Sat
Aug 25 2012 9:30am

6 Great Sean Connery Sci-Fi/Fantasy Roles

6 Great Sean Connery Sci-Fi/Fantasy Roles

Sir Sean Connery turned 82 years old today! Happy birthdays Sean! Here at Tor.com we feel like he’s in the office with us every day. (Spoiler! He is.) As fans of science fiction, fantasy and movies that are just more fun than “normal” ones, we've discovered there's a lot of Connery to go around. 

So in celebration of him, here are six of our favorite Sean Connery SFF roles and one alternate universe role that should have happened, but didn't.

 

6.) Draco the Dragon (Dragonheart)

I heard a story once that Sean Connery was originally born with the ability to breathe fire. After much soul-searching his parents had his fire-breathing organs removed. But of course, he still had the heart of a dragon. Which is why he was perfect as the voice of Draco in this movie.

 

5.) James Bond (Dr. No, et. al)

It doesn’t matter if Daniel Craig is cold like Fleming’s version, or if Roger Moore looks more like Fleming's illustration of Bond, Connery is what made Bond important to the entire universe. Why is Bond science fiction? Nearly every Connery film has technology which didn’t exist at the time or was not being utilized in the practical, active way that Bond used it. He’s got a jet pack in Thunderball and tangos with a laser in Goldfinger. Blofeld is stealing spaceships in You Only Live Twice. Practically every Bond villain’s scheme involves a science fiction premise. Why is Bond one of Connery’s best roles? Because he's charming, funny, and cool. But you never for one second think he won't kill somebody.

 

4.) Professor Henry Jones (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

Recently, Emily Asher-Perrin asserted boldy that this movie beats Raiders of the Lost Ark every time. While I'm not sure I totally agree, I do find myself wanting to watch this one more than the other two. (Yes, two. There are only three total.) And I think I want to watch this one more because of Connery. He's not that much older than Harrison Ford in this movie, and yet you totally buy him as his father. He's funny, scholarly, and perfect in this fictional universe. In fact, I might go so far as to say this is Connery’s best post-Bond film. Best exchange: “How did you know she was a Nazi?” Connery: “She talks in her shhleep.” The fact that George Lucas was against this casting is just insane.

 

3.) Zed (Zardoz)

Our unabashed love for Zardoz here at Tor.com knows no bounds. There’s no denying Zardoz is a cult film which is considered to be a “bad movie.” If this is true though, it’s the best bad movie of its kind. I’ll put it this way: if Barberella is like the Spice Girls, then Zardoz is like Celine Dion. The total earnestness of this movie is what makes it so splendidly entertaining, and without Connery it WOULD be unwatchable. I know some people think he’s subdued in this movie, but I think he played it perfectly. As I’ve said before, when he says “Stay close to me, inside my aura” everything about your day will get better.

 

2.) Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (Highlander)

Here’s another movie that supposedly sucks, when in reality, this movie is amazing! You’ve already got the totally bonkers choice of casting Christopher Lambert as the main character, so why not get someone else in there with a crazy distinctive voice? Enter Connery as Connor Macleod’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yes, it was a little rough when they brought poor Sir Sean back for Highlander 2, but in the original when he’s running around the beach with Lambert pretending to be an animal, he’s at his best and most Connery. Best line (after slicing at the Kurgan’s throat) “my cut seems to have improved your voishhe…” Also, despite Highlander 2 being pretty awful, there is a great sequence in which Connery gives orders and sits around and drinks and smokes while people make him a suit.

 

1.) Forrester (Finding Forrester)

This is a science fiction movie. No character as ridiculous as Forrester has ever existed in this dimension. It was like Forrester was created by some kind of cross-dimensional space/time rift explosion in which the personalities of Salinger, Hemingway, and Bukowski were all melded into one being. Further, the notion of all of these personalities inhabiting Connery adds a layer of meta-fiction, as it’s possible in an alternate universe that Connery was Salinger, Hemingway and Bukowski. Think about it.

