Sean Connery was one of the most legendary movie stars of all time. He rose to fame thanks to his iconic role as James Bond, and many still consider him to be the best actor to have ever played the role. While Connery is synonymous with the famous spy, he has plenty of other great movies over his long career.
Though Connery had long retired from the movie business before his death, he thankfully left behind decades of great work that fans can continue to enjoy for years to come. You can revisit some of his classics or discover his hidden gems. Here are the screen actor’s best roles as ranked by IMDb, and we’ve added five more entries to our existing list that shouldn’t be missed.
Updated on November 27th, 2020 by Derek Draven: As mentioned above, we’ve added a few more movies to this list which IMDb has ranked the best of Sean Connery’s career. Some are extremely well-known, while others have fallen into history and should immediately be sought out.
15 Marnie (1964): 7.2
Connery starred in this 1964 Alfred Hitchcock thriller about the titular Marnie, a beautiful kleptomaniac with a dark past who meets her match in Mark Rutland, a wealthy publisher. He coerces Marnie into marriage, but the relationship immediately falls into decay when he realizes that her troubled childhood memories are starting to resurface.
It’s a battle of wills between the two as Mark attempts to save Marnie from herself by scheduling a confrontation with her mother. The truth comes out, paving the way for some form of healing process to begin, even though the future looks uncertain.
14 Dr. No (1962): 7.2
Sean Connery kicked off the long-lasting 007 franchise with this first installment which introduced audiences to the unstoppable MI6 agent. It bears all the awkward telltale signs of a first franchise installment, yet managed to score a touchdown thanks to great storytelling and a smooth main character.
Connery’s performance is loaded with style, charm, and manliness as he woos beautiful women while dodging bullets from international villains. It could have fallen apart years ago, but Connery’s presence in the role has helped the 007 franchise creep close to its 60th anniversary.
13 Murder On The Orient Express (1974): 7.3
Connery joined forces with veteran thespians Vanessa Redgrave, Albert Finney, and Lauren Bacall in this fantastic adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel. It’s the O.G. “Whodunit” film that audiences love to experience over and over again, thanks to an exciting story and a genuinely entertaining mystery.
Murder on the Orient Express was an instant hit, scoring multiple Best Actor, Actress, and Film Awards (among others) and winning a grand total of nine. Connery brought an allure of class and distinction to the film as Colonel Arbuthnot, and it’s a performance that never gets old.
12 Finding Forrester (2000): 7.3
By the time 2000 had come around, Connery was getting ready to make an exit from the acting world altogether, but he took the time to head up this excellent drama about an award-winning author who takes a young and extremely gifted inner-city kid under his wing and shapes him for the pressures of an esteemed Manhattan prep school.
Both teacher and student quickly create an impact on one another which forces Connery’s character to rethink his past and present for the sake of his future. This was Connery’s semi-final on-screen acting role, but he managed to bring some of his absolute best to the picture.
11 A Bridge Too Far (1977): 7.4
Iconic Jurassic Park actor Richard Attenborough sat in the director’s chair for this 1977 wartime drama about the events of Operation Market Garden – the Allies’ attempt to bring a swift and decisive end to World War II by launching a massive push into Germany.
As the title suggests, the plan didn’t work, but the movie was a critical success story. Connery shared the screen with such top billers as James Caan, Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins, and Laurence Olivier, to name a few. It also picked up tons of awards for Best Film, Supporting Actor, and Cinematography, among others.
10 From Russia With Love (1963): 7.4
From Russia With Love was Connery’s second turn as Bond, and is still regarded as one of the best entries into the long-running franchise. The movie finds Bond the target of a deadly Russian assassin (played by Robert Shaw). Bond willingly puts himself in the crosshairs of the killer in order to retrieve a valuable encryption device.
Connery seemed to become more comfortable with the role and really made it his own. He adds charm, swagger, and humor to 007. Shaw makes for a great foe to our hero, and their showdown is genuinely thrilling.
9 The Rock (1996): 7.4
Even in his later years, Connery proved to be a formidable action star. The Rock is a Michael Bay action film about a group of rogue special forces soldiers who take hostages on the island of Alcatraz while threatening to release a deadly biological weapon. Connery plays a former inmate of the prison who must team with a scientist (Nicolas Cage) to stop the evil plot.
