Sean Connery: 5 memorable movies

Sean Connery: 5 memorable movies
Scottish actor Sean Connery gives his acceptance speech after receiving an honorary award for his contribution to cinema during the Royal gala dinner at the 2004 Marrakech Film Festival. (Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images/Corbis via Getty Images)

Actor Sean Connery, who died Saturday at the age of 90, breathed life into Ian Fleming’s master-spy character, James Bond. Suave and debonair, the role defined the Scottish-born actor’s career, which spanned nearly 60 years.

Connery’s earthy, sexy presence on-screen went beyond his role as 007. There are plenty of candidates, but here are five Connery movies worth watching.

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From Russia With Love (1963)

The second movie in the James Bond genre enabled Connery to display his suave demeanor while seducing beautiful women and combating evildoers. Bond displayed some of the gadgets he would become famous for, while the villains established themselves as typically diabolical.

Bond battles a secret crime organization called SPECTRE. Its head of planning, Kronsteen (Vladek Sheyba), and Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya) are trying to secure a decoding device known as the Lektor, using Tatiana (Daniela Bianchi) to lure Bond into Instanbul and help him.

The Russians really wanted to kill Bond to avenge the death of Dr. No. (the title of the first 007 film). Of course, Bond escaped.

Goldfinger (1964)

This is the movie that established the Bond character. The title song is performed with gusto by Shirley Bassey, and there is Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 as well as a marvelously evil villain.

It’s cartoonish at times. Bond is forced to free himself from a metal slab while a gold laser beam slowly moves toward his body.

“Do you expect me to talk?” Bond asks Auric Goldfinger, played by Gert Fröbe.

“No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die,” Goldfinger answers.

Movie-goers will also remember Shirley Eaton, killed with gold paint. And don’t forget Bond’s favorite drink: A martini, “shaken, not stirred.”

The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

Connery and Michael Caine play con men who travel the globe in a film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s novella. Danny Dravot (Connery) and Peachy Carnehan (Caine) are English military officers stationed in India. They are also mercenaries who travel the globe and wind up in an Afghan community whose residents hail them as gods.

However, they cannot keep their act up for long.

The film was directed by John Huston and was almost a spoof of British pulp heroes.

The Hunt for Red October (1990)

Connery trades in his Scottish burr for a Russian accent as he plays a rogue submarine captain in a film adaptation of Tom Clancy’s first action-thriller novel. Connery, as Marko Ramius, matches wits with Clancy’s character Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) as the Clancy hero tries to figure out whether the Russian captain intends to defect to the United States or fire a nuclear weapon at the East Coast.

Connery helps the film succeed with his portrayal of Ramius, which only heightens the tension of the plot.

Robin and Marian (1976)

Connery plays an aging Robin Hood in Richard Lester’s historical romance. Robin Hood returns from the Crusades with Little John (Nicol Williamson) to find the Merry Men scattered about town, Maid Marian (Audrey Hepburn) serving as an anonymous nun, and the residents of Nottingham still poor and suffering.

When the Sheriff of Nottingham (Robert Shaw) orders Maid Marian’s arrest by royal edict, Robin Hood squares off against his old rival for a final time.

Other films of note

Connery’s acting portfolio is long and diverse: In addition to the James Bond movies of the 1960s, he appeared in “Time Bandits,” “The Untouchables," “Zardoz,” “The Hill,” “Marnie,” “The Red Tent,” and “Darby O’Gill and the Little People.”