 

Alternate Universe Bonus Special: Sean Connery as Sybok in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

This is no urban myth. Shatner really wanted Connery to play Spock’s insane half-brother Sybok in this movie. Further, Connery wasn’t disinterested in the movie, but instead had to decline because the shooting schedule conflicted with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Now, Sir Sean made the right choice, but Trekkies everywhere were robbed of the chance of seeing Connery fight over scenery-chewing responsibilities with William Shatner. Somewhere, in the multiverse, this version of Star Trek V exists, and people don’t hate it as much.

 

This article originally appeared in an earlier form on Tor.com.


Ryan Britt is a staff writer for Tor.com. He punches the keys every day.

29 comments
Mike Chapel
1. Mike Chapel
What, no Green Knight? I figured that would be on the list before Dr. Jones.
David Levinson
2. DemetriosX
Also no King Arthur or Robin Hood? Any of these should shove Forrester right off the list.
Alex Bledsoe
4. alexbledsoe
Have to side with DemetriosX on the omission of Robin Hood. Not only is he legitimately good in "Robin and Marian," but he fights Robert Shaw as the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robert f*cking Shaw! Red Grant! Quint, for God's sakes. And even though there's no element of magic or supernatural in it, any film with Robin Hood has to count as fantasy.
alastair chadwin
5. a-j
Another vote for Outland here. He even gets to play golf on one of Jupiter's moons.
Del C
6. del
Robin Hood is a superhero. He has superpowers, a real identity and an assumed name, an origin story (sometimes), a distinctive coloured costume, a Secret Base, sidekicks, a girlfriend, a small cast of powerful nemeses, and he fights crime in and around a single named city. On the other hand, Robin and Marian was as naturalistic as Robin Hood gets.
Mike Chapel
7. Thomas Arvanitis
I agree that Outland should have been included, and I would add "Time Bandits" to the List :)
alastair chadwin
8. a-j
Time Bandits! How could I have forgotten Time Bandits! I am fit only to be blown up by Evil:(
Bruce Arthurs
9. Bruce-Arthurs
I like to think that Forrester was actually based on a writer named Marcus Goodrich. Goodrich had one extraordinarily good novel published, DELILAH, about the crew of an American warship in Phillippine waters pre-WWI. After a dalliance with Hollywood (he wrote several screenplays, and was married briefly to Olivia deHaviland), he pretty much vanished. But DELILAH kept being reissued at intervals, and the afterword to one such reissue revealed that Goodrich had written about a half dozen more novels, including the conclusion to DELILAH (DELILAH was essentially the first half of a Very Large Novel), but never sent any of them to publishers. The afterword also revealed that Goodrich wanted those unpublished manuscripts burned after his death. Since I've never heard anything more in the twenty or so years since his death, I'm guessing his wishes were carried out. Damn it.
Sandy Brewer
10. ShaggyBella
Allan Quartermain in the The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He got to show Tom Saywer how to shoot a rifle, and hang out with Captain Nemo aboard the Nautilus
D***** L****
11. Aggroculture
Zardoz really is some batshit crazy shit. I'd say the first half is mind-blowing, in a WTF? kind of way. The second half is pretty painful bad-trip viewing. But Connery in that get-up is priceless.

Outland I recall being quite forgettable. And yes, Time Bandits should have been here. Not James Bond.
john mullen
12. johntheirishmongol
Zardoz is horrible and stupid and Connery was awful in it.
Outland was much better
Time bandits was good

But I actually think Connery is highly overrated.
T C
13. Freelancer
a-j @8

Pure, concentrated evil, at that.


