery took on the role of 007 for the films: Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, and Never Say Never Again. The actor cemented his portrayal of the role that changed his life “enormously”, as the title character for the first six films in the series, before returning to the franchise after 12 years for Never Say Never Again, in 1983; following George Lazenby’s portrayal of the spy in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969. Writer Ian Fleming was initially unimpressed by Connery’s casting for the first film Dr. No, however, the Scottish actor’s physical talent and exceeding good looks became synonymous with the character, resulting in Fleming changing his view on Connery and incorporating aspects of his portrayal into later books.

Daniel Dravot, The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

Connery joined forces with fellow British actor Michael Caine to create the perfect double act in John Huston’s 1975 adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling novella of the same name. The film follows two rogue ex-soldiers in the British Army to travel across late 19th-century British India but end up far away in Afghanistan, in the historical region of Kafiristan, where Connery’s character Daniel Dravot is taken for a god and made their king. It is said that both Connery and Caine regard The Man Who Would Be King as their favorite movie of all time to have worked on.

William of Baskerville, The Name of the Rose (1986)

In the 1986 Italian-German-French mystery and historical drama film, The Name of the Rose, Connery starred as the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville, in a role which earned him the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The film was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and is based on the novel of the same name by Umberto Eco. Although the film was one of Connery’s smaller production movies, his sensational performance is remembered as one of his best.

Jimmy Malone, The Untouchables (1987)

Connery teamed up with Kevin Costner and Robert De Niro for the 1987 film, The Untouchables, centered around Al Capone and Federal Agent Elliot Ness. Connery took on the role of Jimmy Malone, a veteran police officer to offers to help Ness put a stop to the activities of crime kingpin Al Capone. Connery received critical acclaim for his standout performance, taking home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well as the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. Although the film saw Connery’s only Oscar nomination in his career, his stellar performance easily cemented his Oscar win.

Henry Jones Sr., Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Despite only being 12-years older than Indiana Jones actor Harrison Ford, Connery portrayed the title character’s father in the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The action-adventure film is the third installment of the Indiana Jones franchise and quickly became a box-office hit breaking records on its opening weekend of release. The film’s director Steven Speilberg was noted to have Connery in mind to play the character Henry Jones Sr., when it was first discussed at introducing Indiana Jones’ father into the films.

Marko Ramius, The Hunt for Red October (1990)

This spy-thriller film was an adaptation of Tom Clancy’s 1984 bestselling novel of the same name and saw Connery take on the role of Marko Ramius, the Commanding Officer of the ballistic missile submarine Red October. The role played parallel’s to Connery’s earlier life in the military service, as he had previously served in the Royal Navy prior to his acting career. Connery’s masterful performance saw him earn a nomination for Best Actor at the 1991 British Academy Film Awards.

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