The tall, handsome and muscular Scottish actor, Sean Connery 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿  | Sean connery, Scottish actors, Black and white portraits
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There are seven genuine movie starts in the world and Sean is one of them.

Steven Spielberg

Sean Connery is one of the great movie stars and great screen actors of the twentieth century, a legend in his own life time. Sean Connery is both a record of a career and a tribute to an actor who has been at the top of his profession since the 1960s, won world-wide fame and acclaim from the public, the critics and the profession alike.

In the early days of his film career, before he had made the Bond Films, the publicity department used to list some of his previous occupations: dray-horse driver, sailor (at 17 Connery joined in Navy for a short period), laborer, cement mixer, French polisher (of coffins), artist’s model (at Edinburgh College of Arts), lifeguard, machine-minder and weight lifter.

Natty af Sean : nattyorjuice
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Sean Connery posing as a model at Edinburgh Art School

I’ve learnt far more about acting from the jobs I’ve done in the past than any dramatic academy could teach. It’s experience from real life that’s valuable in this profession. And the more jobs you do before becoming an actor the better.

Sean Connery

The more jobs he did even reflect in his movie roles that he had played throughout his career.. In his time he has married a kleptomaniac, murdered his uncle, been murdered by his mother, defected to Russia, defected to America, committed incest in Switzerland, knocked about India with his mate, been hanged in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, robbed a train in England, robbed an entire apartment block on Fifth Avenue, researched a cure for cancer in the Brazilian jungle, has his head chopped off, and lived 2437 years..

Sean Connery rose from the slums of Edinburgh, Scotland, on 25 August 1930. He made his first appearance on stage in 1953 in the Anna Neagle musical, Sixty Glorious years, when it visited Edinburgh and needed tall actors to be guardsmen. Some time later, he had travelled to London to represent Scotland in a Mr. Universe competition, he auditioned for the first national tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, landed into a job in the chorus, and stayed with the show for the next year and a half, graduating to a small part, and changing his name to Sean.

Before He Was Bond, Sean Connery Once Finished Third in Mr. Universe  Competition in 1953 | Vintage News Daily
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Sean Connery Once Finished Third in Mr. Universe Competition in 1953
sean connery : 1953 | Sean connery young, Sean connery, Actors
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By the end of 1955, Sean was appearing in weekly rep at the Q Theatre in Kew, playing small roles in Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution, and others. Connery’s career started in Television with a big break came in 1957 when Jack Palance of Requiem for a Heavyweight, withdrew in the last minute, then producer Alvin Rakoff offered Connery leading role along with a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox.

r/OldSchoolCelebs - A young Sean Connery doing push-ups while readinga script in the late 50s.
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A young Sean Connery doing push-ups while reading a script

Connery’s film career began with small parts in No Road Back (1956), Hell Drivers (1957), Time Lock (1957), and Action of the Tiger (1957). He acted opposite Lana Turner, as her lover, in Another Time, Another Place (1958) and then opposite Gordon Scott, as one of the villains, in Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure (1959). He was one of the big people in Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959), all Irish whimsy and trick photography, playing the romantic juvenile lead. By 1961, he was starring in The Frightened City, a British film noir, and in On the Fiddle, a wartime farce with Alfred Lynch. He also played a bit part in the Darryl F. Zanuck all-star D-Day epic, the Longest Day (1962).

No Road Back (1957) DVD - Zeus
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No Road Back (1956)
Hell Drivers / Network On Air
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Hell Drivers (1957)
Another Time, Another Place (1958)
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Another Time, Another Place (1958)
Darby O'Gill And The Little People by Albert Sharpe: Amazon.co.uk: DVD &  Blu-ray
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Picture of Action of the Tiger
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Action of the Tiger (1957)
Watch On The Fiddle | Prime Video
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THE FRIGHTENED CITY SEAN CONNERY SEXY BUSTY YVONNE ROMAIN 1962 BRITISH FILM  NOIR | eBay
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The Frightened City (1961)
Sean Connery Poster and Photo 1008448 | Free UK Delivery & Same Day  Dispatch Available
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The Longest Day (1962)

Then “James Bond” Happened:

Dr. No (1962), directed by Terence Young, with whom Sean had first worked in Action of the Tiger, was cheaply made and looked it. After a slow start it became the second most popular movie of the year in the UK, its success taking everybody by surprise, though not some critics such as Felix Barker, the Evening News critic, who predicted it would make a fortune & Arthur Knight in Saturday Review declared it was “the best bad film of the year’.

james-bond-sean-connery-8
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In the books, Bond is a rather unlikable fellow: bitter, angry, violent. The
filmmakers had to retain the violence while amping up the man’s charisma and appeal. Somehow he had to enter the chrysalis of adaptation and emerge as Sean Connery. Not a small transformation.

