Legends of Action

August 14, 2012

Legends of Action: Sean Connery

Born: August 25, 1940

From: Edinburgh, Scotland


Sean Connery has appeared in over 85 films in his storied career. For the first ten years of his career he appeared mostly in television films and series. But in 1962, he would write the book on what an action legend really was.

Sean Connery was selected by Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to be the first actor to portray British Secret Service agent 007 in Dr No, the first film of the legendary James Bond Collection by Eon Productions. This would be the first of seven films that he would don the tuxedo. Throughout the next 20 years he would set the standard by which all future actors would try to live up to when portraying the beloved character.

Throughout his impressive run as James Bond, which included the likes of Thunderball, From Russia with Love and You only Live Twice, he would reach the pinnacle of excellence in 1964 when he starred in Goldfinger. This film is a two hour clinic on the definitive way to go about making a perfect spy thriller. Although it is not the most action packed of the 007 films, it is the story, script and every single character and performance that makes this movie so beloved even by today’s standards.

Mr. Connery moved on from James Bond, but never strayed too far from his roots as an action icon. In 1981 he starred in Outland, a forgotten but nevertheless entertaining sci-fi/action hybrid. In it he plays O’Niel, a police marshall that is stationed on a mining colony of one of Jupiter’s moons. The movies pacing is sluggish, but again the supporting cast and of course Connery himself make the price of admission worth it throughout.

1986 would bring us the immortal classic Highlander and Connery’s presence as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez would only strengthen this films legacy over the past 25 years. Although his performance is small, it is the importance as our hero’s mentor that made his scenes so crucial. After doing films such as Sword of the Valiant and Robin and Marian, his experience with using a sword was also an important factor for his scenes, especially when he meets up with the menacing Kurgan.

The following two years would bring two additional tough guy roles in The Untouchables and The Presidio respectively. The bar scene in The Presidio is a must see for anyone who has ever doubted Sean Connery’s screen presence.

Movie fans would receive a treat in the summer of 1989, when the original Mr. James Bond would become the father of Mr. Henry Jones Jr. in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. But fans may have not expected to see the portrayal of Dr. Henry Jones Sr. that they got. After all, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to see James Bond and Indiana Jones kicking ass together on the silver screen. But instead, the decision was made to make Indiana’s father a bit of a bookworm and not very experienced when it came to the adventures that could follow archeology once you leave the library. Although the film is jam packed with action, Henry Sr. spends much of the time watching from the sidelines. It was a brilliant move however, because it allows the audience to see a rediscovery of a father/son relationship during the touching moments between Indy and his dad. They slowly begin to realize that as different as they are, they are also very much the same.

Next in 1990 would come another fantastic performance in the first of the Jack Ryan series of films The Hunt for Red October. Again, his character of Marko Ramius was not portrayed as the toughest of men, but his performance brought a great amount of respect which was needed for this type of “thinking” action film.

The early part of the 90’s would see Mr. Connery in several other action films, such as Rising Sun, Just Cause and even a small but delightful cameo as King Richard in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

In 1996 Sean Connery would bring us his best performance as a true action legend when he chose the role of John Patrick Mason in The Rock. Although 65 at the time, there is never one moment that we don’t believe that this man could take on the entire world if necessary and come out without a scratch. Connery steals this entire movie from every other person that just may happen to be in it. Even its co-star Nic Cage can only take a backseat and enjoy the ride that he is fortunate enough to be a part of.

Although Mr. Connery retired after the unfortuate experience that was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (I still actually recommend the film), he had long since solidified himself as a permanent fixture on the mantle of action legends. We are so fortunate to have all of these films to look back on in this man’s spectacular career!

About the Author

Brian M
Movies have been a big part of my life since the creation of the VCR. They have always been a way for me to escape. The action genre allowed that feeling more than any other, because the heroes in these films were living in an ordinary world, but were doing extraordinary things. Watching action movies encourages my imagination to explore while I am doing even the most mundane thing and make it exciting. Don't be afraid to use your imagination and keep action alive, no matter how old you get.



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