Connery and Cage make for a surprisingly solid team, bringing humor to all the action mayhem. Bay stages some of his best action sequences while avoiding the kind of misguided humor that derails some of his more recent films.
8 The Hunt For Red October (1990): 7.6
Connery uses his natural gravitas to great use with this spy thriller The Hunt for Red October. Alec Baldwin originates the role of Jack Ryan, the young CIA analyst who is brought in when the captain (Connery) of a Soviet nuclear submarine goes rogue and head towards America with unknown intentions.
The movie is a gripping Cold-War-themed thriller with a stellar cast that also includes Sam Neill, Scott Glenn, and James Earl Jones. Baldwin makes for a great reluctant hero while Connery is commanding in the central role.
7 The Name Of The Rose (1986): 7.7
The Name of the Rose is an underrated film in Connery’s career worth seeking out. The 1986 medieval story stars Connery as a friar who is a man of reason in a land led by blind fate. He visits an isolated abbey where several monks have died under mysterious circumstances.
This is a unique and compelling take on a mystery crime story, told in a gripping manner. Connery is excellent as the intellectual hero, and he is joined by some great actors, especially F. Murray Abraham in a villainous role.
6 Goldfinger (1964): 7.7
Connery cemented his iconic status as Bond with this classic entry into the genre. Bond’s latest adventure finds him investigating a gold magnate who is behind smuggling operations. As he digs deeper, Bond uncovers a plot to rob Fort Knox.
Goldfinger starts to embrace some of the camp of the series without going too far as they sometimes do in later movies. Connery is as suave as ever, the villain is memorable, and the theme song is legendary.
5 The Man Who Would Be King (1975): 7.8
Connery teamed with another acting legend, Michael Caine, for this fantastic adventure movie directed by John Huston. The Man Who Would Be King follows Connery and Caine as two British officers in the late 1800s who seek fortune in the Middle East and accidentally get mistaken for gods.
The two leads have wonderful chemistry together, which makes this rollicking story all the more enjoyable. It is an intriguing and entertaining adventure filled with action and humor as the tale gets more complex.
4 The Longest Day (1962): 7.8
The same year that he starred in his first Bond film, Connery was part of a massive ensemble in this stunning war epic. The Longest Day depicts the events of the D-Day invasion as seen from a variety of different points from the Allied forces. Connery plays a bold member of the British army.
Along with Connery, the film stars the likes of Henry Fonda, John Wayne, and Robert Mitchum to name only a few. The massive scope of the movie and the recreation of the battles are stunning. The Longest Day is an entertaining and breathtaking war World War II film.
3 The Hill (1965): 7.9
In The Hill, Connery starred in another World War II film, though this time he was the lead. Set in North Africa during the war, the film focuses on a group of prisoners at a military prison who are subjected to constant brutality from the power-hungry guards.
Connery gives one of his best performances as the defiant prisoner attempting to start a revolution. Sidney Lumet directed the film, and it remains one of the hidden gems of his legendary filmography.
2 The Untouchables (1987): 7.9
Connery won the only Oscar of his career for his scene-stealing performance in the Brian De Palma crime epic, The Untouchables. Set during the Prohibition era of the 1920s, Kevin Costner stars as Elliott Ness, an ambitious FBI agent who teams with a rough Irish cop (Connery) to take on Al Capone (Robert De Niro) and his bootlegging business.
Connery is excellent in his supporting role as is De Niro, who makes for an intimidating Capone. The film is an intense and violent saga with memorable characters and some show-stopping sequences.
1 Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989): 8.2
Connery lent his legendary status to another popular series as he joined the third Indiana Jones film. The Last Crusade follows Indy as he searches for the legendary Holy Grail along with his estranged father, played by Connery.
The movie is another highly entertaining entry into this franchise, with Spielberg delivering show-stopping set-pieces. Harrison Ford is as perfect as ever as the titular protagonist, while Connery fits perfectly into the adventure in a different kind of role than we’re used to seeing from him.
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