CHARLES ARDAI (editor, Hard Case Crime)

1962’s Dr. No offers lo-fi, smaller stakes than you might expect from a movie that launched a 55-year film series, but Connery was never better in the role than he is here.

PHIL NOBILE, JR.

Even as an eight-year-old, I knew that Sean Connery was a movie star. It was the first time I looked at somebody on-screen and then wanted to act like them out in the street when I left the theater. I think that was the generation that idolized Connery Bonds as the male role model.

FRED DEKKER

A friend told me a story about how he was with Sean Connery when he was visiting Los Angeles and had locked himself out of his apartment. Instead of asking the building manager to open the door to his condo, Sean climbed outside on a balcony and jumped from one balcony to the next, four floors up, until he got to his apartment. He could’ve just gotten the key, but that wasn’t Sean. He was James Bond.

ARMYAN BERNSTEIN (Producer, Spy Game)

Most of my favorite Bond pictures are all Sean Connery films. It was there in all of the movies that Connery did. It’s always there with him. Even in Never Say Never Again, it’s there. He is James Bond.

YAPHET KOTTO (actor, “Kanaga/Mr. Big,” Live and Let Die)

I’m hardly the first person to theorize that one’s favorite Bond is directly linked to the actor who was playing Bond when you were first exposed to the character. … I mean, we all love the music of our early teen years, no matter how terrible it may have been. Having said that, my favorite Bond remains Sean Connery.

RICHARD SCHENKMAN

Three more Bond films followed at yearly intervals, From Russia with Love, directed by Terrence Young, was the top money making British film in the UK in 1963. Goldfinger, directed by Guy Hamilton, was equally successful and reached No. 3 in the American charts in 1964. Thunderball, directed by Terrence Young, was No. 1 in both UK and the USA in 1965. 007 had become the international cult hero of the 60’s and Sean Connery was the biggest international star in the business.

The first thing to understand about the cinematic James Bond is that Sean Connery was perfect for the role. He wasn’t simply good. He was John Wayne in Stagecoach. He was Humphrey Bogart in The Petrified Forest. He was Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Everything Connery brought to the role was right.

JOHN CORK (author, James Bond: The Legacy)

When Sean was cast, people said that was terrible casting. Why are you casting a Scottish truck driver as an Eton-educated English spy? They thought the choice was terrible. But, of course, it was the perfect choice, because to some extent, the Sean Connery film Bond is not the Fleming Bond. He’s not the Bond of the novels. He’s a different animal altogether.

ROBERT SELLERS
From Russia with Love (1963) - IMDb
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Classic Movie Art Poster - Gold Finger - Tallenge Hollywood James Bond  Poster Collection - Canvas Prints by Tallenge Store | Buy Posters, Frames,  Canvas & Digital Art Prints | Small, Compact, Medium and Large Variants
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The great strength of his nonchalant and polished performance was that he transformed Ian Fleming’s quintessential public-school hero into a tougher mould and stepped outside of the character in a manner which allowed him to mock Bond and his criminal, carnal and cock-eyed adventures.

During the above period he made Woman of Straw (directed by Basil Dearden, 1964), a macabre baroque thriller in need of a macabre baroque director. He also made Marnie (1964) for Alfred Hitchcock, a disturbing psychological melodrama of female frigidity and masculine lust, which ranks amongst Hitchcock’s best, though it was not thought so at the time, especially by those who had come hoping for another Psycho and The Birds, and found the more subtle thrills of Vertigo.

Sean Connery was back with Thunderball (1965), this time capturing a pair of atomic weapons that it threatens the world with unless their financial demands are met. The battle at the end has been described as an underwater ballet. Adjusted for inflation, this would be the highest-grossing Bond film ever.

Woman of Straw (DVD) - Kino Lorber Home Video
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Marnie (1964) | Classic movie posters, Hitchcock film, Love movie
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Thunderball (1965) - IMDb
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Always anxious to escape from Bondage and to do films that would offer him a fresh creative challenge, Connery made The Hill (1965), a savage and loud indictment of army brutality, working with Sidney Lumet for the first time. He then appeared opposite Joanne Woodward as the randy poet in A Fine Madness (directed by Irvin Kershner, 1966), a satiric portrait of the artist at war with society.

