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What made Connery win the lifetime achievement?

SeanConnery.jpgI 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)
Outland (1981)
Meteor (1979)
The First Great Train Robbery (1979)
A Bridge Too Far (1977)
Robin and Marian (1976)
The Man Who Would be King (1975)
Zardoz (1974)
Marnie (1964)
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.



My boat is rocked by The First Great Train Robbery. The performances of Connery, along with Donald Sutherland and Lesley-Anne Down really put you back in the era.

The Hunt for Red October would be on my watch again and again list if I had it on DVD. I think you're right about him overpowering Neil a little, but then again the leading roles were Baldwin as Ryan and Connery as Ramius. One ping only....

For every acting, there's an equal and opposite something-or-other, and these are:

Entrapment. Oh, please. And Robin Hood as King Dicky? That was perfect - over inflated egotistic. Character or actor - you decide..

It´s difficult to decide what to begin with. His career is outstanding at every level. He is classy and has a touch of self-irony who aims to the audience with a high success.

This is my list of Connerys:

Marnie: He depicts a complex gentleman helping a much more complex lady.

The Wind and The Lion: He is wonderful in this John Millius classic. Free as the desert.

The Man Who Would Be King: My personal favourite, by no means. He and Michael Caine are brilliant, but he is Iskander´s son, and so, the tragic one.

Outland: Here Connery showed his enormous presence. I love this sci-fi classic version of High Noon, and because of him.

The Name of the Rose: He is undoubtedly the perfect William of Baskerville. One of the most perfect cast decisions ever made.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: What can be said about this role? It´s delicious, a cake for such an actor. He seems to enjoy it a lot.

The Rock: This movie is the typical Michael Bay festival of excesses, but Connery delivers a very enjoyable work who adds to the fun.

This scottish man has lots of class!

I was just about to ask about his performance in "The Name of the Rose" which novel I have read but did not get to see the film version as yet. I was reading it and really saw Connery as Brother William. Thanks Peter for filling that in! ;-)

What - no mention of the 'The Avengers'! I think Sean was great in 'The Untouchables'. Although he has never sounded more Scottish, even though he was playing an Irishman.

I would love to see Sean in a more character driven role rather than the cartoon type roles he's been doing recently. Something where he 'ahem' plays his age, and it would be great if it was one of those 'return to your homeland' films, with his character coming back to Scotland after years of exile. And if he didn't like the script Brian Cox could play the character instead.

Sean has had some truelly aweful roles and at times his accent has left a lot to be desired, BUT i have always been amused and mostly entertained by the films he has acted in

That, combined with the length of time he has been doing it, surely speaks volumes.

and i forgot to add...

he still is my favorite bond.

Sir Sean Connery gets a call from his agent one day. The agent says "Sean, I've got you a job, starts tomorrow, early. You'll have to be there for 10-ish".

Sean furrows his brow and says "Tennish? but I don't even have a racket."

Ba dooom - tisch! ....... Sorry. Had to be done.

My favourite is The Man Who Would be King.

Mr Morrow, that won't win a Perrier award...

...because Perrier aren't doing the awards anymore, not because of Morrow's poor comedy!

"I have some beefs with Sean Connery"

Richard, still waiting. ;-)

That's definitely not for Filmstalker, they are all related to politics and his treatment of Scotland.

I thought so too.

I agree with Louise, the reason The Untouchables was memorable was because of him, alongside the very plain Kevin Costner was as Elliot Ness.


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