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, Emmet 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.