What made Connery win the lifetime achievement?
I have some beefs with Sean Connery, but none of them preclude from celebrating the talent of his film career. So it is with a proud Scottish heart that I congratulate his recent American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement award. Well done Sean.
It made me think though, what would you pick out and say "that's why he won it", and let's not just follow the hugely successful and elongated career route, let's look at individual films that have counted towards his success, films that you have particularly enjoyed.
Here are the films that I would point to, and you may find some slightly odd...
Finding Forrester (2000)
Rising Sun (1993)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
The Name of the Rose (1986)
The First Great Train Robbery (1979)
A Bridge Too Far (1977)
Robin and Marian (1976)
The Man Who Would be King (1975)
The Longest Day (1962)
There is, of course, one role missing from that list but it is in there by default. That of James Bond. I wasn't going to list my personal favourite films from that series, suffice to say that Bond probably counts for a large reason why he's there.
Finding Forrester is perhaps what I would think to be one of his greatest roles. I truly loved that film and found he gave us a side of his acting ability that had been missing for a very long time. Many of his movies he is delivered as the movie persona Connery, but here we have a touching and at times tragic performance which really touches the heart.
Rising Sun was a very strong performance let down by the actual film itself, which is a shame since the script and the idea behind it were so strong. I loved the onscreen pairing against Wesley Snipes, and the interactions between the two characters. Snipes being chopped down and put in his place by the older and wiser Connery.
The Hunt for Red October was an iconic role for him and shows that whatever Connery does we can forgive him. A Russian Captain with a Scottish accent? Yet this role was perfect for him and he positively oozed charisma and power throughout the film. It was a shame he overpowered the excellent Sam Neill so much, but backed by such an expansive and strong cast he led the film along with Alec Baldwin.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade gave us the perfect father for Dr Jones, and who would have thought Connery and Ford would have worked so well onscreen before this? They were perfect, and as with Red October with Sam Neill, Connery performance was bolstered by a superb Ford. It was also helped that this film equalled that of the first Indy movie, one of the greatest action/adventure movies I've seen.
Outland is simply High Noon in space, but that's belittling the film. It carries a similar feel to Alien or Blade Runner, that foreign, futuristic and quite claustrophobic, although nowhere near as classic a movie as those, it still works very well. I really enjoyed this film and the strong, lonely role Connery takes on, and it stands apart for me still.
I can’t really tell you why I enjoy Meteor so much. It’s perhaps the same reason why I like any of the disaster movies. It’s fun, it’s big...and it’s entertainment. There are loads of faults with the film but it’s still a film I really enjoyed. Connery just seems to have as much fun in it as I did watching.
The First Great Train Robbery is great movie to watch filled as it is with nostalgia and the teaming up of two great British actors, Michael Caine alongside Connery. It’s a great fun film, and a very strong performance from Connery. Something that strikes me every time about this movie is the time period, it just seems so unusual for the story, and it works so well.
Zardoz marks the oddest film role for him, and it’s hard to write anything about this other than to say he really took a chance with this role and it seems to have come out of nowhere. It’s a terrible movie, and I think I’ve seen it twice in my life and couldn’t believe I was watching it either time. However, what a career change and what a possible career killer, and yet it really didn’t stop him.
There you go, I’ve missed out a few that there was nothing more to say than I really enjoyed the film and him in it.
So now it’s over to you. What are the roles that stand out for you in Connery’s career and why? What roles do you think contribute to that lifetime award and are the two different? I know there’s a couple I haven’t noted in my personal list.