THE HILL (1965) POSTER, BRITISH | Original Film Posters Online |  Collectibles | Sotheby's
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A Fine Madness (1966) - Photo Gallery - IMDb
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Then comes next Bond movie You only Live Twice, directed by Lewis Gilbert in 1967 made the critics that the series has come to the end of the road. The Edwards Dmytryk‘s Shalako (1968) followed in the wake of the popular spaghetti Westerns failed at box office despite the casting of Connery and Brigitte Bardot followed by another failure of Martin Ritt‘s The Molly Maguires (1969), which was a much impressive work, set in the last century, which drew parallels with Civil Rights Movement in the 1970s and made a strong statement on unrest and violence. The Molly Maguires, the first of Connery’s political polemics, was a major film and is long overdue for reappraisal.

Via Margutta 51: You only live twice (1967): LOL
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Shalako (1968) — The Movie Database (TMDb)
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Revisiting Martin Ritt's 'The Molly Maguires'
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The Molly Maguires (1969)

In 1971 Sean Connery enjoyed a commercial hit in Sydney Lumet’s expert thriller The Anderson Tapes, whose real subject matter was the uses and abuses of electronic surveillance equipment by public and private agencies.

Most of the critics who has sat through Casino Royale, greeted Diamonds Are Forever (directed by Guy Hamilton, 1971) with delight, declaring it was the best Bond film yet. It wasn’t, and Connery, who had never made any secret of his dissatisfaction with the limitations of the role, announced he would never play Bond again.

Amazon.com: Diamonds Are Forever [DVD]: Sean Connery, Charles Gray, Bruce  Cabot: Movies & TV
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Post announcement, Sean Connery venture into his first independent film making with The Offence (1972), followed by various off-beat movies such as Zardoz (1974). His other movies such as Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Terrorists (1975), The Wind and the Lion (1975), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Robin and Marian (1976), The Next Man (1976), A Bridge Too Far (1977), The Great Train Robbery (1978), Meteor (1979), Cuba (1979), Outland (1981), Five Days One Summer (1982), Wrong Is Right (1982), Never Say Never Again (1983), Sword of the Valiant (1983), Highlander (1986), The Name of the Rose (1986), and The Untouchables (1986).

1987’s The Untouchables was a true highlight of Sean’s films from that decade. We’re far from alone in feeling that way, as he was the recipient the Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Jim Malone.

Sean Connery winning the Academy Award for THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987) | Sean  connery, Sean connery james bond, Hollywood scenes
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Connery continued his film journey with movies like The Presidio (1988), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Family Business (1989), The Hunt for Red October (1990), The Russia House (1990), Medicine Man (1992), Rising Sun (1993), A Good Man in Africa (1994), Just Cause (1995), First Knight (1995), The Rock (1996), The Avengers (1998), Playing by Heart (1998), Entrapment (1999), Finding Forrester (2000), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003).

Sean Connery knew it was not his times of acting.. announced retirement gracefully:

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was, as far as Sean was concerned, a nightmare to make, with a lot of wasted time during filming. It was also an example of how moviemaking was changing with an ever-increasing reliance on visual effects. After it was finished and he fulfilled his obligations to promote it, he’d decided that he’d had enough and essentially retired from acting. “It was a nightmare,” he said of the process.

The experience had a great influence on me. It made me think about showbiz. I get fed up dealing with idiots.

Sean Connery after the debacle of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

It took three years, but Sean finally made his retirement official in 2006. That was also the same year that a highly significant event took place: in June the American Film Institute (AFI) presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award, celebrating an incredible career in films. There couldn’t be a more appropriate way, then, to cap off all that he had achieved before and after he uttered those famous words,

Bond. James Bond.

Sean Connery talks about himself (BBC Video):

Sean Connery’s Interview:

An Article on Sean Connery after he decide to stop doing Bond Movies:

References:

  1. The films of Sean Connery, by Pfeiffer, LeeLisa, Philip
  2. Nobody Does it Better: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of James Bond by Mark, A, Altman
  3. Sean Connery, by Robert Tanitch
  4. Sean Connery, A Biography by Bob Mc Cabe
  5. Sean Connery, from 007 to Hollywood by Andrew Yule
  6. Sean Connery by John Parker
  7. www.coolweekly.com

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