League is a grade z movie, only marginally saved by the gravitas of the cast, clearly led by Connery. Outland can be measured accurately when viewed immediately following Blade Runner. Then, it's shoddiness is too obvious to ignore. Not Connery's fault, but it's a less than memorable role.


jtim @12

Overrated? You've brought a knife to a gunfight. While not qualified for the topic of this post, the evidence of his standing is very broad:

The Man who would be King
Untouchables
The Hunt for Red October
The Rock
The Presidio
Medicine Man
A Bridge too Far
Family Business
Entrapment

Very, very difficult to not stop on any of those when channel-surfing.
Alan Courchene
14. Majicou
Hm. I notice that you don't specify which three Indy movies are the ones that exist. I vote for Temple of Doom as the unmovie. Now, if you need me, I'll just be over here in the flameproof bunker.
Mike Chapel
15. Juanma Ruiz
Of course Temple of Doom should be the unmovie... not just because it is the worst of the four (nostalgia aside), but because the other three form a trilogy, sharing themes and leitmotivs, whereas Temple of Doom is a complete standalone.
Emmet O'Brien
16. EmmetAOBrien
Zardoz a better bad movie than Barbarella ? Surely you jest.
Mike Chapel
17. sabbx
Gotta say, you can't leave Outland off the list of Connery SF movies in favor of Finding Forrester.
Mike Chapel
18. Hert Zollner
This article is invalid without: Outland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez2XfvN8XSc
Mike Chapel
19. jcox
I like to think of The Rock as being part of the Bond universe, just set 25-30 years later.
john mullen
20. johntheirishmongol
@13 Free

Half those roles you named, Connery was a secondary player or minor player. Some things I liked him in, some things I didn't. I didn't really think he was an icon actor, falls just short and the Bond films are the only reason why he is in the conversation.

But let me throw a new #1 out there...Darby O Gill and the Little People which I think is certainly genre and and a better film than any listed here.
alastair chadwin
21. a-j
Anyone who doubts Connery's acting chops could do worse than check out the '70s crime film The Offence. He plays a police detective being slowly driven mad by his job. He is remarkable in it.
Bruce Arthurs
22. Bruce-Arthurs
THE ANDERSON TAPES might also be called science fiction of a sort. Connery plays a career criminal fresh out of prison who puts together a complex heist at a VERY upscale NYC apartment building. What he doesn't know is that while he was in prison, surveillance and communication technology advanced to where almost everything he does is recorded or filmed, and his victims have resources he's not aware of. So he's essentially a time-traveller who's about to have the future dropped on his head.
john mullen
23. johntheirishmongol
@21 a-j

I didn't say he couldn't act. I said he was overrated. He took on some really good roles early in his career (see A Fine Madness) but he had some horrible roles that he wasn't good at and that brings him down in my estimation, Zardoz being a case in point.
marian moore
24. mariesdaughter
Definitely Robin Hood belongs on this list. I love this mature version of the character. And "The Man who would be King" introduced me to Afganistan years before it became an item in the news. It made me go look up the actual history of Alexander the Great.
Mike Chapel
25. matt54321
What no;
The man who would be king
Time Bandits
Outland

Awesome!
Mike Chapel
26. Doug C1
ZARDOZ is an amazing masterpiece; it should be number one. I don't think it's "earnest" at all, I think it's a very eccentric, tongue-in-cheek film that is mounted with incredible visual finesse. You don't see that very often, and I think that has led to some very mixed-up reactions to it, misreading it as pretentious or just plain bad, but it's really a great film.
Mike Chapel
27. SueQ
I'll take Connery in ANYTHING for $200, Alex. (The real Connery would have blown SNL out of the water.)
Mike Chapel
28. JoeM
No mention of Darby O'Gill and the Little People? :-) Like Connery in almost anything he played in. As to Star Trek V, if Connery HAD played Sybok the movie would have done a lot better than it did.
Mike Chapel
29. Blackhorse
Agree as to the need for Outland to be added. No SciFi remake of High Noon should ever be left out...especially if you're including his voicing of a dragon as a valid role. Tsk tsk,

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